Monday, September 5, 2011

Settlng, Part II

I love my new house. Isn't it charming? As odd as this may sound, I think the previous owner wanted us to have this house. 

Just to clarify things - this house is the third house I made an offer on. The second, which I wrote about here I lost to another buyer. I looked at this house prior to making the second offer, and really liked it, but just wasn't sure about it, partly because it needed a good bit of updating. I came back to it a second time when both of my girls were able to join me on a house hunting venture. I forget how many houses we looked at that day... probably about 12... but when we walked into this house both of their countenances changed. They grew excited. They said it felt like home. That was the first time I had gotten that response, and it caused me to really look at the house. The second house the girls liked, but Lizzie said it felt like it belonged to someone else. 

This house was part of an estate sale. It has had one owner prior to me, and she passed away last fall. She was a single mom, and bought this house in the mid 70s. Both of her children were nearing adulthood at that time, if not already there. At the closing, it dawned on me that her children's names are "Carol" and "Lee," both of which are my names, although I dropped Carol legally years ago. In talking with others, I've learned that the owner was a character, well loved, a former real estate agent, loved her yard [I have so much to learn], fed the wildlife... I like everything I know about her. Her energy is still very much present here.

So as I started the process of moving in, I started talking to her. Told her how much I loved her house, and to forgive me, but there were some things I needed to change. I hope she liked what I planned to do.

Right after we closed on the house, the work started. And then her daughter wanted to come by. My heart caught in my chest, because this was in the driveway:
This was a stone facade in the house just the day prior. I warned her, which is a good thing, and when she came over I told her what I planned to do. Her response was what I needed to hear [I also got the response from the original owner's best friend, who came by a little later]: "Mom would want you to do this - there were so many things she wanted to do to the house but just couldn't. I'm so glad to see you making the house yours."

A month later, I can say that the work has all been worth it. I'm not quite ready for before/after pictures, because we're definitely still unpacking, but with each day I grow happier with my space.

It has so many things about it which I have craved:

LOOK at that beautiful back yard! We've sat outside a number of nights, eating dinner... or I've had a friend over and we were able to have a glass of wine... It's amazing!

Wait, there's more:

The trees! Three huge oak trees that provide shade to the entire lot! The back yard is always shady - which is why I CAN sit outside at night as the day comes to a close and just enjoy.

I love where I live, and the convenience to so many things. I love that my children can see and articulate the difference between what school was like for them and what it's like now. I love that their father came to a school Open House, and that he has been to a football game. I really love that he can pick up the kids at my house when he gets off work on Fridays, because it is not really out of the way - unlike our two hour commute of the past six years. And I love the feeling I get when I come around the curve leading up to the house and see my house sitting on the hill, just waiting for us. And how welcome I feel when I walk into my kitchen from the garage.

I definitely think the previous owner is happy. The new owner is happy, too. 

Settling can have such negative connotations - "Don't settle," I've been told. In this case, though. I think settling is exactly right. I have been unsettled all summer, living out of my trunk the last part of it. I embraced the feeling, because I knew it was temporary. It was where I was, and where I needed to be.

But now... It's good to be home. 

Now, back to unpacking some more boxes. I'm ready to be settled.

Settling, Part I

The past seven weeks have been a blur. I went from massive limbo to overdrive as things started to happen. The quick and dirty:

  • Bought a house
  • Sold my other house three days later
  • Began a home renovation project which took 3x longer than I anticipated. 
  • Shuttled a child to band camp - even though we weren't in the house yet.
  • Started a new job - even though we weren't in the house yet.
  • Kids started school - even though we weren't in the house yet.
  • House got "done enough" to move in.
  • PODS arrived 12 weeks and 2 days after I shipped them off
  • PODS were unloaded into the house
  • Birthday party for my oldest back where we used to live.
  • Boxes remain everywhere... but my kitchen is finally unpacked, and I cooked for the first time since May yesterday.
I could go on. Point is, there has been no time to think very hard about what is going on, nor really much time to unpack and get settled into the house because life started happening anyway. 

Yet through this crazy time, I have had such peace. No, things did not go the way I wanted them to. Yes, it has been manic trying to juggle all of these things. Yes, lots of decisions, like where to sleep each night, had to be made in order to facilitate the process, but none of them marked the end of the world... they were just inconveniences. And I've learned a few things, too:
  • I have the patience of Job. I have often said it is folly to pray for patience, because it will surely get tested. I learned that I don't have to pray for it - I already have it.
  • Control is overrated. We really don't have it anyway, so letting go of the process and letting it happen organically is a beautiful thing. So what that I had to reschedule PODS five times... it didn't matter. Things worked out because I was flexible in my thinking and attitude. Great life lesson, there.
I can honestly look at this entire process and see God's hand in each part. 

I am where I am supposed to be. 

I feel my heart settling. The vagabond in me is at peace, and my heart is home.