Friday, May 19, 2006

A hard nine months - Part 2

As promised, here's the rest of the story ...

The nice middle-aged couple came late the following afternoon to see our house which was NOT for sale any more (in my mind). So convinced was I that we were supposed to remain in our current dwelling that I scarcely bothered to clean before they came. OK, I didn't clean at all. Not a bit. Winter was giving way to spring, and I was in the middle of switching out the kid's wardrobes with virtually every article of clothing they own separated into piles in the living room. With three kids, that's a LOT of clothes.

When they arrived and I looked around my very messy house through the eyes of a potential buyer, I could hear my own words ringing in my ears (Did they know their house was being shown today???!!!???) and I was humiliated to the point of hiding out in my office the entire time they were here and letting hubby do the grand tour.

Scarcely two hours had passed since they left, when the phone rang and the nice gentleman who had toured that afternoon told us he was ready to offer us our asking price (which we had purposely set a little high and never imagined anyone would really pay). He is planning to move his elderly parents down from Iowa this summer and thought our house would be perfect for them. We took it.

And so the house hunt, which until this point had been a pretty casual affair, now became an all-consuming activity. The Chief and I became quite proficient at searching the MLS, and would send as many as 10 emails a day to each other with various listings we wanted the other to see. I could call out the six-digit number of a listing with absolutely no explanation, and instinctivly, he would know to navigate to the real estate company's website and call up yet another listing. Our amazingly patient realtor soon had all three of our phone numbers on speed dial and we all became accustomed to visiting with each other on a daily basis. I worried if noon came and we hadn't spoken to one another. "Did we break up?" I would call him and ask.

We made offers on a half dozen houses, none of them really quite feeling like THE HOUSE to me. I wasn't altogether certain what THE HOUSE would look like; I only knew that we would know it when we saw it. Offers and counteroffers flew back and forth faster than the speed of light. One couple actually insisted on including an "escape clause" that would give them an out should someone else come along and offer them more money. And on two different occasions, we were told one thing verbally only to be countered on paper with something completely different. The whole experience was enough to make a person very cynical and distrustful of humanity in general.

Friends who knew we were looking would often call us with an address or two that looked like what they imagined we were needing. My friend Linda kept suggesting I check out the house next door to her which had recently been remodeled and had a large back yard. And yet, with all this help, we were still coming up short.

We were just about ready to settle on a house in our same subdivision a mere 100 yards from our present home when hubby decided to venture out into a part of town we hadn't really investigated and came home with three potentials he had run across. A quick call to Ron confirmed that two were already under contract, but one wasn't. Much to my surprise, it was the house next door to my friend Linda! Ron arranged for us to see it that afternoon, and I knew from the moment I stepped foot in it that my searching had come to an end. We had found, at long last, THE HOUSE. It's not a perfect house, and it's certainly not a beautiful house by most people's standards, but it has an amazing amount of potential, and it is just perfect for us.

There's so much more to the story than I have time or energy to tell right now, but it's just been really cool to me to see once again how specific prayers really do get specific answers ... even down to the proximity to schools, large fenced-in back yard, and about 15 other things that were very important to us in the selection of a new house.

Now, if only a dozen muscled men would show up at my front door tomorrow morning eager to do my packing for me ... perhaps I should make that number 16 on the list! LOL!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A hard nine months

I only thought my last pregnancy was longest nine months of my life. The stress that has held me hostage since last August has been torture. Sheer torture.

Since I haven't blogged at all about my husband's job and our search for a new home, perhaps I should start there ...

In August of last year, believing that hubby was about to receive a job offer from a police department 20 miles north of where we presently reside, we enlisted the help of a real estate agent and spent several Saturdays driving around Benton County looking for the perfect place to make our next home. Call me crazy, but I've always been enthralled with the idea of buying a "fixer-upper" and turning it into something quaint and charming.

Trouble is, most of the places that appeared on the internet to look like the perfect "project" looked in person like "the projects". Really. I can't count the times that I turned to our agent, Ron, and asked in amazement, "Did these people know that their house was being shown today???" We're talking junk piled so high on kitchen counters that I couldn't even tell whether it was granite or formica. We're talking about closets that looked like they'd been hit with explosives. One place had an uncovered kitty litter box so filled with cat feces, I had to cover my nose and mouth to keep from vomiting.

It was hard not to get discouraged at times.

We even looked for land on which to build a new house. We discovered very quickly, though, that unless you want to be in a subdivision (which we definitely do not ... we're a little tired of the Nazis POA and its Compliance Committee telling us we have to get permission for every improvement we want to make to our home) or unless you want to be half an hour from civilization (no thanks), land in Northwest Arkansas is scarce. And quite expensive ... we found several places where the asking price was $100,000 an acre.

And in the midst of this, after only being at his new department a little over seven months, another agency closer to home approached him with an offer to be their network administrator. It was a deal way too good to pass up. We finally realized the reason why we hadn't been able to find a house in Rogers ... God in His infinite knowlege, knew that we didn't need to move there and had blocked every attempt we'd made to buy a home there.

All this time, our house had been for sale with not a single offer in site. People had looked, but no one had been interested enough to call back, so the Chief and I breathed a collective sigh of relief as we simultaneously concluded that THIS is exactly where we are supposed to be. With that fresh revelation, that night after dinner, all five of us marched into the front yard and made a big production of taking down the "for sale" sign.

Decision made. Total relief.

Until two days later, when the phone rang, and a very nice middle-aged man asked to come see our house. We explained that we had just taken the sign out of the yard a couple of days before, but somehow a few minutes into the conversation, my husband agreed to let him and his wife come over the following afternoon.

And that's when the REAL adventure began ... which I promise to continue in tomorrow's blog.