So, besides the usual activities of snowman-building, cookie-eating, carol-singing, and general good-timing, there was also one rather significant event that occurred during our Christmas holiday:
We put in an offer on a house.
Which was then accepted.
And we are now mere weeks away from ending this process and becoming official homeowners.
Can you imagine how excited and uptight I’ve been, waiting for acceptances and approvals and commitment letters, trying to hold loosely something I very much wanted? You can imagine.
Would you like to hear how this came to be?
(You don’t have to read all of this, really; my mom is the only person on the planet who has any sort of obligation to do so, and she already knows the whole story!)
Where shall I begin? I hardly know!
So, in 2007 we moved out here, to gorgeous northern California, to the suburb to beat all suburbs, aka “Middle Class Heaven” (so named by my father.) It really is beautiful, by the way. The ocean, the mountains, the redwoods, the flowers blooming in February — all of it. And this neighborhood really is about as good as it gets. Here, they build 4 million dollar homes around huge redwood trees in the middle of a lot. Half an hour south, they bulldoze it all and build a hundred matching McMansions, but not here. It’s really nice here. And there’s a Trader Joe’s a short walk away.
Anyway, we moved here. Last January, we found a church nearby that we’ve absolutely loved being a part of. Loved. Our sightseeing opportunities have drastically been reduced, thanks to weekends full of hanging out with friends and doing church stuff. The Golden Gate bridge is awesome, but I’ll take pizza with friends any day.
We never thought we were going to be here forever and ever, but we certainly didn’t have any niggling thoughts of leaving anytime soon, nor did we know where we would be leaving to. God’s never been in the habit of sharing His plans with me, I’ve noticed. That’s okay. He’s the kind of driver where you know it’s okay to roll down the window, put your seat back, stick your feet up on the dashboard, and just go with it. Not that life’s always a sunny drive down Coastal Highway 1, but He knows what He’s doing. That’s my point.
Anyway, Ryan joined us halfway through December in New York, and we heard plenty of the usual, “Are you moving back”s and “We just miss you guys so much”s. Which we always appreciate, of course, but as always, we just had to say, “Yeah, we’d love to, we miss you, too.”
But then a couple of people seemed to go out of their way to share such sentiments. People who we wouldn’t expect to spend a lot of time thinking about our future. Others seemed more persistent than usual. And nothing was a blinding light that stopped us in our tracks, but it was adding up to something worth noting. Our hearts were listening.
Ryan started looking at the houses in the area again. He does it regularly, sometimes just for fun, sometimes thinking we could do the landlord thing. We noticed a nice house in town had been quite reduced in price, and since we’d always been curious, we set up an appointment a few days after Christmas. And in the meantime, our hearts were hearing more and maybe even sensing a nudge or two. Hmmm.
So we went through this house. My mom and Nancy helped us dream a little, my sister approved, and when we left over an hour later, we could not believe how much we had felt like this could be home. I fell asleep that night with visions of raising a family in that kitchen. (And I have never pictured myself in any other house. I just am not wired that way.)
We set up another appointment so we could show my dad. And suddenly, we found ourselves in the middle of quite a crazy situation: was the house already sold? Was it available? The details are crazy and the story is long, but at the end, we were free to put in an offer if we so desired.
And so, four days after seeing the house for the first time, and on only our second visit to the home, we found ourselves having to decide if and what we would bid. So much for our ideas of flying back to California and thinking about it! Isn’t this stuff supposed to move a bit slower in the North Country?
We put in our offer. The next morning, with a vomiting baby in tow, we flew back home. We landed, and the rest of the family came down with the same bug. Three days of canceled flights, hotel rooms, violent vomiting and a house full of suitcases later — our offer was accepted.
That, of course, was just the beginning, and it’s been a very busy, very intense few weeks of getting our ducks in a row (we had not been planning on buying a house!) This past Monday, boxes were bought and I began the process of packing. Last night, my mom bought a ticket to fly out soon and help me finish up and fly back.