Monday, September 30, 2013

Story of a house

Last year at this time Ben had just found out he had lost his job. Things were stressful. But I had been on the phone with my sister Kimiko and she closed the conversation by saying, "When Dan (her husband) lost his job, we were able to look back over the year and see all the miracles that happened. I can't wait to hear about yours at this time next year." I was sure she was right, but of course had no idea how things were going to work out.

I had wanted to write this entry with a big finale surprise ending, with the exciting announcement of our 3rd baby. Well the 3rd baby part actually isn't going to work out after all, and while we are pretty bummed to say the least, the thought I had was that it doesn't need to be about the ending. Because is there ever really an "ending?" It's all one continuous journey. And although I was not feeling very grateful the past week--let's face it, I may or may not have had some mini breakdowns (I blame the hormones)--I feel like these things can't wait to be written down any longer. I'm sure none of it is earth shattering for anyone else, but for us it has definitely been a year of growth.

We closed on our home today.  Yippee! I knew this was an exciting time, but with all the stresses we'd been dealing with lately I don't think we remembered to be excited. But today as we sat chatting at the title company office, our realtor/friend expressed how happy he was for us, and I made the comment that a year ago Ben didn't even have a job, and now we're actually closing on a home for our family, the feeling I got was overwhelming. How could I not be grateful after everything that had happened?

So our summer went like so:
I think my last post was in April about Ben loving his new job. At this time it was taking us some time to catch up financially on everything, but we knew it would get there. I was still bummed we had drained our savings of our house down payment and was discouraged about building it back as it took several years to get where it was, and now we had even less money. But things were ok as we both had jobs we liked and the kids were happy. We figured we'd just stay in our townhome rental and figure things out as they came. Well, summer came and one day we got an email from our friends who owned the townhouse we were renting. They felt terrible about it, but they were going to be moving back and we would need to find another place to live. I started browsing listings for rentals and realized it is just not worth it to rent a house, and I was absolutely sick of moving, so what would it hurt to just talk to a lender and see if we even had a slim chance of buying anything right then. The worst they could say was we were crazy since we had pretty much no money and a lot of instability over the past two years. Imagine my surprise when the lender said it should somehow work out.

First we went on vacation to visit my parents and Ben's dad and stepmom, but when we got back we decided to contact one of our neighbors to be our realtor. I had not been interested in using someone we know, but for some reason we felt like we should go with Josh. And Josh worked hard. He also got us in contact with a great lender who also worked really hard. We sold our car that had just been paid off, of course. We sold my beautiful piano. We started pinching every penny we could so we could "hurry and buy a house."

Our realtor took us out many times, and some days were very discouraging as to what was available in our price range. We were running out of time and needed to have an offer accepted in the next few days. For some reason we decided to expand our search and looked at one in Saratoga Springs. My friend coincidentally lived just a few houses down from this one in Saratoga, so we picked her brain about the area and she put in a good word for us with the seller. And after all the great layouts and awesome yards we looked at that day, Ben said he really felt the Saratoga house was the one. I was shocked.  The realtor was shocked. We made our offer and started paperwork when our friend down the street mentioned that we might want to ask about some rural housing loan. The lender did some checking and said we could qualify for that loan for TWO MORE WEEKS and then Saratoga would not be considered rural anymore as it had grown so much. However, this loan would extend our time in escrow even longer and our realtor said that if he were the seller, he would probably say no at this point. Yet again, we were shocked when the seller agreed to push back closing as they really felt we were serious about everything and liked that we had ties to the area through our friend who lived there. They wanted us in the house.

So if anyone is still reading, good for you, I can barely keep my eyes open and I know I'm rambling. But it just amazes me how this has all worked out. I don't know why, but we really feel like this is where we are supposed to be. It's not a convenient location. Sometimes it's smelly. The house isn't the one I would have picked for myself. Yet at the same time there is no doubt we made the right decision, and we know it was not possible on our own. Once again, Someone helped us along the way and sent us to the place we needed to be. And so far we love it. The neighbors are all so friendly, and Benny always has kids to play with. Our door gets knocked on several times a day for various reasons, whether it be kids looking for a playmate, or neighbors introducing themselves.

Yes, the car accidents and packing and unpacking and the hormonal rollercoaster have made the past few months pretty darn stressful. So no, there is no baby, but there is a lot of everything else to be grateful for.


Lori said...

BTW- i didn't see this post till now. So glad for you that it worked out for you guys to get a house!!! Sounds like things all fell into place. So happy for you!!!

Wynette said...

We are really happy for you Kari. It is great that some things are coming together to make life even better for you and your darling family. I am sorry that we are at the other end of the valley...
I am sorry that having those cute babies is a huge challenge but you have sure been positive and persistent in all you do! Your Auntie

Brooke said...

Thanks for the update! I can't wait to come see your new place :) Thank you for your example of having a good attitude, I think you are pretty darn awesome!

Tim said...

Sorry for your loss, Kari-Lynn. You're great parents and I enjoy reading your blog to see how everyone is growing. Your stories of Benny and Ellie make me laugh and cry, just as I do in reading Kristi's blog. Wish you were all closer so the cousins could learn to know each other. Remember, you are loved! Aunt Karen