Wednesday, July 11, 2012

House Hunt

It's a rare treat that Shaggy and I find ourselves without kids for a few days. Like once every three years kind of rare. So even though the purpose of our trip back east was to find our not so little family a new place to live and proved to be frustrating and stressful and discouraging at times, it was still a treat. Only being responsible for myself felt completely luxurious. I enjoyed every minute of it until I started missing my kids.

I really, really, really, really, really liked this house.
It even came with the perfect place for the kids to cool down when their tempers are flaring.
And I don't even know what to say about the brick walled garden . . .
which was just amazing.
There was even a statue to honor Shaggy the lion heart. Which sort of looked more like a forlorn puppy. But why be picky when it comes to marble statues?
Or bronze ones, for that matter.
There was only one slight problem . . . this house wasn't for sale. And it probably would have been slightly out of our price range if it had been on the market.  But it was pretty amazing to tour this place, Montpeleir. It was the home of James Madison, the intellectual force behind America's constitution, and his wife who, unbeknownst to me, was the very first First Lady. There was a very powerful, reverent feeling which came over us as we sat in the room where Madison researched and organized his thoughts about government, politics, and human rights. And what an inspired approach he came up with.

I can hardly contain my excitement to be moving to an area so rich with history, so full of places where that history can come alive for my family. We will be walking in the footsteps of giants, I tell you.
Like this guy.
And the guy who inspired this thing.

I made Shaggy take me to see these monuments instead of going to dinner. It was unbelievably muggy and hot, and we were mostly starving. And we didn't even get to see the reflecing pool, because it's under construction. But I don't regret a minute of it. I hope the novelty of living near these places never wears off.
So much dedication and sacrifice went into building this country of ours, I never want to take it for granted. Even though it's not necessarily perfect, I do think it's a great nation and I'm grateful to call it home.
And Shaggy thinks the canons are pretty cool, too.

But as amazing as Washington D.C. and the surrounding suburbs are, we opted for a more rural approach to life. We get to live in a little town brimming with history, with a picturesque main street that happens to offer the very best cannolis I have ever tasted.
Our house hunt had a few too many twists and turns for my taste. We did a ton of research on the counties in consideration; looking up schools, zoning restrictions, taxes, commuting distance, availability of good well water and soil, proximity to church, likelihood of radon, over dependence on electricity, and population density. It was confusing and exhausting. But through it all, there was one county that we kept coming back to, over and over again even though the commute time was a lot longer than we would like it to be. Like an hour longer than we'd like it to be. But I suppose that's the price we have to pay for affordable space.

We had an A list and a B list before Shaggy left to go house hunting. He flew out early to try to weed out the places that simply wouldn't work and hopefully find a few gems that we could choose from. Which turned out to be nonexistent on either list. Too expensive. Too small. Way too far from work. Shoddy construction. 100+ years old. Infested with mold. Details, details.

It was discouraging, to say the least. We were beginning to feel like our only option might be to rent. Which was enormously frustrating because we had worked so hard to figure out a way to pay off the difference a short sale would make on our current loan balance. And yes, we know that half the country is going for the short sale. Everybody told us to do a short sale. But one of the strongest spiritual impressions we've recieved throughout this whole crazy relocation process (and there have been a lot, thankfully) was that we shouldn't do a short sale. And I will trust those spiritual impressions to the ends of the earth rather than the advice of 'experts.' There's only one omniscient expert in my life, and if He nudges me in a certain direction, I'm going to listen.

So Shaggy was back east, I was out west and we found ourselves frustrated and out of prospects. When, lo and behold, a brand new house popped onto the market. I was looking it over, with the girls ooohing and aaaahing over my shoulder at the pictures. We called Shaggy and mentioned it. The next morning, while I was flying out to meet him, he took a tour and submitted an offer.

And then we had to scramble around trying to find at least a couple back ups because the owners on the other home were taking an agonizingly long time to respond to our offer. As a note to self, in the future I would really like to avoid all real estate transactions that involve an ex-husband. This particular one was not all that fun to work with.

But, all's well that ends well. They did accept our offer. The kids are over the moon excited to be moving into a house with multiple sets of stairs. (That was their most frequently made request: stairs.) And Shaggy and I will soon have 4.5 acres of wooded property to call home. Provided that the house passes all of its inspections, that is. But I'm trying really hard not to worry too much about that.

It actually still feels extremely surreal. We have daydreamed for so long about having a home that will fit our family instead of being jammed in like sardines. And it's a beautiful home, in a beautiful location. That was almost more than I dared to hope for.
Better pictures will have to wait until the home is actually ours and we have successfully survived our behemouth cross-country road trip. For now, I am just happy to report our house hunt was a success.


Rebekah said...

Wow that house looks amazing!!! Too bad you Couldn't get the madison one LOL!!

Mom said...

This is a beautiful house for you to turn into a home. I'm so happy that you found such a nice place. The kids won't know what to do with a four and a half acre yard. Congrats!!!