Thursday, January 04, 2018

A Place Called Home...

The basics of physical survival rely on a need for shelter, food, drink, sleep, and air.  When any of these needs aren't being met, our very own mortality comes into question.  We know that it's more complicated than that, but at the core these primal necessities guide our actions and have profound impacts on how we live our lives.

Just over two years ago, William and I set out to find a home of our own.  To be honest, it's not something that I ever thought would happen for me.  When I was younger, I lived a more transitory life and moved every year or so.  The idea was appealing, but it didn't seem like a match for my lifestyle.  Later, it just seemed impossible.  I accumulated a huge student loan amount and that had long-reaching effects.  When I was 18, I didn't know anything about debt to income ratios or credit scores or deferment.  The words "principal" and "interest" had far different associations back then.

But as our small business dreams grew and we set down roots in the community, homeownership seemed more possible with each passing day.

After searching for awhile through the conventional means, we turned to... of all places... Facebook.  We had just looked at a house, but it fell through because it was in a flood zone and the flood insurance was more than the mortgage.  We were sort of desperate and had already mentally started the process of moving on from the place where we used to live.  I put a post out on Facebook not knowing what to expect, if anything at all.  Surprisingly, at least for me, I heard back about this house.

The first time we saw it, we both loved it.  It wasn't "perfect" or "fancy" but it felt like home.  The people who had the house before us lived here for years. They raised a family and now their children have children.  The house was cared for and loved and a place where those happy memories could be felt.  While the house that we looked at before this one was nice, there were a lot of compromises... including a basement that flooded.  This house had a better energy and felt more... right.

And then things fell through.

Because of the situation of the homeowner and our finances, we just couldn't make the numbers work out.  It was disappointing.  I saw myself with William swinging on the porch, talking and laughing.  I saw us planting a garden and playing with Paulo and Babette on the stairs.  When I dreamed, I dreamed of this house and I could see it so clearly in my heart and mind.

When we couldn't make it work, we were crushed.  But we were hopeful and kept looking.

We were about to place a bid on another house, one that we didn't love, but could see the benefits of.  And then we heard from the daughter of the homeowner.  We had grown friendly over the course of us looking at the house and they wanted to make it work.  So, we set up a lease to own option.  Of course, this oversimplifies everything, but despite the highs and lows, we finally found a place called home.

Two years passed in the blink of an eye.  A few months ago, our contract ended and we began the process of officially purchasing the house.  Much had changed since we first started looking, including William moving over to the store full-time and becoming fully self-employed.  Being self-employed (and not being rich) and trying to buy a house is an exercise in endurance and torture.  The amount of paperwork and back and forth between lenders, banks, lawyers, credit card companies, and everyone else is truly astounding.  When I read articles about Millennials not buying houses nowadays, I can see why!  It's not the easiest thing to do when you're an entrepreneur.

We finally got everything to align.  Many thanks to our financial people, our family, our friends, the family we are buying the house from, and everyone involved.  To get to this point has required so much patience, fortitude, and good-will.  We so very much appreciate everything and for enabling us to live our dream.

The last step was an appraisal and home inspection.  This is very nerve-racking for me.  For one, I'm somewhat territorial.  When I've created a nest, I only allow a few people into it.  I also have this somewhat irrational fear of being judged.  So an appraisal is sort of a double-whammy of anxiety.  Strangers coming into your home who's sole job is to judge you and your house.  Our small business spills over into our home a lot and that means that it isn't the tidy, neat, organized abode straight out of the magazine pages.  It's not "dirty", so much as visually chaotic and cluttered.  I know where everything is, but it doesn't look like anyone would.  In addition to our everyday clutter, we have tackled a few DIY projects that we work on as time and money allow.  Also, in my mind, the worst case scenarios play out... where they'll notice a hairline crack or a chip in the paint and everything will fall through again.  I think that because I'm also gay and a minority, it adds even more pressure, because I'm always worried that they might not have worldviews that align with ours and they'll retaliate.

I try to engage in positive thinking and manifesting the best outcome, but when one of the basic needs for survival is threatened, such as shelter, it can heighten the emotions and up the crazy factor by ten. I know that worrying doesn't make anything better, but it's easier said than done.  For the past few weeks we've been cleaning, stressing, finishing projects, stressing, cleaning some more, stressing some more, and just sort of trying to maintain life all while internally freaking out.

We got most of the major projects out of the way, including finally finishing painting the cabinet doors and hanging them.  We have been without kitchen cabinet doors for the last two years.  I have been up for two solid days cleaning until every muscle aches and my hands are bleeding from a combination of dry winter skin and cleaning chemicals.  And while it might seem like I'm complaining, I'm happy to do it.  I'm happy to do whatever is needed to make sure that everything works out.

And... now... we... wait.  We are hopeful that everything works out favorably and we can finally put this process behind us and finally enjoy living in our own home.  We are ready.


Sarajo Wentling said...

We're sending you so much love and positive energy!!!

Ann Schroeder said...

Some of this sounds familiar to me. Buying a home is stressful. I never thought I'd own a home, and then my younger sister bought a condo and said if she could do it, I could do it. So I did! But I broke out in hives during the process! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.