Taking steps is easy; standing still is hard
— Regina Spektor, “You’ve Got Time”
We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but coming home has been a lot more complicated than my husband and I could have ever predicted. Thankfully, nearly three months after embarking on our somewhat nomadic life, our state of limbo is finally nearing its end. We’re moving in to our new house in just one week!
Over Labor Day weekend, just when we tried to take a break from our exhausting search, a cute house in a nice neighborhood came on the market. Plus, the price was great. We knew it wouldn’t last, so we jumped in the car and made the two-hour drive back to town to try and beat the competition.
Sure enough, this house had eight showings and three offers on its first day out, but — for once — our offer was the best. After six failed attempts to secure a house, I’d like to say I didn’t weep great tears of relief when we got the news of our success, but that just wouldn’t be the truth.
A home! With this baby kicking inside me like a gorilla rattling its cage, the relief I felt was overwhelming. But, in real estate, a deal isn’t done until it’s done, and this one took us on more than a few twists and turns.
For starters, the inspection report uncovered far more issues than expected, and it took some serious negotiation by my husband to get what we needed from the sellers. Luckily, this is his forte. In the end, the sellers agreed to credit us the amount needed to fix the most pressing issues, but we would need to perform the work ourselves.
Coordinating the repairs ourselves was easier said than done, especially with less than two months left in my pregnancy. Somehow we made the crazy decision to crank up the heat and add a mind-boggling list of renovations to the list of must-do items.
And so, we’ve kicked off nearly four weeks of work that will end with a completely overhauled house. It’s a lot to juggle and coordinate with a baby providing a hard deadline in the not-too-distant future. If everything stays on schedule, (the baby included!), we’ll have approximately one month to get settled before our lives get turned upside-down again.
Meanwhile, our 2-year-old son, despite having held up amazingly well through all the changes thrown at him, has suddenly decided he’s no longer willing to sleep in a Pack ‘n Play at the foot of our bed. Days and nights are now punctuated by negotiations with a miniature terrorist who sobs and flails and scales the walls of his crib whenever we try to leave the room.
Our situation hasn’t been stress-free. This move has been much, much harder than either of us could have possibly foreseen.
If it weren’t for the incredible amount of help we’ve had from family and friends, we would never have made it this far. We’re logging our third month of living with my unbelievably generous sister, who has opened her two-bedroom condo to our loud and messy clan without a single complaint.
The three of us (plus a fetus! as she often has to remind me) together produce an effect similar to a hurricane or the Bumpus hounds: we eat a lot, we leave a path of destruction everywhere we go and one of us produces a shocking number of dirty diapers each day.
My dear sister’s warmth and generosity have provided more than just convenience: we truly could not have made this move without her help and hospitality. The only complaint I have is how she’s spoiled us. Once we move out, how am I going to live without all the extra cooking, cleaning and free childcare?!
We’ve also benefited from the generosity of my in-laws, who have been keeping our very large, very rambunctious Golden Doodles at their home two hours away. Certainly, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they agreed to this last summer. Our dogs are not the fade-into-the-background type: they bark, they jump on the furniture, they lovingly maul visitors and they may possibly from time to time destroy a throw pillow. Or eight. (Cringe.)
Caring for our high-maintenance dogs is just one of countless acts of kindness my in-laws have performed for us. They find a way to be there for us whenever we need them and they’ve helped us in more ways than I can count. To them, family is more important than anything and their generosity and selflessness amaze me. Finding them and being welcomed into their loving family has probably been the single most fortuitous event of my life.
We didn’t make this decision for the short-term benefits and we wouldn’t have made it this far without our families. We’re truly blessed to have so many people who are helping us make this happen.
In the grand scheme of things, all the trouble we’ve seen is just a minor bump in the road on our path to a really good place.
What we have here is what we were missing in North Carolina: our family, our friends and a generous stretch of sparkling Ohio fall weather. This is why we were able to leave Charlotte’s beauty and grace and clear, blue skies behind. This is what we hoped to find at the end of our rainbow.
We are home. (Well, almost.)