Let’s pretend that it hasn’t been over a month since we’ve talked, alright? Thanks. I need some grace in this whole blogging/writing area lately. I swear, I think about blogging almost every single day, but unfortunately I only ever get that far. The thoughts never actually make it to the page. There is a lot of juggling and time management going on and unfortunately, the balls are dropping and the time is tick tock ticking away (props for the reference . . .).
BUT! Today I have a story to tell you that is burning in my heart! Here we go.
Last year when we were house hunting in Austin, life was too crazy and hectic to blog about all of what we faced in that season. It ranks up there with probably my top five most stressful moments of all times, but I’m pretty zen right now so I’ll just leave it out there ambiguously. It was stressful. Get the point? Good. We tried to buy a house and (thankfully!) that fell through for a few reasons. Then we decided that renting would be wiser and easier, so we started down that route. Well, it was wiser, but it definitely wasn’t easier. We had 2 houses rented out from underneath us while we were at the bank getting the deposit checks, within five minutes of each other, no joke. It came down to the point where I declared that we would just move into the La Quinta hotel because: 1. They did my laundry and cleaned my room. 2. The dog was welcome. 3. Free breakfast, and if we hoarded enough, free lunch too! 3. Free cable and (crappy) wifi and 4. We had adjoining rooms so the boys had their own little pad. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth as we continued our home search. It came down to the TUESDAY before the THURSDAY that the movers were coming to take our belongings and move them (to La Quinta) and then we got the call that we finally had an address in Pflugerville. YAY! We found a home and with two whole days to spare! Man that was a test of my faith, but I think I rocked it pretty good.
We always knew we would buy somewhere in this area when our lease was up, and we have flip flopped back and forth as to where and whether we would build or not. Our lease is up at the end of January, so the time for building passed in August, but we still didn’t have a clear direction as to where we wanted to end up. My preference is to go west (young man . . . reference anyone? This one is too easy) because there are more areas with mature trees and if I’m covered by trees, I can’t tell that there are no mountains holding us in. What is the opposite of claustrophobia? I’m totally claustrophobic in small crowded spaces, but when I drive down the highway and see NOTHING in the distance, it makes me feel pretty insecure in this world. This Canadian girl misses beautiful British Columbia. The other benefit to moving west is being closer to many of the connections we have made in Austin. So a few weeks ago, our realtor began sending us listings in the areas west of where we are now and we began preparing the boys to switch schools mid-year again as we planned to close on a house at the end of January.
Pulling them out of school last year was awful in and of itself. We had developed a wonderful little family at our school in Fort Worth and I still grieve that place, as do my boys. They still ask if we can go back to our beloved little neighborhood school. It kills me inside, and while I have never been a huge fan of our current school (the jury is out as to whether or not that’s a spiritual thing or just a ‘I don’t wanna be here’ tantrum), after our parent teacher conferences last month, we walked out of the school and I felt paralyzed at the thought of pulling them out of school in the middle of the year again. The thought made me want to hurl. I told Rocky and we discussed what our options were: buying in the area but not the exact neighborhood we are in, driving the kids in if we bought west of Pflugerville, and the original plan to make the move completely, school and all. As I looked at listings, my heart was extremely unsettled about the issue, and we hadn’t come to any clear direction or conclusions.
This past Saturday, Rocky got restless and decided to drive around to a few of the newer neighborhoods to look at some of the inventory homes and what not. He saw a floor plan that he really loved but had not been built yet, so he texted me and proposed the idea of extending our lease so that we could build after all.
Here is where I have to pause for a second and tell you something very important about me. Are you ready? Here we go: I do not love shopping for anything. I especially loathe and dread the idea of shopping for a home. Seriously. It. Wears. Me. Out. After all of the flip flopping we’ve done about this housing issue, and after the insanity of just trying to move here in the first place (I’m still recovering), Rocky’s text about sent me through the roof. I almost responded and said, “Or how about we move in to the La Quinta?” Instead I asked the appropriate questions and waited for him to come home and give me some context.
On Sunday we went to see the model of the floor plan Rocky had fallen for the day before. It was an absolutely beautiful home and I couldn’t believe it was going for the price on the paper Rocky had brought home. There were some optional things that we wanted to check out, so the realtor on site showed us the same house with some of the other options that we would need, but this house was already decked out with upgrades that put it outside of our budget. Sadly we trudged on to see another house that was also outside of our budget, but as we walked out of that house, Rocky looked across the street and said, “Isn’t that the same floor plan we were looking at down the street? Without the 3rd car garage?”
It was! The house was only framed out, but was the exact floor plan we were looking for, without the added costs! The realtor wasn’t sure what the bottom line was on the house, so we followed him to back to the office to find out and talk with his partner (who is also his wife). She checked her information and sadly informed us that the 2nd version of the house was also out of our price range. We were prepared to walk out but she looked at another sheet and pointed and said, “What about this one?”
Her husband peeked over her shoulder and said, “That’s the one we’re talking about!”
“Oh! Well we can get that one in your budget!” she exclaimed. She went on to explain that that house and four others qualified for an incentive that her manager had just ok’d in order to close on the sale before the end of the year. The incentive worked out to just about $20K off the retail value of the home.
*Cue elevator music while we pull our jaws up off the floor.*
Rocky got in touch with the company’s preferred lender to talk numbers and once again, we were told that the monthly payment was going to be outside of our budget. Having been through the ringer with this enough times, I let it go and started asking the Lord for clear direction on what we were supposed to do about our upcoming move. Even looking at houses in these neighborhoods was hard for me because I wanted to move west, dang it, not seven minutes northeast! WEST! DO YOU HEAR ME? WEST! TREES!!!!
Well, my husband, being the mastermind that he is, worked the numbers and figured out how to make the payment work for us rather than against us while I stood at a far distance in case his computer exploded from the stress of it all. The remaining issue was that the amount that our realtor’s (the one who was sending us the listings from the good ol’ west) lender had pre-approved us for a loan that was just a hair less than we needed for the new home.
“Rocky, we don’t even know if we can get approved for that much.” I said, oh me of little faith.
. . .Five minutes later . . .
With zero hesitation in my heart, I said, “Do it.”
So Rocky called the builder’s realtors and told them we were in for the long haul and asked if he should come down asap. They assured him that was unnecessary, but after he hung up the phone he said he had to go stand in front of the house and make sure it was what the Lord was giving us. So, he took the earnest money and ran for the hills. Except not the hills because the hills are west.
Here is the important part of the story:
As Rocky was walking in to the office, the building contractor was walking out. He had just told the realtor’s that *our* house was not going to be finished by the end of December, which means that it wouldn’t be ready to close until January. The realtor was on the phone with her manager passing on the news. Remember that the incentive, the discount on the house was only good if the sale closed in December. In light of this new development, the manager said to pull the incentive and put the house back on the market at retail value. Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuun.
“But sir, I have a man in my office that was here yesterday and we quoted him that price and he has a check. In. His. Hands.”
*Pause for dramatic effect*
YOU GUYS! If Rocky hadn’t felt the pressure to go down to the house at the exact moment he did, we would have LOST IT.
YOU GUYS! The new neighborhood is only about 5-7 minutes away from where we live now and our kids can finish out the school year where they are now!
YOU GUYS! We get to close in JANUARY like we originally WANTED to AND we still get the incentive discount!!!
YOU GUYS! This house is beautiful and even nicer than our house in Fort Worth and I really never ever thought anything would compare to our first place.
YOU GUYS! To me this didn’t even really count as house-shopping because it was only ONE HOUSE! I’ve been dreading this process for months! ONE HOUSE! Okay, well, one house three times, but still . . .
YOU GUYS! The Father promised us all kinds of things about moving to Austin and about his plans and purposes here and this story is part of those promises being fulfilled!
And um . . . you guys? I think I can get over not moving west. . . Just send me pictures of trees and mountains okay? Posters even?
It’s just a house, and I’d be okay if it hadn’t worked out, but I am receiving the Father’s gifts in all of this. I see His hand moving and providing and orchestrating and protecting and defending . . . I’ve seen it more in the past twelve months than I ever have. He is so good and His love is so completely perfect . . . and this is just one little story. There have been and will be others. Everything is not perfect, there are still things to work through, still plenty of mountains to climb up ahead, but He is faithful in the midst of that and right now I can see the beauty He is showing me today, I can see the blessings in this moment and I choose to receive them and honor Him above all else.