A story of finding home

A story of finding home

I posted previously about our efforts to move to Virginia and trying and failing to find patience while waiting for things to work out at the right time. This is the story of how that happened, and how in both the chaos of the process and the arrival at the destination, we were blessed beyond what we ever imagined. I should have written this much sooner. I should probably have written through the process even – but it’s a scary thing to put the things that might be and could be out for the whole world to see before they solidify into reality.

We had been searching for homes and I had been searching for jobs for over a year. There were homes that we liked and wanted to be the one, but in the end, just weren’t right. I got a couple job interviews, but nothing that led to any offers. It was discouraging. Then we found The House. A beautiful, old house on a lovely wooded lot, in the perfect little town. The schools were good, the town was lovely, there were beaches everywhere, it was a mere 20 minutes from our marina. Amazing. And then, the fear… wondering if we were even really ready. Our house wasn’t even on the market yet, and it wasn’t ready to be. We took a chance on it and made an offer, which was accepted. We scheduled settlement as far out as possible and delved right into the overwhelming project of getting our house ready to sell.

I wish I had taken decent before and after pictures of the improvement in the house just this summer, but I didn’t. I won’t be able to do justice to the amount of work that went into it, and the amazing results that followed. There was drywall work, and painting, and repairs to the heating system we hadn’t used in years. There was more painting, putting in a bathroom, and finishing a wood floor. There was cleaning and staging, putting up moulding, and a ridiculous amount of painting. We set a deadline to have the house market ready and made an appointment with the realtor to keep us accountable to schedule. We worked late into the night, then stayed up later cleaning up the mess left by our progress. It was stressful and overwhelming, but it was never lonely. We had help all the time, showing up to do drywall or paint or help move heavy objects. Words cannot express our gratitude to the family and friends that put in all those hours with us.

We worked from deadline to deadline. We worked our tushes off for the first meeting with the realtor. He gave us a to-do list before actually listing the house. We worked our hineys off again before he came back and we actually signed the listing agreement. This was the most stressful part: keeping the house in showing condition- while we continued to work and make improvements.

Meanwhile, I was continuing to apply for jobs. We would soon have the new house, our house was on the market, but I had no prospects for a job. I hadn’t had even a single call for an interview since we made the offer on the new house. The stress on both fronts was eating at me and I was exhausted to the bone from all the efforts.

Then, one amazing thing happened. A mere 8 days after listing it, we got a good offer on the house, so we accepted it. The buyer requested that some things be done, but they were reasonable requests considering the price of the offer, so we agreed to most of them. And so – more deadlines. Getting as much done as we could before the inspector and then the appraiser showed up. Then finishing everything by closing. More near all-nighters of work. But still, our help kept showing up.

I finally got a job interview in the area we were moving to around the same time we closed on the new house. I prayed that this would be the right job. It would mean a pay cut, but jobs in the area were scarce. It was a strange interview. It was conducted in a manner unlike any other interview I had been to, but it was with a state government agency; they all have their own ways of doing things. I got called for a second interview, and we got through the home inspection and appraisal without problems. Things were looking good.

We continued to work on fulfilling the things we agreed to per the contract as the clock counted down. On the job front I had mixed news – the hiring panel from the first job had been unable to reach a decision. They decided to scrap the announcement, but they would repost it, and encouraged me to apply again. I was crushed. It had been my best prospect. But I got an interview for another job. A different position in a different office for the same state agency. As it turns out, this interview was conducted in the same manner as the other one. This time, instead of being thrown off by the process, I felt prepared. I had already been through this kind of interview – twice. This position also paid quite a bit better and the office was located just a few minutes from the new house. It seemed too good to be true. I dearly hoped it would be the one.

The interview went well and they asked me back for a second, a mere 3 days before we were due to close on the sale of our house. Projects were finished, we were in the last days of packing and preparing for the moving truck. It was a hard time to spend a whole day away. But I didn’t have to wait in suspense long. They called me back with a job offer while I was driving home to Pennsylvania. Everything was coming together perfectly, at just the right time.

Oh, the packing and moving. I wouldn’t do this tale justice if I didn’t acknowledge the exhaustion of that last day and night before settlement. Loading the moving truck… Realizing all our things weren’t going to fit in the moving truck… Getting help trucking loads of things to family members’ houses just to get it out of ours. So late, late, late into the night. Here’s my top moving advice: don’t ever think you can go with the smaller truck. Ever.

And then settlement happened. It really happened. We sold that house. I tried to take some pictures the morning of settlement, but the batteries in my camera were dying, so the pictures are few and don’t do it justice. It was quite a lovely home when we left it.

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They say that work expands to fill the time allotted. True story. The night we moved everything, we realized there was a piece of moulding missing. Alan was nailing it down about a half an hour before the walk-through.

174Just so appropriate.

We love the new house and the area even more than we thought we would. The big porch…

057The yard.

050The beaches down the street.

056The kids are wonderfully happy in their new school, and I absolutely love my job. The gratitude I feel each day for where we are and how we came to be here, it just fills me up.

I prayed for so many other things along the way. Things that would have been so much less than what we have now. Houses, jobs, communities that weren’t right. But I wanted them to be enough so that we could move on and move out of Pennsylvania. This journey was hard. I don’t know if I gave due credit to the stress and anxiety along the way. But we always had help. Not only the helping hands with the work, but the prayers of our friends on earth and in heaven. I especially sought the intercession of Saint Joseph through the past year, entrusting to this great worker and provider prayers that our work would be accomplished and we would find the means to provide for our family through this transition. The way things worked out perfectly, all at the right time, in ways I never could have imagined- that was a thousand prayers, answered. And Home, of course, turns out not to be the place we ended up as much as the people that surrounded us all along.

On homes, anchors, and getting from place to place

On homes, anchors, and getting from place to place

 

We have plans to move to Virginia in the nearish future. We’ve had these plans for a while, and somehow that future seems to never get any nearer. Target dates for getting our house on the market have come and gone. I’ve even applied for jobs in the area we’d like to settle in, thus far to no avail.

Several  people have told me that I’m a very patient woman, presumably because I never became a homicidal maniac during the long wait for a fully functional kitchen in my house.  I like to think that I made the best of it, and didn’t complain too much, but in truth, I know that I did complain and gripe and play the martyr more than I’d like to admit. I try, but patience is still oh so hard. I mean, who can even deal with a slow internet connection anymore?

The truth is I find the wait to move so much harder than waiting for a kitchen, and feeding our family for years without a kitchen sink – nevermind the rest of the kitchen – was pretty darn hard. Because when you know you want to go make roots somewhere else, the place where your house is just doesn’t feel like home. Sometimes our rate of progress feels so slow and I just feel stuck.

We got stuck once, in Green Eyes. We ran aground on our way out of Brenton Bay and got stuck for real. Luckily it was at low tide, but we were really close to a marker on our starboard side and afraid that when the tide rose and freed us, we might drift into it. Alan rode out to the other side in the dinghy with an anchor. He set the anchor then ran that line through a winch so it had plenty of tension on it. There was nothing to do but wait.  I read my book and napped a bit, the kids played. Eventually, the combined forces of the tension from that anchor and the slowly rising tide pulled us free and we were able to continue to our destination. It was actually a nice, relaxed morning after the initial flurry of activity to get that anchor set.

We are setting an anchor now that will help pull us to Virginia, I’m sure. We are keeping our new boat, Tipsy Lady, at Stingray Point Marina in Deltaville, VA. It will be an inconvenience I’m sure to have to drive that far to spend time out on the boat. It will also be a source of tension: a constant pull in that direction. And things will keep falling into place on the other end. We will get the house prepared for sale; the tide will rise at its own pace. When the time is right, we’ll break free of the muck and proceed to our destination. Just maybe that little bit of reassurance will help me do patience a little better in this last leg of the wait. Maybe I’ll learn to relax and enjoy this moment.

Then again, even if I’m not really any more patient, at least we’ll get to spend lots of time down there in the meantime. Perhaps it will placate my impatient nature enough to help me leave off the nagging and snarky comments. I’m sure Alan hopes so.

Here’s Tipsy Lady at her new home at Stingray Point. You can see the Stingray Point lighthouse in the upper left background through the trees.

IMG_0896[1]I have to say that so far we absolutely couldn’t be more pleased with our new marina. We were made to feel so incredibly welcome, and it is just beautiful there – and very sheltered from the wind, which was a very good thing when we came in yesterday. The place is definitely loved and we are excited to be a part of the community there.

I also love the connection to history there. I have a huge history nerd crush on John Smith, and he is the one who named Stingray Point – after he was stung there in an incident that nearly killed him. Only nearly. He was a resilient guy.