Thursday, October 9, 2014

When a house is a gift

Here's the truth. This time in Omaha has been rough and I've second guessed our decision to move many times every day and thought maybe I was ruining everything. I know I don't actually have that kind of power, so maybe it was more like I was ruining almost everything. Yes. It's been really rough.

We woke up to the sound of Asher at 5:30 am on October 8 and decided since we were up we might as well start driving. We got the kids up and dressed and headed out to see the stunning "Blood Moon," caused by the lunar eclipse. The kids traveled like superstars, even Asher who only took two 20 minute naps, but didn't cause a big fuss, and we made record time. As soon as we hit the Colorado border, Elliot started looking for mountains. Once he finally discovered them there was squealing from every row in the Suburban. Yep, I was the squealer from row 1.

We got to Denver in time for dinner with nana and babu. One of the things I am most looking forward to is being close enough to them that we don't have to try to cram three months worth of love and fun into each short visit. So they read them the funny Mad Libs we'd done in the car and we cooked and shared a meal together and we played with the dogs and talked and laughed. It was something special.

Today Audrey went to work with my mom, Isaac and Elliot played video games and went monster golfing with babu, and Asher headed to Evergreen with Jim and me. And fear not. Audrey did not draw the short straw. Spending time with nana in a grown up setting is about the ultimate fun for that hard working girl.

We were scheduled to see four houses in Evergreen today and then a few more in Erie and Superior tomorrow. At the first house of the day, the realtor was a no show. This was not off to a good start. The next house was not a good fit for us. The third house was up some very tight switchbacks and has a really unique floor plan, but we loved the views of Evergreen, the proximity to the downtown area, and the quirkiness of the place. (I use the term downtown loosely; Evergreen has one stoplight!) The tight road up to the house, the lack of neighbors, and the age and wear and tear on the house were drawbacks, especially with Jim traveling so much for work and Evergreen being at 7,400 feet. In other words, this place gets piles and piles and PILES of snow and I would have to deal with it when Jim was out of town. Even with those drawbacks, it was a definite possibility for us.

Then we went to hang out at the library to get a feel for the place. I'd already checked out their website and watched their video online because that's the kind of geek I am. We walked in right as toddler storytime was starting and Asher crawled over, mesmerized by the story, and listened to the story and danced to the songs. It was just so sweet. After story time I checked out the rest of the library and then went back to the kids' area. I talked with some librarians and then struck up a conversation with some moms and grandmas. Everyone was so friendly and the librarians told me all about the book club for 8-11 year olds and said they hope to see our whole family there and talked about the great school district and the strong homeschool community and went on and on about how family friendly Evergreen is and how there were hiking trails that started all over right in town.

It was a dream come true. Well, it is a dream come true in the stretch me totally beyond my comfort zone kind of way. I know houses with trees on flat plots of land with neighbors on all sides. Not houses built into the side of a mountain up switchbacks in little towns with one stoplight.

Here's what we wanted. A mountain town with a grocery store and library and enough "stuff" to make life easy. A town with a strong sense of community. Many easy options for hiking, mountain biking, skiing, running trails, etc.

We really felt like we'd found the town, but there are not many rental options, especially in November when most people are settled and the homeowners are waiting until spring to find buyers/renters.

Here's where it gets creepy/serendipitous/divine.

I started chatting with someone who recently moved back to Evergreen and she was talking about how family friendly the town was and then said the other woman, someone she'd just met, had lived here her whole life and would have more information on the town. We talked a bit while Asher played peek-a-boo and crawl tag with her granddaughter, Caroline. She said we'd love it in Evergreen and asked if we'd had any luck finding a place. We told her we kind of liked a place with the rental company we'd looked with, but weren't sure.

She said that she didn't have anything bad to say about that company, but that her friend was from Evergreen and had been in real estate with her husband for years and she thought maybe we should stop at her office. She said they sell and rent homes so she might be a good resource. She gave us directions and said, "I just feel this nudge to tell you that and I really try to listen to my nudges." I told her I believed in the power of nudges and she smiled and said good.

We finally got Asher out of the library; he was reveling in his chance at being the only child, even if only for a day. After lunch at the tastiest, tiniest, quaintest little local restaurant, we went to the realtor's office. We told the woman what we were looking for and she said she only had one place available in our time frame and it was out of our price range, but that the people currently renting might be able to kick in some of the rent each month. They had a rental agreement through May, but bought a house and needed to find someone to finish out their lease. We want to rent until May because want to buy this spring. They would close on their house on November 5. We'll be getting to CO for good on November 11.

The house is amazing. The for sale price is miles outside of our price range. It's gorgeous and on a mountain, but the road up is much more manageable and if you take one route down you're in downtown Evergreen and if you take the other route down you're on the road that leads to the highway. It is in perfect condition and it has three, yes THREE, fireplaces and a firepit in the back yard and oh it's just stunning. I wanted it on the spot, but, again, price range.

The realtor could tell we liked it a lot and said she'd talk with the renters about how much they'd kick in. We drove away wishing we could rent that house, but knowing it probably wouldn't work. By now we had checked out the library, rec centers, parks, and Evergreen lake area and were in love with the area. We were going to keep our Friday appointments just to cover our bases, but we couldn't imagine loving a community more than Evergreen. On the drive back to Denver, we talked about making it work and being fine with the quirky house because it was in our price range, but really, really hoping that the other one would somehow work.

Then we got back and started gushing about the two houses and the town and the hiking and the 50 + elk we'd seen right in town and on and on we gushed.

Then the realtor called and said they'd kick in enough each month to put it in our price range.

That actually happened. So, we said, "Heck yes, " and canceled our Friday appointments.

I don't know what you believe about life and how things come to pass, but I believe some things are just breathed on by the sweet breath of God and sent down, or up or sideways, from heaven as a gift for us.

This house is a gift for us. We know we won't live here forever. Our lease will be up in May and we'll buy a smaller, older, dumpier house and we'll be just fine with it. But this house, this community, feel like home for right now and I needed something to feel like home so badly.

We met a random woman at the library, because I hang out at the libraries of prospective towns, who felt a nudge to tell me about her realtor friend who had one house not in our price range that is now in our price range.

Maybe you call it luck or chance or karma. To me, that's God. And I'm so thankful.

I didn't ask the woman at the library what her name is. I want to thank her. But somehow I feel pretty sure that we'll see her at the library someday and I'll be sure to tell her how thankful I am for her nudge.

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