As soon as things appear to be dull at our place, we shake them up. What started as “let’s do the kitchen counters” has ended up with us putting an offer in on a house instead, a house that needs an incredible amount of TLC that will occupy us for at least the winter ahead.
But wait, there’s more: In the middle of those negotiations, Derek received a divine call to another church in southwest Missouri. It came on an extremely difficult and emotional day when we learned our good friend Richard had died suddenly of a heart attack. If I hadn’t been so weepy I would have laughed at the timing of everything crashing down on us at once.
But here’s where the “recalibration” post title comes in: After prayerfully deliberating for several weeks, Derek declined the call. A lot of people here who didn’t want us to go had variations of the argument, “Well, you’re in the middle of buying a house; it’s not a good time.” I want to be clear that if we were meant to go, we would have gone, regardless of what we had going on the personal front. The important thing that no one but us knew is that when we first took steps to buy a new house, we unofficially went through a similar process you go through when considering a call in looking at the ministry here, knowing it’s a fruitful place for Derek to serve now and for the long term, and spiritually, mentally, and emotionally recommitting to this church, these people, this city. And then making a house offer on a place we intend to invest in over the long haul, assuming that’s in the plans the Lord has for us.
I won’t document all the excruciating details of the house negotiations, the call situation, getting our place ready to go on the market, and all the issues that have been consuming our time and energy and conversation, but suffice to say there have been many ups and downs and checklists and phone calls and document scannings and texts and discussions. Through this process, I’ve been on the alert for roadblocks versus simply hurdles. Hurdles are meant to be jumped; roadblocks have to be questioned: “Should we keep going?”
Finally, today, we are at the finish line on the new house. We close this afternoon, and plan to bring the kids over tonight to clink Champagne glasses, do a house blessing, and then…clean as if our lives depended on it.
Because this place is absolutely filthy. It doesn’t appear the sellers cleaned it when they moved out, and even if they had, it’s been empty since January. It needs a top-to-bottom scrub in every nook and cranny. Our flooring guys start next Thursday, so I’m under the gun to get as much painting done as possible before then. My plan is to clean and prep the office so I can start painting that tomorrow. That leaves the rest of the family to scrub the rest of the house, garage, shed, etc.
We’re ripping out the doggie carpets and putting hardwood floors in. We’re taking down wallpaper. We’re painting nearly every room, plus all the dark wood 70s trim. We’re dealing with a pretty big list of repairs and deferred maintenance that we agreed to take on ourselves for a reduced price on the house–repairs, once done, will be maintained the way we prefer to do things. It’s going to look amazing, but it’s going to take for-e-ver.
Meanwhile, we listed our house and it magically sold after 4 days on the market. I still can’t believe it, but it was a case of right place/right time/right buyer. They seem like great people, and I’m glad to hand our beautiful mountain treehouse over to another family who will love it as much as we have. The sticky piece there is the timing: the week we have to move out, I will be in California for required sales training for my job. Which leaves Derek and the kids dealing with the move alone.
I know I’m not indispensable, but I hate the thought of not being able to help. On the other hand, with all the painting and stuff I have to do in the new house in the next several weeks, maybe a week of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day sales training will feel like a restful vacation. I’ll come back and we’ll have moved. Hmm. Not sure who’s getting the short end of the stick here: me at nonstop sales training, or Derek running a household move.
As to the job: I love it. It’s interesting, my boss and colleagues are great, I love what our products do, and most importantly, I work from home. When I get up to stretch, I can pop laundry in or clean up the kitchen. When I eat lunch, I can hang out with my husband or work on personal things like making phone calls, communicating with teachers, and running errands. It’s so different from working and coming home and having to face all this stuff. I’m here. The kids get home and I can start them on homework and piano. I can get on the treadmill every day while watching endless training videos. And, the deal-sealer: I’m never frozen solid the way I am in the workplace. Those days of cupping tea, blowing on my hands, turning the heater on high on the way home even in summer to get my core body temperature back up? Those days are blissfully behind me.
[Random but important aside: my new workplace does not use the Oxford comma. We sell extremely complex enterprise software, and my belief is that the Oxford comma is critical to understanding some of the concepts I regularly write about. It pains me every time I have to write a sentence without it.]
So everything’s going on here when two months ago, nothing was going on. But we’re committed: to our church, our community, the kids’ new schools, our new home. And we can’t wait to see God has in store for the next chapter of our lives.
(There is one hint as to what might be next: our new place comes with an electric dog fence and two collars. Our adorable cockapoo is just around the corner.)