home sweet home…


We imagined a rural Wisconsin Christmas scene at our older daughter Amanda’s home as a holiday landscaped with snow and all of those country, winterish things which make Christmas feel like Christmas. Ironically, while our Idaho home is once again plagued with horrible roads and more inclement weather, the midwest remained sunny (minus enough morning rain to create mud), blue skied and very un-Christmassy.

Underneath the surface though, we drivers weren’t complaining much.

I’ve never been much of a waiter. It isn’t that I’m incapable of being patient, it’s more that I am wired to be proactive. Maybe it’s learned to emotionally rely on myself earlier than I should have, I don’t know. When something needs to happen, my instinct (and trust me when I say, it’s a fighting instinct) is to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

In July we took the leap to buy a house and move my mom here, from New Mexico, to live with us. She isn’t in the best health and as time passes, gets less and less capable of living alone. We have good credit, good income and good employment. Though we were VERY hesitant to buy a home (EVER) after we lost one in ’07 when the economy tanked in Michigan, we moved forward with this plan because it’s necessary and frankly it’s the right thing to do.

When Chw and I first married, back in 1994, we were unbelievably broke and incredibly naive. We had grown up in very opposite worlds and neither of us had been taught much about the real world or how to be a successful adult in it. We knew nothing about paying bills, managing money, budgeting, maintaining a household, etc. That being said, we have never gone without steady income, never been on government assistance (except for a short period on WIC), never been evicted, never had a utility turned off… These are things we are really proud of. This does not make us better than anyone else. Had one tiny fragment of a detail been different and any one of those things could’ve been another story. It wasn’t easy, and for a long time every single one of those things was a “barely” sort of thing…

When we got married, one thing we VOWED together, above anything else was that we would always open our home if someone needed it. We were unanimous in this, even though it was vowed out of a youthful naivety and passion without much common sense we realize now. That being said, we’ve held true to that. Over the past 20 years we have shared our home with 21 others. We never went looking for them, and we’ve never said “no”. So, of course, when the conversation regarding my mother came up, the decision was made. We were living in a 3 story brownstone and my disabled mother could never even visit us here (if her health were better) so we knew we’d have to move. We never imagined it would become the going-on-six-month nightmare it has been.

A couple of weeks ago we found our 3rd house opportunity. It was perfect (the perfect houses that suit my mom’s needs are very rare) but the owners aren’t willing to sell with our contingencies. That evening, after we were feeling hopeless with that disappointment, my mother fell at her home and lay on her porch for two hours in the cold. The market here hasn’t fully recovered yet and it’s grim. Had we known before we begun this journey that we’ve already lost so much money in, we could have begun it differently. Now it feels very much like the sand in our hour-glass is running out and ever corner we turn is a dead-end. Our realtor is a saint, but between you and me, we are tired and these months and months of stress have taken ugly tolls in our lives.

And then, we spent Christmas in Wisconsin. Both of our daughters together, there with Amanda’s family, and it was lovely. For blips of time we didn’t have to think about any of it. There was swimming, roller skating, gifts, ice cream, little boy laughter and hugs. It was blissful…

Walking in the door of our temporary home yesterday felt like a ten-ton weight crushed us. Tears filled me and I realized I just can’t go through this much longer. I’ve tried to stay pretty quiet here, because this nightmare has consumed everything and I didn’t want to rant about it. If you are a finger crosser, prayer, wisher, dreamer, hoper or positive energy sharer- I’ll take what you are willing to share…

6 thoughts on “home sweet home…

  1. Sending prayers, mojo, good vibes and whatever else might help things move into a positive direction.
    I am glad you had a little time away from the stress with your kiddos.

  2. I feel like this story really shows a lot about you! I hope that I can live a more giving life and let people in my home when they need it…

  3. Ahh my friend. Many prayers heading your direction for guidance, a clear path and sign and for whatever else you need. Hang in there, God is good and all the time, God is good.

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