I started thinking about where I wanted to live about a week after Will was forced to leave this house. I knew I didn’t want to be HERE, but where did I want to live?
After shoving all the other questions out of the way, I came up with my ideal house. It looks like this:
- It’s an old, probably white, farm house.
- There is a lot of land around it, but not much of a yard to maintain.
- It’s got “pocket” rooms – rooms in odd places, more rooms than you think by looking at it.
- It’s got windows and sunlight with a good place for my office, my work area.
- It’s located in a safe place.
- It might have a ghost, a loving one.
- It’s in the boys current school district.
- It’s affordable.
I asked the boys what they wanted in a house. They didn’t care about the inside, they wanted what was outside.
- Eddie wanted trees.
- Marc wanted water, preferably a pond but a stream would be okay, too.
I added their wishes to my list, and started looking for THAT house. I’ve been actively looking for about six weeks, not seeing anything that I liked. Lots of manufactured, run-down homes in my meager price range, or nicer homes in less safe areas.
I started to think that the house I would “end up with” wouldn’t be exactly what I wanted, but if it had a short lease, it would be good enough for now. I came to peace with that idea.
I started calling realtors, started calling people who put ads in the paper. Talked to more than 25 leads in one day, 2 or 3 on most days. The bare bones “price” and “location” search was fruitless.
I went back to my local realtor to remind him I was looking. Then I went back the day after. He told me I’d been on his mind, and he’d seen a friend of his working in the yard of her rental this past weekend. He called her at work, but had to leave a message.
When he told me her name, it rang a bell. Her last name if very common in these parts, but the ringing bell felt different than “familiar”…it felt “hopeful”.
Inspired, I decided to take a drive down some roads out by this current house, along the river. It was a beautiful day, the sun would do me some good. Opened the sunroof, turned on the radio, and drove and looked.
On my way back to this house, on a country road, I saw a little white farmhouse. It had a small front porch painted gray with a small red bench standing in stark but beautiful contrast to the the siding. The face of the house was small, but from the side, I could tell the original house had been added on to…”pocket” rooms to explore based on a family’s needs, not aesthetics.
No sign in the yard, the house was loved. I thought, “No one would want to move from there!” and watched the house leave my rear view mirror.
When I got home, I sent an email to everyone I know here in town. I told them I was looking for a house and a job, and asked them to keep me in mind as they drove about town and conversed with friends. It was a tough email to send, and many of the people on the bcc: list didn’t know me very well.
I left to pick up Eddie from school. We talked about finding a “good enough” house. The drive through lane at BK was long, so I left him to the radio while I went in to get him some slammers.
When I came back out, he said, “A realtor called you.” He didn’t have a name, and the number on my missed calls list didn’t give an ID. I pressed the number and a woman answered the phone. I explained why I didn’t know who I was calling, and she said, “This is [bell ringing name!] and you called in response to my ad in the paper.”
My heart lifted; she was showing the house and asked if I’d like to see it. She gave me the address; it was an unfamiliar address, but she said the house was in the high school district I wanted. When she named landmarks, I knew right where she was.
I had driven down that road earlier today.
I got to the house that evening. It was an old white farm house that had been added on to over the years to contain a growing family. The gray porch was accented with a little red bench.
It was the house I’d seen hours ago, the house I thought no one would want to leave.
I spoke with the lady and her husband. I told them I had no job, but could pay several month’s rent up front. I told her enough of my story so she could understand my situation, but not enough to let on WHY I’d left my husband, or the circumstances surrounding my decision.
She liked me, I could tell. I definitely liked her. She wants to rent to someone who will love her family’s home, who will respect and take care of it like she would.
I am definitely that person.
I took Eddie to see it yesterday. He loves the trees, he loves the land behind the property that stretches all the way back to the River. He senses no foul spirits in the house, only peace (he’s sensitive like that). He kept calling it “our house”.
The landlord told us all about the neighbors, her family, where she placed her Christmas Shoebox (no stockings) on Christmas Eve when she and her siblings were small.
I gave her my application, full-disclosure of course, and reminded her I could pay several months rent upfront. As a landlord, I know she wants to check my references (you can’t be too careful these days!), so she stopped short of saying, “It’s yours.”
But, when I reminded her that I wanted to move relatively soon and was wondering if I should keep looking, she cut me off and said, “Stop looking.”
I think this is going to work. Pray for me, that I get to live in this wonderful house with this wonderful landlord overlooking her family home.
If you want to visualize the house, scroll to the top of the post. The description of the house in my and my boys’ imaginations is the exact description of our (hopefully) new home – well, I don’t know about the ghost…