June 24, 2014

Falling in Love (and signing the contract)

I'd venture to say most people are actively hunting a house when they find what they want. Not so for us. The house of our most fantastic hopes caught us completely off-guard.

For three years, Miner and I stalked the market. We probably reviewed every 4+ bedroom home ever listed in both Lafayette and Vernon parishes. Most didn't make the initial cut -- not enough square footage, no yard, no privacy, no heart. On the other hand, we watched some stellar houses come and go -- lots of square footage! (but no yard), tons of acreage! (but no square footage), perfect in every way! (but selling for your firstborn child. and your legs. both of them.). There were an abundance of beautiful homes out there, but none that ever really struck us or inspired us to action.

Three years of spectating...the sensible thing to do would have been to continue ogling but start socking away that downpayment, so when the right house did present itself, we'd be ready for it.

Honestly, I think Miner and I genuinely didn't expect to find "The House" so soon. Or so unexpectedly. Ever hopeful, but never quite convinced. Silly -- that kind of discovery is not exactly a process.

No -- for us, finding the house was like slipping yet another old, random key into the mysterious lock of our future and finding...it turned. And clicked. And opened the beautiful 3/4-lite double front doors. The House we've prayed and pined for, year after year. MLS #02-3347. Just nine photos.

And the second photo...prophetic. I jokingly remarked to Miner, "Look at the welcome mat. It's a sign! See? The house already has our name on it."
We poured over the listing photos again and again, fawning over the amenities and details.

Oh, love the portico. 
Look at those railings! 
Hardwood trees?!
The acreage! 
Jacuzzi tub?!

It was a constellation of all our little "I wish"es and so many "I wish"es we hadn't even thought of, together formed at one address. But could the reality truthfully reflect the vision?

We drove to Leesville the very same weekend and made an appointment for a viewing. Reality not only reflected the vision -- it surpassed it.

We turned up the long, wide driveway, and what we saw took my breath away. Trees all over the property, both new and mature. The shady porch and double door wreaths invited us to imagine this house as our home, our land, our piece of the earth.

Inside, the owner guided us from room to room; it took great effort for me to restrain my awe and excitement. I saw glimpses of our family occupying those bedrooms, passing each other in the halls, meeting in the kitchen for breakfast.

It's one thing to love a house for its features and character. It's quite another to look at the building and the grounds and actually see your family living there. I didn't just see our family living there -- I felt it, in my bones, in my heart, in my spirit that acknowledges the future and dusk of my life.

We would've put the house under contract that day, but the responsible thing to do was to cool off over the weekend, review our finances (which were none), and evaluate the change we'd really be accepting if we decided to purchase.

That Monday, we arranged to sign the contract, and we accepted the responsibility of coming up with a downpayment from scratch.

It's been almost two months since we toured the new house. For weeks and weeks, I've tended to practical tasks like budgeting; emailing and texting the realtor; signing, scanning, and sending documents -- in addition to parenting and homeschooling routines.  I've been well distracted from spending too much time daydreaming about what it will be like for me to brew my first cup of coffee in that kitchen, or take my first bath in that tub.

We close on the house this Friday. After that, it'll be another 50 days before we move. The eventuality feels real, but the dream is still mist and fog.

Looking at the photos of the house now, I admire it as a suitor may admire a sweetheart he intends to make his bride. He is ever in love and imagines how her hand will finally feel in his, but the thought of belonging to her, and she to him...almost too wonderful for his heart to contain. What he knows for certain is, she is The One.

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