October 27, 2009

Trying to Bloom….

Oh Real Estate Market.  You are VEXING me.

I wrote last week about possibly having a line on how to sell our house without losing our collective shirt and how Big Daddy and I were at an impasse in regards to our next step.  On Thursday after my post went live, I did a little research and found out that our neighbor, who was listing their house as a short sale, had dropped their price forty five thousand dollars, pricing their house forty thousand dollars under what we were able to sell our house for.  Our rock bottom price.

I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.  I went from being so hopeful that our time here was drawing to a close to, well, depressed.  And kind of mad.

I do feel badly for my neighbors.  I’m not THAT big of a biatch.  They have two little boys who are friends with the Princess and Little Bit and I’m very sorry that my neighbor has been out of work and that it’s come to this.  I’m sorry that this will screw up their credit and they might be left with the bill for the difference which could be 60 to 70 thousand dollars depending on how far down they had paid their mortgage (they paid 70k more for their house when they bought it four years ago).

And overall, we’re lucky.  We can pay our bills.  We’re not behind.  We’re not in danger of losing our home.  Big Daddy has a relatively secure job.  He is in a still in demand field even with the current economic status.  We can go on vacation, send our kids to private school (though, the Princess attends public school now).  We are lucky. Blessed. Fortunate.  We’re so much better off than so many other people.  Probably more than we know.

But that doesn’t ease our frustration.  When we bought this house 8 years ago, we intended it to be a stepping stone.  We wanted to own and stop renting and this house was supposed to be a midway point for us.  Our starter home.  We would never guessed in 2001 that not only would we still be living in this house in 2009, but that we would have added two people to our family in the meantime and would be no closer to moving out than we were 8 years ago.

First night in the new house-08/01
First night in the new house-08/01

The economy is frustrating.  Beyond feeling sorry for our neighbors, there is the reality that the low price their home is selling for will affect us.  It will drive prices further in our neighborhood, making our house look less like a good deal and making buyers, who have the upper hand, expect more than we may be able to give.  After all, we ARE forty thousand dollars more expensive than the most recent sale, even if it’s not really comparable.

I left the house to take Little bit to school and spent time thinking about things.  The phrase “bloom where you’re planted” popped into my head.  It’s not unique, but it was said to me years and years ago (15?) when I was lamenting something totally unchangeable and controlable by an older person.    That idea rang into my head today and took me back to 2004.

In 2004, Big Daddy, the Princess and I moved to MI.  Big Daddy was working for United Airlines at the time and after 9/11, things got REALLY bad at United Airlines.  We could hardly afford to work there, as crazy as that sounds.  We took paycuts, lost bonuses and retirement funds, paid more for our benefits, had to take unpaid time off.  It was bad.  And the economy?  Not great either.  Big Daddy was losing heart when we got an job offer in MI.  Near my family!  It seemed so perfect.

We moved into a crappy rental condo.

Condo Owners Failed Attempt @ Creativity
Condo Owner's Failed Attempt @ Creativity

And I was so miserable.  Even though I was home, I missed my house.  My sweet little white house.  I hated the faux composite counters and the 80’s funky border in the bathroom and the wall that looked either 1) breastfed baby poop had been smeared on it or2) someone had a mac and cheese food fight in the vicinty.    Big Daddy and I went looking at houses and I fell in love.

Hard.

It was so cheap in our frame of reference.  So perfect.  I could see us there.  There were built in window seats and a fire place and a window for the Christmas tree.  Perfection.  We still owned our home here, the little white house and thought maybe we could get financing.  We couldn’t.

I.

Was.

Devistated.

I had seen us there.  I saw us growing there.  I saw us bringing our new baby that we were planning home there.  I saw us having holidays and celebrations there.  I was heartbroken.  I was mad.  I prayed for that house.  For that opportunity to come home.  To be home.  To be out of the crappy condo that felt like…not home.

I thought things over and changed how I talked to God.  I asked for a home again and in November of that year, we moved from our crappy rental condo into a much better rental condo.  That felt like home.

Cat in much better rental condo
Cat in much better rental condo

A year after I had been so unhappy about not being able to buy a house, Big Daddy’s start up company fell apart.  We would be jobless again.  Making things worse was the tenant that was living in our little white house was defaulting and we had to kick her out.  Big Daddy got a job in IL and we came home.

Had we bought that house, we would have been financially devestated. Plain and simple. But, we still had a home in the interim.  We got what we needed and bloomed where I was planted.

Which brings me back to now.  I was pretty angry this morning.  SO ready to take our next step, to more forward to that home that’s living in my head but that isn’t THIS home.  Bloom where you’re planted, the voice in my head said.  This where you’re supposed to be right now.

I sent Big Daddy a message at work. I told him the same thing.  This isn’t the time we’re supposed to be leaving here.  I don’t know why. I wish I did.  But like before, I believe the reason why we have to stay in the little white house will be revealed.

For now, we need to bloom where we’ve been planted.

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Jamie

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