I sat there on a Saturday and I cried. It was the day after I got the unofficial news that I would indeed be moving. Everything was lining up as it should to make this unexpected deal work out for everyone involved. It wouldn’t be a “done deal” for a few more weeks, though verbal agreements were made and things were falling in to place.
I had not looked at this home as merely an investment since the first time I came to look at it. Every day since then, I looked at it as my home. Even when the beauty that it is now was still hidden under layers of outdatedness, I saw it as a place to call home. I saw past the discolored ceiling tiles, old linoleum, and green carpet. I saw potential for walk in closets and beautiful wood ceilings, and even more importantly, I saw a place for family and friends to gather. I saw a place where I might someday build a family.
Since this time in April of 2018, I saw myself here in this house for the unforseeable future. I saw parties and holidays and sweet summer nights on the patio. I saw cookies baking and Christmas decor galore and I never considered selling it, even in the midst of the hardest parts of the renovation. In the fall of 2018, when I was at my lowest low, both mentally and with this project, I still saw it as mine. I had upwards of $15,000 taken from me and it derailed the entire project and my perfect plan. I learned hard lessons and this little bump in my road sent me over the edge in a lot of ways. I was truly homeless for a bit, living out of a suitcase in my car, staying wherever I could for a time. I moved into an unfinished home and made the most of a few really tough months. Even then, I still saw it as mine.
When I first decided to purchase this old house, I did so with a specific vision in mind. I saw myself living here eventually with a blended family and the extra bedrooms even had two kids’ names already assigned to them. There was a time this fall when the harshness of that season was at its worst, that I couldn’t hardly stomach the idea that I might be living in this big, beautiful home all alone instead. How could I still love this house as much with a new vision? What would I call that middle bedroom if it was no longer reserved for a special little boy that I’d envisioned living in there? I had seen his bunk beds so clearly on that back wall. Nonetheless, this place was still mine.
Fast forward several months and things are better. I finished a lot of projects and the place felt more like a home. My relationship came back together and we shared a truly magical Christmas here in this house with that same special boy and his beautiful sister. Somehow, what had felt nearly impossible to overcome began to feel manageable and right. The outside still hasn’t been finished and there was still so much to paint/repaint inside and yet it finally felt like it might fall in to place. It might become that beautiful place I’d imagined months before. More importantly, I might overcome the funk I’d found myself in.
That’s about when the call came. Just as I was beginning to come out on the other side of the struggle, I was told that my location was being considered for the site of a new fire station. If this area was deemed to be the best site, they’d need to purchase my house and lot, as well as the lot next to me. I agreed to consider it, knowing how unlikely it would be that this plan would ever come to fruition. There were other sites being considered, both myself and the neighboring property owner had to agree, and let’s face it — there’s a million things that could prevent something of this sort from ever happening at all. To be cautious, I sat my newfound motivation aside, and didn’t work on the house much for the last several months. Any additional money invested at this point could just be lost so it was best to just sit still until I knew more. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve overlooked the unpainted window frames in the dining room and waited to finally set up that beautiful master bath. (I did still use the tub, bare windows and all! I couldn’t resist.) I didn’t schedule the exterior painting and I’ve pretended not to notice that falling, makeshift fence outside. I haven’t hung things on walls or dreamed about how I’d decorate. I just stopped and waited. I’d like to say I waited patiently, but that’s not exactly something I’m known for. I certainly obsessed about “what’s next” at times.
Fast forward to over two months after the initial conversation and I get the call that it’s happened. In barely a month, I’ll be leaving this house that I saw to be my “next big step” and I’ll go on to write a new story. I cry today because I know I’m saying goodbye to all of the dreams I had for the place and for myself living here. I’ll be saying goodbye to my “plan” and to having control. I’ll be starting over, again, and while that causes a lot of anxiety for me, it also brings a sigh of relief. There were a lot of times this last year that I felt foolish for buying this house. I felt foolish for thinking I could successfully renovate a 100 year old house by myself. I felt foolish for hiring the people that I did and for not facing facts and firing them sooner. I felt foolish for having lost that much money and for not having a stronger plan in place. Even more importantly, I felt foolish for creating a life plan around this house that wasn’t mine to create yet. I dove head first into a dream that was premature. It was a dream I wasn’t ready for and I can’t even describe how many times I walked through this house, reminding myself of how dumb I was for thinking anything in life would be that simple.
This is my reset button. When telling a friend about how well the stars aligned for this decision to be made, his face almost lit up with excitement. I talked about my fears in letting go of this dream house and of disappointing everyone who’s followed the process and he nearly screamed at me. He pointed out that most people don’t get a reset button. Most people don’t get a chance to easily undo our mistakes, to get to learn from them and then almost immediately move on. He insisted that the stars were aligning where I get a magical shot to start anew. And he’s right.
I couldn’t decide how I felt about this idea for a long time and the more I sat with the decision, the more little nudges were placed in my path. It was as if every time I felt unsure, something new developed that said, “DON’T YOU SEE THAT THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO?! Don’t you see that you should take this insane opportunity to start over?”
I guess this serves as an official announcement of sorts — this week I moved from the beautiful, unfinished #wfwhitehouse. I thankfully have somewhere nice to move to and while it’s not this lovely 100 year old masterpiece, it’s cozy and nice and recently renovated. (I would know — I renovated it!) My current plan is to go there for a bit and wait. I want to sit still for a minute and look for my next right step. I have learned so much this last year and I’ve grown in every possible way. It wasn’t easy, as the real growth never is. I’ve felt I was broken to my core at times and the rebuilding that has come from that place has been truly magical. As I look forward to 2019, I see it as a chance to get to know this new me. This move and the closing of this particular chapter will play a big part in that. It was not a chapter I envisioned writing and the plot twist will certainly make for a more flavorful story.
These photos are from the day before the movers came and they showcase exactly what this house was when I sold it — beautiful and unfinished. These photos give you a real glance behind the scenes, moving boxes and all! A close look will show many imperfections, things that weren’t yet done or needed to be redone. And yet the bigger picture is that it was a big and beautiful place just oozing with potential. A lot of my vision had already been realized and I still had more to do and create. I think I’m most sad about not getting the chance to really reveal to everyone the real scope of my vision and plan for the place. Trust me, it would have been amazing! If you need a reminder of how far we’d come, take a look back at the before photos. It’s been such an amazing transformation already! Thank you to all of you who followed along with this journey. Your kind words have meant the world to me.
As you know, I’m mostly an open book. I’ve shared a good bit of my life right here online. To be honest, I’ve never understood why I feel compelled to do that and yet I trust there’s a reason. That being said, if you have questions about this part of my journey, feel free to ask in the comments. I might not have a clear answer for some of them yet, though I’ll give it my best shot!