It’s been a couple of weeks since we took our weekend trip to scope out houses and employment in our target city. I thought it high time for an update.
We drove down Thursday evening and got in around 11:30. This ended up being the perfect time to drive because it was the kids’ regular sleeping time. That means the kids were more sedate and we had to make fewer stops.
I finally caved in and decided to buy a GPS system. I have an old phone, so I can’t access directions that way. Typically, I print directions off of Mapquest, but that wasn’t really going to cut it this time. We would be making multiple stops and driving all over the city. After doing some online research I decided to get a $99 TomTom from Walmart. It worked beautifully and is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.
I went to an interview Friday morning for a part-time inner-city ministry job. I feel that it went well, but since getting home I found out that I didn’t get the job. Oh well, back to square one.
Friday we had issues connecting with our realtor. Apparently her phone was malfunctioning so she wasn’t getting any of our messages. We were having difficulty finding her office, so I had to ask a stranger at a gas station. When we got there I was able to use one of their computers to reach her and explain why we were late. She called me and let me know that she had cancelled our appointments because we would have been no-shows. (If she doesn’t show up to a showing, she can no longer show properties listed by those agents.) So…she told us to hang tight and that she would make some calls and try to reschedule the showings. Husband went and got Wendy’s for lunch and brought it back to the office for us. Thankfully, they had toys so the kids weren’t bored out of their minds. We ended up hanging out at the office for two hours before she joined us and we went on our merry way.
We were only able to see a couple of houses that day, and neither of them was big enough. We also drove through a few areas and talked about the types of houses, prices, and crime rates in each area. I gave her printouts of the properties I was interested in and she promised to try to line up houses that were more suitable the next day. Friday was definitely a bust in terms of looking at houses.
As a side note–we were able to go to three different parks with the kids. At two of them we were the only white people in sight. The typical response is for people to warily watch us for a while, probably to find out why on earth we’re there. Once they see that we’re just a regular family, they seem to accept that it’s okay for us to be there. I love that my kids are completely oblivious to the way we stand out. They see nothing odd about hanging out in a park where we are vastly outnumbered by the African American population.
Saturday was better for looking at houses. We looked at a strangely-configured 4-plex that was boarded up. A fair number of belongings had been left behind including a pink and white Christmas tree, and a jar of change (which the kids wanted to take). There was also a refrigerator which was leaking its rotten contents. The house was too divided for our uses. The exterior was also in very rough shape. We’re looking for something that needs more work inside than out.
We walked down a couple of blocks and looked at another house that was part of an estate. It also hadn’t been fully cleaned out. The inside was quite nice, though there were areas that needed updating and renovation. There were a couple of things about this house that concerned me. It had three bathrooms–one on each level. The first floor bathroom had been tucked under the stairs, with a shower installed which probably shouldn’t be there. I am 5’3″ and the shower only extended a few inches above my head. I also didn’t see an exhaust fan in there. The second floor bathroom had signs of water leakage, with water stains going about 1/2″ up the trim. Not a good sign. There were also signs of a leak on the second story hall ceiling. Where was that coming from? Probably from bathroom number three. It had a tiled in shower which looked like it had lost its water-containing powers some time ago. There was also evidence in this bathroom of water leakage on the trim. There was apparently another leak in one of the front eaves which could be seen on the second-floor ceiling. Other than those issues, the house was great!
Then we come to my dream house. It’s a huge Victorian with three stories and a dry basement which could be spruced up for further usage. It has been recently updated, though by no means fancy. It also has a great yard! There are a couple of possible issues with this one, also. The first floor is the original hardwood floors, but it bows up in the middle of the house in one of the archways. It’s a significant amount, so that would have to be checked out. I did some research on possible causes when we got home and found out that it could be due to a few different issues–some minor, some major. The other possible issue is that there is a rotten floor on the third story which they decided to just cover over with a new subfloor. Not cool. One thing I’ve learned while dealing with our current home is that you don’t just cover a rotten floor, you deal with the garbage that is there and make it stable again.
If I had my choice, I would go for the Victorian. It would be perfect for our large family, for homeschooling, for housing my parents, and for doing foster care (we could even keep sibling groups together!). Employment has to come first, though. I’m working on getting my CDL permit so that I can go down and do a week of training with a school bus driving company that called me back about a job. It would we about 20-30 hours per week.
Besides that we’ve been working hard on getting our house up to snuff for selling. I’ve painted more than I ever wanted to in my entire life. We’ve fixed lots of minor things. We’re updating some outdated fixtures. We’re packing up belongings and putting them in storage. This will help not only with making the house look less cluttered, but also in having the space to do repairs/painting. Things are slowly coming together.
I would love for the process to go more quickly, but I also need to learn patience. And trust–I definitely need to learn that one. I find myself getting stressed out, worried, trying to figure out how to make things work on my own. With so many unknowns at this point, that’s rather a useless endeavor. I really have a hard time with the unknown, not being able to plan, and trusting someone else to guide my future.
So there you have it…this is where we’re at right now. It’s easy to get stuck in the doldrums here. When the house is torn apart and there are piles of boxes everywhere, we don’t know exactly how we’re going to support ourselves in a new city, and we’re not sure where we will live in the future–nerves can get a little frazzled. We just have to keep plugging along, making what little progress we can and remembering why we’re going to all this trouble in the first place.
- for our stamina & good attitudes
- that we will remember what is important
- that we’ll continue to trust God for guidance