We took some time in the middle of July to go back to our target city and look at houses again. This time we had some drama right before leaving. One of our kids got lice and I was trying to treat it and keep it from spreading to anyone else. Mind you, this is at the same time that I’m trying to schedule a weekend camping/house-hunting trip to a city 4 1/2 hours away, and working on our house to get it listed ASAP. After a couple of days, as I checked another child’s hair, I noticed one nit. That was it. I was done with the lice and talked to my husband about taking drastic measures to eradicate them. (Also keep in mind that I have very long hair and my husband’s eyesight isn’t good enough to check for lice and nits on my head.) After discussing the pros and cons, we decided that it would be in all of our best interest to shave heads–even the girls! Even me!
We gathered out on the back steps, with the trash can at hand, and my husband shaved all of our heads. I went first so that the girls wouldn’t feel bad about having their hair cut off. As the kids finished up, I took them inside for a bath/shower. The boys had already shaved their heads at the beginning of this debacle, so we skipped them.
Thankfully we’re a homeschool family, so our kids didn’t have to go to summer school looking that way. We had fun with it, too–referring to each other as baldy and posting a family photo on social media. Sometimes you have to laugh at a situation or you’ll end up crying instead.
Shaving our heads allowed us to remain on track with working on the house and planning the trip, which made it totally worthwhile. However, I realized that now we looked like a family of racist skinheads. And we were going into predominantly African American communities. Hmm…we decided it was time to make a trip to Goodwill for some hats. We found hats for all the girls and threw them in the dryer when we got home. We were not taking anymore chances with bugs!
Our trip down to our target city was uneventful and went according to plan. This time we decided to tent camp, instead of staying at a motel. There was lots to do there, which the kids loved. For anybody who’s gone tent camping, though, you know how much work it is. Still, I think it was worth it. It’s the only vacation we’ll take this year.
We looked at several houses–some had foundation issues (no thanks!), some had insurmountable features (no yard!), and some looked doable. Walking around the neighborhoods, we didn’t get any flak for our shaved heads, though we were wearing our hats, we had small kids, our realtor is black, and we were friendly and respectful. I felt bad that at one place we toured a home which was occupied by tenants. The property manager was an affable fellow who was fun to talk to, and we got to hang out with one of the boys who lived in the house. He came up to the attic with us where we found a dead, desiccated squirrel which we discussed bringing down to show our realtor. (I was the one to suggest it. I have a bit of an impish streak in me.) Though the house was huge, we decided that it’s not our goal to displace tenants by buying the house they rent and then kicking them out.
Our final conclusion was that our ideal house is one that we looked at the last time we came down. It’s a large, single family home with an okay yard and a large side driveway/garage area that would be ideal for neighborhood cookouts and hanging out with neighbor kids. It’s big enough for foster care, homeschooling, and my parents living with us, should the need arise. Remarkably, the price had dropped by the tens of thousands because of the extensive electrical and drywall issues. They were looking for a cash offer because banks didn’t want to finance the house and possibly take on all of those issues themselves if it went into foreclosure.
After we got back from our trip, we were able to get our house on the market a few days later. Our first showing is scheduled for this evening, so I’m on pins and needles, hoping that it goes well and/or that we get some useful feedback. I don’t think we’ll make enough on this house to buy the one we want outright, but it’s one more step in that direction.
We are also discussing my husband going down to get a job ahead of the rest of us, since it will be easier for him to get a job than for myself. He has a good work history and has been in the job market for a good while. Once we get established down there, I think it will be easier for me to job search and we can transition more gradually.
I think that’s it for now. Please pray with us that our house will sell so that we can move.
Oh–I forgot another interesting part of the trip. I wanted to attend a Baptist church in a predominantly black community, because I had never had that experience before. I picked one out that was near our target area and showed up on Sunday morning. We got there a bit late because their summer service was at a different time. We were welcomed and ushered in to sit in the back. The music was what everyone thinks of when they think of the traditional African American Baptist church–choir up front, organ, etc. One deacon was even giving a little talk about supporting the pastor and broke into spontaneous song. We talked with a few congregants after the service, who encouraged us to return once we move down. Besides one other white man sitting up front, we were the only non-AA there. I don’t know if we made anyone uncomfortable, but it was an interesting experience for us. We have already talked about church, and have decided that we want to attend a church that is in our neighborhood and representative of the people who live there. We shall see where we end up.
Okay, I’m really done this time. Please remember to pray for God’s guidance as we seek out a house and the right neighborhood to live in!