Sunday, August 12, 2012

On buying a home ... one day ...

For the past 5 years we have been trying to buy a house in New York. To find a home actually. Put down roots, feel more grounded, part of a community. A way to have our toes in the dirt and let them expand and stretch out. A safe place to return to. Home. A place to finally unpack and put out our treasures and paint the walls and finally buy forever furniture. The pieces we would keep. Not the cheap (and lovely, but not forever) pieces we have made do with over the years thinking - one day, some day, when we have our own place ....

We almost bought three houses in our first few years here - countless hours spent traipsing through houses we couldn't afford and not loving the ones we could. And then finally one, and another, and then a third - putting in offers and then something big came out of the inspection, or we realized it wasn't right for us ... and then with the third attempt we found out that really people without Greencards should not try to buy houses in the US. All those streets paved with gold ... not so shiny sometimes. No offence meant.

And so we waited. So patiently. We saved, we cleared the slate. We renewed our rental lease - again - and we enrolled Hayden in school. I had always dreamt of him being in the same town for all of his school life. I moved around when i was little, pre-school and then three different school districts. I wanted for my two that they could go from preschool to big school and all the way through, with the same friends - growing together. I had visions of us knowing parents and being part of the community too. Knowing where they would be hanging out. I wanted that familiarity for them. The security. By the time Hayden started big school, he had already been to 4 daycare and preschools - not at all how I wanted it to be. 

And so we kept waiting. Through the months which turned into years, of the greencard application. We kept saying ... one day ... when ... soon we'll be able to. And then we got them, in February. And we were so excited to finally be legitimate here. A little less foreign. A little less of an outsider. We started house hunting immediately. The first house we saw was a perfect family home in a great school area and well within our budget. We couldn't believe our luck. We had a wedding in South Africa but when we got back, we were ready to take the plunge and start this all again. And then came Texas and all the months of uncertainty and wondering what to do. Another move. Another change. Starting all over. But it would mean a house. Roots. And so we said yes and I found a house in Katy and it was beautiful. Light and space and perfect for our family. I made a scrapbook of ideas for furniture and rooms and what to do where. I know - totally overboard. Bordering on a little crazy. But i was that excited. And then that fell through and we had to walk away from that house.

We took a few days to catch our breaths. Well we still are actually. It's been quite a roller coaster. And there are far worse things to deal with. We know that. We tell ourselves all the time. But for us this is pretty big. It's the security for our family that we don't have. I have visions of being 60 and still house hunting. With no budget. 

We knew we were staying so over a month ago, we started again here. Contacted our realtor again. Started from scratch. The beautiful house we had found back in March had just sold. A week before. We tried new areas. We kept an open mind. Smaller. Cheaper. More expensive. Further out. Closer in. No long list of styles of houses. Just a home that would fit four of us with our assorted bags of things. And then we found it - an old and gracious home with great bones and some work needed. I was a little skeptical but it would make a beautiful home. At first i dug my heels in - there was a little light and white one I wanted more, but it was teeny tiny and with two kids ... well ... No. So this one it was. We put in an offer. I started decorating in my head. That's always where I go wrong, but i cannot help it. It's part of imagining a new life in a new home. I solved problems in my head - how could the couch go. What color over there and should it be wallpaper or paint and would we take out that built-in to open up the space. How would we finish off the kitchen. 

And then the news today that they had had another offer, one we cannot compete with. And in spite of all my reservations and doubts and wondering if we should not just buy a camper van and take a year off to drive around the States (i can but dream!) .... my heart sank. A lot.

And so we put it all on hold. Another year. Another spring. Put away the hope and excitement for another year. Breathe out. Keep sitting on our old lumpy couch because we cannot buy a new one yet, we have to wait for some day, one day. Put up with floral carpets and scruffy walls. It could be so much worse. We have so much to be grateful for. And i am trying. Really i am. 

The problem with waiting so many years is that it's become an obsession. I have put so much time and energy into searching for a home and i am left feeling oh so tired and disillusioned and wondering what the point of all of this is. Why keep trying. It's easy to get bitter and resentful here, and to start wondering why on earth we came, if it's this hard to get ourselves established. That maybe we should leave. I know. I know. It's usually not the solution. But it's my instinctive reaction always.

We had a home in England. Why did we rock the boat.

Today my mood matches the weather outside. On the cloudy side of rain. No energy for a storm but definitely cloudy.

I am going to stop watching my home decorating shows and dreaming over pages of magazines for a little bit. The goal post has been moving just a little bit every time - we keep thinking, just this one more thing and then we'll be there and then it all shifts a few inches and we can't quite make it. 

Time to put it all away for a bit and concentrate on the other gaping holes in my life ... like what to do when i grow up. Such a big one. Would have just been a little easier to do it from the comfort of my own home.

x

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