Feels Like Coming Home

To say that these first few weeks of 2015 have been difficult is a bit of an understatement. Allow me to give you the Reader’s Digest version…

Stevie and I started talking about expanding our family and buying a bigger house, then found out almost immediately we were expecting. We went into a bit of a panic mode trying to get the house ready and listed. We put it on the market just after Thanksgiving, and accepted an offer on Christmas Eve. We went into panic mode again searching for a new house, a place that could be our family’s forever home.

Somehow, we found one that immediately felt like home. We dove in, and crossed our fingers.

Stevie single-handedly moved almost every box in our entire house while I packed a bit between bouts of exhaustion and morning sickness.

Work was piling up and we were both so exhausted by the time we got home at night that we could barely function. But somehow we did—we packed boxes, went to parent/teacher conferences, celebrated Cadence’s 5th birthday and threw her a party with her school friends, stayed up late into the night, and woke most mornings feeling like we hadn’t slept at all.

Then the stress hit, and the sickness. For three whole weeks we passed around the flu, and then Cadence got hit with an ear infection and pneumonia.

We were hitting our bottom, and we began to wonder for the first time if we were doing the right thing.

And yet, in the midst of all the stress and the sickness and the worry and the waiting, it’s been an exhilarating ride. Somehow, in spite of the hardships, we have continued to be blessed beyond belief—by our amazing friends, our supportive family, our understanding co-workers, and four beautiful strangers who entered our lives quite unexpectedly and who will live in our hearts (and maybe even our new home) forever.

We learned during our negotiations that the house we wanted was being sold out of a trust, that the four grown children had lost their father, and were now burdened with the task of selling their childhood home. We knew how hard it must be for them, and yet throughout the entire process, they were fantastic to work with, and even gave us the green light to move our belongings in the day before the official closing so we didn’t have to store our things in a moving truck or storage unit and move every thing twice.

We wanted to thank them somehow. As the closing date drew nearer, it became important to let them know how grateful we were that they were entrusting their home to us, the very place where all of their memories began.

I started writing, and then I blinked and it was time to load the truck and haul the boxes and sign the papers.

And suddenly it was real, and the house was ours. And then the seller’s agent was handing us a giant basket packed with everything we love, gifts to welcome us home, and a letter that touched us so deeply that it now hangs in a frame in our entryway.

And I hope they won’t mind that I share it here, because it has already become an important part of our own family story…

Dear Romano Family,

Since were are the only family who has lived at 2010 Devonshire Drive until today, we thought about sharing some of the wonderful experiences our family had since we moved in on Labor Day 1972. However, the more we thought about it, we decided our specific memories aren’t as important as the new memories you will be making here.

Still, what is important for you to know is this that the house has always contained much love and laughter. Four children grew up here. We played raucously in the yard, held spirited debates at the family dinner table, hung our Christmas stockings on the mantel with joyful anticipation, cheered loudly at the TV watching our father’s favorite football team lose more often than win, and whispered our prayers to our mom and dad before kissing them goodnight. When we grew up and moved away, some near and some far, the one thing we all knew with certainty was that this house was always home.

When our father died and we decided it was time to sell the house, it was our fervent wish that another family would buy it and it would be filled with children again. We think somehow you felt that wish when you decided this was the house you wanted. We confess we’ve read a bit about your family on the Internet, and we’re grateful Cadence and her new sister or brother will do some, if not all, of their growing up here.

We’ve left a few tangible things to welcome you, but more than that, know that all of our best wishes for happiness and prosperity go to you. We hope you will come to love this house as much as we have and that this will be a place where you spend many wonderful years together.

Welcome Home,

The Four Wood Children

There is no doubt, we’ve come home, and to you, the Wood children, who spent an evening together this past week saying goodbye to your childhood home, thank you.

Thank you.

You may never know how much your beautiful letter means to us, or how much we loved your home, our new home, the moment we first drove onto the street and walked through the front door. We are so excited to begin our new life together here, and we just wanted you to know that we will love it and care for it as much as you and your family have. We imagined that you made a lot of great memories there, and we know now for sure that you did.

We’ve already begun to do the same.

Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to begin writing a brand new chapter in our lives. We can’t wait to see where it takes us, and we wish you all the best writing yours.

Love,

Steven, Lori, Cadence, Henry, and Electra Romano

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365 Project – Day 294 – The Waiting is the Hardest Part

God bless Tom Petty. He knew what he was talking about. The waiting really is the hardest part.

Since moving to Nebraska this past December, Steven and I have been looking for a house. Of course, we knew we couldn’t afford to buy one right away. Moving is a big expense, and it takes time to get settled and figure out a budget and save up some money in a new place. But we were determined because, let’s face it, after owning your own home, it’s hard to go back to being a renter.

It’s the little things about renting that drive me up a wall, things like not being able to install a doggy door when your dog is obsessed with going outside 55 times a day to chase squirrels and rabbits in the yard. Or having to call your landlord because your basement flooded (three times), and then having to wait two days for him to come over and assess the damage and try to fix the problem. Sure these things can be a bit of a headache when you’re a homeowner, but at least they’re your headache and you can deal with them on your own terms without having to wait for someone else.

So, we decided to take the plunge.

After spending the past 10 months looking at hundreds of houses (and that is no exaggeration, just ask my poor tired husband ).

In that time, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly along the way, we finally found the one place that just feels like home. So, this morning, we put an offer in on the house.

And now…we wait…

Ugh! I hate waiting.

Wish us luck!

365 Project – Day 263 – This Old House

Since moving in December, Steven and I have looked at probably a hundred houses, trying to find one that feels like home. So far, we have found two that we love, but one was over our budget and sold almost immediately after being put on the market. The other is still a bit over-priced in a market suddenly overflowing with homes in our price range. We’re doing what we can to save up, but we’re content to bide our time and wait for that perfect house to come along.

In the midst of our house hunting, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the oh so ugly. Maybe it’s my addiction to all the renovation and house hunting shows on HGTV and the DIY Network, but I’m getting to the point where I can look beyond the dated and the ugly and weird and see the underlying potential in the homes. Now, if Steven and I just had the time to actually put some serious sweat equity into some of these houses, we might really be in business. Instead, Steven spends his week working in the office and his weekends catching up on little projects around the house, and  I’ve got writing projects, a busy toddler and a budding photography business taking up my time. But who knows, if the price is right, even one of these outdated fixer-uppers might just be the place we’ll be calling home.

Here are just a few of the gems I saw at the last round of Open Houses I visited…

This built-in oven just might be on the cusp of coming back into style. Inside, it was the cleanest and most well-maintained I'd ever seen. Roasting a Thanksgiving turkey, however, would definitely not be an option.
I can't even begin to imagine the thought process behind this window, leading to the space under the stairs. The plastic mini-blinds were an exceptionally nice touch.
Sure, I've seen plenty of chain locks on front doors, back doors, even garage doors. But the master bedroom? That's a new one.
This listing said there was a 3/4 bath in the basement. I guess the bucket next to the floor drain counts as a shower stall.
It's been so long since I've seen a rotary phone, I would probably end up keeping this on the wall as an art piece.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to the joys of house hunting. Sooner or later, we will find out diamond in the rough. Until then, we’ll just keep looking.

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