It’s Time for another Good Idea/Bad Idea

So the great homelessness saga of 2016 is coming to an end this week, and it seemed like a good time to reflect on all the things that have kept me from updating the blog for the last couple of months. It’s an impressive list, which I have informally dubbed: “Lemony Snicker’s: A series of Unfortunate Decisions”, though my lawyers HAVE informed me that I may be infringing on a copyright there, so it may have to be renamed to “Long List of Bad Stuff That Happened Recently”, or “Big dumb Spring”, or something…it’s still in work. Regardless, many stressful events occurred simultaneously, and it was probably a tiny bit *entirely* my fault, though I contend that the results could in NO WAY have been predicted. It all started when, after 10 mostly happy years, we decided to sell our first home and update to something with higher mortgage payments – err, ceilings – and also more space to accommodate our growing family. We began the preparations rather nonchalantly, knocking out a couple of projects here and there that had been languishing on the honey-do lists for several years. Then, out of nowhere, the neighbors sold their house for way more than we thought possible, and we decided it was time to pick up the pace and ride that wave before the market came to its senses. We immediately got serious, WIN_20160629_171240sprinted to listing, and – fortunately or unfortunately – sold immediately. Hooray! …But wait! There was the nagging little problem of having nowhere to go, and vagrancy didn’t appeal much to my wife – who, by the way, was about 7 months pregnant at the time. There was also the issue of the 2 year old, who the state prefers be sheltered and fed and such…nit-pickers. So began the most feverish home search in history, which was made all the more complicated by the fact that we had very specific desires, most of which we refused to compromise out of sheer pig-headed stubbornness. Though when I say “we”, I should probably make clear that I mean “mostly me”; my wife was increasingly ready to settle as her due date approached. I’m pretty sure she was looking into trailer parks. But I held firm, because I am generally opposed to compromise of any kind – I assume being married to me is a laugh a minute – and besides, our demands seemed pretty reasonable at the time; all we wanted was to live off one of two specific streets within roughly 2 miles of our previous home, in the desired school district, in a large house with four bedrooms, high ceilings, a large flat FENCED yard, and updated everything, on a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood with sidewalks and a pool. But we were totally willing to accept an unfinished basement, so long as it came with a bargain-basement price. Pretty basic. Our realtor was at times visibly frustrated with us during the several months we searched, often making exasperated comments such as, “This has all the space you’re looking for, even though it’s not in your ideal area!” (i.e. – roughly 90min from work), “So what don’t you like about THIS one?!”, or “When are you due again?”. It almost felt like she didn’t even CARE if we ended up living in abject squalor with standard 8ft ceilings and less than three and a half baths! That’s the kind of attitude that gets you replaced with another realtor in a market like this; lucky for her we’re as lazy as we are picky. Other fun complications during this period included my broken big toe (which RUINED an amazing kickball season), frequent company travel for two high profile events (no stress there!), and our buyers moving the closing date up by a week and a half! Haha! What fun! So much, in fact, that I have far less hair now than when we started this ordeal! Remember when Charlie Sheen went all batshit crazy a few years back, and started babbling about “Winning” with unnaturally wide eyes and a giant lunatic smile? b1e9d19c_Charlie-Sheen-Winning-DuhThat’s how I’ve looked for the past 60 days. Eventually, though, we were able to find a home that met most of our demands, with the exception of being located in what I would consider the “boondocks”, or “puckerbrush” as my father might call it. Hooray! Except that – wait for it – we couldn’t move in until 5 weeks after we closed on our current home, which brought the vagrancy issue back to the forefront. Beings as how we have no family in the area, we began looking into short term leases, extended stay hotels, corporate housing, and even a long term VRBO. It turns out short term housing options are outrageously expensive, and not terribly appealing with small children – which we would soon have two of, because my wife was due roughly halfway through this period of impending homelessness. And did I mention that my work trip was going to land smack in the middle of the week before the baby’s due date, such that I would return home from a 6 day absence less than 48 hours before my wife’s scheduled C-section? Because that seems like an important detail… Tensions were running high, but just when it looked like we were going to go broke signing and immediately breaking an apartment lease, the universe cut us a break, and something we could never have asked for happened; several friends came forward with offers to house us for the duration of our waiting period. I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified. I always knew we had good friends, but the fact that they’d be willing to take in our circus for over a month blew my mind. It’s a lot to ask of someone that you still want to be friends with at the end of it all, but given the circumstances, we decided to take them up on it, spending close to three weeks with each of two different friends. Both of these families had children of their own to deal with in addition to the squatters in their homes, but we never once felt like we were burdening them or wearing out our welcome (someday in the future we’ll ask them to tell their side of the story over a couple bottles of wine 😉 ) It was also a lot of fun to see how other couples interact in their own homes – kind of like a nature special (“The female is frustrated because the male has just flung poo on her freshly cleaned carpet…”) – or live action reality TV! The craziest part though, is that now that it’s coming to an end and we’re about to close on our new home and finally return to some sort of normalcy, I can’t shake the feeling that we’re going to be losing something, which is really a testament to how wonderful these people have been, because I am a staunch believer in the old fish and house guest adageb86ee50c9766b7bf1aca19a46a9ccf9e, and I have always understood fully that I was no exception to that rule. I’m often surprised I’m not thrown out sooner during holiday get-togethers, and those people are my family! My wife must just be exceptionally lovable. So today, as I sit on an airplane to once again travel for work, leaving my VERY understanding wife to deal with our 2 year and 2 week old sons as she recovers from her second C-section (God bless her), and planning to return 9 hours before we need to sign papers to close on our new home, I just want to give a shout out to the people who came to our aid and literally took us in when we had nowhere else to go. It means the world to us, and will not be forgotten. Not that I’d have ever needed to be indebted to you to offer help in the past, but man, if there’s ever anything you need, I’m there. Thank you. And to everyone else that offered their homes, or invited us over for dinners, or babysitting, or just a couple hours of conversation – you know who you are – we appreciate it all, and hope we can return the favors in the future; although if it’s okay, maybe we could wait a week or so for things to calm down at the new house. I really need to curb this hair loss…

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