We went through two years of listing, looking, renting, storing, packing, and building in 2015-2016. It was bad. Well, not bad, but definitely hard. I loved where we lived, probably because I had lived there my whole life. We had a 1977 Ranch style home. My Mom loved gardening, so we had a big garden. Every year we got peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, beans, okra, and my favorite – sweet potatoes. I planted my first one when I was four. It was so fun to go out there and harvest, and to plant. We almost always had something.
Where we lived had grown, got bigger and bigger, the traffic worse and worse. We lived at the stop sign. Our house faced the road and the side where we were all day, where the kitchen, den and living room was, was right next to the road. We are homeschooled, my brother and I, and we did our school in those rooms. I would bring my dolls in to the den, my brother his Legos, and we would play while my Mom read aloud to us.
The road had made my Dad nervous for as long as I can remember. Cars, just over the past few years, have started zooming down our road and it always worried my Dad if we were out playing in the yard. I think my mom and dad were considering moving when it happened.
We were invited in 2014 to come to a festival. They said we could sell something if we wanted. It was to be outside in the blazing August sun, what could be better than a lemonade stand? We also made one of my favorite treats, Muddy Buddies. Chex cereal covered in peanut butter, chocolate and powdered sugar. Mmm-mm! What could be healthier than that? We also made rice crispy treats. Whew. That was a lot, if I can remember correctly. We were hurriedly packing all of our things up and getting ready because we had to get up early to go the next morning. I think it was really late, like midnight or 1 a.m. when we heard a loud CRASH. My brother was taking a shower and we thought it might have been him, but he was done and rushed out to see what it was, too.
We looked outside and we turned on the front light and saw: Our fence, in the front, was crushed. There was a fender or something and wood splinters everywhere. My Dad said it was a hit-and-run. The police came and said it was just that. They said they would look for a car that was missing the fender, but I don’t think they ever found it. We still went to the festival the next day, and my Dad and I fixed the fence that week. I think that was the calling card to move.
We were listed the next July (2015). I remember watching the man hammer the “For Sale” sign in the yard. I remember calling my Mom and saying, “We’re for sale!” That was the beginning of it. The showings weren’t bad. If our rooms got messy, we had to clean really fast and leave the house for an hour/hour and a half. We normally went to the pool while the house was being shown because it was in summer. We went and looked at homes, too. We looked and looked, but we never found anything we loved. They say “Home is where the heart is,” but you want to love where you live, too.
We got an offer in October that we accepted, and we planned for a yard sale. That was another one of our specialties: Yard saling. We LOVE going to yard sales, but we had never had one. We also got a storage unit to store our things. The yard sale was good. I remember that we got up at 5 a.m. and we went until about 5 p.m. The people who were buying the house came. It was the first time I had ever met them. I had to stop piano then, and put it in storage, which was one of the hardest things for me. I had 9 or 10 months without piano from then on.
At this time we still had not found a house. We looked 2-4 times a week, but still nothing. I remember that we always had a Zillow or Realtor page opened and were looking. Our closing was set for December 18th, 2015, which somehow fell through and was moved until December 31st. We cleared the house all that December and I remember we brought all of our mattresses into the living room, since our beds were probably long packed away in storage. I remember we watched Hallmark movies every night until we took the TV down. I cried. a lot.
We closed on the house on New Year’s Eve and we were invited to a party. After we left the party, which was at my piano teacher’s home, we came back to our house to get our last things, and to say goodbye. It wasn’t going to be my home anymore. I fell asleep in the new owners’ chair, which they had already moved into our basement. They were moving in the next day.
We found a little house near us that we rented while we continued looking for a house. The house. I don’t think I will ever forget that house. It was on Paul Smith Drive, a pretty road. It was a teeny renovated farmhouse on an acre or two with a swing and a field and by a horse farm down a gravel road, which sounds dreamy, until you saw it. You walked in and it wasn’t so bad. There was a metal, yes, metal couch with a tiny thin cushion and a table in the corner. You walk into the kitchen and almost had to hold on to the wall, because the foundation wasn’t even. I don’t remember much about the rest, but the place felt really cold and lonely all the time. My brother, Evan, was out back one day and noticed a huge brown hairy spider in a hole in the siding. Eww. He hasn’t liked spiders since, and neither have I.
We only stayed there 13 days, and then we found a house in a resort-type neighborhood in the mountains that we could rent that was about 35 minutes away from where our old house was. Big Canoe. Eww. There are some memories there, too, even though that was a really fun place. We lived on one of the lakes and we met some of the people there that let us kayak, which was super fun, and they had hiking trails, a super fun inflatable water park in one of the lakes and rumors of bears higher in the mountains, although we never saw one. The house, well, the house wasn’t great. I’ll go quickly through this part because it’s so gross. We lived in the woods there, which meant bugs. There were HUGE palmetto bugs in the houses there😖 (Palmetto bugs are very large cockroaches) We left there, too, after about 5 months. My Mom’s cousin’s had a renovated, live-in basement that they offered to us, that was very close to our old road, 8 minutes, to be exact.
About three months before we moved out of Big Canoe we went to visit one of our old neighbors. We all called her Meemaw, because she is like that to all of us. My Dad had known her for 34 years, and we had known her for as long as we had been alive. We were there talking for a couple hours and we were all sitting in the sunroom talking. My friend and old neighbor who used to live beside us was there, too, and I was playing with her. And then she said it. Meemaw did: “How would you like to buy some of my land in the field?” Just out of the blue. Meemaw owns 25 acres, with a lake, fields and her house. The field had been empty forever. Her son-in-law and daughter baled the hay for their cows down the road, but other than that it was empty. That’s how it happened.
I guess we said yes, because two months later on May 19th, 2016 we started digging for the house. She very, very kindly sold us two of her acres in the field straight across from her and our old house. We chose the White Hall plan and started building. Our builder said it would probably be about 6 months (which it was, but that comes later) Oh, trip upon trip to Lowe’s and Home Depot and back to Lowe’s and flooring stores, hey, I’m not knocking it, it payed off, but whew, I’m kind of glad it’s over. Our house was finished in November, and we spent our first night in our new home on December 1st, 2016.
(the photo below is of our house shortly after we moved in. We didn’t have anything on the porches yet!)
The decorating and unpacking was fun. The many trips back and forth weren’t, but it didn’t take too long. I was very happy to have my piano back. Maisy, our dog, came to us on December 17th. Sort-of like a family house-warming/Christmas present.
We’ve lived in our house now a year and a half, and have loved every minute of it. I remember my old house a lot, but it doesn’t make me sad anymore. We live right across the street from it, and I can see it right out my bedroom window.
My Mom recently found an old prayer journal of hers that she was glancing through and found: “I pray for a white or green farmhouse on a few acres, were we can have chickens, and a big garden”
God does answer prayers.