My Return

It has been quite a while since I posted on either of my blogs. I thought I should probably give an explanation as I start writing once again. Over the last few months we have had the great pleasure of hosting some family and friends in our home. These times have been filled with joy, laughter, food, swimming, and exploring our city as much as the restrictions of the virus have allowed. For me, it has been a time of great happiness.

The visitors began with a visit from my oldest son, his female friend, and their two dogs. They traveled across the southern states to arrive at our home a bit worn out and definitely ready to get out of the car. I also had the privilege of meeting a new grand-puppy and seeing once again the other grand-puppy which they had on their last visit. We spent a nice amount of time in our pool. One of the dogs enjoyed swimming with us but the other one did not find the water inviting in any way. My son even cooked an outstanding meal for us on the grill one night. Many of the places which I would have taken them were closed due to the virus, but we still explored a lot of the city, and they were able to see some of what makes the metro area so wonderful. They were able to spend ten days with us before heading back home to Florida.

After my oldest son left, I thought we would not be hosting anyone for a little over a month. Much to my surprise, my youngest son and his girlfriend showed up at our door the Friday before Father’s Day. He had worked out the surprise with my husband and I guess had been planning this all for a few weeks. Once again, we had a great time enjoying the pool and seeing sites around the city. At this point, some places we wanted to see had opened up with restrictions, including Six Flags Over Texas. We were able to also go visit the National Soccer Museum which pleased my son who had been active in soccer throughout his childhood and high school career. It was another enjoyable week and like with my other son, I was sad to see them leave.

The day after my youngest left, I picked up a friend at the airport. He is the son of one of my very close high school friends and wanted to get out of Iowa. We had been talking about his visit for a few months, so I was excited to greet him at baggage claim. Throughout his ten days with us, we had wonderful talks while spending time in the pool. He is going to school in hospitality management, so we went to see one of the premier hotel and convention centers in the metro area. I was amazed at how it looked and all the amenities available for someone who was staying there. It even had a huge fountain which I truly enjoyed. His background also included working for an airline for a period, so he loves airplanes. We went to the Pioneers of Flight Museum located at Love Field. The collection is not a huge one but seeing the planes throughout history, even including space flight, was a lot of fun. On his last night with us, we went out to one of our favorite restaurants where they bring endless amounts of food and meat to your table. Again, I was sad when I took him to the airport and sent him back up north.

As you can tell, I have spent a large amount of my summer spending time with some wonderful family and friends. I have enjoyed showing them the city which we now call home. My time in the pool has grown tremendously. The conversations and sharing of ideas has truly enriched me. However, I have not been able to find a lot of time to sit and write. My limited writing time led me to not post over the last couple of months. Now I am back though, so I hope you will continue to read my blogs. You can expect a couple of posts a week. As always, I enjoy your comments and input.

The Unexpected

I hope that some of you have noticed an absence in my posts over the last two weeks. Let me explain why you have not seen any posts from me lately.

When we moved to Fort Worth almost a year ago, we made the decision that we would rent a house for the first year. This would give us the opportunity to learn our new community and decide which areas would be a good fit for us. It was a fantastic idea. We quickly came to realize that we enjoyed the area of Fort Worth in which our rental home was located. We also came to understand that the neighborhood in which we were living was nice but not the one where we wanted to settle permanently. Our original time frame was to start seriously looking for the right house in November and if we did not locate the one, we could always extend our lease month by month if necessary. However, our plans changed and events occurred very quickly.

The first catalyst for our change of plans was receiving contact from the rental company on behalf of the owners of our property in September. The woman who spoke with my husband indicated that the owners wanted us to consider purchasing the home from them. This offer took us by surprise which led us into a discussion about our permanent home sooner than we had anticipated. The conditions which the current owners were placing on their offer seemed unreasonable to us even if the price sounded very good. My husband contacted the realtor who we worked with during our hunt for a rental home, and the one who we had decided would be our choice during our search for a house to buy. She agreed that the price was right but the terms were not. She also informed us after hearing our original plans that if we were to go to a month-by-month rental agreement, the owners would likely raise our rent approximately $300 a month. We were not willing to pay the additional amount so our timeline was moved up. Our lease was over on December 31, so we would need to vacate by that time.

Along comes the next catalyst for change. Since we were going to have to find a home quicker than planned, we moved up the search process start to be October and hopefully locate a house by November. If this time frame worked, we would not have a mortgage payment until January, so no month would have a rent and mortgage payment at the same time. The last weekend in September we decided to begin attending some open houses. The first home we visited was nice. It had great curb appeal along with some amenities which were inviting. The asking price was well below our top target price so that was a plus as well. The major drawback was that it was a two-story home, and we were hoping to find a single story home. The location was also outside of our preferred area. We went to two more open houses that weekend. One home was definitely not viable for us. The third was a possibility but once again was outside of our target area and the price was at the top of our budget. Since we had agreed that it would be unwise to buy the first house we viewed, we planned to move on in our search. My husband did contact our realtor on Sunday night to update her on what we had seen and set up a time to view some houses with her.

Then came the early Monday morning call. Our realtor had contacted the seller’s realtor to get more information on the first home which we liked. She called my husband as he was leaving for work to inform us that the sellers had received an offer over the weekend and were planning on determining if they would accept that offer or not by noon on Monday. Now what do we do? After a conversation, we agreed to make an offer a bit higher than the asking price. By early afternoon, we had received word that our offer had been verbally accepted by the seller. Now it was time to scramble to lock in financing and begin the endless amount of paperwork. We were on the road to becoming homeowners once again and October had not even begun.

I am not going to go through the nightmare of all the paperwork related to securing financing for a home in this post. I will save that for a future post. However, the next two weeks amounted to telling the lending company everything about us in minute detail and providing documents to prove what we said. Then it was wait time to see if we were approved for the loan. In the meantime, I had to set up an inspector for the home, secure a moving company, and begin getting utilities turned off at the rental while turning them on at the new house. The closing date of November 15 was our agreed upon target. At least we had decided to let the moving company pack us so that was one item off our list of to-do’s.

Everything was approved and our timeline was going to work out. Our official move date would be November 26 (which I had mistakenly thought was the week after Thanksgiving). Because of my mistake in planning around Thanksgiving, we were packed on Monday, moved on Tuesday, and celebrated Thanksgiving with friends on Thursday. Now you understand why my posts were less frequent for a few weeks and non-existent for a couple of weeks.

Throughout this whole process, I again discovered God at work in our lives. Through the Lord, we maneuvered the unexpected and found more than what we had originally hoped to find. We are now settled into our new home and as of this weekend, decorated for Christmas. The anticipation that accompanies Advent became a real experience for us as we officially began establishing roots in our Texas home. Thanks be to God!

I am back on track and will resume my writing. Please look for future posts on a more regular schedule.