(This snow man greeted us the day the kids first saw the new house. I don't know who built it, but it was really cute to see so unexpectedly.)
Oh. My. Goodness. I have been busy these last couple of weeks. A few days before Thanksgiving I got the word that there might be a house available for me to live in. I was soooooooooooo excited, especially since the temperature dropped right around then and my plumbing in the trailer was freezing. I had blankets taped over all the windows and the door, but the frigid wind was still coming in far too much. The toilet clogged when it got too cold and the only way to fix it was to stick a stick down there and stir until things went down. I had to heat all my hot water on the stove and wash my hair in the sink. My fridge wasn't working...first it melted and then it froze. In a nutshell, I was ready to be in a real house.
Then I saw the house.
To be fair, I saw it at night-in a snow storm-and it was about 40 degrees in the house. A palace wouldn't show to advantage under those circumstances. The next time I saw it, the heat had been turned up and things looked much rosier in general. This house and I had a history, even though I'd never set foot in it before.
See, last spring, before the Big Move, I'd planned on moving into this house, but due to some issues, it just wasn't becoming available. As the summer went on, I had to make other plans because I needed things like, oh, an address, and couldn't wait around on the chance this house might become available. So I camped at the lake, then got the trailer, and forgot all about that as a possibility.
But God had it all planned out, as always, and the circumstances that seemed random and confusing to me were actually designed to teach me important faith lessons, then ultimately to land me in a better position than I would have been in if it had happened with the timing I'd expected.
This house had renters for a few years, but then was left vacant for 2 winters. The pipes had frozen, and animals had, er, 'roamed' freely throughout the house, doing what animals do....freely. I knew about the mess, but figured I could tackle it. Well, God knew better, and over the course of the summer, the owner of the house had it cleaned out and did the fixing necessary to make it livable. Things I would not have been able to get done in retrospect.
So while my house-to-be was being readied for me, I was learning to trust God even when I wasn't happy where I was (that would be in a trailer when I wanted a house). And just at the right moment, when the trailer wasn't going to work for me any longer, there the house was. Now the house is my faith challenge, not the trailer!
I want to state very clearly that I'm very grateful for the house, even though it needs work. Taking everything into consideration, I'm still glad to be there instead of the trailer. I also want to be clear that the owner has always been honest about the challenges the house faces and helpful in getting things fixed (the toilets were clogged when I first moved in, and he and my brother-in-law spent Thanksgiving Day blasting out the poo frozen in my house's pipes!). He is even letting me stay the first month without rent or a commitment to buy, just to make sure I can handle the job.
That said, let me tell you about the house. When I first saw it, it was cold. That kept some of the smell down. The next time, things had warmed up and it smelled like a barn inside. Very literally. There was still a cat or two roaming around, so the new carpets that had been laid down (but not installed yet) now had cat poo all over them, especially in my room. Things were empty instead of disastrously clogged with animal excrement, but still needing to be scrubbed and disinfected.
It took a couple of days of working frantically after work to get enough space scrubbed to set a few things on the kitchen counter and have enough floor space to lay a mattress down.
In the last two weeks (exactly) since I spent my first night there, I've accomplished quite a lot, considering how much time I have left after working and commuting 3 hours a day, but so much more remains to be done. Especially since I've now lost the function of the pump that brings water from the water tank into the house and am carrying all of our water in buckets from the well house.
The irony has not been lost on me. I felt quite the martyr in the trailer when I had to heat my water on the stove and bathe from wash tubs. How pioneering I was! Now I have to do all that, plus haul the water from outside! But that won't last for too long, and the plumbing and hot water does work...just not without the pump.
I also lost the function of the two wall heaters in the front rooms. I have a blanket hung between them and the kitchen so we can keep warm. I don't have a fridge out there yet, but it is OK, because the front room is about 39 degrees and the entryway on the other side of another blanket is cold enough to freeze things. I keep my food in the 2 rooms and tell people I have a walk-in refrigerator and freezer.
Without further ado, here is a photo tour of my new house.
The outside of the house.
One of the front rooms, which will become my bedroom when a wall is built.
The living room.
The two bathrooms.
The stairs in the laundry room/entryway area.
Laura in her new room. Neither of the upstairs rooms can be used until spring because there's no heat up there yet, but Laura's at school so I have time to fix them.
This room will be MINE to keep all my sewing and art supplies in where no one can get them. Ha ha HA! (That was my evil laugh, in case you couldn't tell)
I'd love to tell more, but it's late and I've got to take a shower before I head home. Plumbing is so precious to me these days, I can't miss the chance, not even to blog my home-owner adventures. I bid you adieu...a hot shower awaits!