A Series of Unlikely Events

I didn’t realize how long it has been since I posted last! I think about it a lot, but actually getting the motivation and time to write something is a bit of a challenge. More so in the last two months. Let me tell you a story!

Along about the middle of September, Tim and I decided that we really couldn’t afford another winter in the country house. It was beautiful, but $500/month in LP to keep the place chilly at best was unsustainable. So, we started looking for a place to rent in town. We thought about buying, but at this time that isn’t really an option. The problem is that relatively nice 3/4/5-bedroom houses for rent are hard to find; even really crummy houses that size are hard to find. I scoured ads for four years before I found the last one. So, when we decided to start looking, I didn’t have a whole lot of hope that something would open up right away.

One day in mid-November, Tim was taking Evangeline to preschool and happened across an acquaintance of ours who tends to have her ear to the ground about such things. He asked her if she knew of any houses for rent, and she said, “Actually, there’s one opening up right now. He’s moving out today.”

That seemed incredibly unlikely, but I got the name of the landlord from her and called him, and sure enough he had not one but two houses available that were around the right size. I went to go meet him and give him our references, and discovered that we knew a lot of the same people. (It’s a small town, so it’s hard not to know the same people, but it was a good thing in this instance.) The house was actually opening up “as soon as the guy gets the rest of his stuff out,” and the price was right. ($600/month – same as we were paying for the other house) with water/sewer/garbage included, and they would plow the driveway and mow the lawn in the summertime. He described the layout (we couldn’t go in because the other guy still had some stuff there) and it sounded like a pretty darn good deal to me, so I sort of informally agreed to it before I even saw the inside. I knew money was going to be extremely tight if we pulled off the move that quickly, so I offered to clean the house before we moved in, for a discount off the rent.

We had initially had someone who agreed to help us with a short-term loan to cover the cost of moving, but when I said “We actually found someplace!” that pretty quickly disappeared. At the same time, some completely unexpected funding appeared somewhere else, and made the transition possible. Same terms, different lender, basically. The agreement to clean garnered us $200 off the first month’s rent, which was worth the day of scrubbing that Tim and I did together and basically negated the cost of the U-Haul.

Tim was hauling manure part-time and working on a farm that he had pretty much come to hate. Out of the blue, one of the farmers that they had hauled for called him and offered him a job as herdsman. Apparently, the farmer had called Tim’s boss looking for someone, and Tim’s boss had given him his name. He jumped at the offer, and started his new job like, two days before we moved. The new job is a 15-minute drive from the new house, as opposed to the 40-minute drive from the old house to the old job. It pays a little less, but he loves it so much that the pay cut is worth it.

Then, because things weren’t crazy enough, my babysitter and her friend decided that they were going to help us move, and showed up one night with her Grand Prix and his Suburban, and proceeded to move every large object they could lift and stuff in the vehicles, and anything small they could stuff in the cracks and I had already packed… And even put them where they belonged in the new house (mostly). This was happening at like, 9PM. Completely randomly. In December. I couldn’t pack boxes fast enough to send them with! The kids mostly just stared at them with their mouths ajar. I admit, I did pretty much the same thing.

Suddenly, instead of a slow and taxing move for Tim and I that would take several weeks and little help, we were actually sleeping in the new place within 48 hours. It still took another 3 days to move the rest of the stuff (I had no idea we had so much stuff!!), but a lot of the heavy lifting was done quickly and well, and more importantly: not by me.

[As an aside: When I was bringing the mattresses downstairs in the old house, I discovered that a twin-sized mattress would fit flat, so I sat on it and rode down. That was way more fun than it should have been. The kids heard me hit the floor and start giggling, and ran to see what the fun was. Then, we slid on the mattress for 15 minutes. random interlude of silliness!]

Once most of the stuff was gone, my father-in-law started cleaning. He did an incredible job, spending about 3 days picking up stuff, hauling garbage, sorting, washing… He even cleaned up and organized the garage. It still took Tim and I another week of going back to the old house for a few hours after work to get it finished, but it was yet another wholly unexpected and greatly appreciated help that came out of nowhere.

The school bus came for the kids in the country, and it wouldn’t have once we moved to town. There is an in-town bus stop about a block away, but I was concerned that Olin wouldn’t necessarily be able to walk half a block on his own without getting distracted. The principal and his special-ed teacher thought that was a valid concern, so they put a provision on his IEP for the bus to stop for him, and now a gray Suburban stops in our driveway every morning and picks up the boys. Olin says, “It’s so hard, living in town,” because he doesn’t get to ride a yellow school bus. I still have to drive the girls to school, but it is 1.6 miles round trip, instead of 20. If I can convince them to ride together in the Weehoo or the Burley, I could even ride my bike to go get them in good weather!

After all of that falling in to place so handily, I have no doubt whatsoever that this move was meant to be.  The house is easier to keep clean and laid out very differently, and best of all to me, getting away from the gravel road and the mold/mildew has made my allergies disappear almost completely.

There are adjustments to be made: the nice, big, fancy two-stall garage has been replaced with a teensy-weensy one-stall that I’m not even sure I could get my van inside, the number of bedrooms was reduced by one so the kids have to share, the size of the master bedroom is dramatically decreased, the outlets are from the fifties, and the fridge is a lot smaller. First world problems.

The one thing that really does disappoint me is that my train table ended up being collateral damage. There is a nice, big basement, but it has a higher probability of being wet than the landlord initially led me to believe. I can still do trains down there if I put the table up on cinder blocks and tack the electrical cords to the ceiling so they’re not on the floor, but I really don’t think my 4×8 sheet is going to fit down the basement steps. It’ll fit through the door and down the stairs, but there is a turn at the bottom that I know we would have to at least take the railing off to make, and it would be a tight squeeze since it isn’t a flat sheet and is relatively fragile. Right now, it’s resting on its side in the garage. It’s too bad, too, because I just finished replacing most of the trackwork with nickel silver. Oh, well.

A bonus for making it to the end: Here’s Seraphine, “helping” me pack the pantry. She loaded the cans in all those boxes. I just helped her reach.

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