Thursday, March 2, 2017

No to Kichline Ave, Yes to Madison Ave

Now that we are settled in Bethlehem and getting used to our 3 story condo, I can more clearly see how this location is a good fit for my family.  It took some time, and honestly the condo still doesn't quite seem like home to me.  I attribute that to the fact that I know this is likely to be only a 3-5 year home for us, and I already day dream of the next place.  I have caught myself many times feeling discontent, lacking the grateful attitude I should display for a home that suits our budget and new lifestyle.  I don't really want neighbors so close that we share a wall, and yet I don't hear a peep from either family on our left or right.  I don't like city living, yet we have a great location for both work and school.  I yearn for a yard, but I am so close to the Reger farm that I can visit easily. I despise traffic, but happily make the 75 minute drive into Philadelphia to spend time with my nieces.  I trug up 2 flights of steps but I adore the layout that gives me my own living room and fireplace.  I lost a huge kitchen but I fit my entire family around the table at Christmas (the first time I ever could host a holiday!).  Its hard to keep repeating my complaints, they really aren't legit.
Front door and garage
Back porch and small yard

Perhaps this whole list of wishes and wants doesn't align with what I need right now. I'm overlooking whats in the best interest for my family during this stage of life.  I have taken for granted the fact that God is in control and knows what I need, in times more so than I do. Reflecting, I am glad sometimes God says no to my prayers.

Shortly after the big move from Oklahoma, I was scrambling to do a house hunt.  I had made the mistake of expecting to rent while Chet returned to school, only to find rentals were extremely expensive and hard to find in Northampton county.  Now that I realized buying, even a property we expected to own for only a few years, would give us more space, higher quality and save us hundreds per month, I quickly began to visit properties.  I feel in love with an old home in Hellertown, and quickly made an offer.  It was clear the place needed some love, but it had amazing bones.  I loved the huge glass sunroom on the front of the house, original pillars in the living room and a gorgeous wooden banister. Perhaps the biggest selling point was a huge 1/2 acre yard, unheard of in the area and would help me keep some of my country roots.  I planned to set up the trampoline, a camp fire pit and make a picnic spot. I could easily picture the playhouse we could set up above the garage and the basement storage I never had before!  I looked past the clear need for electrical work, updates, and tiny bedrooms.  I even ignored the poor "do it yourself job" on the woodwork in the garage and incorrect dry wall in the basement. It was also a foreclosure, but I wasn't discouraged because our home in Oklahoma has also been bank owned and the process went smoothly and gave us a great discount.  I think I became a bit blinded to the amount of work the house would need, and the skill set it would require that neither I or my husband possessed. The real estate agent warned me, the cost alone for the inspection and utility connections would add up and foreclosures rarely had the option to request repairs for any issues inspection uncovered. But I was convinced I didn't need perfect, I needed a home. I saw this house as an answer to prayer, we finally had a plan and learned our offer had been accepted. The price was right, the yard was amazing and everything else would fall into place.

Except it didn't.

I was only a few weeks into my new job before my first Lehigh career expo, a very busy day that kept me hopping. I learned that same day in the middle of the event chaos, that there had been a miscommunication with the contracts and the whole deal was off.  Just like that my plan was up in smoke.  I did not take the news well.  Frustrated and frantic, there were tears and stress.  I called Chet and vented... how could this happen?  What would we do now?  We were back at square one with no leads while the timeline to his move to join me in Pennsylvania was quickly approaching.  It was a terrible time to house hunt in the area, prices were high and the options were terrible.  Why God?  I am not a girl who does well without a plan and I had no house, no plan, and no time.

Fast forward a few more weeks and many (many, MANY) more house viewings and I began to look at my house hunt very differently. I had put several other offers on other homes only to be outbid every time.  I saw houses that were too small, flooded, outdated, and bathrooms in pink, blue and purple. But one day I agreed to consider a condo that was updated, had more square feet than the other properties and needed no maintenance.  After a tour it was clear I needed to compromise on a condo. I say compromised because I really wanted a yard and a rancher.  But reality was the lack of outdoor work is much better than the benefit green space would provide us.  We have a much more updated, spacious place now and its perfectly in budget.  Its not my dream home but I think God knew what he was doing when he took away the Kichline Ave house and sent me to the Madison Ave condo.  In the prior weeks I hadn't trusted his timing and his plan and the only thing that caused was stressful times and loss of sleep on my part.  Its a very hard thing to give up control and this was a lesson I learned the hard way.  Sometimes God says no because he has better things in mind.

I drove by the kichline house the other day.  I am not sure if its still for sale but it clearly has not be lived in yet and has yet to be connected to electric and water.  I no longer was blinded by the property's potential and noticed the crumbling sidewalk, broken siding, and run down neighborhood.  I heard the traffic from close by 78 and was put off by a shady looking neighbor.  I looked more closely at that same front porch and this time I noticed chipping paint and old glass.  I remembered my mothers face when I took her for a tour and all the issues she pointed out; electrical sockets pulled from the wall, holes in the dry wall, mold in the basement and the wrong kitchen outlets.  It annoyed me at the time but now I realize she was clearly seeing all the things that would have cost me dollars I didn't have.  God told me no.  It was so hard to hear at the time, but now I am thankful.  I drove home from Kichline ave that day, to a place that's just right for right now and that's just fine with me.