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It was a crazy day of a lot of driving and as a result, I ain’t budging tonight.  The body is no more willing than my brain is.  We really didn’t do a lot – hit yard sales, etc, and promptly bought… nothing.  We finally found a couple of books cheap, including one on Aura reading.  All in all we spent very little money though. I talked to a guy about getting a wheelchair but after scheduling a time to meet him, called back to say we were on the way and it was sold.  Gah!

Oh well.  Everything happens for a reason and in the right time.

To simplify things and because we know we MUST get moving now if we elect to buy a place offered at short sale, we’re going to coordinate with our realtor to view places in a batch this week.  We’ve narrowed it down basically to three and G’s taking his camera.  Our requirements are four things: it fits the budget, it’s structurally sound (including electrical and plumbing), it’s one story, and it’s got a fenced yard for Ye Puppy of Doggy.  In this part of the world, all the above are smack in the middle of what’s available.  We were looking at a little lower cost option but after crunching numbers with mortgage dude we bumped it up to the top of our comfort zone.

For what we’re currently paying in rent we can buy a house that’s downright extravagant compared to places I’ve lived before.

Come to think of it, some of the DUMPS of the list are downright extravagant compared to places I’ve lived before.  I’ve lived in cars, lived in houses with no heat/hot water/AC/functional cooling system of ANY kind, lived in places without windows, windows that wouldn’t close, and/or with holes in the outer walls where you could see daylight through (in snow country), and lived in not one but TWO different places where taking a step caused an entire electrical circuit to fail.  Compared to the places I’ve lived before, the worst and cheapest places in the whole community are a giant step up.  When I asked about one of the homes offered for $70K the realtor kind of hedged that it was “rough,” because the back yard wasn’t landscaped and the carpet was missing in one bedroom and it needed paint.  (It also had a bad AC unit but she didn’t find that until after I assured her that the roughness she described didn’t faze me.)  Give me props: I didn’t laugh, tempting as it was.

In the end we backed away from the lower cost places.  Our biggest reason that our loan approval hinges on the property passing inspection.  The AC would’ve been an issue; doubtful the paint and flooring would.  On the other hand, now that I know how to calculate our real payment, I have a lot more wiggle room than I expected.  Why not go for what we really WANT?  Especially when the price difference changes it from $200 a month below our current rent to $100 a month below our current rent.

The places we’re going to view this week fall into the category of, “when I dreamed of buying a house I never dreamed I could afford this!”

I’ve had two of those moments in my life.  The first was back when I was working for the phone company after years of having to look up to see minimum wage.  I had kicked out my second husband for being an idiot and an asshole and had managed (with the help of a friend) to get into a decent apartment.  My youngest kids were staying with their aunt and uncle until I could pull stuff together; my oldest son had a place with roommates, so the only kid with me was my oldest daughter.  I was working unholy hours and was gradually digging myself out of the fiscal pit lingering from so many years of miserably low pay and bad taste in men.  My schedule gave me precious few days off but since I was officially working 4 tens I actually got to TAKE a three-day weekend.  My daughter needed clothes.  We both did, truth be told.  So I told her we were taking the bus to the mall.

Her eyes went big as saucers.  After an entire lifetime where all our wardrobes came from thrift stores, hand-me-downs (or if we were EXTREMELY lucky, Wal Mart), the thought of buying anything from the mall boggled her mind.  She was I think 13 or 14 at the time and her response was, “We can’t afford the mall.”  It wasn’t a question; it was just that dull resignation nobody understands if you haven’t lived your life in grinding poverty.

I think she didn’t believe it until several weeks after her shopping spree when she was actually wearing the things we bought.  It obviously wasn’t a massive shopping spree, but it was The Moment for me.  It was the first time in my adult life that I didn’t feel like I was 100% failure.

The second was getting approved for this house.  Or maybe not yet – I think The Moment will be when we are handed the keys to the place and I know it’s ours.

So if I sound a bit obsessed, hopefully this explains why.  Yeah, I’m obsessed.  I’ve lived in other people’s houses and apartments and lived in places that would be condemned if anybody cared enough to inspect the place.  Even just a few years ago I felt like I had reached the pinnacle in my life and that’s all there was. For me, this process – as frustrating and as challenging as it is, is still one big whopping miracle.  And lemme tell you – I am grateful beyond words.

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