Friday, March 21, 2014

Faith & the John Hughes house

I wanted to sell my house the moment after I bought it.  I have been actively trying to sell it for about 18 months (although not consecutively).  The moment I’d been waiting for finally arrived last Sunday.  Someone shot us a joke of an offer.  Although we tried to play hardball, we ended up pretty much giving him everything they wanted.  When I think of the deal, it’s almost like an assault.  But we get to move into a new house.
Now, if you don’t know who John Hughes is, stop reading immediately and don’t come back until you have a proper appreciation of John Hughes and the movies he wrote and/or directed.  Kids who grew up and came of age in the 1980’s and 1990’s no doubt have a favorite John Hughes movie.  His chronicled the lives of teenagers.  He is the father of a genre:  comedies about disaffected youth.
Sometime in our lives together, Husband and I developed this notion of the “John Hughes House”.  This would be a house that looks like it could be in a John Hughes movie.  Most of these homes have a similar look about them.  They tend to be larger, traditional, conservative.  They definitely are not starter homes, but most would not be described as overly affluent. 
In all of these houses there was ROOM and lots of it.  Room for the kids to be kids, and because there was enough space, the kids could be left to their own devices.  In other words, people wouldn’t be tripping over one another. 
A John Hughes House is in a neighborhood.  Residents do things like decorate for Christmas (Christmas Vacation) and have block parties (She’s Having a Baby).
For us a John Hughes House says “grown up.”  Even if it is in name only…
So where does faith fit into the notion of the John Hughes house?  Waiting!  That’s what.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Psalm 27:14
The house from Sixteen Candles
Ferris Bueller's House
The Griswold's house
No explanation needed....
The house from Home Alone
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
She's Having a Baby
Uncle Buck
I truly believe that God’s timing is perfect.  But waiting for my house to sell truly tested my faith in this.  If not for my neighbor, Tanya, constantly reminding me of this, I just might be in the “nervous hospital” about now.
Our house wasn’t working for us – at all.  Yes that’s a first world problem and at least I have a house to live in – yadda, yadda yadda…  I understand that.
Through a lot of prayer I really felt that I was being lead to have a family member come to my house and have surgery and begin recovery.  There was no way that could happen in my current situation.  No way. 
Friends said, “Anne, the Lord knows you need to care for your family and it will happen.”  But it never did.  We waited even longer.  People would look at my house but no offers.  I slashed the price and no offers.  I list it For Sale By Owner, and no offers, just sleazy investors. 
So then I began to ask, “God, why do you want my relative to suffer?  If my house would just sell, suffering could cease!”  No luck.  I waited some more. 
This is the second go round on listing the house it we were nearing the 1 year mark…  I began to tally the financial and emotional toll of this house selling endeavor.
I’ve packed up thing that I use frequently and put them in a storage unit that I have to pay on each month.  I spent probably $3000 on tree cutting, stump grinding and grass planting in the back yard.  Husband still hasn’t forgiven me for this.  Asking a man who works for the Forest Service to cut down perfectly healthy chestnut oak trees, is like asking him to cut off his own limbs.  Seriously, he’s still mad.  Really mad.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we get an offer.  Of course it was when I was out of town and Husband was also out of town.  Our crappy offer came under the most inconvenient of circumstances.  Of course if did. 
We tried to play hard ball, but in the end, we said, “Fine! FUCK this!” and accepted the offer.  My realtor said it was the right thing to do.  When she called the other agent I asked her to sigh heavily and simply say “Fine…” rather than “We accept your offer.”  Not sure that she did that.  All the while she’s ensuring me that we’ll make our money up when we buy. 
And then God reminded me about His timing…  And did He ever!
I didn’t feel that it was the moment God intended my house to sell.  I thought I would feel more excited or more of a catharsis or something – anything.  I was probably just irritated.  The irritation was probably caused in fact, by my prolonged and intimate dealings with the TSA that I experienced on my flight home.  I was scolded, swabbed, patted down and felt up.  But that’s a story for another time. 
So we set our sights on a new house.  There was one we liked – just liked.  My comments were, “Yes, this could really work for us.”  Not “This is THE house!” 
We plan a marathon house hunt for Saturday, but I’m resigned that I’ll end up with House #1. 
We looked at a house where I left convinced that the owner is into Wicca.  Another was pretty, expensive and still needed renovations.  A third had wood paneling and a scary basement.  But there was a 4th house to see.
This house is a John Hughes house in a John Hughes neighborhood.  It’s in town -where I want to be.  The average sales price for a house here is out of our price range.  And it’s not even for sale yet.  Our realtor spoke with their realtor and they’ve agreed to let us look.  I don’t let myself get excited at all.  There is no way this is going to happen. 
Built in 1992, I go in bracing myself for all gold fixtures and teal and pink wallpaper.  But to my surprise, I didn’t find either one.  The owners are in the process of updating and painting – readying the house to sell.  They are installing granite, silver fixtures, fresh paint.  Now I am positive that we cannot afford this house.  But I love it.  I mean I REALLY love it.  It's perfect for the boys for relatives for parties or whatever.
We put in an offer and wait an anxious 24 hours.  I just want them to reject us out right so we can offer on House #1.  You see I fail to mention the person who bought my house for a criminally low amount of money then had the audacity to request closing in on April 7th.  We said that we need the standard 30 days.  He said no…  I believe this man should work for the TSA the way he keeps working me over…
Well, it happened – finally.  We got the house.  Their realtor told them about our family and what we wanted to do with the house, etc., and they agreed to sell it to us!
I just began to cry when I got the news.  Because at that moment I understood God’s timing.  If my house would have sold a year ago, or six months ago or any time before it did, I would not have been able to buy my John Hughes house.  Remember, it wasn’t even on the market.  Our realtor pulled in a favor for us to look at it.  God did that!
Things seem to be going smoothly.  Since the diva who bought my house has to be in so soon, a friend of Husband’s offered up his rent house to us.  But then then owners of our new home agreed to let us stay in the basement while the completed renovations upstairs.  When God is ready for a plan to come together…
So we will move into our John Hughes house in early April.  Who knows what life will bring us while living there.  Maybe we’ll get in Asian exchange student.  Maybe Bruce will get married and I’ll forget Reed’s 16th birthday.  Maybe David will go out of town and have to endure an Odyssey to get home for Christmas.  Or perhaps we’ll go to Europe to see my brother and I’ll leave Bruce in the basement.  One day Reed might feign illness to skip school.  I might even have to leave town to deal with a sick relative and I’ll be forced to leave the kids with a crazy uncle.  We might plan a cross country car trip to an amusment park.  David might be overcome with the Christmas spirit and cover our home in lights.  Who knows? But we will do it in a house large enough to house the antics.  Antics, faith and a little wine.  OK a lot...
The Cadle house from the non-existent movie
Life in the GTSA (Great Tri-State Area). 
There will be sequels...

 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on your own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

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