Thursday, September 22, 2016

I've Been Busy Chasing Dreams

The good news is that I could remember my default settings here for type size, font, and color on my posts. The bad news is that I haven't blogged in so long that the cobwebs and dust here are incredibly dense, and I should have my keyboard rights revoked. Sincerely, since last I saw you.... Truly, though, I feel like I'm a sporadic episode of a bad soap opera from which you just cannot look away.

So at any rate, happy end of summer. Today is officially the first day of fall. It's still hot in Texas. 95 right now as I type this. Teachers everywhere are scurrying to get classroom routines down pat, and parents everywhere are dealing with the reality that school has started, and with it all the ensuing schedule demands. Some are doing the happy dance, some are obsessing about finding the exact class, club or sport supply requirement that everyone wants and no one stocks, and some of melancholy over the house being quiet again. 

Yes, September. It's here. And halfway over. My youngest son is 21 now, and still working hard to build his culinary resume, and finalizing his application to the CIA. He did take a big adventure trip to Peru for 9 days after his August birthday. Football has resumed and the Steelers are 2-0. He's excited. Oldest boy is hunkering down and getting his routine settled as he has entered his last year of college. {Where has the time gone?} Thankfully, he wisely decided this week not to get a dog. Hubster is knee deep in another holiday season prep fest at work. 

See, I seriously feel like we need a "when last we left her" recap. And you should totally read that in your mind in a 1930's creepy, sinister radio narrator voice. :-) So, I shall catch you up to speed, and once again hope that I can keep it together enough to be a little more intentional and frequent out here in the blogosphere. I have always felt that writing comes out of a place of abundance within me, and when I'm not living in an "overflow" mentality, it's hard. But, the exciting thing is that I feel that spirit of abundance returning. Life must be leveling out some.

So, stating the obvious, my last post was, serendipitously, on Friday, February 26. On that next day, Saturday, Steve was off, and we both got up early and drove down to Houston for the day for my second installment of spending a Saturday visiting my parents. {You might also recall we were in month 8 of building a home: contract signed for new home on 6/13/2015, moved out of old home into an apartment on 7/28/2015. Slab on new home wasn't poured until 12/30/15.} Steve and I had a great visit with my folks and got in late Saturday night, February 27. We woke up on Sunday morning, now February 28, folks, and went to check on the progress of our home build, as our project manager had let us know via a Friday email that they "fixed all the items on our list" regarding framing, electrical, and plumbing issues we had noted and had been working with them on for weeks upon weeks. We walked in the house and disgustedly observed they had fixed ONLY ONE of the items. I slowly turned to Steve and said, with all the subtle coyness I could muster, "I found the new David Weekley neighborhood on Friday afternoon. Do you want to go see it?" To his credit, and my complete satisfaction, he didn't bat an eye, or pause a second before determinedly replying, "YES." Now my husband does not get upset very often, but on that day he was incredibly agitated "for him". ;-) {I am all the volume in our marriage.} ;-) 

{Now, the narrator needs to pipe back in and let you know that the heroine of this tale had secretly reconnoitered on Friday afternoon the 26th to find the new David Weekley neighborhood that was supposedly going in near or around the neighborhood she was presently building in. The heroine had also reached out to this same company back in June 2015, and was not answered, and reached out again to them in January 2016, and got the information that it would take 6-8 months to build, and yes, they were patio homes with zero lot lines. The final fact I'll share is that the heroine's last house in Murphy was built by David Weekley and David Weekley originates in Houston, where said heroine had nursed a three decade crush on his homes before being able to build one herself in 2005.}

So, we walked out of that framed shell of a house and drove the 1.8 mile distance in 4 minutes, parked the car, and got out to walk the model. Now, the model was not yet finished, and the neighborhood was not yet finished, but pre-sale was occurring and the sales team was set up in a nearby office space, but on that Sunday, it was just Steve, myself, and survey marked lots full of dirt, and quasi-constructed homes present in the neighborhood. The model itself was dried in, framed and insulated - ready for drywall. Farther along than the home we bought back in June. It was also markedly superior in workmanship and lumber quality. I am so thankful that the two homes were at virtually the same stage, insulation being only the different item in one over the other. I do believe that was a sovereign moment for Steve to so transparently be able to instantly contrast and compare. {I had walked the model home under construction on Friday afternoon and was already 36 hours in love with the concept, neighborhood, and area.} He immediately blurted out, "This home looks WAY BETTER than my home! Look at this lumber! I can see there is a huge difference in how ours is being built! Our home looks like crap!" I can still hear him being so vocal, so emphatic, so disgusted. My inner self was dancing. I had been ready to walk away from the other one since November. We had 15,000 reasons not to. As in dollars paid down as deposits on upgrades, technically non-refundable. 

So, I looked at Steve and said, "Time and money aside, is there any reason we should buy that other house and not buy a home here in this neighborhood? Setting aside the delay in move in, and setting aside the risk of losing $15,000, is there any reason we should buy that house?" He said, "No." And then I said, "Then there is no reason why we should buy that house. Because $15,000 and 6 months are not enough of a reason to be miserable for the next fifteen years." {I think that might have been my most logical, sane, and rational rebuttal I've ever given in my life.} ;-) He agreed. I then called the internet sales number and set up an appointment for 1:00 p.m. that very same day with the Spicewood Sales Consultant. It really just all snowballed from there. We knew we were after something very similar to what we were building around the corner. We were handed the 8 floor plans, and quickly tossed any that had an upstairs study, or no study, or 4 bedrooms. That left 2 viable options, and we both loved the one that had the largest study, The Roseman. Now, I cannot tell you if that is why Steve loved it, but I know that is what I evaluate first and foremost! It is kind of funny, though, that he and I were both able to decide in about 15 minutes which one we liked, and we both picked the same one. We have bought too many houses, for sure.

We picked the plan, looked at the neighborhood plots available, talked through the pros and cons of them, drove over to neighborhood and walked some lots with the Sales Consultant, and then headed back to her office. I asked Steve the second "tough love" question of the day, "What questions do you need answered to make a decision?" {My heart needed to regroup and move forward!!} He said, "None." to which I quickly replied, "Do you have your checkbook, or do you need mine?" Good lordy I love that man. He whipped out his checkbook right then and paid the deposit. I'm sure that Sales gal will tell the tale of us for years to come. We might have been the fastest sale ever on a home that had a model home that wasn't even finished yet, let alone the neighborhood not even being finished. 

Opportunity is what happens when luck and preparation collide. We got lucky that day. We acted on a hunch and scored an amazing lot that had zero premium, and were the second sale in the neighborhood. You can't ever tell me that internet researching on a slow Friday afternoon at work doesn't pay off! We then spiraled into the circuit of cancelling the other contract and going full bore into the beginning processes of an entirely new new home build. We called it the new new house and the old new house. Everything about the new new house confirmed for us that it was meant to be. I told Steve on 2/29, the day we cancelled our contract on the old new house, "Sometimes God lets a dream die to give birth to a new bigger and better dream." I sent him an email that day called, "What a difference a day makes" because the new team was all over us with information, mapping out what needed to happen next, finalizing our paperwork, etc. It was stunning to watch it all unfold! And after a long week of intermittent communiques with the old new house, we found out on Friday, March 4 at 5:00 p.m., as we wrapped up a meeting with our new new house team, that we were getting a full refund on the old new house. Talk about a gift from heaven! It was sweet closure to a long and arduous ordeal. We got that check in the mail two weeks later and never corresponded with them again. 

{We did continue to check on the old new house about every 4 weeks or so. They listed it for $35,000 more than our contract price on it, and it sold in about a month of our cancellation. The buyers moved in around July 21, best I could tell based on some curtains on the window. I will tell you if I had waited 13 months for that house I think I would either be incarcerated or in an asylum. And the last time we walked the house, right before the appliances were installed, we could still see mistakes in it and shoddy workmanship, and we were so glad we bailed when we did. My mom has said to me many times over that house, "You never would have been happy in that house," and I believe she is spot on.}

We moved full speed ahead on the new new house, and never looked back or second guessed. Of course, we went through Design again, and selected, and in some cases re-selected, choices. I am getting the same floor in the new new house, and going with the same color scheme, but the new new house had more options available, and like any good dessert buffet, I helped myself to more than I needed, and maybe more than I should've. ;-) We worked on the design elements and making all of our decisions and selections while the developer worked on finishing up "Phase 2" of the neighborhood, the phase that we will be in. We had our final design appointment on April 19, the neighborhood received city of McKinney sign off on May 17, and our permit was approved on or around June 3. The lot was plowed on June 10. Our new new house was further along after 7 weeks than the old new home was after 7 months. It's all been a whirlwind ride. A very fast, emotional, chaotic, happy dance ride.

We are hanging in there. The apartment is old. We are weary of it. Poor Truman doesn't know what to think. The one year mark in late July of being out of our old home hit me hard. The month of June when we thought we were to have been in our old new home was a challenge. The extended lease expiration date and paying high month to month rent is icky. There have been some dark days, some weepy weekends, some endless evenings. But, we are in the home stretch. The tile crew is installing the kitchen backsplash soon. The countertops are in. The plumbers started installing fixtures yesterday and should finish up today. The electrician shows up today to begin installation of outlets, switches, and light fixtures. HVAC also begins today.
 My best guess is that there are between 50 and 60 days left of apartment life. {Believe me I have a complex algorithm set up to calculate this that I review and update daily. You don't want to see that deep into my head, trust me.} ;-) And 9 of those 60 days we are, thank the Lord, in Florida.

Walt Disney himself said, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." So, that is why I haven't been here. I've been busy chasing dreams. And actually watching a few of them be captured, followed, come to life. 

Follow Your Dreams ~ Buying The Roseman ~ March 2016

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: Simple Stories
Title Fonts: Silhouette Cut File

Settling on Spicewood ~ Starting the Cottage ~ March 2016

Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation
Paper: October Afternoon, Simple Stories
Title Fonts: Ballerina Script