Movin’ on up.

2 July, 2012 § 4 Comments

On my desk I have a card sent to me by my parents. The card reads on the outside, “A new place — Decorate your new place in your own special style…” and then on the inside, “…fun, colorful, and full of love. Congratulations!” Also on the inside is a personal note my mother wrote in:

David & Holly —

We’ll miss having you two around. But we’re also excited for you & very proud of you for taking this big step and going out on your own. Please know that you will always have a place to come home to, if you need it. You’re welcome any time for dinner, to visit or whatever (but just give us a heads up so I’ll be sure to be serving enough! 🙂 )

Congratulations! We love you both!

Mom & Dad

I received this letter in February of 2007 right after Holly and I moved into our apartment across town from where I’d grown up and spent the majority of my life, and where Holly had been living with us for the past two and a half years. We had refrained from telling my parents we were moving because we wanted it to be a surprise, so we didn’t tell them until after we’d been approved to move in. “Hey, guys, sit down for a sec. We have something to tell you,” I started. As soon as those words registered, their eyes widened and I realized what they thought I was going to say. “Oh, we’re not pregnant. We’re moving out next week.”

And we did. In fact we got a really great deal on our apartments, too, which was part of the reason we were rushing to move out since we had to sign our lease by a certain date in order to take advantage of the deal.

So that happened. Then, last November, we received a notice that our rent would be increasing by nearly $150 when we re-signed our lease in February. So we realized we had to expedite our plans to move out. We had been looking for a house off and on for several months, but only once we found out our rent payments were about to skyrocket did we become determined to move out as quickly as possible. We contacted a friend of ours who was in real estate, told him we were interested in learning more about moving out, and began scouring several real estate websites to see what our options looked like.

We had only a few requirements: 3+ bedrooms, a large kitchen, and an open floor plan. Easy enough, right? We began actively looking at houses in December. Unfortunately our work schedules never quite seemed to sync up so we were viewing maybe three or four houses each week. Also unfortunately none of the houses we looked at locally really suited our needs. On top of that, the particular lack of saved funds made it especially difficult to find a house we could afford with a reasonable down payment. Nevertheless, we continued searching. We were approved for an FHA mortgage loan and we even found one or two houses that impressed us enough to make an offer, but unfortunately we were too late on all counts, once by as little as an hour.

Fast forward to March of this year. A coworker of mine (also a real estate agent) suggested we try looking a bit further out of our area. She told us about our loan options for rural areas since I had expressed concerns about dealing with a down payment. I contacted my lender and he informed me we were eligible for a USDA loan, which would require no down payment. So we began looking for houses in rural areas north of Dallas. Unfortunately our friend was less familiar with rural housing and loans, and with his blessing we switched agents to Sue, the woman I work with who told us about USDA loans in the first place.

Sue took us out to Anna, TX and in one day we viewed ten houses; many of which matched what we were looking for very nicely. When we walked into the eighth or ninth house, we knew it would be the one. We made an offer and two days later we had a signed contract for a house.

During the next couple months we did all the tedious stuff — paperwork, inspections, loan stuff, government stuff… Finally on the morning of Thursday the 14th of June 2012, Holly and I signed the closing paperwork for our house.

The following Sunday, Father’s Day, we broke the news to my parents, who had no idea we were even looking for a house to begin with. “Holly and I have an announcement. No, we’re not pregnant.” I led them on for a while, explaining that Holly and I had been under a lot of stress lately, and that we were feeling pressed for cash — these were things they knew, but they didn’t know why. Finally I laid it on them, “On Thursday, we closed on a house. We’re moving out of town on Wednesday.”

This brought on a couple reactions. First was amazement, and then came the follow-up question I expected: “What do you mean, ‘out of town’?” We had, in the past, traveled to Denver a few times because Holly used to have family up there. My parents knew we absolutely loved the weather and atmosphere and had, once or twice, discussed the possibility of moving out there. I assured them that no, I was not moving out of Texas for the first time since 1988; we were only moving about twenty miles north.

So my mom raised her glass and everyone toasted our new endeavor. It was late and Holly and I had actually spent most of the day painting in the house, so we decided to call it a night and go home (to the apartment).

Monday, I took my computer up to the new house and had our water services activated while Holly packed up in the apartment. Tuesday I had the house inspected for our Certificate of Ownership, and had the carpet cleaned that evening — while Holly packed up in the apartment. Wednesday we woke up early, took the cats to the vet to have them boarded for the day, packed up and rearranged some final things in the apartment, and at 8:30 the movers arrived.

There’s not much to say about the move itself, so I’ll let you use your imagination. But by 11:15 we were done.

I think dinner that night was Hot Pockets and champagne.

Thursday, we had our satellite service installed and my mom and brother got to see the house for the first time (my dad had come by Monday to help me get some of our electronics hooked up). Friday my parents came over again, as well as several close friends, for a day-long pseudo-party. There were drinks, good food, and baseball on the “big screen.” The big screen is really just the blank wall our projector is aimed at. Did I mention the previous owners left us a mounted projector with a DVD receiver and surround sound system? That was awfully nice of them.

Saturday, we rested for the first time all week.

Sunday, I went back to work while Holly enjoyed the last day of her vacation. I don’t remember Monday except that night Holly and I made dinner together for the first time, now that we’ve got a kitchen we can both fit into at the same time. Tuesday we had the internet activated (it had been activated Thursday morning, but some of our phone wiring wasn’t connected properly and we couldn’t get that taken care of ’til Tuesday). I also restocked our bookshelves.

Thursday was a milestone for me; I had an early shift at work and Holly was working late, so I decided to take it upon myself to make dinner. With no help at all from Holly (first time ever), I made a “pasta pie.” Pictures are below.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday happened, and that brings us to today. Today we had a professional mow our lawn for us. We wanted a sort of “template” before we begin to maintain our lawn on our own. He did a fantastic job and we couldn’t be more pleased. Tomorrow we’re having the house re-keyed, so if you happen to have a copy of the current keys, tonight will be your last chance to break in. With keys.

And now, pictures!

Our big backyard. Not pictured: the shed. There’s a shed.

Open concept; living room view from kitchen. Pre-purchase. Previous owners’ furniture/decor.

Front-view of the house. I was standing in the field across the street to take this shot.

Getting ready in the apartment. Freyja’s helping.

I had to pack up the cats’ toys eventually. I don’t think Freyja was thrilled about it.

This was the first picture I took of the house as a homeowner. Holly did the honors of letting us into our house for the first time.

This was the second picture. Someone had to turn on all the lights.

Sunday, after breaking the news to my parents, we broke the news to all our friends on Facebook; many of whom had been left in the dark as well. This is how we did it.

Our first dinner cooked together: pasta! (I wouldn’t have it any other way)

My first dinner cooked without any help whatsoever: pasta pie! (No, really, I wouldn’t have it any other way)

I stood on the bed to get this picture. That empty spot is where I was sitting while I unboxed all the books.

Freyja’s finally settled in to her new home.

Those are all the pictures I’ve got for you here on the blog. To see all our pictures (including those of houses we viewed prior to this one, more pictures of this house, pictures of us painting, more pictures of cooking, and plenty more pictures of us preparing for the move) don’t forget to like my page on Facebook!

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