From one home to another 

I know I know, It’s been months since I’ve gotten any art work done or posted anything to my blog or social media. I didn’t mean to just drop off the scene like that, it just sort of happened once I entered the process of transplanting myself and my home and family. 

The whole process is tough – being root bound in container that no longer fits, the cutting and prying of being uprooted and the exhausting strain of taking root in new ground. 

I really identify with the plants I transplanted from the place we  had to leave. But aside from feeling a little extra wilted sometimes, we’re all thriving now. 

Looking back I guess I have to admit that I was in a kind of denial. But that’s the thing – no one knows they’re in denial when they’re in it. I wanted to believe it was faith. Faith against all odds. I wanted to believe it would never happen. I wanted to believe it that people’s consciences or the powers that be or something would prevent it, and I knew deep in my bones that I’d done everything within my rightful power preserve the peace. But there were some who were even more hellbent on forcing us out of our home. So heaven made another way. But I didn’t know it at the time.

I began to look for rentals back in January when it all began to look like it might really unravel for real, even though I didn’t believe it would. Every day I forced myself to search the listings, sent out emails and made contacts just in case. There were some real possibilities that came up, but one by one they burnt out faster than paper matches. I tried to believe that something would come up. I even tried to force myself to believe that moving would be best. Friends encouraged me that it would work out, that moving on would be fine. They sent me links to listings they came across, but I just felt like it wasn’t real. Like I was just going through the motions. The only thing I truly believed was that things were going to turn around, that there was no way my parents would really force us out of our home. I believed their hearts would change, even if it took a miracle. 

But, for the sake of common sense I continued to look for a place to move to, you know, just in case of miracle failure or something. 

Still nothing though. From January thru April – nothing. At least nothing viable, fitting the unique need of our family + budget + location + etc. Gradually I became less and less specific, hoping to broaden the range of possibilities, but the options only became less and less reasonable. 

Then a friend who’d just moved, encouraged me, “why don’t you see what you qualify for to buy?!” I thought, right, so we can see that were qualified to buy a used rv. Perfect. That’ll be awesome.just the let down I need. She persisted that we didn’t have anything to loose by trying, so we did. 

And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect – the same day we found a 60 day notice taped on our front door. That part still seems like an impossibly bad dream. But that’s a whole other story. That was April 26th 

Someday maybe I’ll write the whole story, because there’s so many importance pieces and people I’m leaving out, that made it all possible (and impossible). 

Stephen and I made an appointment with a lender for the following week and made a trip to the coast for the weekend. We had yet to tell Marin that we were going to have to move. She knew things had gotten weird and tense, but the thought of moving never crossed her mind. She was too busy planning the forts she’d build this summer. 

I dreaded telling her, but ultimately that’s what made it real for all of us. There was something about her innocent mind believing what we told her that made it more of a reality for all of us. Also her ease in acceptance….

It was May 1st. A perfectly rare sunny day at montara beach. She was kneeling by the blanket, covering her legs in warm sand as we tried to explain the unknown to her.”I’ll still be able go to my same school though, right?” She said. 

“Of course,” I told her, even though I wasn’t really sure, and then I tried to believe as much as she did. 

I was shocked at what we qualified for. We were barely in the market, but we were in the market, even if it was at the very bottom. That night for the first time I pulled up real estate listings for real, to look at homes to buy not rent! It felt surreal. I set the filters at our price range and after scrolling past a dozen or so land properties and mobile homes, this was the first house I came across. It was the first listing I actually opened and read about. Looking through the 14 pictures in amazement, I immediately sent the link to our realtor and said, “is this place even real!?!” She text right back even though it was 9:30pm. “Oh my gosh! It’s adorable! I’ll see if I can get an appointment to look at it!”


The next morning by 9:30 we were walking through it and by 11:30 we had our offer in on it. 

That was May 5th. 

At this point I was believing so hard – really more than I wanted to, because it’s risky business to get your hopes up too high, but I couldn’t help it. I don’t know if this is how it works, but I felt like my faith fueled the likelihood of things working out, so I went ahead and believed as hard as I could.

Maybe some miracles are made out of pieces of other ideas that fell apart (plus a lot of stuff beyond what we can understand, I’m sure) and maybe that’s why they feel familiar and right even though it’s way different than anything you ever though of. WAY different than the miracle you wanted… 

Anyway for the next week we waited, holding our breath, trying to go on with normal daily life without our mad hopefulness disturbing our focus. But it did.  

Finally! on May 12th we got word that the sellers had accepted our offer. Holy hallelujah! And holy what in the world did we get ourselves into!?! 

Meanwhile, I’d began to pack up our home, and still, just in case of miracle fall out, I kept looking at real estate listings. And there was nothing else. Well, there were a few possibilities, but nothing that fit our needs like this place. 

The next couple of weeks screamed by, with the end-of-school-year finals and fun for both the girls and me. Plus checking county records on the new places and inspections and all the fun that comes with being escrow, which we all know is another word for real estate pergatory, which we all know is right next door to hell.  

And here is where I have to say a special thanks to Stephen for surviving this with me. And to his family for their support, and to all our friends for the encouragement we wouldn’t not have made it without. Words are insufficient. 

The rest of it went like this; 

It was back and forth between making this sweet little new place home and extracting ourselves from this home we love so much. So many tears…

This child and this cat … This is how we held on to every last precious moment in this home. 

And meanwhile there was basketball camp  

And adventures with friends 

And the beginning of summer basketball (never dreaming that they’d be loosing their head coach to a sudden hear attack just days after this game) 

And June 9th! Finally, the keys in my hand!

Stephen was out of town on a job the day we got the keys, so I began the kitchen makeover with the help of Marin and Emma 

To keep it interesting, that evening a friend needed me to help move the goats 

So, No big deal, just Mini and me and four goats in the truck. I mean vanwithin two days the kitchen looked like this. 

And then we had to up and leave for Berkley for the day for a big basketball tournament Saturday the 12th. 

The next day the new neighbor across the street welcomed us to the neighborhood with a bouquet of some of the dalias he grows for the farmers market

That was June 13th, the day we shifted to working on Marin’s room, tearing out the 1950s built in closet that smelled like things I don’t believe in, while Stephen unraveled some of the excess electrical in the kitchen. I discovered that the smell was actually that corner of the house  rotting away because of a drainage problem and Stephen played match the breaker to the outlet. Super fun. 

But it was getting there, even though sometimes you couldn’t tell! Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of my vision amongst the wreckage 

When you’re in this do or die mode sometimes when you get in a good moment  you have to just stop and look at what you have. These girls!… They helped me so much! And they’re so much fun and beautiful. That night we celebrated by cutting our hair. 

That was june 14th. The kitchen at the new place was was ready for my next attack. …the floor!

But these dalias! They just kept me going. 

Did you know you can sand old linoleum, and paint it with a good primer, and refinish it?!? Well you can. 

The seller had done an upgrade on the kitchen before we bought the place but kindly left this lovely linoleum with all its amber potential. All the cabinets were brand new, but the whole look was just a little bit not my thing, so we stripped them and repainted them. I say “we” because me and my team of two girls and a dog. And God bless Stephen for getting other jobs done that I don’t have photo record of, like cleaning the  cootie monsters out the storage shed and the laundry room and shoring up the rotted wall in Marin’s room. 

    The floor painting job turned into the epic 1,800 feet of tape project -yes, you read that right- the 600 yards of 1/4 inch tape job. Such a cool idea, right? Well, that may depend on who you talk to. Some people are still cussing about it. 

    But I think we’ll all take great pride in it for years to come. 

    And God bless Emma! She sacrificed her 16th birthday to screwing cabinet doors back on and putting the kitchen back together again. 

    And I almost forgot the brick paneling – it’s the masonite stuff you can get at Lowes. The girls helped me whitewash it. 

    Anyway, in honor of Emma’s birthday we started tackling her room the next day. It had the same sort of built in closet as Marin’s, just more awkward because it prevented the door from opening all the way. (I’m so bummed at myself for not taking a pic of it before demolishing it) 

    However it did have floral linoleum in it that I got a good picture of. I hated to part with it, but there was really no way to tie it in to the new theme. 

    I’d been throwing all the rubble from the closet out the bedroom window into a heap on the back side of the house. When I toss the linoleum out I heard this sound like a sprinkler coming on, but if you look closely at this pictures you’ll  see it was NOT a sprinkler! It was a RATTLESNAKE!!!

    No thank you!! It was just me and Marin there at the time. And after standing at the window staring at it kind of stunned for a few seconds I realized “I have to go kill it! Right now!” Marin was like “no mom!!! It’ll bite you and you’ll die!!!!” I said “be brave with me sugar. I have to do this” cause it’s not like you just shoo rattlers away and hope they don’t come back. 

    So, I killed it till it was dead and hated every second of it. 

    Meanwhile we spent our last few nights sort of camping out in our Penryn home. June 23rd we rented a moving truck and with the help of a few of the most ferociously wonderful friends, we began moving our stuff to the new place, but we didn’t want to leave our “home” home until we absolutely had to. 

    On the 29th my friend (and badass realtor) Darcie, helped me move Spencer and Della to their new pasture and we brough the cats up too and that just made it all seem like home. Seeing them adjust so well to their new home made it easier for us to settle in too

    It’s was all boxes and heaps of stuff we probably should’ve gotten rid of, but it was beginning to feel like home. 

    Old neighbors came and blessed the home with flowers and new neighbor’s stopped by and brought us peaches from their tree. Yum! And thank you!

    And on happy July 4th the girls and I up and hit the road for Oregon for Emma’s big end of trails tournament and to finally stay with my cousins up that way after all these years and see my uncle and aunt who live in Salem. The whole thing,  so special!

    And the beautiful multnomah falls 

    And the Columbia River Gorge. iPhone selfies don’t do it justice  

    Rachel’s house in Portland 

    Uncle Ran and Aunt Ester’s backyard 

    Second  cousins 

    And this is an epic photo; maybe the first time ever to have a picture taken of my cousins, Colleen and Rachel and me together. And the Oregon zoo giraffes!

    Unfortunately  I wasn’t smart enough to get a picture of Colleen and Greg and their family in front of their beautiful home in Salem. I guess we were too busy having so much fun there. Fireworks in the driveway on the 4th, barbecue pork sliders and all the fixings for dinner. 

    Anyway, Oregon is heavenly! Can’t wait to go back! 

    We made it home early Sunday morning, July 10th around 2am. Emma Emma helped me stay awake for the drive home by singing along  with Disney songs. She couldn’t wait get home and start making her room her own. 

    It’s still got a lot of work that needs to be done but it’s come a long way in less than two months. 

    I really can’t wrap my mind around the way things have all worked out. The timing, the way this little place accommodates us even with all its funkiness …I’m as thankful as I can be