The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. At the beginning of March, we were notified by our landlord that, despite his statements to the contrary, he would be selling the house we had been renting and was hoping we could be out by May 1st. In just under 2 months, he wanted us to find a suitable place to live, pack up our lives and move. No warning and definitely not on our radar. My boys and I kicked it into high gear and set out to find a place to live.
Initially we thought about moving into my grandpa’s house. He has dementia and has been living in a memory care facility for a while. My sis has been living there with her kids and her boyfriend for about the last year. She was supposed to be looking for a new place closer to her work and I was under the impression that she would be moving around the time we needed to move. Perfect solution, right? Not so much. Found out that she would be staying until about July. That was still okay because my landlord told me that we could stay until September, giving us ample time. If I could live there rent-free like my sister had been, that would give me a opportunity to pay off some debt and prepare to buy a house of my own. About a week after we found out what lies ahead of us, my mom tells me that she and my dad are selling their house and moving into my grandpa’s to live mortgage free. Again, no break for us.
So we started looking for a place to live.
At about the same time, my cat (a 4 year old unaltered male) had disappeared for a while and came home with an abscess in his jaw. We were worried that it was a BB gunshot wound and took him to the vet. We had just gotten our tax return so we finally had the money to not only take care of the abscess, but also get him fixed, something we had been meaning to do for a while. Unfortunately, we found out that he had FIV and had to be an indoor cat. He did not like being indoors, but we couldn’t risk him giving it to the neighborhood cats. He became super territorial and aggressive. He peed on everything and started pooping on furniture because he was pissed at not being able to go outside. He also meowed constantly which meant no one got any sleep. Attacking my youngest was the last straw. At his followup appointment, I explained to the vet what had been going on, and that I had heard of ways to curb the behavior. Unfortunately, because being outside was so ingrained in my cat (coupled with the FIV diagnosis) and because he had become so territorial and aggressive, the vet believed that the only humane course of action was to euthanize my cat. $1,000 to treat and ultimately euthanize my cat, making my” year of travel” fund for the year much smaller and my guilt meter go off the charts. Just a little bit of advice–do not delay neutering a male cat. Do it ASAP.
Also around that time, I had a tire that kept going flat because I had run over a screw a few months before. It had gotten to the point where I was putting air the tire every day and sometimes even twice a day. If you are going to replace one tire, might as well replace all four and get it over with. Another $1,000 out of our “year of travel” fund gone.
It seemed that I spent every waking moment looking for a place to live. On my days off, I spent a lot of time on Apartments.com, Rent.com, Hotpads.com, zillow.com and a variety of property management sites. Something was wrong with each of them. They didn’t allow cats (this was before he was euthanized), they had a weird layout that wouldn’t allow for my work-at-home set-up, they were too small, they were poorly kept or smelled weird or unclean. If I did find one that worked, they rented it before we could get our application in. The other issue was space. I just bought a freezer and wasn’t prepared to give it up. I had already settled on the idea that I would have to sell or get rid of a lot of my art and craft supplies.
Just as I did when I was looking for a job, I prayed for only one yes–the one that was meant to be ours. My thinking was that God knew the need and he would provide, and if that yes meant we gave things up, I was okay with that. Or I would learn to be. I also knew that if it was a yes, then the money would be there.
About three weeks in, I saw it. I was browsing Zillow and an apartment had just been posted that morning. I LOVED it. The minute I saw the pictures I knew I wanted it. About 1000 square feet, island in the kitchen, wood burning fireplace, large bedrooms and it had a two car garage. And, it was beautiful. I immediately set an appointment to see it and showed my boys the listing. They felt the same way when they saw the pictures. The minute we stepped in the door, we knew it had to be ours. The bedrooms are twice the size of the house we were living in. Beautiful hardwood floors and carpets. The bathroom actually has counter space and drawers and a tile shower with sliding glass door. Built in shelves and cabinets and of course the two car garage. That two-car garage would allow me to keep my newly purchased freezer, my art and craft supplies and would give us enough flexibility to unpack a little at a time. I put in the application and 2 days later we were approved. In 7 days we would start moving into our new place.
I had to work a normal 40 hour week, errands still had to be run, bills had to be paid and we now had to pack up an entire house while still living in it. Not a whole lot of time. Thankfully, my ex-husband came through and was able to help get all the heavy moving done. A friend I met through my youngest son volunteered her time to help pack and rocked it in my studio. Her son and nephew helped with the heavy lifting and moving. I am so thankful for everyone that helped us get moved. Cleaning was another story. I did have few friends come by and help when they had some time and what they got accomplished was amazing. I am so thankful for everyone that was able to help. I still haven’t finished cleaning–just a few things left to do, but I ended up sick for 3 days.
We are almost there but moving, with all the stuff we had to buy and the security deposit and rent ate over $2,000 of our “year of travel” fund. It is gone. There is no money left for travel this year. So travel is out, which in my mind, is out of the question, or I have to pick up extra hours at work or find another creative way to earn travel money.
Things NEVER work out the way we plan or the way we hope. They change and break and bend. I could feel defeated over the loss of my travel fund. I could sit here and be pissed off that my sister and her family got to live rent free for so long and I was not afforded the same opportunity. I could mope over the possibility of working a lot more hours. But, I will do like I always do–work hard, get creative and push forward. In the end I usually have to fight for everything I have, but in that process I am teaching my kids to do the same.
And as far as travel goes, I won’t let anything stop me and my boys. Extra hours, driving for UberEats again, or doing farmers market (schedule permitting) again, I will figure out a way to finance food and transportation when we travel. Now that we have caught the bug, travel isn’t a matter of “if”, it is “when” and “how”.
And as far as the inconvenience and frustration of moving goes, we are in a place that makes us happy and feels like home. Yes, sacrifices were made and those were hard, but I truly believe that we are where we are meant to be. Beautiful home, nice neighborhood, happy kids.