Monday, December 21, 2009

Again, Really??

I have written and rewritten this post a half-dozen times.  It needs to be said I just don't know where to begin.  I thought we were done with this issue, but today Keith called on his way to work -

Hey, you know that doublewide we really liked behind the church?

Uh, yeah.  What about it?

Would you live there now?

I guess.  This is the house we had a contract on before, right?  Why?  Is it still for sale?

Yes, it is.  And they've rebuilt all three porches.  It's been on the market for so long I'm sure they've dropped the price even more.  So do you think you'd live there?

I guess so, Keith. I don't know.  We can't move now.

If I could wave my magic wand and make it happen, like I've done before, would you move into it?

I guess!  We'd have to figure out what to do with this house.  The only way we could make that happen is if we could get someone to rent out this house.  I don't know . . . There's not much of a yard and we have the dog now, with a fully fenced in yard.  I'd really rather just stay here for a few more years like we agreed.


Are you mad?

No, I'm just tire of fighting all these bills!  That house is huge.  It has a decent yard.  We loved it before!

Well, I really like the house itself, just not the location.  If you can find me something with a bigger yard, then we can move.

We'll never find anything for that low a price!

God, Keith!  Can't we just stick to what we said we were going to do?!  I'm so tired of going back and forth on this.  I can't go another solid year of not knowing whether or not we're going to move.  I'm not going through that again. 


End of conversation.  For now, apparently.  We've been fighting and going back and forth on whether or not to move for over a year.  I just can't take it any more. 

I admit that it was my idea to move.  Over a year ago I did my best to convince Keith to move into a more affordable, larger and more "PD efficient" house. First, we have completely outgrown this house. We just have too many people and not enough closets, bedrooms or bathrooms.  And the rooms we do have are very, very small.   Second, I want a more affordable house.  I need to know that when the time comes I will be able to keep a roof over our heads on my meager income. Plus, freeing up money will give us more money to put into savings and possibly pay for what I consider to be necessities and Keith considers to be luxuries - a membership at the gym or local Y, maybe a personal trainer to assist Keith, less financial stress.  Third, this house is so small that there is no way you can get a wheelchair around in it.  I would never be able to get him up the front steps and into the house, should that ever happen.  So I pushed the issue of moving, and I pushed very hard.  This was one of those subjects that I felt very strongly about.  I reasoned that Keith was just going to have to accept that I was not backing down on this one - it was much too important to me and to our family.  I was not at all prepared for the Keith to feel the same way, only in resistance to moving.

I finally, after many moons of talking his ear off about it, got him to agree to move, but he agreed on one condition - that we move into his childhood home, the home that his father still lives in.  I reluctantly agreed.  That is a very touchy subject to approach.  Keith had to talk to his father about it, then his brothers to make sure they would agree to let us buy the house from them when the time came, meaning when they inherit it.  Nobody wants to think along those lines, but as a family dealing with PD, we must consider all the options.  So I reluctantly agreed.  I like the house well enough, but I don't care much for the location and it does need a lot of work.  It is much, much larger than our current house, but like most elderly people's houses, it hasn't been painted or updated in a hundred  years.  And the basement leaks when it rains.  Basically, it's just too big a risk for me to feel comfortable taking.  I don't know that I could keep up with the maintenance on a house that old, much less afford it.  And I would forever be afraid that my kids would get hit by a car on the busy road in front of the house. 

Keith and I have had many rounds over his father's house.  I have made it very clear to him that I do not want that house but that I have resigned myself to knowing we will likely end up there.  Still, I pushed the issue of moving into a separate house all together.  I played a dirty trick - I dangled the possibility of buying a house outright, with no mortgage, in front of him.  Our house had appreciated so much in value, thanks to the location, that we had made a killing on it.  If we sold our house at top value, we could take the money and buy a larger house further outside of town, paid in cash.  How sweet is that!  We had the house appraised and to our delight, discovered that we could indeed come away with enough money to be mortgage free, as long as it was a doublewide and not a brick and mortar house.  Excitedly, we did all the things you are supposed to do when you get your house ready to sell - we painted, cleaned the carpets, trashed or donated a ton of stuff.  We alerted all our friends and family that we were moving.  I gave a notice to my daycare parents that at some point in the future I would be closing down shop.  But then a strange thing happened - we never moved.  Hell, we never even put the house up for sale.  I tried in vain to convince Keith that we needed to sell the house first, then find a place to live.  But he was so afraid that we'd end up with no where to live that finding another house became his passion.  For months he searched high and low, for miles and miles around, looking for something that was suitable.  For months I kept asking him when the for-sale sign was going to go up.  Houses in this neighborhood sell fast, he'd say.  We've got to find somewhere to live!  But Keith, we can always rent an apartment somewhere if we sell before we find a good house.  It's not like we're going to be homeless!  He just wasn't hearing me. 

For six months we lived out of boxes.  Everything was packed up in the shop to stage the house for selling.  I finally put my foot down and insisted that we place the house for sale.  To our horror, we realized through our realtor that the market had plunged so low we had lost nearly thirty thousand dollars on our house.  That really put a crimp in our plans.  Suddenly, we went from looking at doublewides with a nice, big yard and maybe a shop, to buying a singlewide in a trailer park.  Nothing against trailer parks, but when you've had a house in a really nice neighborhood with a great yard and plenty of room, it's difficult to go from there to a trailer park.  Still, I insisted.  Yes, it would be difficult, but it's for the greater good of the family, I reasoned.  The kids will adjust, as we all will, I argued.  We can't afford to be frivolous with PD.  We've just got to buck up and do what needs to be done!  We can't let our emotions dictate what is in our best interests! 

Keith resisted even more, sometimes.  I don't know if it was related to the medication he was on or simply his desire to stay put conflicting with all the pros of moving, but it was quite a roller coaster there for awhile.  Weekly we would look at homes, mostly in mobile home parks, and try to picture ourselves living there.  Most were not suitable to us for one reason or another, but several proved promising.  Once, Keith called  to tell me about a really nice park near his work.  There was a very old mobile home that would soon become available.  The house was part of the park but sat near the front entrance, away from the other trailers.  It had a pretty large yard with a lot of wood behind it, and it's own private entrance.  Driving by, you would never have known it was actually a part of the park.  The park owner was planning to remove the older home and was willing to let us place a brand new one in it's place.  The lot rent was cheap enough that we could pay it monthly until we sold our house and bought a new trailer.  Keith was very excited about it.  But things quickly changed.  By the time he got home from work that night he had a complete change of heart.  You don't know what it will do to me to have to give up everything I have and move into a trailer park, he said. I'm not doing it.  We'll just have to find some other way.   I couldn't understand how he could be so excited about this opportunity just a few hours ago, and now he was refusing it.

This pattern would repeat itself several times over the year.  Back and forth we went - do we like this mobile home park or not?  Do we like this trailer or not?  You don't like it but I do.  I don't like it but you do.  Eventually, one of us would always bring up the kids as a weapon.  Horrible, yes, but effective on both ends.  He talked about how much the kids needed to stay put, with all their friends, in a great neighborhood, a great yard.  He said he didn't want his kids growing up with that negative stereotype about those who live in trailer parks.  My response was always the same - at least they could have a roof over their heads if something were to happen. Round and round we went for a year, never really agreeing on anything.  We eventually found two different doublewides in a park - one was almost brand new and the other was much older but huge and still very nice.  The first one we put a contract on but the park owners refused to let us buy it because the septic system was only designed for three people, not a family of five.  The other home we also had a contract on after the previous owners of our house, completely out of the blue, offered to buy it back from us.  We had to back out of that one because the previous owners of our house refused to put a contract on it.  Why, I don't know.  But it was that second doublewide that is mentioned in the conversation in the beginning of this blog, the one that is still up for sale. 

I am so hesitant to even think about moving again.  After so long of arguing about this house and seeing it affect my marriage, and after praying and praying and praying for guidance in making the right decision, I finally agreed to let it go and let Keith make this decision.  Although I still feel it was the wrong decision financially, I have come to realize that forcing Keith to move, forcing him into a situation that he doesn't feel comfortable with, with only make things harder on him.  It will have the opposite affect of what I originally wanted - to make life easier and less stressful, financially and emotionally.  We refinanced this house, did some minor renovations to add that third bedroom we so desperately needed, and finally unpacked all those boxes collecting dust in the shop.

We are eventually going to have to move, we both know it.  Unless we win the lottery and can then afford to tear down this house and rebuilt here, we are going to have to move.  But now is not the time, especially after refinancing.  I pray that this won't continue to be an issue for another year.

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