Believe it or not, this picture is not a screenshot from the show Hoarders. I really wish I could say that it was, but I must admit that this has been the sorry state of the Room Formally Known as the Living Room for the past two weeks. I have a life-long habit of waiting until the last possible, yet still manageable minute to do much of anything, so you would think that when I was made aware of the date in which my partner and I would be moving that I would put off packing up all of our belongings until that date was right around the corner. Normally this would have been the case. In fact, that was supposed to be the case.
We started to look for possible new places to live a few months ago. This had become a routine of sorts for us throughout the past couple of years. When yet another thing in our two-bedroom apartment would break or the rapid deterioration of our apartment building would become even more apparent, we would go on the hunt for other, affordable rentals out there. Turns out that around these parts, or any part within 100 miles of us in any direction, the words affordable and rental are oxymorons. We would get frustrated, stop looking, and reside ourselves to living unhappily in a place that has been steadily falling apart around us. Rinse, wash, repeat. We were destined to fall into that same cycle again, but after some number-crunching, my partner brought up the option–and the realistic possibility–of purchasing.
I have never given the idea of purchasing a home too much thought. It has always been something nice to think about that could possibly happen at some point in the future, maybe. That maybe is what made it continue to be a nice thought. I do not deal with drastic changes very well. They make me feel vulnerable; as if I am teetering on the edge of a cliff thousands of stories high and even the slightest gust of wind could send me falling to my demise. When I was a kid, my mother had moved me and my younger sister around more than six times in ten months. From the time I was an adolescent I have wanted nothing more in my life but stability; something that I can count on without it changing or disappearing overnight. But the idea of permanence makes me feel as if I am being trapped in a box too small for my body and my air will run out soon and every part of my body is going numb.
Something that can be counted on has always won out when my mental processes start to become conflicting, blood-thirsty enemies, and we began to look for single family homes on the market. What we immediately found is that while affordable rentals don’t seem to exist anymore, affordable homes do and in the end, they can wind up being even more affordable than any rental I have personally ever lived in.
After looking at just four homes, we simultaneously had our hearts latch on to a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with an additional basement apartment (hello in-home recording studio for my professional guitarist partner!) and an actual yard with an above-ground pool in the same town we have been living in for the past four years; a town that is quiet and surrounded by woods, where everyone you meet is still kind and humble and good.
We put in two offers before the owner of the home accepted and when she did, we got excited. We had to keep telling ourselves that in the next few months anything could happen. Something could go wrong. There was still time for everything to fall through. I started calling it “our house.” I realized just how excited I was at the prospect of having a home. Somewhere I belong; where I make sense; where I can create and thrive instead of merely floating in the limbo that is basic survival. Somewhere I can really live and grow, happily.
We soared through the purchasing process full steam ahead. We let our excitement grow until it was barely containable, and then we ran into issues with the bank. Twice. I began to wonder how it could be so hard for the bank to allow us to give them money every month. Our move-in date was unexpectedly pushed back which resulted in our existence being lived out in a barely-functioning apartment. We thought this place made us want to rip our hair out to begin with, but now most of our belongings have taken over the entire downstairs where there is but a small path just wide enough to walk through from the landing of the stairs, through the living room, and into the kitchen. But our days in this crowded, barely able to walk state are coming to an end, just as our days living in this apartment that we tried so desperately to make feel like a home have ended.
We get the keys to our new home this afternoon. Even as I sit here, on a mattress that is sitting on the floor with our bed in pieces and stacked around the room, with only seven hours until we have the keys to our very own home in our hands, it still feels like it isn’t happening. That something so good and filled with so much hope and optimism is just that inconceivable. But maybe that is what new beginnings and life changes feel like–too good to be true, until they are.