We still had about 5 months left on our lease at the condo. Brian began the never-ending task of fixing up the new home. I helped where I could, mainly with painting. It was hard to spend much time on a project with a nine month old who liked to crawl everywhere and get into anything within her reach. I worked on starting a small garden, planted a strawberry patch, and tried to keep up with cutting the grass with our human-powered push mower. Things moved slowly, but we had our nice little apartment to live in for awhile.
In November, we flew to the midwest to spend Thanksgiving with my family and celebrate Cora’s first birthday. It was a good visit, and we came home ready to tackle more projects and make our home move-in ready. We had a new surprise waiting for us. Brian found out that work had slowed up too much at the office and he no longer had a job. We had a small emergency fund left after buying the house, so we began to live off that while Brian started applying for employment elsewhere and switched to making progress on our fixer full time. We really needed the house to be habitable at the end of our lease; we couldn’t afford to pay rent without an income for very long. It was crunch time. Brian often worked late on the house.
Through it all, we had an odd sense of peace. I wasn’t worried about being homeless because we couldn’t pay the mortgage or rent. As soon as the house was livable, we could move in and have something concrete. No one could kick us out. It was a liberating thought. And so, at the end of our lease – the last few days of January 2012 – we moved into the house. The wood floors were still drying (we finished them with pure tung oil), so we could not unpack and were limited to small pathways of freezer paper to walk on. The kitchen cabinets were still scary and I only used a few of them. Two of the rooms only had the subfloors and the drywall needed to be mudded, sanded, primed and painted. The house smelled like tung oil. We were home. That same week we found out that I was pregnant.
Part One the beginning
Part Two jobless, but not homeless
Part Three buckets and bugs
Part Four kitchen remodel
Part Five the floors
Part Six the stairway
More coming soon…
Epilogue life after a fixer