Welcome back to Part II of my retrospective walk through the events that lead us to where we are living today. Last time I ended by posing the cursory question…”Which House?”
Have you made your pick yet?
Trust me when I say, we gave a lot of thought to our new house purchasing process. We deliberated quite a bit about what we wanted most in a house however, one of the most important considerations we were mindful of was the driving distance to the girls’ school. Living in a four-bedroom townhouse on the north side in Charlottesville, while their school sat on the south side of town, required that we spend nearly 1.5-hours crisscrossing the highways and byways for drop off and pick up. Not to mention the secondary trips for any additional extracurricular school activities that required their presence or our own. So without a doubt, proximity was a key component that factored into our search.
To our great delight, one of these 3 houses was spot-on and is right in the sweet spot, where closeness is concerned!
This particular affiliate of the house selection triad was built so close to the school that it slashed the nearly 1.5-hour daily commute down to 20 minutes or less, total drive time. It also coincidentally gets high marks for distance and drive time to work – still under 15 minutes each direction.
Another feature I was personally hoping to find in a home was a screened porch.
Call me old-fashioned, but I had long desired a large private front or back porch where I could just sit in peace, in my jammies if I so choose, communing with the sweet smell and melodic sounds of nature.
Being a nature-lover and an outdoor enthusiast was exceedingly advanced by our move from Kansas to Virginia. The Old Dominion is blessed with such stunning natural beauty which makes our new state one of the most strikingly unique in all the land. From majestic mountainous views and lush green forests to superb sandy beaches, VA is full of many natural wonders.
A third feature I was hoping to find was lovely mature trees. To be enveloped by a grove of tall beautiful trees shaded under a million dancing leaves brings such comfort and calm to my soul. I’ve long since realized our connection with nature as being a necessary grounding agent when we allow ourselves to experience it – It’s a knowing that from the earth we came and to the earth we shall return.
And although each house came equipped with a large marvelous porch, only 1 was able to pair the porch with tall majestic trees and mountain views which left me feeling as if I was swaddled in a nature-preserve-like setting.
After living in a lovely, close-knit community-focused neighborhood with wonderful neighbors and a constant stream of activity, we were prepared to have a different experience, one that was quieter and off the beaten path.
Most of where we live is quite rural. Marc and I have shared an inside joke about the treacherous winding curves and hills prevalent in our area. Whenever we find ourselves on a windy road or steep hill (which is often), one of us will begin our usual schtick by declaring,
“I wouldn’t want to be navigating this hill or curve without my eyeglasses.”
Then he or I will add on, “or at night,”
“or tired and sleepy,”
“or in the rain or snow,”
“or with bad tires or brakes,”
“or being chased by Big Foot!”
You get the point. We come up with almost every plausible and sometimes implausible situation to jokingly describe what you DON’T want to be doing while navigating these rolling and rounded backroads of Virginia.
Our witty little repartee was also applied to our home searches.
Prior to our decision to purchase a new house, for many years one of our favorite past times was visiting open houses. Even when we owned a home in Kansas City, we would love to just walk through and get a glimpse of the new trends in architect, home décor, and color palettes. If we came upon a house that appeared to have questionable access due to windy roads or steep hills, we’d go back into our verbal routine stated above and vow that we could never live in such an inconvenient place.
Wouldn’t ya know, however, that unbeknownst to us one of the 3 homes on the list would force us to reevaluate our gag regarding what is and isn’t tolerable when it pertains to the features and characteristics of a home.
It was Marc, who moonlights as an official house hunter (this dude just loves to explore properties on the market), spotted this house online. Before notifying our real estate agent that he was interested in viewing this house, he and our youngest Journey who he was homeschooling, decided to drive out to get a peek at it. It was close to the girls’ school (that’s one box checked already) and they could easily swing by after dropping them off.
The distance from school was a mere 5 minutes which intrigued him as he pulled into the small, shady, hidden neighborhood. As he crept up the street, slowing down to verify the address, his eyes widened to the size of saucers as he stared up at the arduously STEEP, CURVED, hilled driveway leading up to the house!
“Nah son, this ain’t gonna work for Rachael,” he recalled thinking, “Ain’t no way she’s going to attempt to ascend this mount every day!”
But attempting to keep in mind the full picture of what he was witnessing, he decided not to dismiss it entirely. I mean, along with being a short 5-minute drive from school, the house did have a beautiful sun porch and dozens of mature trees. And he thought that if he could get Rachael used to climbing a mountain each day upon returning home, then this house was quite a catch!
He and Journey returned again several times after dropping the girls off at school. And each time he found more reasons to at first like, then love this house. The thing he needed to do was to somehow convince (or hypnotize) me into not believing my own eyes about how steep the driveway is because he knew that I would be dead set against it.
One morning before work, Marc told me that he wanted to show me a house that he would like to take me to see that morning after we dropped off the girls since it was near their school. He pulled up the house online, and I liked it a lot! I could envision the potential of raising our family there.
Feeling positive vibes as we pulled into the neighborhood, I immediately saw why this area called to him with its quiet and private tree-lined streets. As we continued to round the corners, Marc slowed down and looked directly at me and said,
“Rach, one thing I really need you to do is keep an open mind, ok?”
I was trying to figure out what he meant by that, especially after he repeated,
“I really encourage you to just keep an open mind Rach,” with a gentle smile as he looked at me searchingly.
He came to a stop and with that, his head turned to the left. I also looked left, then my neck strained skyward. The house was partially hidden by trees atop of a massive hill – shocked, I staring up from the bottom of a driveway as my mind attempted to comprehend what my eyes were seeing…a beautiful house atop a monstrously steep “mountain.”
Instinctively I reacted the only way I knew how: “OH HECK TO THE NO!”
How did we know we were making the right decision? We recognized the signs!
To Be Continued…
Which One? by Rachael Boston //