Sunday, March 14, 2010

We're Almost Done: House #4

Eagle Mountain, Utah : August 2006-November 2007

We've gotten to the part of the story where things get...complicated.
After dealing with all the financial stress in Arizona, we solemnly vowed to never be in a situation like that again. So, in true passionate Rebecca style, I swung to opposite side of the spectrum. My mission was to find the cheapest house that would support our family. Who cares about finishing out a basement? We could do that. Who cares about how far out it is from town? I could get organized and only go shopping once a week.

Our little city, surrounded by miles and miles of nothingness. Need milk? 15 minute drive. One way. And no, that dog is not dead.

We arrived in Utah 2 hours before we were due to sign closing papers. Once again I had never seen the house before and my response:
It's kinda cute, but where is all of our stuff gonna go?

I knew that it was 2600 square feet, which was about what we were coming from, but what I DIDN'T realize is that because it had a full basement, that square footage was oh so different than what we were used to. In reality it was a 1300 square foot, 3 bedroom house with a bunch of empty space below.
So the whole "we'll finish the basement little by little" got thrown - hurled - out the window and for the next 4 months we threw all our effort into the lower level.
  A few months later we had gotten to this point,and once the carpet was installed it actually looked like a real room.We could clear out the ton of furniture being stored in the garage and use it again. Imagine that. There was finally room for the computer, a craft room, two more kids bedrooms,and a bathroom, which I caved in and let the kids pick the color. Thank goodness I never had to see it. Sorry blue - I've never been a fan.Upstairs wasn't without it's projects: changing out apartment sized sinks,painting generic oak (again??) cabinets, replacing countertops and having some fun with my new tile saw. Can somebody explain to me why carpet in a dining room is ever a good idea? Luckily smaller rooms = less money to fix 'em up. We hadn't even been there a year when Roger and I had "the talk." I was (mostly) happy and enjoying Utah much more than I ever thought I would.
I discovered that I don't like cold. Or snow. Did I say didn't like? I meant HATE.
I discovered that I hate mountain biking, skiing, hiking, know - all the things that people GO TO UTAH to do. No thanks.
I discovered that as much as I loved the people that I met there (y'all know who you are), there was one thing that was sorely lacking: DIVERSITY. Something I had taken for granted everywhere else we had lived. It was fine in the short term, but long term I didn't think living in such a homogeneous area was preparing my kids for living anywhere outside state lines.
I discovered that no matter how many raving reviews you hear about a school district, you never really know until you deal with them. We had an emergency IEP called for Brendan during which the school district threw up it's hands and told me that they didn't have an appropriate classroom for him. He had too many behaviors and was kicked out transferred to the most restrictive environment, putting him with the medically fragile children with feeding tubes, cerebral palsy, blind and deaf students...he was the only verbal child in his class. He could read, do basic math, group animals by herbivores and carnivores, and this is all that they could offer him.
After I expressed my feelings on the subject, his teacher suggested that perhaps I should consider homeschooling.
I kindly suggested that perhaps she should kiss. my. ass.
That, my friends, in combination with a dozen other reasons, was that last straw.
Fortunately, I had a husband that wasn't feelin' it either, and had just been waiting for me to say the word. Thank you Lord.
It was decision time. We knew we wouldn't be going back to California, but since we loved Arizona so much, perhaps we should move back? It was about that time that an old friend of Roger's persuaded us to finally come and visit and while we were there we could "try out" Texas before we made any decisions. We booked a flight for Dallas/Fort Worth, got my sister and step mom to come and stay with the kids, and off we went.
For two days we kept saying, "Well? What d'ya think?" to each other. Neither one of us heard any voices from heaven telling us THIS IS WHERE YOU SHOULD MOVE. Disappointing to say the least. And then it came time to board the plane...and I didn't want to leave. My eyes teared up (when does that ever happen?) and I felt sick inside. Even surrounded by an unfamiliar place, it felt like I was leaving home. And I knew.
Luckily, the feeling was mutual, and after much prayer and planning, we packed up again.
That's not to say that everything went swimmingly. There would be a lot more drama with selling our house, it falling through, having to rent for 6 months, having it fall through again, almost not being able to buy this house, losing all the money - including our down payment - that we had put into it. Oh yes, drama indeed. Piece of crap, stupid drama. But guess what?
I wouldn't trade a minute of it. At least I wouldn't now. The stress, the trial of patience and testing of unconditional faith....all of it really sucks. Oh how it sucks.
But looking back? It all got us here.
And here is a wonderful place to be.


  1. I think your journey from Arizona to Utah to Texas sounded torturous! But, the journey is half the battle right? Where were you in Utah? So sorry about Brendan and his school complications!
    Your transformations are incredible!

  2. And that is a reason to celebrate and live it up. Hands down the pants! Everyone! Woo!

  3. I love your style so much! I think I say that every time I comment. But it's true every time.

    I HAVE to paint my kitchen cabinets! I just can't pull the trigger.

  4. You are amazing! and I am so glad I stumbled upon your BLOG! Have you ever thought about becoming a "flipper" (as in house?). I mean not now...for obvious reasons. But if you ever get the itch to pack up and move, AGAIN, and would like to "try out" another state, let me know.... (And we could tear my house apart while you are trying to get a feeling! LOL!)

    P.S. Your kind suggestion to the "school people" was MOST warranted!! Go Rebecca!

  5. It all makes sense to me now how you can accomplish so much around your house while still taking care of ALL your kiddos. It's nothing to you after all the moving you have done with the family in tow. Now that's work! Phew!!

  6. And we are SOOOO glad you came to Texas. I can totally identify with your experiences (unfortunately not of freaking flippin' fantastic houses) but just being willing to be led...

  7. Wow. Eagle Mountain didn't know what hit em! That's one of the most beautiful Utah COunty homes I've seen. I'm STUNNED that you did all that in a year.

    I'm glad you've found a place that satisfies your needs and feels like home. And provides a wealth of blogging fodder.

  8. HA! I bet $ that the ugly white tile you pulled up in the entry way was what was left over from my house. The Morgans and the Lofgrens were pal's and I bet you anything they used remnants from the LOVELY tile that's in my entire kitchen/ dining area and entry way. Oh how I HATE white floors!!!! But I'm not as brave as you,nor do I enjoy having my house torn apart. SO, here it will remain until we win the lottery and can HIRE someone to rip it all out. (or we move away)

  9. I love your houses, but more than that I'm in awe of you picking up and moving across several states. I'm so tired of Omaha and so desperate to live in a small town again but at the same time I can't force myself (or DH) to get up the courage to move out of here.

  10. Well, not sure what to say about this post since I am one of the Eagle Mountain poeple you left behiind.....I am hoping I am counted in the people you love category :) I must say, you did wonders with the house. It looked beautiful when you left it. The people that are there now just love it!!! Even though we miss you and would be better off with you here...I am glad you are happy in Texas. And by the way, the district sure did short change you guys. I still can't believe how they treated Brendon!!!

  11. I loved reading this! Your house was adorable! I think it's funny how you seem to purchase a house "sight unseen"! I wish I had that kinda faith. But then again, we're living in this dump right? We just walked through it once (and quickly because the landlords were all waiting on us).

    I understand the need for diversity!! Living in Coolidge, as much as I loved it and the people, I just needed more than a mini walmart and a McDonald's. My kids needed more too. And if it weren't for the Lord to tell us it was time to move, we'd still be in AZ, living in a house worth half of what we paid for it.

    I LOVE IT HERE. Loren wants to live on a large lot with nothing around us but grass, trees, and wild game to kill.

    I'm glad you guys are here and hope that you'll no longer move because we have no plans to!

  12. Oh, and amen on your response to the schools there. Well put. I had a good laugh reading that!

  13. I'm a lurker, but I had to delurk to say I love how honest you are on your blog. Right now we are in the middle of trying to sell our house after not even being in it for a year. Why? Because I feel like we need to move back East. It is a terrible idea financially, but I just feel like it is right in my heart. Hearing your story and that you did something very similar has made me feel so much better. Thank you for sharing.

  14. LOVE this house! Can't wait to see the next one. Of course, now I'm thinking that I need to repaint and redecorate everything in sight...

  15. P.S. What color did you use on your living room walls?

  16. I never realized you had so many housing issues. That makes me feel a little better since we can't even get our hands on one :( Maybe Texas is the answer?! Yee-Haw!

  17. ah yes. School districts that are not turning out to be what you thought they would be. Welcome to our world! Emergency IEP's?? yep. I hope everything turns out how you want it to for your son:)

  18. Oh! I wanted ask where you got your great table and benches? I'm trying to find seating for our family of 7 and that looks awesome. Your whole does!

  19. Your house looks very nice and people did a very good job. Nice innovation and all the stuff in the house is excellent. Hard work is looking. custom home builders vancouver


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.