Last winter when Bill and I were trying to decide where we would settle when he finished his medical training, we each would express the same idea, "I just can't picture us here." Or "I don't know, whenever I think about the summer it's a big blank." We had no idea what was coming.
In one week at the end of April we found out that my mom had a tumor on Monday and on Friday we were notified that we were being kicked out of our home. OK our lease was up and our landlord's son was getting a divorce and needed a place to live, but after you live in a house for 4 years it feels like home and we have loved this place. I felt certain that if I shared it with enough people God would give me the chance to buy it. Needless to say I was sorely disappointed. That Sunday in church the opening song was "Be still My Soul" I sat next to my 11-year-old daughter who sat next to my mom. I cried the whole song.
Be still my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief and pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.
Be still my soul; Thy best thy heavenly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
The month of May was tough. We found the house we wanted early on but it took a month of negotiating and waiting until our offer was accepted. In the meantime, my mom's health went down fast. The house we found has two master bedrooms and the plan was to have my parents move into the ground-floor master bedroom; so we could help my dad care for my mom. We all were so looking forward to this.Often when I sat by her bedside she'd ask me to tell her about the house. She'd say, "I like to imagine I'm sitting out there with the fruit trees and it smells so beautiful. Does it smell like orange blossoms?"
Well we got the house, but I lost my mom.
We closed this week. We took the boys to see it for the first time on Wednesday. It is quite the house. Very quirky, there's a reason it's been on the market for more than a year--but just right for us. It is hard in this area to find a home with more than three bedrooms. But this one has six. This gives us enough room for our four kids and my dad--who plans to spend as much time as possible living with us--and still leaves plenty of room for house guests. We actually will have two guest rooms. And we love to have family and friends visit--that would be you dear reader.
In addition to the extra master bedroom this house has all sorts of curious additions. There is a large rec room on the back of the house. In the real estate ad the room was described as good for table tennis or dancing. So we joke that we got a house with a ballroom.
However, the strangest addition is the second kitchen right next to the first kitchen. One friend suggested that the second kitchen is a canning kitchen which seems plausible because the yard has 80 fruit trees.
The kids loved the fruit trees. They ran around the yard harvesting ripe fruit. They kept bringing me offerings: luscious nectarines, macadamia nuts still in the shell, miniature peaches that melted in your mouth and had stones the size of a cherry pit. Most of the trees are mysteries to me. The former owner was Chinese and loved exotic fruit. I need to quickly find out what to do with ripe sapote, lychee, jujube and persimmon. Only one tree on the property does not bear fruit. The owner called it a flower tree. In the evening the whole yard smells of this tree, it smells like falling in love.
The yard is large for So. Cal -- almost a half acre, but it is entirely paved. Most people would consider this a negative but not us. To me all that concrete means less mud in the house, to Bill it is a very good excuse to purchase a jack hammer. Our plan is to take 10 years working as a family to make the house and the yard beautiful--beautiful to the outside world--to our little family it already is.