Friday, July 10, 2009

A bend in the road

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.


Mollie said...

I am so happy for you and your family and your new home. I hope to be able to visit someday. You seem to have an amazing ability to see the potential and beauty in everything around you, and then bring it out like no one else could.

Teachinfourth said...

I'm sorry you had lost your mom; however, I'm glad you found a home you love which has the room for your father to be with you - as often as time permits.

If we could all be surrounded by orchards with 'flower trees' within them.

Tasha said...

Congrats from the Hintons! We can't wait to see it in person and have the kids be able to play together often

Graton said...

I'm so sorry for you loss. The house does look so cool. All the best.

kim & co. said...

That is so great about the house, and it sounds wonderful!!! All those trees (and the jack hammer sounds pretty fun, too). Are you guys still in the same neighborhood?

Hope we'll be able to see it in person someday.

Brandan and Becky said...

The house and yard are beautiful! You had me prepared for blue shag carpet and red velvet wallpaper. I can't wait to see you put your personality into this very exciting canvas. I'm writing you a letter this evening-- please email me your new address if I should mail it to you there.

Gina said...

I can't wait to come see it sometime! It really sounds so perfect for your family. We close on Wednesday... We're excited, but it does feel like sort of signing your life away, doesn't it? But in a good way, I think. Anyways, congratulations. I agree with Mollie - it will be wonderful to see what your family makes of this new place.

Leslie said...

Congratulations Ruth! It really does sound perfect for your family and I am trying hard to imagine what that tree smells like. It sounds heavenly.

TX Girl said...

Only Bill would figure out how to get a Jack hammer out of the whole deal.

Even though your mom wasn't able to enjoy living the high life with y'all, I'm certain it brought her a great amount of joy knowing the plan was for them to move in.

We can't wait to occupy one of the guest rooms and help harvest the fruit. We always love visiting the Mitchell home.

Mitchell Family said...

I don't know if anyone checks back to see if I answer their comments but on the off chance they do: the new house is 1 mile from our current home and in same the school and ward boundaries.

Yes, Gina, it does feel like signing our life away. In more way than one.

You are right Lara about my mom and I believe the house continues to bring her joy. I feel like she's helping me pick out colors.

Emily Murdock said...

Amazing. I can't wait to visit! Someday when we're settled, too, we'd love for you to occupy one of our guest bedrooms too. Ah, if only we will be as lucky as you to have such a well-suited home! :)

Lizzy said...

First of all lets clear one thing up, your "11" year old daughter is now twelve and while this matters to no one else I think the world revolves around me so next time clarify.
Second of all, My room is perfect for Zoey and I, but you didn't say anything about it or put a picture of it. (I know you have one 'cause i saw it.)
Last, but not, well actually yes, least, good post.:)

Mary said...

One of my very favorite songs (listen here

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell,
His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while:
I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive:
This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive:
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

I miss you.

Marg said...

It makes me smile every time I think of you all in this house. Just think of all the places you can now have *Dinner at the Mitchells*! Under the kumquat tree, on the patio, in the first kitchen, in the second kitchen, and if you want to be real traditional, the dining room! Lucky me-- I got to see the actual place but must say, it will take on more character when you move in. All those fruit trees...and places to run and play, build forts, etc. So good to see you. So sorry I made you late for your next appt. (which I didn't learn until I showed up for lunch at Finn's)! You should have told me.

Denise said...

I love it! On the fruit tree note, call your great Aunt Lea -- she had some very unusual fruit trees in her backyard in San Jose when I was a child. She will know what to do with that fruit and she will be even more happy to hear your voice (of this I'm POSITIVE).

I also love your 10 year plan. We looked at houses for 4.5 years in Westchester because most didn't have near enough space for 5 kids and since they all needed some sort of remodelling, we just couldn't see, like you, buying a 3 bedroom home. I'm so glad you found just the right place. A tender mercy if ever there was one and at such a time when one was needed.

Congratulations and welcome home!

Deborah said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful home. You really have such an amazing attitude. Things never really turn out as expected for anyone I think - but you do have a gift of not letting that get the best of you.
Lizzy - you completely crack me up. :) I soooo miss teaching you piano lessons and listening to you talk - you are so much fun...yes Ruth - you should post a pic of her great bedroom :)

Valerie said...

Wow, that house looks like something out of a fairy tale! Especially the fruit trees! I thought it must be far, and was shocked to read it's so close to your old house!! Sounds like you've hit the jackpot! So sorry that your mother isn't there to enjoy it with you. But I imagine she can enjoy it from the other side of the veil.

Valerie said...

PS I love Lychees! I used to buy them every week at the Marchee in Paris :)

denebug said...

Your home looks wonderful Ruth. We've decided to put as many fruit trees in our backyard as we can; so far there are only two little apple trees. No need for a canning kitchen yet.
Clint and I are already talking about when we'll visit San Diego again now that we're back in the West. Maybe next year we'll see you.

Hammy said...

Congrats on the house, can't wait to see it in person. I'm sorry it will only house 7 instead of the 8 it was meant to. I know you will fill it with love and people and wonderful dishes made from fresh fruit.

Linn said...

I love it and am so happy for all of you! And for us, because we want to come visit and stay with you. :)

Chrissy said...

Congrats on the house- Im sure those "10 years" will be lovely as you guys create your dream home together. I'm definitely taking you up on the guest room- and cant wait to smell the tree that smells like falling in love. Sounds perfect, Ruth. I'm so happy for you. Hope you guys are well.

PS I need your new address.

BTW- I agree with lizzy. The world revolves around her :) and no house is complete without the little girls room as a most adorable feature. :)