Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Needing a L I T T L E paint

We knew we had to have a job in order to prove we had income. Banks kind of want to see this before loaning money to buy a house.

Thanks to a fabulous mortgage shark and getting things in order, we are once again homeowners.

After three months of looking online at hundreds of houses in the O'Fallon area, I finally convinced Jim to check out this one that caught my eye. I had asked several times but he wanted NO part of it.

He absolutely did NOT want a fixer upper.

Together we both wanted a nice neighborhood, big backyard, trees, close to the base and a basement. Jim really wanted move-in ready and has always wanted brick. Proximity to the schools and a ranch-style were a big deal for me.

I wasn't afraid of doing a little work, or even having Jim do a little work.
That's what we do. We work!

As soon as Jim finally broke down and agreed to look at it, I called the listing agent without hesitation.
It sits on an acre with some grass and some wooded. Enough land to have space and privacy but not so much that we will have to spend every single weekend mowing and planting.

It is completely landscaped with large trees.

We looked at on a Sunday afternoon {August 30}, put an offer in on Monday {August 31} and had a signed contract on Tuesday {September 1st}.

Until we closed and were handed the keys- we could not even believe it would be ours.

Built in 1998, the listing described it as unique luxury. It is a house like no other. We definitely have some updating {painting} ahead of us but structurally we could not be happier with our purchase. They definitely did things right when they built.

There are so many extras- things we wanted to do in Kansas but did not get to.

Extremely energy efficient, the inspector could not believe how much insulation was in the attic. Hearing this among so many other things was music to Jim's ears.

We are discovering new hidden gems just about every day.

With two weeks until Jim starts his job, we are going to take advantage of all the time we have to paint.

Exhausted from being in survival mode, we are ready once again to really thrive.

After we finish painting...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Our New Chapter: Southern Illinois

It's a good thing I thought we were through the worst of times a year ago. If we had known how much we still had ahead of us, it may have been a little too overwhelming.

We aren't in Kansas any more.

When we first moved to Kansas, we loved it. We loved where we were and could see staying there forever. When we retired out of Germany, we were beyond excited to move back into our house and pick up where we left off. Things didn't go as smooth as we had planned.

In this last year, we have learned through experience how difficult unemployment is on a family. 

We are completely convinced as well that until you endure the hardships that come with looking for a job to support a family, you have no idea how tough it is each and every single day.

After a rough six months and being backed into a corner by Jim's job in Kansas, we knew we had to make a change. Forced to move {laterally} to a position requiring him to work 6-7 days a week, longer hours and remaining on second shift were just a few of the reasons we decided to take a leap of faith.

Just a month prior, we finalized the sale of our house and moved into a little rental house with big plans of building next to friends on twenty acres of land right in town. We were excited.

Unable to find a job or even get offered an interview, we knew we could not live on retirement alone.

Having sold our house, we realized we had nothing holding us to Kansas other than our good friends. For the first time in our marriage other than our move back from Germany, we did not have the Air Force telling us where to move next.
Our decision to move to southern Illinois was a quick one but it made perfect sense. With a large headquarters base and family in the area, we knew the opportunities for jobs were much greater. 

Having Jim's cousin offer us his house and side jobs softened the blow and eased yet another difficult transition.

The last four months have not been easy. 
Fortunately, things are finally looking up and falling into place.

After applying to nearly 200 jobs- corporate and government, Jim was finally offered interviews for three separate jobs. Up until this point, he was not even given a chance but instead turned down for job after job after job without even meeting him. 

Within a week's time, he was offered all three jobs and accepted a full-time, permanent GS position at Scott Air Force Base. We couldn't believe it. Some days, we still can't.

Five days after receiving the job offer, we closed on our new home.
We have been in our new house just ten days. 
Even spending weekends on the road to watch Justin play football, things have already calmed down. 

Without a doubt, we know this is where we are supposed to be. 
We are excited for simplicity. We are craving routine and organization. 
We are elated to close that last chapter and start this new one.