Around the time we decided to put our house on the market—back in July, I guess it was—we stumbled across a house for sale in Eugene that we both sort of fell in love with. I told myself it was useless to spend any time thinking about the property, for surely it would sell before we’d ever have a chance to even consider making an offer. But as you know, daydreams have a way of sneaking around the logic centers in your brain. I pictured our kids playing in the yard, the Christmas tree on display in the front window, the pile of cheery magazines in the sunny kitchen nook.

We looked at schools in the area, calculated drive times, toured the house twice. Over the months the sellers dropped their price little by little, but it stayed on the market. I had a silly thought this house was waiting for us, somehow.

I suppose even if that was true, like anything else, houses can’t wait forever. We learned a couple weeks ago that a sale was finally pending. There’s no point in mourning something that was never yours, but still. It’s hard not to.





I have this image of our future as a set of cards that’s constantly being shuffled right now. A few weeks ago we were really feeling the pinch of JB’s struggling business, today he’s landed a temporary contract gig that will see us through the next several months. I was offered a full time remote job with vacation and benefits, which I gave serious consideration to (but ultimately decided to keep my home/work balance as is for now). I don’t know what will change in the next weeks, months, years: what will happen with JB’s company, whether or not we’ll be able to move, when I’ll go back to school, where our careers will take us.

I sometimes wish it was all figured out—that the path was clear and we had all the answers. Mostly, though, I feel lucky. I don’t know if I believe in fate, but I do believe in hard work. I believe in our little family. I know we don’t let a closed door stop us dead. We find something else to open.


29 Responses to “Forks in the road”

  1. Lawyerish on December 14th, 2010 2:54 pm

    I feel you on SO many levels. Sometimes it’s really difficult to live with uncertainty; other times, it’s kind of exhilarating.

    I know that the house selling was a big disappointment, but I do believe that there’s a reason for things happening the way they do, and that’ll be clear in time.

    And then I kind of want to punch myself for saying that, because it’s so deeply unsatisfying to be on the receiving end of those kinds of sentiments, but I DO believe great things are in store for your family, because you DO work your asses off and you’re smart, resourceful, persistent, creative, daring…and because you have each other.

  2. VirtualSprite on December 14th, 2010 3:04 pm

    I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what I think I want, the universe almost always has other plans for me. And often what comes to be is better than what I wanted in the first place.

    Of course, it is hard to let go of that dream. But everything works out in the end.

    My, that was platitudy. My apologies.

  3. Sarah on December 14th, 2010 3:45 pm

    We need to move (crappy commute, plus crappy townhouse with a mortgage we can’t afford to pay) and thought we’d found a dream house only to find out days later it was rented already. We’d spent the whole weekend planning our life around that gorgeous, perfect for us house. It was a major disappointment.

    I can’t imagine multiplying that by months.
    I’m sorry. I hope something else great comes along soon.

  4. Liana on December 14th, 2010 4:10 pm

    I understand where you are coming from. I do that all the time – foresee my future the way I want to see it, plan my life around it…then a snag hits and it just stops me dead, ruins my mood, my life, etc. I had my perfect little family planned out and am now going through a divorce. Not what I had planned, but a blessing in disguise. It’s a door opened that I hadn’t even realized I needed it opened! Things happen for a reason, and it’s how you handle it that matters! Best of luck to you – sounds like things will end up your way!

  5. WannabeMommy on December 14th, 2010 4:10 pm

    “I have this image of our future as a set of cards that’s constantly being shuffled right now”

    God, do i feel that sometimes! You must know that eventually the cards will settle and take place in the exact random pattern that they were meant to fall into.

  6. Sarah on December 14th, 2010 4:20 pm

    Sometimes those crazy forks lead us to something even better. I’m sure a house that is truly meant for you will come along when it’s meant to!!

    I’m sure we can all relate to that feeling. I know I feel it often. Sometimes I get a lousy hand…but other times things just work out.

    Here’s hoping the next shuffle is once again a step in the right direction for all of us.

  7. Donna on December 14th, 2010 5:11 pm

    Shit, that soooo sucks, I’m sorry!
    You need to dig St. Joseph up and have a chat with him, and bury him again upside down by the front door.
    (Or not).
    I really wanted that house for you guys, it’s the kind of place I want too. Dammit.

  8. Courtney on December 14th, 2010 5:14 pm

    Eventually you’ll get to a place, a house, a job, etc., and look around and think “this is where I/we’re supposed to be.” But it doesn’t make GETTING THERE any less frustrating sometimes. I guess it teaches us to live in the moment a little, right?

  9. Brigid on December 14th, 2010 5:51 pm

    I remember standing in the kitchen of a house that was WAY out of our price range with tears running down my face because it was PERFECT! It was meant to be ours. I would find a way…
    And in a way, I did. I got a bank to offer us a ridiculous loan. Which I was sure we would take. And then our bank agent (one of the good guys) basically talked me out of it.
    We now live around the corner from THE house (in a much smaller house.) I’m not going to say I didn’t feel a pang (or a kick in the throat) when I passed that house for the first year (or two.) BUT, then life jumped up and bit us in the ass. We would have been bankrupt in that house. Yet, we somehow made it through in the house we have. I love this house.
    I guess, I hope you find the house that works for you. Even if your perfect house slips away.

  10. sooboo on December 14th, 2010 5:57 pm

    I hear ya sister. Sometimes I get so envious of friends who have established and stable career paths. And who knows, maybe that pretty house was built on a cemetery. “You moved the cemetery but you left the bodies didnchya”? You don’t need any of that Poltergeist nonsense. I like the cards shuffling image. Anything is possible.

  11. Shawna on December 14th, 2010 6:20 pm

    The EXACT same thing happened to us. Our house was on the market, we found another that was perfect for us in the neighbourhood we wanted, we went two times to check it out and brought a contractor for a third visit (it needed major renovations)… then it sold. For exactly what I predicted the owners would take as their bottom number. And ours lingered on the market for another few months.

    I still think of that house as “our” house.

  12. Eric's Mommy on December 14th, 2010 7:10 pm

    I know exactly where you are coming from dear. We are in the same boat. Things are constantly changing. I am looking into going back to school for something totally different, it will be a big change and a lot of work but sometimes change is good.

  13. M.Bailey on December 14th, 2010 8:42 pm

    We are currently living in our FOURTH house and I’m only 34 (!!). Partly because of circumstances and partly (I think) because we are crazy. We love where we live now, but throughout all our adventures in getting here, I came to appreciate that the old saying really is true. Home is where the heart is. While we were renovating our third house, we lived in a very shabby (and not so chik) condo and still managed to have a lot of fun. The two boys managed to make their own fun, and so will yours. Having your family with you and loving one another as you do will mean that you will have a home no matter where life takes you.

  14. Angella on December 14th, 2010 9:41 pm

    Aw, Linda.

    We’ve been in this house for ten (ten!) years and it’s much like your dream property.

    But. BUT. Our careers have changed DRASTICALLY in the last five years. We know all about the uncertainty.

    We’re settled, for now, but know all to well that it can change in a heartbeat.

    (All this to say that you’ll probably both find your dream jobs and your dream property before you know it. YAY.)

  15. Thursday on December 15th, 2010 3:34 am

    There is a house 3 doors away from here which I’ve been coveting since I first drove past it when I met Joe Brown for the first time 4 years ago. 4 years of believing that, one day, that house will be mine. I know where the Christmas tree will go, which roses I’d have climbing round the door and where I’d dig the vegetable garden. We’re now, not really out of choice, moving from England to Europe early next year and I’ve had to let those images go. I have, however, replaced them with images of a house in the New Country which I’ve seen for sale on the ‘net – a house which has ONE picture of the outside and is clearly way out of our price range – which will undoubtedly also never be mine. Something else will tho’, just as something else that fits your family will also be yours.

  16. Olivia on December 15th, 2010 7:59 am

    When I’m really struggling I sometimes look at women in their 70s and almost wish I could be there already with all of the things I’m stressing about over, a thing of the past. I have to remind myself to be happy with the present.

  17. Christine on December 15th, 2010 8:12 am

    Nothing but empathy over here for your work situations. And man, so sorry about the house. But the nice thing about houses? There are more and more of them. Wishing you lots of luck and happiness.

  18. transientxpress on December 15th, 2010 8:26 am

    Just blogged about similar feelings today. I’m SO with you on this! A set of shuffling cards . . . amen. And the crazy thing is I knew I was getting into this life full of change and uncertainty when I married my military hubby 7 1/2 years ago. Still, knowing change is always on the horizon doesn’t necessarily make it easier to deal with the disruptions. But you’re so right! Looking back I can say that things have always worked out well because of our hard work and always looking for another door or window to open. Man, I feel like you peeked inside my brain today with this post. Thanks!

  19. Life of a Doctor's Wife on December 15th, 2010 8:35 am

    I love that image of the cards shuffling. There are good things in that deck.

  20. Emily on December 15th, 2010 8:55 am

    Well said. I think all of us, on some level, feel the same. I know I do.

  21. Belle on December 15th, 2010 9:27 am

    Uncertainty is scary, but it always helps me to think of it as exciting. :)

  22. adequatemom on December 15th, 2010 12:53 pm

    There’s a lot of “I don’t know” in my life right now, too. My husband just lost his job and has decided that he doesn’t want to do sales anymore. I respect this decision – but it’s the only thing he’s done in his working life, and the only thing he’s qualified to do. And his only answer to “what DO you want to do?” is “I don’t know”.

    So, I really relate to your analogy of future as a currently-reshuffled deck of cards. There are way more questions than answers for us right now, and it’s scary. I’ll hold your hand if you hold mine!

  23. Kari on December 15th, 2010 4:35 pm

    @Brigid: for some reason, your story hit me where I needed it. There really is nothing like a bullet dodged, is there?

    One of the lessons I am most grateful to have learned in the past few years is being cool like Fonzie when things are uncertain. This is a skill I never had, and am still trying to hone. I am a much easier person to love and be around when I am cool like Fonzie.

  24. Cara on December 15th, 2010 7:38 pm

    As someone who struggles to handle uncertainty and change with aplomb, I am so impressed with you. Not that you’re making it sound easy (when of course it isn’t), but that you are keeping your balance so well.

  25. lovinangels on December 16th, 2010 6:35 am

    Stick to it, lady, these minutes, these snuggles, this wonderful bit of childhood…when it’s gone, it’s gone. One day they grow up, and they are too old to sit in your lap and you are no longer the most amazing thing.

    And it will break your heart if you spend that wonderful time on something as trivial as money and wake up one day and have it be gone.

    Good things will come. A great house. I promise. Just stick to it. You’re great.

  26. Janet on December 16th, 2010 1:39 pm

    Just remember that everything happens for a reason. EVERYTHING.

  27. nikki on December 16th, 2010 2:16 pm

    I can feel your pain – Our house was on the market for almost a year and I watched many a “dream” home vanish. Then, we put in an offer on a house, only to have it completely rejected (based on a closing date). Months later (and after seeing every other house in our price range), it was still there (with a renovated kitchen) and we got it. Despite its flaws, I am convinced it was meant to be ours. But during the process, I just wanted to know what would happen, where we would end up, and why we weren’t there yet. What’s funny is, now that we are in it and settled, I am on to another issue and wanting to know what will happen with that, why it’s taking so long, etc. Why do we do this to ourselves?!

  28. Peace. on December 21st, 2010 12:45 pm

    […] has happened a few times lately.  This daydreaming.   I was reading another blog, All & Sundry and saw photos of a house she liked…in the country.  Again, I found myself pausing to really […]

  29. Erin@MommyontheSpot on December 31st, 2010 12:27 pm

    Oh man! I feel for you on that whole house/moving thing!

    I love how you said that you believe in your family. I feel it’s easy to loose sight of what’s important. Your positive attitude is inspiring!

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