Those of you with kids, you know how every now and then a moment comes along that just goes tinnnnnggg like some sort of wonderful reverberating triangle and you have this glorious unreal sense of reliving one of the best memories from your own childhood and it’s like the universe has somehow pulled itself inside out because this time you are the parent and no matter what anyone told you, you had no idea it could be this good?

That’s how I felt tonight standing with my husband at the end of a darkened driveway watching our boys, in their twin cowboy hat silhouettes. Two small figures walking up to the door by themselves, Riley blaring “TRICK OR TREAT!” as soon as someone appeared. Dylan’s helium-tinged voice squeaking out a thank you. JB and I grinning like fools.

It was such a fun day from beginning to end. Oh, these boys. This life.






After four months of frantic, fruitless cleaning and all of maybe 5 showings, we’re taking the house off the market. Not permanently, but we have a chance to refinance and the house can’t be for sale while we do that. Refinancing would free up a chunk of change each month and now seems like the time for such things, since JB’s business is valiantly struggling to stay afloat and they’ve cut back on such luxuries as, you know, “paychecks.” My freelance salary is the same as my office job-minus-daycare salary was—and maybe even a little more on a good month—but it’s surely not enough on its own to keep us from spiraling further down the rabbit hole of credit card debt.

So anyway, blah blah blah refinancing. House going off the MLS, for at least some period of time.

I plan to find a new agent when we’re ready to put it back on the market, but I don’t have high hopes for getting our asking price any time soon. Maybe never. The market’s worse than we thought, our house is difficult to find comparables for, the middle class is disappearing, we probably buried St. Joseph in the wrong part of the yard, etc.

As much as we want to move, now would be a bad time to do so with JB’s business in such a difficult, anything-could-happen state. There’s no pressure to get aggressive with pricing yet—we’ll just stay put, and hope that the right person comes along and falls in love.

It’s been a disappointment. For all the soul-searching we did this summer to come to the decision to put the sign in the yard, all the work getting it ready to show, it feels like a defeat to quietly pull it back off the market. Even though this isn’t a long term thing, it feels like another enormous obstacle between us and the country home we dreamed of in Oregon.

Sometimes it seems like when you do the work to clearly identify a goal, the path should just seamlessly unfold before you. You did the hard part already, after all. But of course that’s not how it works. Now you have to navigate your way from here to there, and anything can happen in between. Maybe the destination isn’t where you thought it would be. Maybe there’s something else on the way that takes you in a different direction for a while. Maybe you have to scramble over a series of seemingly nonstop challenges, like JB and all the stress and money hardships that’s come with his dream job.

Still, the only time you can truly know a dream is no longer within reach is when you give up.

(PS: Speaking of dreams, my aunt is looking at self-publishing. If you’d take a couple minutes to answer her survey about e-books, it would really help her out.)

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