New Beginnings: Part II

12:42 PM

Last I left off on this theme of new beginnings for my family, my Oma (grandmother) had passed and we were starting to pack up both houses.  I was also worried about not breaking down in the middle of a concert while trying to play Strauss' An der Schönen, Blauen Donau (The Beautiful Blue Danube).  I'm happy to report that I made it through the concert!  A few tears were shed but it was nothing I couldn't play through.  

Since that posting in April, so much has changed in our lives.  My mom and her brother (my uncle from Texas) both decided that when my my Oma was gone, that my mom should sell her house and then they would sell my Oma's house and get my mom into a new house--let her start over with a clean slate.  And that is exactly what we have done. 

My mom already had a builder in mind and a model home that she loved but we did some searching around anyway just in case she couldn't afford the home of her dreams.  The goal was to get her into a house where everything she needed was on the main level.  We wanted this to be her "forever home, " just like my Oma's home was for her.  We just wanted a house that was newer for my mom and with less land and no pool so it would be cheaper and less work for my mom.  We wanted her to be able to come home at the end of a long work day and just enjoy her new house, not worry about what needed repairing and how she would pay for pool maintenance and what tree needed trimming on the acre and a quarter of land my Oma owned. 

From upper left:  My Oma's land in the dead of winter; Her land in the spring (her land goes nearly up to the yellow house up the hill, and that is only on one side of the house!); Her in-ground pool closed for the season; My sister, Caitlin, enjoying the pool with the family one of the last few times.  

After finding the right home for my mom, we started working with Oakwood Homes.  The sales office representative, Stacy, was fantastic.  She's a single mom and understood a lot of what my mom had been through and what penny pinching feels like.  She suggested my mom have a meeting with their lender to go over her finances and see how much of a loan she could afford.  The lender, Kevin, was also very nice and helped my mom figure out that she could afford the house of her dreams and she would end up having a small loan--one that would be about the size of a brand new luxury car--except she'd be getting a new, energy efficient home with lots of space for the whole family!  So my mom signed a contingent contract with Oakwood--contingent on the sale of her own home.  This new home will be the nicest thing my mom will have ever owned and I'm so happy for her! 

This process has been an adventure but bittersweet at the same time.  My mom's house was my childhood home.  It was also my mom's childhood home--it had been in the family since it was built.  My Oma's house had been in the family since my mom was a senior in high school.  My family rented out the old house and when my parents married, they rented it out.  Eventually, my Oma signed the old house over to my mom when my parents divorced.  She wanted to make sure that my mom, sister and I always had a roof over our heads.  My Oma was always taking care of us.  If it weren't for her, we may have been homeless or at least without food.  Times were pretty tough after my dad left.  

Top:  The outside and inside of my mom's favorite model from Oakwood Homes.  The open floor plan on the main level with a master bedroom and laundry room on the main floor is what sold her on this house.
Bottom:  Our selections at the New Home Design Center for our hardwood floors, carpeting, tiles, laminate flooring and countertops, granite countertops fireplace tile and cabinetry.

When my mom went to sell her house, it was very nerve racking for her.  She had never bought or sold a home before, and here we were selling one and getting ready to sell another.  Luckily, the market for sellers is amazing right now and my mom's realtor for her house is even more amazing! If you are looking to buy or sell in the Colorado Springs area, Treasure Davis of Remax knows what she is doing and is great with first time buyers/sellers.  The sale of our house went fast and we got $10,000 over the asking price.  (There is basically a bidding war going on down here the market is so crazy right now!)  My mom was stunned.  Our little house in the south end of town was in need of some updating and a little bit of work--or as Treasure put it, it just needs a little TLC. 

During the selling process of my mom's house, we had appointments with the lender again, and also with the New Home Center for learning about what to expect during Oakwood's building process and to select what we wanted in the new house!  My sister joined my mom and I for selections and it's a good thing.  It was totally overwhelming but the representative helping us through it was great.  She new my mom's budget and only showed us what would fit in the budget. We stayed pretty baseline on most of the selections but we upgraded to darker woods and extended the hardwood flooring on the main level into the living room.  This opened up some other options for us, like upgrading the carpet and carpet pad.  All in all, we are very happy with our selections!  

So in late July came closing on my mother's house.  I had to leave my gardens and the rosebush that my Opa planted at the house when my family moved in.  My heirloom was the pride and joy of my gardens.  I tried rooting cuttings but I could never get it to work.  So I promised my Opa that I would plant a new rosebush in his honor at the new house.

From Top Left:  The corner of my mom's old house and the front yard, including my very large Russian Sage plants around the lamppost; A nearly full storage unit that you can see I've packed to the brim in the back; My Opa's (grandfather's) rosebush--the pride and joy of my garden that sometimes showed streaks of pink in the yellow petals when the summer days got really hot.  

At this point, we had two storage units full of furniture and house decor.  We new that the new house would not be done before we had to move out of my Oma's house.  My mom said that I have been playing storage unit Tetris for the past several months.  While keeping my eye out for a job I might like, I have basically been my mom's secretary and packer/mover.  But the best part closing was that my mom had signed to release the contingency on the building of her new home and in the matter of 2 weeks, they would begin construction on the new house!

Selling my Oma's house went a lot faster than my uncle's realtor thought it would.  We got a little bit over the asking price.  I think if my uncle had left it on the market longer, he would have got more.  I know he was trying to make sure that when it came time for closing on my mom's new house, that she had all the money she could have so she would get a small mortgage.  

A month or so before closing on the house we had to close the swimming pool and the buyers  wanted to come and see the process.  We really didn't want to meet these people but my mom had no choice in the matter.  They seemed nice enough and were interested in keeping the pool going.  This was nice to hear because when my family moved into this house, the pool wasn't in working condition and my Opa (grandfather) got it running even after people told him he should just fill it in and turn it into a garden. 

Top:  The temp controlled storage unit nearly full to "so full we can't put anything else in it" (our new house doesn't come with a fridge and our fridge at my mom's house was a gift from my Oma).
Bottom:  The two outdoor storage units--the second one got packed a little nicer than the first one...Look!  It's my mattress and my office chair!  Hello, stuff, we miss you!!

In early October it was time to leave my Oma's house.  With three storage units now full, my mom and I took only our toiletries, a small portion of our clothes and our computers and my instruments and moved into our temporary homes--my mom moved into my sister and brother-in-law's 2 bedroom apartment and my dogs and  I moved in with my dad and his wife, Jane (and their 3 dogs and a cat--it's like a mini petting zoo, but it's only for 3 months)!  I've also managed to apply recently for a marketing and graphics position with the local philharmonic.  I'm just waiting to hear back now.  (Keep your fingers crossed for me!)

I think we are all to the point now where we are more excited than reminiscent and melancholy, or overwhelmed!  I try not to think very often about the two homes I spent my childhood years in.  Mostly I try not to think about my Opa's rosebush dying at the hands of the new owners of my mom's house.  In the meantime, I will search for a rosebush similar to my Opa's from Heirloom Roses--something yellow with streaks of pink as the summer days get hotter.   

From top left:  The hole is dug for our new home; Headers and footers are in and they are getting ready to pour the foundation; The foundation is poured and the basement looks huge!; Building supplies are arriving and filling up the lot!

I know these 3 months will go by quick, but I'm excited to move into my mom's new house with her.  I'll have the whole upper level to myself.  And I really don't care that I'm nearing my mid-30s and still living with my mom (and currently my dad).  Even if I get a job that I could afford to live on my own, why would I when I hate cooking for 1 and love my mother's company.  Did I mention that my sister wants to move in to the downstairs bedroom in my mom's new home too?!  Plus I encourage people to spend more time with their grandparents.  I spent so much time with my Oma before she died, more than most grandkids, and I would give anything for just 1 more day with her.  So to all you millennials out there living with your parents or grandparents, don't be embarrassed!  All of the homebuilders we spoke with during this process have said they are seeing more multi-generation families searching for a home together and that the builders have been trying to build more models that would accommodate them.  Imagine that!? 


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