A few months ago, and about four months into the house sale/purchase drama we’ve been dealing with essentially since I found out I was pregnant, we found out that our buyer had been declined for her second loan application. Upon hearing the news that our sale was delayed again, Lee turned to me and said, “This isn’t how things work for the Springers, Leah! We make rash decisions without thinking them through and everything falls into place nicely!” He’s so right. And yet, it took two buyers, three loan applications, and four months to close on our house sale. We made offers on five houses before we had one accepted (actually, we had two counters, one outright rejection, and two accepted, but we walked away from the first house after the inspection). Our (adjusted) goal was to be settled into a new home by 11/11, when I’ll be 39 weeks pregnant. We’re moving tomorrow. That’s 11/10. Which, technically, is right on time, and in the end it all worked out, except, wow. Now I know why they say buying a house can be one of the most stressful experiences in your life (along with, you know, having a baby). And the whole time, with every hiccup we encountered, I just kept trying to tell myself, “everything happens for a reason, everything happens for a reason…” as if that mantra would help it all make more sense than it did in those moments, when it felt like the universe was just not aligning for us in the way that it usually does.
First, I said “I’ll never leave San Francisco! I didn’t move from Connecticut to California to live in the East Bay.” Then, when we quickly discovered that a 3/2 in SF really means a 2/1 with an illegal in-law (and that it also meant a million $ + listing for a fixer-upper), I said, “Fine…but I don’t want to live in Oakland. They can’t even afford police in Oakland (true story)!” Then, when the house we made an offer on in Oakland, for one hundred thousand dollars over asking, countered asking for $50k more, I said, “Fine, but I don’t want to live further out than Oakland. I’ve never even heard of Castro Valley!” Then, when we realized we were also priced out of El Cerrito (one counter and one outright rejection later), we took a weekend to look in Castro Valley and saw four houses within our budget. We were pulling up to one of them when Lee said, “I think I’d like to live in a Mediterranean” and lo and behold, there it was in front of us! A huge, sprawling Mediterranean with a stucco roof, lovely tiling, and olive trees in the front yard. It was perfect! It was our dream home, and our offer was accepted! Until we realized that what we had signed up for was terracing a backyard that was essentially an enormous hill…and a kitchen that needed gutting…and black mold in the walls. So, back to square one. Again.
In the end, our house sale took so long that we ended up finding the perfect (really, this time) house for us – a four bedroom, three bath Cape Cod with enough space for a playroom, family room, guest room, and home office; with a flat, spacious backyard full of fruit trees and a vegetable garden; with a bedroom for each of the girls where they can set up reading nooks near the windows; within walking distance from the neighborhood elementary school and a 2-mile bike ride from BART. We finally found our dream home, after the most stressful back and forth, selling and buying and loan approval process I for one have ever experienced (okay, I only have an N of 2 in terms of home buyership, but still). I am so excited for when the movers come tomorrow (in part because we were supposed to move last Thursday but got delayed again, so we’ve been living among packed boxes for five days) because it means that finally, finally, we will be in our new home, the home where baby #2 will be born and where we’ll raise our kids and grow old(er) together and where we’ll sit in the backyard on warm nights sipping wine and talking about how effing lucky we are that it all eventually worked out just the way it was supposed to.
Moving to the East Bay was not something I expected to be amenable to, let alone excited for. San Francisco is such a transient city that I never thought about leaving unless we were leaving-leaving; really leaving, leaving for somewhere outside the Bay. Instead, we’re moving to the suburbs, and if you had told me two years ago that this is where my life would take me I would have been so surprised (we’re becoming bridge and tunnel, really?). But the more Lee and I talked about the way we grew up, the more we realized what we want for our daughters. Molly and her sister are going to grow up in a safe space with great schools and still have all the access to what makes the Bay Area so amazing that we have enjoyed for the past ten years. They’ll get to play outside and we won’t have to worry about their safety. We can take BART to the city on the weekends, and tour the museums and the parks and everything we love about San Francisco. And then we can go home, to a place that reminds me very much of the town where I grew up, and we can live our lives in our quiet, safe, sleepy little town, and maybe, just maybe, this whole stressful, dramatic, drawn-out, down-to-the-wire experience, has shown us that everything really does work out the way it’s meant to, in the end.