Monday, July 18, 2005

Old and New

Yesterday was a day full of old memories, old friends and new beginnings. I started attending this brand new church when I was 16. I met Bill there, the pastor married us there, we had Trey and had him dedicated there. I met my best friend, Shea there. Bill led the junior high youth and played/sang on the praise band and I counted the offering. That was our life. Things went south. We had to leave. It was a hard decision but ultimately the best one for our family. A new pastor came into my little old church and things changed and they finally got a building. Thirteen years later, and they finally have a place to call home. Yesterday was their Grand Opening, so to speak. Current and prior members were welcomed to celebrate. Of course I went and caught up with all of our old, great friends. The little kids I used to know are on their way to college this fall. The little boys are giants and there's a slew of new people. It was kind of sad that Bill didn't get to go with me, seeing as how our life together began at this place. Some people had no idea he was even in Iraq. Some said he was the last one on their prayer list to return, as everyone else has already come home. People couldn't believe how Trey had changed from a very pudgy baby into an extremely tall and thin three year old and almost everyone met Leah for the first time. Shea and her family were there. We were all casually talking about housing arrangements and military orders.

I met Shea when I was two months pregnant with Trey. She is literally responsible for my sanity during pregnancy. I can't even begin to describe the kind of friend she has been to me. She was also responsible for my sanity after Trey was born and all of the secrets new moms keep to themselves surfaced. She spilled. Told me everything she'd been through so I would know I wasn't insane. Well, perhaps I am, but not because of this. She dragged me out of the house so that I wouldn't sit at home alone with this new person and wonder, "what did I just do?" She invited us over for dinner and would take Trey when he cried so I could eat a hot meal. She wisked me away for my birthday in a limo so that I could dress in fancy clothes and be with adults and pretend for just one night that I was one hot momma. Everyone should have a friend like Shea. We found out when Trey was eighteen months old that her husband had been accepted into the Navy Officer program. This meant they would be moving. Far. Eight hours away by car. What does a friend like Shea do? She lets us move into her house while they are gone and rents it to us, without making a profit. When Bill and I were first married, one of the things we liked to do was look at model homes and dream. We drove into the neighborhood that we're living in now and toured the houses and drooled and pined for this house. This neighborhood. These ammenities. It was perfect. Our dream house. Who would have thought that seven years later and a month we'd be living in the place we'd dreamt of? God is so good. It has been absolutely wonderful living here. Prior to moving in, we lived on the military base. All base housing for enlisted folk are duplexes or fourplexes. You always share a wall, somewhere. We had a three bedroom place and we were thrilled! The house was built in 1975 and with a three year turnover rate you can imagine what it looked like. The cabinets were a dark, peeling brown. We had pickle green counter tops and flourescent lighting in the kitchen and bathrooms. We had white linoleum flooring with pastel colored flecks in the kitchen, baths and family room and quarter inch pile carpeting with quarter inch padding in the rest of the house. We were lucky. We had carpeting. Most of the houses only had carpet on the stairs. When we moved in I had Bill take down the flourescent lighting in the bathrooms because no one should buy makeup thinking they're skin is a pale shade of green. When he took them off the wall, wallpaper was left behind by a previous tenant. Imagine the colors in the kitchen of the Brady house. Lime green, orange and gold daisy wallpaper. Yessiree. I'm sure this wallpaper had been left from the original dwellers, from 1975. Our carpet kept everything that ever touched it. We had a no shoes rule in the house. We had a baby. The carpet still required steam cleaning every two months. Dust would leave a mark. Our windows were so drafty that the vertical blinds would clack if it was windy, which it often was since we were about two aerial miles from the ocean. There was one instance where Bill was upstairs in the only shower we had and I was in the kitchen. All of a sudden, it started to rain in my cabinet. The shower was leaking through the floor and pouring down my cabinet. It took maintenance three times and six months to fix that with many complaint calls in between. The entire base runs on well water and the river that runs through the base carries a lot of manganese which makes the water a lovely shade of brown, similar to that of iced tea. Fortunately, it's filtered and we had an additional filter put on from Culligan. Well, the pumps would break and my whites would turn beige and I'd run a bath for Trey and opt to give him a baby wipe bath once again since I didn't want to lose him in the bathtub. But we were grateful. We had a house. It was free. Our child had a room and we had a place to lay our heads at night. Then we get the opportunity to move into my best friend's home while she's away. It could ease the pain of her absense. No brown water. No attached walls. Four bedrooms. Huge yard. A master bedroom that would fit our bedroom suite in it's entirety for the first time since we'd been married. A garden tub. Luxury. They're moving back in May. I get my best friend back. She gets her house back. We're moving, again. Now we need to find a new place to live, suffer from sticker shock and we'll be in our eighth home in ten years. I'm so grateful to Shea and her family for allowing us to have a little bit of heaven while we were here. Once I move out, I will plaster photos of the house all over my blog and gloat about the beautiful home that was ours for three years. There are so many memories of my family when this was Shea's home, when it was ours, and now we will make new ones when we turn the keys back over to them. Trey walked for the first time in this house. I had both baby showers in this house, once when it was Shea's, once when it was mine. Numerous birthday parties have been celebrated here. Thanks, Shea.

Anyone want to give us $500,000 so we can buy a place of our own?

10 comments:

Judy said...

Whoa! Half a mil? See, I just don't get that...our fanciest neighborhoods don't even go for that here in podunk Texas.

Just unfathomable to me!

But, I'm glad your getting your best friend back (physically)!

Bill said...

That settles it, Jen. We're moving to "Podunk" when I retire. :D

Jen said...

Judy, it's really stupid how much houses go for out here. There's a new housing tract that just went in and they're starting at $700k. LAME!!!! No land. Everyone has the same design. Tract homes. Some of them are even selling for $900k. I tried to talk Bill into moving to TX but he said no way. Hmph! Maybe you should send him pics of your neighborhood! =P

Teresa B. said...

Yeah - I don't have the cash, but I DO know a good realtor... tee hee. (love ya!)

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