Monday, June 1, 2015

house #5

House #5 is an interesting house in our journey.  It began a season of hard times in our marriage.  In fact, this is the house story that the mister said he may not want to read about on my blog.  And that's okay.  It will be hard for me to write about actually.

While we were livin' the dream on little ol' Poppy Lane, we bought house #5.  It was January of 2007 and we paid a measly $147,000 for a 3,000 square foot home.  Wow, huh?  It was in bad shape, to be fair, and the minute we walked in, I felt a sick feeling in my stomach.  I looked around at the potential and I couldn't shake the feeling of dread.  I had never been afraid of a move or a remodel or a build before, so I couldn't figure out why it felt so wrong.

after photos of the front elevation

The mister was so excited for the vision he could see, so we rolled full steam ahead.  We had just sold three of our rental houses for a great profit and needed a place to invest our money.  Unfortunately, we got some VERY BAD advice from a lawyer who told us we could roll it into that house.  We asked multiple times, but he kept assuring us it was fine.  So we did....

Then we took our life savings at that point and started tearing out walls, ripping up carpet, and remodeling our "new" home.  We were "building" our dream home.  This was the house, we declared, that we would grow old in.  We pulled out all the stops and incorporated every beautiful idea we had seen in magazines.  We were falling in love with our blood, sweat, and tears.  We had reached the pinnacle of life.  Or so we thought.

before (above)

after (above)




after (above and below)

before (powder room)                                                  

after (see those tiles?  Those are paintings of Norman monuments.  Yah, you can't take those with you when you leave.)

It took 9 months to finish the projects we took on and in August of that year, we moved into our dream home.  The pool was power washed, painted and filled.  It was decked and decorated and beginning to be enjoyed, just as summer came to an end.


 after (above and below)


I'll never forget that first night we laid our heads on the pillows of our new beautiful bedroom.  Mister rolled toward me and uttered the words that remain in our history forever now.  "We are SO FAR OUT HERE.  I don't know if I can stand this."  While it was true, the house he had chosen was on the far northeast part of town, it was heartbreaking to hear.  I knew in that moment that our time in this house was limited.

Our daughter started kindergarten and I was enjoying time with my son each morning.  Life was plugging along.  Mister was selling homes for his brother; he was relatively happy.  And YET....

The next summer we made a shocking discovery.  Electricity COSTS A LOT OF MONEY.  Our home was completely electric.  That had been fine in the winter before, but now we were paying to cool a large house with two air conditioning units, as well as running a pool pump 24 hours a day because of the heat.  Our electricity was costing us $800 per month, barely less than our tiny mortgage.  Here we were, in our biggest house yet, with the smallest mortgage we'd ever had.  We were doing okay until we got audited by the IRS for that ridiculous thing we did called rolling money into a mortgage that we should have paid the taxes on first.  I found myself wishing we could sue a lawyer for bad advice.

Additionally, the housing market was beginning to sink.  Selling houses slowed down, almost to a stop, and my brother in law was in jeopardy of losing his business.  Mister wanted to leave his job so he wasn't a burden to his brother.

All of these circumstances led us to one conclusion.  Time to go.

We put our dream home on the market in October of that year.  It sold 7 days later.

We had to find a new home and we had to find it fast.  Mister was quitting his job soon.  We needed to qualify for our new house before we had no income.  And we needed our life savings to be freed from that home so we could live on it.  I was a stay-at-home mom and we had no idea how long he would go without a job.

We started the depressing process of packing up our home....


  1. Kim, I had the chance to sit down this evening and read about your houses 1 through 5. I really like the way you tell the story of your life and marriage through the story of your houses. I've moved a lot too... so much that it was like a reflex to pack boxes once a year. One thing about having lived so many places, I can sort my memories by where I lived. We're almost 10 years in this house so I had to start filing things by where I worked or who my kids' teachers were. I'm looking forward to the next installment :) Nora

  2. Nora, I'm so glad you've visited my blog! I've thought a lot of your writing since the 8th grade! I'm sure none of us will forget your famous poem. In fact, Mr. Murphree and I talked about it one time while we were both working for NPS. He said we were honestly the best advisory class he ever had. ;) Anyway, it's easy for me to break up life into different houses, like you said! But the next house makes it all fuzzy again. I have to look at that house differently because of how long we spent there.
    Thanks again for stopping by! Much love, Kim :)