Life always changes, it never stays the same. Some changes are small and insignificant, others are life changing.
Today, our world was forever changed. It was rocked and shaken to the core.
This morning the phone rang. I answered it and my world changed. My sister-in-law was telling me that my father-in-law had suddenly passed away. To say I was shocked would not even be adequate!
My father-in-law was that only on paper. He was always “Dad” to me. He accepted me unquestioningly as another one of his children, from the very first time we met. He will forever be “Dad”. I was blessed with an absolutely amazing birth father, but I was also blessed with an irreplaceable dad who chose to love me, his son’s wife, as if I were his own child.
Dad had a smile that lit up the room! He may have tried to put on a rough exterior, but anyone who knew him knew he had a huge heart of gold!
My children were his first grandkids, and my daughters were his chance to have a little girl! He loved his grandkids. He spoiled them. He always had treats for them! He took the kids fishing when they were younger and they loved it!
Anytime we had car trouble, which wasn’t infrequent…the first person Jason would call for advice was Dad. Dad could figure a way to fix pretty much anything mechanical I think! Although I wouldn’t say that it was always done “by the book”. Sometimes it was pretty creative, but it usually worked!
Dad had this crazy soft spot for their dog Babe too! That dog was spoiled rotten! His love was poured abundantly on her and she sure never complained about it!
Dad was wise and caring and always eager to talk about the grand kids! Even this weekend when Jason asked him about some art on the fridge from the younger grandkids, dad’s face lit up and he just couldn’t say enough great things about the 2 grandsons who had given it to them!
I will forever miss Dad! I already miss his smile and big strong hugs…and I just saw him 3 days ago!
Several years ago we decided that we needed a serious plan that would get us into home ownership. Nearly 3 years ago we moved our family into a house that was too small, with a plan. The plan was 1 year of sacrifice in exchange for the opportunity to save enough money to buy a house of our own.
That 1 year would turn into 3. Three very long years of a family of 7 living in a tiny 3 bedroom house. Pretty much as soon as we moved, 3 of our children went to the orthodontist. All our plans to save for a downpayment turned instead into plans to pay the orthodontist! No joke, we were paying like $900 a month for a year and a half and then still a whole lot for the following year! And we aren’t done yet. Keilan is still being paid for even now.
But we got through it. And they all have beautiful teeth! We did manage to save money. We cut every corner imaginable! No more satellite tv for us. We cut until there wasn’t anything much left to cut! Then the economy hit bottom. Jason stopped being paid ontime frequently, and always behind numerous paychecks. But we managed somehow to still save money.
The plan had been that we would be in a place to start looking at homes in Feb 2017 with a plan to build within a couple of months of that. But February came and went. And we just weren’t there. The late paychecks had simply taken their toll.
It was a hard month for me. All the sacrifices of the past 3 years seemed to be piling higher and no reward was in sight. Last June, as Jason and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary we made a promise to each other that we would own our own home before our 21st anniversary, or be we’d be in the process of building it.
We made spreadsheets and budgets and plans and scrimped and saved. But it never seemed to be enough. We never seemed to quite be able to make those goals. November 6, 2016 I broke my foot and ended up having surgery and missing 12 weeks of work. Plus the week I had missed when I had originally broken it, but the Dr said it wasn’t. Because I missed a week of work, then drove for a week and a half with my fracture. And finally missed another 12 weeks of work.
Please don’t mistake me, I am ever so grateful I live in Canada and that I could access disability unemployment insurance. It paid the bills. But of course its a lot less than I usually make.
So, in January we looked at our numbers and where our savings were at, and we were simply not where we needed to be to buy a home. If you added up Jason’s yet to be paid wages we were far past where we needed to be. But that money doesn’t count until it’s in the bank.
So, February was a dismal month. I returned to work, But not to the route I’d driven for the last 7 years. Not even the school I’d driven for for the past 14.5 years. My wages were severely decreased as all of my extra work had been given away when my foot was broken. And so the chances of fast tracking the home savings was not going to happen.
Then March happened. I told Jason I wanted him to file our taxes asap. And he did. And we were getting money back. Money that had been owed to us since 2012 – in old child tax credit was finally set to be paid out in March. And Jason got a check for some side work he’d done. I added it together and we were sitting at our bare minimum goal of what we had decided we needed to have saved before we could even step foot in a show home.
March 4 there was a big grand opening event for Livingston, the community we had kind of been seriously considering building in. It took some persuading, But I convinced Jason we had enough money set aside now that we could start looking. We didn’t plan on buying just yet, but maybe in April we could get serious. We had long since done our homework. We knew the model and builder we wanted.
So, we went and we looked. The emerge was perfect! But it was pricey. And we wouldn’t be able to develop the basement for a number of years. But we decided it was for us. Then we started talking to the sales woman and she suggested we look at the smaller home next door. So we grudgingly did. And guess what…we liked it! The sacrifices we would make were ones we were ok with. And the gain would be we could afford to suite the basement immediately. So we changed our minds and went smaller.
Then we realized that there was only 1 lot left in the cheaper price range. Now we had to make an immediate decision, do we reserve it and jump in and hope we get approved for a mortgage or do we wait and then have to wait who knows how long for more lots to be released. So we plunged into the deep end!
We applied for the mortgage, hoping to beat the rate hikes on the 15th. And after a week and a half we were approved. In the mean time we signed conditional sales papers based on financing, Because the model home we were purchasing was set to increase in price by $7500 in a few days.
Then we had to prove to the bank where all our savings had come from, that none was borrowed. And finally we had to gather all the funds from the various locations so that we could make a deposit and then the final downpayment.
When we sat down with our sales woman and made all the basic home choices and hammered out a purchase price, we weren’t entirely sure how we would pull it all together. It was possible to do it, but only just. By the time all the money had been gathered from our RRSP and TFSA and tax refund and old child tax and general savings, well we had actually met our original goal for our downpayment. We had basically found an extra $4000. Just a little bit extra here and there and it added up to the amount last spring we had written down as our downpayment goal. Only God could have worked out all the details in this way. Because remember in February we were no where close to our goal! In fact we only made it to the lower goal because I was annoyed that our van hadn’t been fixed from an accident we were in on December 23. So on February 23 I called the other insurance company for about the 3rd time in less than a week and demanded they deal with my vehicle. I was nice about it, But I was firm. Our van was written off a few days later and a check on the way, when we went looking on March 4 at Showhomes. The check would come that week while we were still waiting to hear about the mortgage.
This whole process of home building has been simply one answered prayer after another. It has been a road full of provision and blessings!
Our home building journey has barely even begun, and I’m sure I will look back and it will seem like it was over in a blink! But for now, it is a lot of waiting and excitement and anticipation! We’ve already had such great provision and completely unexpected blessings! I can’t wait to see the proposed basement development plans and the reworked second floor plans to meet the developer’s approval! And in a couple weeks we choose our finishes and sign off on the final plans and then the building begins! The dirt should be dug before our 21st anniversary, which again allows us to meet our promised dream and goal of our 20th anniversary a year ago. This Christmas we should spend in our new home!