The 1985 Time Capsule-Part One

It all happened rather quickly. 

We had spent the last two years remodeling our house. A house that we were worn out from working on every evening and weekend. I had lost count of the miles of tile and wood we had painstakingly laid, and the endless cans of paint. I remember thinking how great things would be when we could finally just enjoy it. I dreamed of using that amazing shower with the body jets and chromatherapy lighting, the 900 square foot deck with the arbor and stone fire pit. We had lined it with huge palms in giant Mexican terra cotta pots and built in a screen wall and sectional with cushions. When we were done, it was a true feeling of accomplishment and pride. We looked forward to entertaining on our new deck, and spent many nights sitting by the fire pit counting our blessings and enjoying life, good music, and each other. Several months passed and we were just getting back into the groove of having free time when bad news crept in. My mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. 

I was filled with terror. I had lost my brother in a car accident not long before that. I was still reeling from his death and the death of one of my best friends, not to mention some other pretty big curve balls life had thrown along the way. I remember just feeling numb.

My brave mother endured two grueling breast surgeries and immediately after a double mastectomy had her gallbladder removed (this is one tough momma, by the way). I had been working back in my hometown where my father owns a business. He and I commuted 3 to 4 hours a day, depending on traffic, four exhausting days a week. My mom was alone for long hours dealing with the aftermath of her health while we were at work. It was too much.  She began talking about moving back to our hometown during the week. Their house had been on the market and had not sold, and it seemed like a good plan for my parents. Jason and I thought this would be a good time for us to try something new as well. After everything that happened, I did not want to be far from my parents. We called a realtor and decided to list our house just to see what would happen. We did not have a plan and were not even concerned since at that time the real estate market was still creeping along. Well, what do you know.........the house sold in a week and a half. And better yet, the new owners wanted us out in less than 30 days. So much for enjoying that shower and deck!

Now, I have been a planner for a long time. I like (need) to have a specific plan and I am passionate about organization and lists. This was going to be a problem. Where were we going to go? What were we going to do? How were we going to get all of my junk packed in a short amount of time? It was going to take a miracle or a village, actually, I would need both. 

We spent the next few days trying to figure out what town we were moving to. We wanted to be close to family, but still wanted some of the conveniences of a big town. We struck out with the places we visited and ended up deciding on our hometown. The first house I found was an old antebellum fixer upper I had adored since I was a child (apparently I hadn't learned my lesson). I just knew it was the perfect house for us until I found a dead bat in the bathtub, and the entire plumbing system became a big question mark. Strike One. We then visited a house built in 1985 that had not been lived in for about 4 years. When we first went there, the door would not unlock so we could not see it. We ended up looking at the house across the street. I adored that house, tons of windows, great light and had been updated, but it had foundation problems. Strike Two. 

We finally got to see the 1985 house, and it was a fast tour. The realtor had to be somewhere else and we had about five minutes to look at an almost 4,000 square foot house. It was very dark, all of the windows had heavy lined drapes, thick cornice board valances, and they were all closed. It had an almost eerie feeling. The carpet was very thick and very was the marble. That's right, pink marble. This pink marble was further accented by the yellow wainscoting, foil wallpaper, huge brass chandeliers (everywhere, in every room), and the master bathroom had mirrors everywhere, 60 to be exact, and 58 of those mirrors were 12x12 tiles. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want to see that many of myself when I step out of the shower. There was also an atrium with about a thousand plants in huge raised brick flower beds right in the center of the house. The house had great bones, and was really beautiful and well built. It was a solid house that, for its time, had many advanced features and design. The people who built this house thought of everything and built a very fine home. The only problem was every inch of this house needed to be redone. It was still 1985 in there. I'm talking Dynasty, 1985. The wallpaper was the same pattern as the custom bedspreads and sweeping drapes. These were gorgeous features at one time and the brass fixtures were amazing and beautiful, but not our style. Alas, this was too much work for the money. We walked away thinking, wow, what a great place to remodel if you had $100,000. Not to mention, Jason was tired and needed a break after the last remodel. (He had also been remodeling my parent's house at the same time). He wanted something that only needed some paint. 

There was a house For Sale by Owner in my parents neighborhood. It was smaller than we hoped for, didn't have the storage we required (again, I've got a lot of junk) and really not our style, but it was a beautiful home and it was done. Didn't need floors, paint, fixtures, appliances, granite, etc. We decided to make an offer out of desperation. The night we made the offer I remember Jason and I staring at one another and at the same exact time we both said, "I hope they don't accept it". As you can imagine, we had a pretty sleepless night. By the grace of God, they wanted more money and we walked. Strike Three.

We were out. Nothing, we had found nothing. We knew what we wanted and it was not there. The houses were either too small or needed too much work. We looked into building, but did not find land we loved, and hated to make that drastic of a decision when we weren't even sure how long term our stay would be. We were running out of time. We started packing boxes and driving them up and storing them at my parents house. Our realtors in both towns were freaking out, and I am pretty sure I drove the sweet one here crazy. She took me to see many many houses, many many times. 

Our daily ritual had become obsessively trolling It's a small town so we pretty much knew each listing by heart and we were very concerned by this point. And then Jason noticed the listing agent on the 1985 house had just posted a pretty significant price reduction. He looked at me and said, "This is our house". Ummmm.....what about wanting to buy something that only needed some paint?

Stay tuned for Part Two! Subscribe to my blog for part two!

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