On September 28, 2010, I began my day by packing up my desk. It was my last day of work. A year after getting my B.A. in English (I know, what do you do with that degree?) I began as an administrative assistant. I worked full time and earned my M.A. in Writing Studies at the same time (and yes, I know, what do you do with that on top of your B.A.??). And then I worked my way up and became a program manager. And after a few years, I lost my job. The program I ran was sold. They didn’t know what else to do with me. And that was it. I had mixed emotions, thinking that life must have something better in store for me and that it was just the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of life. In a way, I was undoubtedly right. Because on October 3, I got married.
After years spent apart, me in the Philly burbs and my husband stationed in Hawaii, and at times deployed, we were living together and now sharing a life together. We had a beautiful wedding. We had family and friends surrounding us as we began the first of our new chapters together.
And despite having lost my job, we began looking at houses. A small two bedroom apartment, two adults, two cats, and all the belongings that go with it – and all the books that writer/reader/ me own – don’t make for comfortable living. We thought a house was a dream, almost an impossibility. But we figured having a wish list and seeing what was out there was worth it. We had an amazing real estate agent who was patient, kind, and understood we didn’t want a typical new clean home. We wanted character and wood floors and a fireplace. We wanted a home with history. And then we found out, despite my not working full time, and despite my husband being a full time student finishing his bachelor’s, we could still do it. We could have the character and all that went with it.
In May of 2011, we had it. We had keys. We had a 1929 Center Hall Colonial. We had a mortgage. We had a 2,200 square foot house full of dust bunnies, dirty tile floors, and knob & tube wiring. We had a quarter of an acre of gardens and grass neglected and overgrown. We had a garage that was decidedly tilted to one side. We had horrible wall paper, dirty and cracked paint, and a kitchen born in the 1980s. We had a basement that decided to take on water in heavy rain storms.
And I was right – it was a new chapter. We had a home. And we loved it from day one.