In early March, I was finally out of the condo. I moved into my friend's rental apartment closer to the barn and further from the city. I immediately started house hunting.
On March 16 I finally found the perfect house of my dreams. I didn't have to look very long to find it - it was only the second house I looked at this time around. I made the offer on St. Patrick's day, March 17, and historically a very lucky day for my super-Irish family.
On March 19, after a few days of anxiously awaiting news about my offer, I finally got the call. The good call, not the "oh shit Abby's calling to let me down gently" call. My offer was accepted.
Hours later, I got the call that my grandmother, ill for so, so many years, was finally at peace.
For over a month now I've been in a constant state of emotional paralysis and decision fatigue. So much has happened since I came back to NC after the holidays, and it's going to take me a long time to process everything.
Disclaimer: This post is going to have nothing to do with horses but I'm writing about it anyway. Feel free to move on and check in soon for another Goose post. He's fat and happy and loving life with his mares.
House hunting for me was easier than it should have been, and I know how insanely lucky I am that things worked out this quickly for me in the craziest buying market of my lifetime. Abby sent me this house and I immediately fell in love from the listing. We went to see it that afternoon, and before I had even gotten out of my car I knew this was The One. Pulling into the neighborhood, I felt like I was coming home. It reminds me so much of the neighborhood I grew up in; every house is different, mature trees are everywhere, huge lots (I have nearly an acre! 0.95 to be exact!) and so quiet and peaceful. Abby warned me not to fall in love with it, but too late. I was smitten. After I got home that night after seeing the house, my cousin called me. "Lyss, this time it's really it. Hospice says we need to prepare."
There was no way I should have had an offer accepted on this house. It was absolute top of my price range anyway, and we knew we had to go over asking to even be remotely competitive. We decided on a number that I could still afford, and said screw it it's worth a shot. Offers were being accepted through Friday, so we took a day to run numbers and talk to my lender and offered on March 17. It was always a lucky day for my grandfather, who sadly passed in 2018, and I knew he'd be looking out for me and pulling any strings he could. At Christmas it was decided that I would take Penny, my grandparents' dog, home with me when grandma's time came, and I knew he'd want her to have this yard. With my offer I submitted a Love Letter (realtors really call them this) to the seller, letting them know how much I love this house, how I can see it being a forever home, and how this is the yard of my dogs' dreams and I knew my grandparents' dog could have a wonderful life with me here. It was dramatic and over the top, but it was my only shot so I went for it.
That week was a rollercoaster of emotions. I was not feeling hopeful about the house. I was feeling a mixture of sadness and relief about Grandma's inevitable passing, and I was trying to stay on top of work while planning when to go home for eventual services and to be with my family.
Friday, my phone rang and I saw Abby's number on the screen. I figured that this was it, she'd assure me it wasn't meant to be and we'll find the right house when the time came and at least I loved living in my rental apartment. Instead, she told me I got the house. Neither of us could believe it.
I texted my parents, knowing that my mom was with her brother at my grandma's house talking to hospice. She told my uncle the news and they both immediately said that Grandpa was working some real estate deals before he brought her home to him. It was a really happy moment in an utter pit of despair. Losing our family's matriarch was never going to be easy, no matter how sure we all were it was certainly her time.
That evening was spent calling a few friends, talking with my cousin, and a long shower before bed. As I was standing under the hot water (there are some days I could stand under water for way longer than is environmentally encouraged, it just helps me think. Or maybe not think? Either way) but I got a weird feeling of anxiety and shut it off, planning to maybe have another glass of wine before bed. A minute later my phone rang. It was my dad, and I knew what it meant. One of the most important people in my life, who had suffered for so many years stuck inside her own body while her mind had already moved on, was finally at peace.
Because of Easter, services were delayed. I went home at the start of April, and the weeks leading up to that and after were full of the chaos and excitement of buying a new house and the sadness of our family's loss. I just kind of felt frozen most days, unable to do anything very well except stress. It's been easier to accept this loss because of the six years leading up to it. But every so often it still hits. Going home was relieving; spending weeks in between her death and seeing my family felt strange and wrong.
With closing set to April 16, I decided to bring Penny home with me right away when I left NJ. She is an eight year old English Cocker Spaniel and very sweet. Grandpa always had English Cocker Spaniels, Penny is his third. He got her after he survived his first round of lung cancer and I always told him I'd take care of her if she outlived him. Now I get the privilege of making good on that promise.
|In NJ with my parents' Goldens. They all get along so well it makes us so happy|
Penny is a spoiled house princess and I love her. She's been living with just my grandma and her aids for the past few years since we lost grandpa, and though she's received wonderful care with them, she has a lot of health issues and needs a strict diet and routine. She's had a lot of change the past weeks, first losing her people, then staying at my parents' house with their dogs and then mine too when I came home, a ten hour drive south, living in a tiny apartment, and now moving into a big house with a huge yard, which at least is closer to what she's used to. She's learning to wait for her meals, not to run out the door every time it's opened, and that sitting and whining at me all day will get her absolutely nothing. I'm learning how to be more patient, that little dogs have little bladders, and that she's a wonderful addition to my furmily. I'm so glad to have her.
|Three faces greeting me at the apartment|
|You can barely see Zuzu on the right, but everyone enjoyed couch snuggles at the apartment. And also I'm shopping for a bigger couch.|
|Franny kills me with how sweet she is to every dog she meets. She's welcomed Penny with open paws.|
We moved into the house on Monday and so far I love it. The neighborhood is quiet, though currently I'm listening to a neighbor's rooster yelling about something. The dogs are loving the big back yard and I'm trying not to be overwhelmed with unpacking a seemingly endless number of boxes. I'm so thankful I'm here, finally home with my girls.
|Don't mind the chaos of the kitchen and just look at the cute upside down labradog|
|The yard is huge and it's our favorite thing.|
|Before we moved in and brought our chaos with us.|
I'm not a religious person. That's fine if you are, but I'm not. However, I do believe that there are a lot of things in this universe that we still don't understand, and that things do happen for a reason. Wherever my grandfather is, he played a hand in this. There are so many signs and I know he was looking out for his Penny and for me. The rest of the family, too, has had things happen that just can't be coincidence. I know that wherever they are, my grandparents are happy to be back together with the rest of their family that we've lost over the years. It's a sad but relieving situation, and over time we'll all recover and remember the good times with less sadness. I don't have it in me to write about them in more detail, but my grandparents were everything that family should be. They were supportive, engaged, not afraid to kick you in the ass if you needed it, and above all they loved us fiercely. We were so lucky to have them for as long as we did.
|Home is where these girls are.|
It is a joy to have a house with the yard of my dreams. It still feels weird to feel happy sometimes, but now that I'm moved in and can breathe again I hope some of that will fade. Watching these dogs play in the yard and snooze on their couch, I know we're exactly where we're meant to be. It's no coincidence Penny and the house came together all at once, and I'm so thrilled we get to make this house our home. A fresh start for all of us.