happy Thursday! happy Anna Howard Shaw day! [if you got that, well done] I’m actually trying to stay up on all the things I promised either myself or others to accomplish this next week. even the things I really want to get done seem to get swept under the rug, in the name of exhaustion or distraction. no more!
the big news, both for myself and the entire family, was that our tax return posted. when we filed, we were floored at how much we would receive. but, being the working poor for a year with two children apparently came in handy. we had two options: 1.) put the funds towards a down payment or 2.) pay down a ton of debt. we got into talks with a mortgage broker to see where we stand. our house in KC had to be sold as a short sale, which dinged us. our actual numbers aren’t so bad; it’s just that mortgage rules say you have to be free and clear for three years before anyone will give you another mortgage.
that was a bit frustrating, to be honest. it wasn’t our fault that we had to short sale it; we tried to sell it three times before we went down that path. we refused to let it go into foreclosure, and the banks told us the only way we could short sale was to not make payments. I was certainly wrestling with frustration and anger at a situation that I didn’t create but had to live out.
there were a lot of positives in those conversations though. we can’t buy a house, so we paid down debt. and it was AWESOME! for those of you who have paid off all your debt, or are in the process, I know you can relate. it felt like an incredible, massive weight had been lifted off my back. I totally see what Dave Ramsey and all the folks who give testimonials on his site are talking about. I physically feel better. isn’t that amazing? we are in such a better place now, with back up funds and debt paid down and a plan to have the rest paid off shortly. R is doing a ton of extra work this year, which is funding our travel. he’s headed to London, we’re headed back to KC in the summer and winter, and we’ll have both of those paid off no problem.
we feel like grown-ups now, having our finances in order and what not. the next step is to save for a mortgage as well, and I think we have a few options that will help us get into a house right when the ban is lifted. in the meantime, we’re looking for a cheaper rental with 3 bedrooms. we love our current place, but with only 1 bedroom for the kids, it’s getting tight. we’re asking a lot, though – we don’t want to move off this island, we don’t want to be too far away from work and school, we don’t want to have to drive that far to the beach, and we want something cheaper. [throws head back, and cackles] yeah, that’ll totally happen.
I think we’ve found the church we want to stay with. I may have mentioned it before, but it’s a local Episcopal church. it has a nice mix of old and new, thoughtfulness and emotion. everyone is really friendly, and the kids really enjoy the nursery set-up. I’ve already been invited to their Bible studies, and am going to make that a priority this next week. as long as the kids are healthy [which they were not this last week], I have no excuse as they offer child care. it’s a win all the way around.
speaking of health – I think we’re all spiraling towards colds. there is one that’s going around S’s school at the moment, and she’s come home with a stuffy nose these past few days. it’s clearly not the flu, as we’re still functioning and not crowding the bathroom. it’s just a nice, slow-moving cold that is lingering. I’d say we’d just rest this weekend, but we’ve invited friends over for dinner and cousins are coming into town this weekend. maybe Monday? S doesn’t have school, so maybe we just crash? done.
R & I found a new burger place that we really liked. as great of a food town as Charleston is, they don’t have the greatest burgers. and that’s fine – their forte is seafood of all kinds, specifically shrimp and grits, not Angus beef. I had a real craving for a burger, though, a couple of nights ago. thank goodness for Google, eh? we found a place called the Sloppy Cow, which came recommended from some other transplants and online reviews. they stuff their burgers, add a couple things on top and they were DELICIOUS! I got the ‘smoking cow’, with bacon, gouda, and grilled onions. R got the ‘spicy cow’, with jack cheese, peppers and chipotle mayo. they’re not five minutes from us, so if we can’t eat in [which we could not have done that night], pick-up only took a few minutes. if we had decided to go for lunch, the kids could totally go.
isn’t it funny, what it takes for a place to feel like home? finding our own go-to places totally makes for me. I’m starting to use my map function less often for basic errands; we’ve frequented the mall a few times now for clothes and shoes; church, the beach, and school are all basics now; we have a pizza place, a burger place, a barbeque place [yes, it's a mustard sauce, but given their geographic location, I'll forgive them]. we do still need a Chinese food place – the first one we checked out was awful.
I feel like I’m in such a better place now. we’re not quite as stressed out about money as we were; G is sleeping through the night again, so I look like a normal person in the morning; we’ve made some wonderful friends, and know we can afford to go back to Kansas City when we want to. and, the Father was so patient with me when I was feeling down, alone, and tired. [oh, so, so tired!] I’m sure if I looked back through my previous posts, ones specifically about me, it wouldn’t look too pretty. I tried not to whine too much about it, because we were all sad about the move and I didn’t want to make the folks back home even more sad. I’m sure, though, some of it crept through.
as I told R, though, when we first moved out here – I’m thankful for jobs. and airplanes. I still am, but also for grace and peace.