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Housing Crisis

I have been trying, and failing, to write this post for an entire month.

We are selling our house and I'm pretty sad.  It's a house that we moved into with our older baby several summers ago, and the house in which I have been nursing our new baby this winter.  It is the first place I have lived in my almost forty years where I thought I could stay forever, or at least for a decade or two, which is forever in my life.  It's not a perfect house by any means, but it is a lovely and happy house and it has good energy, if you're into that kind of thing.  It is old and new, big enough but cozy enough.  It has a wonderful kitchen in which I have been happy cooking for my little family.  

We have been lucky, and life has offered us much.  But life also chucks curve balls, many about which I have written on this very blog, and 2016 was no different.  Our lovely happy house was good for our life before 2016 happened, good for the life in which my husband worked overseas as a petroleum engineer, and the life in which he was gone for long stretches at a time.  In that life he was paid a lot of money to do that work, so even though we had to deal with separations, we never had to worry about money.

It would be nice if I could say we did the noble thing without prompting, and gave big oil the finger all on our own...if I could say that we are moving out of our lovely house because we said enough is enough, and if he made the switch to an alternative energy career just because we believe in it and it was the right thing to do.  

How it really went is that we believe in raising our family in Minnesota, where the quality of life is high and the environment is clean.  So that put some distance between us and oil, and we have stubbornly stuck to that.  And we do believe in the necessity and the common good of alternative energy sources, but still, that's not how it went down.  Who voluntarily walks away from seventy percent of their income?  Not us.  The oil market crashed a while back, and over the course of the last year or so, we have been waiting, biding our time, burning through our savings to pay for our lovely house, trying to figure it out ever since.  

We had selfishly hoped oil might recover, even just long enough for us to save a little more money before a transition to local work and clean energy.  But enough is enough, so now it's time for action.  Which means that our house is no longer the right house for our new life...the one where my husband does have a local job in alternative energy, a great job, but one where the compensation is far less generous than what he's had in the past.  Hence, a personal housing crisis.  

We are optimistic though, and mostly happy...hopeful that all is still for the best.  It is awesome that he gets to work not only in this country, but even in this metro area, and come home to us every night.  It is also awesome that we get to be part of an important cultural shift to cleaner energy, even though we had to be strongly nudged to put our skin in the game, and even though it has to come at a significant personal cost.

So here we are, with a nine week old baby who has spent half of all of his days getting rushed out of the house for showings, after having spent even earlier weeks of his life watching us pack, scrub, and stage the house.  Those dark sleepless newborn nights of his have been spent simultaneously nursing watching mom’s face scan the glowing  smartphone, reviewing real estate listings, and frantically making lists.

After twenty-six showings in less than a month, we now have a purchase agreement, a daunting move date, and a lot to do.  But we are excited to start 2017 off on the right foot, with a prudent lifestyle change to match some positive new life circumstances.  I will miss this lovely house, and will not forget the first night my son and I spent here alone after the closing, with just an air mattress and a basket of his toys, and my husband working in Angola.  All the same, I am certain that the next housing adventure will bring us unexpected pleasures and unforeseen comforts, as homes inevitably do.  

So here's to 2017, and its embodiment of how doing the right thing is probably never the easiest thing, but is often the very best thing.