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back in time

Why would you want to go back in time? Someone asked me that after hearing my decision to buy the other half of my property and move there again.

For starters, the question of where “there” is. For you folks who live on an acreage, you probably wouldn’t call this an acreage. For you folks who farm, you probably wouldn’t call this a farm. It’s a quarter section - 160 acres. Not really enough to farm, by today’s standards. Too much to consider an acreage. Hobby farm? I’m not sure what to call it so I’ll just call it home. I live at home.

Returning to the original question. First, I haven’t gone back in time. Though I definitely had a time warp moment when I took possession and opened the door by myself for the first time in more than five years. I stopped, looked around and remembered many things. Then I make a choice to move on. I began the process of updating, cleaning, freshening, painting, and cleaning. I’m making a new start in a familiar place. I am most definitely not the same person I was the last time I lived here, and there’s no going back from that.

Second, it was a smart choice. A wise decision, I believe. I have owned half of this property since 2004. It has been mortgage free since 2004. For the last 5.5 years, my ownership has been here but I have been elsewhere. I’ve been renting and for a time, getting by on the good graces of my family and an empty farmhouse. I was having a difficult time getting my equity out of this property, so purchasing a different home was not in the cards. I had two choices:

1. Continue renting and putting money in someone else’s coffers. Continue being patient while my only true asset in the world rested outside of my control.

2. Take the bull by the horns. Take a huge leap of faith and bet on myself that I could make it work.

Let me tell you something about that number two. Most of the bulls I’ve encountered in my life don’t have horns. It’s bred out of them because bulls without horns are generally easier to handle. The few that do slip through the DNA filter have their horns removed at a young age. The rodeo bulls or Texas Longhorns you’re picturing make up a relatively small percentage of actual bulls in existence. Someone might call me a liar on this but in my experience, it’s the truth. My point? Taking the bull by the horns can be quite tough. You have to get creative. Be patient, wait for an opportunity and have faith that you’ll somehow figure it out. For me, taking the bull by the horns involved a series of steps that didn’t seem to fit together at the time. Moving, changing jobs, struggling, changing careers, moving, building a business, getting up every morning and pulling on my own bootstraps. Falling down in the process. Crying. Doubting. Forging ahead. Laughing. Praying. Always forging ahead.

If you haven’t caught it yet…I chose option #2. I did number one for a long while and it started to feel wrong. I can tell you the exact moment when it felt particularly wrong.

Our property had been shown to a perhaps interested, maybe buyer. This was one of those showings that happened without the realtor so she and I had no knowledge of it. I would probably never have known, but I have friends in this world. The kind who hear things and then let you know. One such friend let me know that at this particular showing, the prospective buyer was suitably unimpressed. They found the house unfit, unsellable, and quite frankly, “a tear down”.

That was the day I bought my house back. Not that actual day…but if I’m being honest with myself, that was the day I made the decision. I decided to protect my investment. I decided to revive my home. I decided that would be the last showing for a long while. When I heard someone else’s assessment that this house would be better off torn to the ground…I saw flashes. I saw toddlers at my bedside in the dark of the morning hours and bouncy chairs in the kitchen while I baked banana muffins. I saw a dog in the garden digging up carrots to steal and kids jumping on a trampoline. I saw birthday parties and tea parties and Christmas parties. I saw quiet coffee mornings and calming bedtime bubble baths. I heard laughter and music and birds and I made a decision. This house was in a beautiful, peaceful setting and it had good bones. I would make it my home once again.

I began that day. I searched for a lender that would take on a single woman who had just barely filed her first tax return as a sole proprietor. I searched for Courage to make a hard decision and see it through. I searched for Faith that it would all turn out in the end. I got a realtor’s assessment of the current market value and I offered exactly half. I received a counter. We met in the middle.

The twist here is that I purchased his half and moved back to the home place. He moved into the unit I had been renting. Our kids didn’t have to pack a single one of their belongings. Weird? Wonderful? Maybe both…but it worked.

And so my friends, this is how I stepped back in time to a fresh new start. This is why I chose opposite paint colours from what had been here and why I covered the familiar living room floor with brand new vinyl plank.

This is why I wake up every morning and listen for the birds. I take a deep breath and calm my fears of winter snow-ins and power outages, and I thank that last prospective buyer for not seeing what I have seen.

I am home. She is standing. And she's a beaut. LH

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