Back in June of last year, my husband suggested we consider moving to South Carolina. We had talked about retiring there the year before when we vacationed in Hilton Head. We were swept up by the ocean, the beach, the friendly people and the charm of all things south. Frank made the suggestion after we evaluated two things. What we could get if we sold our then current home (equity in Denver was at a crazy high) and what we would have to pay to obtain our dream home.
We had fallen in love with a beautiful home plan called the Seth. Truly a lovely home. And big. My home at the time lacked a few things; mainly a master bath (we had a small 3-piece set up with a tub so small I could have lost 100 pounds more and still not fit) and a formal dining room. There were other things missing. A guest room and a true den for Frank. Don’t get me wrong. The house had a lot of charm and was sufficient for our small family, but it missed things that would make life both easier and more comfortable.
So, off we went down to the Richmond homes community to price out our Denver dream. By the time we were done with structural changes, we had crested $530K. We still didn’t have carpeting. And lets be honest. My design tastes border on Champagne. We knew we’d be staring $600,000 in the face before we were finished. And that my friends, is just craziness at our age.
We’re not terribly “old”, we’re just cresting the other side of 45, but one day I’d love to actually retire. And taking on a mortgage of that size, even with a sizable down payment, seemed ludicrous. Then Frank made an innocent suggestion. “Should we consider moving to SC now?”
Now, this man knows me. Better in some ways than I know myself. He knows I have gypsy blood and a high sense of adventure. He knew better than to make such a suggestion unless he was prepared. And he was. For the year since our vacation he’d been researching the Charlotte area. Down to builders. When he’d stumbled on Fielding Homes, he knew he’d found the house of our dreams.
Fielding is ahead of the technology curve. They offer virtual tours on their website. And not just the kind you can see on a computer screen (though the 3-D tour is something else), but the kind you can do on your phone using virtual “glasses” so you actual feel like you are walking through the rooms. We looked at a few models that was. The Forester and the Hopewell. My heart burst when I walked through the Hopewell. I was sure Frank would never go for it. It was big and it was a 2-story (he desperately wanted a ranch or a first floor master (which the Forester had btw)). So, I got on board with the Forester. Which mind you, is a perfectly lovely home. In fact, most of my current neighbors have that model. When we finished the tours, Frank suggested we go and visit in person. You don’t have to ask me twice. On the computer I went and booked a trip for us for two weeks later.
We arrived in Charlotte on a Thursday and drove straight to Paddlers Cove. We walked through the Forester and the Hopewell, and in the end, the stars aligned and we both fell in love with the warmth and layout of the Hopewell. Then Linda, our sales associate, made us fall in love with the available lots. We were sold. We signed on the spot. And from there, truly, the stars aligned.
We went home and had so many hurdles to overcome. Frank had to get approval from his company to make the move (he is a long-time telecommuter, but still has to have permission to change location), I had major surgery on the horizon, we had to prepare and sell our home, I had to see if my company that I was back at part-time would both take me on full-time and allow me to telecommute, and then we had to find an interim place to live in SC, see if my daughter’s on-line school was available in SC, and get my son on his feet since he didn’t want to make the move but had never lived on his own before. OMGoodness. Just reading that makes me tired all over again. In the end, everything fell into place.
Frank’s boss gave his blessing in a matter of days. My daughter’s school is national and had a SC chapter. I returned to SC in July to make my design selections and found an amazing apartment complex during my visit. My surgery went well and four days later I listed our house for sale. It sold in the first week and a half for what we had hoped for to a family that just loved it. Such a blessing.
Frank packed and packed since I was basically out of commission for a few weeks. We coordinated the move, storage and transport of the cars. My company agreed without hesitation to let me work from afar, my son found his first apartment and finally, I drove across country with the company of my bestie and our dog, Archie, who wound up being too fat to fly (he’s since shed the extra weight and is a lean, mean fighting machine once again!). And now here we are…
We closed on our home February 22nd. We painted like crazy and got most of what needed to be done before the move in done. After today we are officially in our home together as a family.
I spend the night, alone, Wednesday night. I needed to be there for some furniture deliveries early in the morning on Thursday, that and I was so exhausted I just couldn’t drive home safely that evening. Our new bed had been delivered the day before and so I had the means to stay.
In staying, I have to admit, it felt a little like I was in a posh hotel. I have a beautiful master bath with a wonderful soaking tub. I haven’t had a tub that I could use since leaving Arizona in 2002. That’s a long time to go without the joys of a bath when you’re a bath-girl. I soaked and listened to music and delighted in feeling relaxed. Then I snuggled down into my new bed and watched a movie (well, lets be honest, I slept through a movie). And I prayed a prayer of thankfulness for the bounty He has provided my family.
It has been a physical and emotional whirlwind making this move. So many logistics and things we needed to iron out. Would I do it again? In a heart beat. Not even a hint of doubt in my heart or mind. But still, I need someone to pinch me. I can’t believe we’ve arrived.
Look, I know home is where my family is. This house is a material possession and if it were destroyed the only thing of importance would be getting the people I love out safely. We don’t need the house we bought. But we feel blessed to have worked hard and to have the opportunity to fulfill a large dream on our bucket list. We don’t take it lightly. And that is truly how I feel. I feel blessed. Our home is beautiful. I am so excited at the thought of the future memories to be made. Christmases where we are all together. Thanksgiving with family and friends. Sitting on our back patio during warm spring and summer nights. The new friends we are making and have yet to make. The long-time friends who will come and visit. One day having grand children running around. THAT is what this new beginning symbolizes for us. And today is day one of that future…