After the fiasco in Kentucky, we didn’t know where to go except back to Missouri, where we had lived for seven years prior. All of our friends were there and it felt like home. However, we had no money, and while Craig could go back into practice, he’d be starting from scratch again.
Our former church was amazing and rallied around us and offered to pay our rent for six months. My friend Dixie and another lady from church did the house hunt for us, and so when we pulled up with the U-Haul, it was the first time I had seen the house.
They picked the best house available in the area and price range, and looking back it really was a nice, comfortable house. But at the time, I hated it. I cried as I wandered the house carrying 10-month old Pinkerbelle so she wouldn’t fall down the stairs, while church members carried our stuff in. I had literally ‘owned’ my own house the day before, and now the finicky old landlady didn’t trust us and was telling me I couldn’t do anything to her house. It didn’t help that it was decorated like your grandma’s house in 1982 (it was clean and in good condition, at least).
It actually was quite pretty and on a very nice street. It was three bedrooms, two baths, with a two-car rear entry garage (bottom right window is the garage). It was a split entry, meaning upon entering the front door you could go up to the main living areas, or down to the family room, laundry, office and garage.
This is the dining room, taken while standing in the living room. The kitchen is to the right. The entire house had this brown carpet. There were matching formal drapes/sheers in the living room. We took them down and replaced them with our own. And see the glint coming off of the wallpaper? She was very fond of wallpaper in general, and this kind of shiny pattern was everywhere.
Here’s what we did to cover it up: we hung white sheer drapes (a garage sale find a few years before, a couple bucks for seven of them, and I’ve used them in nearly every house since). We just mounted regular old curtain rods to the wall.
This is the downstairs family room. It had sliding doors to the backyard. This furniture was pretty well shot by this point and went out to the curb soon after we moved in. On the left was a fireplace. Christmas 2003.
This is the other side of the family room. Firstborn started kindergarten that year, and not knowing how long before we moved again, I homeschooled him. We had our homeschool set up in this area. This photo was taken while we were moving out, and that is Craig’s portable adjusting table, in case you wondered.
Something very interesting happened while we lived in this house. Early one December morning I was awakened by a loud BOOMthat shook the house. I thought maybe it was a car accident, but it didn’t sound just right for that. I looked out the window and there were enormous flames on the street behind us, visible over the rooftops. People were in the street and frantic, and Craig went out to see if he could help. A house on the street directly behind us had exploded! It threw the sleeping family out into the street, fortunately with only relatively minor injuries. But the house was gone!
Turned out it was a gas explosion. The pipes leading to the house had been disrupted by tree roots, and gas had been seeping for who-knows-how-long into the walls and carpets but they couldn’t smell it because the earth acted as a filter! Scary! That morning, someone flipped a light switch, and boom!
Oh, and our picky landlady heard it on the news of course, and called us to ask if her house was okay! Yeah, we’re just fine thanks!
Anyway, we were so grateful for the help our church gave us, but I could never get over my dislike of the house. Craig had been practicing in a friend's office in the beginning, but about the first of the year took a job running a student clinic for his alma mater, making less than in Kentucky, but more than before KY, and finances weren’t dire anymore. However, rent was still more than we could comfortably continue to pay after the second six months.
As luck would have it, the church’s rental house became vacant during our year in this house, and we were able to move in, for less than half the rent.
To be continued…