Long story shorter, they did decide to sell the house...pretty much right out from under us.
But you know what happened? I didn't panic. Well, I panicked a little. But I prayed. And I ate chocolate for breakfast. And then I called on all my friends in Portland to help...and they did! I found two potential homes for rent in Portland, and my boss went out in a raging nor'easter to look at them on my behalf. Even one of the landlords we talked to last week was on the phone looking for apartments in the area! And also the mortgage broker we'd dealt with back when we thought we were going to buy -- even she was on the phone looking for rentals for the Bachman family.
In the end, we found a small 3 BR duplex house for rent right in the Back Cove neighborhood of Portland. It's 2 miles from my office -- so I can walk, ride my bike, or take the bus -- and across the street from a new elementary school. It's also two blocks from the bay (so my walk to work will be along the water!) and surrounded by parks, shops, restaurants, and coffee shops. Three of my coworkers live nearby. Heat is included in the rent, as is snow plowing and landscaping.
I've only seen the place in photos, but I've had good conversations with the landlord -- who is an actual professional landlord with three other properties in the area -- and she is very happy to have a family in the house. I am just going to have faith that it's a place we can be comfortable in for a year or two.
We're still set to move the week of November 3. I will try to catch up with each of you next weekend in church (I have to travel for work this weekend). Thank you for all your well-wishing and prayers.
BTW, we are just about down to the bones here on possessions! We cleaned out our guest room last night and gave the bed, bedding, lamps, pictures, and towels to my sister for her new home. She also took one of the sets of china that had belonged to our grandmother; I'm going to keep a few pieces from the other great-grandmother's china and donate the rest to the church bazaar. My sister also took one of our mother's framed needlework pictures home with her, and I'm going to give the other piece to my brother so we all have one piece of the three-piece set. (It's a set that hung in our dining room as kids, and has been here since we moved in.) So we're even digging into the nostalgic pieces. And we're going to plan the family photo album extravaganza for Thanksgiving week.
This exercise of paring down so tremendously has been really good for my entire family because it forces us to think about what "things" we really are attached to and why. I honestly feel as if this entire relocation process is all just a continuation of that pull to simplify that started tugging at me last winter. God is working here. I'm grateful for the experience, even the hard stuff. Especially for the hard stuff.