Friday, October 24, 2014

Riding the relocation roller coaster

I wrote this email to my "7 for 7" group at church. We have been reading a book titled 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Jen Hatmaker, 2013) and examining how we can be more conscientious about our own life excesses, both personally and as a church group. Reading this book has coincided with my own yearning to change my setting and habits -- and has helped tremendously as we ready our family for our relocation to Maine:

So, just as I pulled into the driveway Tuesday evening, after our fun little apple cider party, I received a text message from the owner of the condo we were planning on renting in Gorham, Maine: "We've received an offer on our house. Really have to consider it." Mind you, we had already signed the lease, set the date with our movers for November 3, and enrolled our kids in Gorham schools. I almost threw up.

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. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Big Move

We're about to do something big and scary and exciting and amazing: In less than two weeks, we're moving to Maine. Because I have a fabulous new job. Can you believe it? After years of being unhappy and frustrated in my Delaware job, I have been hired to an excellent position at one of the premier publishers in our field -- and they've asked me to move to Portland, Maine, where the office is located. Many people have looked at me funny when I say this is a dream come true, but I've longed to live in Maine since I was a child scrambling the rocky coastline of Acadia National Park with my brother. New, better job; beautiful small-city for a hometown; fresh air and space for my kids to flourish; a fresh start for us all. It's a super-mega dream scenario.

I'm terrified. Yet there has only been one afternoon when I lost my nerve, sobbing when I realized how much it's going to cost us to sell our home in Delaware. My smart, practical husband said, "I'll do whatever you need. But also remember, it's only money." He's a rock, my guy, and he has not flinched for a moment...even when I told him the moving truck was coming on his birthday.

So we're doing this. We're moving 500 miles from our family and friends. We're leaving our home with a property manager, trying to rent it or sell it. Chris quit is job, with a shrug of his shoulders and a conviction that he'd find a new job in Portland within a couple months. The kids have prepared their friends. Our friends, neighbors, and family have blessed us -- and most have promised to visit in the summer, so we'd better prepare a guest room in our new place.

Finally, this blog with "adventure" in its name may actually contain some adventure in the coming months. Maybe not the jumping out of planes sort, but definitely some leaping is about to take place. Leaps of faith. Leaps of love. Leaps of courage.

Here we go...Portland or bust.