Updated: Oct 28, 2020
It was a fall morning, and my daughter and I were bringing our retired neighbor, Esther cookies. I walked in and remember wondering if she had changed the light bulbs, because her whole house was glowing a warm orange-red. As she led us into her living room, I gasped. The huge floor to ceiling windows in her living room framed the most brilliant landscape of fall colors I'd ever seen. It was as if we were in a tree house made for October. I think that was when I fell in love with her house.
Fast forward a couple of years, and my daughter and I were sitting in Esther's living room visiting on another sunny day. We had drawn plans out with my dad to do an addition onto our home. We wanted to stay in our neighborhood where we had made real relationships with our neighbors, and adding on to our house would give us the benefit of more space we wanted while staying where we loved.
Esther mentioned off-hand that she would be moving into assisted living and selling her house. She took care of everything herself, and as a 93 year old (sharp as a tack), physically she couldn't live alone and take care of a house anymore. I looked behind her at the massive double sided fireplace, and out the huge living room windows and heard myself say "Ruth, what if I talked to my husband and we bought your house?"
Nevermind the fact that I hadn't seen anything except the living room and the kitchen, didn't know what price she would want for it, or any other details.
From that point on, Esther told everyone "the kids are buying my house", and we signed on to one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters of our lives.
Esther is an incredibly smart and self-sufficient woman. She has taken care of all of her finances, the house, and her whole life virtually on her own since her late husband passed away. That is the way she prefers things too. So, over the course of a year and a half, she readied everything to move out and sell her house.
The house sat vacant for 14 months before we were able to buy it. Emotionally drained from the ups and downs of "would she sell it", or wouldn't she's, we fully gave up on the house. I remember praying "OK God, I can't wonder anymore. I give up", and feeling at peace knowing we could move on and go back to the drawing board to figure out our future house.
Very funny, God.
It was literally the same week that I got a call from one of Esther's extended family members, and she said "Do you still want to buy the house?"
Internally I laughed ironically and said "Yes, but we gave up on it. I don't think it'll work out."
Esther decided to meet with us and our incredible realtor one day, picked a price, my dad did an inspection (he is such a trooper for saying yes to this project, because it was in way worse shape than we even imagined), and we bought the house and closed three weeks later.
And so, the renovation begins.....