Yesterday was our 15 year anniversary of buying this house. It feels more like we’ve been living here 5 years considering how it’s still not “perfect” in my eyes. It was a huge life-changing move for us to leave Wisconsin (the state my husband and I both grew up in) and move below the cheddar curtain to Illinois. The 2 states have a rivalry where sports are concerned and just generally talk disparagingly about each other. We had to take a lot of grief from our cheesehead friends regarding being Ill-annoy-ans.
How we came to make the move 90 miles and a world away is an interesting story. At the time, my husband was a management consultant with a company out of the city we now currently live in. He traveled every single week, being gone from Sunday night until Friday night, sometimes even Saturday morning. He flew most places and then would have to get a rental car and find his way to the business with only an address. This is in the days before cellphones or GPS.
I was working nights at the main Post Office in downtown Milwaukee. We only saw each other on weekends but we always made the most out of it. It was kind of a wonderous thing to be so happy to see one another and every weekend was like a mini honeymoon. That’s an exaggeration but you get the idea. Then my hubby was working out of the home office in IL and coming home for weekends. After many months of that, he was offered a permanent position in the office. The company was willing to pay for us to have a moving company pack and move all our belongings. Of course, it had to be in the next few months without the benefit of prolonged decision making.
After 7 years and 8 months at my career (to me it was more than a job), I knew I’d be giving up a lot to leave the PO behind. The hardest part of the job was behind me, learning my duties, figuring out how to deal with difficult people, etc. By that time I felt like I knew everyone in the building (it was a factory type atmosphere with 1800 people) and was finally comfortable in my own skin. In a lot of ways it was like a family and I had many close friends there. Some I am still in touch with to this day. There was the stress of the half hour commute each way which would turn into 3 hours when we’d have a bad snowstorm. There was also the stress of finding a place to park! The employee parking lot was always full as the majority of people worked nights. The ultimate deal breaker was working nights. I had a much easier time staying up until my shift eneded at 6:30 am than most people would since I was a nightowl. Nights still take their toll and it is almost impossible to sleep during the daytime for so many reasons. Being a walking zombie is no fun. It was the main topic of conversation at the PO–bragging rights going to the person who slept the least that day. So the opportunity to have a life again was too tempting to pass up.
It was mid-June when my hubby got the promotion and we started househunting as soon as we could. While he worked I brought my mom down in July to go around with a realtor and look at houses. Wouldn’t you know this was the exact time that temperatures were 105 degrees and people were dying like flies in Chicago? They brought in refridgerated trucks to house the dead bodies they had so many. That kind of heat makes househunting extremely unpleasant. Our realtor refused to run her a/c since she was afraid of overheating her car. Plus she wouldn’t let us drink anything in her car. I didn’t think I was real picky but the only one I liked ended up having a crack in the foundation.
My husband was getting nervous about finding a place and thought I wasn’t seeing the possibilities of the places. I was unable to take anymore time off until the end of Aug. so he went looking on his own. He found our current home and borrowed a video camera from work to take a quick video tour through the house (a few minutes long since the owners were home). I couldn’t tell from looking at the video what it was really like but I trusted his judgement. I didn’t see the house until the day of the closing. I wonder how many other women would agree to live in a house that they’d never seen?
We were told we got a good deal because the people who had previously lived here had just put it on the market like the day we made the offer. We’ve been very happy here and even though we didn’t have plans to stay this long here, now we have no plans to move. The kitchen is so tiny with no room for a kitchen table and the basement floods every time we get a heavy rain. It just goes to show you though, it’s not what kind of house you live in, it’s who you live with that matters.