Searching for Home

The cats and dog were loaded in the van, the hot water heater was turned off, and we’d taken that last bathroom break. With a sigh, I fastened my seatbelt and pulled the van onto the road. It was late August and we were leaving Maine to go… not home, but to Harrisonburg.

Only months before, we had moved to a house we thought would be our home. It started with a grand idea. My mom, my “other” brother, and I were going to each chip in 1/3 and buy a house together. I’d sold my house in 2019 and was ready. We’d even looked at one house that my son and I loved. The large deck and full screened deck under it encouraged dreaming.

Somehow we got on an alternate plan of using a house my mom owns, next to my old house, and all living there together. My part of the plan was to spend $100k for repairs and upgrades. We started working on that house, and prepping to move out of where we lived. Everything was harder due to the pandemic. The thrift stores were closed to donations and I couldn’t call on friends to help us move. It took my son and I a long time to pack our belongings, while also giving away unneeded items through the Buy Nothing Facebook group. We then had to move those items ourselves. It was exhausting. We moved loads over, unpacked, then took the boxes back and repeated the process. It’s amazing how much you can fit in a minivan, including furniture! I hired movers for the heavy furniture. We got our rooms set up, along with the den and dining room. It still didn’t feel like home.

It couldn’t feel like home.

It turns out that my mom and I had very different ideas and needs. I thought it would be our home, but her view was that it was her home and she was letting us stay there.

My son and I unpacked and then left for Maine for the summer, going to our work-in-progress house that now felt more like home.

With letters and phone calls back and forth, it became clear that my mom’s house wasn’t going to be home. I started searching realtor listings, but there wasn’t much in my price range. I entered an online auction bid for a small house, but it sold for a ridiculously high amount.

By necessity, the new plan became to live in Maine until next year. When we drove to Harrisonburg in August, it was to repack all of our belongings and put them in storage. My heart was heavy. I thought of myself as “homeless in Virginia.” I had never been without a place to live in the area.

Shortly after we returned, my realtor and friend contacted me. He had a house in Harrisonburg that he owned and he was going to sell. Did I want to see it?

I toured it in the morning and signed a contract in the afternoon! He graciously allowed us to start moving before closing. We closed in a few weeks and got everything moved into our new house. It doesn’t completely feel like home yet, but it will. It has some things that I wanted, like a front porch and yard.

A week after closing, we headed back to Maine. With school being online, we could spend time here that we couldn’t normally. The house is cold. I spent all my money on the Harrisonburg house, so don’t have enough left to finish insulating yet. There’s always next year for that.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll have the cats and dog loaded in the van, have the hot water heater turned off and drained, and have taken that last bathroom break. I’ll fasten my seatbelt and pull the car onto the road. This time, we’ll go home.

Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash