The For Sale sign in the yard is gone. At first it was for the reason that would make sense, the house is under contract which it was, after two days of being on the market. Yes, there were buyers who saw the house on Sunday, after the listing Friday before last and made an offer. Now, the sign has stayed down for another reason, as in, we don't want to sell the house anymore. Yes, I actually said that. We are crazy, but it is one of the sanest things that George and I have ever done (as long as we get the signatures that we were told we would receive.)
George received news on Friday that made him believe his salary will go down this time next year. We sat down and did the math again, and it scared us to death. We can't do this, we really can't. We have two kids to educate at a wonderful but pricey private school, etc. We grew up as kids who did not travel and we have tasted traveling and we want to explore and expose our children to other parts of our country and world if possible.
Friday night, we are sitting at our newly cleaned off dining room table, and we add up the figures of everything in our expense column and what would be the new credit column and it made no sense for us to get a bit bigger house. The house we are in began to look quite fantastic. There is nothing like the idea of being house poor to make the one that you never quite liked the exterior of, to begin looking quite rosy. Now we had to let our realtor know, and in turn the couple whom we had a purchase agreement with. We must beg for mercy that they will let us out of this contract. We felt completely sick about this, and prayed that they will be an understanding couple (after all they understood when an overtired Mallory had a massive, crying, screaming meltdown that left them cowering in my master hallway while they were here for the inspection. They commented that they had raised young girls themselves intimating that it was not new territory for three year olds to throw tantrums)
George and I received the biggest lesson in appreciating what we have. We had bought into the desire to have more, a slightly nicer neighborhood with a pool, another bedroom and an office. There is nothing like having the rug pulled out from under you (aided by our own actions), to make you appreciate the floor. It doesn't matter that it was a buyer markets and the interest rates are so low. In the past, I had felt completely grateful for our house staying intact after Gustav. Nearly everyday I am reminded of the randomness of natural disaster as I drive by a house in an adjoining neighborhood that was destroyed by a tree during Gustav and once again I am feeling completely grateful for THIS house.
Yet we were the manufacturers of our own potential disaster. We were sick, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat and awaited hearing back from our realtor, whom I'm sure was not pleased in losing out on commissions on both houses. After waiting most of the day but what seemed like forever, we received a voice mail message that said the couple would let us out of the contract. I cried, and we were both so relieved. We feel awful that we let the couple down, and led our realtor astray but feel like we dodged a financial bullet.
The lesson that we learned is, it doesn't matter what we see others having, what matters is our bottom line, no comparisons. We would rather live under our means in THIS house. We would rather be able to travel, eat out and things like that than live house poor. The children really don't need a bigger house. All of the anxiety I had about putting them in an upstairs that they said they wanted, yet I knew at least one of them would change her mind, must have been trying to tell me something. I hadn't slept well for weeks, perhaps this was the reason. We will figure out how to share the space we have, think out of the box to make room for what we need. The outside of this house has never looked so good.