Up until two and a half years ago, Jeff and I were entrepreneurs in the new home construction business. I would design the houses and Jeff would build them. We were both doing what we absolutely loved and having so much fun with it while it lasted. Can you already guess where this story is going? If you haven't heard (ha ha,) the housing market kind of turned into the Titanic and is now resting at the bottom of the ocean. We were on the ship when it went down and barely made it out alive. Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic. We went bankrupt and lost a lot including our house. I don't care to relive the details but that was a major turning point for us, naturally. It lead us to where we are now though, which in a lot of ways, is exactly where we always wanted to be...building a modest (albeit weird to some) home in the country. I say it's weird to some people because there are those out there who just don't get it. "Country???" "Wood plank walls???" "Corrugated metal in the shower???" And the biggest conundrum, "SMALL???" You all get it though, don't you? Yes, I'm sure you do. It's not half as "weird" as we'd like it to be but it turns out weird can also be quite expensive. Now, I have to stop saying weird because it's almost convincing me that my home is w... well, you know.
(I'm going to interrupt this dreadful post occasionally with pictures of a gooseberry pie my 11 year old daughter made from scratch all by herself today, including picking the gooseberries from a few bushes on the property.)
Two cups of freshly picked, green gooseberries.
Just days after the bankruptcy closed, and due to some
strange mysteriously divine intervention that I won't go into right now, we were jobless and also facing homelessness literally within a day or two (although we had both family and friends who all offered more than once to take us all in (4 little ones at the time, no less!)) Jeff's first day of joblessness we spent hunting for a place to live and by the end of the day we found a home and began moving in the very next morning. Two days later, Jeff had a successful job interview and was able to start the following Monday morning. I can't even begin to explain how or why God laid everything out in the way He did so I won't even try, but just let me say, it was amazing.
Gooseberries with 1/2 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of flour and 1/8 tsp. of salt heated over medium heat until thickened.
About a year and a half later, Jeff's sweet grandma passed away leaving him an inheritance that we used as our seed money to finally move out to the country and build a house we can hopefully stay in till we die! We moved a lot while we were in the business.
Our original goal was to use $15,000 (not including the price of the land) to build the house to the point that it was livable yet unfinished. During the building process, which was done by Jeff and a few friends and family members on weekends and after work, we decided to push it just a little further than we planned and went ahead and built all but one of our interior walls on the first floor which cost a few more thousand dollars doing it. Yes, we were planning on living in a house with no interior walls (except around the bathroom. Even I have my limits.) It was money well spent even if it put us over our budget a little.
Pre bake a pie crust. We like to use a no-roll crust that tastes similar to a shortbread cookie. Yum!
Now that we're living in the house, we thought we were ready to finish it. The weather is nice and the days are longer so we decided to finally go to the bank and get a smallish construction loan to finish the house that would convert into permanent financing in a certain amount of time (six months, I think.) It would mean another summer of long hard weekend work, but I'd be able to help out since I'm not pregnant. That's a rare thing for me. Soooo, about a month ago, Jeff met with a banker who said he thought he could help us and we started getting plans lined out to finish it...hence the May 10th "Recap" post. Welp, it was a no go "due to the current status of the economy..." we now have to be four years away from our bankruptcy to qualify for a home equity loan. A decent one anyway. Jeff thought about looking elsewhere but then things really, REALLY picked up at work and he just got too busy. As usual, it has turned out to be a blessing that the loan didn't go through because Jeff won't have time to work on the house for several months. Don't tell Jeff, but I'm alright with not having a home loan, even if it means living in an unfinished house for longer than planned.
Pour the gooseberry filling into the baked pie crust and top with meringue made from two egg whites and four tablespoons of sugar then bake it at 350 degrees F for twelve minutes.
One of these days I may get the courage to show you pictures of just how unfinished parts of our house really are...but don't hold your breath. Confessing our financial statuses past and present, has caused me a little mental discomfort and strangely desiring to suck my thumb.
That's were we are in a nut shell. A big nut shell. Things will move on as time and money allow which both will result in slow progress. That's okay though. I feel like I've kind of left the rat race and it's been nice. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go
suck my thumb eat a piece of gooseberry pie.
P.S. Is Blogger acting retarded or is it just me?