No room at the inn

We’re currently living as transients.  In October, we sold our nice, roomy, on-over-an-acre house, I quit my promising career to become a stay-at-home mom, and we moved to a very small apartment in another state.

We moved to another state because we were bribed, quite frankly.  It all started before Jake was born.  I was still all into my career, not pregnant with Jake yet but I think we were trying, and a couple different really good positions came up in my company, that both offered great learning opportunities for me and the possibility of permanent part-time work, but they were both at another location, a state away.  Frank and I had some serious talks about moving so I could pursue them.  And, I mentioned it in passing to my in-laws.  My mother in-law lamented that we already lived so far away (over an hour by car) and this would make us even farther.  Couldn’t we consider moving closer to them?  And, in a rare display of subtle manipulation on my part, I answered, “Honestly, we would truly love to live near you guys.  But real estate there is even more expensive than it is here, and if we move again, it will be so that I can work part-time, or maybe even not at all after we have another baby or two.”

And the next day, something happened, exactly as I thought it might when I opened the door to the possibility.  My in-laws offered to help us buy a house in their town.  We wholeheartedly accepted.  Their town has one of the better, sought-after school districts in the state.  Plus my in-laws, 95% of the time, are really nice, thoughtful, helpful, funny people.  I can live near them without losing my sanity.  And once we entered parenthood, we were honestly sad that we didn’t live near any family.

As we’d planned this major event, my mother in-law kept wishing aloud that the house next door to them would go on the market.  This house currently belongs to a family that my husband is friendly with; their son was a year younger than him, and Frank and he spent countless hours of their youth together.  Frank broke his leg playing football in their backyard; the son was a groomsman at our wedding, though he and Frank are not exactly stellar at staying in touch.  So the MIL kept hoping they would sell their house, because wouldn’t it be just PERFECT if we could live RIGHT NEXT DOOR?!?!

And I smiled and nodded, and agreed, sure, it would be great.  The house wasn’t on the market, so I entertained her with some feigned enthusiasm.

So, October 1, we move into town, into our tiny interim apartment while we get used to living in the area and start househunting (and also just making sure we aren’t making a huge mistake).  And not two weeks later… oh you guessed it, that house next door went on the market.

I had some serious soul-searching to do.  Would it really be great – even tolerable – to live next door to my in-laws?  Sure, they really are great people 95% of the time, but we’ve certainly had our moments.  Once they took Lane in a car without a car seat (though I can guarantee you it will never happen again).  They are opinionated to a fault, especially my mother in-law.  MIL also, I swear, goes out of her way to disagree with me on things.  Though through this, one redeeming quality has surfaced – my father in-law is often quite quick to come to my defense and side with me (which makes me giddy beyond belief when it happens).   But again, they have their good qualities — kind and caring, generous, helpful, fun-loving and adventurous.  They are really good with their grandkids, especially as Lane has gotten bigger and Jake is just the mellowest baby in the world (and it doesn’t hurt that he loves his grandpa more than almost anything in the world).

So, with the consensus between Frank and I that we are OK living next door to them, we have started pursuing the house.  Since we know the owners well, and they seem to just adore Frank, right now we’re all exploring the possibility of buying the house outside the realtor process.  The house is just a little out of our price range at its current listing price (even with the help we’re getting from the in-laws), but without a 6% realtor commission in the mix, they can take a lower offer from us without really taking a loss, and for that house we’re willing to take on just a slightly higher mortgage than we would otherwise.  It might mean we can’t make an offer until June, but I think we can live with that.  We might also see about renting the house before buying it, since it will soon be vacant.  (They are selling because the parents are getting a divorce.  What a shocker!  None of us predicted that.  But according to the son, it is an excellent move for them; they apparently were just going through the motions for the last, like, 10 years or so.  Their kids were encouraging them to divorce, even.)

The whole thing is exciting and nerve-wracking and fun and scary and oodles of other emotions all at once.  And importantly too, it’s a great house.  I can definitely picture myself living there… and I want to live there!  Now we just have to make it happen.

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One response to “No room at the inn

  1. Oh my god, my situation was almost identical! Freaky!

    I know it’s probably not helpful since it sounds like you are looking forward to it, but moving next door to my husbands family was THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE! We have been there for 9 months now and things have been so bad between us because of this proximity I have moved out twice and taken the kids with me. This of course means his family think im a schmuck for leaving him and creates even more animosity!

    It started off ok but then they would just “pop in” for a chat or for a meal and criticise the house or decor, ordering curtains and furniture behind our backs! we thought it was harmless and them just being generous but it got worse! I found his mother going through my laundry basket taking out his laundry because his shirts werent done properly!!!!! lets just say that day was not a particularly pleasant one. The worst thing is i started blaming him for not stopping them, even though i know how hard that must be. My hubby has always been close to his family (which is why we moved) and they have always had an influence on him but i thought it was ok as we all sang from the same song sheet. Thought it was going ok until I found messages from his sister to him telling him that she knows the house is only clean as he does it (which is so untrue i almost choked when i read it) and that she only wants someone to look after him! What a slap in the face! since then things went downhill but the worst problem is that since moving in, he pops round to see his neice all the time and his parents are always there, if we want to do something, they suggest doing something else and manipulate him – eg he was planning to take a week off work to do things around the house and spend time with me (he works a 90 hour week and i never see him) but they suggested he go on holiday with them, without me!!! He then comes back to me and starts a fight saying im stopping him being with his family!

    It actually has ruined our lives. We are selling the house and we dont know if we are staying together or not.

    Im sure you will be luckier than me but please, for the love of god and your husband, lay down the rules at the start and watch for the warning signs!

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