There are times when you get exactly what you pray for ... and you sit there like a kid that got socks at Christmas looking up with a strained “thank you” to the Lord. This was where I found myself recently.
We knew that we were tired of renting and had decided that God willing, we would find a house and settle into our frozen happy tundra that is North Dakota. Now we have been blessed to have lived in many states and many different areas of the United States — first thanks to the Navy and second to the oilfield — and, while we have found God’s beauty in each and every station, North Dakota is different.
Five minutes outside of any town here you can hunt, shoot and hike till your little outdoorsy, people-avoiding heart’s content. It’s a beautiful thing, and even when the weather finds you housebound at minus 21 degrees, it’s still a stark beautiful view.
We are former military so we have owned several homes and we have sold several. There we aren’t completely ignorant to the buying process. We did our homework. We would start out by getting our pre-approval and sorting out VA things. Veterans really get some amazing benefits; it’s nice when service to one’s county is returned. After we got the approvals in place, we began the house-hunting process.
Now if you are familiar with us, you know that I tend to be the ultimate cheapskate. I’m thinking we buy cheap and fix it up. But then there is the workhorse of this marriage to consider, the one who has the actual talent to make said fixes… and between work and life ... my husband wanted for a move-in ready place. Right off the bat, we were at odds.
So, we let it ride for a full year. Yep, we are smart enough to know that some battles don’t need to be fought. We rented for almost a full year before we would approach the subject again.
Then we reached an agreement. Since I tend to choose things by color or by feel, and he’s the actual researcher in this marriage, we came up with a completely agreeable situation. He chooses three houses and I get my pick of the limited choices.
Now, let me explain. Because we do VA housing loans, things have to pass a substantial VA home inspection. Unfortunately, that inspection eliminates the houses which I love that would fall into a money-pit situation. Before you laugh, I totally had my eye on this horrible fixer-upper that was downtown. With its hidey room,original hardwood floors and lack of heating and A/C, it would have been a money pit. Then there was the historical house where the main and top floors had been lovingly refurbished but the owner had done the basement in a DIY fit without permits. All in all, every place that caught my eye and my heart was a potential fireball of neglect.
He wanted a house that had land and room for the bird dogs to run free… somewhere he could shoot his bow and not worry about stray arrows ... except, in North Dakota that amount of land comes with a lot of work during all seasons. Winter finds us plowing snow and making sure that any driveway and house access would be cleared daily since we both work outside the home. Summer means the land would need to be cleared and maintained. Frankly, it was beyond our abilities while raising kids, bird dogs and working.
I wanted charm, character, and ease of access. I work in the heart of the little town we call home and at lunch, I headed home to let the bird dogs out and play with them. I needed closeness that would allow me to continue to do this. Our boys needed that and frankly, I did too.
So we needed to find a happy common ground. That is the prayer I would send up each night, “please let us get to a point where we can both get what we want and finally pull the trigger on a home.” I knew that God’s timing was perfect, so we waited.
— Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Now living in the remoteness of North Dakota, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.