We are midway through Lent—the 40 days after Mardi Gras and before Easter where Jesus was said to have walked through the desert, being tormented by Satan—right before He was humiliated and murdered on the cross.
Some know Lent as the time when you “give something up” in some kind of arbitrary masochistic deprivation. I’m new to this whole Catholic thing, I have no wise words to share. But I use this blog to document life in preparation for the onset of Alzheimer’s and so readers be warned this post may mimic the torturous nature of the season.
Lundi and Mardi Gras were cold but exciting times this year at the Newman’s. We paid off all of my student loan debt. ALL OF IT. We are debt free and it. is. great. We envisioned a loosening of mind and body as life-without-debt now allowed for more disposable income. We also did our taxes early and discovered we were getting a nice cushy tax refund. Ya! Turns out kids ARE helpful in some regards… Then Ash Wednesday hit.
My husband’s boss—a priest—informed us that the house we live in, graciously provided for by our parish, either needs to be sold or rented out to balance the operations budget. So we probably needed to be gone by July 1st.
Ugh. Great timing, Father. You’re a real poet.
So instead of blowing a paycheck on a kayak or keyboard we decided to stick to our pasta and water rationing and go house hunting.
We found a beauty of a fixer-upper. It was perfectly imperfect. Horrible kitchen with no appliances, hideous paint and lighting fixtures—with a glorious Southern porch, situated a half-block away from one of the most beautiful streets in our town with Gone With The Wind mansions—right across the street, literally 15 feet away from a great school that I am now enrolling our daughter in.
We decided to make an offer. The house was on the market for 4 months so we thought we would go in under asking price. They countered at the midway point of $65k. Then out of nowhere some asshole comes in and makes an all cash offer above our offer price.
There were tears.
More house hunting has occurred. Lots of driving. Nothing has emerged. We’ll give updates later.
But I have discovered St. Joseph is THE go-to Saint when asking for intercessions in home selling/buying.
This housing situation has caused great stress. I am now working and juggling more than I should with added ferocity. My husband and I have been fighting because we’re just tired. Properties I like he doesn’t like. Realtors I want to work with he doesn’t want to work with. Money problems always add stress. When I feel out of control I often buy more like I’m securing the nest before a hurricane. When he feels out of control he saves more. Our different styles lead to disagreement and so we fight.
Our almost-3-year-old has picked up on our stress and for the last 2 nights in a row she has had major night terrors. Our book Healthy Sleep Habits for a Happy Child talks about night terrors typically lasting 5-15 minutes. These ones are lasting two hours. She hits, she throws, she screams herself hoarse. If she were 200 lbs. with better aim I would likely be dead. If I were 200 lbs. and didn’t have the self-control and tools to deal with the stress she would likely be dead. First night we thought she might be possessed—like Satan himself was tormenting us through our daughter.
Today I went to Mass and our priest did a homily on how Satan divides communities and side-tracks us from our mission to love.
My mom helped me do some research on the fixer-upper house—turns out the man who owned it and was selling was in prison. He was selling the house as-is and needed a buyer with a lot of cash because the things that were wrong with it wouldn’t qualify for most conventional (and definitely not FHA) loans. He was married and rather than rent it out his wife was selling it for the cash. The reason he was in prison?
Consuming, creating, and distributing child pornography.
Did I mention the house was right across the street from a pre-school and a playground??
People do evil things. And bad things happen that are out of our control. The season of Lent is meant to bring us closer to God and closer to holiness through self-mastery, self-control, and mindfulness through suffering.
I have a baby crying. Apologies but I’ll have to finish this later…