LOOKING UP WHEN SIZING DOWN: PART 2

When my husband lost his job, initially we both felt confident that the Lord would provide. We felt solid in our faith, and my husband’s conversations with his many contacts in the industry left him feeling optimistic he would get a job quickly. In fact he had several formal and informal interviews in the first few days following his job loss. But it would be months until anyone showed any concrete interest, and even then it was only a part-time contract. 

It was hard not to feel our faith slipping during that period of time. While I held out hope my husband would finally decide to move on to a new phase of our lives, he clung to the hope that his career wasn’t on a death dive. He simply wasn’t ready to let go. And I had to use all my strength to step back and be patient. 

No matter what happened, I knew that there was a strong possibility that we might have to downsize, including and especially selling our home. 

So the first thing I did was to get in touch with a real estate agent I had met a few months before. I made copious notes as she walked through our house and pointed out what needed to be upgraded. Later she did a thorough analysis of the housing market in our area to give us a realistic price for what we could sell our house for. 

Many of the upgrades she recommended were quick fixes, and others would cost thousands of dollars. I knew that if in fact we did proceed and put our house up for sale, we would want to do whatever we could to make that happen quickly. For that reason, we made the decision to upgrade everything she recommended and more. 

We knew that we were never going to recoup the cost of the upgrades through an increase in the value of our home. But getting the price we were looking for and a quick sell were very important. 

My husband was able to do some of the upgrades himself, such as fixing the front steps, opening up the backyard by cutting down some small trees, and painting the backyard fence. We hired a company to cut down a diseased chokecherry tree as well as a maple tree that was so large it was overpowering the space. We hired a handyman to do some small jobs such as electrical work (such as replacing outdated fixtures) and plumbing (replacing a tub spout). And we arranged to have all the windows of the house upgraded: whether we ended up moving or not, we simply couldn’t go through another winter with a couple of leaky windows with deteriorating wooden frames. All this was only a start; there was still a lot more to be done. 

Meanwhile, I started the huge task of going through the boxes and boxes of stuff our basement. With two kids, several former careers, two businesses, lots of hobbies, and a penchant for keeping EVERYTHING—both of us—it was indeed an onerous undertaking. 

I was quite excited to dig in and finally get rid of everything we had accumulated since we moved into the house 26 years ago. My husband wasn’t quite as keen. But it was a necessity we simply couldn’t get around. 

And then the other ball dropped. 

Stay tuned next week as we experience yet another devastating blow.

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