Hmmmm, How About Plan C?
Telecommuting now seemed like an impossibility, at least in the near term, so we began trying to think of other ways to facilitate our move to the country. We still didn’t have a place to move to; but it was now January of 2003 and spring would arrive soon. Properties would begin to pop up on the market and we could renew our search.
In the meantime, we came up with another idea on how I could avoid a daily commute across town. It would require a few days of commuting, but not 5 days a week. If I could convince my company to let me work four 10 hour days instead of five 8 hour days, and if I could find a really inexpensive place to crash a few nights a week, I could stay down in Clear Lake a few nights, commute a few days and then always have a nice long 3 day weekend. Surely this would be acceptable even to those change resistant engineer types.
Confident that this idea would fly, I approached my supervisor, and once again I was caught off guard. One of the contracts our office was bidding on and had great hopes of winning was cancelled. Now management was scrambling around trying to find jobs for quite a few people. I must commend them as they were making their best effort to not lay off anyone. My supervisor said that now was not the time to make waves (and I had to agree); and I was told that things should settle down and be resolved one way or another within a couple of weeks. Hey, no problem. Two weeks was nothing. After waiting months last summer for nothing, two weeks sounded downright fabulous.
Things were looking up, so on Saturday February 1, we planned to drive up to the Navasota area. The previous weekend, we had seen a Joel Osteen broadcast where he spoke on dreaming big. Perhaps we weren't dreaming big enough! We didn't want to get cocky, but we thought, let's give it a try. Let's think big! Still a bit unsure and just for a lark, we printed out some property listings of places that cost several million dollars each. We figured that since we weren’t finding anything that fit us in our price range that we’d just go see what a million dollar plus property looked like. Why not, it’d be fun.
Then real disaster struck. A friend called us – “turn on the TV!” Something had gone terribly wrong and the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry. Working for a NASA contractor, I knew that everything in our office would be in limbo and it was absolutely, positively not the time to rock the boat. Best to lay low if possible, do my job and stay off the radar screen. Once again, it appeared our plans were crushed and we would have to wait.
Our hearts sunk. Should we still drive to Navasota? After watching the news for a while, we almost didn’t go. We didn’t know what the next week would bring. I was wondering if I’d even have a job when I got to work on Monday. But in the end, we decided a drive in the country would beat just sitting at home and feeling sad and depressed.
Here's A Possibility
in the Navasota area with our list, we checked out a couple of the big buck
properties. All of these places
were further north in the rolling hill area that we loved. First we checked out the most expensive one and decided it
just wouldn’t work for us. The
second place looked really nice and we knew it was – the pictures on the
Internet were fabulous. But the
house was hard to see. It was back
off the road and positioned over the crest of a hill.
You could see the roof and of course we could see lots of the land as
this place had over 500 acres! OK,
there was one final place we wanted to see.
We drove back and forth along one stretch of highway several times, but
couldn’t find the place. If there
was a for sale sign, we didn’t see it. Giving
up, we were heading out to leave when we passed a for sale sign. Screeching to a
halt, we checked it out; but the listing agent on the sign didn’t match what
we were looking for. Turns out it
was a different property. But we
did recognize the agent's name as the guy that had sold property to almost every other
Alpaca rancher in the area. We
jotted down the number on the sign and Candace tried to give him a call; but she
couldn’t get through, so we gave up and headed home.
we got home we went straight to the Internet to see if this place was listed on
the agent’s web site. It was not.
So on Sunday, Candace gave him call.
This time she connected and it turned out the property had only been on
the market about a week. We got
some information about the place and even though it was pushing the top end of
our realistic price range, we arranged to meet him the next Saturday to see it. The week crawled by; but the weekend finally arrived.
met the agent at his office and followed him to look at several other
properties, ending up at the place we really wanted to see.
The lay of the land was really nice and reminded me of the Tennessee
property that “got away” back in the fall of 1998.
This place had 50 acres total, mostly in nice pasture; but there were big
(I mean big!) oak, elm and pecan trees scattered all over the property.
This place had a house, surrounded by large live oak trees and there were
smaller live oaks lining the drive. There
was a barn and an additional shed and some working pens designed for cattle
ranching. And it also had a nice ¾
acre pond – not as nice as the 4 to 5 acre lake on that original Tennessee
place; but it was big enough. I was
ready to go fishing!
All in all we liked the place – we liked it a lot. Its big selling point was the beauty of the land (and the pond). The house was OK but would need some cleanup, patching and painting in the short term and probably some remodeling over time. The barn was structurally solid but would also need some minor repair. But was it for us? We decided to go home, pray about it, talk some, run some numbers, think and sleep on it.
Once Again - This Is "It"
By the end of the next day our excitement was growing and we were almost convinced that we had found “it” once again. To be sure we needed to look it over once more. We knew if we procrastinated too much that the place would sell right out from under us, so we arranged to go back on Tuesday afternoon after I got off work. We were sold on the land but wanted to check out the inside of the house once more. After this viewing we were ready to make an offer; but the agent told us to go home, talk about it and get back with him. We expressed our concerns about it selling out from under us and he agreed to work with us (and hold off showing the property) until the deal was either done or dead. Was this honesty or just sales baloney? I guess we’ll never really know; but the following Saturday it was still on the market and we went back for one more look inside.
After that final walkthrough we knew, this was “it”! But what should we do? There were still unresolved issues and questions about my job and the commute. It was hard to think about it all and not get overwhelmed. For now, we had to push that all aside. For this deal, it was now or never. And in an instant the decision was made. With a leap of faith we signed the papers and made our offer. Click here to read the continuation of "Our Story"