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The Search
Lebanon HouseWe started house-hunting in about May or June of 2003. Our initial search consisted of the two closest counties. In early July, we went under contract on a little bungalow, but that fell through come inspection time. We discovered too many problems the homeowners were unwilling to compensate us for.

But by this time, the damage had been done — our condo had already sold. So there we were with a deadline to move (October 31st) and nowhere to go. At least we had a good amount of time.

One beautiful Sunday afternoon after church, we decided on a whim to drive to the county where Ryan works, just to see how we liked it. What we found was a charming little neighborhood on small lots, narrow, winding streets, and a huge private lake in the midst of it all. For the first time in the house hunt process, Ryan and I were on the same page — we both knew immediately that this was going to be "home."

So after three counties, three or more realtors, and months of endless sign-chasing, Ryan and I found our small fixer-upper ranch with the perfect price in our perfect little lake community. Much thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.

Ry packing the moving truck The Day Before
The condo was pretty much packed up and ready to empty by the day before the move. How exciting that I was going to be the one driving the moving truck! Little me in a big truck certainly made me feel large and in charge. =) That evening, we packed up the truck with some friends and enjoyed a wonderful McDonalds break late into the night. We were definitely ready for moving day.

October 31st was moving day...only you wouldn't know it by looking at the house we were buying. When we showed up for the walk-through prior to closing, we found the house still packed with the [soon-to-be] previous owner's belongings. Her tenant's Jeep Cherokee was still in the driveway (where it would sit for another few weeks, unfortunately). Needless to say, a traditional walk-through could not be done. All this would not be such a problem if we — and all of our stuff — did not have to be out of the condo by midnight.

By 6 p.m., we could wait no longer. We called our "movers" and had them meet us at our new house, regardless of whether or not the previous owner's belongings were out. Surprise, surprise...they were not. Her hired movers were STILL dilly-dallying, throwing things around and leaving things behind. The amount of stuff they refused to take from the house was amazing. So what were WE supposed to do with it all? Well, what any other new homeowners would do in need of room to put their own things...put it all out to the curb.

Or in the driveway, to be more accurate.

We knew it was not supposed to rain for at least another week, so their things would be safe. And there was definitely no room to keep it all in the house. We felt like rednecks with a driveway full of junk...not exactly the first impression we were hoping to leave on our new neighbors. The former tenant came around once in a while during that first week to pick through what was left by the movers, but there was a ton of stuff still there when everything was finally junked the next weekend. How nice it was to be able to put actual cars in our driveway...once we cut back the pine trees.

The Dog and the Fridge
One of the first things that greeted us when we arrived at our new house (besides the movers) was a sign in the kitchen saying "Dog in Basement. Do not go down." Hmm...very interesting. So here we are, moving into our house, that we own, and there is a sign telling us we can't go into our basement...with no one around to claim the dog or tell us exactly how long they planned on keeping the poor thing down there. And sure enough, the lonely barking in the basement continued on into the night.

By this time, we were starting to wonder if the previous owner and tenant actually realized that they had sold their house today, and that that meant they were really moving out today, so we could move in. Our suspicions grew when we opened the fridge — the fridge we were told did not work, so we had brought our own to replace it — and found it full of food. Needless to say that too joined the junk pile in the driveway and our fridge took its place.

Eventually, the former tenant came around to pick up his dog and his food (though still not his Jeep) and to marvel at the amount of things the movers refused to take with them (i.e. everything in the driveway). He was a little irritated we had put his fridge full of food in the driveway, but it would have been nice if he had been there to let us know his plans for the food and the dog and all the stuff the movers told us he instructed them to leave behind.

The Bugs
By 1 a.m. when we were ready to go to bed and all our friends and family had gone home (thanks so much for all your help!), we were finally able to relax and take a good look around. It was then that we discovered the extensive termite damage throughout the house, which had been covered over during the home inspection with the previous owner's stuff (there was a lot of it) and colored tape.

Let me tell you how exciting it was to pull up tape and find whole beams of the hardwood floor eaten through by termites. Ryan starting poking at the walls and the moldings with a flathead screwdriver, and sure enough, termites had been there, too. Hopefully, we can take care of all the termite damage when we eventually put on the addition. Which leads to...the plans.


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