I've had so much to update I haven't known where to begin. A years-long search has come to an end, opening a beautiful new chapter in our lives.
After an exhausting marathon of visiting houses we previewed online, involving lots of stair climbing and walking around homes not suited to my manual wheelchair, we finally found the one right closest-to-perfect-as-it-gets house for us. And it was in our budget. And it was very new and well-kept and didn't need any painting or much repair. And the owners fixed what we asked them to fix and were generous and cooperative with their negotiations. So, with more ease and less expenditure than I would have dreamed possible, we bought a house.
Looming over us still, though, was the shadow of the past: the townhome we still desperately needed to sell. The center of our family that had become burden and cage instead of comfort and home. Then the fickle hand of fate, that has so often thrown salt water in our faces, took this one exquisite chance to blow us a kiss instead - while we were busily closing and preparing to move to our new house, a buyer surfaced who made an offer on ours. It wasn't the offer we were hoping for, considering we were already listing the house at a loss, but it was the offer we could live with, and we took it.
We sweated bullets while the house went through inspections and appraisal. It was in need of a lot of TLC, but again we were graced with good fortune: the buyer didn't ask for every little thing on the report to be fixed, just a handful of very affordable ones. In a couple of weeks, after some repairs and painting, we will be free of that property without going completely broke.
That's not to say that we were able to swing this entire transition without any of fate's stinging influence, though. We got our familiar slap in the face on moving day, when fate revealed that the mover who gave me my quote, for which I had requested full-service packing and moving, had deliberately low-balled me (and other customers) by providing a quote for just moving instead, and not pointing out the difference to me on the estimate. I confirmed several times by phone and email that I was scheduled for a full-service pack/move on the specified day, and was assured that I was. But on moving day we discovered that estimator had been fired and that I was only scheduled for a regular move with no packing.
It ended up taking an additional three days and double the original estimate price to complete our move, but at last it's done and we've begun to unpack and really enjoy our new home. It's spacious and everything essential is on one level, so I have plenty of room to walk short and long distances, can enjoy regular bathrooms, and sit in my recliner before the comfort of our cozy gas fireplace. I know this winter will mean many evenings gathered around that warm hearth. As soon as I get a new shower chair to fit the shape and size of the master shower, I'll be able to enjoy long hot showers that I've missed for years while trapped on the sponge-bathing bathroom-less ground floor of the townhome. We bought a lawn mower and trimmer, and yesterday I sat outside in my wheelchair enjoying the sights and smells of watching my husband mow our beautiful front and back yards for the first time.
We're about two blocks from the kids' new schools, so in the mornings and afternoons, weather permitting, I am able to take my power chair out and walk them to school. Our neighborhood is fabulously accessible, with nice sidewalks and curb ramps everywhere. Life isn't without mobility challenges, though, but now they are mostly about my own limitations and over-exuberance. I spent so much time walking the first week we were here, I started to get blisters on my feet and bad swelling in them. I had to learn to back off a little, to still give myself permission to lay down and elevate my feet now and then, and give my back a rest from constantly trying to do and see and be involved in it all. I'm still working on finding the happy medium between exertion/doing/pushing the limits and resting/relieving/acknowledging my limits.
We didn't buy a wonderful new, more accessible house so I could kill myself trying to live like I'm not disabled! We bought it so I could live a better, more active life despite being disabled. And that is what I will do.