Tiny flakes of snow fell on the northern Illinois landscape when we woke on Oct. 28, 2017.
“What are doing here?” I asked out loud, not expecting any answer.
We were squatting in my husband’s second cousin’s yard, a green square acre surrounded by harvested corn fields. Our home was the 40-foot fifth-wheel camper we had been living in since January. The first six months on the road, we traveled America’s west coast visiting some of the country’s most picturesque national parks, stopping at iconic roadside sites and imbibing on coastal vineyards’ most delicious offerings.
Until the proverbial good news and bad news was delivered.
The good news was we were going to be grandparents! We were thrilled, but we also suspected our unmoored status would prove to be problematic in forging important bonds with our new granddaughter.
The bad news came in the form of a resignation. Tyler’s long-time and highly valued assistant in his business quit to pursue a full-time career. I was tapped to handle the agency’s paperwork and customer service. As a little girl, I played office at a desk with a notebook, a pencil, a telephone (connected only to thin air back then; sometimes now I wish it were still unconnected) and a stapler, so theoretically, I’d just been hired for my dream job. But juggling dozens of account and reams of files was troublesome—at best—in a 358-square-foot camper.
So we’d decided to give up the nomadic life and once again become homeowners. Weeks of scouring online real estate listings and several showings revealed only this: We couldn’t afford what we really wanted. And what we could afford would require tens of thousands of dollars in renovations to remove the previous owners’ bad taste.
Finally, we came close enough to making an offer to schedule a second showing on a tiny-but-could-be-renovated house with a miles-off view of a lake. But the showing fell through when someone else beat us to an offer.
That very afternoon, my discouraged-but-ever-persistent husband found an interesting listing in the commercial category of a nearby real estate firm.
An old Methodist church was for sale only a few miles from where my stepdaughter resided.
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Tomorrow: Chapter 1 continues with a description of a different church we almost made into a home. Click here.