Love stories are sometimes just that, stories. Most of which, when they are written as fiction, have a fixed outline to them. Person meets person, person dates person, they move in together, they get engaged, they marry, they buy a house, they sometimes have kids or just have pets…but there is always an order to how things are “supposed” to go. I feel like these forced road-maps of how your life is going to play out was very overdone in the romance novels I read and the romantic comedies I watched as an impressionable if not yet slightly naive, teenage girl in the early 90’s. I feel like the authors and screenplay writers were still under the impression of the 50’s & 60’s outlook on how the woman should stay at home and raise the kids while the man went to work all day. Even as that young teenager, even with my naivety, I always felt like the “order” of that was all wrong. Of course, trying to argue with my Mexican-Catholic grandmother about having children out of wedlock, got you a very long and rapid lecture in Spanish and had lots of bible quoting in there as well. Let’s just say that even though the woman was an inch shorter than me, there was no way I was going to argue with her.
So being her first grandchild of 20+, I did things the way she wanted them done. I got married first, to a half-Mexican man (I am also half), much to her delight, and then proceeded to give her brown haired, brown eyed, great grandkids after the marriage. Her happiness meant the world to me. The fact that I married a man who loved me more than anything AND was Mexican-Catholic to boot, well that was just the icing on the proverbial cake. She was happy when I was happy. That was all that mattered to her.
But that is where the outline to the preferred order of life events ended. Our marriage from there on out, was anything but conventional. We didn’t go and buy a home right away, in fact we couldn’t. We had both made such poor choices in our credit history before we met, that together our credit score was negative. LOL! No seriously though, it was bad. No one had ever taught us that a credit score was important, much less educate us about how to get a credit score. We found this out the hard way.
Fast forward 18 years, several rental homes (moving due to upsizing due to more babies), we finally began working on our credit. It took 4 years. Four years of me applying for high interest credit cards and adding my husband as an authorized user. His credit score went up, mine stayed low. But I didn’t mind. I continued to work on the whole credit thing because I just knew that it was going to pay off eventually, well at least I hoped it did.
Cue the pandemic. Rent moratorium was established, now everyone has opinions on this and I am not here to discuss politics, I’m just saying, some people needed this, some people took advantage of this. We however continued to pay rent. We were fortunate enough to both have our jobs despite the layoffs that the rest of the country was facing, so it seemed like the right thing to do was to continue to pay rent even though we didn’t have to. Six months into the pandemic and times were hard, our rent was raised by $200/month! Come on! But we continued to pay. Fast forward to the day the moratorium ended, we were served with eviction papers. Really? REALLY?!
Unbeknownst to me, my husband had been working with a mortgage lender to get approved for his VA Home Loan, I didn’t know because we had been down this road of approval before only for it to end in heartache several times, so he did it without me knowing in case it ended poorly again to spare me the pain. But this was the time. We were approved and it couldn’t have come at more needed moment. We had one month to find a house to purchase, go through the lending process and close on the house, easy right?
But we did it. We closed on our house 2 days shy of one month. How is that for a freaking miracle. But here we are 21 years into our marriage and we were finally home owners. We bought a 4 bedroom house to accommodate all of our grown kids as none of them are going to leave us anytime soon.
So this was where we will spend forever. We have been here only 6 months, and its still very surreal. We didn’t want to do anything to the house in the first few months because we both felt weird making any changes to the house. But at the same time we were making all these plans to change wall colors, update small things around the house and such. We have worked hard our entire marriage to get us to this point. Wow. We went and bought new living room furniture the other day. Now to some that might sound trivial and mundane, but to us, it was a huge deal. New furniture for our house that WE OWN. I’m sure it will feel even stranger when it’s delivered. But still super cool nonetheless.
When I wake up in the morning to get ready to go to work, I still walk around the house, still in disbelief that it is ours, that my husband I are finally able to see how much our hard work has paid off. When I leave out the back door and get to the car, I stop to take a look at our large fenced in backyard only to marvel at our dream come true. I’m not sure this feeling will ever go away and I really hope it doesn’t.
To all of you that are working towards this goal, don’t give up. Fixing our credit took time, and it was hard and seemed like it was never going to be fixed, but we did it. You can too. Just keep going. Don’t get too discouraged at setbacks as there will be some if not many. Keep going. Get your dream. And there is no set way to do things. Do them in whatever order you want. Reach your goals, even when everyone is telling you that you can’t. You can. And then you get to turn your house into a home like we are now.