The day after our house burned, my wife and I gratefully let the kids go over to their grandma’s house so we could get time to get our thoughts together. We went to a local restaurant, where we thought privacy would be a little easier to come by, and talked through what was next.
As usually happens when you are emotionally exhausted, we found ourselves drifting back and forth on topics and in and out of reverent silence. I’m very type A and usually get frustrated when I don’t keep a conversation on point, so when my mind kept drifting I began to get annoyed. The thing that made me pay attention, eventually, was that my thoughts kept hitting on the same scene:
…a house I had never seen before and my grandma Anita, sitting at the kitchen island. Totally random and totally irrelevant.
The more I pushed the thought away and tried to focus on the matter at hand, our family’s future, the faster it rushed back to me. When our third or fourth pot of coffee arrived, we hit on another quiet spot, so I let the thought linger longer and tried to identify anything I could from the images.
I saw the house again as I pulled up to it. Two-story, brick and stone, and with beautifully colored trees all around it that let me know it was fall. The scene skips to me walking in a door, it looks like a mudroom, and into the huge kitchen. My grandma is sitting at the island bar with a big warm grin on her face and I lean in to give her a hug and kiss, then it stops.
“What the hell was that,” I asked myself. If there was a reply, my head was too noisy to hear it.
Not having any real clue what lay ahead of us, we resolved to stay positive and productive through it all and left the restaurant to go get some rest.
That vision played back and forth in my head for the next couple of weeks, and revealed a little more each time. Before long, I had bought in. I wanted that house, though I had no idea how we could pull it off. It was obviously much more than what we had lost and I didn’t have any clue of how to get started.
I was caught up in the “how,” and didn’t have time to mess with it, considering everything else that was happening. So I let it go, and this time, it really did go away.
Later that month, I bought some software to help me draw house plans. With the insurance investigation going on, we had at least a month to play around with some designs. We made a list of how we would like the house to look, what rooms we would like to have, layout and so on. After meeting with the insurance adjuster, and arguing with him for a while, we accepted the reality that they were not going to total our house and give us the full amount.
Unbelievably, they wanted us to use two of the walls, that had the tops burned off them, and the floor that had accepted the 31,000 gallons of water that the fire department had put on the blaze. Right away, I knew that there was no way we would use either of them, but thought we should start trying to save money by using the existing foundation.
I measured the foundation and transferred the dimensions to the drafting software. Following the prompts from the software, I started adding rooms and realized that not all of our desires would fit into the existing foundation. Because the software allowed it, I added a second story and put the remaining rooms in it.
The coolest part of this software was that it takes the 2-dimensional plan of your house and shows you a 3-dimensional rendering of it. When the 3-D image popped up, it showed a nice two-story house with the default vinyl siding, that looked nothing like our old house. However, it was oddly familiar.
With a couple mouse clicks, I added brick and stone to the exterior and out jumped the house from my totally random thought.
Sufficiently freaked out, but still clueless as to how it would happen, we just started after it with a total faith that things would fall into place.
By sharing the plans with a couple of family members, I learned that a cousin, who was doing contract work two states away, had a turn of events that put him and his crew 25 miles away from us. They needed work to keep busy during the winter and jumped at the chance to serve as general contractor, frame, and roof the house.
Once the framing began to grow, craftsmen and sub-contractors came out of the woodwork (no pun intended). Because of the down turn in the economy, high-level workers were offering to do the jobs at about half of their normal rate.
Weather cooperated, my income picked up, and things started to click. Not once did we ask anyone to compete for a job. They showed up and offered and we accepted, always believing in the surety of our vision.
The construction took 10 months, and we now live in the house of my thoughts, which is pretty close to the house of our dreams. Every step of the way, an opportunity to act presented itself. And every time we recognized the opportunity and moved forward, the vision became more clear.
Life is funny like that. When we think and act in accordance with what we want, it happens. Try it, you might like it.
Be your best,