Monday, April 28, 2008

The Great House Race

Who knew that buying a house could be so exciting? Once upon a time (before we were married just one short month ago), we made an offer on a very wonderful home close to Mom and Pop Eades. We were excited. It would have been PERFECT--a master suite, two bedrooms, and one large bedroom that would have become the bonus room. It was wonderfully situated behind a little common park. It was a short sale, and our real estate agent extraordinaire (Kathy Karr--360.571.8383) let us know that these can sometimes be tricky. Before the property can be sold, the bank must approve the selling price because it is left having to go after any residual monies owed by the former owner. We got the answer back from the bank in record time, and all seemed to be moving forward in surprisingly smooth fashion. In fact, Kathy commented on how smoothly all things seemed to be falling into place. We were commenting on that right up into our signing at the title company on Friday at 4 pm.

All this was compounded by the blessing of having our current home rented as of May 1. We knew it was going to be a tight turn-around (close on Monday--start moving in on Monday finish moving on Tuesday--clean on Wednesday, give the keys to our new tenants on Wednesday night), but felt it was a blessing that we would not have a lot of down time trying to rent our place. We have a wonderful Russian family moving in, and they are quite excited about living here.

Friday at 5 pm (with what in retrospect were small hints, but in reality was NO warning), we got the call that the sellers of our new home have retained/talked to an attorney who has advised them to NOT "abandon" the property which (s)he states will put them in a tough spot when negotiating with the bank. This meant that our family had one of two options: choose to not honor our agreement (in spite of the deposit given) with our new renters or try and figure out how to move all our remaining stuff as well as the items purchased specifically for our new home into some temporary facility for however long it might take for the home sellers to resolve their issues with the bank. Neither of those options was appealing.

God is SO good. Both of our insides were churning, but I can tell you that I understand the "peace that passes understanding" part in the Bible. I have come to understand that God is amazing, and because I KNOW how much he cares when any of his children hurts, I had utter confidence that he was looking out for us. On Saturday, when Russ and I woke up, we had a calm discussion about what our options were, and, I believe, God inspired the solution. We would find a vacant house (preferably new construction) that had sat on the market for a while, and would tender an offer. Because we had completed our part of the requirements to purchase the new home, we already had our down payment and the loan in hand and in escrow. The only thing we would be lacking is an appraisal on the new property, and that can be done rather quickly. We were going to offer to pay the owner of the house $50 per day to rent it until it closed and move in on Monday, as planned, IF our other deal fell through. It also means that our closing time is greatly reduced since all of our documents are in order and current.

So. . .as of Monday. . .we don't know WHERE we are going to move, but we do know WHEN. I keep likening it to Abraham's experience. God told him to get moving, he just wasn't sure where. Add the kink that, once again, I am fighting the flu. . .and it's been a hoot.

Stay tuned sports fans to find out how it all turns out. The good news is, we KNOW that all things work together for good for those called to God's purposes (Romans 8:28--thanks Mom Hardy for teaching me). It gives us all the more reason to make sure that we have a purpose in His plan.
UPDATE: The first photo is of the landscaping of the "house that got away." The photos that follow (the empty house) is the house we subsequently moved into. It is located off of Padden Parkway. It has proven to be the better house for us at the moment AND we have been blessed with some amazing neighbors--an important feature when you are sharing flag lots.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Wedding

Our story begins with an online ad that I posted that read:
Everything I know about life, I learned on . .
1. No matter what they say, people are looking at the pictures not reading the articles.
2. A picture IS worth a thousand words--especially if it is recent and doesn't feature a friend who is cuter than you are.
3. Attractiveness is not always conveyed by a picture. It's something you know when you see it--although if the item isn't as pictured, no great personality is going to help you out.
4. Attractiveness is inversely proportional to the maintenance level. If I'm high maintenance before you meet me, it's all downhill from there.
5. Patience is a virtue. The older I get, the more minutes I need to catch up on my e-mail.
6. ISPs don't always play nicely with each other. If I haven't answered, I may never have gotten the message.
7. Variety is the spice of life, but as you mature, too much spice can give you heartburn. I prefer to think of myself as salt. It's in all kinds of sweet things (cookies), it's the kind of thing you like to have around every day, it's pretty versatile, and you really miss it if it's removed from your diet.
If you got a chuckle out of my profile, GREAT! That was the intent. I don't take myself too seriously, but I take my deep friendships VERY seriously. My ideal friend would be an attractive guy who is willing to put up with my warped sense of humor but otherwise laid back attitude. I also believe that attractive is in the eye of the beholder. I am a supportive friend who has a history of sticking with the ones I love regardless of the personal cost. I would like to find someone who appreciates my qualities and balances those parts of my personality that I would like to change. I especially admire a good sense of humor coupled with good common horse sense. I enjoy a wide range of activities; however, I do not dance or ski as a public service.
Yes, folks. . .that was what started it all. A list borne out of the aggravation and wisdom I gleaned from almost a decade's worth of online dating. And then. . .at long last. . .I met my knight in shining armor. After almost three years of dating, Monday, February 18 dawned like any other day in the life of our relationship. Russ, for whatever reason, wound up with some unexpected time at home. We agreed to take the car into the shop and then meet up with his parents, Betty and Ray, for his favorite Pork Noodle Soup at Imperial Palace. After that he suggested that we run into Portland and do some things at Best Buy and then take a walk along the river. It was a clear day (unusual given this year's weather), so he took me to the east side of the I-205 bridge off of Marine Drive. The view of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River were spectacular. He told me that he wasn't sure what his future or life had in store, but he knew that whatever it was, it would be better with me in it and then asked me to be his wife. That was shock enough, but when I turned around to face him and say yes, he reached into his pocket and pulled an engagement ring with the most beautiful emerald center stone (because green is my favorite color). Talk about memorable!!!

When we got to Russ's home, we called the boys into the entry and told them we had some news. David took one look at my hand and noticed my ring finger, then blurted out, "I'm going to have a family!" and pretty much threw himself at Russ in a big bear hug. Zak wasn't too far behind. We had a celebratory dinner at Boppin' Bo's.

Not one to try and push things--especially when things are going well--I didn't pressure for a date. Russ suggested that we go out to dinner by ourselves to celebrate on Tuesday evening. It was then that he casually asked when my breaks were. We looked at Spring Break and Summer Break as possibilities. There were some definite financial benefits to getting married sooner rather than later, so we determined that March 29 was the magic date, but no venue was set. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I would like to be married at the Skamania Lodge. Barb and Scott, Russ and I have an annual golf outing and it overlooks the Columbia River Gorge (the site of the proposal). It is a spot that I love for its beauty as well as the memories that we have created there. We decided on a small wedding--family only. I recommend it highly. It was intimate and imbued with things that were meaningful to both Russ and me. There was limited stress.

That is not to say that my colleagues from school didn't send me from my life of a bathroom all to myself to a shared bathroom without some celebration. Joan Enders hosted a wedding shower with a little help from our friends. I was amazed and touched at both the generosity as well as the number of partygoers who came to wish me well and celebrate the fact that I would now be known by one last name only.

How does one even begin to describe the emotions that are evoked when she is surrounded by friends and family all wishing her well? I tear up a little bit just thinking about it. From the amazing card that Jaylene made to the delectable (in more ways than one) gift basket from Cheryl, Cheryl, and Sheila to all of the nighties and lotions. . .and, did I mention FOOD?!? It was what every other shower aspires to be.

All weddings are bound to have glitches of some sort. Ours was finding an officiant. The wonder of the Internet provided a ton of possibles, but this seemed too solemn an occasion to risk a hiring a yahoo. . .sooooo. . .we decided to get married by a judge at the courthouse. Now everything was all out of whack because we had reserved the Mt. Hood Suite at Skamania Lodge for our family to witness the exchanging of our vows. So in the spirit of multicultural exploration, we decided to extend our wedding to two days instead of just one. We had the "legal" ceremony at the Clark County Courthouse on March 28 and the ceremony where we exchanged vows (and I got to wear a beautiful gown for the occasion) on March 29.

I've heard that rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck (unless you are having an outdoor wedding). We had snow. Who would have thunk? When it is supposed to be springy, it was slushy. Perhaps it portended a slippery slope of some sort, but we plowed ahead.

The Honorable James P. Swanger (trivia alert: Judge Swanger graduated from Brigham Young University--Russ's alma mater) officiated. In all the excitement of moving and preparing for a wedding while still working full time, I managed, as is my tradition, to get sicker than a dog. In spite of it, Russ agreed that he would take me in sickness and sealed it with a kiss. Our vows were witnessed by our Best Man and Matron of Honor, Scott and Barb Miller, my parents (who braved the inches of snow on their hill at home), and our sons David and Zak. Am I looking a little hefty in the pictures? It would be because we took the boys to Olive Garden thereafter to celebrate our nuptials.

The next morning we all got up and prepared for the big day. We picked up the most decadent Nougat Tort cake from Larsen's bakery ( and headed on up to the suite to set up for our guests. We originally planned to say our vows (a copy of mine is after the blog) and then take Barb and Scott out to the 13th hole and tee off. Mother Nature wasn't too cooperative, showering us with rice sized hail instead. . .so we took the coward's way out and took our wedding party to the dining room for a meal instead. Afterward, we all trouped upstairs, made our sparkling cider toasts, indulged in our sinful cake, and then said good-bye to our guests. I get warm fuzzies just thinking about it.
All the guys. . .
From left to right: David, Russ, Zak, Scott (Best Man), KJ, Greg, Max, Ken, Dayne, Ray

The ladies may have been outnumbered, but we put on a good showing. . .
From left to right: Barb (Matron of Honor), Susan, Me, Laura, Betty, Brittany, Amy, Marissa

My brother, Ken, and I reprise a photo from younger years.

Hair was much bigger in the eighties.

Inlaws and Outlaws

From left to right: Russ's parents (Ray and Betty Eades), Russ,

Me, and my parents (Ken and Susan Hardy)

wedding photos courtesy of Dayne Miller

My vows:

In August of 2005, I sent you an e-mail that described what you could expect of me when I told you I loved you. In that e-mail, I made a pledge. Today, I have the privilege of renewing that covenant. I am taking my vows from I Corinthians 13.
I vow to be patient both with you and with the circumstances of our lives. When stress comes or things in our relationship are not going my way, I will give it to God and trust Him to handle the timing.
I will be kind. Instead of going first to hurt or anger, I will think about the way to say and do things that will foster growth in our relationship.
I will look out for your best interests. I will put you and the needs of our family before my own.
When good things happen to you, I will rejoice with you rather than be envious because I rest secure in the knowledge that your good fortune enhances my own.
When good things happen to me, rather than look for opportunities to boast about them, I will share the glory of those accomplishments, knowing that we are a partnership and that it is your support that helps strengthen me.
I will write your many kindnesses in marble and your frailties in sand.
I will be joyous in integrity and make that the foundation of our relationship. I will not look for or spend time remembering hurts or wrongs, but will gently bring them to your attention with prayer, and then let them go.
I will be supportive of you through the good and the bad, the successes and the defeats, believing in God to bring us through the challenges and thanking Him for the many blessings we enjoy.
I will be loyal to you, and will believe in you as you strive to do those things which are best for our family.
I will not give up on you or us.
Before God and our families, I make these promises to you—trusting in His strength to help me keep them—for as long as we both shall live. This ring is a symbol of that commitment to you and our family. When you wear it, remember my love for and appreciation of you as a man, and as my husband.