Ray and Lydia Wilsonoff are 43, Alia Shae is 8, Ari and Ava are 4
"This home is a diamond in the rough," the realtor explained as she approached the porch.
"It is within your price range," she continued, letting them into the house.
Lydia groaned, perhaps they were doomed to rent for far longer than forever. She couldn't see how this house could be livable,
the rooms were chopped up with unnecessary walls and those walls were stripped to the barest wood.
The kitchen was bare and there was ivy growing in from outside.
"Ray, what are we doing here?"
"I know it's not easy on the eyes," the realtor said smiling.
"That's putting it mildly." Lydia snarked.
"However, this property would also come with a $10,000 grant from the hood council. You can use that to help with repairs and to get things suitable for you. There's a talented interior designer that could assist you as well."
"Give us a moment, please."
When the woman left the room, Lydia turned to Ray. "You can't be serious! We have three children, this home is horrible and filthy and much too much work."
"Lydia, think about it. How else are we going to be able to afford a house so large, there's plenty of yard space and even some room for your flowers. All it needs is paint-"
"and a sledgehammer."
"Well, I was thinking we'd do the basics first, pull out the ivy, clean up the brick, new floors and paint, appliances. Then later on, we can save and do something bigger, maybe tearing out a wall or adding a deck."
"A deck?" Lydia's eyes glazed over.
"Yea, you've always wanted a deck."
So with promises of a deck and new floors, Ray and Lydia signed a contract for the home.
They met with the financial director of the hood to arrange for the grant.
The director also helped them with the terms of their loan, which was actually a very small loan thanks to their initial savings and a small gift from Ray's parents.
A few short weeks later and lots of sweat equity and cases of beer for Ray's brother-in-law Julio and his brother, Jorge (and root beer for nephew, Abel) they were settled in their new home,
just in time for a big snowstorm, which meant lots of children playing indoors after school,
and time with the twins in the backyard helping their daddy build a snowman,
or eating the snow.
Lydia didn't let the snow stop her from preparing for her spring garden.
She couldn't dedicate many hours to her garden yet since she was recently promoted to Lieutenant and had strange hours to go with her promotion.
However she did try to get out more with her female friends.
"So you are thinking about having children?"
"Yes, probably sooner than later, Alan wants two children and I want one, so we'll see what happens."
"I remember when Abel and Amanda were born, I still can't believe my babies are almost seniors in high school!"
"Amanda seemed to really enjoy her campus visits to Mount Braynon and University of Rockport, has she made a decision about either Mount Braynon University in Simberry Fields or University of Rockport (URock) in Laurel Crossing ?"
"She hasn't said anything yet. I have given up trying to get her to stay in Apple Valley. At least she's a bit more serious about university and school now. At times she seemed so flighty, but now she's studying more and her teachers say that she's more focused."
"I can't either, it makes me feel so old. Thankfully Veronika isn't that old yet."
"But she's not that far behind, so get the tissues ready."
The family has moved into my Decaying Craftsman