I bet it was such a beautiful house at one time. Hard wood floors and trim, large open spaces and lots of windows. It sure has seen a lot of days since then. At one time the house consisted of five apartments (yes, I said five). Most of the trim has been painted over (about a zillion times) and the wood floors are stained and chipped. Needless to say, it needs a lot of work.
We were quick to get started on the renovations. Painting and carpeting the third floor and knocking out the wall that split the living room in half were our top priorities. The very day that we purchased and began laying the carpet we got the call. Zoning issues. For two days we danced on pins and needles waiting to to find out if we had a place to live.
Some time ago the owner attempted to sell the house commercially, along with other properties on the block. The house had been vacant prior to becoming our home and some odd city code defaulted the property to commercial zoning. Before moving in, the house had to be inspected and we were told that while the upper levels could be used as living spaces, the street level would actually need to be used for business purposes. Changing the zoning back to one family residential would take $350 dollars and close to three months. Luckily, I have two legitimate businesses, and the city was willing to work with us while the proper paperwork was taken care of.
The first inspection, along with revealing several structural issues that needed tending, posed the issue of needing a bathroom on the main level for the business and a kitchen upstairs in the living space. Seriously.
There’s no way a kitchen was going to be installed upstairs, or a bathroom downstairs, so once again we were on pins and needles; not really sure if we had a home.
What could we do but pray.
I wish I could say that through prayer I remained calm and positive throughout each dose of bad news, but I’d be lying. While we did spend a significant amount of time and energy relying on Him, I can indeed remember one very emotional afternoon. I was ready to throw in the towel and stay put right there in the coziness of suburbia, unfortunately we had already told our landlord that we were moving out. In fact, we were right smack in the middle of packing when I had my meltdown. Homeless (for the moment) and frustrated I didn’t want to have anything more to do with any of it. And I went to sleep, or as (he) would say, I “checked out”. Instead of giving up as well, my wonderful husband took me in his arms and let me know that he wasn’t going to go forward without me. This was a decision we were going to have to make together… for better or worse.
And God worked things out.
Our pastor and a few others started calling the city and various connections to try and assist in getting the matter resolved. There is a whole “let’s clean up the neighborhood” effort going on down here, so it seemed silly that the city wouldn’t want to have families like ours move in and try to help the cause.
For the second inspection, three “very important” city people came. They determined that “nothing about the house was commercial”. We were able to continue unpacking.