Monday, March 26, 2012


Patience is definitely not my strong suit. I’m a self-confessed obsessive/compulsive control freak. I like to think I’m in charge, even though I know it’s an illusion.

You’d think after having gone through many occasions of delayed gratification, only to discover there was a reason why I had to wait, that I’d get it. But I guess I’m just a slow learner.

When Kim was a baby, we lived in a first-floor apartment one house from a very busy street. There were hospitals both to the north and south of us as well as railroad tracks a block to the north. Between ambulances and trains, the noise level was fairly high, night and day.

A friend across the street had her son a month after Kim was born. We put the babies in the playpen under the trees and spent many hours together. But after a year, she moved away. The rest of the neighbors were considerably older, and the majority of them worked. We also had no enclosed yard, and Kim was walking. We clearly needed to move.

The final straw was when the owners fumigated the upstairs apartment and under the building, sending the cockroaches directly into our unit.

We looked for a couple of months for a place to live, but we simply couldn’t find anything. It felt like all possible options were closed, and I was very upset and depressed. I wanted out NOW!

Finally, Larry came home and announced that if we could be in Chicago in ten days, he’d have a job. Otherwise, he’d be laid off. So we packed and moved. And we wouldn’t have considered that move if I hadn’t been so desperate.

Being so far away from our families was very difficult because we are both extremely close to ours. However, we now realize that our isolation actually strengthened our relationship. We had to depend on each other, and it made all the difference.

In addition, we rented a one-bedroom third-floor walk-up apartment. We put Kim in the bedroom, and we slept on a sofa bed for a year in order to save enough money for the down payment on our first house.

The lesson should have been: When the answer is “No” or even “Not yet,” the result will be even better in the long run. But did I learn it? Nope.

We had planned to move from Arcadia, CA to Dana Point the summer after Kim graduated from junior high school. We really wanted to live there, and we felt it would be a good time for her to start a new school. However, God didn’t pay any attention to my plans. At the precise time we had intended to move, housing prices in the area reached an all-time high. At the same time, interest rates soared to unrealistic levels. The final ‘hint’ that we weren’t supposed to move came when we had a fire in our attic requiring several months of rebuilding.

Kim started ninth grade at Arroyo High School, and we determined to stay there until after her senior year.

What was the big bonus this time? I am now convinced she might never have graduated had she gone to the other high school. Why? When she was there, the Arroyo choirs were as prestigious as their sports teams. She qualified for the a cappella choir in her sophomore year. Most of the members were juniors and seniors.

In her junior and senior years, she was also a member of the honors Chamber Choir, which was the California sweepstakes choir both years. 

Kim has a learning disability that makes school work difficult. However, in order to stay qualified for the choirs, she had to maintain at least  a C average and couldn’t flunk any classes. She worked extra hard and surprised us and herself by graduating with passing grades and remaining in the choir.

The HUGE bonus was that the Chamber Choir was invited to sing in Manger Square in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve! What a fabulous experience! Of course, we accompanied them, and it is one of the great highlights of all our lives.

Before she graduated, we bought a townhouse in San Juan Capistrano. She lived there during the first two years of college, and we used it on the weekends.

In 1987, everything aligned to allow us to buy our current home in Dana Point. After the fact, we realized that we actually had a ten-day window when we were able to afford this place, and we’ve been extremely happy there.

So why am I telling you about this now? This week we’ve been in Dallas visiting with Kim and trying to help her find a home to buy. And we feel like all the doors have slammed shut. Yes, we’ve been disappointed. Yes, we’ve been very frustrated. But we are now reminding ourselves that something much better is coming!