The Big Story: Red Jacket Drive

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Jessie and Mr. V, 2006

Our younger selves

(See Part 1 and Part 2 of The Big Story.)

After I stopped working in daycare and actually started making a salary, Mr. V and I knew it was time to think about saving. We didn’t have a car payment, and my parents were paying back my student loans (Mr. V didn’t have any). Our apartment’s rent was reasonable, so other than tithing, utilities, and groceries we really didn’t have a lot of expenses. Our first year or two of marriage we didn’t even have cable, or our Internet was dial-up through NetZero. (Yep. That seems like forever ago!)

Most months we were able to squirrel away $600 – which is a fairly big chunk, I think, considering what we made together. We didn’t go out very much, didn’t travel, and buying clothes was a big treat. We had a lot of wonderful friends through our Sunday School class, and most social time was spent with them, at game nights, bluegrass clubs, or just having dinners together. It was a sweet time in our marriage and life together.

We weren’t quite sure whether we would try to buy a house or not, knowing that we would only be in Nashville for 5 years, the length of Mr. V’s time at Vanderbilt. After he graduated with his PhD, we hoped he’d be able to find a job at a university somewhere on the East Coast, closer to our parents. (By 2006, both sets of parents lived outside Philadelphia, despite the fact that neither of us grew up there!)

I remember many conversations where we talked about the house thing – debating staying in our comfortable apartment for 5 years versus buying a house after 2 years with the intention of at least breaking even. We had a great, large apartment with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. The dining room was tiny, and we used the linen closet and above the washer and dryer for grocery and appliance storage, but it suited all our needs.

I think the final straw, though, was the people who lived above us. The tenant’s alarm clock would start buzzing in the wee hours of the morning and go off for HOURS, and we could hear it perfectly. Then the tenant acquired a few more people living with her up there, and we could hear loud movies playing and a child’s heavy footsteps pounding back and forth all the time.

Oh, to live somewhere with no one above us! It would be bliss!

Also, I had just been hired as a copy editor at LifeWay, a step up from my current position, with a better salary. I was high on life, finally (after a whole 18 months!) escaping the world of customer service.

It didn’t hurt that we had friends through church connected to the real estate business – one was a mortgage broker and one had a realtor father. In the spring of 2006, we looked at a few houses, but decided to buy a new townhouse in a neighborhood where some friends had already bought just down the street.

Red Jacket kitchen

The place was smaller that our apartment in square footage, but we felt like the space was used wisely. We still had two bedrooms, two full baths, and a half-bath thrown in. It had a big kitchen, a real pantry, and a tiny gated patio. We were assured it would all be built and bought up by 2008, so we shouldn’t have trouble if we wanted to sell after that.

So, just before our second anniversary, we signed on the dotted lines promising payments and loans, 30 years seeming like a laughable number, knowing full well that we’d be wanting to sell our home in less than three years.

We moved into our beautiful townhouse on Red Jacket Drive, content in the path we were taking.

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