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It's Like Karma Shouted "IT'S YOUR TURN, KELLY"

Six months ago I decided to talk to my landlord about moving out. He and his wife were just great people and wanted to sell their house but it was a two bedroom, one bathroom charming little bungalow with no garage and a leaky basement. No heat ever got to the upstairs where three of my kids slept and I had to get electric heating pads just so they could be comfortable in their loft area. It was a fetching little home and I had great neighbors who became good friends  (Hi, Amy!), but it was to be temporary as I searched for permanent home ownership.

When I put in a bid on the house I ended up buying I didn't know if the owner, a lovely woman (Hi, Paula!) who had recently remarried after 20 years of being single, would take me up on it but she did.

Let me rewind for a moment to remind folks of my life so far. Single mom at 15 (Hi, Mallory!), placed a daughter for adoption at age 16 (Hi, Maddie), third child at 19 (Hi, Mason!) and last baby at 23 (Hi, Morgan!). My living arrangements since leaving home at 18 have included a small apartment not quite the size of a 2-car garage, a Section 8 second floor apartment where someone stole my bicycle but left the baby seat, and a couple of hovels in between. Slowly over the years I have worked my way up in life (Hi, Bootstraps!) and I've had a growing list of things I've always wanted in a house.

A master bathroom with a jacuzzi tub.

A closet with space for my shoes. Or an apartment for my shoes.

A large, inviting kitchen where people will fit when a party spills over into it.

A formal dining room where I can entertain. A gal's gotta have someplace to practice her stand-up comedy routine.

With all of these wants came stumbling blocks and changed plans. Those plans altered the course I was hoping I'd be on "by this time". When I saw friends "moving on up" in life I wondered why I wasn't at the same place. If a couple I knew were taking a planned vacation I wondered why that wasn't in the cards for me. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I had some soul-sucking tragedy going on. What was I doing wrong? I went to college with a 3 year old, worked my patootie off to get a degree, plugged away at teaching, and I still wasn't getting anywhere. By 2007 I came to some realizations: my marriage was not going to work and I was the owner of a defeatist attitude. When I left, I took nothing with me but my clothes, a small 2-drawer dresser that belonged to Mallory, and an air mattress. Since that time I have gradually (and slowly, OMG, so slowly) added items to my home.

It was excruciating to buy things over again that I left behind. Dishes, picture frames, crock pots, cheese graters, and curtains. It was a godsend when my mother and I decided to move in together because she had all the furniture I was missing. We patched things together so I could make a home for my children as they shuffled between their parents. It worked for what I needed it to work for and then six months ago happened.

Six months have gone by and I haven't mentioned this to very many people. As excited as I was to buy my own house I was terrified that I would go into debt just to furnish it. Everyone needed beds and dressers and the mental list being planned in my head was enough to make me play some old tapes in my head.

You can't do this, Kelly. This is futile. All is doomed. DUN DUN DUNNNNN.

But then I started to get serious about buying a home and searched for months until I found the one I wanted. Sitting down with the owner and doing it all without a realtor is actually something I would recommend because it was a fantastic experience. Paula had just remarried after 20 years and asked me about myself. When I told her that I walked out of my home taking only my clothes she was astounded, but sympathetic. She herself had gone through a divorce 20 years earlier so she knew how messy it could get.

"Won't you need furniture? What do you have now?"

"Oh, I have a bed for myself and my boys and a dresser. I've mostly worked on kitchen stuff and lamps, but I'm going to have to finance enough furniture to fill a house like this."

Paula wanted to be more specific about my needs so I started to list them.

"Oh, my God, really? A kitchen table and chairs, couches, coffee tables... the list is too long really."

"Well, make a list of what you'd like to buy from me in the house and we'll talk about it later."

Later came when we finalized details about buying the house. She handed me a typed up list of the previous one I hand wrote with each item. Kitchen tables with chairs, three separate couch sets, coffee tables, armoires, book cases. Surprisingly, she was selling me nearly everything and I assumed we would go over the list, piece by piece, and negotiate a price for each. In my mind, I was getting ready to give her a price for each and every item. Like, maybe $250 for the kitchen set. And $800 for couch sets. Even that would be a deal because if I went out to buy them at a furniture store I would surely pay triple for all of it.

Paula ended up being an angel to me. I was in need of a home, yes, but I was making these enormous life decisions for my family that ultimately I would have to deal with so I came prepared. Well, as prepared as one can be in these situations.

She handed me the list and it totalled 25 items. Apparently, she had already thought it through enough to put a dollar amount on each one.

Final bill: $25.

That's one dollar per item. A $1 couch. A $1 armoire. Everything was a dollar. When I moved into this house it was fully furnished already. After the last couple of years this just blew me away. Honest to God, I wanted the whole world to just open up and swallow me for what I'd been dealing with in recent months. Yet, here was a happy ending like I couldn't ever anticipate. Hell yes, I was moving up.

I hummed the theme song to The Jeffersons the entire time I moved into my dream home.

Merry Christmas, Kelly. Love, Karma

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Reader Comments (52)

Merry Christmas, Kelly. Love, Me

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermoosh in indy.

What a blessing, Kelly.

Karma TOTALLY shouted "IT'S YOUR TURN, HONEY'!!!"


December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

So happy for you. YOU are awesome.

Happy Merry.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShauna

Your home looks beautiful :-) Reading this made me happy. Congratulations!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Teary-eyed. Congrats, and happy, happy, happy holidays.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbby - Bright Yellow World

Merry Christmas, Kelly!! I'm so happy for you and your family. Nice to know Karma pays back.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

So so nice when Karma gets her act together. Merry Christmas to you!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I love Paula. And good for you! You deserve this!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

Wow, that is AWESOME.
She obviously realized what an amazing person you are.

Congratulations on your new home. Merry Christmas, Kelly! You deserve ALL the best that life has to offer. You are an inspiration and I am so lucky to know you. xoxo

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan (AMomTwoBoys)

Welcome to your home, filled with love. Merry first Christmas in your beautiful home.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommela

How fabulous! And even better that karma came at such a lovely time and that you accepted it with open arms... and a few tears, I am sure.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

How absolutely wonderful! Congratulations and may you live there in good health and happiness!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMishelle Lane

Amazing and wonderful and the perfect post for Christmas. I'm glad you and Paula found each other. Merry Christmas in your gorgeous home!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSherry Carr-Smith

I'm sitting here grinning and crying, and so grateful to you for sharing that story. My mum did that: Twice, she left with nothing but herself and her kids, and spent years rebuilding. That you accepted this incredible gift speaks to your own deep generosity. Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDesi

I am weeping.

Blog posts rarely make me cry, but I am typing this through ridiculous All My Children tears.

I turn 40 in four days and am sitting on my own gloomy "by this time" post. It's where I am and it needs to be written but I am so happy I got a peek into some of the goodness that's come your way because it took me out of my head and into a place of genuine happiness for you and really that is what needs to happen to keep this spinning planet on its axis I guess.

You know what? I look up to very few people anymore. There are few who I really want to learn from and am constantly inspired by to do better. You are one of those people.

You deserve every bit of this and that bathtub is badass (I always say I only care about the bathtub and the kitchen, whatever else is there is there.:)) xo and Merry everything and happy furnished house new year. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

That is the best Christmas story ever, Kelly. Ohmigosh, Paula, what an angel! But you know what? I bet that Paula got as much out of giving you all that furniture she didn't need anymore, as you did out of receiving it. Because it just feels so good to be able to do something like that for someone else.

Congratulations on your beautiful new home, Kelly. The universe is smiling on you. :)

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn (@kat1124)

OK, that seals it. I'm coming to visit. I will eat you out of pie and home. And I will - if chance permits - bestow on Paula the gratitude of many for doing an enormous kindness to someone who deserved a little kindness.

Merry Christmas in your beautiful new home! :)

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Annnnd, I'm crying. Merry Christmas, Kelly. So happy for you!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermetalia

merry christmas, mom. i'm so glad you finally got what you deserved for so long! hopefully next year i will be with you for christmas and will be able to celebrate with everyone! LOVE YOU LOTS!!!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaddie

Paula; what an angel. It's like It's a Wonderful Life - my fave film. merry Christmas Kelly! xx

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSiobhan

What a great post. And inspiration for me since I recently went through a divorce, and will now have to work my way up again.

Yay you, and universe!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Phillips

Merry Christmas, Kelly. I know no one who deserves this more than you.
Love ya!

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Sometimes karma is awesome.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralimartell

I am collecting good stories to occupy the space in my brain that I would otherwise fill with cynicism. Thanks for something good to put up there.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuebob

I love this for you.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Grace

Merry Christmas, indeed. And congratulations. Sniff.

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

you deserve everything good. I can't wait to come visit you in your beautiful home.


December 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterheather...

Paula is good people. She obviously recognized good people in you, too. I just love a good story like this. Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurin

Giving karma a high five.

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

Love reading your story, mama! Happy holidays to you and yours!

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNanette

God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Thanking Him for your blessings and for Paula. And ditto what Laurin said!!!

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

It was your turn, and that previous owner sounds like a pretty incredible person. She must have recognized the same in you.

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOverflowing Brain

it *is* a beautiful house, and you deserve it, and all that came along with it at a dollar each :) hey, you don't happen to want/need a fondue set, do you?

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter*lynne*

What an amazing act of generosity, Kelly, and well deserved. Karma is surely shining on Paula, too. :)

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

God is good - blessings on you this Christmas in your lovely home. I hope it is full of joy....

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrazyMomTats!

Congratulations again on the house- I hope to come get a tour in the near future! :)

God Bless you and your family, Kelly. Have a great Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohann

Reading this made my day. So, so happy that this happened for you. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarleah

Merry Christmas indeed, Kelly! Paula is amazing. And Kelly? You DESERVE so much happiness. I love you to pieces and I hope 2011 rocks as hard as 2010 did for you! xoxoxo

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Sugarpants

That's fabulous. Of course you deserve it - you know that - but how much of a better time could this come at? It's like... after all the struggle, everything CAN and SHOULD fall into place.

I'm so happy for you, Kelly. Happy Christmas to you and the family.

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZoeyjane

What a wonderful story! Have a Merry Christmas in your beautiful house with your beautiful family. You deserve it!

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Jane

Kelly, so happy for you! Merry Christmas!!! xo

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn

Merry Christmas beautiful friend. I love and miss you. Karma got it right this time. And I could not be happier for you. xo


December 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShash

Happy Holidays, MM!

December 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlandismom

Merry Christmas Kelly. It's about damn time, and you deserve every thing that you have. You've more than worked hard for it. I hope that you have had a fantastic day with your great family. xoxo

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeadless Mom

That's amazing! Do you feel like you live in a magazine?

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterV's Herbie

Blessings, my friend. Everytime I hear this story it inspires me. You are truly a blessing, living testimony and inspiration. Yes, it was your turn and so well deserved. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas in your own home!

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLu

That woman (Paula) is a Godsend and yes apparently it is your turn Kelly!

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

What a humbling story! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlaniza

That post totally made a big ole grin come to my face. It's definitely your turn for some good karma

December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy in StL

Hellz yeah it is your turn.

And well deserved.

This post made me feel like there really are wonderful people in the world. I am glad you met one of them, and she got to meet you.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelley @ Magnetoboldtoo

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