The last few months of 2015 were not good for the Klim clan. There was a stress on our family that weighed us down in more ways than one. We didn’t talk about it because it was just a bit too much. Thinking about it and living it were enough. But the stress lifted off our family on December 17th, the day we flew to Florida. For the first time in months I think Kevin and I were able to breathe freely and look towards our future. It involves a lot of changes, but it’s time.
Many of you know that Kevin and I owned another property. Kevin owned it when we met and when we moved in together we lived there. It was our home when we married. It was the home we brought Jackson to from the hospital when he was born. It was a place that was so much more to us than buildings. Crestline (as we call it) is a very unique piece of property. Our realtor, who has been in this business nearly 20 years, said she has never seen anything like it. It’s about an acre, smack dab in the middle of the south hill, with pear, plum, walnut, and apple trees. Grape and blackberry bushes and trees that are over a 100 years old. Deer, moose, turkey’s, raccoons, skunks, and a cat (Bruce) who just won’t leave have also called Crestline home. The main house (built around 1890) was a carriage house to a mansion. The house next door was the guest house to the mansion and they both have gambrel style roofs. There is another house on the property that has been there for perhaps as many years and is like an in-law cottage. Crestline is magical and holds a special place in our heart. Putting it up for sale was a heartbreaking decision but it was time to say goodbye. Maintaining the homes and the property were becoming a bit too much with our growing family.
In August we got the offer we were waiting for by someone who saw the magic of Crestline. She asked that we register the in-law house with the city as a auxillary dwelling unit (ADU) since it didn’t have that standing. So we agreed. Kevin took the paperwork and fee down to the city and he was told it would be a couple of days. Unbeknownst to us, the storm began brewing.
A week later we still hadn’t heard anything so Kevin went down to City Hall to check on it. This is when the attacks and accusations began. According to the city there are no houses on Crestline. Only pole barns. If there are homes, then we built them and as such are criminals who have no regard for the laws of the city and state. Flat out, we were liars who broke the law and the city was going to make us pay. Those of you who know Kevin know he is a mild mannered, logical, calm thinker. He doesn’t get mad very often but this was too much even for him. He was verbally attacked and treated like a criminal. That is the tone and treatment we have received from the city for the past 4 months. The city bombarded us with fines, fees, requiring new roofs, new insulation, new siding, moving walls, widening stairways, vents, electrical work, you name it, the city wanted us to do it. Every week there was something else they wanted. We even had to hire an project manager/architect to draw up plans of the existing house. I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail about the events of the last 4 months because frankly it’s not over for me. My family has suffered greatly because of the city. The individual stress on both Kevin and I, the stress on our marriage and family, the implications it had on Kevin’s job, the financial stress and near ruin we suffered are all things that the city are responsible for. I’m not going to let them get away with it. I will make sure that the city takes responsibility for the wrongful way we were treated and for the financial loss we suffered. We will get an apology from the Mayor and we will get some of our money back. Count on it.
Our only sense of hope was that all through the 4 months of hell, the buyer held in there with us. Even apologizing to us for all the grief we were going through. In December she came to us and offered us a compromise, she would take it as is for a reduction in sell price. We took it. Kevin was in the midst of putting on a new roof and had to quickly finish it along with a few other projects. We finished on Tuesday, Thursday we flew to Florida the new owner signed the papers, it was officially hers and our nightmare was over. Despite all we went through, I was, and still am, sad to see Crestline go. I cried like a baby as a I drove down the driveway for the last time.
When we returned home from Florida there was a gift waiting for us. It was a box of Harry and David pears, chocolates, nuts, popcorn, and candies. It was from Ann, the new owner of Crestline. She thanked us for everything and told us how happy and proud she was to be the new steward of Crestline. I know in my heart we found the right person for Crestline and that she will ensure the property stays magical. We’ve promised to stay in touch and we’ve offered our help with anything she may need at Crestline. Saying goodbye to Crestline means no more weekends over there raking, mowing, weeding, watering, and cleaning. Our weekends are finally free, a big change.
What else could possibly change? Oh yeah, I got a job! This advocating Mama is headed to our Capitol during legislative session to try and work some magic for Jackson and his friends. Well mostly, I am going to be learning how to make magic work.
A few years ago I walked into our State Capitol for the first time and had the weirdest feeling that I was supposed to be there. I had a sense that the Capitol was going to be an important place in my life. Ever since that day I have been on a journey to make my way there. It’s been slow and I have a LONG way to go, but this is the first step and I am bursting with excitement to get started. My “job” is actually a 6 month Fellowship. I will be working in Olympia two days a week and the rest of the time at home. I will be under the guidance of some seasoned developmental disability professionals who have worked magic for years in our Capitol. Their knowledge and expertise overwhelm me and I am hoping I can absorb some of it. Once session is over I will work on follow up and will write a thesis type paper on my work. Hopefully I will catch the eye of someone who wants to hire me to do disability public policy work full time and hopefully in Olympia, where we would like to move. Being away from the family two days a week is going to be hard but worth it. After 7 years of being a stay at home Mom I am feeling anxious and ready for a change.
As for Kevin, it’s not a big secret that he hasn’t been happy in his job for a while now. He is hoping I get a job too so he can be a stay at home Dad! Actually, he may switch careers and become a financial planner/consultant. Something that we will be working towards too.
I anticipate that big things are in store for the Klim’s this year. Typically I don’t like change, but for some reason I think it is time for change in our lives. Maybe because I finally feel like we have our family. There’s no more uncertainty about Sylvia leaving us. She’s our daughter now. We’ve let part of our past go with the sale of Crestline. It’s time to move forward. Here’s looking to 2016 being a year of change!
“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.” ~ Unknown