The day I got out the military, my new life was supposed to begin. Linda and I drove from Mississippi through Alabama and Georgia before stopping overnight in South Carolina, a tribute to the first part of my military career. On day 2 we hurtled up I-95 through the more northern of the Carolinas, Virginia, the outer edge of our nation’s capitol, Maryland, the tiny sliver we call Delaware and the home stretch of our home state New Jersey.
After almost 24 hours of driving and an end-to-end time of almost 36 hours, my car came to rest in our new home in Jersey City. It was a 900 square foot, 2 bedroom palace, owned by my parents and a perfect stop gap as Linda and I figured out what comes next. After all, I had big plans and big interviews lined up. I’d be back in business in no time and we’d find the house of our dreams.
Unfortunately, none of that last part was true. As a near 20 year veteran in technology and a true 10 year veteran of the military, I couldn’t find a job. So in June of 2013 we decided I was going to follow another long-term dream… becoming an entrepreneur and for 2 years I ran JayVig Media. The important part of that story is that, like most entrepreneurs, I made no money for a substantial period of time. And our plans got put on hold… well some of them did. We had 3 big agenda items - buy a house, get married, start a family. As everyone knows, our first adventure of getting married, and all the associated planning, culminated on June 12th of 2015. Check.
Shortly before that mega-party, I decided to go back to work full-time and started at Olapic. And so began our rise to where we intended to be after the long, slow slog through the entrepreneurial mud. And that was the way it was to be for the foreseeable future. And then we had a sudden change. We were in Mississippi, visiting very dear friends of ours when one of them told Linda she was pregnant, confirmed only be her own motherly intuition. We nervously laughed it off until we got home.
As everyone knows, Linda found out that she is, in fact, pregnant. With that, our escape from Jersey City became priority #1. 2 bedrooms, 2 adults, 3 cats and an infant sounded like a terrible sitcom that wouldn’t make it beyond the pilot episode. Not to mention the congestion of Jersey City and the 2 person event it is to go to the bank. So, we thought it wise to start our hunt for a new place to lay our heads.
We found a very cool looking townhouse in Whippany, NJ - our first choice town for a multitude of reasons. Oddly enough, we knew the owner selling it. She’s the one that did Linda’s makeup at the wedding just a few months ago. Unsatisfied by what it offered, we spoke with the listing agent to see what else was available. She mentioned a community called Oak Ridge. As fate would have it, we both know it. I had a friend that lived there years ago, as did Linda. We actually discussed moving there early on after my return, but it was well out of reach during the entrepreneurial years.
It was no longer out of reach and there were more than a half a dozen units open. We went through them one by one. Green walls and flowery wallpaper, the smoker’s home, the gaudy 90s mauve, the beautiful yet small unit with the young couple asking too much money, and… finally… the unoccupied, newly refurbished, larger unit - ripe for the picking. We knew immediately we found our home. There was an open house that day. We returned with my parents to get their stamps of approval. That night we called the realtor and told her it was time to make a move. Our 2nd day searching and we were hooked.
That was the 3rd week of September. Since that point we’ve been working through the mortgage, offer, inspection, appraisal and contract processes. We got pre-approved, negotiated an offer, went under contract, had some things fixed, negotiated some more, finalized the mortgage and, just yesterday, we walked into our attorney’s office with full pens and either signed or initialed over 100 sheets of paper.
75 minutes later we walked out with our semi-full pens and a set of keys. Nothing was fuller than our hearts. Hurriedly, we drove back to our empty home and walked around, just as we had earlier that day, for no reason at all other than we could. We hugged, we kissed, we cried. I told our little baby in Linda’s tummy that mommy and daddy got him/her a nice new house to come home to.
After we got engaged, I said it was the next chapter of The Adventures of Jason and Linda. After she got pregnant, I said it was the next chapter of The Adventures of Jason and Linda. And now that we have a house, I’m telling you it’s the next chapter of The Adventures of Jason and Linda. And all 3 are true, we are just doing them concurrently instead of in succession.
And now I present to you, not our house, but our home. It’s empty of furniture, but it’s already full of love.