The best part of today was definitely the waffles we made for breakfast.
When Tim came out to the living room around 7 AM, he found me curled up on the leather sofa we inherited from his former bachelor pad, reading a book I bought on Amazon, which arrived yesterday afternoon. I’d been up since 5:30 and figured I may as well distract myself a while. Sometimes the only way to stop thinking about something is to start thinking about something else. He joined me on the sofa, propped up his legs and settled in to talk, and we passed an hour like nothing, the way we tend to do when we talk about heavy concepts like the book I am reading brings up. Most mornings, our routine is to walk and to read and to get ready for our workdays; today we talked and then we prayed and I said, Let’s make waffles, and we walked together to the fridge.
We found out this week about some pretty big complications with our house-buying plans, something I alluded to in the last post, something I go back and forth about telling you about right now. Part of me wants to wait until it’s settled, to be less vulnerable on the great, big Internet forum where friends and family will say I’m being too open and many people will misunderstand. Another part of me thinks there could be one person out there, like me, who is in a sort of limbo period, waiting for a husband to come back from overseas or a job offer to be made or a debt to be paid or a pregnancy to occur, and I think I have to write this down for you. I have to write it down for me. Life is more than the hallmark moments of weddings and honeymoons and house closings, we all know this. It’s the broken hearts and late-night fights and roller coaster weeks, too.
As any mortgage lender or bank will tell you, regulations these days are complicated. Before an institution loans you money, it wants to see your income records, credit history, bank records, investment records, employment records, driver’s license, rental history—all normal things, I guess, and even though you feel like you’re jumping through hoop after hoop in the process, you tell yourself it will be worth it in the end. In our case, however, the process revealed a mistake in our 2011 tax returns that essentially names all of my income under Tim’s name, and while this is a mistake small enough to mean we still paid everything we owe, it’s also one big enough to suspend, and potentially deny, lending approval. It’s just one of those things, a providential surprise. Our accountant hadn’t caught it, we hadn’t caught it, the IRS hadn’t caught it—but the mortgage underwriter did.
This week has been a lot of phone calls and emails and trips to Wal-Mart for copy paper in which I become the crazy lady with tears in her eyes for no solid reason at all. It’s been conversations with our broker and, today, a last-minute visit to the Nashville office of the IRS. If you’ve never spent an afternoon waiting in line at the IRS, it’s almost exactly like going to the DMV. Sterile walls, fluorescent lights, elevator music. You wait in line and get a number. Then, you wait in a chair and jump every time a number is called. You’re not supposed to talk on your cell phone, and you wish you’d brought a book, and the giant clock behind the receptionist’s desk keeps ticking slowly, slowly forward.
We’ve officially filed an amended return, but apparently it can take up to 12 weeks to process. Maybe it will be sooner, but probably not within our 45-day house-closing window. Maybe a lender will make an exception for the case, but no one can confirm that yet.
So in the meantime, we wait—the way we’ve waited for other things, the way we’ll wait for other things to come.
We wait and we eat crazy indulgent breakfasts of chocolate chip einkorn Belgian waffles, topped by raspberries cooked on the stove, thinned with water, sweetened with coconut sugar, giving thanks for the lifestyle that lets us do it. We wait and we imagine new futures, the kind where we continue renting or we sell everything we own or we look for houses again in 12 weeks.
We wait and we hear about a friend who lost her baby, just two weeks before it was due. The heartbreak of a hope deferred, on such a grander scale! I close my eyes when I hear it, and my hand goes over my heart and I swallow hard. We sit back down on the sofa and Tim takes my hand and we pray, again.
We don’t know the future, and we know we don’t know. We feel disappointed, the way other people feel disappointed, the way you might feel disappointed about something today, too. We think, It’s just a house! We have each other! And we feel glad. We are still hopeful about what could happen, even while we are unsure of what will. Together, we rehearse the dreams we had for the house we have a contract on, the one where we were going to rip up the carpet and remodel the kitchen and plant a garden out in back, and we release our grip, again, on something that was always a temporary gift, even when it looked like it was in our hands. I walk down the street in our neighborhood and I look at the trees and feel the warm air and think on the simple gifts of each day. We look at each other and we look to our Shepherd and we think of the gifts that will never be taken from us and the way these temporary gifts remind us of the ones that aren’t. We think about how being reminded of that is good. And so while we wait, we give thanks for the chance to see.
Chocolate Chip Einkorn Belgian Waffles
Adapted from the spelt Belgian waffles we posted 10 days before our wedding, in October 2011
Makes 4 waffles
Part of the inspiration for these waffles came from the Kallari chocolate we were sent recently, which we’ve now used in two kinds of cookies in addition to waffles. Made of the simplest set of organic ingredients (cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla bean), it’s one of the best options we know for high-quality, unrefined chocolate. Special thanks to Kallari for sending some our way!
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup kefir
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 cup einkorn flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping dash of ground cinnamon
1 3-ounce bar of dark chocolate (we used Kallari)
Preheat your waffle iron.
In a medium bowl, blend together the egg yolks, vanilla, kefir, milk and melted butter until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon; add this dry mixture into the buttermilk mixture.
Add the chopped chocolate and stir everything together well.
Spoon about a half a cup of batter at a time onto the hot waffle iron, close, and cook until golden brown.