This week the adventure takes us down the house hunting Boulevard-of-the-Bourgeois. I consider our family middle class. We don't want to own a mansion or a Maserati. We don't need 6 bedrooms or a dining room large enough to host a convention. Our needs really are basic: a home large enough to eat, sleep, relax and be creative in (I NEED that art studio!). Preferably it will have 2 bathrooms so that when one is "occupied" another will be available for the inadvertent "call of nature" where nature isn't the scene for such. Lastly, we would like a property large enough for a vegetable garden. No more patio pots please!! (Unless for decorative purposes only!)
I thought I had to have a small organic farm resplendent with an old post and beam "art barn" as well as a few other outbuildings that could be converted to guest cottages. I am finding though, that my dear Colonel has no earnest wish for such large endeavors! HUH??!! What man doesn't consider himself a Paul Bunyan or a Pecos Bill? Catching a ride on the tail of a tornado? Or chopping down a tree for the family fireplace? Where is the adventure? The bravado??
"POP"!! ...that there was a dream bubble popping and reality settling in. So we've agreed to compose a "must have" list made of both of our wants and needs. We've also agreed to allow the realtor to help us find a home "the old fashioned" way: by handing over the must-have list and the budget and allowing her to show us the properties that meet those needs. The online photos, etc. won't distract us or waste our time this way. (Sadly, the photos almost ALWAYS show a house that is bigger and better than what the reality is. This I learned the hard, disappointing way.)
I have a small admission of guilt: I "was" looking online...and thought I had found my idea of a wonderful new home! THREE times!! "POP"!!! goes that bubble again and again. The latest of the dream home's listing has been removed. I can only surmise it was sold. Now my heart is somewhere under my arches of my feet on a hot, humid, overcast day in northern Alabama. I keep reminding myself that God takes care of every feather on a little sparrow--and there is no reason why He would not take care of me too. I am battling with keeping the edges of my mouth from being down-turned and hoisting my heart back up to where it belongs for now. Ceasing "online dreaming" may be a helpful recourse?
Meeting with the realtor on Saturday morning turned into a pretty full day of getting in and out of a little SUV...my knee aching and spasming and The Colonel's bad back didn't prevent us from seeing upwards of 10 homes in a five and half hour period. Now, I hate to be a quitter after the first day of viewing these offerings, but somehow it's hard to stay in the game. If the house looked fabulous the yard was too small or had no privacy. If we looked at a "fixer upper" it was WAY beyond repair. (Again, the online photos were much better than reality! The mold and water damage on one particular house was haz-mat gear quality.) Sometimes the finishes were done well in one room like the kitchen--but then the bathroom had tiling that was so uneven you could cause a bad abrasion by hitting it just right.
The Colonel got excited about this one particular house. It was a great big house with 5 bedrooms, 3 living areas, 4 baths and a front and back yard that were on a mountain with a steep grade. The yard itself was like stepping stones carved out of mountain rock. The landscaping was beautifully done with very little upkeep needed. Several different Japanese maples dotted the backyard interspersed with grasses and even hydrangeas. It was the largest "rock garden" I've ever come across!! Lovely as it was, I'm not too sure we could have our vegetable garden, outdoor kitchen, or outdoor dining space. If we had a party where would the guests park? How would they get to the front door? Will we need to buy and install a ski lift??
Remember the opening paragraph of this post? Hmmmm, we haven't found a humble, middle class, modest size bungalow with an acre of land to call home. Nothing close. How do I assimilate my dream home and my needs with The Colonel's? Do men always "Go Big or Go Home"??? Can I be happy in a mountain rock garden? Or, will I constantly dream of a Texas limestone homestead with a windmill creaking in the background? Each spring and summer will I look for bluebonnets, daisies, queen anne's lace and Indian paintbrush dotting an open prairie field? Will a quiet night be spent listening for the crickets, coyotes, and the occasional owl? And what about the night sky? Will it be as open? as star-filled as my childhood memories of the vast expanse of the Texas sky?
The adventure seems difficult at this starting place on the path. I guess the trick is to keep moving forward. Make the best decision you can with as much information as can be gathered. Find the wood violets in the smallest crevice amongst the trees. Beauty I know is here. All around.
Before publishing this post... I slipped and fell down a flight of stairs at 2am as I was going to get The Colonel some pain medication for his herniated disc that was causing him a great deal of discomfort. I'm very sore--no great damage to anything except "my personality" as I had hung on for dear life to the handrail and landed in a hurdler's position as I bounced off my left cheek for 5 more steps. Both of my dear menfolk jumped out of bed as I sat there thanking the Good Lord that nothing was broken. Alas, The Colonel moved too fast and we ended up taking him to the Dr's office for that disc problem.
So, on hold for a little while are the house-hunting trips...the Retirement Fishing Odyssey to Canada, and the smile on The Colonel's face. We are thankful for kind, professional people we met in the healthcare arena today as well as our son's stepping up to the plate and helping in any way he could. This little side path to the Great Adventure was difficult in some ways but a blessing in many others.
As ever, onward!