Sunday, July 16, 2017

My Happy Place

I can't believe I'm posting this. It's still so surreal to me.

I'm moving! It has been my dream for years now to live in the mountains. Lucky for me this has been a shared dream; Clint has always wanted this too. We've done things in these last few years to make our lives in the desert more tolerable, like upgrading the interior of our home, putting in the pool, and so on, but in the end it all feels like putting lipstick on a pig. No matter how pretty we make this place, we still live in the desert, with scorching temperatures and blowing dust and people who simply don't take pride in their community. 

Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets over the work we've put into our house. The pool especially, because it has given us a reprieve from the oppressive desert heat for three summers now, and it's going to be a huge selling feature for our house. Likewise everything else we've added will increase our home's value. And honestly, we've had happy lives here. I grew up in the desert and it will always feel like home to me. But, for lack of a less corny way of saying it, my heart is happiest in the forest. I can't even describe the level of calm I feel when I'm nestled into trees. It's weird, right?...the different settings that bring serenity to different people? Your happy place might be the beach, the calming waves of the ocean. Or maybe it's open pastures...a rambling farm house with wide green spaces reaching for the horizon. In the same way, mine is the mountains, and no matter how much work I put into my current home, I just can't shake the desire for towering trees and fresh piney fragrances. So Clint and I decided to finally get serious about looking for a property up there (other factors played into this decision, but I'll just leave it at this for now). We ended up spending the first half of summer looking at land--even putting an offer on one parcel--thinking we'd build a home. But it turns out that the cost to build a home in the mountains is so astronomical that we'd be upside-down on our mortgage before we even moved into our new home. I always thought building a house was cheaper than buying, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

So after spending a month haggling and dreaming, we decided we just couldn't do it. This brought us to option #2, purchasing an already existing home. The tricky part of this plan is that mountain homes are...well, downright weird. Most are three stories with very compartmentalized rooms and bizarre floor plans. For example, one house we walked into had a front door that went straight into the kitchen. There was one other front door entrance on the lower level that went through the master bedroom. So for guests, I'd have a choice: Do I want them to see my dirty dishes or my dirty underwear? (Not that mine are dirty, of course, because anything coming out of me is pure sugar and sunshine). Hmmm. *scratches head*. Another house was loaded with mysterious stairs going into dark places with lots of crevices and was like the Winchester House spawned an evil little lovechild. Some of the more "normal" floor plans in the mountains feature split levels, where you walk into a little platform and have to immediately decide whether you're going upstairs or down. I can't even entertain houses like this. It's like getting ready to enter an elevator and being greeted with, well, half the elevator. (I am the analogy queen!). 

No one is at fault for these bizarre floor plans, it's just that you're dealing with homes that are either built into the mountain or hanging off a cliff, so home-builders are forced to get super creative with their floor plans and utilize every bit of space they have available. And honestly, it turns out that looking at quirky mountain homes is a ton of fun. House hunting in the desert is pretty boring. "Here's another ranch...yep, another track home...oh look at that, another ranch...). But in the mountains, you never know what to expect when you walk through the front door. The exclamations from my kids ranged anywhere from "There's for sure a dead body buried over here" to "I call dibs on that dark basement room from the pits of hell!" (May have tweaked their wording a little). Needless to say, I made my peace with the fact that there was no way we were going to get a "normal" home. So our goal was simply to find as close to normal as possible. 

Enter: This house. It was love at first sight.

Front patio

Side-view of house

Street-view - One driveway goes to the carport, the other to the garage

Street view #2


Side-view of garage and studio apartment

My future writing lair and art studio! Or as Clint calls it, my she-shed.

Two car garage (rare in the mountains) with studio apartment above.
Apartment has one bedroom, a kitchenette, and a bathroom.
So there you have it. I'm sure I'll be posting more in the coming weeks, if I have time to breathe. Everything is happening so fast. Clint and I will be scrambling this month to get our current house cleaned out, repairs made, etc., so we can put it on the market. I guess I'm supposed to be packing too, but I just can't. While I have no problem imagining moving into the new house, I can't picture myself moving out of this house. So I need to wait a little longer for all of this to sink in before I can get my butt packing.