I'm writing this from the bathtub sipping on a peppermint latte, having just finished reading a large section of the book Radical Homemakers. My friend was kind enough to lend it to me and I must say it is AWESOME! None of this gluttonously indulgent moment would have been possible had Jules' meeting not gone well this morning.
The stress threshold in our lives tends to directly correspond to the extent we are willing to reflect on our actions. It was at blinking red light, sirens going off, nuclear core meltdown point before I finally quit school. It was at drowning our sorrows on substances, junk food, and late nights starring at the screen before I left my job to be home full-time. Jules and I were bickering and tense before we finally chose to homeschool The Barracuda. Each major choice has been made progressively sooner in the frustration gradient because we are getting better at living slowly, both as a family and individuals. Not only that, all the choices have been centered around fully committing to our household rather than pulling energy from our family. Now that we know how life feels when it is working well, it is much easier to see when something just doesn't fit.
So, when nights began to get later and later again, the trips to eat out more and more frequent, the tobacco usage higher and higher, and the mis-communications were turning into full scale squabbling, it was time to look around. Something wasn't fitting. However, unlike the times before, our lives really hadn't changed. This time it was us who were different.
We live in one of the most progressive cities in the nation and are well known for letting our freak flag fly. The sea of blue which swims around us politically isn't an issue either, nor is the large swath of green which is also well known to reside in our locale. The problem is we are in the city. An awesome, sustainable, liberal city, but a city none-the-less. As our ventures in simplicity have progressed, so have we as people. Our lifestyle just doesn't fit a tenth of an acre city lot, with a large mortgage, and an hour plus drive into the forest.
The meeting today was with the mortgage company and the realtor came by last week. We viewed property about a month ago. I was sold then, but it took Jules a bit longer to decide :) We are for sure about the moving and also the location we will be moving to. The house will go up for sale around the first of the year. The actual residence is a bit blurrier.
For most all intents and purposes, we are moving to the middle of nowhere. It is in the Columbia River Gorge, tucked back into the Western Cascades. Various times of the year, you cannot drive up the only 2 lane highway which gets you there (rock slides, mud slides, and snow) , you have to plow your own roads, and it is at least an 1 hour from any kind of major civilization (one with a chain grocery story) and more like 1.5 to 2 hours from anywhere which would be considered a big city (it is a small big city at that!). In the other three directions, you would have to drive significantly longer. However, we are surrounded on three sides by wilderness areas, a national forest, a mountain which is a major rock climbing destination, and some of the best wind surfing and kite boarding in the nation. You can go white water kayaking and horseback riding right down the street. The other bonus are the numerous organic family farms which exist in temperate climates making our garden rather unnecessary. This area will allow us to spend the next couple of pivotal years in The Barracuda's life drenched in outdoor recreation. It will also provide us with enough money saved and experience gained that he and I can through hike the Appalachian Trail in less than 5 years.
As for the specifics of the house, we have found one which is rather amazing. We really like it. It would allow us to cut all our bills in half. The problem resides with the fact it is on leased land (all those national forests and wilderness areas). We need to hash out the lease to make sure it is transferable as is. But it is rather awesome.
The entire front is a wall of windows, making the house mostly a sun room and seem much larger than it's square footage. The smaller floor plan than our current 900 square feet is another positive as we try to simplify even further. The lake has ample fish and is a salmon spawning area during the fall run. It's pretty sweet.
It is not for sure however. Many things need to fall into place (Jules wants me to make sure everyone knows this) and most hinges on the lease agreement. Since we do not, and cannot legally, own the land the house is highly inexpensive but also cannot be a permanent residence for rest of our lives. It is a weigh station to enjoy, save, and relax.
If this house falls through, a coworker of Jules' owns another house just down the road which we can lease. Equally awesome and allowing us to have an actual yard and not a lake. It is kinda hard for The Barracuda to camp out in a lake. The price is virtually the same and so is the area. Either way, I'm rather excited!