Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

The is my neighbor and friend Gayle
and her 'find' this summer.
We’ve been here a year already.  Time really does fly.  The older you get, the faster it slips away.  I thought I would write my annual report and document our progress so far.

To recap:  in 2006, on a camping road trip vacation, we stumbled upon northeastern Washington State (NEWA).  Fell in love immediately.  Since we had lived in Nevada for 25 years after growing up in California for 20+ years, we decided it was once again time for a change.  Nevada was evolving as California once did and we trusted our pioneer spirits.  They lead us to these beautiful NEWA woods.  I wonder if we’ll move when we are 75 years old and what that adventure holds.

Since 2006 was the beginning of economic disaster in the U.S. and the housing bubble was bursting, it took us two years to find our perfect NEWA home site and another three years to sell our beautiful log home in Silver Springs.  Frustrating, to say the least, but even while we pouted a bit, our faith held us strong as we knew what was best for us would come to pass.

And here we are!  We have a beautiful, well insulated, three-quarters finished home.  We have all the modern conveniences, lights, hot and cold running water, refrigeration and heat.  A school bus drives right by the driveway and whisks our son off to senior high school.  My mother lives next door in her Wee Mansion.  Two dogs, a cat and multiple birds, squirrels, chipmunks, deer, moose, elk, bear and an occasional cougar grace our presence. 

The trees are plentiful and we have a fresh water spring waiting to be developed, along with a year-round creek that the neighbors insist has never run dry.  There are tons of varieties of plant life that I have yet to identify, including several plants that I recognize for their medicinal value.  I feel like we have found the promised-land, at least here on earth.

While life here seems just about perfect, it is not for everyone.  You won’t be running to the store every day.  Milk, beer and eggs are three miles away, but beyond that it’s 14 miles to a basic grocery and 38 miles for real shopping.  It takes two hours to get to Costco!  Some would not care for that.  I like the fact that I have to plan ahead and not spend so much.  Since we have the internet, most things are within a few days shipping time if you insist on shopping.  I bought most of the house fixtures that way.

This also means you can’t exactly go out to dinner frequently, if very often.  This is also agreeable because why spend the money?  Food is fuel and I eat too much anyway.  We get to town and we do get to eat out every so often.

Jobs are few and far between unless you have a special talent and can open your own business.  But even then, you better do or have something in demand because most folks around here don’t have extra money to spend and do most things for themselves.  On the positive side, you don’t need a lot of money to live here as long as most everything you do have is paid for.

I said our house is three quarters finished.  In the summer, you tend to work outdoors while you can.  In the fall, you get your wood supply ready for winter heat, hunt for meat and store everything outside in anticipation for whatever winter brings.  So winter is a good time to work inside the house. 

Our walls, plumbing, electric and basic needs are complete, except for my bathtub and the walls in the hallway going up the stairs.  There is no flooring upstairs yet (downstairs is colored concrete), but the plywood works for now.  Most of the trim (finish) on the walls still needs to be done.  We have sanding to do where the lumber companies insist on marking their wood.  Window trim isn’t finished.  There isn’t anything hanging on the walls and my bathroom needs hardware and the mirror hung.  We also have tile for the floor in that bath, but it isn’t in yet.

The kitchen is beautiful, but there is some finish work to be done on the cabinets and the baseboard still to do.  There are no shelves in the pantry or closets.  Our clothes are still hanging on a plastic rod braced between two pieces of wood. 

As you can see, there is much to do, but there is also much time to get it done.  Or not as we just enjoy living.  I would not trade living here for a finished home anywhere else.  This is home.  One year later and I could not imagine living anywhere else.  On goes my NEWA experience!

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