Home Sweet Home

lynn oustanding 0820
Lynn outstanding in her field: she’s looking for wildflowers and other treasures in her yard. This makes her happy; watching her makes me happy.

A week ago today was a year ago today that we moved into our new house, mere steps behind the certificate of occupancy and barely ahead of the sale of our old house.

Back then — way back when, in an entirely different time — everything felt rushed and chaotic, and the status of this house, an entire year later, still reflects that. There are still boxes, most of them mine, in a number of locations, and before you tell me to just toss all of it, one of them contained a soccer ball someone wanted to buy for $100, and just yesterday I priced a Star Trek game I took down to the Bookstore That May Never Get Open Because It Always Drops to the Bottom of the List, and it appears to be in the $90 range.

For all we know, I have an entire Antiques Roadshow trove of treasure still in the garage. Or just a bunch of paper and clothing that no one in the world wants, including me. It will get organized Some Day, but while Pandemia has been kind to many people in this sorting regard, neither Lynn nor I have found time for any of it.

Other than still feeling somewhat unsettled, how has life in a new place gone? I’m sure you are wanting to know.

Lynn, who rarely looks back at anything with regret, loves loves loves her new house and location. She loves her kitchen, with its baking table, rack and pantry. She loves the chair she bought to sit out on her deck under a pile of blankies in the early morning on Sundays. She loves her big bank of south-facing windows and their view of the pond.

She loves her ditch and her river, along with the fountain in her pond. She ought to be an Aquarius, as deep as her fascination with water is. She loves wandering around her vast “yard,” searching for wildflowers springing up in random spots, although she does not love the weeds that sprouted in place of grass.

She loves the layout of our house, and her zen bathroom that draws all (and I mean all — not one visitor has been impressed by my bathroom, especially once they see hers) the compliments. Moving here has made her very happy.

So now you’re waiting for the yang to that yin, right? Well, I don’t know that I love love love it as fervently as Lynn — or perhaps just take a more Spock-like approach to my emotions — but I am well-satisfied with our move.

I expected to miss my house of many years, and am still surprised that I don’t, particularly. I have many fond memories not just of the house but the neighborhood, which when you get down to it was my neighborhood of nearly the entirety of my life, but I think purposely designing a piece of this house to echo that house has brought a familiarity to ease any ache. At any rate, it just isn’t there.

But I have noticed this dismaying tendency in myself: when people ask how I like living at Riverwalk, instead of offering the love love love answer that always comes right off Lynn’s tongue, I complain about the space between here and town.

It’s not that I mind country living, such as we are, a whole two miles outside the city limit and right across the highway from a vast trailer park, with a massive sprawled subdivision due north of us, but I am already not much of a fan of the highway, which is the only means of getting from here to there.

There’s really no reason I couldn’t ride my bike to town, other than it does tack on up to an hour on days where I already can’t find time to unpack boxes, but even driving, I’m just not loving these two miles. It’s relatively straight and boring, and filled with traffic that requires my focus. Despite the bonus of a turn lane that arrived here at Riverwalk about the time we did, I still half-expect to be pulverized from either the back or the front on a nearly daily basis while waiting to turn left. (I simply can’t imagine trying to do this without the turn lane.)

If there were a back road to bike, I might not even begrudge the hour round-trip. If there were a back road to drive, I would be ecstatic. As it is, I try to turn off the highway as soon as I get to town, so I can drive more slowly and check out the town happenings as they happen.

Once I am in town, or out here, life is fine, and I too am quite happy with our housing choice. In fact, as I’m checking out town happenings and see the places we once had under consideration as we started contemplating moving, I’m glad we landed where we did.

This is a great, if still small, neighborhood. I really like everyone we’ve met so far, and very much enjoy bumping into Jackie and Ken while we’re all on walkabout, or stopping to talk to Fred and Lisa. We’ve hired a young neighbor to come into our crawlspace once a month to read our flow meter for us, and she’s nice in addition to hugely helpful. And — I realize this will make me sound ageist — no college kids! I had lived next to college rentals from high school until last year, and feel I have put in my time. No college kids!

Our house feels warm and friendly to me, and it suits our megaflora so much better than the small rooms with low ceilings (yes, Lynn, you were right) of our old house. Even if we can’t see a single mountaintop to speak of, the views are something I still appreciate every day (no matter how “average” the county finds them) — and sometimes I remember to look up from the traffic on the way home to take in the mountains before me as I drive.

I have small quarrels with the washing machine that rocks the entire house and the solar tube that isn’t tubing any solar, and I wish I could figure out where all the vanished space has gone, but these are small trifles in the overall scheme. If I could only just condemn a right-of-way through lots of people’s property to give me a private back road into town, this place might be perfect.

So, one year and one week in: still don’t feel quite settled, but it’s good place in which to settle.


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