D3 and I have moved to “the country”. We have a house that we bought mostly because it was 1. three times bigger than the condo 2. by a lake 3. there were ponies.
To explain, D3 gets many packages from Amazon, and no matter what the size I will usually ask, “What’s in it?” and he says, “I dunno.” and I say,”Is it a pony?” and he says, “We should get it out if it is.” Also, in my skewed vision of good and bad, Ponies are VERY good.
We had decided that the city was not working for us (me) any more and so we began doing road trips on the weekends to explore other places around us. On the way to and from Vancouver we ended up in the place we are living now for breakfast. On the way back we drove through again. Then I started looking at places on Zillow and Redfin. I found some ridiculously low priced manufactured homes. They were in Senior Parks, so we would have to wait a year for me to be old enough. That was a year and a half away. But I kept looking. Between spying on houses of the rich and famous, I kept an eye on Zillow, sending the occasional links to D3. He usually would talk about it, if I reminded him, when he got home. Or if we talked during the day he would tell me what he liked or didn’t. In general I was just trying to fill my days with the future, as I got ready to release my past.
I retired from my job of 15 years and my profession of 40 in September 2016. I had a month of frenzied activity, I visited everyone I knew, had coffee out with everyone, cleaned the the condo from top to bottom, wrote a novel for NANOWRIMO, and rode the busy bus for a month. Then I realized that I was not going back to work, and I slowed down. I spent 14 hours a day waiting for an exhausted D3 to return from his 1 hour 15 minute (each way) commute and long day at work. I realized that everywhere I went in the city was different from how I remembered it. I had spent 15 years working hard and living in a small section of the city. When I went to visit the old neighborhoods, I was stunned by the change in them.
In 30 years in Seattle, I had seen it shift many times. But this was overwhelming to me. The street grids were the same, but all the things I loved were gone. I thought about how I lived in a huge city with all sorts of museums and culture and theaters. When D3 moved here two years ago, we “touristed” the entire place. We went to all the sites and explored the whole place again. I mostly said, “My favorite coffee shop was there.” Or I tried to explain how friends and I used to do Tai Chi in the place that is now a McDonalds.
The commute was killing me, if not D3. He was used to 2 hour commutes. Tis was one bus, and a short car ride, easy peasy. But I was alone with long days spread out in front of me, and my brand spanky new husband was gone all the time. I had been alone for 50 years, I was not wanting that any more.
The other thing is that I started just staying in our 800 square foot condo. I began not going anywhere. I would organize the videos, and boxed games, I would wander into the kitchen and promise I would clean it, then wander out. I began to take long naps and watch tv, and not get dressed. The only thing I did with any regularity was look at houses. I spent hours looking at houses, imagining new walls to paint and new ways to arrange the pictures. I dreamed of gardens and driveways. I imagined porches and hanging flower baskets and a Japanese Maple tree of my own. And I sank and sank and sank.
On one of our weekends we ended up back in the little town, and as we sat at the diner and soaked in the “not-city-ness” of the place, I said out loud, “I could very happily live here.” D3 looked at me over his pile of biscuits and gravy and said, “Me too.”
So I began to look in earnest. I spent hours with my best friend on long distance face time throwing address and ML#’s at each other as we went through all the websites. My sister came over and we huddled around my computer poured over my top 50 choices.
One day I saw a very ugly grayish beige house that had been on the market for 95 days. Not a good sign. I almost skimmed past it, but “book/cover”, so I opened the page.
It was stunning. Built in 1980 by an architect that was selling it for the first time since he had built it and lived in it. It was sleek and angular and had a wall of bookcases and a full basement. It was clean and bright and beautiful. It was big, and it was inexpensive, for what it was. I sent the link to D3 and he called me 5 minutes later and said, “Can we go look at it this weekend?”
After a few small hurdles, I read a bad review of the real estate agency, which I called and asked them about, and they told me that was a different agency and a rental agency in the University area, and a delay because of the Wind Storm of the Century, which was no big, we got in the car and drove up to see it on a Sunday morning. D3 and I had a huge fight about him committing from there, it would add 15 minutes to his commute, but I was sure he would kill himself driving. Then he said, fine, I will quit and work somewhere else. Then we argued that we couldn’t live on working at McDonald’s and why don’t we just call and cancel the real estate guy. Then we cried, and argued more about how beautiful the drive was and how much easier it was to breathe. We pulled into town, went to the Whole Foods just off the highway, got coffee and food, cause of course we left without either one and so of course we were insane. I cried in the bathroom, then we got our blood sugars to normal, and called the agent to meet us.
We drove up the street that we had studied on Google Maps and looked at the lake with awe and wonder. We pulled onto the street and into the long driveway that hides our house behind another bigger house. We pulled in to face the house, turned off the car, took the first breath we had taken in days. We were home.
D3 got out and took tons of photos of the outside of the house, completely failing to conceal his excitement. The real estate agent drove up, he lives 5 blocks away. He let us in and then just stood back. As we explored our new house, we would say, “This is my office.” and, “The bed should go here.” We kept wandering through the house looking, touching, claiming, when
D3 practically yelled, “Zoe, come in here right now.” I ran into the kitchen and he pointed to there house that lays to the north of us and somewhat below us. We both looked out the window in disbelief. There frolicking in the farm yard below us were two ponies.
We went through the motions of looking at two other houses, but the real estate agent and D3 and I stood on the porch of the last house and decided to put an offer on the pony place. There had been two other offers, but both fell through, and the one that fell through last was on the day I found the house on the web. Our real estate agent had handled the last one, so he changed the names on the paper work and wrote in our offer. Monday it went, in Thursday we were accepted.
A month later we moved. D3 talked to his employers and said I was moving and he would like to go with me. They offered him working at home and coming down once a month, he goes down more than that.
We have been here 5 months and I watch the ponies every day. I know when they get fed and where they like to hang out. We met the ponies dad and he told us there are 7 in total, I just about lost my brain when he said this. I have watched them all winter. They stand in the rain, or lie on the ground in the sun. Then move, but you rarely catch it.
This morning D3 was working down in his office, I was making coffee and watching them like usual, when the two that were out suddenly began to run around. Their little tails blowing in the wind, they jumped up and down rearing, playing, “Pony-ing”. I screamed for D3 to come see. He came trudging up from the basement, “I’m coding”, he muttered. But then the ponies were to wonderful to watch.
Sometimes there is a time to code and sometimes there is a time to watch the ponies.