Monthly Archives: July 2014

Wide Open Spaces Redux

Back in 2011 I wrote:

“When we buy our next house,” I mused, “I would like it to be far enough from our neighbors so that they won’t be tempted to have a conversation with me from their yard.” … Here’s the scenario: I walk outside, to do whatever, and I’m minding my own business. After a while, I glance over and realize one of my neighbors has been talking to me, yelling from their yard, and I’ve been ignoring them. Awkward. Even worse, now that I’ve made eye contact, I’m expected to respond. But no matter what I say, I will not understand what they shout back. This leaves me with two options: casually wave and immediately turn around and go back into the house, or go down two flights of stairs, across the yard, to the fence and have a conversation I really wasn’t planning to have.

As of later this month, that will finally be my reality. Although we were hoping to stay in this house for another year, you can never predict what the bank will do when you’re in foreclosure. Although they still have not actually notified us, thanks to Dave’s daily research we knew that we had until Sept. 12th to find a new place to live.

We toyed with a few different options, since we didn’t have quite enough saved to just go plunk down some cash and buy a house (our original plan). At first we were seriously considering buying an inexpensive mobile home, but it was really hard to find a home that was both in a nice park and not in god-awful condition. We came very close to purchasing one – we actually passed their credit check – but then decided it just needed too much work. It was in a really nice park just a mile from the Warren Dunes, so the location was tempting. At the end of the day, though, it just didn’t feel right.

Right after that, which was our second trip to Michigan to check out possibilities, we came home and started looking for houses to rent. We avoided apartment complexes because we have cats and there’s just no storage; we knew we’d be seriously downsizing, which is fine, but I was hoping to keep the furniture that’s sentimental to us for the future house that we purchase (which will hopefully be big enough for everything).

The house we eventually found has so many things in the ‘plus’ column that we can easily overlook the fact that it is small and lacking closets (no coat closet, the two bedroom closets are about one-fourth of what we have here). Those neighbors? Far enough away, with visibility blocked by trees surrounding the property, that I don’t have to worry about casual chit-chats, yet close enough that we don’t feel totally isolated. We have a full basement (unfinished but clean and painted) for storage, hardwood floors, an acre of land with permission from our landlady to plant as big a garden as we wish, a nice-sized kitchen, and a clean, freshly-painted interior that needs nothing done to it.

It’s just a two-hour drive from this area, so we can get back to see my family with no problem. There’s an Amtrak station right in town so the kids can travel from Chicago in just a little over two hours; because of the time change, they even gain an hour coming back (leave Michigan at 10 pm and get into Chicago at 11 pm, for instance).

Even though we’re just renting, it was one of those situations where you walk in and it just felt right. It felt like home. We’re just outside the city limits so it feels like we’re in the country, but we only have to drive a few miles to get to the main area of town. I love it!

So I’ll probably be scarce here (yet again) for the next month while we pack up this house and get ourselves moved to the fruit belt area of Michigan. We’ve been making weekly trips, bringing a few things at a time, to do things like get our banking situated, get utilities switched into our name, etc. Our big, final move will probably happen during the last full week of July.

On another note, all of the stress of the past month helped me reach my goal weight (YAY!) and then sail past it by a couple pounds. This is the first time since the late 1990s that my BMI has been in the ‘normal’ range; when I started all of this, back in October, my BMI was 31 (which is in the obese category) and it’s 24.7 now. Of course, I look at pictures and STILL think I look exactly the same as before. Maybe it’s because I’m short, and it just doesn’t show?!

So I’m going to sign off and go looking for a wool dust mop (something I never thought I’d covet) while Dave researches ways to set up a clothesline, something I’ve always wanted. He’s also telling me I need to buy work boots, which sounds ominously like he’s planning to put me to work around the yard and garden. Country living, here we come!

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