There and Back Again. . . or Not.

Life has been throwing a lot of changes at my wife and me the last few years. First, my job cut me back to part time and then eventually laid me off. I made a valiant effort to find a new job--a new career, really, since the printing industry, my home for over thirty years, was vanishing into the mists of time. While training and traveling in a new line of work, I began to have symptoms that led to the discovery of an encyclopedia of health problems.

Between the medical bills and reduced income, we were forced to take a long hard look at life and decide what we wanted to do with what was left of ours.

In the end, we decided we wanted to get away, simplify life, lose the drama and enjoy the simple things we loved.

The first step was to liquidate what assets we had left, remodel and sell our house and find our perfect home. While the contractors were busy creating sawdust, we began our search.

Our goal was simple: find a quiet place with lots of shade and room to relax. A view would be nice, too.

We found a few nice big older homes in small towns, but nothing quite right, so we began looking in more rural locations. We found some great, affordable lodge type homes with spectacular views, but they weren't affordable for us. We kept looking.

There were several things we insisted on at first: no schools nearby, no major streets or highways and no mobile homes.

Over the course of several months we looked at some nice old farms that would have been perfect, except they were too remote, too far from the nearest stores, hospitals and services. We found cabins in the woods that weren't too far from everything, just from electricity. We kept looking.

One day, in our travels, we found a place on a lake. It was perfect, except the house would need months of repair and the land was a lease, but there was a boat dock in the front yard. That place sold before we could even make an offer.

A few weeks later, we found a beautiful place overlooking a huge lake, but it had an old single-wide trailer. We decided mobile homes were acceptable, but that place also sold before we could call the realtor.

After that, we began to drive hundreds of miles a week to check out places in the country. We knew we wanted privacy and a country life, but we hadn't settled on whether we wanted a farm, a cabin in the hills, or a houseboat. We didn't really want a lease and maintenance fees, so that ruled out the boat.

We found some nice small farms with mobile homes, but they were much too exposed to the neighbors. We found great places with both farm land and woodlands, but they were at the end of twenty miles of really, really bad road. Not for us.

Finally one day, our realtor sent us a brand new listing for an older double-wide mobile on five acres on a hillside, a mile from a lake, fifteen miles from family and it was at the end of half a mile of not-too-bad dirt road. When we drove onto the land, we decided we wanted it, whether the house was livable or not.

From the outside, the house was attractive in a rustic woodsy kind of way and it had a deck on the front, overlooking forest and meadows. When we walked into the house we were stunned. It was perfect. It had cathedral ceilings and an open floor plan, large bedrooms with walk-in closets and a fireplace in the living room.

The land was wild, with wildlife and wild flowers everywhere. The backyard was like a little campsite, with a clear flat area for a fire ring and a picnic table.

We had the realtor call in our offer before we finished the tour.

This is our home now, and will be the subject of many future posts.

Stephen P.


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