Cross-country Move (Again & Again)? Marriage? Kitchen-destroying Car Crash? Permaculture? Home?

My life has dramatically changed in the last 2 years. I’m not myself, in a way. In another way, I’m more myself than I’ve ever been.

Sorta “quick” overview of the past 2 years until today:

  1. 2 years ago, I traveled cross-country on my own in a mostly working Chevy Metro to Washington state. There, I fell and love with my obvious life partner who had been my best friend for about a year already, the one person I’ve ever met that really gets it. Although still polyamorous by philosophy, I opted for a monogamous state with this person. This person is 11.5 years younger than me. Not sure what that says about me, but it doesn’t really matter. A lot changed because I actually believed in someone and they believed in me. I leave the rest of the mushy story for another time. A lot also changed in my day-to-day life.
  2. My true goals clarified as I finally believed they were possible.
  3. I became a strong saver of money. For the most part (save a couple manic stages, one of way overspending and one of stretched spending), I’ve always been frugal, but it was more by necessity than choice. Because my path is more clear now, it’s obvious that saving money will enable early retirement and a life filled with joy and grand goals.
  4. Upon moving back from Washington to Pennsylvania, I lived in my boyfriend’s mom’s basement. Living with parents was not a thing I’d done in 13 years. Somehow, it didn’t quite taste like failure as I expected. A lot felt different.
  5. For a few months, I lived in a beautiful house in the woods with a creek running through it that didn’t have running water.
  6. I slowly relapsed into depression and got back on medication.
  7. I did yoga, worked on a farm, and took up a new obsession, pole dancing (best workout ever). I also made and sold jewelry and learned to crochet. I became and avid biker and bike activist. I studied math. A lot of math. Read about cryptography, biology, history, and neuroscience.
  8. I moved into the boyfriend’s grandparents who would be leaving for six months and us… renting? It was a confusing time that ended with us abruptly not having a place to live.
  9. I realized that not only did I like my boyfriend’s immediate family, I really love them and they’ve become my friends. Like, I really enjoy their company and I trust them.
  10. I moved into a tiny studio apartment for a month that I’d lived in before because I still had an awesome relationship with that landlady.
  11. We almost bought a house a few times in 2015 (this was my second attempt at house buying). We had to walk away from them all. The last one was the kicker. I was sensible about the others, but that last one was just sized right, logistically right, priced about right, and was just eccentric enough for us. I wanted that house. But, we’re tough negotiators and we had to walk away.
  12. We discovered that Drew can pursue Italian citizenship. We planned to move to Italy in a few years.
  13. We decided to move back to WA, but spent the second part of December and first part of January sorta homeless, visiting my parents and other family at Christmas, visiting Drew’s mom and sister in Philadelphia for New Years, then visiting Drew’s dad and family in NJ until we left. We shipped all our stuff via Amtrak. I’d planned another road trip with a friend to cross the country,  but the weather was treacherous, especially for a Metro. I left the car behind and flew.
  14. Drew and I eloped on New Year’s Eve.
  15. I moved into an insane basement apartment with an insane landlord and experienced insane things while there. Nonetheless, we planned on living there until we moved to Italy. We hosted many guests and went on many adventures.
  16. Drew got a text and negotiation re-opened on the house in Pennsylvania. We got a much more sensible price for us. We bought it and went back and forth but intended to settle fully in July.
  17. My Metro was sold by my now mother-in-law. I was car free again!
  18. Two weeks before that July date, the house got smashed into, destroying the front wall and kitchen. Insurance covered it, but we would go home to mad damages (that are still in repair).
  19. For the first time, I live in a house (albeit broken) that is mine.

I’m clearly a woman who gets around. I mean… anyway, I’ve moved a lot. I’ve lived an interesting, and some would say crazy, life.  I’ve lived in Houston and DFW in TX, capital city in PA, near Chicago in IL, and little city north of Seattle, WA. I’ve also traveled a good bit in the United States (and a little beyond). I’ve been to every state but Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island (something I aim to change in the next year). I’ve crossed the country north and south on both sides, east and west with very different routes. As an adult, I’ve lived in about 25 buildings for a range of 2 months to 2 years. That puts me at nearly two buildings a year. I am not old (though that is a thing I may never believe I am), I’ve just lived many places. So, finding myself a homeowner (with Drew, of course) was both disorienting and glorious. Not to mention having other forms of stability.

In 2016, we purchased our home in the unlikely (yet also likely) city of Harrisburg, PA. It is a house that arcs over a road going through it to a cemetery. It’s a price that will beat rent in a short period of time, optimally located a short bike ride to downtown, by a grocery store, surrounded by parks, and by the Greenbelt. It offers DIY projects, but not to an overwhelming extent. It is interesting looking. Inside, there is a perfect amount of room so that both Drew and I get offices in which to work (we work remotely, so this is important), have a bedroom, a bathroom, a reasonably sized kitchen (I like to cook), a small living room that could also potentially house guests, and a basement for storage and laundry. On the other side of the house and under part of our living space, is a little efficiency in which we can also store guests or friends (comfortably and with the freedom to leave, of course). There is a downstairs porch, and a huge deck from which I am writing, overlooking the cemetery (yes, we will be throwing epic Halloween parties). Outside of each part, on each side of the street, is a yard – a thing I’ve dreamed about. EDIT: Sorry for the redundancy in a later blog.

Here are the happenings after the house was purchased:

2 weeks before we were going to fully settle, a car crashed into our house, destroying our front wall and kitchen (sorry for the redundancy if you read the overview). We got a call from a friend who was house-sitting to let us know. I was driving Drew, Drew’s sister, and myself home from a day trip to North Cascades National Park. It shook me up a bit.

This problem somehow lead to a spurt of Internet fame. We were going to get gigantic bollards to put in front of the house but wanted to make sure we did it right. Drew posted on reddit to get advice. The advice flowed. So did a number of wild comments and jokes about the strangeness of our house. The posted was number one on reddit and we made the local news.

The process of repair is a thing I’ll inevitably post about. As well as the side project that will be renovating the balcony and building the furniture for it out of pallets.

I had already decided that if I ever found myself a homeowner of a place with space to plant, I would pursue a permaculture landscape, most of which would be edible. I’d have a hippie’s dream yard- I’d grow a significant amount of my vegetarian diet, have bees, bats, and maybe chickens, it could qualify for NWF wildlife garden certification, etc. This is in progress. I will post about this too.

For all the madness, the resounding thought is, I have a home. I can’t use the kitchen yet, but I know I’ll be able to. The place is a mess, but it will be cleaned and furnished to my specifications (save Drew’s office; that is his sanctuary). I have a cool view and a nearby wilderness to roam, not to mention a yard, all mine, in which to grow wonderful things.

We still may move to Italy in a few years, but for now (and perhaps long into the future), this will be home. I never felt like home could be in one place (home is inside me, it travels with me, it’s with Drew, blah blah blah), but for now, it is.

 Photo: I made a map of my road trips. They aren’t exact. Stars are where I’ve lived. States not crossed by these trails, I’ve flown to, with the exception of a few New England states.
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