Monday, May 31, 2010

A House on a Hill

For over one year now, we have talked about this house. To be more specific, we have dreamed of a particular homestead for one year, which isn't too long by any standard. I think what we've finally realized is that the house itself is symbolic of a lifestyle that's been brewing quietly for many years. Something that was silently in the background without a name, a designation, a shape, just a type of life we started to tend towards over time. It wasn't until we literally put pen to paper last April that a particular structure emerged to help us house that lifestyle. I hope we saved those original scribbles somewhere.

In the past year we cautiously moved forward through a maze of architects, engineers, and builders. We learned a LOT, made many mistakes, and had more arguments than are worth mentioning (I think I just mentioned them). And along the way we second guessed the overall decision to build, considering every alternative from all angles. Our final and most comprehensive bid finally arrived from the contractor recently, one that incorporated sub-contractor bids for everything from septic installation to sweeping up dust from a finished floor. This time, it was I who panicked and jumped back onto Craigslist looking for old houses to move. I visited three homes this week. I wheeled and dealed. I made frantic calculations and considered the pros and cons of living in an old farm house the size of our livingroom just to avoid the commitment of building. To be concise: I totally freaked out.

Saturday night was historic because of the calm manner in which we discussed the entire situation; the money, the options, the future. Basically, Jer was relieved to see me freak out finally about the enormity of this undertaking since my response to most of his house related freak-outs for the past year has been to pat his head and tell him he's cute when he's worried and that the money stuff will "just work itself out." That's not the type of thoughtful reasoning he was after. Not that my panic was planned, but turning the tables certainly helped us finally get to the bottom of things. I'll put that tactic in my back pocket for future use (fingers crossed Jer doesn't read this post and if so, Hi Jer! You're cute when you're angry).

I will spare the details and get to the point. We are building for sure, pending any major hangups with banks. And our start date is approximately six months or so from now - RIGHT NOW! From this very minute!!! The time for listmaking has begun. The piles of crusty light fixtures, rusted bathtubs, and crooked doors must now be attacked with an arsenal of cleaning products, abrasive tools, and a lot of patience. Somewhere in my parent's old shed sit 14 insane asylum doors with my name on them. We will take on a lot of the finish-out labor ourselves to save some serious money that can go back into the land. The house will be primarily professionally built and partially completed by ourselves, by family, and by friends bribed with beer and compliments.

It might not be pretty, but it'll be ours.

I've walked past the spot where the house will sit many times over the past two years. I've sat in between the two oak trees that flank the future front porch. The fence is one-third completed as of today with a spot for a small gate in front of the homesite so we can walk easily to the pond from the house. The land is taking shape beyond your average tree clearing. I must come to terms with the fact that soon I will live alongside rattlesnakes and scorpions. In fact, soon I will officially be a country dweller and therefore qualified to say "rattler" instead of "rattlesnake." Things are getting interesting around here.


Anonymous said...

How very exciting for you guys!!

If you wanna indulge in your dreaming even more, a friend suggested this to me: with your house plans in hand, mark out the floor plan on your land, on the right spot, using rope and stakes or whatever you've got lying around. Mark out the exterior and interior walls. Then take a virtual "walk" through the bottom floor of your house. Walk from the kitchen to the living room, to the bathroom, to the laundry room and see how it all feels. Walk in through the front door and pretend you are coming home. Might be a fun way to waste time one lovely afternoon. ;)

jennakl said...

What a great idea! I look forward to having relaxing time at the land again. The fence might be done within the next month at which point we can start to look at doing something like this. There's just always so much to do out there and limited weekend time. But we'll make time for it!