Friday, July 30, 2010

Back in the Saddle

It's been a bumpy few weeks in the way of land progress which now is all mixed up with life progress. We officially parted ways with our builder. However, since we can't actually reach the builder (one direct cause for the break-up) it's possible that he has no idea we've officially parted ways. On the other hand, it could be that he parted ways with us long ago and cleverly avoided an awkward conversation by simply ending communication. Kinda like those old jr. high school breakups I mentioned earlier (yes, my sick analogy is back again). Just as immature, and most definitely unprofessional. After several weeks of creative speculation regarding his whereabouts, Jer and I decided to pull the plug for our (ok, my) own emotional well-being. Which means, buckle your seatbelts folks: we're back in the saddle again.

What's this mean for you, you ask? Not much at all aside from the torment of my forthcoming stories about endless meetings with builders who never return calls and the song and dances performed by yours truly in order to get someone interested enough in this project to oh, I don't know, follow-up. Also, the last time I read Huffington Post, watched CNN, and checked the stock market it appeared that we are still in the midst of a (double dip?) recession, sliding backwards, and clinging to the hope that Americans will spend, use credit, and build houses. Right?! Anyone?

Jeremy and I decided that our downfall with builders comes from two places: 1) having a plan & 2) having a budget. Our many ill-fated attempts to create a meaningful relationship with someone seems to end once it's established that we know exactly what we want within a certain price range. (YES. The relationship analogy again. But honestly, finding a builder is like going on a blind date and then beginning an awkward long distance relationship with someone you're only mildly attracted to but who has promised you free dinner at a mid-range Mexican restaurant - just for example).

So: new strategy commences today at my first of many face-to-face meetings with one of the 10 companies who have received a request for bids. Today I will play dumb. I will shrug my shoulders when they ask what type of home we're looking to build. I will say "Hadn't considered one!" (with a giggle) when asked about our budget. I will twirl my hair around my finger and play on my iPhone throughout the meeting. In short: I will act as uninvolved, uninformed, and unprepared as possible. It's a scientific experiment, really. Do these creatures (contractors/builders) respond more enthusiastically when approached by clients who have absolutely no information (i.e., are easily manipulated?). Results will be posted later. Stay tuned. I hope you don't lose any sleep in anticipation.

Other land news is equally disturbing. We have become, and I am not exaggerating, overrun with freakishly large garden spiders. They appear to view the entire 15 acres as a huge fly and have attempted to encase the whole place in their webs. This is one small example of an unfriendly spider I met yesterday. Neither of us was happy to meet the other:

Also, we recently made a creepy discovery at our property line. Last weekend a group of Jeremy's friends came out to drink beer, dig holes, and charm snakes (I think you know who you are, Jeff. I'm talking about Jeff). During the course of this incredibly stimulating evening, we all stomped around the place together and came upon a large group of vultures at one of the property lines. The vultures flew away at our approach and revealed a freshly dead pit bull which had clearly been dumped in a trash bag and dragged out by the buzzards. This is a disturbing sight in any setting but was particularly creepy because of it's location deep into a 30 acre lot owned by a church, in the midst of a densely overgrown forest with no clear path, well, anywhere. Who dragged this large dog thirty acres into the woods and placed it along the property line? More importantly - WHY? I know this is a mystery not worth solving and may have something to do with country living. But I am unsettled and unsure of what other country culture-shocks I have yet to encounter.

For now, we're still in the suburbs, and by the looks of things, we're not getting out to the country anytime soon. Optimistic Jenna says that this allows more time for the reality of country life to sink in slowly, more time to save, more time to enjoy the creature comforts of subdivision living.

Pessimistic Jenna says that she can deal with the culture shock of country living (even mysteriously dead dogs on the property), we can save while we're there too, and that she's just about sick of waking up to chickens snoozing on the back porch. After 2 years, one grows tired of sharing personal space with one's hens.

(Smudgy glass due to three dog noses constantly pressed there to observe the chickens living in their backyard. Sigh). So I complained a lot this morning. If there's any lesson to be gleaned from our story, I hope you gleaned it, and I hope you'll let me know what the heck it is. I can say this: it's never boring. These choices we chose keep me up at night and invade every inch of my spare thinking space during the day. But it is never boring, and that's something.


freelearners said...

I just have to say again how much I enjoy reading your posts. You have a great sense of humour, which appears to be a particularly valuable asset given what you guys are going through these days.

jennakl said...

Well, I sure do appreciate that! If anyone else gets enjoyment from our awkward stumble into landownership, then it's definitely worth all of the mishaps, wrong turns, and cactus needles.