There are haps for telling. Here’s what they be.
Friday, Blue and I went over to one of the islands, despite it absolutely pouring rain all day. Knowing we were going to do that, and figuring what the hell, I made a couple appointments for us to see some rentals over there. We’re not yet ready to move, but I have been looking at ads weekly for a year now, so it seemed time to at least get started, even if we’d be seeing things available way too soon for us.
And the very first place we saw, the first rental I have even looked at on this particular island — which is my island of choice — was PERFECT. Beyond perfect, honestly. I have maybe looked at one or two places as nice as this one to rent in my life, and I have never lived in anything even close to this nice. Even in my dreams about places to live, things are broken or falling apart. Ungodly amazing kitchen with zinc counters and sink, maple shelves and this huge island, open to the living/dining room that is almost entirely windows, floor to ceiling, looking into a gorgeous garden and then the woods. Loft over all of that. The office has big stones built into the floor with radiant heat, french doors open unto a side deck the size of the downstairs of my rental now. Two good bedrooms (the only place there is the wall-to-wall carpet that pretty much covers the whole Pacific Northwest: dunno what is with people and the carpeting here). Two beautiful bathrooms, one with the shower to die, which seems magical compared to the truly gross makeshift shower stall that was added into this place. Very creative little bits everywhere, and everything in good repair. The way the house is set, situated and designed, it feels like being in a big treehouse. The windows are NOT from decades ago, unlike the ones here which are the cause of my weeping when heating bills come in. Dog-friendly. Smoking only outdoors, but whatevs: I need a new motivation to cut down. Only bit more a month than rent now, a cost that would undoubtedly be offset by the heat actually staying in the house. Plus, no more fucking month-to-month lease like I have been dealing with, and which leaves me feeling totally unstable. Oh, and a working woodstove, unlike my sad, sad useless one now, which has sat gathering dust over the last year because the chimney here is toast.
Our view is into the woods, and the house is too, with some other houses nearby, but a very generous distance between, however, it’s around a half-mile walk downhill and you’re right at the beach.
We both feel in mad love with the place, which created rollercoaster waves of joy to sorrow, since we were just looking too damn soon. Went and saw another place, way too big, in an area that felt suburban instead of rural, and some of the scariest wallpaper I have ever seen in my life. Plus, it just had bad vibes. Me no likey.
But wait! Since I’d asked about extended leases, the agent called us back later that day to say that was an option, which is when we found out it wasn’t going to even be available until June or July. We gasped. We sat agape. We jumped and giggled. And we all but ran home to do a bunch of math and other logistics then filled out the application. Exciting, but honestly, this place is so nice and so freaking perfect, that it felt very fantastical to do this, because I still really wasn’t believing the rent was what I pay now. So, app turned in, but we were both seriously managing our expectations and I, personally, just figured some shoe or another would drop.
Got a call today: this ungodly amazing baby be ours to rent, potentially for as long as an initial two-year lease. Haven’t signed it yet, but the agent says so long as we still wanted it (umm, yes) we could rent it. So, unless something exceptionally weird and unexpected happens, we’re moving to one of the islands this summer. And I finally have something other than a feeling of dread about being on a month-to-month lease here.
I’m waiting for that paper in my hand to let it really sink in that I finally am getting to do spend some of my life living full-time somewhere where my backyard is a forest, where the sounds I hear at night and in the morning are water and wildlife (and I’m not talking about the pets), and where I get to be all the way in the kind of environments I’ve previously only been able to be in when I am in desperate need of respite and solace and peace. I can have my coffee outside in the morning in the freaking trees. I can take breaks by grabbing my camera and galoshes and sticking my nose into wildflowers. And all just a short ferry ride into the city. When the paper is signed and that actually sinks in, my head may well explode.
It’s a leap we’re taking here, and a chance. I mean, it is possible that this idea I have had for a long time that almost a whole life spent urban needs to shift massively to the radically different environments I tend to think I feel more at home in is patently incorrect. It may be I don’t like it at all, but you know, even if that’s true, I need that answer. If nothing else, it’ll be a much-needed sabbatical of sorts. Plus, the house here will just not stop falling apart. I have loved this old place, so full of character, but at the same time, I don’t love a winter with broken heat, a door that I have to fight with for twenty minutes to lock or unlock, the carriage house leaning so precariously I’m sure one morning I’m just going to find it toppled sideways in the backyard or any of the other problems. Being month-to-month in a neighborhood rife with development, it’s gotten to the point where I’m scared to even ask to have anything fixed for fear the landlord will figure he should just sell (or tired of asking for things that just never get fixed). We’ve looked at some places in the ‘hood here in case it seemed like the islands just couldn’t happen this year, but everything we have seen has cost much more than we pay now for much less space and often no character.
Obviously, this will also be a bit easier for me, who only needs to go work outside the house a few times a month than Blue, but we did the stopwatching, and it’s still only about an hour’s commute, and a far prettier one than the one he has now. Plus, he feels it’s way worth it.
So, there you go! For the record, I’ve decided I like the sound of living “on one of the islands.” As in, “Heather Corinna lives on a crunchy little island across the pond from Seattle.” Obviously, friends will know which one, and at some point, I’ll probably give it away without meaning to, but I like the very silly mystery and the sense of reclusiveness (and let’s face it, safety) not naming it publicly might offer. I figure I’ll keep Scarleteen’s mailing addie somewhere in the city just for my own safety and to keep things from getting too claustrophobic, so I get to keep my mystique.
Besides that big news, it’s otherwise just work-busy over here. Working on the Our Bodies, Ourselves chap I’m writing for the next edition (still very exciting, but talk about difficulty avoiding perfectionism), working on the research, study and whatnot for the book proposal, and then doing everything else I do in a week, which is too much, per usual. Got taxes done early, which is nothing short of a miracle. That means I got the budget for the org laid out for next year, and while it’s not what I’d like it to be, it’s way better than it has been in previous years and far less panic-inducing. Haven’t been feeling all that hot lately health-wise, but I tell myself that this is another way the move will likely help. In case I hadn’t mentioned it, Blue would up getting a job at the teen shelter I do outreach for a couple months ago, and in typical form, is now managing the day shift there, and he loves it. I certainly don’t require that anyone I’m this close to does activist or teen work, but I have to say, it’s very nice when it happens that way: it makes me feel a lot less isolated to have someone else get it so much. Job aside, we’re still happy as two little clams over here, which is a little slice of heaven.