Monday, July 22, 2013

It Will Work Just Fine

As I write this my tired man and my tired pup are both taking a much deserved nap.
We left for Idaho yesterday morning and arrived back in Cody a couple of hours ago.
Whether you drive more miles and work your way around the park when Yellowstone is closed during the winter, or whether you drive less miles and go through the park (and deal with the traffic and tourists) during the very hot and dry summer, it is a slug fest of a trip. 
We bought a house in Idaho.  A house in the desert that nobody else wanted.................

Knowing that we didn't want to go back to Tennessee - and knowing that our house is rented to some stable people who pay their bills on time - we (quite a few months ago now) started looking for a small, humble, reasonably priced home to purchase here.
Only that kind of home doesn't exist in Cody.
We did make one offer on one home that needed a lot of work.  The offer was declined and the house is still on the market.
There are many homes that have been on the market here in Cody for well over a year - sometimes a number of years - and yet they do not come down in price, and because of that we very quickly discounted Cody.
Looking further and further outside of Cody we found homes in our (top) price range that were (frankly) overpriced  pieces of junk.  Even if we could afford the prices, and could settle with the piece of junk we would own, we couldn't justify the prices in our mind.
Reluctantly we decided that no matter how much we loved Wyoming, we didn't love it enough to struggle to make payments on a home that was horrible.
A trip to Montana over the winter and two trips to Idaho brought us overpriced in Montana and the reality check that we would not find what we had initially envisioned in Idaho.
And there was the rub.  If we couldn't have it all - the property, the house, the water, the mountains, the privacy, the quiet - what were our priorities?
Price (we wanted a decent house at a decent enough price to be able to still do many of the things we wanted to do in our lives).  Privacy.  Safety.  Space.  Accessibility to water and mountains.
There were doable houses in Arco (the town we used as our jumping off point during our two Idaho trips).  Affordable if we wanted to settle.  Homes were close to each other but the town was quiet and friendly and small and the mountains and rivers were accessible.
But homes were close to each other. 
Too close to each other.
Too close.
On our last trip we doubtfully went to see a house in the desert, 30 miles from Arco.
Before we saw the house we asked about the tiny community, and the typical response was "Nice enough place, but it's in the desert.  There's nothing there".
We went.  We looked.  We walked away not really certain what to make of it.
For the next month, LC and I both talked about the house off and on, still not really knowing what to think about this place.
It was NOTHING that we had envisioned.  It was huge.  It had add-ons all over the place.  It looked like it had been something else in another life, before being converted into a home (maybe a rural ambulance service or BLM office?).  It was in the desert, but desert in Idaho is not the same thing as desert in Wyoming.   It had been on the market for almost two years.  It was very cheap.  It was structurally strong as a rock (cinder block covered with wood) but badly needed painting (inside and out) and updating.
It was 30 miles in either direction to the nearest town.
It was 30 miles to the mountains. 
We had talked about relocating my business, but how do you do that when you're 30 miles from the nearest population? 
We kept looking online - day after day both of us searching, calling, scanning over properties that agents were sending us.  And we kept coming back to this place.
LC called the Sheriff's Department.  It was a safe and quiet place.
The town had a population of less than 30.
The house was on just over half an acre of flat land that contained grass and trees, and bordered BLM land.  Thousands and thousands of acres of empty BLM land.
It has a small fenced area for Jamie, and the rest of the yard was already partially fenced. 
Room again for my puppy to roam and cause a ruckus with the neighborhood dogs.
We could see the mountains .  The base of the Big Lost River Valley and Little Lost River Valley was 30 miles away.
Still trying to digest this strange home in this strange town in the middle of the desert, LC and I continued to search the real estate listings.
I looked at LC wondering what he really thought about the home.  I was unsure about what he REALLY thought, because surely he would have jumped on it if he liked it.  Right?  It turns out that he was wondering the same thing about my thoughts.  About me living in the middle of nowhere. 
We had talked about the home many times but finally making the decision to make an offer was a process of digesting it all - the location, the size of the house, the work that would be needed to make a basic bones and , outdated house into a home, the location.............

The asking price of the house had been dropped three times by the time we found it.  We made a very low ball offer and it was accepted.
We drove over to the house yesterday to drop off a truck load of wood and another truck load of heavy tools, and then left one of our trucks over there before heading home to Cody again today.
We drove through the park both ways, saw many beautiful things along the way and took very very few pictures (that I will post another time).
I'm exhausted.  So is LC.  So is my pup Jamie.
Some pictures that I snapped quickly before leaving this morning.
The living room..............
The large kitchen - complete with ugly grey carpet, ugly orange counter tops, and cabinets that need to be refinished.
There is a small dining area not in the picture.............
Looking from the living room down the hallway.
Two bedrooms are off to the right, the laundry room is off to the left, and the master bedroom is at the back of the house...................
Ugly brown and white carpet in the first bedroom...............
Ugly green carpet in the second bedroom................
The master bedroom.  A lot of space and two closets in the opposite direction..........
Master bathroom off the main bedroom........
Laundry room with door leading to the sun room.
Half bathroom to the right of this picture...............
Half bathroom.............
So OK.  Right now it's just a big space, but I see the sun room that it will be................
The greenhouse.................
The breezeway with the garage to the right.
The breezeway leads outside and has such a huge door that when LC closes it up it feels like we're in a fortress................
Wood room off the sun room................
I have known LC for almost six years now, and in all that time I have watched him cram his tools into one too-small space after another all over the damned country.
I have watched him make-do, try to work projects under adverse conditions, search and search for whatever specific tool or nut or bolt or insert-other-tool-related-function he was looking for.
I have wanted him to have a space to put things, to work things, to find things.
He's finally got it.  His space.  That pleases him. 
And it pleases me................
The vice the previous owner left.
The door to the wood stove in the garage.  In LC's workshop...............
The detached garage..................
After a long and hot drive from Cody, and after eating sandwiches and watermelon, and after unloading a truck filled with tools and a truck filled with wood, we all three took a quick drive on BLM land behind the house to see what Idaho BLM land looks like.
It was late in the day, the day was finally beginning to cool off, the sun was beginning to set..............
It wasn't what we were looking for when we first started looking.
But it will work. 
It will work just fine...............

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