Yay! Yay! Yay! and MINDY Approves!

Yesterday I drove down to Monte Vista with a car load of stuff and Mindy. My agent had worked it out that I would be able to occupy the house before the official closing. The plan was I’d meet my agent, we’d do a walk-through, come back up to South Fork and today we’d close the house deal. I spent the morning organizing movers (not all that easy when you don’t know anyone and the internet is a barrier to getting a phone number — long story and not interesting). At around 2:00, I headed down. Stopped at the bank, then the little discount store (reminds me of an old-school dime store and I like it) to buy a shower curtain and stuff then the PO. Got to the house and waited. When my agent got there she was in the middle of a discussion with the title company and the lender and??? Anyway… We got the thumbs up to close. We’re off — Mindy and all — to the title company.

Once the deal was done, we went to the house and I unpacked my car while Sherry introduced Mindy to her new yard and house. Mindy really seemed to like it, not the least because it has (already) a nice big comfy couch which I bought from the seller. And, I was finally comfortable about really examining the little house. It’s funky, but I like it a lot.

My new house has… Brand new fridge, stove, dishwasher, sink, hot-water heater and roof. I will have to buy a washer and dryer. It has a room with windows on two sides that is perfect for a painting studio. It’s small — just over 850 square feet, but it doesn’t feel small inside. There’s no big hallway in the middle of the house and that’s partly why.

We drove back up the mountain. Sherry was able to go home last night (3 hours west of where I’m staying) and I spent my last night in the cabin.

Anyway, there is no way to describe the beauty of the San Luis Valley. I don’t think I’ll ever even try to paint it. I’m just going to let it paint me. I could just put a chair out in the middle of a field someplace and just look all day long. I’m so happy. It’s been a long haul — a decision that started forming in 2010, working through all the alternatives, trying to see how it would work financially and finding THE place. I’ve had lots of help and support from friends, lots of good advice like my former next door neighbor, Andy, Brownie’s owner, saying to me last spring, “Follow your heart, Martha.” I did. It’s been a four year journey of making the psychological break from teaching and my house/life in California, learning to see different possibilities, paying attention to what I felt and how I was teaching (not well — after a student threatened to assault me I truly lost heart), figuring out how to sell my house, working as much as possible to earn the money to fix up my house so I could sell it and on and on and on and on. Truly, yesterday I just stood in my empty new living room and felt that I was finally free.

Will Today Be THE Day?

Still don’t know… My agent has contacted the “opposition” (Seller’s agent) about the roof certification and if that arrives, the loan will fund and we’ll close this afternoon. If not? Tomorrow? Looks like the closing will be tomorrow but I’m being allowed to “occupy” today. That will mean my agent and I can do a real walk through before the closing and I can start taking stuff down there and reconnoitering spaces and placement of my things and get the movers there tomorrow as planned. Somehow.


4 a.m.

At 4 a.m. if you’re outside where I am staying, and you’re walking your dogs who have awakened because the person on the other side of the duplex cabin has come home from work, you’re annoyed and tired. It’s the third morning in a row. You resolve, “I’ll walk them then go back to bed,” with a fervent prayer that will happen (it won’t). So there you are at 4 a.m.

You hear something to your right that you’ve never heard before. Pretty strange because you’ve now walked this path so many times in the past 30 days (Grrrrr) that what was once kind of a track through a small grassy pasture is now a definite trail. You stop to look at the sky. It’s very black and very clear and the waning moon is doing its best to shine a little light on things. Its “best” is about as good as yours these days and you feel momentary empathy for it.

The sound. You recall the sound. You realize it’s the river, the Rio Grande. At 4 a.m. the world is so dark and so silent, with no cars or trucks or ambient noise, you can hear the river. You acknowledge the miracle of that. Even though you’re too exhausted to feel the real miraculous quality of a truly silent world, you still appreciate it and wish you were not burdened with silly things like when will you get to move into your house? How are your things going to arrive? What’s going on with the roof repairs? All the quotidian mental busy-ness of life. The noise in your head overpowers the sound of the river and you feel regret, but you can’t change it.

Another “Waiting Day”

Here at Little Dog Crate in the Mountains, Dusty, Mindy, Incontinentia Havisham (formerly Lily) and I are waiting around. I did the laundry. I had to. I had no more clean wool socks and that is a misery as it is already quite cold during the ritual of the Pre-dawn Interlude of the Canine Toilet.

Today two things are supposed to happen and we want them to happen before the bank closes at 5:00.

The seller is supposed to do his paper work so the deal can close on Monday. The lender is supposed to let us know how much money I need to bring “to the table” on Monday when the deal closes. SO…I hope so much that some dog or another and I get to go to town to get money, a shower curtain, a trash can, bananas and something else that right now I forgot.

Appraisal Day!

I’m not into astrology, in spite of being in the “So, babe, what’s your sign?” generation, yet several people have told me that I shouldn’t expect things with my house purchase to go as planned because Mercury is retrograde. Apparently it’s going to be retrograde for a while. My take on the planets is we have them, they don’t have us, I mean the Earth has us, but that’s it. Still, of course, I am a little worried.

I realized last night as I was drifting off to sleep, that worry has become a habit. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I also realized that since 2009, when the market crashed, California’s budget went apeshit and we all took cuts in pay (supposedly temporary, but when you also never get a cost of living increase, those cuts are permanent if the cost of living goes up — which it did, drastically), I’ve been worried. Back then I was worried about keeping my life together in the face of the debts which which the Evil X left me and the sudden drop in my income. Worry propelled me to seek help and solutions, so I can’t say it was all bad.

Worry has the effect on an active person of making that person want to eradicate the worry, but worry isn’t always about existing problems. Sometimes it creates problems of its own.

All this ran through my mind last night and I decided I need to try to break that habit. I am pretty confident that the appraisal will go OK. The house I’m buying is not in the high range for comparable houses in Monte Vista and not in the lowest range. I had no problems with the price myself and that’s after nearly two years of looking online at Monte Vista real estate. The worry is about not getting to move next week — and what if I don’t? Well, life in the dog crate isn’t cheap, but it wouldn’t be cheaper anywhere else other than my own house. I got a windfall yesterday that pretty much wiped out the cost of the dog crate. As for the dog crate itself, we’re pretty happy most of the time (only when we wake up at 4:30 am we’re pretty angry and miserable). The dogs have learned to “do their business” while they walk on leash, and they’ve learned to stay with me when they walk off leash. They’ve learned new commands such as “Wait” and “Walk with me” and “Go to house.” They love their new abilities and eagerly demonstrate them every time we go out. Mindy and Lily are in better physical shape because of the meds they got at our new vet AND the regular but easy walks. They all still love to go in the car with me.

These are things my dogs did not do before we hit the road a month ago! Yep, a month ago today my house deal in California closed. A month ago Sunday we hit the road. When I think of that I am a lot less worried. It really did not take so much time to accomplish a great deal.

So, here again is my most useful Bible verse. It’s my ally against worry:

Matthew 6:34 Wycliffe Bible (WYC) 34 Therefore do not ye be busy into the morrow, for the morrow shall be busy to itself; for it sufficeth to the day his own malice.

¡Que suave!

In spite of being very tired and disgusted with my canine roommates, I managed to go into Monte Vista today. I took the one good dog (Mindy) and off we went into the incredible beauty that is the place where I now live… Here is Mindy just before we left. I have never before seen a dog sit like this, but she does.


I hoped to see a work crew on the roof of my house — but, no sight of them. Disappointing. Stopped at the market then went to the Post Office. I didn’t even think there’d be anything in my box but to my absolutely delight and surprise there were two large checks — one from my former mortgage company repaying me money I’d paid into escrow and another from my former propane company. It nearly equaled what I’ve spent to live in this dog crate for this past month! It means…I can buy furniture!!! I also had a package that I had to pick up at the counter. The postal worker — a very large and very buff Mexican guy about 35 — greeted me with “Hello Mrs. Kennedy!” I was dumstruck! I’ve been there only about five times but he knows my name. I guess maybe I stand out a bit as probably (considering how long houses stay on the market in Monte Vista) no one moves here??? But that made me feel good. He got my envelope and I couldn’t at first figure out what it was then I remembered ordering a cable to connect my lap top to my TV. I told him and he said, “¡Que suave!” essentially Spanish, Mexican idiom for “Cool.” I love that.

From there to the bank to validate my ATM card and deposit my windfall.

So what started out a pretty lousy day at 4:30 am ended up pretty good by 4:30 pm. Now if the dogs will only let me sleep…


My Month in a Dog Crate

4 am I think, “Don’t get up. Don’t walk across that room to the bathroom. Just tough it out. Go back to sleep. If you get up THEY’LL think it’s morning and you’re screwed. Yeah but I need to…”

Open the door, walk across the living room, Lily feels my footfall on the floor and turns toward me. “Damn, the jig is up. Well, go back to bed anyway. Maybe…”

Sure enough it begins. She starts by throwing herself on the floor in front of the door to my room. Then “light” howling. Then more throwing and circling. Anyone who ever said, “Oh if dogs could only talk!” never owned a Siberian husky and all of his/her complete sentences. “I know you’re awake. I want to go out and you’re awake and don’t give me that phoney-baloney stuff that you’re not awake, because you are and just in case you THINK you’ll go back to sleep, forget it.” Thud. Ahh-woo-woo-wooo-argh.

All right, dammit, I’m up, I’m dressed, out the door into the sparkling frozen black and starlit mountain morning. I’m sure there’s a book in this experience, one of those that’s short and hits the best seller list. A possible title would be, “My Month in a Dog Crate.”

As I was walking them in the pre-dawn (and it’s still pre-dawn) I realized they are probably my last dogs. Next up will be teaching them how to live in the new house. Dusty will bark aggressively at passersby even though he’s not aggressive; Lily will get lost; Mindy will be fine and happy. But this is not California and gone are the days of leaving the back door wide open for them to go in and out as they please once the snow starts to fly and the temps are way below 0. Doggy-Door you say? Lily would never find it. Now, of course, the little darlings are sound asleep.