Monday, July 5, 2010

"I can't complain, but sometimes I still do." ~ Joe Walsh

So...how was your July 4th holiday? Did you go watch fireworks? Did you stay home and barbecue?

Ours was nice, but uneventful. We didn't have company this year (quite an oddity, really) and we didn't go anywhere either. We planned the entire weekend at home since our boat isn't out of the shop yet. Mostly, we just planned nice, relaxing evening meals after a short days work.

Saturday we worked in the yard, pulling out ugly dying plants around the pond and filling holes with dirt. Tom weeded the garden. Later, we had a really nice dinner; simple and delicious.

Sunday we began our day early, starting to paint about 8:00am. I continued working in the kitchen and Tom painted the entry way. We accomplished what we had planned and quit about 1:00pm so that Tom could start the barbecue and smoke a whole fillet of salmon in the afternoon.

Today we are just taking it easy. Tom is reading. I am blogging.

Some of you may be completely bored with my constant whining and complaining. I understand that because I am, too. So, for the next few posts ~ maybe days or weeks ~ you might want to consider finding another more interesting blog to read, because I am going to spend some time trying to figure the source of my discontent.

I have been trying to figure out why, in the last year or so, I am so unhappy living here. Why can't I just settle in? Why can't I just be thankful and appreciate what I have instead of wanting something different; wanting to live somewhere else. About the only thing I figured out is that it is extremely complicated.

When we lived out in the country, I loved the quiet, the critters and the house we built. When we traveled, I never really minded coming home because it was a home that I loved and it was, for all intents and purposes, finished. We didn't need to do anything else to it unless we really wanted to.

We moved here in 1993. We had visited Tom's parents, who had moved here two years prior. There is no denying that it is a beautiful state. There are more trees than I'd ever seen in my life growing up in California and quaint brick homes everywhere. And homes and property were cheap compared to California. After each visit, we'd go back home to California and Tom and I would talk and talk and talk about moving here, trying to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages. It was the end of the Bush-41 recession. Work in southern California was hard to come by and bidding amongst subcontractors was cutthroat. If we sold our house in San Diego County, we thought we'd have enough equity to move to Conway, buy another home and have enough money to live on for a period of a couple of years, enough time for both of us to go to the university, get our Masters degrees and teach there. In the alternative, I considered opening a specialty food store and delicatessen. We had the plans, but the outcome wasn't what we expected.

As I mentioned, Californians were struggling through the Bush-41 recession. We had our house on the market for a year and by the end of Bush's presidency, we lost more than $150,000 equity in our home. It doesn't sound like a tremendous amount now, but nearly 20 years ago it was enough to sustain us financially for at least three years and pay for tuition for both of us. There went school and specialty food store in one fell swoop. Looking back, I think it was an error in judgment to follow through with the move. But hind sight is 20-20, as the saying goes.

We were luckier than most people in 1993. We got a check for a little less than $14,000 at the close of escrow. Most people selling their homes in southern California during that time were taking out loans to pay a deficit escrow balance just to get out from underneath their mortgages. Part of the proceeds from the sale of our house went to pay the down-payment on the house we purchased here. The balance went into the new stair building company Tom opened here.

At our invitation and encouragement, both of our sons eventually moved out here, too, to work with Tom. I was thrilled. Our family was together and we had two new grandsons. With our sons here, it made our new environment less noticeable and more familiar, even though there was definitely some culture shock.

But neither of our sons liked it here and ultimately they moved on with their lives, one settling back in California, the other settling in Savannah, GA.

Two years after we moved here, we bought 10-acres out in the country, about 18 miles out of town. By 1996, we moved in to our new home we built on the property. Construction workers always commented on the design. It was large and open, particularly the kitchen and dining area, with a sliding glass door off the dining area that led out onto a covered porch that ran the length of the house. The wall that separated the dining area from the living room had a large double-sided fireplace and in the living room was another sliding glass door onto the covered porch. Not a typical home for here. Nobody puts sliding glass doors in their homes here. We didn't have a separate dining room, almost a requirement for a home in the south. It was a typical southern California house. I didn't realize it until recently that our country house was much like the home we sold to move here, except our house here was two stories.

I think, without being aware of it, I was trying to recreate the familiar; a place that felt like "home."

I said at the beginning of this post that I was trying to understand why I have been unhappy for the last year or so. I think I'm starting to realize that it's been longer than a year or so, but I'm only now becoming acutely aware of it. And that is definitely another post.





1 comment:

altadenahiker said...

I'm not bored; keep it going.

If you had stayed in SD, things might have been better, but they might have been worse. You could have been hit by a truck on the I-5, for example.

There's the adage we should learn from our mistakes, but really, I never see the opportunity for that. I just make new ones. And move on.