It seems we’ve turned a corner on our on-again, off-again plans to relocate. “We” of course being the lady who drives the Bossmobile and the cranky old dude sitting here at the keyboard. At present, that does not include a dog, a cat, a bird, or a tankful of fish. Nor a snake, lizard, spider, or well-trained rock. We’ve been kicking this relocation decision around at least five years, maybe longer, inasmuch as we thought we’d only be settled here for five years, eight at the outside. Circumstances changed. Back then. And now.
First moving here more than fifteen years ago – sometimes it seems like it’s been much longer – where we bought our house seemed the best choice. Everybody in the hacienda was busy working what in retrospect seemed high-pressure, fast-moving careers. There was little time for such as tending a big garden, properly caring for animals, and even taking-on new or restarting neglected hobbies. We never discussed it, but it was tacitly agreed there would be time for all that later. Later looks to have arrived.
Gracie, a fairly old gray cat moved here with us years ago. She didn’t handle that relocation well. The back yard for some reason scared the snot out of her. The farthest she would venture from the garage was the front walkway and then only if the Boss were handy. Grace and I had a passable relationship. She felt I didn’t tend her litterbox often enough; I felt she should at least let me get out of sight after remediating her box contents before breaking it in again. Gracie passed a while back. Happens. Somehow didn’t seem right “replacing.”
Fish occupied two tanks here for a while, one upstairs, one down. Fish swimming in cramped quarters never had much appeal to me, especially fish that would never grow big enough to sit in a frying pan. The Boss probably liked more the sound of water bubbling and trickling than staring at fish. There was variety, mostly because the blamed things turned belly-up at a rate such that over a period of months, there’d be a cycle of decommission, clean, refit, and restock, seldom with the same denizen variety as any time previous. There came a point though, the projects were abandoned, upstairs and downstairs.
The subdivision hosting our current house has rules about dogs. Kind of. Significantly, after they not run free to terrorize rabbits, squirrels, and children under the age of thirty, where the boogers poop. Amazes me how burb dogs aren’t allowed to poop on their owners’ fescue, needing instead to drag reluctant owners several blocks to find a good place to toilet. Owners struggle with the “clean-up after your puppy” rules. Which, I’m sorry, I don’t care how firm the gift or how conscientious the cleaner-upper, there’s residue that begs the next puppy passing by to consider the site prime. Not gonna get into health considerations or how glorious the aroma when stirred-up by a lawn mower blade, or worse, the steel-toed brogan of the lawn-mower pusher.
And of course, there’s the physics of dog toiletry. If the dog’s owner, or designated walker doesn’t actually “see” the event, it didn’t happen. Tree-fall-forest thing. Not happening, there’s no need to play “pick-up.” Amazing how many folks find it necessary to scan the skies for passing satellites the very moment Rascal assumes the position. Hardly seemed fair, to the Boss and I, to ask a dog to live in the city or the burbs.
Living in the burbs, we discovered we’re not really city people. That goes beyond dogs preferring my grass for toilet activities, and thanks to the HOA where I can and cannot keep my garbage cans, what color my front door can be, and what I can and cannot plant in my yard. We’ve met some nice people. There are convenient amenities that seemed important once. Less so now. For all its advantages, I’m still looking for the first significant one, I’m not gonna miss the HOA. I’ll miss some of the people. Not many of them.
As far as missing amenities offered by urban living, a smaller or even rural community in most cases handily covers all the bases. A place would have to be pretty remote to insinuate significant deprivation. In more years than even I recognize most days, I’ve seen and lived in some tiny communities. Nothing as small as one sod house in the middle of bison-infested prairie, but small enough. Most small towns have a bowling alley or one reasonably nearby in a larger town. Not that bowling is high on my to-do list. But I offer that illustrates my point. Similarly, a modest community will have some “culture.” A community playhouse, a local orchestra, things of that sort. Any small community without a bowling alley, theatre group, or local orchestra, certainly is within driving distance of a town or city boasting a theatre or two and a modest philharmonic. “Theatre,” lest you misconstrue, is not the Majestic or Bijou showing over-hyped films, but a bona fide playhouse, where occasionally a line is dropped and there is no retake until the next matinee.
Consider this bright and sun-shiny prospect. Most communities have local schools. Schools are great places for theatre, band festivals, debate societies, and so-on. Further, high schools offer any number of legitimate, supportable sports. Sports events, in my estimation, more worthy of watching and financially supporting than professional anything that takes place in a stadium, arena, coliseum or ballpark. Redistributing the money spent on professional sports, probably everyone in the country could afford a college education. Likely be the dumbest college-educated population of all-time, but that’s a different debate. Maybe we need to get colleges to award BA’s in Plumbing and Carpentry. Different post. Later maybe. Maybe a rant. One is overdue.
Ideally, to relocate, the Boss and I look for a small bit of acreage. Small. A big garden is planned. Time permitting, one or two fruit trees, maybe a grape arbor. A woodlot would be nice, but not requisite. A pond or convenient stream would win the Boss over. Not looking to launch a boat of any size, the Boss is content with her canoe and kayak. If I start fishing again, I’d like to consider actually eating any fish I catch. Rules out a lot of the US.
Being close to family is a top priority. At some point either the Boss or I will need a little help. Before then, someone might need our help. While it would be nice if all the kids were close to our next place – we have a pretty good idea where that might be – parental authority no longer is powerful enough to tell any of them they live too far away, “move closer to ‘home’ so we can keep an eye on you.”
For sure there are gonna be dogs and cats moving in with us. One each, anyway. We been without too long, and somewhere, there are cats and dogs that need us. Birds are not likely. Nature provides avian creatures and takes better care of them than we’d manage. Fish? I suppose, but the Boss, being an avid fly-fisher, might consider it enough if she spent considerable time honing cheat-bait skills, especially from her canoe or kayak.
If health holds and there’s enough room, we want livestock. Cattle, sheep, or even goats. Not to raise commercially. Nope. You think a dog or cat a great companion? Let me tell you, livestock of the kind just mentioned are pretty convincing equivalents. Maybe a horse or two.
I am concerned for shopping and most importantly for healthcare. That is going to slow the Boss and I down coming to a decision.
Won’t be so much an issue in the summer for shopping, with local Farmer’s Markets and our own gardening. Local butcher shops will cover a lot of the convenience we are accustomed to. Accustomed to, not dependent upon. Then, there are such as hardware supplies and such. To date, and unlikely to change, I do not have any plans to raise my own wool, cotton, or tend a full-blown orchard or berry patch.
Healthcare is a real worry. I’ll make a bold declaration – good doctors exist everywhere. More difficult to address will be proximity to hospital facilities. I get the urge now and again to pay thirty-five dollars for an aspirin. Call me sentimental. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain the need or my cynicism much beyond that.
It’d be nice, if I could suggest this “move” is going to take place at breakneck speed. Given the current state of affairs, we could pull it off, but that introduces economic, logistic, health, and resource risks not yet effectively counterbalanced by advantages of a move. Gonna let it stew some. Why not have one more thing to fuss and fume over? Got nothing better to do. Right?