Thursday, January 7, 2010

So Is This My Lucky Day...Life...Place?

Things have been strange today. Everything has been exactly right for me. A lot of it are just little things like just as I reached the corner and pushed the button for the crosswalk, it immediately turned to "WALK" as soon as I pushed the button. Or at the buffet we went to for lunch today and as soon as I finished my last bite of food, the waitress would be right there to take my plate away.

Then, when we went out to the car, my door was unlocked even though all the doors had been automatically locked. Or yesterday when my little sister and I went on a walk and just happened to walk behind the motel just as my mother opened the door to see if we were out there because the pizza had just come. And today when my little sister and I went on another walk, they called my cell and I didn't hear, but we walked into the motel parking lot just as they'd gotten in the car to go get ice cream.

The whole time we've been down here, everything has just been working out to perfection. It just makes me want to be here that much more because it feels like my lucky year. The last few years have kinda sucked in a really bad way, but they're getting so much better!

So, Here We Are

We're here in Southern Arizona. I'm using my mom's laptop and the free wi-fi to blog. It's kind of nice. I keep meaning to save up the money for a laptop of my own, but $500 will take some time to save. Oh well, I'll figure something out.

Today we went out to my lot and looked it over. I actually like it quite a bit (I was kind of dreading what might have happened to it). The neighbors were squatting on it for awhile, but then they sold their property to one of their younger sons (unlike his parents and other siblings -- whom we knew when we lived there -- he's quite nice) and so he's clearing the junk cars his brother and father were keeping on both lots. He and his girlfriend (or whoever she is) are living in one of the towns (all the towns are right next to each other like one big coterie of small farming towns lol) until their property and trailer are fixed up.

Next, we went into the nearest town of the group (population: 2,165) and talked to the post office about mail. Then, we headed over to the County Seat (the biggest of the group of towns; population? 9,823) to talk with Planning and Zoning about building on the property. Right now, the property has nothing on it. It's just 1.08 acres with a sort of Mesquite Tree Forest. :)

My property is located in a "flood plain" so our house will have to be raised pretty high off the ground. The neighbors' trailer had to be three feet off the ground so they brought in dirt and only raised the trailer, itself, about eighteen inches off of the ground. Also, we have to figure out water and power. We'd like a well, but water out here is hard to find. The guy at the Health Department (where we went next) recommended looking at hydrology maps. As for power, we thought we might try solar. The solar company in town (SunPumps) had a deal where you could get huge rebates. Like, there were two people at Planning and Zoning who put in solar systems. One (who was an old schoolteacher of mine back when I was in 4th-5th grade) put in a $14,000 system and got about half her money back. The other one was a man who put in a $65,000 system in at his ranch. After the rebates, it cost him less than $10,000.

IDK if the rebates are still going on or not, but it's something for us to look into. The power is in across the street so it'd probably cost us $7,100 for the electric company to bring it over to our property. The solar system might be cheaper. And as for water, the last time we lived here, the water companies had water available in the upper and lower neighborhoods, but not in the neighborhood we were in.

Also, because my mother plans to have the divorce finished in February (if my Evil Stepfather doesn't drag it out), we'll need a place to live. The plan we've got is to install the septic system, then bring our travel trailers down to live in, and get a car to haul water. Then we could live in the trailers while building. We'll have to get a $100 permit to put the trailers there.

Money to build is, of course, an issue since we have to bring in an engineer to tell us how high our house will have to be off the ground and that sort of thing. On the bright side, the Building Inspector is open to alternative building materials. He said that if we brought in something he'd never heard of, then he would research it to see if he thought it was up to code. If he couldn't find enough to satisfy him, then if we brought in an engineer's stamped statement saying that the idea would work, then he would approve it.

We are thinking strawbale specifically because it gets really hot down here and plenty of insulation combined with the correct combination of the right kind of roof and windows in the right places should make it pretty simple to cool (heating is not a big deal; passive solar will be enough most of the year because of how nice the climate is in fall and winter).

Of course my mom is trying to find any excuse not to move down here. When we moved away almost eight years ago, I don't think she ever intended to come back here. I don't know what her problem is. I mean, this place is my home; a lot of my family is here (on my father's side) and has been here for ages. The property I own is a small part of the land that his family used to ranch until they decided to subdivide it. The lot I have was in trust with my father.

I never quite understand my mother. Our personalities are so different. I go through life being me, sometimes a little bit more fiery and dangerous. I rarely if ever care what people think of me and I'll stand up to anyone. Fear is not my nature.

My mother, on the other hand, is very timid. She can be outgoing and is willing to talk to strangers, but when it comes to just being herself, it scares her. What people think of her always weighs in heavily. Even when she does do something different than what people tell her, she agonizes over it the whole time. She'll tell me "I don't want to [do such and such]." And I'll say "then don't." I have to remind her that there are no laws that says everyone in the whole world is her boss.

Meanwhile, I want to get down here. I think the traveling around would be fun, but not for more than a year tops and not right now when the only home we've got is tainted by the horrible man that lives there (although he's been spending most of his time in Texas the past two years, thanks to God!) and I want to have some time to heal emotionally before we take on something so draining as traveling everywhere. Plus, I want to start college in the fall and that isn't possible if I'm everywhere. For college, being down here is best because we'd be less than 20 min from the cheapest two year college in the state.

So it's better logically, but for her, it's not any good emotionally. Whatever. :P

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On another subject, I really need to stop researching the world.

At this point, I'll never find just "one" place to live when I decide to find a "Forever Place." You see, I've always loved Arizona, especially southeastern AZ where I was born and live for the first 10 years of my life. It's a pretty laid-back state. It's hot, but I've never minded and in October, the temperature is perfect. And best of all, I like that there's NO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!

Then there's Colorado. I like the Rockies. I like clear mountain air. I like how cozy and comfortable it feels to be so far inland. I like mountains and snow and pines and wilderness and the harsh, cold, rugged beauty the Rockies possess.

Well, that was hard enough to choose, but then what do I do? I go and start researching the Olympic Peninsula, specifically Clallam and Jefferson Counties. This just makes it that much more difficult, especially when I start reading up on that area on City Data. Why? Because the way the people there talk, it sounds brilliant. There's rain all the time and the ocean and there are also MOUNTAINS (IDK if I've said this before or not, but I can't stand living without my mountains. In Southern AZ there are the Gila Mountains, in CO there are the Rockies) where I can go if I want more than a half inch of snow at a time. Their economy is almost non-existent and best of all, there are few people (AKA, "seclusion," something I like better than anything in a home).

Washington State sounds so marvelous, with a few exceptions. It's far away from my family in the extreme sense. It's close to the ocean which is good and also bad because it doesn't feel as safe as the tops of the mountains in the middle of the country does. Also, I have no idea what the laws are or what kinds of alternative energy are best for the area (if the area is usually cloudy, then that rules out solar energy...or does it? and what about wind? and if neither are good, then what else is there?). Also, in the winter the days are a lot shorter than out here where I live because they're farther North.

The only solution is to combine all my favorite parts of my favorite states....but that's impossible and mutually exclusive. Like, how do you get the sun of the southwest and the overcast weather of the northern Olympic Peninsula? That's just one example. You also can't have the ocean and still be hundreds (or even thousands) of miles from it.

I guess the only solution is either to keep looking for place that's a good compromise (Idaho? But the name is so weird!!) or else to visit them and continue researching until I find the place that feels like home the most. I suppose ultimately it doesn't matter where on God's earth I go to homestead, so long as I find a pleasing bit of land free of the issues rural land sometimes comes with (clearcut land anyone?) and where it is legal for me to even have chickens and other farm-type animals.

But still....when I choose some place to stay for a long time or maybe ever, I want it to be a place that will make me happy. And that has pleasing weather. That's why I like Washington. Weeding is so much fun in the rain (or in the early morning after a rainstorm). But then that's where I come into the Rockies because the beauty there is so much different than Washington's...which -- in its turn -- is vastly different from the beauty you find in Arizona...and you can't really have all three at the same time....

I Bet You Thought I Was Never Coming Back...

...Well I have to admit, I wondered that too. Mi vida loca has gotten more loca and less vida and I wondered if I'd ever really have anything to put on this blog that would be worth it. I found a couple of recipes that I thought I might post. One I can probably post soon, but the other is written in a notebook that's packed up cuz we're moving.

We aren't sure yet where we're going. Right now we live near the Grand Canyon but we're considering moving to the other side of AZ. Also, my mother and I were talking today. We've been kinda worried about "where to live," cuz we can't really find anywhere to go. I do own a piece of property (many hours from where we live now) that we are planning on moving to. In fact, we're leaving tomorrow for a three day trip to see about setting things up down there. The problem we're having is mainly that my orthodontist is up here and I still have about another year's worth of braces to go.

But, back to the subject at hand. We were talking about all that and then the thought occurred to me. Who says we have to have "a place to park our bodies" (that's what my mom calls it)? Who says we have to live in a living place? Not that I'm against it as someday I want to have a Forever House -- a place I live for so long as I live...but who says we have to live in a house right now? I graduated last spring and my brother and sister are both registered for homeschool.

So I brought it up. At first we were just talking about doing this in the "oh wouldn't that be interesting to do in an alternate universe" way, but then I thought, why couldn't we do this now? Why couldn't we figure out something to live out of (like a four door truck with a camper shell or a van or another vehicle pulling one of our travel trailers behind) and then spend the next year or more (depending on how we like it) driving across the country visiting everywhere and coming back once a month (to check the mail and for my orthodontist appointments)?

My mother is from the hippie generation and thinks it sounds perfectly reasonable. My sister is all for it; she wants to visit all fifty states and this seems perfect to her. My brother says he doesn't want to be a "hobo." I bet I can talk him into at least trying it, though.

The only thing leftover is for me to think it through and make sure that I really do think it's a good idea. I think it would be best to try it for a limited time first and then decide if we wanted to keep it up, because I don't know if I really would like never having a solid home.