Thursday, January 7, 2010

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


~Tonia said...

Here is an idea for the roof.. What about the ones that grow. They put a layer of some sort of organic material and it grows grass. Keeps it cooler. I dont know what its called technically but you could probably google it..
Sorry you all are going thru something so tough.

Gemini said...

That's an interesting idea. I've heard of earth sheltered homes but that sounds like something kind of different. I'll have to look into it.