So Why Haven’t We Just Moved? (2/10)
**Trigger warnings still stand: If you’re easily bothered by things such as suicide, rape, child abuse, animal neglect, sex trafficking, narcissist behavior, and maybe some other related topics, you should skip these posts. It’s not my regular happy-go-lucky sort of deal. Previous posts here: (1/10)**
To answer the first question ‘why don’t we just move’, I have to jump back to why we moved here in the first place. In short, we were leaving stuff behind and chasing new opportunities. Boise had changed a lot. It’s not really able to provide the same childhood to my kids that I had living there. It’s expensive. Crime rates have skyrocketed. I can’t even go back without being flipped off just driving on the roads. It just seems ripe for teen angst with all the kids being displaced there because of need instead of want. We had a ladder stolen out of our yard, which seemed to be my personal last straw.
Also though, I was raised in Boise, while a lot of good things happened there, a lot of not so good ones did, too. I have a fairly extensive history of being bullied in different stages of my life there, I was raped there, I have a failed marriage, long foreclosure, a bankruptcy attempt there. I had also had a major falling out with my own family there, my sibling and my folks. It felt like the town had typecast me, and I was only a certain person while there, the same skittish little kindergartener I started out as. I wasn’t allowed to grow anymore there. I needed to grow.
This journey into parenthood was forcefully taking me down some of those old emotional backroads and I didn’t like it how it made me feel. I was regularly smashing into the past briar patches of my life that I wanted to leave behind. The town emotionally stiffening for me, and it just drained my happiness bucket. I really wanted to get away from my own emotional triggers.
Let’s jump back 5 years…
We went on a giant 13 month long road trip to find a new ‘home base’. We didn’t know where we wanted to live we just knew we were ready to move on.
Several months in, we were in Florida, I started looking at properties to move the tiny house to. At that point it wasn’t necessarily somewhere we would LIVE in the tiny. Just somewhere I could park it and make it an income property, since legalities were still an issue. I looked in Hawaii, where James has always loved being. We thought it would be fun to have a vacation rental there. Then we looked at some of our favorite mountain towns in Idaho where it would do well as a vacation rental and would be an easier move. It was a means to an end. We had already decided we probably didn’t want to stay in Boise so coming back to start those legal hoops didn’t sound opportune.
I have always had this thought that tiny homes make great student housing. Maybe I could get a place by the University of Idaho (our alma mater) which has a great agriculture program. Then I could rent the tiny, affordably, to an ag student. They could bring their animals to college with them. I had heard that was a challenge for many. It was my way of helping farmers, something I am interested in. Random-ish thought, but it led me to Zillowing places in Moscow, Idaho while we were down in the Florida Keys. I found THIS property that we now live on, then. On paper it looked great, but we wouldn’t get back for months so I didn’t think too much of it. Looking was just an exercise in tempering expectations when it came time to actually find that parcel we’d buy.
Fast forward a good 6 months: we drove from Florida, across the bottom of the US to Death Valley National Park, zig-zagged our way back to Colorado, then back again to northern California, up to Olympic National Park and then finally over to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to visit James’ mom. We considered that the end of our road trip. From there, we’d just motor back to Boise and decide our future with the new knowledge we’d gained about the country. Nothing real grand was calling to us but we felt like we had enough experience to make a sound decision and just try it.
We planned to do that drive in a day, Then we pulled into Moscow on an exceptionally beautiful day and decided to stay and hang out. We wanted to see how the town had changed since our college days. Spoiler: it hasn’t changed a whole lot! We got some dinner at a local brewery. On the way, a stranger waved me in to heavy traffic. I felt that strangers kindness in a fundamental way. At dinner, we remembered that neat property with the pond that we saw when we were in Florida. For giggles, we decided to see if we could find it. Shockingly, it was still on the market. We thought, let’s go check it out!
We drive over, looked at it for all of two minutes and said “no way in hell we’re moving there!”
The property was over grown. You enter it at the bottom of the hill, through an abandoned trailer park. It was next to a house that we thought was surely a meth lab at some point (we have since found out it actually was!). Both James and I drove away giggling about how much better some properties are on paper than in real life. We understood why it had stayed on the market for so long.
We drove back to Boise for the winter to try to get a game plan going.
Both James and I kept mentally going back to this property. The town itself checked every box we had made for our next hometown: beautiful views, small town, nearby college, far from an airport, among other things. The property looked SO good on paper! It sparked so many fun ideas for us: we could make a house boat, a hobbit house, a treehouse and park the tiny house. It had a rocky terrain with wild flowers, lots of bunch grass and of course the pond. We could use it to build all the things we wanted to build. When we were done tinkering, we’d have this gorgeous view! It still looked so appealing, even though we both had the same exact reaction to seeing it in person: it wasn’t just a ‘no’, it was a ‘hell no!’
Three years ago
Over that winter, I posted something about the property to Facebook, as I often do when trying to work through some ideas (my friends are amazing and have the best feedback!). A couple friends I had in Moscow mentioned how that property was going to be part of the new highway extension and so maybe wasn’t the best starting point. That though, was what I needed to hear to make it all make sense.
That abandoned trailer park was owned by the state and would eventually be removed and a highway built there. Even with highway frontage, this place was amazing. I could make a case for how it’s even better BECAUSE of the highway frontage. I got in touch with a realtor. Together we dug up all the plans for the highway, the easements, the everything. Ultimately, spring 2019, I made an offer on the place. It’s still a little wonky because there are two easements that pass through our place, one for each of the two neighbors.
We didn’t see this as a big deal because honestly, we planned on buying the upper property and the other easement was at the very tail end of the parcel and the neighbors were well established. We kind of just thought of it as their road, not our property. They have turned out to be wonderful neighbors, which I’m SO grateful for.
Even if we didn’t buy the upper property, the potential of the place counterbalanced the question marks that we had. After all, real life community was one of the things we were hoping to become a part of. James and I can tend to be hermits. The forced interactions of an access easement, coupled with the fact we can find common ground with almost anyone, didn’t deter us.
Our realtor warned us, ‘there are a fair bit of ‘sketchy characters’ who lived out here’. After extensive searches though, the only registered offenders (my take of her implication) were the people we were buying our property from. In that way, it felt like the solution was also in the purchase.
It took a while to get through the closing process because of the complexity of the state highway project. We were back and forth between Boise and Moscow for it. We were not aware that while we were going through our purchase process for our parcel, someone else was also going through their own purchase process on the uphill parcel.
There was a lot of thought, time and effort that went into finding this place. We are emotionally invested. I bought it fully planning to live here when I’m 80. We can’t just move without putting in a lot more thought than it took to get here. Moving would feel like failing myself and my own needs and wants!
We finally closed and made a celebratory trip of it. We toted our camper up from Boise to sign the documents and then spend our first night on the property! It was a super exciting day. We celebrated and then drove out to park the camper on the one flat spot, only to find a dump truck parked there.
On the spot we had planned on camping that night.
On our new property.
We were a bit perplexed at how and when and why it got there.
While standing there making a new plan, a white truck started driving up our newly purchased property. It was confusing. There literally wasn’t a road yet so there was no reason we could see why someone would be driving across our property, let alone parking vehicles there.
The driver gets out and bellows, “howdy neighbors!”
That’s how we met our new neighbor, Hawg.