The safari has begun. Old Blue, the elephant hound, is in the back of the van and the elephant gun is in the rack. I've donned my boots and hat . . . what? Yes, I CAN wear Western boots on a safari!! Can, too! I asked, and my guide, One Eye Jones, said I could.
As of yesterday I am officially house-hunting, although it is merely the first stage, driving around, looking at the exteriors and neighborhoods. I'm already tired! Trying to find a house in a new town can be frustrating, let alone the fact that a few of them are on new streets that aren't on the map yet! I've seen some interesting places, some ugly ones, some very nice ones, you name it. One condo complex I looked at has really nice buildings, the property is clean, but they are crammed together so tightly that I felt claustrophobic on the outside. The street winding through them was so narrow that I think two cars could not pass each other. Several other condos had no garages or carports. The town is around 7000 feet above sea level. It snows here. They have ice here. Helloooo?
Single family homes are more expensive because you have land. But most are out of my budget and/or in condition that I'm not willing to take on. One had over an acre and is just a couple miles from here at Allan's house. But it is a manufactured home, and there is ZERO landscaping. I'm not necessarily opposed to manufactured homes, nor to doing landscaping, but this one is older and has seen better days. I suspect it will have that peculiar smell that manufactured homes tend to get after years of cooking (you know, fish and cabbage smells!!) On the other hand it would be nice to have a property with that much elbow room. Heck I could have horses there, if I wished. But . . . . bottom line is that I would have little wiggle room to landscape, repair or pretty-up the place, let alone to buy a horse and build a corral.
One of my favorites so far is a geodesic dome house. It appears to be run down from the outside. The price would allow me to do some "stuff" to it, as long as it is not structural or otherwise significant. I'll probably decide it will take too much work, but it is roomy, over 1600 square feet, and scenic views that would knock your socks off! We are going to try to see the inside next week. I'm going to hope, but I'm not silly enough to hold my breath.
I keep telling myself that this is only Day 1. I have lots of time to find something, and looking at 50-75 homes will probably happen before I find The Right One. I remind myself, also, that I'm waiting for the KC house to sell, so I will have the money to buy here. But you know how it goes . . . you want the perfect home to present right off the bat so you don't have to wear out the tires and your shoes in the search. Or at least I do. I'm not discouraged, just tired.
On another note, I stopped at the book store and chatted with one of the owners for a bit. They started a book club a couple months ago, and I just missed this month's meeting, but I'm in for the next meeting. The book is "Three Weeks with My Brother," by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks. Interestingly , that is a book I've heard or read about somewhere and thought it would be interesting. And she told me about a house in her neighborhood that might be going on the market, brand new, but the owner has decided not to move here. Rumor has it that his wife has multiple sclerosis and has decided that this is not the best climate for her. She is going to check out some more details and let me know.
Next I stopped to pick up a new leather business card holder that was just finished yesterday. Here is a picture of it and the cell phone holder I bought a couple weeks ago. It's a bit blurry; for some reason I couldn't get the light right, so it was either so washed out that you couldn't tell what it was or like this. Hmm. I hope I'm not losing my touch. The card case is cow hide also, but he wasn't able to get a match. I like it, however. Do ya think I'm going overboard here? :-) While there, I stepped into a little cafe and coffee shop that is in the same little mall to get a coffee. The owners there told me about a house a friend is selling which sounds wonderful, but over my budget. However, they are also going to be watching for something else for me.
Everywhere I go people are so helpful about this! It really makes me feel welcome when folks want me to live in their area, include me in their lives in several ways. They actually want to stop and talk, and I'm trying to adjust from the pace, trying to leave the hurry up and wait method of doing things behind and enjoy people more. I think there are so many "transplants" here that everyone has a sense of openness. I'm going to check into some volunteering at the library, the museum, even at the Chamber of Commerce to help get to know people here. I will probably not get too involved until I find a house, however, because I might be in a different corner of this map than where I am at this moment.
My affection for this area continues to grow. Allan asked me today if I'm still considering Albuquerque, and I said not really. It could still be possible if I can't find my place here, but I'd say that it is very unlikely. The final straw was the smog. After watching my husband die from lung cancer, I want as far away as possible. His illness was from smoking, but I'm sure the city air didn't help his situation either.
To end on a pleasant note . . . the weather here was simply beautiful today. Allan dug some lawn chairs out of the storage shed, and we sat in the sun for a couple hours. It was wonderful. the temps were in the mid-60s with a slight breeze. We watched the few cars moving in the village below, and played with the dogs while just chatting. It was so nice. While we were enjoying this, a pot of posole was simmering on the stove. For those of you who don't know, posole is a Mexican/Native American stew. The traditional version usually has pork, red chili, onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, and the posole, which is like hominy. But we don't use the canned stuff; it is already too soft and cooked to death. We use dried kernals, boiling it until it "pops" which is how you know it is done. Now, I know that a lot of people don't like hominy, but don't toss out the baby with the bath water. This is nothing like canned hominy. Trust me.
The pot that Allan made today was made with green rather than red chili, chicken, and tomatoes along with the posole, spices and seasonings. It was soooooooo good! Now, I'm sucked into bed, listening to some beautiful Mexican love songs, compliments of my precious daughter-in-law. Perfect end to the day. As far as I'm concerned my life couldn't be much better than it is right now, except that I really want to sell the KC house and buy one here. Keep your fingers crossed!