21 February 2012

The Cabin: Moving-In Day (Actual Date: 1 July)

We brought the flamingo with us
When we decided to move up here, we were really looking for a change.  We loved our house in South Carolina that had enough bathrooms so we each had our own, shiny engineered wood floors, and a saltwater neighborhood pool, but we didn't quite fit in.  Our penchant for drinking beer in the driveway and letting Mimi run around without a shirt on in the sprinkler kind of made us the white trash of the neighborhood.  I'm sure the pink plastic flamingo that I poked defiantly into the flower bed didn't help either.  In my defense, it was there simply because Mimi liked it.

After years of city life, we'd often muse about how nice it would be to escape to a cabin in the forest, away from it all.  Something simpler.  So when I saw this cabin advertised on Craigslist, I knew it was exactly what we wanted:  Cabin.  In the forest.  It also came with 5 oddly-shaped acres, a powered, insulated workshop (great for building furniture), a well (no water bill, which allowed me to water the lawn to my obsessive/ compulsive heart's content), and a woodshed.  As a bonus, it had a huge (but neglected) garden, and apple, plum, and tart cherry trees.

I remember very clearly the day we moved in.  It was late afternoon, and as anybody in western Montana knows, this past summer was especially green and lush after a long, wet winter.  We got off the interstate and drove up the hill past several farms.  We turned a corner, looked down into the green valley, turn another corner, and Oh My Gawd there is a huge drop-off on the right hand side, a steep treed slope leading into a draw about a hundred feet below. I'm thinking, "How do these people drive on this....Ohhhhhh!  Look at the baby deer!"  It's tiny and spotted. So cute.

Another mile up, and there's our driveway.  It was advertised as a 60 yard driveway with a slight inclined S-curve.  In reality, it's 500 feet long with a 90' turn uphill.  You can actually set a ball down at the top of the driveway and it will roll all the way down to the street.  I know this because we've done it. And we see the house, and from the outside, it's just as we expected...looks just like the pictures.

Once we go inside, we realize just how tiny the place is.  Our house in SC was well over 2000 sq feet, and this place isn't even half that, even though they've managed to pack a huge (comparatively) master bedroom and two separate kitchens into it.  And it's a bit more rustic than I expected.  Sure, there are wood beams and stucco ceilings in the vaulted living room, but there is rough scratchy wood walls in every other room.  Did I mention the clothes washer is in the living room?  Because it is, in a tiny closet.  If I stand in one spot in the cabin, I can have one foot in the living room, one foot in the bathroom, my left hand on the water heater, my right hand on the clothes washer and my butt in the combo hallway/second kitchen area.  Let's not even discuss the clothes dryer that is outside, 75 feet away, in the workshop. What makes things even worse is that it's completely empty except for our suitcases, two air mattresses, and a couple of boxes.  The movers won't arrive for almost two weeks.

I'm kind of surprised when I start to cry.  I feel bad for dragging my family up here.  Since all good couples can't be upset at the same time, Austin tries to cheer me up, but I feel a weird humiliation.  The next day, when one of Austin's relatives (who I didn't even know at this time) asked how I like the house, I almost start crying again when telling her that I cried.

We drive home late for our second night in the cabin, arriving after dark.  As we turn up the driveway, the lights inside are on, and the porch light is glowing.  Austin says, "Look...doesn't it look cozy?"

And it did.  It does.  I can't imagine living anywhere else.

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