Buying a new house. In Redmond of all places.
Being a native Bendite, I never thought that would happen. Growing up, Redmond was our homecoming rivals, the other side of the tracks, hicks.
But let's face it, Redmond isn't Redmond anymore, and maybe even more importantly, Bend isn't Bend.
Bend is on some kind of ego trip.
Linda and I had the same experience we had last time we shopped for a house in Bend, 13 years ago. All the houses in our price range were crappy, or near the railroad tracks, or in a lousy neighborhood. When we walked into our present house we turned to each other and said, "This is it."
Don't know why this house was affordable back in 2004, but we grabbed it. It's a nice house and we fixed it up more and we're in a nice neighborhood. If it was up to me, we'd stay forever. However the traffic has grown over the years, the house has gotten older, and maybe it's time for a fresh start.
Anyway, Linda doesn't want to negotiate the stairs anymore on our split level house, so we needed a single story. Reluctantly, I agreed to look at Redmond--if we got more house for the same money.
In the end, we're going over our original budget by 20%, but we are getting a brand new custom built house, we're able to choose the flooring and colors and all the rest, a house that is 20% larger, a nice neighborhood on a cul-de-sac. It actually has space to go with the house, you know, real and psychic room between domiciles. (Horrifying how close most developers are building next to each other these days...yuck.)
So after circling the house for a week or so, we said yes. It had everything we had set out to find, every single thing was checked off. Now we have to assemble the financing and so on, pick all the accoutrements. It won't be ready until May 1, which is perfect, which gives me just about enough time to finish my WIP.
It's been hard to write. This is a test in a way. Can I handle real life and fictional life at the same time? I've never been able to manage it before, but then I've never been on a roll like this before. Mostly, I'm trying to let Linda handle it all, but I have to be there for the big decisions, so about half of the last ten days have been spent househunting. It's kind of fun, but impossible to write.
The commute doesn't bother me; hell, I drive the same distance everyday to to go for my walk in the Badlands. I'm sure I can find someplace new to traipse around near our new house.
I told Linda we have to reduce our fixed income withdrawals from retirement to the same exact proportion that we are overspending, which works out to a couple hundred dollars a month, and she's probably right to it's more important to have a house we really like than a couple extra hundred a month. It's not like we're world travelers.
We've been really lucky, knock wood. Things have worked out. Pegasus Books is still doing well, my writing is moving right along, we have our health mostly, and we are actually going to be able to retire with a little security (as much as anyone can have security these days.)
The one thing I'm going to spend a little money on myself is a used pickup I can go boony-stomping with, and which we can just throw our kayaks into the back of.
Knock wood again.
I'm going to try to hedgehog for the next 6 weeks or so, ignore the chaos, let Linda handle it, and just write. Probably spend a lot of time in the woods, I suspect. I'm really enjoying my new book and I'd really like to get a first draft completely done.
I had the experience a long time ago of blowing an opportunity. I'd sent Deviltree to a major publisher, and his response was; "If your next book is as good as this one, I'll buy both."
I met Linda at the same time, had instant family, bought a business. It took me two years to write that book, and then it was too late. ("I actually liked this book more," the editor said, "but I've changed my mind."
So I have an opening for a book right now, and I'm not going to let anything keep me from doing it. Get it done, do a rewrite, send it to Lara.
Then...I can devote all the time we need to the new house.
Meanwhile, I guess my old brag of "I"m a native Bendite" will have to be changed to "I'm a native Central Oregonian." Which doesn't have quite the same ring.
5 days ago