The Notebook

As a friendly warning, this post is probably not going to be family-friendly. It also has very little to do with writing except perhaps as an explanation for why I haven't really gotten any done.

If anyone has been following on Minds, you may have surmised that Adam and I bought a house. In West Virginia. So, tiny bit of backstory. For the sake of brevity because not everyone cares, nor does everyone absolutely have to know, some things just take with a grain of salt.

Last November, Adam and I felt God calling us to move to West Virginia. In a many-months-long process, we determined this was correct, and we set out looking for houses. We sold our house in April, moved in with Adam's brother while we continued our search. We kept the four cats with us and the two horses went to be boarded.

In West Virginia, real estate is cheap. It is stupidly cheap, provided you're not looking for land. Well, we obviously had two horses, which was our biggest stumbling block. But we faithfully plodded on. In spite of our trepidation and uncertainty, we kept reminding ourselves that God had called us. Don't be Gideon, don't be Jonah. Just do it.

In June, we found a house. Double the acreage of our old house, and while it was still understandably hilly, there was more than enough viable pasturage for the horses. The house had been abandoned for a couple years and needed work, but I enjoy a good reno project. So, we bought the house.

We spent a couple weeks down there ourselves, trying to get things in order before making the massive haul of all our stuff plus the animals.

Again, I'm condensing a lot of things. And if you want to just skip to the end, we are back in Michigan and we are selling the house.

The wasps, hornets, and bees were terrible, and nothing would deter them, either natural or chemical. Adam has anaphylactc reactions to stings and one day he ran in the house with two stings (thankfully in his leg). He didn't have epi on him and we weren't unpacked enough to know where the benadryl was right away. It's hilarious now to imagine frozen chicken strips and pizza rolls strapped to him to try and keep the swelling down while he rips open boxes and chomps a package of benadryl, but it wasn't funny at the time.

When we bought the house, it had no water or electric (from disuse), and we ended up having to replumb the entire house and knew that the electric would have to be done room by room. So we had to drive out six miles to a neighbor any time we wanted water. Like sea legs, windy mountain roads take getting used to, but when you're exhausted from ripping out walls and heavy lifting, a migraine never helps the situation, and neither does nausea. Add onto this the general stress of moving and being in an unfamiliar place and not knowing anyone.

The real final straw came when we got home from church one day and found one of our horses almost dead. The flies had hounded her so much, she ran off a small embankment into the river and dislocated her hip. A dislocation is worse than a broken leg in a horse because the force required to reduce it will shatter either the femur or the pelvis before it actually reduces. It took multiple neighbors and several tractors, but we got her out of the river, just to have to put her down.

Minor things of note, I have determined that mountains make me claustrophobic. I don't like them. Give me a horizon, not a wall. It also kind of bothered me that I think we only actually met one single person who was from West Virginia. House's previous owner, New Jersey. Pastor, from Alberta. Pastor's wife, Wisconsin. One family, California. Another family, Oregon. Another family, Texas. Another family, Nevada, Hardware store guy, Wisconsin, Waitress at the diner, Louisiana. Owners of the diner, Texas. Neighbor 1, Virginia. Neighbor 2, South Carolina. And pretty much all of them were in the "just moved here a couple years ago, kinda thinking about going back" crowd. Only one neighbor was actually born and raised in West Virginia in that area.

We started with the bathroom just so we could have water and showers. I've remodeled bathrooms before from the studs. I've moved drains. I've tiled. The only thing that was truly new to me was the drywall (and fuck that). Granted, this bathroom was a little bigger because it was also the laundry room, but it was ten times more difficult and took four times as long. And I have never hated reno as much as I did during that time.

Then, the last thing before we left, we tried to catch the cat that got out (and her new boyfriend). We got her boyfriend first, but he escaped the larger cage we put him in. Then we watched as she walked right into the trap but it never tripped and she went on her merry way. And we had to leave her behind. I'm not worried about her necessarily. She's an excellent mouser and the territory is very safe from cars and predators, but I still feel rotten about it.

We decided to leave at night to try and beat Labor Day traffic (Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk, fuck me). And at about 3:30am, one of the axles on our trailer broke. FUCK YOU, OHIO, I HOPE I NEVER HAVE TO GO INTO YOUR STATE EVER AGAIN. Made friends with a nice officer who directed us to a nearby Meijers to decide what to do. Rearranged the hay that was on the trailer, then managed to limp it another 350 miles back home.

All this rambling being said then, do we still think God sent us to West Virginia? We know He did, we just don't know why. We have a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't actually about us, but that something else was being accomplished vis our leaving or obeying or something. Other than some minor renovation knowledge, this was not about us. And even now, there is a certain sensation of something being finished, even if the rest of the house looks like a barn compared to the shiny new bathroom we left behind.

Does that make me any happier about having to put down a beautiful four year old mare and watching her brother freak out because she's no longer with him? Absolutely not. Does it make me feel less bad about leaving the cat behind? No, not really. Does it make me less stressed about now having to try and find another house up here? Again, no.

But at least now I have time for writing, since I'm not going to be tearing apart my brother-in-law's house any time soon.