I drove a little ways into the backwoods this morning to look at a house for sale on eleven acres that was just gorgeous in the pictures. I had to prove to myself that it was either totally out of reach price-wise, or not conducive to housing eight people, five of them boys under 13. I tend to do that. If I can just see it and dismiss it, it’s out of my mind. As opposed to letting it gnaw at me with what if’s and creative financing scenarios and delusions of giving the kids land to run around in and play their own version of The Hunger Games.
Just as I sat down to write this, my husband IM’d to say he’s been listening to our wedding music at work (must be a REALLY stressful day). I said, what a coincidence: I was humming it because if I’d tried to plug in my iTunes I would have driven off a mountainside and Pachinkoed my way down 500 feet of redwood trees spaced perfectly for a bouncing car.
“What a deathtrap.” I said, “The drive, not the house. Eleven acres? Awesome! Oh, it’s all sheer cliffs and mountainous forest? Not so much. I actually drove part of the way on a newly paved road that curved AROUND the landslide that isolated that whole part of the valley in last year’s storms.”
“Great, perpetual chance of not going to work or school.”
“We’d wind up eating each other.”
“Plus forest fires in the summer.”"I’d have to learn to hunt like Katniss.”
I’m serious, it was only two miles off the main drag, but the road narrowed oh-so-subtly to a single lane with slick, grassy shoulders about three feet wide on either side, just enough to squeeze over for a car careening by going the other way without knocking each other’s side mirrors off. And you’d better hope that you’re on the downhill side, because that uphill side has a terrifying view of the gorge hundreds of feet below the road. I don’t even know how I got up that high. I must have been concentrating on the grassy shoulders and watching for falling trees. But they said there was room for horses, or a vineyard, so it had to get better, am I right?
The house itself was really beautiful, but constructed of octagons connected by hallways. Each octagon was divided into several rooms such that no bedroom had a wall long enough for a bed AND a dresser. I suppose we could weave baskets from the reedy hillsides and store our shit there.
And what about the horses? Apparently, they would have to graze single file on the shoulders, and back up when it’s time to bed down in the octagonal barn.
Of course, there was an absolutely to-die-for-feature that almost made me not care where anyone else slept, because in the master bath, there was a ROCK SHOWER. WITH A VIEW FOR KINGS. It was so totally Game of Thrones that I stood there long enough to make the realtor nervous.
So, having turned that buzzing little mind gnat off with a slap, I rolled my way back down to civilization and got a good look at the neighbors. I may have heard banjos. I know I passed at least one commune, with a rainbow-painted propane tank that would house a family of five. And probably did. No joke, they had erected their own street sign: “Love Street.”
I think we’ll stay in our planned development five feet from the freeway where I can safely do donuts in the intersections.