Yurty yurt yurt.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2006 is the year of many things for me.

The Year of the Move Back to Our Roots.
The Year of the Baby Bird. (She was born in November, 2005)
The Year of Nomadic Life.

All of that is fairly obvious to anyone who knows us.

But it is also, for me, the year of Yurt Dreams.

My first yurt-sighting was in the documentary about the Weeping Camel. Amazing film, but the homes of the families kept snagging my eye. Beautifully mobile, simple but with richly painted supports and beautiful textiles. I was intruiged.

Then I looked up yurts online, saw the modern versions, and was absolutely smitten with the architecture and light and space. I started seeing yurt references everywhere. There were even yurts on LOST last summer. I felt haunted by the idea.

I researched yurts as vacation lodging, yurts as vacation homes, yurts as full-time homes. I researched prices, builders, building code issues. At one point, I started drawing floor plans.

Why I want so much to own a yurt is beyond me. I know it can't be as fabulous as I imagine it to be. I've seen pictures of everyday yurt living, and it looks kind of cluttered and awkward-- straight furniture butted up against round walls. I know there can be moisture problems, heating and cooling problems.

My husband laughed at my obsession, and I've pretty much abandoned the idea.

But then I see pictures of their ceilings, and something in me, again, sounds that clear note that I feel when I discover or learn something that's pivotal. (He's going to laugh at this paragraph, too, when he sees it.)

But why do I feel like that?

This idea from a British mom on Flickr who messaged me recently makes me tear up tonight.
Children, gardens, bread, and a yurt as community playspace.


I hope he fed his children with that $150.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Our realtor called today-- first time in months he's called on his own initiative. Offer-hope rose trembling in my heart until I heard the tone in his voice, and I could tell it was not good news.
Our a/c unit, located in our backyard, has been vandalized. Busted into, the condenser coils stolen for scrap metal. The thief makes about $150, and we're out a $2,000, two-year-old a/c unit.

Can you believe that? No fingerprints due to rain, no evidence. Our homeowners' insurance should cover it, but there will be a big ol' deductible. I'll call tomorrow to find out how much. So frustrating, when the house is already bleeding us dry financially.

The more frustrating issue is, once we've had it repaired, the house is still basically untended. The thief could very conceivably return and double his money. We're going to have to lock the back gate in hopes that that will be enough to keep it from happening again.

Oh, God, please sell our house. We need to be out from under this.


Other than that, life's been good. The babe is a total joy, other than her persistent desire to eat houseplant dirt and play in the dog's food and water bowls. The holidays have been fairly simple, due to my family's decision to white-elephant the giftgiving this year. And we're enjoying our perhaps-church-home more and more as we keep going (on the weekends we're in town, anyway). We have a New Year's invitation to a party with people our own age, which feels nice, and I have a couple of nice surprise gifts for my husband and daughter, which is fun.

I went to a Christmas service underground on Sunday night, in a local (tourist) cave. Flute and female voice only. Absolutely beautiful acoustics. I will reuturn next year, with friends.
(I love our area's limestone caves. So amazing, to know that underneath our calloused, unknowing feet are caverns and rivers and waterfalls and all sorts of wonders that we are never aware of. This one had been used for moonshining, so its ceiling was blackened in one area, and many of the stalactites were broken off for souveneirs decades ago-- but it's still astonishingly beautiful, even abused as it's been.)


Oh, and that house? Yes, we're going the home-equity route. Financially, it's not the cheapest move, but life is not all financials, dadgummit. Consider this:
  • We have been living in my parents' basement for eight months. EIGHT. LONG. MONTHS.

  • My husband longs to be "the man" in his own household again, and I long for it for him (although it's far easier for me to live in my childhood home on my parents' dime than it is for him).

  • We deeply miss our stuff, our winter clothes, our other pairs of shoes, our own pictures hung on the wall, cooking our own food. It is amazing how much we missing the little beauties and comforts of the life we've built together over the past eight years. I cannot put words to the ache we both feel, but we both feel it.

  • We miss time alone with our child, and the joy of having friends over for dinner and hangouts. Both of those are awkwardly difficult to impossible to achieve while living here.

  • We've found a house we love, a house that now has other interested potential buyers. In the year I've been hunting for a home in this little town, I've seen nothing that suited us as well. If we don't "rent to own" it now, another family is clamoring to do so.

The decision's been especially hard because my parents are not going to completely understand. My dad is the king of thrift, and he thinks this is wasteful-- to say nothing of his opinion on buying a 90-year-old house. And I hate to displease him.

We are deeply thankful to my parents for their generosity. We are happy and comfortable here. We love them dearly, and still love them, and have been blessed financially and emotionally by our stay with them. But all that doesn't change the fact that we feel a real need to establish our own household here.

The day that we pretty much made our decision to pursue this, a friend called who, like us, has escaped Florida ministry and found a new life in business in his parents' hometown. He and his wife rented an apartment, then found their perfect home (also an old house). They're paying double right now-- rent and house payment-- because they didn't want to lose the opportunity to own the house. They're completely at peace with this.

"Life is not all dollars and cents," he said, and something in my heart sounded a clear note. (So much of our hearts sound a clear note with theirs-- we love being their friends.) There is peace in this decision for me, even if it costs us some money. In the five years we've owned houses in central Florida, we've made more than a little money. We have some to spare, and I'm okay with "wasting" some on this.

It's hard to displease my parents, but I am thirty-two years old. You can't live your life to please your parents forever.

And oh, how we love that house. We will be so happy there... even though our lifestyle, until the house sells, will be an exercise in How Cheap Can We Possibly Live to keep that home equity line of credit as low as possible.

We'll be eating beans and rice, wearing layers, stripping ugly wallpaper, staying home and playing board games on the weekend, but we'll be in our new home.

...it sounds just lovely to me.

First steps today.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I am so proud. She's so excited, big grin on her face as she totters her few steps, soon falling.

She's brave. She gets up and tries again, not just when we prompt her. She wants to learn this, and it's working.

Life changes now. My tiny baby, she toddles. Goodness.

(We also took her this morning to get her picture taken with Santa-- a fundraiser for Children's Hospital. She didn't cry or even reach for me when I plopped her on the big man's lap. What a sweet, curious, brave girl I have.)

I'll figure out later what on earth I'm going to do now that she's completely mobile-- and beginning to shriek when she can't have her way. For tonight, I'm just proud of my little Bird.

To remember.

Friday, December 01, 2006

You'd woken suddenly, two hours into your nighttime sleep. You screamed in that way you scream when you don't know why you're awake, don't like being awake, and don't know how to quit being awake. I held you as you struggled, trying to whisper and sing to catch your attention, stop the crying. Nothing was working.

And then I had a thought. And we stepped over to the window, turned the plastic rod on the blinds, and the grand, soft, white world was shown to you. White hillsides, black trees, soft gray sky.

You froze, settled your head on my shoulder, and sighed a little tiny sigh. I held you, mesmerized, as I watched you drink in the beauty of your first snowfall.

A few minutes later, I turned you away from the window, just to see. You lifted your head, shifted your weight, and laid it on my other shoulder-- your face now pointed toward the window again.

I didn't move again for quite a while.

Bird, you saw what I see in the snowfall tonight.

That was pure magic for me. Thank you.