bits & pieces

A few miscellaneous pieces of news, some of them kind of important, as well as some random stuff that’s neither here nor there:

  • P’s dad is coming to visit again! He arrives the day before Thanksgiving – just over 3 weeks from now – and plans to stay for 2.5 months. I think – or I’d like to think, at any rate – that we are all a little bit wiser and calmer compared to this past summer when he was here, and that we’ve all learned some lessons that will help us treat each other a little more gently and be more open with each other, but also take more time to think before we speak. We might try to spend Thanksgiving somewhere in the Methow if we can find an affordable place to stay or if any of the campgrounds are still open (and not covered with a foot of snow) in late November.

  • I’ve made an appointment with a financial counselor for next Wednesday. It’s an hour-long appointment, which should give us plenty of time to discuss our credit card debt, savings, and various types of mortgages. Because the financial counselor doesn’t specialize in homebuyer assistance, I don’t know helpful she will be in this regard, but I’m sure she will at least have some referrals for me. I’ll report back after Wednesday! In any case, it’s a start, and a way for us to make sure that are doing what we should be doing as far as paying down debt and saving.
  • Last night I got curious about how much it might cost to build a house, so I typed “how much does it cost to build a house” into Google, and, whaddya know, a bunch of calculators came up for figuring out exactly this. I went with the one of the first ones I saw, and discovered more factors that contribute to the cost of building than I could have possibly imagined. A covered porch vs. an uncovered porch, a garage with living space below it vs. a garage that sits on the ground, five different levels of quality for floors, bathrooms, and kitchens, a bewildering array of different types of siding (OK, there were only five or so, but to me it seemed bewildering), from vinyl to brick to rock… Anyway, I clicked some boxes, creating an imaginary four-bedroom, single-story house with cold storage underneath the porch, a two-car garage, a wood-burning stove, an above-average kitchen and below-average bathrooms, and a gazillion of other options I can no longer remember, and got something like$135,000 for just the building materials. I don’t know how much we expected it would cost, but this sounds like more than we would have thought it would be. Maybe we need to start looking for places to buy recycled or salvaged building materials?
  • Speaking of which: a friend I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, who is planning to relocate to an intentional community, sent me a link to the website for Ahimsa Acres, a Buddhist farm/educational center/community near Eugene, Oregon. She has visited this place and was much inspired by it. Apparently the couple that run this homestead built their house without much construction experience; they also use salvaged or re-purposed materials and equipment as much as possible in construction and operation of their home and farm. We are not planning to build anything nearly as extensive and elaborate as these folks did, of course, so all the more reason to believe that constructing a house – at a relatively modest price – is something that is not completely out of reach for us.
  • I’m contemplating if I should start posting about some other topics on this blog in addition to continuing to document our journey to make the Methow our home. Maybe some recipes, or family news that have nothing to do with our relocation plans, or thoughts on movies or books or conversations with friends? If anybody is out there reading this journal, it could possibly make the experience a little bit more varied and entertaining for you, as well as for us, if we were ever to go back and re-read my writing. It could also force me to practice writing regularly and attempting different subjects, although finding the time to do so will be challenging. Weekly posts are definitely not in the cards for me… I’ll keep thinking about, and may do some experimental posts if I have some time on my hands and an especially exciting topic turns up – like a millet salad I plan to make for a couple of work lunches next week (just kidding; this particular batch of millet salad is unlikely to be blog-worthy because it will be a “clean out the fridge and hunker down until the next paycheck” type of salad, but millet does work really well in salads, as I accidentally discovered about a year ago).

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