I am writing this post at an altitude of 38,000 feet, flying north over what looks like California’s Central Valley. The land below is a patchwork of mostly rectangular fields that appear yellow and brown through the hazy air. The late-afternoon sun is glinting off the surface of streams and irrigation reservoirs. And now, just minutes later, there are mountains below us, golden-brown, fast obscured by clouds traveling south (or is it just the plane traveling north?). Continue reading
Three weeks ago, we stuffed our brand-new tent and a bunch of blankets and sleeping bags in the trunk of our car, filled several paper grocery bags with things like dried pasta and ketchup and a loaf of bread and a jar of pickles, then waited until afternoon rush hour traffic was done and drove up I-5 and over the freshly opened North Cascades Highway into the Methow Valley. Continue reading
Although there is not much new to report, I didn’t want the month to go by without posting something, especially since ostensibly one of the reasons I decided to start this blog is to practice writing regularly.
It’s been hard, though, not even so much because there is not always a whole lot of news, but mostly because I’m still trying to find my voice with this blog. Continue reading
It’s officially spring now, although for me spring actually came a long time ago for two reasons. Continue reading
Stumbled across these online and thought they were pretty cool… Made in the Methow Valley, too! Unfortunately, it looks like yurts are not generally allowed in developments that prohibit manufactured homes, but maybe we’ll end up in a place with no such restrictions? Living in a yurt would be amazing, with its soaring ceiling and plenty of light streaming in from windows on all sides. Not to mention that it’s less expensive than a regular house, and appears to be more energy-efficient, even with all those windows.
(photo below copyright by Smiling Wood Yurts)
Well, I’ve managed to let an entire month of 2015 slip by without posting. In my defense, it was a crazy busy month, with plenty of work deadlines and freelance projects. On top of that, P.’s dad is still staying with us, and it’s been hard to carve out some quiet time to sit down and write. Not that he would mind if I told him I needed to sit in front of the computer for a while; mostly it’s been me feeling like it would not be very nice to cut short our evening conversations, or just being busy with stuff like food shopping and cooking for the family, prepping for my classes, and, just last night, taxes. (We’re getting a refund – yay! The plan is to split it half and half between debt and savings, just as we’ve been doing with my freelance income.) Continue reading
Greetings (to whoever reads this, if anyone, as well as my future self)!
It’s late afternoon on Christmas Eve (Western-style) as type this, and the sun has finally burst through the leaden gray clouds after attempting to do so several times earlier in the day. Our neighbor’s giant coniferous tree – some sort of fir or pine? – is suffused with a bright golden light, its branches swaying slightly in the wind. We didn’t get a white Christmas in Seattle this year, but at least we are getting some sunshine after days of gloom. Continue reading
We finally made it over to the Methow for Thanksgiving with P’s dad. The weather was crazy – first intermittently rainy (despite there being a good amount of snow already on the ground) and extremely foggy to the point of looking into complete blankness on the other side of the windshield, other than a vague patch of road ahead; then freezing and icy as temperatures dropped sharply overnight. Continue reading
Another week, another financial appointment… This time, following my financial counselor’s advice, I headed to our bank (Bank of America) to meet with a mortgage specialist and learn about what loan options might be available to us through BofA. Specifically, I was wondering if we would qualify for a loan at all, and, if so, how much we could get. Would it be enough to buy both a place in the Methow and a place in the city? Also, while I knew that my bank was not one of the banks that worked with USDA rural development loans in Washington, I wanted to know if they had land loans of their own available, and how those compared to the USDA guaranteed loans that I’ve been looking at. Finally, I wanted to get their take on our pay off debt vs. save dilemma: where should we focus our energies (and available cash)?
The mortgage specialist asked me a couple of questions about income, debt, and credit score, punched some key on her calculator, jotted down a handful of numbers on a piece of paper, and came back with the following:
This past Wednesday afternoon, nervously clutching a notepad to my chest, I got out of my car and walked a short distance under the typical Seattle November drizzle to the entrance of the Financial Empowerment Center Hub on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Rainier Valley. I then sat down with a very nice Nepali woman, one of the financial counselors, and dived into the complicated mess that is our financial situation…