The Hard Sell
A couple days ago, we returned from a week-long vacation. It's our second road trip this year, and likely to be our last for a while. Among other things, traveling with Amelia is just really hard, especially when it comes to sleep.
Anyway, on our way back from visiting beaches and relatives near Charleston, SC, we stopped to spend a couple days with some old friends in North Carolina. We have a running joke about relocating near them just so I can keep my tractor running.
But when we got there, they gave us the sales pitch on moving there for real. Now understand that these are people who have lived in twenty different places - from Branson, Missouri to Adelaide, Australia. And that's just since they've been married! Now after all that, this is the place they've decided to put down roots. This is the place they've fallen for.
So we arrived tired and disheveled on Friday night, and mostly just chatted and then went to bed. As we're milling around in our jammies Saturday morning, trying to wake up, there's a knock at the door. It's their neighbor, with a big platter of cantaloupe, sausage patties, and biscuits - leftovers from their own breakfast. Seriously, how many places can you go where your neighbors bring you a hot breakfast out of the blue? She was a wonderfully nice woman, and I'm not just saying that because of the food. She and her husband (also very nice) have five kids - two of whom are autistic, and at least one adopted.
So while Lori and I are marveling at the neighborly good will, the kids are all outside playing. There are a ton of kids in the neighborhood. Everybody knows everyone. The older kids watch out for the younger ones, and the parents watch out for each other's kids.
In the afternoon, we split up for a bit. Casey and Lori stopped into a "crunchy" mom-oriented consignment shop, with cloth diapers, attachment parenting books, used clothes, etc. then a 99-cent book store, and a yarn shop. Will took me on a driving tour of the area. There's little more than a crossroads of a town, with a gas station / sandwich shop, a few newer buildings, and quaint old homes. And a sort of weekly summer block party, with live music, a giant slip-n-slide, local produce, and other such coolness. We saw numerous roadside farm stands, many small farms with livestock of most every sort, and half-million dollar homes interspersed with old farm houses, mobile homes, and typical suburban-looking houses. Rolling hills, woods, pastures, streams, ponds, the whole beautiful countryside bit.
After that, we drove half an hour away to the lovely UNC campus, where we had the best Mediterranean food I've ever encountered. Behind the counter, the deli proudly listed the local farms that supply their produce.
From there we headed for a local dairy farm to get some ice cream. On the way, we saw a beautifully vivid double rainbow. As we pulled into the parking lot, the rainbow appeared to descend right into the ice cream shop. It overlooks the picturesque dairy farm, which was made even more picturesque by the addition of a lovely sunset, complete with migrating geese flying in formation. Ice cream never tasted so good. The crescent moon was adorned with wispy clouds by the time we made it back to their house.
I have to say we were impressed that our friends were able to arrange for the Breakfast Fairy, the double rainbow, the sunset, and everything else. We wondered if we'd wandered on to the set of the Truman Show or something. They really know how to make a sales pitch.
Then, just to really make us crazy, Will found a house for sale on the local Craigslist site: An old homestead, with 2.5 acres. The house has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Custom cabinets in the kitchen, with another side kitchen with oak countertops. There are two fireplaces - one in the kitchen and one in the living room, as well as a Quadrafire wood stove. Thouse has a wrap-around porch, metal roof, built-in china cabinets, a cedar closet, hardwood floors, and new low-E windows. The property has a 30x40 garage, a woodshop and a shed, all three with electric. The garage also has water and cabinets, and a pool table. There's a deep well, as well as an old hand-dug stone well and a natural spring. I could go on.
And this property is for sale at a price about 25% under our current mortgage.