2 years is a long time and it is also no time. It has been two years to the month that I have been able to sit down and write. A lot, of course, has happened in two years. Things that I could not have foreseen happening.
Currently, as I write this, my chonkier cat is perched on the breakfast nook corner staring at the coyote in our cul de sac. The amount of wildlife that rolls through this neighborhood is crazy. Foxes, packs of deer, the occasional bobcat, coyotes, possum herds, ginormous raccoons and we are a little snake heavy much to my chagrin.
So to sew it up quickly-we stayed marooned in our little post-farm rental for quite a long time. Like so many other self-employed people, playing the mortgage game is an adventure and the timing of the thing was impossible as it was the phase where all houses sold over the asking price in 4 hours. Remember this?
I won’t lie. Despair was creeping in and a healthy dose of first-world basic pumpkin spice latte discontent. I am not proud of that. We were perfectly safe in a perfectly nice rental but the concept of home was so dear it was unbearable. We had not owned a home since we chucked it all to run away to open our little shop on the island over a decade ago (even that reeks of “oh poor you on an island wahhh” BUT in my defense I HATE THE BEACH. Seriously. I know, I am a loon. I also hate mayonnaise, pizza and bananas if that is helpful.) AND in another sidenote, someone tried to kill me by tricking me into drinking BANANA PUDDING MOONSHINE. When I was young, liquid Amoxicillin was BANANA flavored and since then I have loathed any and all things banana and popping back a shot of Banana moonshine made tears come to my eyes. WHY. WHY DOES THIS CONCOCTION EXIST?- Ok, i am back on subject now. sorry.
During the housing boom post-pandemic, when the majority of America decided to move to North Carolina, it became glaringly obvious that purchasing a farm in our budget, with land was simply not tenable. And we looked, we have a realtor who is a friend and a patient saint (how many realtors can you say THAT about?) and even she agreed that trying to find a beach farm was just not in the cards.
Instead, we ended up with a flying squirrel-indoor raccoon sanctuary.
No, really. And, it’s in a NEIGHBORHOOD, with an HOA and everything. Literally, all the things I hate in life rolled into one.
Squirrels-hate ’em. Leaf Blowers-hate ’em. Rules-hate ’em. BUT, this weird little house is completely ringed by trees, not visible from the road, cheap cuz it was so bad and is so twisty and turny and awkward that it was absolutely loveable.
Except the kitchen.
You know how you go to a craft fair and you will see these crafts where you think, “Bless your heart” because clearly they have a lot of energy but no talent or taste or style but they are just enjoying their hobby and letting it all hang out and happy to share their Michael’s craft kit creations with you at mighty prices? Well, that’s my kitchen. Per all the neighbors, my former owner had a TERRIBLE temper and a lot of rather manic energy (as demonstrated here in this photo where we have put a zip tie EVERY. SQUARE. INCH. in miles of hardware cloth. ANYWAY, Mr. Grumbleguts took it open himself to do the kitchen in shades of institutional gray complete with the fridge crushed into a corner so that the freezer door could not open and the COUNTER TOPS covered in DIY concrete and then ROUGHED UP -because OBVIOUSLY you never want your wine glass or your cutting board to be LEVEL and then glazed with a sticky epoxy that won’t wipe clean. Imagine if all your countertops had been covered with a giant price tag then peeled off, THAT is my countertop situation.
Oddly enough, it was exactly how I knew we would buy this house and that it would all work out. The very first house we bought when Connor was an infant had FLOOR tiles for counter tops that were GROUTED WITH CONCRETE and literally nothing sat level. And at the time I was still doing some baking from home and there is nothing more fun than mini vacuuming flour from counter-level concrete grout. It should be something people pay to do for fun. Tedious, mind-numbing, and virtually impossible. Therefore, the minute I spotted this ghastly oubliette of a kitchen I knew. FINALLY, we were coming home.
There were some red flags. All the windows were heavily covered, one room was 6 layers thick of paint glossy poop brown, the baseboards were nibbled to nubbins and there were a LOT of brass lizards and giant raccoon sculptures bolted into place. But the house was vacant so you couldn’t really understand what had happened. But it had an arched doorway and a completely fenced-in yard and a Duckingham Palace and next thing you know, in May of 2022, we were under contract (which was exactly one year to date with the last blog I wrote which is meaningful when I can get out of my own way and pay attention to stuff…!)
We closed in June and moved between June and July. If you are not from the South, you won’t really understand the heat in June and July. If you don’t own a business on a seasonal island, it is hard to convey the franticness of May through August. You basically have to do all your sales in those 4 months to guarantee that you can make it through the season. It is grueling. So, the timing, again, was not ideal but we did it. We were completely moved in and out of the other house by July 1. That year Connor turned 13 and Logan 25 so it was a lot of milestones in this house!
We have slowly wrought changes on the house, flooding it with sunshine and painting room by room. The kitchen is still gross but we are whittling away at it. The yard is now FULL of color. Before the favored plant color was brown and monkey grass.
I am grateful there were no monkeys.
BECAUSE APPARENTLY, THE FROG WAS ACTUALLY A RACCOON SANCTUARY AND THE BACK DECK WAS ACTUALLY HOME TO FLYING SQUIRRELS THAT WOULD COME IN THE BEDROOM WINDOWS AND CHEW ON THE BASEBOARDS.
Yep. To each his own.
However, all this happy homemaking did NOT change the reality that Phineas T. Piglet was still being boarded at the magical Happy and Sunshine Pig Sanctuary (please consider donating, these people are absolute angels) so he had been there since February of 2021 and Apricot the Dynamite Donkey was still being boarded at my friend Melissa’s and somewhere along the way we picked up Karl the one-eyed draft horse and all these friends were still not home with us! And so for the last 12 months, we have been paying board and driving all over creation to be with our animal family.
Until now. But that, my friends, is a story for another day!
2 thoughts on “So you bought a zoo.”
Happy Mother’s Day, Sam. You are amazing!
Life is entertaining & edgy – like an extended trip to the Carnival. You got your wild rides, your cheap thrills, houses of horrors & animals to pet. Pay your fare & take a chance on winning. Then it’s over. And Time, with all its magic & surprises, moves on without you.