The Yard…Before

A diamond in rough form, that is what we’ve got. Jeff bought and developed the four adjoining properties in the nineties for a reason: the neighborhood is cohesive and caring, and the views are out of this world. However, they are need of some TLC. We began our journey by spiffying up the small rental home next door, helping Lisa gain confidence and skills, and choosing a friendly neighbor to inhabit the upgraded space.

Now, we must look Sunnybrook Lane square in the eyes, as not only an investment, but a home as well. It will be our abode, our base, our place to love and nurture friendships. Our neighbors become our neighborhood, our neighbors our friends. Be they our renters or neighboring land owners, the people who adjoin us on Sunnybrook Lane adjoin us in our life journey.

We’ve lived in houses disconnected from others around us, and we’ve both lived in solid, connected neighborhoods. Sunnybrook Lane falls in the latter category. It’s a place of round-robin dinners and cutting through back yards on the long side of a jog. It’s the sort of lane where neighbors meet at the mailboxes to discuss the weather and local news. In short, it is a community…it is what we define as “home.”

As much as I loved the energy of downtown life and a sweet, new-fangled apartment in up-and-coming Fargo ND, in the entirety of my lease I can honestly say I had only one meaningful interaction with another tenant…and that only because my neighbor locked his phone inside his apartment (accessible only via locks opened by Latch App).

As pretty as Jeff’s bluff-side home may be, overlooking the straights of Juan de Fuca, the haughty neighbors rarely look up as they drive by, let alone go to the trouble to wave. Honestly, it took me two full years of concerted, exuberant waving efforts, several gift baskets and an inordinate amount of homemade bakery to even gain acknowledgement that we existed here as cohabitants of the same country lane. That’s unacceptable. Communities are defined by inhabitants coexisting together in a mutually beneficial manor. And though we want to make sound economic decisions, even more than we want a viable real estate investment, we need a sense of place.

Not that we won’t hold onto it as a rental…but is it a place for us to most fully live? We think not, at least not for where we are in life now. To truly live, one must feel at home, connected to the world at large–or at least the microcosm of the world within which we exist. Part of feeling “at home” is a connectedness with who and what exists around you. Our children are grown, our careers are less imperative, and thus, our neighborhood, our neighbors, become more primary in our social lives.

Since we aren’t looking outward to grasp our rewards, our home-scape becomes ever more important. The fall-down deck and drab landscape must go. The muddy entry drive will need replacing. A warm welcome shall be established…A place to commune happily with our neighborhood of friends must be planned and planted, nurtured and grown.

And, oh yeah, maybe a jacuzzi hot tub on the front patio, because ya just get to that age where hiking hours through uncertain terrain to get to the Soul Duck hot springs may still be “doable,” but, huh…way less appealing.

Of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn, embracing the beauty of age has been the most difficult. I’m not “aged,” not elderly or infirm by any measure, but I have reluctantly learned through my injuries that it is, indeed, okay to get older. It’s okay to accept the limits of our own personal bodies. Moreover, it is an honor and a privilege to recognize ourselves for who we are, based on all we’ve done to get to this very spot in life.

Soooo….hot tub on the front patio, with friendly neighbors all ’round; decorated cookies and warm banana bread to share…these are real, true, and meaningful things we should all strive to incorporate into our daily lives.

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