Love in the Time of Foreclosure

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Day 1 on the island: Our new life

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Stephanie Walker

Stephanie Walker is a blogger/playwright who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

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Day 1 Weather = Rainy & cloudy

I'm standing on the deck of the Elwha (the car ferry,) cold wind tangling my hair, watching for marine life. Whales, dolphins, porpoise. Bob is usually the one that spots them before me.

It's cold. And wet. And did I mention cold? You can tell I've lived in L.A. for the majority of the last seven and a half years. My blood, it would appear, has become intolerant to anything below fifty degrees.
"I see one! There!" Bob shouts.

I look for the dolphin. I see nothing. Choppy waters.

"Where? There?" I point.

"Over there," Bob says without pointing. "A dolphin. There! Did you see it?"

No. I did not. Bob is talking to his sister on the phone and thrilled to have seen the dolphin. I missed it. Completely. And Bob is chuckling because I was apparently looking in the opposite direction. Oh well. There will be plenty of chances to see dolphins.

I abandon my dolphin quest and instead focus on my attention on the islands. Trying to figure out which is which according to my map. They are blanketed in a misty fog. The mainland quickly disappears behind us. We're in uncharted waters. So to speak.

Our arrival

We arrive in Friday Harbor before long. An hour, to be exact. We drive off the ferry and through the quaint town of Friday Harbor. I'm now crying. Just a little. Holy cow. This is where we are going to live? This is where we live?! It's really hitting me. This is real.

Our GPS tells us which way to go. Oooh, there's the community theater. And the library. And there's a cute place that sells clam chowder. I'm hungry. We're driving out of town now. Look at all the trees! Did that sign say Farmer's Market? Sheep! Sheep! Did you see the sheep?!

We drive five minutes and arrive at the house. It appears after coming around a bend. It sits back on the property and up on a slight hill. It looks just like the pictures.

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We're finally here.

We're greeted by Callie- the person who has been taking care of the house. She gives us the grand tour and encourages us to call her if there's anything we need. Our first friendly encounter on the island.

An Empty House

Not more than five minutes after being in the house, several boxes arrive. A couple of these boxes were ones we shipped containing documents and files. Nothing exciting. The other two were from my mom and Tom and contained some essentials: dishes and pots and pans. Remember my mom's seven sets of dishes? Well, she has given us one of those sets. And they are perfect for a farmhouse, right?

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And so needed. Thanks, Mom! When I opened the box with the pots and pans, this is what I found:

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(Sorry for the rotated image... technical difficulties.) But isn't that the cutest note? It's like my mom shipped herself with the pots and pans. Adorable.

We unload the car just as it decides to rain. Oh well. There's no stopping us now. After getting all of our stuff in the house it hits us just how much we are actually beginning again. This house is big and empty. And here we are with one car load of stuff.

The owners of the house have furnished the cabin on the property so that's where we will be staying for the first couple of nights. It's a rustic cabin that was originally built, I believe, in the 1800s. There's a bed, a table and chairs, a sofa and a nice chair by a stove.


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The Darkness

In town we get some clam chowder (perfect for a cold, rainy day in the Pacific Northwest) and take a tour around the island. We tell people we've just moved here and they welcome us enthusiastically. Then they warn us. About the rain and the darkness. The first winter is the hardest for people. It's not easy to move here this time of year. There's a point in the winter when we get only eight hours of sunlight. Seasonal disorder. All that.

"Get ready for the darkness," someone tells us.

The New Neighbors
We pick up the hardware for our DSL and get back to the house so Bob can set us up. He's working in the living room where there's a great big window with a remarkable view.

"Bald eagle! I just saw a Bald Eagle!"
Bob comes running into the house from the yard so excited from having just seen a Bald Eagle right next to the house. Why does he always see this stuff and I always miss it?! Seriously, a Bald Eagle?! He swears it was. We find out later that he's right. There is a mating pair of Bald Eagles that hang out in the trees on the property. I'm floored. Our new neighbors are Bald Eagles. Unbelievable.

The First Dinner
We buy a pizza to cook for dinner. Because that seems easiest. Once it's in the oven we realize we have no way to cut it. Or to remove it from the oven without burning our hands. Hmmm... Bob finds a knife. Yes! Dinner solved.

We sit in the rustic cabin eating our pizza in the dead quiet. Man, is it quiet. And dark. So dark. We are really out in the country. We're rural. For the first time in my life, I am rural. And I'll admit, I'm a little freaked out by this realization. All this quiet and darkness.

I turn on the clock radio that the owners have in the cabin and find a radio station that's playing Billie Holiday. That's better. It happens to be a Canadian station. And it's coming in crystal clear.

What Happens When the Fantasy Becomes Reality?

It is a fantasy becoming a reality and that's unimaginably surreal. I keep telling Bob that I feel like we're living a movie. A movie that I've seen before. A fish out of water story. A movie that makes me want to live a life like this. The origin of my fantasy. This fantasy:

I want to live out on an island on a farm and live off the land. How romantic. How inspired! I want a reason to need an good pair of boots. I want to live in nature. I will raise chickens and read lots of books and plant a wonderful vegetable garden and cook amazing food. We will be more grounded than ever in our lives. We will be happy.
Fantasy can become reality.

This is where we live now.

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3 Comments

bluepacifica said:

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Oh Steph, you brought tears to my eyes!! What a beautiful post. Written by a beautiful person. Oh, I dropped off the "lamp". It's by your front door of the main house. (you are land barons now with 2 houses!)

megan said:

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I totally get how scary that must be, I think I would be freaking out. And I am still totally jealous. I think its a lot like the fear of success. It doesnt make any sense to fear it, yet we do.

I personally dont mind overcast. Reminds me of Nova Scotia. Having to warm up via fires sounds like the best day ever.

Diana Durkes said:

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Is it possible to call dibs on the little cabin for a week next spring?

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