Well, I seem to have a few folks that still check in here so I thought an update was warranted.
Let me tell you the good things about being back… our dog was ecstatic, it was good to see family and friends, and it was nice to sleep in a familiar bed.
Let me tell you the weird things about being back… the world felt much louder, smelled stranger, and the house felt much too large and full of junk. It was difficult to care about the topics that people chit chatted about. Day to day things that bother people seemed like petty distractions. The track we were previously on seemed far less important.
Suffice it to say, reintegration has been difficult. We had a major perspective change while in Taos, one that will be very difficult to shake. I guess that’s not all bad, as now we have more clear goals and a deep motivation to fulfill them.
So much has happened since we’ve been back. We decided to test the housing market by inviting over a few realtors to see what they thought of the house and help us prioritize what we’d need to fix in order to sell. Before inviting them over, I wanted to completely clean out the place, which my husband thought was excessive, but if the realtor even bothered to tell me, “I would just clean up this room and de-clutter a bit,” I think I’d shake them, because DUH, I need expert advice, not common knowledge. I didn’t want them distracted by clutter, and honestly, after living a month in a studio, most of the items we had in the house we had come to realize held little to no value and were merely taking up space and needing to be dusted from time to time. So we sold some things on Craigslist, donated some items to Goodwill, and threw away some items we would not bother giving to Goodwill, which meant we really shouldn’t have been keeping them around anyway. We went through each and every room and either boxed things up or got rid of them, and prepped the house for strangers to come give unbiased opinions to us on it. That in itself was a somewhat stressful process and took a few weeks, but it was good to keep busy on something, as my brain often drifted back to Taos and this work at least felt like I was pursuing an Earthship goal.
We had one realtor over that was very… how do I say this nicely… well frankly he just wanted his commission, and he wants the ego-boost of being the #1 realtor in Midway, so he seemed much more interested in making a sale in Midway than in selling our house. He seemed like the kind of person that should be selling condos in downtown – I’m not sure why he’s slumming it in Midway. Maybe he likes the big fish small pond feeling. He quoted us a price that was $10K lower than I was hoping for after conducting my own online research into comparable properties, and wanted us to push for a fall sale, which meant we would likely have to go out for bids to get work done to the house as we weren’t on a long enough timeline to do it ourselves.
The next realtor was a trip. She was very hippy and kind of flighty but I immediately liked her. She was very approachable and from the minute she walked in the door she seemed excited about the house. I don’t care if she was genuinely excited or just acting, she had me convinced, and that’s all she needs to do to sell the house. We walked her through it and she gave us much of the same feedback that the other realtor gave us, so it was good to have similar feedback that we could work with. She also thought we should push for a fall sale, only because she is seeing a seller’s market right now that she hasn’t seen in a long time, and obviously no one knows how long it will last.
After much deliberation, and list-making, and spreadsheet forecasting, and bid-taking, and deciding that HELL no were we paying those kinds of labor prices for work that we could do ourselves on a long enough timeline… we decided to nix the fall sale idea. We aren’t on a timeline, and our main goal right now is to save money, so paying a bunch of money to fix up the house seems kind of contradictory to what we’re trying to achieve. We told both realtors thank you for the information, we now have a list of priorities that we can devote our time and money to and we will contact them in the future when we are ready to sell. The condo-seller realtor kept bothering us and trying to get us to sign documents … the hippy realtor said, “Good for you that sounds like a wonderful plan, let me know if you decide to sell!” I love her.
So we’re not selling the house this fall, but we do have a nicely emptied house with plenty of space and a list of to-do’s to make it sellable (which we have already crossed a few off the list). So we felt accomplished in that respect.
Now as for my work… apparently when you feel like completely checking out of life, life reels you back in. My work decided to select a few individuals for a graduate school certificate program that they were going to pay for. They are paying $7.5K per person and are allowing classes to be scheduled on-site and during work hours (3-6PM every other Thursday). You also get a 10% discount on all other tuition costs at this school just by being an employee, which would amount to another $3K in savings if one were to pursue a full graduate degree. So all of a sudden, my work puts $10K on the table…
Now knowing that we are not selling this fall, and being the avid spreadsheet geek that I am, I really truly deep down know that we’re not leaving within year (as much as I hate to admit it, as much as my brain is telling me to get out now while I still can). We know how much money it will take to buy land and build an Earthship, and there’s really no point in taking out a loan to do that, because the whole POINT of this adventure is to build an Earthship debt-free, so in all honesty that would take us ~3 years to accomplish at our current level of savings. 3 years isn’t a terrible timeline. It just warrants a level of patience that I’m struggling to have at the moment.
So knowing all this, and knowing that my work just put $10K on the table of educational opportunities, essentially things that will help me develop as a person (and frankly will distract me as we save up money), I decide to apply to the program. Knowing that I hate to let things go to waste, and that a ~3 year timeline is the time it will take me to pursue a full degree, I will likely roll those credits into a degree program and get the MBA I’ve been thinking about for so long.
THEN, if that weren’t enough to think about… our dog has either a partially or fully torn ACL in her rear left leg. She’s been limping since March but it’s gotten worse and x-rays now confirm that she has … I don’t know, some sort of evidence of a tear. Our vet just kind of rattles off words at me that I type quickly and Google later, as he does a pretty terrible job of explaining things in layman terms.
So everyone is telling us she needs surgery. I Google what the surgery entails. Holy shit our dog is going to suffer, for at least 3-6 months. IF she manages to make a full recovery, she will be “good as new” sort of, though generally with these surgeries there are complications and/or infections that in a worst case scenario require more surgeries and even longer recovery time. Some of the worst cases I’ve read about, dogs were recovering from surgeries for 2 years… that’s 14 human years!! If someone told me, by the way, you may need surgery that will take you FOURTEEN YEARS to recover from, I would probably throat punch them and fuck off into the desert…
So being the stubborn cuss that I am, I’ve read a lot about how people treat knee issues in dogs without surgery. They say give it at least 8 weeks to try at-home care before going under the knife, since the worst that can happen with at-home care is it doesn’t work, when the worst that can happen with surgery is… well, there’s tons of bad shit that can happen with surgery. I was planning on just doing the surgery even just 8 hours ago, but after a bit more reading and research I think we’re going to try to correct it at home first. If that fails miserably, I’ll give in to the doggy medical world recommendations. I mean, I don’t even trust human medical world recommendations half the time, so doggy medical world recommendations… please. These surgeries are huge moneymakers for them, so I’m naturally skeptical. I will try natural treatment first.
So for the TLDR crowd…
Reintegration is not easy. I’m still not feeling reintegrated into normal everyday life. We would like to sell the house but are too cheap to pay for it, and we don’t have the money to build in less than ~3 years anyway, so we will wait it out. My work offerred up some free grad school classes that I allowed myself to be bribed back into the system with. And our dog is in need of expensive and invasive surgical care that I’m too stubborn to accept as necessary before trying more natural methods. All in all, I wish I was back out in the FREAKING DESERT! P.S. Everything in the city smells like chemicals.