Journey to the West – Day 6


badlands

We woke up with high hopes for the day – we were looking at a few properties today that looked super promising online.  After a quick breakfast of peanut butter and jelly toast (thanks, Theresa Stimpert, for the homemade jam!) we were off to our first house.  A little house in the same town as where we’re camping, with 10 acres.  Naturally, because the house was in the same town as us, we only gave ourselves a few minutes to get there…and we got lost…very lost.  We finally found the property about 45 minutes after we were supposed to be there.  I couldn’t call the realtor who was showing us the house because, of course, her number was on my computer back at the camper.  When we got to the house, the realtor was gone.  I called the number on the for sale sign and the lady who answered said that she’d send the realtor right back.  While we waited, we walked around outside a bit.  There was a pond…with about an inch of dirty water and two dead fish.  There was a balcony off of the master bedroom…it slanted in a very scary angle toward the ground.  There was a deck off of the kitchen…it was held in place by two boards that had seen better days.  (Well, maybe the inside was better??)  The realtor got there after about 2o minutes and let us into the house.  The entryway was cute!  The living room and kitchen were nice.  Our dining room table would fit in the dining room.  The main floor bedrooms were great, and the master bath had a corner jacuzzi.  Downstairs, we found a whole lot of building confusion.  So many unfinished areas, walls in weird places, dead things hanging on the walls and standing on pedestals.  It didn’t take long for us to decide that this was not the house for us.  We thanked the realtor for meeting us, then went back to the camper to eat a quick lunch before heading out to get our post office box and look at another house and some land.   Ike and Gabe wanted to stay back at the camper to play basketball and board games.  We let them stay behind.  They needed some “chill time.”

When we got to the post office, there was a long line of oil workers trying to pick up their mail.  I waited my turn, told the lady what I needed (I think the mail lady was having a bad day, so I tried to be extra cheerful) and she handed me a paper to fill out, then told me that I’d have to get back in line.  More oil workers came in as I filled out my paper.  When I finished, the line was twice as long as it had been when I first got there.  Poor Adrian and the kids were waiting in the van.  I finally got to the front of the line and put on my “extra nice voice” when I talked to the mail lady.  She gave me my new post office box number and two keys, took my check, and continued about her grumbly day.  Poor lady.  She must’ve had a long day.  I wished her a “super happy afternoon!”  (Hope it helped!) 

I got back into the van and we set off for our second property.  We arrived at the property and the realtor was nowhere to be seen.  She texted me to say that she needed to go to the next town – 40 minutes away – to get gas.  We found a fun little playground and took the kids out to play.  Abbie and I teeter-tottered and laughed so hard!!  Adrian spun with the kids on the spinny thing and about threw up.  We slid down slides, climbed up wooden ladders, and acted like we were crazy!  It was so much fun!!  The realtor texted when she was back at the property and we left the park to go there.   We  loved the outside – tons of room to run, a great little farm building for critters…  The house wasn’t pretty, from the outside, but it wasn’t terrible.  When we walked through the front door, however, we were so disappointed.  It was a shell inside, with everything in disarray.  Once again, this was not the house for us.  The realtor told us that there was another house, if we were interested, off of the same highway.  She could show it to us, if we wanted.  We already had plans to meet a land owner in the same town, so we told her it would be a while before we could get to the property.  She was fine with waiting.  So we headed off to look at the land and she headed off to the other property.  

The land was AMAZING!  So gorgeous!!  Right in the middle of the Badlands.  The kids loved wandering the property, discovering rocks and hills.  Adrian looked like he was in heaven.  He was definitely in his “happy place.”  We learned all about drilling a well, running electricity, putting in a septic…oh, and we learned that not all places on Earth have cell signal, and that property is one of those places.  Adrian, in his most encouraging way, explained that we could get satellite Internet and telephone.  (Phew!  This girl needs her phone and computer!!)  Though primitive, the land was pretty…and everything Adrian wants!

From the land, we drove to the next property.  It was getting to be dinner time, but we were running late.  We saw a little Dairy Queen on the way, and told the kids we’d stop on the way back.  After driving for 45 miles, we were finally at the house.  (We were not aware that it was quite so far.)  Looking around outside, the property was everything I wanted.  There were cute little buildings all over, a place for goats and chickens, room for the kids to run around!  It was GREAT!!  When the realtor opened the door, the smell brought me back to my Grandpa and Grandma Maday’s house.  I could almost hear Grandma giggling in the kitchen!  We walked in and we were, literally, in Grandma’s kitchen – the same counters and cupboards, and even a little dining nook.  I could picture my grandparents sitting in the nook, playing Chinese Checkers.  My grandma would swat my grandpa’s hand and call him a cheater.  He’d pull her close and squeeze her rear end.  She’d act embarrassed and say, “Oh, Henry!”  I could see them so clearly!  The house made me feel like I was 10 again.  As we walked around the house, I felt more of my grandparents….in the small bedrooms and the dated carpet.  Everywhere we went, I could picture my grandparents going about their daily lives in this house that reminded me so much of the home that they shared when I was a child.  I was, immediately, in love with this house!  On the counter was a bonus – a Tupperware full of keys.  The keys were labeled “old school house,” “original farmhouse,” “hay loft,” etc…  The girls and I scooped up those keys and went exploring.  First to the old school house.  It truly was an old, one room school house!  It still had the blackboards on the walls!  We ran from there to the original farmhouse.  A small one room house with just the basics.  We found the outhouse and many other outbuildings.  It was so fun, exploring!!  The kids and I were in love.  The fact that the main house was only three bedrooms didn’t phase us.  That house, and the buildings, and the places for the kids to have critters…it was perfect to us!  When we walked into the horse barn, there was a note hanging on the wall with a list of things they’d purchased for their animals.  The writing could’ve been my grandma’s.  I held the note for a moment and imagined that my grandma had written it.  I could see her tiny, delicate hand creating each letter.  I loved that note, even if some other grandma wrote it.  It looked just my grandma’s penmanship and I could pretend that it was hers.  Adrian, being more practical, saw the flaws – water in root cellar, outdated electrical, an outdated furnace, rotting wood in some of the buildings.  I couldn’t be swayed… I was in love.  Perhaps I was more in love with the memories that the house gave me….the smell of my grandparents and the nostalgia of the place.  I can’t say, for sure, what I loved the most.  I just loved it.  After spending a couple of hours exploring, it was time to load the kids up and head home.  It was already after 8:30pm and the littles were getting really hungry!  We thanked the realtor for showing us the house and started on our way back to the campground.  (We’d intended to do laundry, but…once again…time ran out.)  The little Dairy Queen we had passed on the way to the house was now closed.  The littles were super bummed, as was I.  I really wanted a c.ookie dough blizzard!  We told the kids we’d stop at the next town, if they had somewhere to eat.  Not one fast food restaurant in the next town.  We stopped at a gas station and I bought some Ritz to get the kids by until we could find a restaurant.  Two more towns and still no fast food!  Nothing!  We got home just before 12:30AM with empty tummies and tired babies.  Everyone crawled into their beds, without complaint, and were soon sound asleep.  Adrian and I stayed up deep into the night, talking about the lovely land we’d seen and the house that I loved.  Though I loved it, I am afraid that it is impractical to buy a house because it makes you feel like you are ten years old again.  We have a lot of praying to do….because God knows where our perfect house is.  He will reveal it.

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