The Story of Camano Island
|Flashback May 2001 and my husband and I are on a Mother's Day Tour of Camano Island. Camano Island has a wonderful community of artists whom host a Mother's Day tour every year on . . . duh. Mother's Day. My husband and I living a mere 2 ½ hours away at the time, decide to take the trek up North to visit this quaint little island. We ended up taking one or two of the studio tours and my husband develops one of his infamous migraines. I asked if he wouldn't mind if he just kick back and I drive around the island since we took the long drive up. He says no and reclines the passenger seat all the way back. I look over and his eyes are closed. So I'm driving around the island (it goes full-circle) and just enjoying the views. It's so green! And water! Views of the Puget Sound at every turn! And pastures of horses! Oh! How wonderful it would be to live here! So peaceful! And look- A woman riding her horse on the side of the road! So lovely . . . Yet sadly, my husband's eyes aren't open to appreciate the lovely countryside. |
We're driving and driving and we're passing by real estate sign after real estate sign of homes for sale and I'm just chomping at the bit to do a drive by . . . Not gansta style shooting of crips or bloods, Eastside/Westside, but more a lookie-loo-take-a-peek sorta way. But my poor husband is in pain and he is suffering long enough for me to drive around the island (15 miles long? 2 miles across? Or something like that. For goodness sake, google it if you're that inclined) Anyway, we pass yet another sign on a long gravel road that says, "home on acreage" and I'm just about beside myself. (I am SUCH a good wife.) My husband with both eyes closed, says . . . "Why don't you turn around? It said, "home on acreage".
I would say that the rest is history. But five and a half effin' years later, I know better. History is one long-ass lesson and I never received better than a C+ grade.
We drive up this long gravel drive, come to a private little ranch and we see rolling hills, two cute red barns (for horses!) a wrap around porch, views of the Puget Sound, and on a dead end? Only slightly out of our price range? Does life get any better? We called up the realtor, he rushed up (Red Flag #1) and we made an offer within an hour. A few months later, we were living in our dream home.
But I'm WAY ahead of myself. First, to get financing on our "dream home", I had to get mortgage insurance for a 1965 home with a flat roof. Good Lord. A flat roof in the Seattle area where it rains a LOT is just . . . asinine. (Red Flag #2) This took weeks and a bit of sleepless nights to accomplish. And then there was the home inspection to qualify for a mortgage loan. Apparently there's this like little LAW as to where they won't give you money for a home that sits directly on the dirt, and an 18" crawl space has to be dug out under the house. Huh? (Red Flag #3)
But horses! Water! Countryside! Green grass! Rolling hills! Wrap around porches! Not one, but TWO barns! Yippee!!
So dumb following dumber, we STILL wanted to move up here. And we did. Do you honestly think any of this would deter us? Two parents with two young children under the age of 5 . . . . scared? Run away? I think not! So what if we knew nobody- Had no family or support team. We had each other and our little ranch. Hubris! Ignorance. Whatever. It was sunny! And quiet! I could have horses! A long gravel road! A bit of a water view! (Can't swim in it because it's too damn cold, but hey. Horses!) And so what if our 1965 home had shag carpet, dark wall paneling, drop styrofoam grid ceilings, and itty bitty windows that probably weren't up to fire codes even in 1965, it was after all the Age of Aquarius . . . We HAD EACH OTHER. And did I mention the countryside? And horses? Water?
So we moved up here and admittedly, I was a bit sad that I had to give up a cute suburban home with the upgrades and local amenities for a home with shag carpeting and the aforementioned, but yeah. Yeah. Horses. Water. Whoopee. I was coming down from my fresh air high and in the middle of flippin' nowhere with two children not even in freakin' preschool or Kindergarten yet, with SHAG carpet AND wall paneling. But I did buy a horse and this made me vr vr happy. And then I got a second horse. And a pony. They quickly chomped down all of the rolling green hills only to enlighten me on the fact that pretty much all of the 20 year + fences needed to be replaced and repaired.
Three months after living on our cute little ranch, winter hit and our flat roof home . . . flooded. A day or two after Thanksgiving. You know- right before Christmas. I was awakened to my three-year-old son doing a re-enactment of water pouring through a vent in the ceiling and into the living room. I rushed out to find that my living room, laundry room and bathroom (with cobalt blue indoor/outdoor carpeting) were an inch under water. Panic set in. What do you do when your roof is draining a gallon per minute blocking your view from teletubbies? Seriously. I didn't have enough towels and rags to deal (and I tried- At which I became the butt of the contractor's joke who came to my rescue.) So, 3 months later, a FREEZING cold winter (the main heat source came from the living room), $25K of insurance claims, numerous flooding nightmares, and one crappy Christmas, I can say that I no longer have shag carpets and wall paneling in my living room. (My husband and I had a PLAN. Flooding at the time complicated things GREATLY, yet simplified things in the long run, as I'm sure you can imagine. Hindsight was NOT 20/20 for a VR VR long time.)
And folks. It doesn't end there. In 1965 homes nothing is straight or even. Adding new flooring takes somebody with a calculus or P.H.D. math degree because in 1965, apparently square angles weren't mainstream enough to be used in erecting houses. When say, you replace the dirt ground with like . . . 18" of no ground . . . The house tends to bow. And when you perk up the bowed parts with new beams- doorways and walls in particular . . . crack. And doors don't always close/open any more. And don't even get me started on 1965 plumbing (of which I'm sure MANY of you are VR familiar with. Hee.) Or 1965 electrical which is quite tasty and OH so yummy to field mice . . .
So sometimes I don't post. And it's not because I'm busy. It's merely because I am simply a robotic shell of the sparkly, magnetic personality that I once was 5½ years ago before this little ranch turned me into a blob of adult onset ADD. As it seems, my living the high life of non-wall paneling walls and high-maintenance needs are an acquired taste. So what if I didn't play Chutes and Ladders every day with my kids on the shag carpet floors? I gave them woods to play in, fresh air, ponies (which they have NEVER had any interest in) and a long country road to catch the school bus on every day . . . They were blessed with a special Mommy who could turn green, spew vomit, and make her head spin completely around.
I wouldn't change a thing ...
But winning the lottery would be SO sweet. After all, Momma needs a new non-flat roof. But please God, no more shag carpeting, wall paneling, or living room floods. And while I'm making my pleads . . . Can you do something about this 1980's fashion comeback thing? I'm just so not ready yet. And don't think I'm not on to you with this whole Pergo/Laminate flooring thing. You think you can just get rid of wall paneling, snaz it up a bit, throw it on the floor . . . AND NOBODY IS GONNA NOTICE? I know where wall paneling goes when it dies. Even Hell didn't want it.