And just like that, it happened.

This post feels surreal to write. After all, we are at least a year ahead of schedule. There’s a global pandemic happening. Our dog just had knee surgery. I just had hip surgery (that’s another story). This is the worst possible time to make any big life decisions.

But Opportunity knocked. Rather, She pried her way through an open window at night, stood over my bed watching me sleep, and then gleefully shouted “BOO!” – scaring the hell out of me and exciting me all at the same time. I’m rambling, I guess quarantine will do that. All of this word jumble to say: we’re moving to Washington. And not in the, “One day, we’re moving to Washington and life will be wonderful!” sense. We’re ACTUALLY moving.

Let me back up to the beginning. It’s no secret that we’ve been dreaming of a slower, simpler life in a greener place – that’s what this whole blog is about, after all! With the horrendous Phoenix summer looming and all of the concerns of the coronavirus pandemic outside, my thoughts have been churning faster and faster – how can we improve our lives? Simplify? Focus on what truly matters to us? I was looking at a plot of land for sale one day, daydreaming about building our ideal home. Eventually we reached out to an agent to ask some questions. The train of thought was to buy the land and then when we’re ready we can build on it, which will probably take at least a year, and then we’d be right on track with our timeline! Easy, right? The agent we spoke to quickly dashed those dreams, and I’m so glad that he did. The plot of land was effectively a swamp and would have turned into a nightmare very quickly.

Even though that idea was scrapped, the agent was able to make some other suggestions for us to keep in mind during our search. One place he mentioned was Oak Harbor – this rang a bell with me, as I remember that my cousin had also mentioned what a nice place Oak Harbor was. So we thanked him for his time and went on with our lives, disappointed that building our perfect home didn’t seem to be in the cards. The next day, I typed Oak Harbor into Zillow to see what the area was like. Did they have some charming old homes we could renovate, or maybe some nice swamp-less plots of land to build on? What were the prices like? Are there lots of trees there? Good schools?

And then, the search results quite literally took my breath away. I should say the top search result did. The very first house I ever saw in Oak Harbor. Part of me was even a little angry for a while – if I hadn’t searched Oak Harbor, I never would have known what I was missing and we could have moved on in blissful ignorance and gone back to the “we’ll move in a year or two” plan. But I did search, I did see it and everything changed.

Front yard – circular driveway, adorable house, gigantic workshop, brick chimney, tons of trees…should I keep going?
Backyard – huge deck (not pictured), firepit, small pond, tons of trees, fenced dog run….
View of the house from the back – here you can see the back of the gigantic workshop, area for wood storage, chickens, etc. and the huge back deck. What you don’t see? Any other houses, because there is actually space between us and our neighbors!

I will spare you my train of thought and how we got here (because that’s another 3,000 words at least), but suddenly we were calling the agent back and saying, “We want this house!” Of course, there’s always going to be some apprehension when putting an offer on a property we’ve never seen, on an island we’ve never even been to. I give myself a pass for that small amount of trepidation. But beyond that, everything just seemed to fit.

Our must-haves (there weren’t many, to be honest): Trees / privacy? Check. Under 2,000sqft? Check. In a nice town with good schools? Check. Near a body of water? Checkcheckcheck.

And then we started realizing how many boxes that we didn’t even know we had that this house was checking. Land? Check (2+ acres). Unique and charming house? Check. Workshop space? Check (bonus – it’s gigantic). Pond in the backyard? Check. Space for chickens? Check. On a quiet dirt road with only six neighbors? Check. Still close to town? Check.

I love projects and I look forward to some updates and fixes that we’ll make to this house. But it’s completely livable as-is and for the foreseeable future that we are isolating at home, we will have a beautiful home and large yard to enjoy spending time in. And best of all, it will never get too hot to go outside! It might rain too much sometimes, or be windy or chilly, but we are gleefully waving goodbye to months and months of temperatures so high that the dogs can’t even go for a walk at midnight. And that is worth the world to me!

Fast forward to now, six weeks and several signatures later, and our little A-frame in the woods is officially ours. I can’t even believe I’m saying that! This week I told my office I would be leaving at the end of the month, and in three weeks that I’m sure will fly by incredibly fast, we’ll be packed up and making the long trek north to Oak Harbor, Washington.

I’m still a little anxious, this is a huge adjustment from everything we’ve ever known. But this our next adventure and I’m ready for it! The pandemic experience has taught me that life is just too short to accept unhappiness. And so we fight for our dreams; ready or not, here we come!

In the future I’m sure this blog will be filled with endless tales of renovating, starting a garden, learning the land, etc. but for now I scroll through these few pictures I have, just dreaming dreaming dreaming…

Spiral staircase – I had no idea how badly I wanted one until I saw this!
This fireplace will be a project for sure, but I love the slanted ceilings and all the natural light.
The loft space upstairs with beautiful skylights – I can’t wait to get in here!

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