My husband Mark once knew this guy, who gave up the stresses of modern city life to go build barns in the country. Whenever he spoke about this man, Mark would get this wistful look on his face, sigh and say, “He’s out there. Building barns. Just, doing what he loves.”
And I would die with laughter.
Mostly because my husband couldn’t and wouldn’t even want to build a barn. An IP address, maybe- but a barn? No. And also, who does that? That’s crazy. Who walks away from a life they have always known, to go perform simple tasks in the woods? Crazy people. It’s ridiculous. Sure, I might fantasize about living in the mountains or in a quaint small town, - but I own a business. An Interior Design Business and brick and mortar store, that I have spent almost a decade building. Brick by brick, client by client. Our friends are in the city. Our family. Our adorable house. We couldn’t LEAVE. Clearly, the decision was to stay, and just pretend we liked city living. Like normal people.
And that worked. For a awhile.
I pictured our lives as a glossy magazine called, FAKING IT! There would be a pic of us in the center, artificial smiles plastered to our faces and articles with names like:
*Eating Out! Decline invitations to do anything, ever! Cancel on Everyone! Eat the same takeout order every Friday, FOR YEARS!!!
*Street Fest Map! We’ve got your DEFINITIVE LIST of the best brunch spots to get the champagne that will give YOU the confidence to yell “Get a job!” at Millennials clogging the route to your post-brunch, pre-nap Target Run, with THEIR stupid Street Fest!
*Vacation Planning!* This year’s GUIDE TO TOWNS YOUR WOULD RATHER LIVE IN! You will be Redfinning and romanticizing these hot locations FOR EVER!
*Health and Fitness!* It’s a new year! Let’s get old and fat and stay in the same place forever!”
“We are seriously thinking about Colorado.” We told our friends. “Oregon is BEAUTIFUL.” We said at Christmas Parties and at Starbucks.
I am sure that by the time I am an old lady, I will have learned that sometimes- things line up and fate is real. As of now, I am still jaded enough to be genuinely shocked when that happens. Like last spring, when the following events occurred in this order.
1.) One night, after cancelling dinner plans with people we genuinely like, and turning down an offer to see live music so that we could eat Broccoli Pizza at home in our pajamas and complain about work- Mark had 3 cocktails and said, “Let’s list the house.” And instead of listing reasons why not, I said. “Ok. We have to clean the basement.”.
2.) We decided it would either be Oregon (the coast! The mountains!) Highland Park IL. (It’s kinda pretty! I can keep my business!) Or Saugatuck Michigan (It’s so cute! It’s so gay! Only 2 hours from Chicago! Everyone will come visit!). We cleaned the basement.
3.) I went to Morocco for a creative workshop and met Vicki and Brooke Rawlins. They are a mother/daughter duo from Wisconsin who own an amazing store called SisterGolden. Vicki and Brooke are tall and blonde and the human equivalent of milk and honey. I told them about my store in Chicago and they told me all about their lives in Fish Creek. They lived on the lake, the store was closed in the winter because of the seasonal/tourist season. Which was fine because then they could travel. It sounded nice.
4.) Mark asked his company if he could work remotely. They said yes.
5.) We read about earthquakes and mountain lions eating dogs. We realized the only thing we could afford in Bend was a house we liked ok, in a neighborhood we didn’t like at all. It seemed like too DRASTIC of a change. We ruled out Oregon. Meanwhile, back at home- I endured the most indecisive and demanding client I have ever had. I worked constantly, never slept, lurched from one sugar fix to another, had a migraine a week and cried 3 times in one day. We looked at houses on the North Shore and I thought, “This seems like a nice house to have a migraine in.” I knew if we moved there- our lives wouldn’t change enough.
6.) We drove to Saugatuck, Mi.
7.) The adorable town! The rolling hills and farms! We drove to the lake. It looked like the ocean. There was ample parking and no pigeons. The summer tourism is healthy and there were gays and brown people! It felt diverse and familiar! Jackpot!!!
8.) We told our friends and family. There were some really uncomfortable dinners. We pushed through. We survived.
9.) We listed the house. And it sold really fast. In Saugatuck, there were so many great houses we could afford. With land! And space! And new construction! 99% of them had no internet. We kept looking. We found a Cape Cod style cottage, in the woods, which was a 7 minute walk to the lake. It came with a golf cart. We bought it.
THE NEW HOUSE!
10.) I closed my business (which was completely traumatizing) and we moved. My new store Endora, opens in 8 weeks, just in time for the tourist season!
As I write this I am looking out into my backyard, which isn’t a yard so much as it is just trees and brambles. A hawk the size of a Nissan Tersa just landed on my deck. I wasn’t even surprised.
We are just out here in the woods. Building Barns. Doing what we love.
It feels like a good time to start up a blog so everyone can follow us on this new journey ( ugh. I hate that word.)
HOLD ON TIGHT- it’s gonna be crazy!