Escaping

I was at the end of my rope.  My neighbors were harassing me because they didn’t like my purple house.  They had strung burlap eight feet tall right along the property line which meant it was inches from my home, blocking all my first floor windows.  I suspect that the builders of these houses in the early 1900’s didn’t envision that when they put the houses on the property line.  My neighbor’s house was four stories tall, and they delighted in spying on me in my tiny back yard from several of their upper story balconies.  It felt as if every time I went outside, they would be looking into my yard watching and their watchfulness made me feel extremely uncomfortable.  My lot was a half lot and only thirty feet wide.  I had become terrified of them and wouldn’t go outside at all if I could avoid it.

One morning I woke up and decided that I had to move.  I searched the internet for a suitable secluded spot near enough to Seattle for me to finish my current commitments, and I discovered a beautiful small rural island community a short ferry ride west of Seattle.  I looked up all the information I could find on Vashon and it seemed to be just what I was looking for.  The community was liberal with lots of artists working in many different media.  The gay population was the largest anywhere in the Seattle area.  There were still farms and horse ranches as well as lots of chickens, and the educational level was higher than average.

I called Scooter, my realtor, and told him I was moving again.  This was the second time in four years that I had been pressured to move by intolerant neighbors.  Scooter had helped me before and he was certainly willing to help again.  He said he would pick me up the following day so we could go to Vashon to look at what was currently on the market.

I was very clear about my requirements.  I needed a single level home with no stairs.  I was recovering from yet another foot surgery and was in fact still on crutches.  I needed absolute privacy as well as a fully fenced yard for my three dogs.  And I wanted a house of about 1300 sq. ft., enough for me and my fur friends, but not more than I could manage.

It was a beautiful day and the ferry ride was wonderful.  While I was worried about finding a house, I was still able to enjoy the fifteen minute ride and I delighted in seeing Mt. Rainer from the water.  As we approached the dock on the north end of the island, I was thrilled to see that the island was heavily wooded with very few visible homes.  This seemed to offer the privacy and solitude I was seeking.  As we drove off the ferry, I noticed that there was just one road which was two lanes wide with lots of twists and turns. After about seven miles we came into the town, which was only about two blocks long.  There were no traffic signals, but just a few four-way stop signs.  I learned later that there were just four such intersections.  There were no chain stores but a rather individual locally owned shops as well as a small movie theatre.  We were out of town almost before I realized it.  Today was not the day to explore as I had an agenda—I had to find a home.  As we drove further along the highway toward the south end, I felt myself relaxing on this truly rural, wooded island which is just 14 miles long.  I was sure I could make a home here if I could just find something suitable.

There were only seven homes for sale which said they met my criteria.  But people must have very different ideas about what single level and private mean.  Several houses had a single level main area, but the garage would be on a lower level or the bedroom would be in a loft.  Houses would call themselves private even though the neighbor’s living room was totally visible right across the street.

I was definitely discouraged.  When I make a decision I want to carry it out immediately.  Finally we were down to the last house.  It was close to town and situated on two-thirds of an acre.  The fence along the north side was a solid eight foot wooden fence.  The south side had a similar fence for about half of the length, where it was joined by an ugly four foot wire fence, but the yard was in fact fully fenced so my dogs could run outside safely.  I could always replace the wire fence with wood after I moved in. The neighbors’ houses were distant and had no windows overlooking my property.  The smell of the surrounding fir trees made me feel so peaceful.

The house itself was totally white, inside and out, and it purported to be a three bedroom house even though the master bedroom was only accessible by walking through another very small bedroom.  However, I didn’t care.  I only needed one bedroom and the other two much smaller rooms could be used as a den and a library.  It had what I required.  There was total privacy, lots of trees, and a one-story,1300 square-foot home that could certainly be painted.

I told Scooter that I wanted to have him contact the listing agent.  He tried to encourage me to wait as this was the first day I’d even seen Vashon, but at my insistence he called the listing realtor while we sat in the ferry line to go back to Seattle.  She let him know that there already was an offer on the house which hadn’t yet been presented because the sellers had been out of town.  She was going to present it at 2:00.  Scooter looked at me and when I nodded, he told her he would be faxing her a second offer as soon as we were back in Seattle.  We had just over an hour to get it to her in time, but thankfully, since Scooter had been my agent when I’d bought my current home, I knew the forms and I trusted him, so we printed forms, had me sign them, and then faxed them off.  Both offers were presented and mine was accepted, as I was sure it would be since I didn’t ask for anything except a home inspection and I said I would close in three weeks.  I had bought my new home on the day I first set foot on Vashon.

Sure enough, three weeks later, my fur friends and I were moving into our new home.  People said I was crazy to move somewhere without checking it out more, but I was desperate.  I need to get out of my current situation.  It did turn out that my sellers had lied through their teeth and there were major problems with both mold and the roof which my home inspector hadn’t caught.  However, I was able to fix those and in fact totally remodel the interior so it is now a two room home with lots of color both inside and out.  I built my fences right away and painted my home purple, of course.

I can honestly say now, after living on Vashon for seven years, that it was the best move I ever made and I have no intentions of ever moving again.

Advertisements