Thursday, January 19, 2006

Leaping into Leiper's Fork

And there she is. Lot 22, 7.6 acres of our little leap into Leiper's Fork. Enough timber and weeds to keep us warm for the next 18 years. Even though the formality of the contract was just completed I think the deal had already been sealed with a handshake and a smile while indulging in a meat and 3 lunch at the Country Boy on the day we headed back to CA.

Now Leiper's Fork is a small town, a very small town. The proverbial stone's throw, don't blink town that is too small to have a good side or a bad side. But I imagine the competition between Puckett's and the Country Boy can get mighty heated, and I don't think I would want to be in the middle of all that. We will eat at both places equally as not to show favoritism and to keep the peace in this tranquil community. As much as we hope to just blend in, I have a feeling we will somehow be noticed.

Rick & I met some fantastic people in Leiper's Fork. People who made a difference in their town. People who took pride in what they did and what they did they did well. They seemed to like us well enough and indicated that they would surely welcome us into their well kept world. And I must admit, I was quite proud of our performance. We came off as confident but not pushy, friendly but not phony and with opinions but not opinionated. Yes indeed, we were at our finest. But we were in rare form....we were sans kids. Leiper's Fork will be a whole new place once the "children" arrive.

Now there is nothing too extraordinary about the kids, only that there are 5 of them and 4 are boys with a little baby sister. And after finally having a girl, I can now say for certainty that there is a difference between boys and girls. Boys like to play....A LOT. They like things messy and dirty and preferably broken. If it's broken they can fix it, or turn it into something else, or use the parts to dig in the dirt. They like water and if it is mixed with dirt, that's even better. There's nothing better to them than an old mud hole filled with fresh water streaming from a 120psi garden hose turned up to full tilt recreating the Grand Canyon in their own backyard. All the more fun if the water and mud flows out of the yard causing neighbors downstream to fire up their BMW's to get a status report of the flooding control channel in order to determine how much time they have left before evacuation orders arrive. Only after I receive at least 10 disgruntled looks do I stick my head out the door to yell, "I told you kids to turn that water off!"

Now as fate would have it, we ended up in an upscale neighborhood. We didn't plan it that way, it's just once you have 5 kids, housing choices become limited. We tried to get away from people so we wouldn't have to worry too much about the kids breaking neighboring windows with baseballs and golf balls and footballs. So when we found a place in the aptly named "urban wildlife interface" we jumped at the chance. Problem is eventually newer homes came in. Million dollar homes. The BMW, Benz, Hummer and Escalade crowd came upon us. Now if these people actually stopped at stop signs or put down their cell phone long enough to make eye contact, they may not bother me so much. Maybe after driving by our place, they decide not to make eye contact. It's probably better that way because I probably don't want to know what kind of contact they would really like to make. In return I dutifully don't go to great efforts to keep our exposed backyard "pristine." Oh it's not urban blight, we have a Gardner to come mow what lawn is still left and the grass is mostly nice and green. I just prefer to leave the kindercrap strewn out all over. The ride on toys that have become spider hotels. The remnants of the miniature golf course. The Sponge Bob beach ball smiling from the top of the hedge. The Army guys who are still stuck in the mire of the Grand Canyon. Now that's not to say that we don't care at all what the neighbors think. After all, we did move the trampoline back a little bit after catching the 3 year old jumping naked and waving to the horrified soccer moms driving by who immediately picked up their cell phones to alert their psychiatrists that they needed an appointment ASAP. It's just having the yard a little "rustic" helps make it seem more appropriate when I am outside ringing the triangle "come and get it" bell that can be heard for at least 14 houses in each direction.

I can already imagine the celebration calls being made up and down the street when the For Sale sign goes up in front of our house. "Hot damn! The Bumpus clan is moving out!! They're headed for Tennessee!!" I won't be surprised to hear banjo music wafting on the open breeze played just for us to make our transition that much smoother.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A change in the works!

This southern California girl is heading to Tennessee....The state with the long name only using 4 letters to spell it. Our big uprooting will take place in the summer of 2006, bringing to 10-OC my hubby Rick, 5 kids, 3 mouser cats and our trusty Australian shepherd. This is not a move based on the premise of getting back to the good life, or let's check out this great nation of ours, nope, it's a "if you want to keep your paycheck come work in Tennessee" type of thing. I hope Tennessee knows what it's getting itself into by welcoming us in!

Never being one to fret about the future because of great planning, Rick decided a trip out to 10-OC far before the summer move date was in order. In December we caught the $99 one way non-stop from Ontario to Nashville on Southwest and began our adventure. On our approach to Nashville we could see smoke rising from spot fires. Oh fantastic, we are landing in a firestorm, surely to be fueled by Santa Ana winds then followed by rain and mudslides. But apparently not. People in TN cut down trees and rake leaves and pile up cardboard then set fire to them and walk away. TN is not a smoke-free state.

So after check in at the hotel, Rick & I decide that there was plenty of daylight to see what we could see. Off to explore our new Rocky Top and Dollyworld home. Certain to see more Elvis's than Vegas. Our adventure took us out of Cool Springs and out toward historic Franklin. And historic it is! We come to a Civil War monument. Holy cow, the Civil War was here! We are going to be living in a place with some real history. Not just "used to be part of Mexico" history. We come to a unique intersection and we sit at the red light and count how many streets meet there. There are 5. And a traffic circle! We head out to Leiper's Fork and Puckett's "Grocery". This isn't Albertsons! This is an 1920's version of 7-11, except they aren't open that many hours. We get a few snacks and keep driving and driving. Out passed the houses on wheels with lawn mowers that fertilize as they go. The theme song from Green Acres spins through my head and I get the uncontrollable urge to put on some pearls, dye my hair blonde and start peering up telephone poles looking for somewhere to make a call. We eventually pull off the road, open up our laptop to check where we are. After 10 minutes of making a plan, we saw one pick up truck and one hound dog checking us out and neither looked too neighborly, although the hound dog got close enough to steam up our windows, maybe that's why the guy in the pickup truck didn't stop. We head back to the hotel and am I glad we didn't have time to unpack because I was booking the next flight back to the world I came from.

However, then next few days Rick & I traveled around with a real estate agent that made Franklin seem quaint and friendly. We looked at homes that were so big that they should have come with their own gift shop. We looked in town and out of town. Old homes and new homes. And finally on our last day as the day promised snow, we decided on a parcel of land and a builder to create a place where we can lay claim to and be one with 10-OC and its folk. So this is where the story begins....