Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Dream

A couple of days ago, a dream (like literally a dream while I was sleeping) refreshed my retirement dream.  My retirement dream is to buy about ten acres in the middle of farmville with apple trees lining the long drive, big dogs running loose, cats in the barn to entertain my husband and kids while not making me sneeze to death, a fish pond, solar panels on the roof, a huge garden, a separate space or building for my husband to work in, and a whole freezer for the pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread that we'll make when we harvest the pie pumpkins.  In my mind, the kids will come home every fall for the rest of their lives to make pie.  Lovely idea isn't it?

But it's kind of specific, right?  I have come to accept there's no real possibility I'll find anything this specific and that I'll likely die sitting right here in my pajamas.  I still love the dream of it. 

After dreaming in my sleep about my dream home, I searched the internet for houses for sale in a rural area I like.  I mostly was looking for land.  And there it was:  a horse farm fenced off exactly how I want it, a place to write, a very nice barn that could accommodate an awesome office/data center for my husband, a creek for the kids, shaded outside space for me to write, trees for tree houses, a long drive longing to be lined with apple trees.  It's perfect.  It has public water and sewage (huge for a country house).  And it's in our price range.

My husband and I talked about it.  He's in.  He got a funny look on his face and asked if we would get a goat or two to maintain the grass in the horse pasture part of the lot (no horses for us, just land for go-carts and nerf-gun wars).  Absolutely.  But I only can handle pygmy goats, the goat equivalent of toy dogs.  And only if they're nice.  I told my husband the boys could do 4H and will figure out how to take care of them.

At one point a few days later, my husband realized this farm thing might mean work for him.  Physical labor.  Terrifying. 

Right now, it takes a lot of energy for him to take the cans to the curb only 20 feet from the garage.  The kids and I told him we will take care of everything - no worries.  Slowly the idea has crept up on me that he has a point. I do have a bad back and nerve problem in my foot.  In my dream, the nerve thing is less annoying for me than it is here.  I think walking around in the grass would be good, but what if it isn't?  That would kind of suck for him.

If we can barely manage the dishes and the laundry here, how can we manage scooping up dog poop and managing an acre of garden and ten acres of grass? 

I really think we can - we just need to do it gradually - like start with just dogs initially, then add the goats.  Then we would start a smallish garden and add onto it from there. 

I think it would be a wonderful life to have dogs for the kids and maybe even raise puppies.  I think it would be super-enjoyable for me and the kids...and for my husband if we make it fun for him - and let him have cats in his barn - and lots of pie. 

So we (all of us minus my husband) are going to manage decluttering our current house, taking on all the remaining yard work that he clearly isn't going to do, and doing the tiny fix-up jobs needed before we put the house up for sale.  We're going to do it without him, to prove to him and ourselves we can handle the farm.  We start today...once the teen gets out of bed and the boys are done playing - maybe four more hours.

One serious stumbling block to the execution of making this dream come true is this:  the realtor won't return my emails about the details I need.  I want room dimensions.  I need to know if our stuff will fit before we drive two hours to view it.  I need pictures of the inside to verify it's not a hoarder's house or a meth lab or full of cats.

Maybe country realtors take off the week before Christmas.  Maybe the owners are out of town.  All plausible.  I know that wouldn't stop my realtor.  He is insanely hard-working.  I realize I can call him so he can bully the information from the country realtor.  But it's the week before Christmas, and I don't want to talk to him before I have the house tidied up and ready to list.  (Not a bad thing to get organized even if the country farm ends up being a no-go.)


  1. That reminds me of the Charles Schwab ad where the guy says, "A vineyard? Really? Come on!" I figure I'll never get to retire so it's a moot point.

  2. Don't stop trying to reach him! Maye he is on Christmas holiday. And what's wrong with a very specific dream? It's your dream - make sure the details are right!

  3. Grumpy - I'm kind of already retired except for the writing gig. My husband can work anywhere that there's an internet connection and access to an airport. I like the idea of being sustainable in the long term. And having space.

    Alex - The beauty part is the outside pictures were taken in the summer so it's been listed for a while. No rush at all. Except I'd like to purge the idea from my immediate plans if the room layout won't work. Or if it's all dark and wood-covered inside.

  4. Oh, I think it sounds great! And I love the idea of goats--they really have great personalities--very personable. You need to keep them away from certain things (cars, for instance) because they jump on and chew pretty much anything, but if I had room, I would LOVE goats.

    It IS a ton of work though. My parents have about .8 acres and even with that not-huge area they spend a ton of time maintaining it.

    If they are selling, they will be happy whenever it happens, so I'd keep pressing, too.

  5. Sounds like you are really pursuing your dreams! Congrats on that, Tonja.

    And never limit yourself to specifics, as you already seem to have discovered. We all have one past, but thousands of futures.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may the new year bring you new journeys and new treasures.

  6. Hart - In my mind, it's all self-maintaining. :)

    Bryce - Thank you. I hope you have a lovely Christmas too.

  7. I like the spontaneous decision to move based on a dream. Although, I did know a family that moved based on a dream the mother had - wait, they were already moving and the mother dreamed about the house they would eventually move into. Anyway, they kinda sorta found a place that was like the dream and they took it for that reason. No one liked it.

    Um, I'm not sure if I had a point to all that. Except that I don't think the two situations are anything alike.

  8. I don't rush into anything - except my first marriage. We've been talking about our retirement plan for the last two years. If we find the place we want to live in forever, we're going to do it.

    I just haven't looked for a few months. It's funny there were actually several 10-15 acre lots with decent enough houses.