Moving 2,400 miles, from one state to another, requires changes. Lots of them. Yes, we have a list, and I began checking them off one at a time after we had unpacked.
Most of the changes are mundane, but necessary such as getting internet (check), obtaining renters insurance (check), opening a local bank account (check), getting our Massachusetts drivers licenses (check), and notifying everybody we do business with that we have a new address (check).
We bought a used Subaru, which we will need to handle snowy roads. (Check, although it took a lot of time and energy.) Then we had to get insurance and register the car in Massachusetts (check) and do the same for our Toyota (check).
This week I found two money-making opportunities: a steady freelance writing gig with a magazine and copyediting for a book project (check).
I won’t bore you with the little things, such as where we buy our groceries and get our hair cut.
All that is left is changing our health insurance, and the biggie, finding a permanent place to call home. The second is an ongoing quest.
Hank and I lived in Western Massachusetts for 26 years before moving to New Mexico for 11. Upon our return, we landed in the northern part, Franklin County, to be exact. We want to live here for a number of reasons, but finding that home has proved to be more elusive.
Every week we visit at least one new town to check it out. This week it was Northfield and Bernardston. The previous week, it was Orange and Wendell. We’ve been to others. We drive and and walk around to get a feel for the place’s energy. Does the town have a downtown, even a small one? What other amenities does it have? Do people just sleep there? Do I see myself being happy here?
Each time, I find myself circling back to my top choice — the Village of Shelburne Falls.
As part of that process, we look at houses online, plus at the MLS updates our daughter, Julia, who got her real estate license, emails us. If the house is empty, we find it and peek in the windows.
This week, we brought friends to check out a foreclosure. Victor, who worked in construction, gave it a thumbs-down. Maintenance on this older house had been let go a long time ago. It would cost too much to fix. That’s too bad since it must have been a very nice home at one time. We’ve also discounted buying a lot to build on because of the cost and the traffic noise from nearby Route 2.
What kind of house are we looking for? Preferably something small — but not too small — with a garage, barn, or walk-out basement for Hank’s shop. An arts and crafts bungalow is at the top of our list. The house may need work, but hopefully the right things were kept up or updated. We’d like to be able to walk to a coffee shop or a bar. Yes, a yard for a garden would be nice. Of course, price is a factor.
I know we will find what we want. Everything else has fallen into place. The same will happen. Patience, I tell myself, patience. It’s a process of elimination.
ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Hank walks in the Deerfield River, the swimming hole that’s a short drive away from the place we’re renting. We cooled off there on three summery days this week.