Sunday, September 2, 2007

Visions of Land Dancing in our Heads

We've known it was going to happen.

The high meadow in our development is going to be developed. The developer is actually reasonably concerned about the land and development, and so he has designated about half of the acrage within the development to be open space. And that's why we bought our house here.

The area is beautiful and the development convenants are such that it will remain that way. We believe that we are very lucky to own a bit of what Bruce calls "G-d's country."

And now the development of the high meadow has been approved by the county and is on the way. Our dead-end road will become the access point to that part of the development. As the survey team has been laying out the lot demarcations, Bruce and I have been going up there to scope things out. He has been thinking of buying some land up there that will have a good horizon for astronomy. Here is Bruce standing on the "astronomy lot" with Zoey and Lily. I took the picture from the boundary with the lot to the north, looking into Bruce's preferred lot.

I wanted to buy the lot next door to our present house, which is hilly and tree-covered, to protect our privacy here. Then, if we can get another lot up in the meadow, so be it. And Bruce has fallen in love with a lot at the top of the meadow that has some pinyon-juniper, but is mostly meadow land, where he would be able to control the light shining downhill, and have a great horizon. That lot is his first preference. Although he wavers a little between it and the one directly north, because it has the best horizon, he knows he would not control the light. Or the horizon itself. Someone could build a two-story 60 feet uphill, and then block that "best" horizon.

The lot is about a half-mile and bit from our present house, and a tad bit higher. Here is the roof of the present house from the building envelope of that lot. It looks closer because I used the zoom lens.

Anyway, yesterday, we sat down and signed a lot reservation prefered purchaser agreement with the realtor for the development, who happens to be our neighbor across the street. By next week we will know if we get that lot up on the meadow, or the one north (our second choice). Or the one next door (third choice).

And when all was said and done, and our neighbor Bill went across the street, I began to look around at the house I love, and I had second thoughts. And third thoughts. And then Bruce innocently broached an alternative idea.

Conversation in our kitchen last night:
Bruce: You know, we probably don't have to buy the lot next door. We probably would not put a house on it anyway.
Me: But I wanted it to provide a buffer between us and the new development. I like that lot--I feel close to it, I've been walking it every day!
Bruce: But I don't think anyone is going to rush to buy it anyway.
Me (knowing he is reasonable, but resisting a change in plans): Are we really going to build a house up on 1---? I mean, I'm not sure I want to be stuck up on the hill with no trees! And you are going to be difficulty to build with! You're such a perfectionist. the subs will hate you!"

This picture is of the lot next door. I love the trees. But the hill is topped by a lot of country rock. It would cost to build there.

The conversation did not go anywhere good. I think I was feeling overwhelmed by the idea of moving again, even though it would not be soon. I think I have an aversion to change, like N. does. A little bit of the 'broader autistic phenotype'--it's genetic, after all. I just could not handle the idea that the meadow is going to have houses, that "my" lot was was not going to be mine, and that I might have to move out of a house that I love, even though I would have a lot to say about the design of the new one. And the very thought of moving! I was also tired, hungry and a little overwhelmed by it all. I wanted to jump up and down and demand both lots. Alas, being much older than a two year old, that was not a good move. Instead, I left the guys to their gluing of flooring and read a book for a while, calming myself in the process.

The funny thing is, when we went up to meadow today, having signed the lot reservation, I began to appreciate "Bruce's" lot. It has views of the Sandias to the west, South Mountain to the north, and there are more trees on it than I remembered.

The picture is taken from the building envelope toward South Mountain. And that is just one of the views! Look 45 degrees to the left and it's the Sandia fault block, a blue jewel!

The lot is large and has an interesting shape--a trapezoid with a very narrow boundary along the cul-de-sac (not there yet) and a long boundary to the southeast, along what will be open space. The building envelope is large. Did I mention that there are trees? The boundary with the next lot to the southwest is through a thick stand of trees, so we would have privacy there, too. In the picture below, Bruce is walking towards that boundary. It's really not so bad. In fact, it is really very good. In fact, it is exactly what Bruce wants. When we first moved in out here, on the very first walk in the meadow, we walked on what would become that lot. And Bruce said to me: "The place to set up a scope is right here!" He was standing right in the middle of the building envelope.

I still get tired even thinking of building a house and moving in. But this is my beloved's dream. He is talking excitedly about passive solar design, trom walls and maybe even composting toilets. The garage would go on the highest elevation, whith the observatory above. And I would have a huge say in the floorplan of the new house. I could have one much like our home now, with those little changes that I have mentioned: A mud-room with separate entrance. An outside door in the garage. A larger master bedroom closet.

I have never agreed with Eric Segal that "love means never having to say you're sorry." I think love means that you have to say you're sorry often. Like I did this morning.

I think that love actually means that you can not say no to the deepest dreams of your beloved. Especially if you can get a mudroom out of the deal. Oh, and I checked out composting toilets on the web. They save water. They pay for themselves over the years. And they do not smell up the house. I can live with that.

Now I hope we continue to have first dibs on the lot! A week has to pass and then we'll see. A mudroom! Cool.
And look at this afternoon view of the Sandia Mountains!
I can definitely live with that!


ShadesOfGrey said...

Hi, I found your blog through your comment at PossumMomma's blog, and discovered we have some things in common. We, too, are in the midst of buying the land next to us (for a buffer!). We had bought the land on the hilltop behind us a few years ago. We worked passive solar into our current house, but I haven't been able to talk dh into a composting toilet yet. ;)

Actually, I came over to remark about your comment on homeschooling your son: that exact scenario could have happened to my ds#2. He has mild autism, but not Aspergers. He had the most wonderful speech preschool where the ratio of students to teachers was about 2:1, but we would never be able to find that same setting for him from kindergarten onward, so we started homeschooling him when he turned 5. He, too, would test poorly, especially in a regular class setting. Hence, for him homeschooling also works well as it does for your son.

Best of luck with your land-buying and home-building!

Frankie said...

Oh my, the pictures are beautiful. I would be like you, torn and needing time to think. I completely agree about saying I'm sorry -- that's almost as powerful as saying I love you.

I'm sure you'll keep us updated on how this turns out, and I'll be anxiously awaiting. It seems to me that the prize behind door number 1, 2 or 3 would be a winner, though.

denise said...

It is all sooo beautiful.

I sympathize --- I love to move, I hate to move. I love change, I hate chaos. I love dreaming of something new and different and uniquely ours, I hate anticipating something that has so many uncontrollable variables. Ahhhhhhhh.

Enjoy the talking, the ideas, and the dreams! :) They are all beautiful.

Beth said...

Well, you can always plant more trees, too! One of the nice things about it being out of your hands for the time being is that it gives you time to simply sit quietly with it.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Shadesofgrey: Wow--the parallels are amazing. I am going to have to get over to your blog and see what's happening there.

Frankie: Yes, you are right. Any outcome would be great. Thanks for reminding me. I can get so taken up with stuff that I forget that the "problem" is actually a good one.

Denise: We are dreaming away and it is fun--even though the building process would be a couple of years off--if we get the lot we want!

Beth: We actually looked at one of the more tree filled lots just to the southwest of the lot that is our first choice. And then Bruce said, but of course we'd have to take a lot of them out just to build and to have solar gain in the winter! I hadn't thought of that! You are right--we can plant trees that will not grow too tall and landscape a transition from the house to the meadow appearance. It is so much fun to dream!

Lill said...

Oh, I know what you're going through, Elisheva. We have sixty acres and an old house that's too big to clean and take care of, but a cocoon that buffers us from the world. We have a swamp with a pair of ospreys, fields and woods and sugar maples. We can't afford to keep paying the mortgage, heat and utilities, but we can't bear to move. After living this far away from neighbors, how in the world can we give it up and live in the city, even if it's a city that is very small compared to most of the cities in the US? We're hanging on, but just barely, and wondering if we can keep hanging on until the kids are grown. I hope your situation changes for the better and you are able to insulate yourselves.

Shine On,