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As far as East from West

August 3, 2010


The reddest sun I have ever seen hovered in the mist over the Cascades, wisps of passing cloud across the disk suggestive of a banded planet. Such an otherworldly sight was the backdrop for our reflective return to Tacoma following our fruitful expedition to Clarkston. Fruitful that is, yet without ripe fruit. But buds are emerging.

We learned more about the way things are done in the East side of Washington state.  To migrate successfully from West to East, I need to get over some things, and I am motivated to do this because I think I need to get over them anyway.

Professor Natelson, who taught my Property Law course in law school, assured us that property was the most emotional area of life and law — even more than family law. He was right of course. Even the simplest transaction, an ordinary purchase of residential property, can become fraught with primordial mammal-reptile antipathies. At least it has this effect on me.

I stalk a property. Its owners become competitors of another species. In some sense, they must be destroyed in order for me to seize their nest. This is my hive, and all infiltrating entities must be ejected. Since I am really a fairly peaceable person, the mode of destruction is limited to mere criticism of housekeeping matters, color schemes, and entropy tolerance. In other words, househunting is not my finest, nor my proudest, hour.

We visited Wasem’s, the impressively comprehensive local independent — very independent — pharmacy and de facto town hub. Among its many featured sidelines are a coffee shop and used cameras, binoculars, and telescopes for sale. With little uncertainty, I would say that Wasem’s and I will be doing business together.

We visited a manufactured home dealer, and toured a few brand-new homes. My inner reptile does not emerge when I look at new homes; they are not infested. I especially appreciated the choice of interior colors: four different shades of white. I can make my mark on those without using block-out primer.

The dealer told us of two lots private people were subdividing that would welcome these homes. We looked at both. One was in kind of a hollow beneath the majordomo granting the acreage. There was no view except of the majordomo above. The other lot was also adjacent to the grantor, a Church of Spiritual Science. No buffer in the world would get me to live next door to Antichrist Headquarters. Having eliminated our Plan B, we returned to our room to have dinner and await the appointed time to tour the Little Green Trailer.

We first sighted the LGT on our previous expedition when we toured the house across the street, a HUD offering with a sad story and a lot of sad things about it. I wanted to see the LGT because it was for sale, but the realtor accompanying us had no interest in it because it was offered through a low-commission broker. I wanted to whine and fuss, but withstood my impulse.

 We connected with another realtor for our next trip. Our friends in Lewiston recommended Judy, and we were as impressed with her as they were. She had done them the boon of convincing them to remodel their present home instead of moving. I went to her website and did a search using our criteria, and the listing that came up was the LGT.

LGT is my affectionate nickname for a competent, let’s say well-broken-in, manufactured home in a rural subdivision of 2+ acre parcels. The 2.4 acres look out on dry hills and prairie, the most peaceful sight in the world to me. Up to four head of livestock are permitted, and many neighbors have horses, and I think I could have a pig, whose name would be Abiathar, an aspiration I entertain off and on. Judy showed us the LGT, and the reptile struck.

You would think no one had ever had a dead fly on a windowsill before, the way I carried on about it. You would think no one had ever heard of such a color scheme — and likely they hadn’t — but it was scarcely beyond all human decency. Chipped enamel in the sink! Laminate peeling from the tub surround!! No less than representative of the end of Western civilization as we know it!!!  I wanted it.

Some of our friends joined us for the showing and sat out on the deck under a beautiful, broad, sunset-lit sky, as scalloped clouds calmly prepared for lightning. It was the most beautiful sky I can remember seeing. Where we live now, I can hardly see the sky at all. Our friends loved the house and wanted to paint it.

Thankfully, the reptile has a hostile roommate. After I had sufficiently flamed the competent owners who work, and who don’t happen to make cleaning their windowsills with a toothbrush their chief priority in life, and who have raised good, award-winning kids whose original color schemes for their rooms I find something of an acquired taste…the reptile’s nemesis emerged.

The Mark Driscoll in my head confronted me severely: “WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?” Sackcloth and ashes.

Judy is a former teacher, and was very gently, very helpfully instructive. She’s a realist, and she’s been around on the planet. She explained that pride of ownership is simply not evidenced in the East side of the state as it is in the West. She explained that people don’t take much stock in their Form 17 disclosures. If they don’t know something, they don’t say they don’t know, they just say no. Okay, I just needed to know the local lexicon. I’m a good mimic. I can learn this. I can do this, I can live here. I want to. But I would still clean my house.

We have submitted an offer, and we await a reply. It could take a few days, because that’s the way things are done out East. It could take a few more days back and forth, but Judy says things do come together in the end. I’m not yet looking for color chips, but praying that of God’s free gift I may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and maybe even particularly the LGT, and enjoy his blessing with them, as undeserved as that would be.

One Comment
  1. Heidi permalink
    August 3, 2010 11:50 am

    Oh, what joy — to see the wide beautiful sky and land from home. I am sure you and Vic can handle all dead flies and peeling enamel and make the LGT quite fit in with the landscape. Praying . . .

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