We headed East for the Holiday and spent the day with friends and family. It's funny how, when you move and settle in, you find a comfort zone and then when you have to leave, you're a nervous wreck!
For nearly all of Hubby's life, he lived in the Northern Virginia area, which is as close as you can get to DC without actually crossing the state line. Over the years, Northern Virginia (NoVa as locals call it) has grown and grown, the trees giving way to new parkways (they aren't kidding when they say PARKway) and empty fields giving way to McMansions and rows upon rows of townhouses. Smaller, older homes get torn down to make room for identical shopping centers and the county forces older, retired folks to move by raising property taxes to ridiculous amounts, to the point where they cannot afford it anymore. I feel for younger, just married couples that don't have the income to buy one of these homes and have to take out an 'arm and leg loan' just to afford the down payment. They have to fork over the other arm and leg to get the mortgage loan.
We lived in an apartment in NoVa the first 3 years of our relationship and then the early part of our marriage. We got tired of seeing our rent increase every year and seeing our money fly away instead of being invested in a home. We couldn't afford a house in NoVa and decided to look in the next county or two. Both of us worked for the Post office in NoVa so we didn't want to move too far. We checked out Centreville and prices were in the $250,000 range. A little too much for us. We hoped to find something in the $130 range. We checked out Leesburg, Woodbridge, Chantilly, Manassas... but everything was either too expensive or right on a major traffic jam.
We went to see a local realtor for help in finding a house. It was in a large office building, a nice suite of offices, nice lobby, and a nice, perky, older secretary... We were told to wait until Mr. Realtor was ready for us. About 10 minutes later, we were ushered into his office. Introductions were made, small talk about the weather and where we were from, and then, THE question: "What's your price range? " He asked us.
"We were hoping to find a house with at least an acre of land for $130." we said.
"HA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......" he laughed! I kid you not! He LAUGHED! When he saw we weren't laughing with him, he calmed down, straightened his tie, and told us that would be impossible. Hubby was royally pissed and said we weren't going to be doing business with him. We got up and left, and Hubby tells me later that he heard Mr. Realtor start laughing again after we left the office.
We decided to look even further for a home. We went into another county and sure enough, there were plenty of homes in the price range we were looking for. The trade-off was driving 40 minutes one way to work. We thought that was a fair trade and we found our little house after a couple of weeks of house-hunting. It was sort of in the country, with the town being a mile away, but you had the feeling you were in the middle of farm land. We loved living there and the commute to work wasn't bad at all. But other people started discovering our town and traffic increased, more homes were popping up, prices and property taxes were getting higher, more stores and restaurants were moving in and pretty soon, our little town wasn't so little anymore.
Although I couldn't hear it, there used to be only the sound of crickets in the evenings with the occasional moos from the cows in the field behind us, the twittering of birds and the neigh of the neighbor's horse. There was a small airfield nearby and every weekend we were entertained with small planes flying above our house, many were ultra-lights and experimental small planes. But then came the constant pounding of carpenters and the drilling of big earth movers boring through hard rock to make room for more and more new homes. Beautiful fields were being raped of lovely 100 year old trees and corn fields plowed down. Hubby tossed and turned at night with the new sounds of a growing town. It was time to move.
Finding this house in the mountains was a godsend. It's peaceful and quiet here. There's no place for a developer to come in and plant 100 McMansions anywhere because the mountains and valleys don't allow it to happen. You get used to the slower way of life and not having a thousand cars crowding around you on the roads. Going back to NoVa turns Hubby's knuckles white as he grips the steering wheel, the muscles in his neck and back tense up and even I start looking for something to hold onto when drivers cut too close in front of us. We start thinking about making a U-turn and heading back home. We say stuff like, "You couldn't pay me to move back here!" I believe we are official country bumpkins now. We'll start saying stuff like, "Ya'll come back now, ya hear!" And instead of sounding like a couple of city-folk country-wannabes, it'll sound like it came from a couple of bona-fide country hillbillies! Ohhh-wee!