Saturday, January 19, 2008

...dream house in Paducah, Kentucky?

I am having one those 4am thinks. Just like the ones I've been having all week.
We got back last night. On our way back from Paris we missed our connection in Frankfurt, Germany. Lufthansa put us up in a very militarialistic (if there is even such a word?) hotel and we wandered about Frankfurt for a few hours. We attempted to cross the river Meine on a pedestrian bridge but my fear of heights took over (and I knew it would be worse after the beer) so we stayed on whatever side of the river we were on and went to a real tourist house of beer and got schnockerd on one really big glass of beer each.
Now I'm home and sitting in the cold dark doing email stuff and catching up with life.
Mostly this morning I've been looking at real estate. Yeah, real estate.
I am exhilarated and scared to death.
On the morning of our Bon Voyage to Gay Pareeee I was on the computer booking Michael and I some flights to Paducah, Kentucky. Oh, you read that right. I am willingly trekking to Kentucky.
Back track a moment...
In 1993 I left Tucson, AZ because of a love, a dream, for Lopez Island. We couldn't afford a house there so we bought land. We packed up all our cherished items and U-hauled them out to the island and the day they arrived we unpacked them into a storage unit. They are still there. The items of my life that have such sentimental meaning. The family heirlooms, paintings from my childhood, the dining room table. I have just always referred to is as "my stuff". I use to go to storage periodically and stand there and weep with loss over not being to fit 'my stuff' in our small dome-home.
Those first years on Lopez, as wonderful and as much as I love it there, were so very hard. We were broke, on Welfare, and eventually declared bankruptcy just so we could survive. Those were dark years of waking up crying and going to bed crying. It truly is a wonder that Michael and I are still married after living with all that stress. But we prevailed. We have a small dome-home that Michael designed and built himself. We had enough stamina to pay off our land. It's now mine, and Mother Earth's of course.
But I got to thinking. And this was even before all those early morning 'thinks'. I've been thinking that I want a house. Nothing new to anyone in my family. I want a house with a dining room and a guest bedroom and room for 'my stuff'. I want to live with 'my stuff'. I want to have room for parties and host visiting artists or professors or whatever.
So I said what I had been thinking out loud over christmas.
"What if when we sell our house in Saratoga we do something like buy a property in Paducah, KY (I'll get to "Hello, why Paducah?!" in a minute) and live there in house that we can purchase outright with the money from the sale of the Saratoga house and build up Michael as an artist more before we head back to Lopez?"
I said it and to my shock everyone in the family thinks that it is a good idea.
Paducah, KY is a place that a fellow artist told us about last Fall. This town is offering artists the opportunity to buy buildings in what is called "Lowertown" and make them into artist studios, galleries, and homes. We could buy a 3000 sq. ft. brick Victorian for around $100,000. The program is called 'The Artist Relocation Program'. They offer 100% financing for the price of the building and any rehab that needs to be done. The offer $2,500 in architect fees. Paducah is 2 hours from Nashville and 2 1/2 hours from St. Louis. It's a good location for our business and travellig to art shows. It's right on the Ohio River and the it's a tourist stop for the river boats that cruise up and down. There is some big time quilt museum there. Maybe my dream house if there.
We are thinking that by moving to Paducah it will give us the time that we need to grow our ceramic business to the point that we don't have to travel to so many art shows. And that would make living on Lopez easier.
We are looking for a building that has enough room for a studio, a mother-in-law apartment for my mom, and some sort of cafe/cookie bar for Xan and I start to a business together. All in Paducah, Kentucky.
You say something out loud to the Universe and she takes it and runs. This idea has certainly snow-balled into a serious consideration.
In two weeks I am flying into Nashville with Michael and we are renting a car to drive to Paducah. We will be checking out the scene and seeing if we like it there.
Michael calls it "kicking the tires" and he is very clear that this is all my choice. He is quite clear that we ended in Saratoga because of his needs and now it is my turn to do something for my needs. I get to start the paragraph for this chapter.
Not move back to Lopez after dreaming of nothing else for 8 years?
Shit, what if I do find my dream house in Paducah, Kentucky?


chris said...

I'm just going to say this: It's the south. I live in the south and I really love the south. But I also don't have purple hair (although inside, I do). And I would hate for you to be unhappy. Because, you know, red state and all that.

Just a thought.

Annalise said...

I was wondering about the southern-ness thing too. But if you were part of a community of artists etc then you would be buffered from it, I guess? I like moving, though, (as you know) so I'm excited for you. Whatever happens, your trip to check the place out should be interesting!

Mary Thorsby said...

Paducah's LowerTown has all sorts of wonderful people! Please come and visit us! Until then, you can check out our online community calendar,, and also our blog,, which has links to many other fab bloggers! Monica rocks, by the way. You'll love it here! I moved here after 20 years in San Francisco and am smitten!

Deana said...

Wow, I just kind of happened along and found your blog!! I hope you will have a great visit to Paducah, and consider extremely carefully.
I moved to Paducah during high school, from Massachusetts, and stayed in the area for twenty years, so I got to see the 'renaissance.' Please, please talk with MANY of the other artists in the program, to be sure they got what they expected. Paducah is a very unique place, and the artists really give it a wonderful new energy, but it is still in many ways a quasi-Southern town--'us' and 'them.' If you decide it isn't your cup of tea, resale can be tough. Large employers are not moving in, unfortunately.

That being said, you will meet some wonderful people in Paducah. Be sure to find Sarah Roush---she has been a huge catalyst in the downtown revival. You can tell 'her' projects by the amazing handmade exterior tiles.

And, for goodness sakes, if you stay, DON'T RUN OVER THE QUILTERS. They take over EVERYTHING in April. I even had a gaggle of them wander into my wedding at St Francis de Sales several years ago.

I live in St Louis now. It is a good 3 hours, but that's just a nice day trip :)

Safe travels,


Jessica said...

We're glad you made the move! Every town is as good as good of an investment as you put into it yourself!