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?

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm thinking crepes for breakfast.

It is amazing how many things you can think about between the hours of 1am and 4am. I've has lots of early morning 'thinks' this week. Oh well, so much for the homeopathic jet-lag remedy. Xan was saying yesterday when everyone asks her about her trip to Paris she will look at them sleepy eyed and say, "(Yawn) Did I see Paris?"
I agree with Annalise, Paris is a beautiful city. I have been to many cities in my lifetime. London, Edinburgh, Cairo, Madrid, Malmo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle... It has struck me here that because the streets are narrow and curved I don't get the sense of being in a big place. It's not like being in New York where everything is set up like a grid and you can see all the way down Broadway or Fifth Avenue. The color of Paris is beige. All the building are built out ot beige stone. I was surprised by that. I don't know what I was expecting but I guess it wasn't beige. I was struck by how grey Madrid was when I was there. I was always struck by how 'tall' New York is when I lived there. I am struck by Paris' beigeness.
Yesterday we walked past the French Judicial building. I now know exactly what the US Supreme Court building was modelled after. The Supreme Court building is so lovely to me. I have been thinking about all of our great buildings in the US and where their influence comes from. I am walking around here thinking this and suddenly everything I see here I see imitated at home. When walking along the Seine, Xan and I comment that the building we see reminds us of this beautiful old Railroad building that is in Albany, NY. I was thinking that the Parliament (sp?) building in London is a very similiar landscape to this row of buildings that are near Notre Dame. I wonder what was built first? And both built right along the river.
For the past two days we have been over at Notre Dame. Not specifically to see the church (which we did) but to see first the flower market and then the exotic bird market. Notre Dame is a stunning piece of architecture. We walked around inside and out. Imagine being some pure shlub in the 1400's wandering around and you come upon something like Notre Dame. You live in a mud hut and here is this gargantuan monolithic structure full of sculptures and stain glass. Imagine seeing something like that for the first time and it is all built in the the name of a god. Well, The God. How many people got converted this way? I felt the same way when I went to Glastonbary Abbey in England. Oh the poor shlubs.
Today we are off the Louvre. Xan has a list of things we want to see so we will go on a 'treasure hunt'.
I'm thinking crepes for breakfast.