I was planning to recycle a post today since I really should be packing for our weekend staycation, or tackling Mount Laundry, or preparing for the meeting with our social worker tomorrow morning (regular post-adoption meeting, we're not in trouble or anything), or...well, you get the point: so much to do, so little time. This little thought keeps popping into my head though, and it's getting harder and harder to suppress.
I think I want to move.
Hi, I'm the Greenhabilitator and I'm addicted to moving.
Not the physical moving part - I'm not on crack - but the new home, new location part. This is the 6th place my husband and I have lived in this decade. Some people like a good wine, or appreciate fine art. We love a dump of a house with hidden potential. We move in, fix her up, and sell for a profit. Now, don't get me wrong, we won't be getting our own reality series any time soon. But we are certain that this is only way we might even come close to paying for college for our kids or retirement for ourselves.
At any rate, we moved from downtown Denver (our party-all-night, pre-marriage, pre-kids days) to an old Dutch style home just outside of downtown. It was still urban, people got shot on our corner on occasion, but we did have a yard with a garden. From there we moved to a similar fixer-upper a few blocks away and also flipped that for a decent sum.
Along came baby and we began changing our lifestyle (in so many ways!). We wanted to live simpler and greener. We wanted to get away from the city and strip malls and all that comes with that. I wanted a real garden, maybe a greenhouse, a place where the kids could run free and I could just yell outside to call them in for dinner. We were feeling adventurous so, when we stumbled across this place in the mountains with 3 acres of land, we jumped on it.
I have to say that I love this place. We see deer, foxes, bears, mountain lions, elk and more on a regular basis. My 4 year old can tell me which one has been in the yard by the tracks -- or poop -- he sees. He's learned about erosion and pine beetles and so much more.
I drive our snowy roads each day looking out at the snow-capped Rocky Mountains thinking "Wow, I live where most people just get to vacation!" Not that I'm living like a celebrity in Aspen or anything, but our little town is a great place to be.
The kids go to a school that is one of the top 3 in the state, and it shows by how much they're learning.
I work part time from home. I don't need to get all gussied up, buy "work clothes", or impress anyone when schlepping out the compost. I have time to can vegetables and jam and cook dinner for my family.
It really is a simple life and I'm loving it.
I'm struggling with the fact that this is not really an eco-friendly lifestyle. Simple, yes. Eco-friendly, no.
First of all, my husband has a 45 minute (each way) commute to work. Sure his car gets almost 30 mpg, but driving for an hour and a half each day is not a very green thing to do.
I take the kids to school each day because the bus doesn't come all the way out to our house. It's an 18 mile round trip, which I drive twice each day.
We only have a Walmart in our town. Don't get me started there. They actually make me bag my own groceries because they hate the reusable cloth bags. So we usually end up driving down the mountain once a week to escape the clutches of Walmart. That's a 45 mile round trip.
It's hard to find truly local food here. Our farmer's market really doesn't have much in the way of produce. I can go down the mountain (about 30 miles) to a better one, but how eco-friendly is driving like that?
Living so far out, we aren't serviced by Xcel Energy - the "real" power company here. Instead we belong to a co-op that is more expensive. Not to mention that our house is old and drafty and we only have electric, no gas. Our electric bill this month was over $650. (Energy audit scheduled for Monday though!)
So I finally checked out Green Metropolis from the library and am giving author David Owen the chance to convince me why we might need to move back to the city. If you're not familiar with the book, Owen's thoughts on rural living are a bit controversial...
"The author attacks the powerful anti-urban bias of American environmentalists like Michael Pollan and Amory Lovins, whose rurally situated, auto-dependent Rocky Mountain Institute he paints as an ecological disaster area. The environmental movement's disdain for cities and fetishization of open space, backyard compost heaps, locavorism and high-tech gadgetry like solar panels and triple-paned windows is, he warns, a formula for wasteful sprawl and green-washed consumerism. Owen's lucid, biting prose crackles with striking facts that yield paradigm-shifting insights. The result is a compelling analysis of the world's environmental predicament that upends orthodox opinion and points the way to practical solutions."If we moved back to civilization I think I'd miss my compost heap and greenhouse and wild animals and being able to take the kids on an exploration in our own backyard. Or I'd miss the thought of them.
Instead we'd strive for less food scraps and a small, indoor composter. We'd shop the good farmer's market instead of growing our own (which was all in theory last year anyway since our garden was a bust) and we'd explore the city instead of the forest. With all of the public transit we could even get rid of a car.
So that's where I am - right smack-dab in the middle, not leaning either way. Both lifestyles are appealing to me for very different reasons. I guess I'm just a girl in flux.