Sunday, January 27, 2008

Carry Me 'Way From Ole Virginny....

We did a little "we're moving" run to Delaware Friday and Saturday.

Aside from no sales tax on groceries and clothes, rock-bottom property taxes, sun, sand, water, blue crabs, great restaurants and funky one-of-a-kind shops, a big reason we want to live in Delaware is that it is not Virginia, or as some seem to prefer, "Vuhjinyuh." Yes, I was born in this state. It educated me and housed me as a child and I'm supposed to feel warm and fuzzy about it. But it's been dawning on me for a while now that this Commonwealth, whose capital, Richmond, served as the capital of the Confederacy, does not really seem to have changed much in attitude since the Civil War. In my own lifetime, the first example of this reluctance to try something new was the state-sanctioned "campaign of massive resistance" to school integration in the wake of the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. Flash forward: did you know that just last week the state legislature, here in the home of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, voted down a meaure that would have required a background check on customers at gun shows? And did you know that last year that same legislature passed some of the most restrictive "defense of marriage" laws in the country, threatening to endanger even the jerry-rigged legal protections people like Steve and I must cobble together? Including hospital visitation rights? It's going to take a Supreme Court test to try to have these laws overturned. That means some brave souls are going to have to spend their personal time and treasure to help the rest of us. God bless them. But sorry, life's too short and it just gets shorter. I'm not wanted here, and I've found the exit.

End of rant.

We had some extremely educational conversations with builders and bankers over the two days away. On the upside, we learned that financial arrangements such as construction loans are easily set up and easily paid. Timing will be delicate; that is something we will just have to play very carefully as events unfold. On the downside, we learned that the home design we had settled on really wasn't going to work unless we made some pretty sizable concessions. We have a relatively tiny (100 feet square) lot. We are first constrained by required setbacks from the water. A further consraint arises from the fact that there is no municipal water or sewer service where we are--these are handled by individual wells and septic systems. Our septic system has to be so many feet from neighboring septic systems and wells. It's all possible for us to do, but space is very tight. The design we came up with couldn't fit on the space we have. So we're looking at alternatives. During the long-running construction project we had here in this house, we learned we are both pretty flexible when faced with ultimatums. We can adapt. Good thing!

Of course, the huge unknown is Steve's job situation. We simply wait for June, anticipating the worst but hoping for the best. That will have a huge influence on where these "days of transition" are really headed.

It was wonderful being back after three months away. The roads are smaller and the fields wider. Snow geese by the thousands inhabit every square inch of what are corn and soybean fields in midsummer. The people at Lowes and even The Home Depot actually smile at you. The local NPR station cuts away from the regular news of war and racially tinged primaries to local happenings: a man in Lewes is being held for "shooting three cows to death." My condolences to the cows, of course, but wouldn't life be great lived permanently on that scale? With any luck, soon ours will be.


Cuidado said...

There's nothing like the rural life!

Ralph said...

Can't wait!

Ravel said...

Carry me Back to Ole Virginia, sang Marian Anderson. Anyway, that's the version I heard! :-)
And when I hear about the state of Virginia, I always think of Monticello, T.Jefferson's house. I wrote a story about it, while at university and dream to visit it since then... Sigh!
You'll probably have some obstacles to send away while preparing everything for the neuw house, but I believe you will ... conquer all of them!

Ralph said...

Bonjour, cher ami. Oh, there's still plenty of worthwhile history to see in these parts, and I try to tell myself that the people themselves are more decent than the yahoos who represent them in government. At least we can hope.

Come on down for a visit!