Location, Location, Location [Updated]

Somewhere south of Taos

I hung around last night for 15 minutes taking picures. Not another car came by.

Now what the hell does that mean? Different strokes for different folks, I’m sure. But how about Jupiter-in-the-sagebrush? Would that grab anyone? Well, yeah. Yet this is nothing whatsoever like what we think we’re looking for.

The house is like a little spaceship or survival capsule. There’s solar pre-heating for hot water and radiant floor heat. Warm as toast and energy efficient. Could be hot in summer. No damn place to store my junk or boxes of artifacts, either. I’d have to build a studio or garage. Totally crazy deal, but hard to let go of. It’s on a dead-end paved road close to town. There’s even a mailbox at the end of the driveway, just like God intended. It has a well. It isn’t falling down around itself.

Either salvation or my God, what have I done? Where are the goddamn trees? There isn’t any place to stick my freaking bike. We’d still need a storage unit or a couple of dead school buses. As soon as we bought this, we’d see a house with a garage come up for sale beside a stream with giant cottonwoods, you know we would. We’re still looking, but goddamn. When I drove out there last night, I didn’t want to come back. Someone else is “interested” in the place, of course. There’s always someone else.

Lunacy! Splendor! A deserted highway to go walking on! No place for all our stuff!

Stop me before I kill again, or toast us as we go completely mad.

UPDATE: Not going to happen. After all this enthusiasm, too! See my “Dear All” comment for particulars, as well as my replies to some of your comments.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Marti Fenton January 2, 2014, 11:37 AM

    It looks good. Radiant Floor heat is wonderful. I have it on our Habitat for Humanity House near the bypass. That is another option you might consider. I don’t know if your income is low enough but with 600 hours of labor you can get a house wholesale. I was single when I got on the program and also the oldest person in the program. I didn’t think I had a chance but to my amazement they took me on. Downsides are that you can’t choose where the house will be built, and its a lot of work.

  • nan fischer January 2, 2014, 11:58 AM

    Just do it!! Put an offer in. My house was NOTHING like what I wanted, but it’s the one that came through after three years of on-and-off looking. I have met wonderful people through this house – the previous owner, people who have worked on it, people who showed it when I was trying to sell a couple years ago, neighbors, and on and on. You never know what’s in store….

    You can get one of those sheds that are south of Ace, or someone can build one cheap. Trade maybe? Part trade? Get that creative brain workin’.

    If it’s truly facing south, you won’t have sun in summer. Overheating will not be a problem. Do it, do it do it!!! 🙂

  • christian ienni January 2, 2014, 2:15 PM

    ok, now that i see the place… c’mon, man!!!! it’s like the perfect place has just DROPPED RIGHT IN YOUR LAP! yeah, there may be something “better”/what you “thought” you wanted down the line (“the grass is always greener” and all that bullshit), but again, c’mon man!!!! it’s RIGHT THERE! saying “hey! check this out! neat, huh?”
    there was an episode of Doctor Who a while back, where the soul of his TARDIS (the time machine/spaceship he travels in) is transferred to a woman, so he’s able for once to actually talk to it. he complains that she never takes him where he wants to go. she says, “But I always take you where you NEED to go.”
    yeah, this may not be the “perfect” place you “want”, but (at least to me) it looks like the Perfect place you Need!

    but again, that’s just, y’know, like, uh, my opinion, man… 🙂

  • christian ienni January 2, 2014, 3:23 PM

    2 more bits – first, that whole “as soon as we get this an even more perfect place will appear a month later” thinking is nothing but the kind of self-defeating rationalization that keeps one stuck and prevents them from getting on with the rest of their life. second, there’s something to be said for the fact that EVERYONE commenting is encouraging you to go for it! there isn’t a single person saying “yeah, you’re right, it’s not exactly what you think you want so don’t do it.”

  • Robbo January 2, 2014, 4:19 PM

    Doesn’t look so small to me. Seize the day!

  • christian ienni January 2, 2014, 6:10 PM

    see? Robbo agrees too!

  • Frank Powell January 2, 2014, 9:09 PM

    The house did not present it self to you until “you” were ready !
    You are now ready. Go forth and live.

  • JHF January 2, 2014, 9:14 PM

    Baby grand piano. Um.

  • Marti Fenton January 3, 2014, 12:15 AM

    I’m with the person who suggested getting one of those prefab sheds, and what’s wrong with a baby grand in the living room. Had a bigger one in the living room for years in Denver. I think you’re just afraid it’s the real thing.

  • Robbo January 3, 2014, 12:57 AM

    Um… a legit WC with working septic system (I assume, since it’s not among the negatives) *and* a baby grand piano.

  • Robbo January 3, 2014, 1:14 AM

    There’s never enough space for “all the stuff.” — my personal motto 😉

  • JHF January 3, 2014, 9:37 AM

    Dear All:

    I haven’t even mentioned the other piano, a studio upright. Non-musicians tend to think of pianos as furniture, anyway, but that would be wrong. And pianists don’t always just play by themselves. You need a certain amount of space. The living room in that house is only 15 feet wide. The piano is six feet long and maybe five feet wide. Put a sofa in there, never mind the other piano, and you’ve got problems. This is a little house with small rooms, originally built for a single person. It has never been occupied by a couple and wasn’t designed for two. Just putting my wife and I in there without the pianos would be dicey. Obviously I’d love to do this, somehow. But not every perfect location is the right spot.

    I very much appreciate the enthusiasm and positive wishes everyone has expressed. I felt the same way when I wrote this post. It’s just a very hard nut to crack.

    • christian ienni January 3, 2014, 1:49 PM

      ah. makes sense now. it would be a step up from where you are, but just not enough of one, especially for both of you + pianos + everything else. still, should give you hope for the new year; the possibilities are out there somewhere, and things seems to be kinda starting to actually happen. harness the enthusiasm this generated and work like hell to find the *really* right place for you two!
      (ps- only 2 pianos? 😉 heh, i only have the one (my dad’s 1923 Steinway baby grand), but also over 2 dozen synthesizers & associated electronics + the computers, etc… they’ve actually spilled out of the “studio” and into the living room!)

    • Mary January 4, 2014, 9:41 AM

      Makes sense to me. We tend to be able to do without as much space as we think we need, but in this case I definitely see your point. And truthfully, I worried about your cat when I saw the location. I knew someone who rented a house out in that area a few years ago. She moved in with her 2 big dogs and a couple of cats. The outcome was very poor for the cats…many coyotes and the landscape makes it hard to see them…and no trees for a cat to run up. Cats out there need to be indoor only.

      • JHF January 4, 2014, 11:22 AM

        I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades. Back in MD, I had a garage, basement, and a separate studio full of tools of all kinds. I made all sorts of things: welded steel sculptures, garden fences, windowsills, anything at all. I enjoyed that. For almost 15 years now, I haven’t been able to build anything. It hurts. Not even talking about my wife’s needs here, you understand: mine. Finding a niche here in Taos has been pure hell because everything is so expensive and even when you find something, it has so much less than what one could buy elsewhere. But it’s not impossible to find something, just very frustrating. And now we’re seriously looking, which should make a difference.

        Last spring we nearly made an offer on a very affordable house in town that had a garage and workshop BIGGER THAN THAT HOUSE in the sagebrush! I could have revived all of my past pursuits. The house itself was a warren of small rooms because the owners raised four kids there and kept adding on. Other than the newest portion, it was a mess, but a charming mess. No place for the wife’s pianos, of course, so we let it go. It never occurred to me to attempt to redo the interior, knock down some walls, etc. But next time, I’ll bring in someone who’s savvy and can show me what can be done.

  • Citizen AllenM January 3, 2014, 8:10 PM

    Just let roll off of you- of course you could just build her a performance pavilion with no heat or light, just a box with some big sliding doors opening out to your field…

    Kick this for the old days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXyouvSB0gE

    • JHF January 3, 2014, 8:19 PM

      Never mind the house, just move on, you mean? Love those Texas Tornados, thanks.

  • Citizen AllenM January 3, 2014, 9:26 PM

    Just buy it if most of works for you.

    Then just build a 20×20 adobe shed with a fireplace in the corner and three sliding glass doors on the south side.

    Without water and power, the cost is actually pretty low, and you can turn it into a garage or office when you want to sell.

    Cheap space, nothing more.

    • JHF January 3, 2014, 9:55 PM

      Right, comprendo. Sounds good. Problem is still the house itself with insufficient space for both pianos. We’ll see.

  • Rita January 3, 2014, 11:40 PM

    I wonder if the living room could be extended.

    • JHF January 4, 2014, 7:38 AM

      Hi Rita! I suppose anything can be done with enough money. Citizen AllenM’s suggestion to build an adobe storage building, for instance. A fine manly suggestion, that. But if I had the dough to build something else or add onto the house, I could find a better house to start with.

      This place is just too small. It feels cramped. When I first saw it, that was my impression. Too small for me, never mind the other business. You were the one who said we needed “an awesome space” for my wife’s piano. That’s true. I’m going through hell here, because I wanted it to work. Maybe another look will reveal a solution. But maybe trees would be good, too.

      To put it another way: the way I feel this morning, buying that house equals giving up. You wouldn’t think so to read the other comments here, but that’s what it is: giving up! Making do with less than what we need and want, and spending everything we have to do so. I know the location is stupendous, but the limitations of the house would be a constant aggravation. We’re scheduled to have another look, but if I feel good enough about myself, I’ll cancel. 🙂

  • Rita January 4, 2014, 10:44 AM

    Thom Hartman’s books on ADD have changed my self-opinion about searching for things. He makes the case for ADD people being hunter gatherers and The Others being farmers – the split happening at the dawn of agriculture.

    I have anxiety about picking something because I love the chase and then it will be over. I am not saying this is you, but I just thought of it and wanted to share because it has helped me, although it isn’t helping me now decide between a conversion van, cargo van, small rv or apartment.

    I put in an application for an apartment yesterday (old house with garden – tiny) and now I am scared I will get it and Fukushima will blow up and I will be stuck here. But mobile living makes me fat. Argh!

  • Rita January 4, 2014, 11:45 AM

    Oh. I just read your post that I had somehow missed about needing to do your art. Your crap is your tools and materials. That is totally different. That is not crap. Follow your intuition. It does sound like space is the number one priority here. And I agree about needing trees.

    • JHF January 4, 2014, 1:17 PM

      I told myself when we moved here that I didn’t need my tools (and got rid of most of them), that I would get new ones or just be a writer and not need tools. Depriving myself so I could concentrate on what I “should” be doing.

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