I had the hardest time sleeping on the flight to Mobile – my mind was racing. The excitement of seeing the house for the first time was overwhelming. My closing was delayed (seriously it takes two weeks to prepare a deed?), I couldn’t get an inspection done and my realtor just had surgery so I was kind of on-my-own dealing with the seller. There were still so many unknowns and I had no idea if I was going to be able to figure it all out.
Mobile has a very tiny airport, my bag was already waiting for me when I got to the rental car kiosk. The super friendly clerk offered me a free upgrade to an SUV! (Little did I know how much I was going to need that later while Car Camping!) Everything is going smoothly and my excitement for starting my new life-aligning adventure is growing.
My adventure boots are on, the temperature is perfect. The drive from the airport took me through back country. Beautiful farms, quaint towns, friendly people. I meandered and got lost a few times (mostly on purpose) checking out all the things to see. Only problem so far is that my phone wont hold any battery charge and the closer I get to my destination, the less phone signal I have.
I finally locate Zirlott Rd and drive down. I recognize the house instantly. I pull into the round about drive way and unplug my phone to take pictures and step out of the car. My phone gives an immediate low battery warning forcing me to give up photo efforts and put it away. It is muggier than I expected. Everyone knows how much I like humidity, but this feels like a swimming pool and it’s kind of stinky.
I step off the driveway into the front yard and Life pressed the “PAUSE” button.
My feet sank into two inches of water. I move towards what appears to be higher ground only to discover that mother nature is tricky – the water plants are higher because there is more water underneath them! I sludge my way to the front of the house and start walking around back… the whole place is literally a swamp. The unfinished addition has rotting plywood and tarps on it. A gecko sunning in the window notices me and slides through the window frame into the house. Interesting – looks like there might be some issues. I look for the septic system (there are no sewers in Coden) and can’t locate it. Instead, I notice a 4″ PVC pipe running from the back of the house out about 100 feet into the marsh and realize it is the main water drain for the house. BAD SIGN, very bad sign. All house waste basically runs right into the back yard.
I hit full panic mode. I am so ill-equipped for this. I pull all of my tricks out of the bag. BREATHE, stay centered, stay curious, ask questions, don’t make assumptions. I turn to the house and ask “Do you want me to live here”. I feel an immediate sting on my right shoulder, look up, and see five or six Jurassic size mosquitos hovering. I swat at them but they are relentless. I move towards the front of the house, all the way back to the rental car and then they finally let me be. Guess I got my answer.
My curiosity (and need to give my adventure boots some stories) gets the better of me and I head towards the old building to the side of the lot. There are spots where the whole top of my boot is covered in water. I get to a random piece of something large flat and plastic. I give it a push with my boot to see if I can stand on it or if I will have to walk around it. My breath leaves me as I realize it is a home for a family of water snakes. My kick startles them and they glide past my feet, slithering their irritated tongues at me. Seriously, thank God for adventure boots.
The old building is huge. Probably 200 feet long with a cinderblock center, concrete pad floor and tractor-trailer size doors that are wide open. The roof has giant holes in it so there is tons of light. I find it packed floor to ceiling with garbage. Old moldy mattresses, back and front seats of cars, LOTS of beer bottles, broken electronics, broken kids toys, food wrappers (EWWW, who was eating out here?!).
I Monty Python it back to the car (trudge, trudge, languish, languish). I can’t make myself turn the ignition. What just happened??? Is this really what life has planned for me? My phone has no signal so I can’t even call anyone to try and talk it through. How did everything come together so perfectly just to end up like this?? I am confused, disappointed, angry, and exhausted.
I didn’t cry. I thought about it. I was so sad. Now what? Damn Universe (I flipped from sad to mad REALLY fast). My brother’s voice appeared in my head. “Anger is just a mask for fear”. To distract myself I decided to play the what-am-i-really-feeling game. Answer? – scared shitless. That was it in a nut shell. I didn’t have a back-up plan; hell I didn’t even have a plan to have a back-up plan for. What made me think I could do any of this? There I go yet again; dreaming my way through life. Oblivious to the reality that everyone (else) is subject to. Stupid, stupid, stupid. That’s it. I am going back to Utah, calling Kime for a job, and buying a house in Sandy. Nice, safe, predictable, smart.
My next thought is holy-shit, THANK YOU UNIVERSE!! Thank you so much for delaying my closing so that I got to see this place first. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Gratitude definitely feels better than the yuck I was sitting it.
So, now that the pause button has been pushed, I am back to square one. Oh well – trip is paid for, might as well get some beach time in.