Pyramid Peak (thanks, Dave), taken from the kitchen window. The way life works puzzles me exceedingly. I have a couple of stories like this to share with you, one of them being how I met Mike and his kids (but I'm gonna sit on that one for a while...), but this one is of similar strange kismet, and I just can't believe this is how it happens.
When I first came to Aspen, I saw my life. I was sitting in my friend Megan's kitchen, and I looked out the window, and I saw a cabin on a bunch of open land, and a home. My things were there, it wasn't in town, it wasn't out in Basalt, it was close, but I couldn't tell where. There was water. There was peace. There was me, walking barefoot and sitting outside in long grass as the snow melted.
I kept hearing stories about people who had managed to get a great deal in a caretakers cottage, or something like that, and I thought, maybe, maybe I could get lucky enough to get a deal like that. Although I doubted it, and everyone was constantly telling me that you could live in Aspen for 20 years and never get a deal like that. They don't advertise them in the papers, they are word of mouth friends helping friends kinds of things.
I thought about the way that one of my friends lived in Aspen, in a shed behind a trailer with no running water about 30 minutes down valley, and he paid $700 a month to live there. That's Aspen.
And I was facing some unique obstacles here. Ideally, I wanted to be in or very close to town. I wanted to live in a place that would be appropriate for my kids to visit me in, even if they had to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags. I wanted to be near the elementary school, just in case they decided to come live with me starting at Christmas (which Ethan and Bodhi have both mentioned).
I had hoped to secure a place for about $700 a month, because money is so very very tight right now as all my cash is tied up in this house here in Bozeman, and we are trying not to sell it in this bad market, but hold on to it for a while until the market recovers.
So I didn't want to look in the paper, because I was finding things that were 12-1700 a month, or "live with six people and their blaring TV in a furnished dorm style apartment". Don't get me wrong. I was willing if that was the way it had to be. But in my heart I dreamed of a wood burning stove, some peace and quiet a place to recuperate from my three jobs, good friends, good food, no TV, cooking, music, massage...
People kept asking me if I'd found a place, and the answer was always no because I hadn't got my first, last and security together, and because I was waiting for one of my friends to call me and say, "hey, 89 year old so and so needs someone to live with her and start her car and make her breakfast, in exchange, you can live on her property..." or something ridiculous like that.
I knew it was a pipe dream, and my friend Cindy texted me telling me she had found some stuff in the paper in town at about $800/mo, and so I figured, well, Tom has applied for this small car loan (he's buying me out of my portion of the Suburban), so I'd better start looking.
I was also totally torn about whether I should stay in town for Halloween or not, I've never missed it, and its Bodhi's birthday, but the spas wanted me down there before ski season to train me... but I couldn't tell them exactly when I'd be there because I was a prisoner of my business (which I hadn't handed off yet) and my unsurity about funds for deposit...
It was a very circular and sickening thing. And then everything started falling in place. Aimee Higgens took my business. I cleared up some remaining bills I owed, and Cindy's text pushed me to look for listings. And I found about six that would work, all multiple room mate situations in small apartments, but three were right in town.
And then I found this one: (here)
Aspen - Maroon Crk Rd — 3127 Maroon Creek Rd
Monthly Rent: 900
Do you like to Garden, Cross Country ski out your door, live semi-remotely? Looking for a roommate who can appreciate sustainable living, nature at your doorstep (4 Wheel drive helpful) to share a spacious home with your own bath, W/D, amazing views, fireplace, 10 minutes from downtown (not on bus line). Someone interested in cultivating great communications and a healthy living environment. Available Nov.15 short or long term. Sorry no pets, lots of wildlife (If this sounds awesome, please call). Sorry not interested in huge TV watcher, music that's a different story. Room is afford-ably priced for the right person.
I sat there and looked at this listing. This was my home, I was sure of it in my bones. Its not in town, its about 10 minutes outside of town, and I had been SO insistent that I needed to be in town, but "4 wheel drive helpful) and no TV was soooo interesting, and a fireplace.. and views... and great communications...
So I called. Which is another new thing for me, because I prefer to communicate at first through email, I don't like talking on the phone very much. But there was only a phone number, so I called.
And the person's message (whew! I got a message!) was a massage therapist! Are you KIDDING ME? It turns out she's this girl.
And it turns out that this is a ranch on the road to the Maroon Bells, about five minutes from the elementary school. And it turns out that its on a ranch, this ranch, and that its a 2400 sq ft house that I'll split with this amazing and talented massage therapist who is really into music and good food.
For real, I'm not making this up. It turns out that she loves kids, that its okay if mine visit, that I can bring my easel, that I'm sharing the house, not just renting a room, and on and on...
For part two... stay tuned! "How's THAT gonna work?"