Second Thoughts: Milagro Ranch, You're So Mean.

(At the Long Beach Aquarium with my mommy group)

Life looks peachy, right? Time spent away from home has been peachy. Noah and I have been making tons of new mama and baby friends in our new hood thanks to the mommy group that I started here called the "Malibu Mamas". Since I last wrote, we have been flipping our fins at swim lessons, tank-gazing at the Aquarium of the Pacific and produce picking and farm animal petting at a local family pick-your-own. With Daddy, we have been attending storytime on the Bluffs and two weekend concerts (one was apparently with an all-star in the family indie music scene--I didn't know that there was a "family indie music scene"--go figure).

But at home, well, home is another story all together. Our efforts at varmint proofing our garden have been in vain. It turns out that it was squirrels, not rabbits, decimating every speck of green above our $100 worth of organic dirt (and free horse manure). We've spent well over $500 now on this garden bed from hell and well, while we are not ones to give in and give up easily, we're ready to throw in the shovel. The garden, you see, is very telling of our time here on Milagro Ranch here so far. We've sunk dollars and time into making it a home but nature just won't allow us to settle in. Despite our sage smudging ceremony, performed by Chieftain Dean on Saturday, we found a tarantula upon waking Sunday morning. Luckily, the cats got to it before it found its way to us as vulnerable and easy prey in our slumber.

Perhaps Dean and I had far too romantic notions about living remotely, rurally, down a dirt road in a desert canyon, with rattlesnakes, scorpions, rats, centipedes and now our newest dear friend, tarantula, to fight over territory with. Aside from the creepy critters, everything has been and continues to be a chore. From driving the garbage and recycling down the mile long dirt road to keeping the brick patio surrounded by dirt swept clean to washing clothes in outdoor machines to rat and bug roofing to waiting for the septic to be fixed to sleeping with the lights on to ensuring the pipes that empty all of our used water (except for the toilet, of course) out onto the property are kept clear of weeds and animals to to to . . . it all sounds petty, I know. But this is only the half of it. When it's all piled up on the dark purple carpet thrown in there with our recent kitchen ant infestation, it just amounts to being too much for this mama and family to handle. We spend much of our time working, working to keep things status quo here at the Ranch at the sacrifice of real, enjoyable, relaxing moments together as a family. Really, Dean works 60 hours a week every single week--is cleaning rat poop from the brick ledge and walking the dead rat that we trapped under the car the prior night out to the field to dump its lifeless body really worth it?

We are asking ourselves that very question. Today, tonight, now. We are seriously throwing around the idea of moving. Yes, I know it's crazy. But what's more crazy? Waking up with a tarantula at your toes or admitting to yourself that the suburbs aren't so bad after all. Seriously, I, who would never even look twice at an apartment complex without losing my lunch is currently finding the convenience and safety of a gated complex with a pool and fitness center a droolingly appealing option. I know, I know--the desperation is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

We have been humbled by Milagro Ranch--we are no longer the city snobs we once were. And we were before Noah, I admit it. But we have a year or less before Beck finishes working on his latest album and Dean is able to move on. And then we can move on--away from L.A. after 10 years and hopefully north--into the comfortable embrace of a cozy craftsman in green, clean, Portland. What to do until then is the question that will keep me up tonight--that and my incurable phobia of all things that move in the night.

We have two appointments tomorrow to look at places just over the hill from here--the valley, yes, the valley. We'll still be only 16 miles from Malibu--the beach--the bugs--but 100 leaps closer to keeping our sanity. Who knows, maybe we'll tour some drab, mini-blinded, generic box and go running back to the ranch faster than a vulture can sniff out roadkill.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Oh sweetie, I hear ya. Every time we move I float the idea, "Wouldn't it be great to live somewhere with central air and a pool? Where someone else mows the lawn and pulls weeds?" We haven't managed it yet, but I just want to affirm that a little comfort is NOT a bad thing (and we don't even have deadly/hairy/bitey things dropping on our heads and crawling in our beds). It's a lot of work living in these funky old places even when it's just the dust and lack of insulation to contend with.

Also, us city mamas miss you! The valley gets a bad rap but I lived quite cozily over there for years. I'm so sorry that this hasn't been the idyll you were hoping for but I am eagerly anticipating the sweet, light & bright, two or three-bedroom house in move-in condition you will surely be occupying before long! May it have wood floors, weather stripping, and a distinct lack of critters!

Thinking of you with love, Joni. Please let me know if the Pasadena contingent can be of any assistance!



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