After having a plumber in just a couple of weeks ago. The toilet is now not flushing properly. It’s draining down all right, but the water is not flowing into the bowl except in a trickle, with not enough force to flush. Strangely, while the toilet is not backing up the tub and sink drains are slooowww. I think the entire plumbing system needs to be ripped out from the connection to the city mains to the faucet. More and more problems are surfacing and the cost of bringing the house up to a saleable state is escalating. And the repairs are the invisible ones buyers don’t think about like the plumbing and electrics. More than one person in the real estate industry has told me people care more about appearance than anything else. This is why there are hundred of houses all over the country, very expensive houses, with heating systems that cost a fortune to run, plumbing with serious issues and walls built of toxic Chinese drywall. A realtor I knew in California told me she never wanted someone like me as a client when she found out I studied civil engineering for two years. Even though the cost of relocation is high, the cost of staying doesn’t add up. And there are other factors.
I have checked with friends. Service businesses like computer and auto repair are open on Saturday in Washington. Once outside the ring of counties bordering Washington DC that’s not true here. I am sure the work ethic has deteriorated in many parts of Washington as it has all over the United States but at least businesses serving people act like they might have a regular job and need to come on Saturday. I can’t find decent office services, either.
Then there are lifestyle considerations. In Virginia there are so called mountains. I don’t consider anything a mountain without year round snow at the top, although I make exception for places like Kilimanjaro, an equatorial mountain robbed of it’s famous snows by global warming. After all, it hasn’t shrunk. But as someone who used to ski and rock climb I miss views like the one at left. Looking at all that rock makes my palms tingle.
There is another kind of view I miss. I used to live on the California coast in Monterey and Santa Cruz. Virginia has coastline but nothing like that. Washington, however has some really impressive “Mountains meet the Sea” shoreline. I guess that is the real thing I miss. The ocean, the sound of foghorns and surf, the smell of salt water and the seaweed and lovely, cool fog, kind to my skin and my plants. I feel even after all this time Virginia is a foreign country. The only time I come close to feeling at home is when I run into one of my former students and have tea or a snack with them when I make one of my runs up to the city to get the Indian,Chinese and Korean groceries I need.
Even sitting here on a Friday night wanting to have a place to go I am vexed, There are only a couple of places and even if I drag myself out I will sit watching the inevitable television. There is no one to go with me and no one to interact with if I go. No matter where I have gone in Virginia people are not sociable. When I lived close to the city I spent most of my time in the Korean community. Koreans are very social. I spent a lot of time going back to visit friends in Maryland. Now the drive is too long for that. This is the first time in my life I have had a social circle of zero. I made friends in San Antonio when I was only there for basic training and barely got off base at all. I find it strange.
Years ago I might have said it was on to me and felt terrible. I am older and wiser. It’s not just the problem house that makes life awkward here. It’s just about fit and culture. This is not my culture and I don’t fit. Many people, even incomers are happy here. I am not, in great part because I long for what is missing. A siren song is growing louder and stronger, calling me back, back to the big ocean, the big mountains and the big trees, I want to go home. Any other alternative just doesn’t add up.