Thursday, April 26, 2012

Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

Since I started this blog, people have been asking us various questions about what we are expecting on our new adventure. I have compiled a list of the ones we have heard most often:

Are you selling your current house?
No, for now our off-grid property is our second home. Our plans are to go down for about a week when we close on the property to do some initial work and make the house not look so 'abandoned', then go down again the last part of June and stay a few weeks. Then, hopefully one more time in early fall before our annual Turkey Palooza celebration with the kids, followed by a 'snowbird exodus' starting the first part of December. But wait, that is assuming we close before then.
Which leads to my next question...

Do you have a closing date yet?
The answer to that one is still no. Emails keep going up and down the chain of those involved - from our realtor to the listing realtor, to the bank, to the title company and back down. Based on the last one we received, it seems everyone believes the paperwork is done, but NO ONE knows where that paperwork is.
Which leads to the next question...

Are you getting worried yet?
The answer to that one is also no. We have talked to several people who know of someone that has purchased foreclosed property and they all say it was a very long process. Also, Alan and I always approach big decisions by praying that they will only happen if they are not against God's will. So, the fact that we are ready to pay cash, the banks wants it sold, it is a terrific price make it all a 'go'. This delayed paperwork is our 'fleece', if that stops the sale, we know that is not the property for us. Having the long wait time has allowed us to think about timelines, plans, various options, etc. Alan has been spending a lot of time researching internet options and also coming up with a security solution that will work with a single solar panel. Since the house has been broken into once, we do have some worries about security while we are not there. This extended delay has given us more time to research various options and experiment with some of them. The details will be another blog. Gee, so far all the answers to questions have been 'no' and I want to answer 'yes' to the next one.
Which leads to the next question...

Will you have a toilet?
YES!!!! I was excited when I saw the bathroom & toilet. When we first started looking for property online, our focus was on property with plans of parking an RV on it. Then we saw some properties with rustic buildings (no bathrooms) that could also be a possibility. At that point, I resigned myself to the fact that we would either be dumping the holding tank on the RV periodically, investing in an expensive and not very attractive composting toilet, or using the ever 'popular' 5 gallon bucket with a toilet seat for a while. So yes, I am excited about a toilet and a septic system (we still need to test that). The bathroom is at the back of the house which is at the bottom of a steep hill, so the last time we stopped there before coming home in March, I checked out the lay of the land behind the house and it seems like we will be able to catch rain water in a storage tank that will then gravity feed the toilet. Alan has also been working on some interesting ideas for hot water for showers without a typical water heater.
Which leads to the next question...

You're not going to have electricity?
Yes, we are going to have electricity. Wow, two 'yes' answers in a row, we're on a roll. We are NOT going to have an electric bill as we will not be connecting the house to the electric pole. We will be generating our own electricity, mainly from solar power, but also possibly using micro-hydro and/or TEG panels. Oh boy, yet another future blog topic. With out possible security issues, we do not want to set up a lot of equipment during our first week long stay and then leave it unattended. So we will be getting accustomed to a juggling act of what powered devices we can use on our limited power supplies. We plan on leaving one solar panel set up when we leave to run the security system we are creating during this 'convenient' wait time. Being in such a remote area can either be thought of as a positive or a negative when it comes to security. On one hand, very few people travel on our little dirt road, so chance of vandals coming down it is remote. On the other hand, very few people travel down our little dirt road, so anyone with thoughts of vandalism knows they probably would not be seen by anyone.
Which leads to the next question...

How far are you from civilization?
We are located on a dirt road and have to drive several miles in either direction before we hit pavement. When there are no leaves on the trees, we can look across the ravine and see one neighbor's house. Across the road and down 'a ways' is a little house/cabin that looks to be used sporadically. On the other hand, we are about 20 minutes from a decent grocery store, and more importantly a hardware store. We are also about 35 minuted from 'major civilization'. Mall, restaurants, movies, and important stuff like Chinese food and fro-yo. In this picture of our road, you are seeing it at its best. Just a short way in either direction and it becomes MUCH rougher.

Well, writing has helped me feel like we are making some progress. I needed an 'off-grid fix' since I have spent several days away from the topic while I have been working on a large programming project for my business.
Which leads to one more question I have been asked...

What about your business?
My business will still be in operation, we are just opening a new location :-). One great thing about my business, I can program from anywhere at any time. OK, the at any time may not be a great thing, I was up until 4 AM the other night to meet a deadline because I sometimes procrastinate or underestimate how much time is still needed to complete a project before a deadline. The only drawback of operating my own business over the past 6 1/2 years is that we have been tied to our current home area as that is where my server farm is located. We have occasionally taken the risk to travel further than a few hours away, but there is always the worry that one of the servers will develop 'issues' that can not be handled remotely and we would need to get to it ASAP. Part of our planning for moving off-grid was to make some changes to the server platforms so that we are no longer tied to a physical location. By setting up virtual servers with a larger server farm, we are eliminating our need to maintain our own server hardware. Mmmmm, hardware.... I think I need to go to Ace. I can stop any time, really.

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