Home Is Where the Cart Is

by Ashley Weeks Cart

On Saturday, we will become fulltime residents of Vermont.

During the past four weeks of home ownership, we’ve torn out cabinets. Ripped down a wall. Demolished some tile. Removed a toilet. Repurposed a cabinet as a sink vanity. Laid down a hot pink floor. Reinstalled a toilet. Reconstructed a wall. Repainted the entire downstairs living rooms. And, thanks to the urgings of those with better judgement and sense than us, paid someone to remove a very large tree dangling precariously over some power lines and Addison’s new bedroom.

If left to our own devices, James may very well have turned into the Wicked Witch of the East. Flattened by the offending tree in a brazen effort to DIY Tree Removal.

Home ownership suits us (and our idiotic DIY impulses) quite well.

We may bring the house down in the process, but we’ll blame YouTube. This haven of all things Home Renovation has become our primary source of education and know how. I now feel fully prepared to repair a flange and install a wax ring before reconnecting the toilet.

Words I never thought I’d utter, let alone perform. And yet, here is evidence of said flange/wax ring/toilet reinstall.

Please note how smashingly James’ complexion compliments the new floor.

So how did this all happen? How, mere days after declaring a year sans pomp or circumstance, did we lay eyes on this little Vermont farm and fall stupidly, joyously, irrevocably in love?

For this I blame my little sister. She was an easy target in childhood, so why not now, as a grown adult? She’s the reason I have a tattoo and a soft spot for setting the table. And now she’s the reason I own a house.

In fact, she is often my reason. The rational calm to my lack of impulse control. The quiet ying to my booming yang.

I think I’ll keep her around….

On the heels of the holiday season and this post, Kimmy forwarded me an email from her lab partner on Cape Cod regarding a home for sale in Pownal, Vermont, the neighboring VT town to Williamstown. The sellers were dear friends of her lab mate and were circulating a flyer about their home in the hopes of a private sale. Kimmy said that the house looked adorable. The description lovely. She had to pass the information our way.

James and I thought, “What’s the harm?” It never hurts to look around, as ONE DAY, we’ll want to own our own home. And it sounded like this couple was worth getting to know given that we live in such a small, tight knit community. It didn’t hurt that anytime we mentioned their name, people would declare, “Oh I LOVE Jackie and Tim!”

I made the phone call, and a day or two later we were touring the house. The whole drive out (and by WHOLE DRIVE OUT, I mean the 10 minute ride four miles north), I bemoaned the commute declaring that I would never EVER be up for this ride every day. Dirt roads? So not my thing. Sure, we could look, but man, never ever ever.

HA! Ha, ha, ha.

Because then we arrived.

To this adorable home surrounded by garden boxes and mountain views…

To this swing set that is the stuff of preschool dreams. And to those chickens free ranging…

To this babbling stream that you can hear running from just about anywhere on the property. For a girl who grew up by the sea and is now committed to living in a land locked mountain valley, this is worth gold…

To this barn…

The barn we’d always dreamed about having, complete with wood shop for James, craft room and photo studio for moi, and chicken coop and livestock stalls for my collection of additional dependents. Sheep for my knitting problem hobby. And Momar is making claims of pony gifting. My girls may be THOSE girls. Pony girls.

And this view…

It was at this very spot that James and I paused. Turned to each other. And in a moment of total clarity and mutual understanding said, “Shit.”

Shit indeed.

There was no unseeing what we had just seen.

The whole thing. Our dogs. Our girls. Here. In this place. Our family. Fulfilling all the dreams that we had dared whisper when envisioning a life together. Curled up in flannel sheets as two stupid college kids, making plans to move back to this place where we had fallen in love so that our children could grow up surrounded by its majesty. With views. And land. And babbling brooks. And towering sun flowers. And hills for sledding. And fruit trees. And barns. And muddy boots. And dirty finger nails. And a sky filled with stars. And noisy frogs. And chirping birds. And peace.

A safe harbor. In the mountains.

And here it was. Right in front of us. All we had to do was figure out how to make it happen.

And so we did.

And we’re finally ready to move in and truly call her our own.

Cartwheel Farm.

We’re home.