“I hate moving,” is something I’ve said with consistency throughout my adult life. And it’s something most people agree with. I pride myself on rarely doing things I don’t like to do. So for somebody who doesn’t like moving, I sure have been doing a lot of it over the last few years. Encouraged by the doubling of my household size (thanks, Chloe!), I moved out of my Cap Hill bachelor pad in Denver after over six years of comfortable tenancy. Then Chloe and I lived in our Baker duplex a little over a year before hitting the road and living out of a tent and guest houses for two months. When we got back to Colorado, we shacked up with our dear friend Shauna for a while and after Chloe left for Virginia I stayed with my parents for a few days before taking off across the country toward Roanoke. We’ve lived in Chloe’s parents’ basement for about 10 months as we get settled in this new community which has embraced us so enthusiastically.
We’re gearing up for one more move this week; hopefully the last one for a while. We’ve found a modest house in SE Roanoke with a big yard that we’ll share with my brother. And while I still stand by my disdain for the chores of moving house, I am really excited for this one.
One reason I’m so pumped about our new digs is the house itself. It’s a freshly remodeled two-story house that was built in 1910. Any house that age comes with ample amounts of character and quirks. Part of the remodel at our new house includes central air and a brand new gas stove in an expansive kitchen. As a bunch of foodies, we’ll enjoy the ample counter space and the flexibility that comes with cooking on an open flame. We’ll have a large covered deck in the front of the house, and an even larger deck in the backyard. So many cups of tea will be had on rocking chairs as we watch the lack of traffic roll by.
Another reason I’m so titillated about this move is the affordability of rent in Roanoke compared to Denver. I can’t help but feel like we got out of Denver when the getting was good. Compared to our Baker duplex, which was admittedly adorable, we’re adding 300 square feet and one roommate while reducing our total rent by over 1/3! To all my Colorado friends and family, it’s not fair that the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is more than 50% the average income in your city. RESIST! The way I decided to resist? I moved…
The location of our new home also pleases me. It’s about 10 minutes driving from where we live now, which will remain the hub of Garden Variety Harvests. We remain in the southeast quadrant of town, which is becoming the unofficial home of GVH. We’re a quick, straight shot away from downtown Roanoke on a bike or in a car. More specifically, the new place is directly across the street from one of the LEAP Mobile Market stops, where many of the fruits and vegetables coming from the farm are being sold! We’ll look out our back window at Fallon Park, with its softball field, basketball and tennis courts and greenway trailhead access. I’m already dreaming of joining a softball team and hitting home runs into my own yard!
Of course, the make-or-break question during our housing search was very simple: “Can I grow vegetables in the yard? And yes, I mean the whole yard.” The answers to this question were unsurprisingly unfriendly in many cases. I’ll never understand people’s attachment to grass; I obviously look at this issue through a different lens than the masses. But as I’m working to change your lens, I’m glad to have a landlord who said as long as I am alright with reseeding the yard with grass upon our leaving the home, I can do whatever temporary gardening in the space I’d like. And if I’m lucky enough to find that the next tenant would like to keep the garden (and really, who wouldn’t want to eat their yard?), then I won’t even be required to take it out. The new house also includes a spacious storage shed and a massive back deck which will soon house a cooler for veggies coming out of the home plot.
Finally, I’m most excited about the co-tenants I’m moving in with! The love of my life, Chloe Johnson, will share the master bedroom with me. And my brother Aaron will be right across the hall. It’s been over a decade since Aaron and I have lived under the same roof, and I think the timing is great for us to shack up again. The cheap labor Aaron will provide will be great for the business. But more importantly, I’ll have someone to share the couch with while watching the Dallas Cowboys. And that someone will understand completely my downright silly passion for seeing the guys in blue and silver be victorious.
My list of wants and demands was crazy long in this housing search. Looking for a home that doubles as a vegetable growing space is not easy as a renter. But I just feel so very fortunate that we’ve lucked into this new spot, and to be sharing it with my two favorite people in the world is a dream come true. Yes, moving is a lot of work, but it becomes so much easier when you are truly elated about the space that you’re going to and all that it represents.