1994-Today :: Big Rock Road in Duvall, Washington.
Big Rock – a home for generations. Four in fact. My parents. Kathy and I. Our children, and now our grandchildren. This chapter in our grand adventure has been epic, and our house has been up to the challenge the whole way through. For over 20 years it has fulfilled our wishes and faithfully met our needs, and we expect that it can continue to do so for many years to come.
Finding our Big Rock house was simply fortuitous happenstance, or maybe fate, similar to finding Beaverbrook. We almost stumbled into it. Moving from California to Washington state we didn’t know the area at all. Recommendations from friends should have kept us in other communities altogether, but our natural tendency to venture beyond typical boundaries brought us to Duvall where we happened to hear of a particular house. With some effort the house was found, and instantly recognized as the house for us. While rough in some ways, it was the right size, it actually shared a fence with the local elementary school, and it had great potential to meet future needs. In addition, since we had not yet sold Coolcrest, the house was available to rent for the first year. Perfect.
Our new home quickly became the center of our universe. The children walked through a trail to their new school. Kathy volunteered and worked at the school as well. And I was working at home, now a software engineer, in an office I quickly built in the extra garage. (Thank you, Universe, for my extra garage.) Initially leaving all our family in California, within a couple years Kathy and I convinced my parents to move up. Not only up to Washington, but up to an apartment we would build on top of our house. This was a crazy undertaking, made even crazier by starting the project in the dead of winter. If you ever have a reason to consider having your house in pieces while it is snowing, inside, and you’re still living in it… don’t! Amazingly we lived to tell the story, and we even enjoyed the challenge. We ended up with a very nice 800 sq. ft. house on top of our house, perfect for my parents, and where my mother lives to this day.
As with Beaverbrook and Coolcrest, the yard at Big Rock needed a lot of work. Instead of barren dirt though, here in Washington the forest is constantly trying to reclaim its ground. When we moved in it had made it to within feet of the house. Most of the first ten years was primarily an effort to cut and hold the forest back. It is truly amazing to see trees grow like weeds. You can literally pick them out of the ground as tiny sprouts, but if you procrastinate you might find yourself with a tree that requires a chainsaw to remove. In addition to the forrest, Big Rock doesn’t just refer to the name of the road. The yard was filled with rocks, big and small. Smooth river rocks from some previous millennia. It is impossible to imagine a river flowing on what is now a hill, but it must have. So as is the case with lemons and lemonade, if you have rocks you make borders, or whatever other yard feature you can think of. A great job for a growing boy, though our son would probably disagree.
The original house was a very average sized three bedroom, two bath house. Adding the apartment on top didn’t change that. Happily, as the children grew, our home never felt small. A gentle hug maybe as it bound our family together. This opportunity lasts for such a short time. In no time at all, and with the amazement of parents, children become real independent humans. Less and less of their time is spent at home. In a blink they are gone on their own. Although the physical dimensions of the house never changed, the home expanded and contracted over the years, knowingly, even emotionally, to satisfy our changing needs. Then, just when the house starts to feel big again, if you are really lucky, your grandchildren will start to visit, making you very glad once again that you have a very average sized home.
Dozens of home projects and quite a few years later we are still very happy here. That is what it is all about. Your house is a place to live, plant roots, make memories. There are emotions associated with your house that aren’t bought with it, and can never be sold. They are what you truly invest in your house. The part of you that you put into it. Is it an adventure? Yes, but it is also just life. Thankful for every twist and turn. Thankful for the homes that have become the treasury of all our precious memories.