Monday, September 8, 2014

Playing house in San Anselmo

For the past couple years while we’ve been doing more traveling in the trailer, we’ve noticed an interesting thing; While we miss friends and family on a daily basis, sometimes when we return (or meet up with them along the way), we get to (or choose to) spend even more quality time with them. Instead of the hurried calls with one ear on the phone and the other receiving requests for sippy cups from toddlers, or counting on last minute take out dinners in someone’s living room, we actually make plans and carve out larger portions of time to hang out and really catch up. Plus, we’re just happier people when we do get together because we’ve been out doing the things we enjoy. We’d already noticed that despite a lot of traveling this Fall, we had plans to be seeing friends for several specific weekends to enjoy music, birthday and wedding celebrations and would be spending more than two weeks on the East Coast with Ann’s family that we don’t see often enough.

While we live much closer to my family, about a week after Mae was born, my mom left for a trip with my oldest brother and his family for three weeks in Africa and my middle brother’s family took of to hike Machu Picchu. Soon after they all got back, our little family hit the road heading towards the Redwoods. While we’d snuck a few visits in, we knew my mom would appreciate some concentrated time with both girls, and frankly, we were looking forward to a little baby sitting (and some laundry!).  We were all pretty tired…


We dropped the trailer in our back pasture, packed a couple bags and headed for grandma’s house for a couple days in the ultra-cute Marin County town of San Anselmo.

Anytime we travel, we like to play the “What if we lived here?” game, and while we were only 45 minutes from home, this just felt like an extension of the past three weeks on the road. In fact, while we were in the Redwoods, we’d gotten an email from some friends looking for a place for their family of four (almost same ages as our kids) to stay while they sold their house and looked for a rental. Offering them our house for as long as they needed it was obvious to us, but it meant making the conscious decision to not even have the option of being home until possibly after the New Year. When a plan for Ann’s dad to visit us and see the baby at the Farmlet that week got postponed, and with my Mom planning on being out of town the following week, the decision was clear; We straightened up a few things at the Farmlet house so the friends could move in and started “playing house” in San Anselmo.


And let me tell ya, it was not a hard game to play (unless you opened up your Trulia app and looked at house prices – which we always do…). We met local friends for dinner; we walked to town for wood fired pizza and a zillion craft beers on tap; we went to see my sister-in-law’s band play outdoors at a local plaza; we strolled to the playground around the corner; and met some SF friends at the local farmer’s market to get all the “frousins” together. And yes, there was face painting, just about everywhere.

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And pony rides…


And giant red balloons…


Which we had to take home…

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So the question remains, “What if we lived here?” Well, it is pretty darn nice. But then again, so is where we *do actually* live. We’ve said before that if we were traveling and stopped in our current home town for a week, we’d be very tempted to stay. Good restaurants and a growing local/slow food culture, a large brewery and a few small ones, a music venue that draws great acts, good parks and playgrounds, easy access to the coast or the city, nice young families and good schools, and close to my family and many of our friends.

But for whatever reason, that’s just not what we want right now. So we’re trying to enjoy the “What if we lived here?” game without feeling like it’s a decision we need or want to make at the moment. In fact, for the time being, not making the decision seems like it’s kinda working; We’re spending quality time with family and friends, we’re exploring new and beautiful areas of California and beyond, we’re feeling fulfilled by living a somewhat adventurous life that satisfies our current interests and we’re feeding everyone well and getting them to bed (well, mostly) on-time. We both feel like we’ll know how to win the “What if we lived here?” game when the time is right, but for now, it’s just kinda fun to play.