Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Four Years Later - a Different Life

The big question of this election has been, are you better off than you were four years ago?

That has been an especially complicated issue for us in particular; as our life is COMPLETELY different than it was in 2008.

Today I left the house and voted, just like 4 years ago.

That's about where the similarities end.

Four years ago we lived in Scottsdale, AZ, and had no idea where we would be moving (we didn't decide on Idaho until mid 2009).

Now, we live in North Idaho; and live a completely different lifestyle.

4 years ago, I would have taken the trash out to the alley, gotten the kids ready for school, dropped the kids off at the private Catholic school, and headed to a local church to vote (about 500 yards away straight line, but a half mile by road).

I would have taken a mix of major city roads with commercial offices and stores, and minor residential roads full of houses. No one at the voting place would have recognized me. I would have been faced with not only the presidential race to vote for, but also a bunch of ballot propositions concerning illegal immigration.

After voting, I would have finished my errands, still not knowing anyone in particular. I would have gone home to a 1675 sq ft house on a small city lot (well... fairly large for a city lot, at 7850sqft. About .2 acre), surrounded by concrete, palm trees, gravel; and a seven foot high cindeblock wall and gapless wood fencing.

Chris would have been on the phone for work by the time I got home.

Today I woke up late because the baby was kicking again last night, and I didn't get to sleep 'til 3. I loaded up full trash bags in the bed of the truck to take to the transfer station (we have curbside pickup if we want, but we have to pay for it by private contract. Or we can take our trash to the transfer station ourselves for free).

I took the long way to transfer station, on back county roads; so I could drive by a property we're interested in possibly buying in another year. At the ranch to the north of that property I watched a man in a pickup truck check his fences with his heeler running alongside, while fat Angus crazed. When I saw the sign for the ranch I realized that I knew him from working at the bank.

Gangs of wild turkey were everywhere along my route, and I had to keep a careful eye out to avoid hitting the swarms off hoofed rats (a.k.a. deer) in the area.

When I got to the transfer station, the attendant recognized me and didn't even bother to check for the county tag that denotes free drop-off.

I'm there at least once a week, but only for a few minutes...

...But there's only 689 year round residents in our "town" (about 1600 from April through September; in 790 houses), in a county of just 40,000 people, over 2000sq miles ( in comparison, Maricopa county Arizona has a population of about 4 million, over 9200sq mi)...

...So it's not exactly surprising she'd recognize me.

...Or our truck... Which is kinda distinctive...

At the polling place (the local elementary school, 360 K-6 students spread over the southern half of the count. There's only 1900 total K-6 and 1700 total 7-12 students in the county), I recognized a few people from the area, or from working at the bank.

My voting options included the presidential race, local races, and ballot propositions concerning hunting and education. For the first time ever I voted for a local incumbent politician with whom I've had actual substantive conversations concerning what he did (and actually liked).

While running my errands afterward, I passed the business owned by the chairman of the local Republican party (and outgoing chairman of the county board of supervisors; he was beaten by a less libertarian Republican). He's still trying to convince Chris to run for one of the unopposed or weekly opposed county electoral or party positions, so we can skew the party even more libertarian. I stopped at a local cafe (where once again I recognized people) to pick up half a sandwich and a whole pie.

Then I headed home to our three-story 2900 sq ft house on 1.7 wooded acres, surrounded by trees, grass, and water. I even took a pic of the house on the way home (click to embiggen and look across the way, over the barn, to the opposite lake shore):

Chris was up and about when I got home, and shortly after getting home he was on the phone with a recruiter talking about a couple of positions, at a different large corporation than 4 years ago.

Life for us is very, very different for us now than it was even 4 years ago.

Generally better... though much more challenging.

Despite the challenges I'm very, very glad of that fact.