Homewood is Home and Small Town Mountain Charm

I walked into Homewood's post office while Kings of Leon's "Sex on Fire" was playing. There wasn't anyone at the counter so I rang the provided bell. 
Someone shouted "Be right there!"
A short stocky man, shaved head with frameless glasses popped up. As he walked, his naked head bobbed to the music and started singing as he walked towards me. 
"Yeaaaahh....Hey! What can I do for ya?" 
His name tag said Angel and he had a thick New Yorker accent. 
"Here to get a P.O. Box." 
I provided my lease and ID as Angel casually shoved paperwork at me. 
"Fill this out and ring the bell when ya finish," he said. 
The radio blared U2 and he bopped back out of site. 

Countless locals came in ringing the bell and smiling as Angel came to greet them by name. 
"So how's ya wife?" he would ask, leaning his deeply tanned arm on his weathered counter. 
"Ain't your daughter at 212? I know all youz Snyders' numbahs!"

I finished the paper and rang the bell again. Angel came back. 
As he entered my information in his computer, he added, 
"Betcha can't tell where I'm from, eh?" he said with a "hah."
He picked at the keyboard and started his manifest destiny story. 
It began with a snowboard addiction and ended with a love affair with Tahoe. 
I nodded at all of it and my smile took over my face. 
Angel handed me two keys. 
"Welcome, Sarah," he said with a genuine grin. 

And that was my first day in Homewood. 

On Friday, Paul and I woke up early for a full day of Reno shopping. We live roughly 50 minutes from most big box stores (thankfully), but when we want to get good deals on backpacking gear, it's time to drive into the city.

But first we went to look at our second apartment. Located on the top of Obexer's General Store and in front of the marina of the same name in Homewood (15 or so minutes south of Tahoe City), we were already excited, especially with the Craigslist pictures being beautiful. Our backyard could be blue. Underneath us could be unlimited coffee. Wow. 

We met Joanne to show us the property and as we walked up to see the place, she offered the
"where are you from?"
"Ohio, but we grew up in Michigan."
"I'm from Michigan, too!" she said with excitement. 
As I asked her "where," she calmly raised her hand and pointed to the bottom left side of the back of her left hand.
"Right about here," she said, beaming.
I couldn't help but beam back.
It was then that we began our ascension to the second floor of the general store. The entire stairwell was filled with the scent of bacon being cooked.
"You'll probably smell that a lot," Joanne said, half-apologetic, which sent Paul's eyes wide with excitement. Think: Beggin' Strips commercial.

When we entered our new home, it already felt like we lived there. The old hardwood floors, the open kitchen/living room, and the crown jewel: the lakeview from the kitchen.
"If you don't mind climbing out the window, that could be a patio," she offered, pointing to the roof outside the window of the kitchen. 
"It's sturdy enough!"

We left Joanne with plans to finalize the details and meet the owners on Monday. Following the bacon smell like well-trained hunting dogs (even though I've given up meat rather easily here), we decided to visit the general store downstairs. Right away, Sharyn greeted us, introduced herself and asked us how we liked  the place. The mustached deli-man made us an amazing bagel breakfast sandwich (brown sugar peppered bacon on the side) and while it cooked, I pumped myself some coffee and browsed the aisles. Small town mountain charm. All over. I felt like I was in a movie and I didn't want to leave. Sharyn told us bear stories as she rang up our bagel-coffee-tea purchases, adding "That's such a Tahoe story," shaking her head and smiling. 

We met the owners and their two darling children on Monday. Standing in our soon-to-be kitchen, we talked about Oatmeal, Jeeps, Michigan, Paul's awesome conservancy job, coffee addictions, and meeting on the beach for beers at sunset. When we finally got around to the business of leases and first months rent, we had chatted for nearly 30 minutes. Our conversation moved outside to the back of the general store. The rain started to soggy all of us. We shook hands and rolled over some more details about our lives as they added, "Welcome to our crazy little family, guys!" 

As they walked down to the lake, we looked at our new backyard. 
A rainbow arched over the marina into the lake. 

No, seriously. 

I nearly lost it there. Instead, I just squeezed Paul and smiled a lot. 

So you know that small town friendly picture that you have in your head from watching Gilmore Girls? It exists, in a slightly better version, and we live in it. We start our official life in Homewood, California, population 243, or as Paul likes to say, 245 now. We can walk to the post office, the ski resort (all across the street), and our backyard is Lake Tahoe. Writing this, I'm still not sure it's actually happening. I have prepared myself to live in a crappy apartment, in a not-so-desirable part of the Lake with the, "but we live here," symbolically pointing to a tree or a beautiful body of water.

I have literally been looking at apartments on Craigslist since February. Early February. I have planned and looked and stressed out and planned more. And in the end, we saw an ad on Tuesday, called on Friday and signed a lease on Monday.

Lesson learned.

Because the path to inner peace, and with things that truly matter like where you're going to lay your head, you have to give them space to unfold instead of trying to manipulate them into happening how you want them to, when you want them to. Things just don't work that way. Why didn't anyone tell me this a long time ago? Well, maybe I wasn't ready to hear it.

Our last week at Granlibakken starts today and it's very bittersweet. Eve, Alex, Jungle and Biscuit have been a part of a very intense transition for me and when we're all watching TV on Sunday night and the cats let us play with them and we all laugh at something happening on social media or in the 80s music world, it feels like home. My heart is brimming with thankfulness and gratitude and fear is turning into excitement, as with every unknown turn we take, something great is always beginning.

What's next, Tahoe?!

Obexer's in the winter. We live in the pointy part of the barn shape.