Jenny and I have talked about moving out of Idaho practically since the day I met her. It started as a “where would you go?” conversation, that eventually morphed into “Where might we eventually go?” to finally “Where should we go?”
At the beginning of our relationship, I had a vague idea that I might want to get back into a serious pursuit of film acting, mostly because I didn’t know what else to do with my life. And I had never had any intention of staying rooted in Idaho when I moved there, it was just an inexpensive place to live while I ran an online business (which failed in 2009). So I had always intended to leave. Meeting Jenny kept me there, because she had only just moved to Idaho a short time before we met. But, as time moved on, we both became less happy there. The reasons were largely political. During this time, Donald Trump was elected president, and the Covid-19 crisis happened, both events really highlighting the more toxic aspects of our country and Idaho in particular.
In short, Idaho has become a really disgusting place. In a country with red and blue states, Idaho stands as one of the reddest. They will always be one of the last, if not the absolute last, state to make any meaningful progress… as a matter of pride. That sort of energy really weighs on you. I had never been a gun owner, but after Trump was elected I bought a gun because I didn’t want to be defenseless against the crazy people. At one point during the pandemic, I kept that gun within a short reach even while I worked at my computer desk. Seems silly to think about it now, but that’s just how unsafe I felt. And I am a middle-aged white guy. I can only imagine what it must feel like there for minorities and women.
Additionally, Boise had become an oppressive place for me due to my ex-wife’s behavior. I haven’t written about her and what happened, and am on the fence about doing so, but let me summarize briefly. After not hearing a word from her for years, she contacted me out of the blue making some pretty serious accusations of abuse. These accusations, though vague, are questionable and subjective in most cases, and undeniably false in others. After inquiring, I discovered she was already spreading these accusations far and wide among mutual friends and the Idaho film community at large. So in other words, she had poisoned the waters for me in that community. Boise is a small enough place that I could essentially guarantee that any event I attended would have a few people who now thought I was some kind of sick fuck. I honestly didn’t even know what she was telling people, since liars tend to escalate and I don’t know much of the film community in Boise. So the result was, I felt like I couldn’t get involved, or attend events, and was cut off from a large part of what would have made Boise a nice place to live.
So, we decided to leave. Maine had always been on the short list of places to check out, since Jenny has family there who are always posting the most gorgeous pictures, and I have always been infatuated with the area as a Stephen King fan, reading about it in so many of his books. We made a visit in April, and while we were there looked at some houses in areas we could afford, and actually ended up making an offer on one! Needless to say, the area really captured us. The beautiful ocean views, the historic architecture, the vast, green forests and abundant wildlife… everything in Maine feels clean and charming in a way that you simply don’t get in the west.
The offer on that home was not accepted. We kept trying, putting in offers sight unseen on homes we researched online. We quickly learned that the Maine housing market is a bit insane. People had said the Boise housing market was one of the strongest seller’s markets in the nation, but it had nothing on Maine. Places were going for well over asking price, like $100K or more in many cases. Granted, we had some specific wants in terms of the property which made the places we were looking at more competitive. So we just kept plugging away, and eventually did have an offer accepted!
We moved to Maine in late June. The move was a bit harrowing, over a week of driving. Jenny was in the SUV pulling a fully loaded trailer, and I was in our equally fully-loaded RV. She had the dog, I had the cat. We had sent the rest of our belongings ahead using PODS (which I highly recommend for out-of-state moves, it was a real life-saver). The first few days of the trip were marred by struggles with wind. We had put a tarp on the trailer, which got instantly shredded, and there were also kayaks strapped to the top of the SUV, which really caught the wind. The RV was of course just really impacted by wind. We lost a piece of trim from the RV, which shredded one of the window screens as it departed. If I ever see Wyoming again in my life, it will be too soon.
But, things went to plan for most of the trip. Then, we got to Pennsylvania, and the RV died. Long story short, we had to move anything we didn’t need out of the trailer, re-load it with all important items from the RV, and leave the RV at an auto shop in PA, now all 4 of us piled into the SUV even more fully-loaded and with no place to sleep. It sucked, but we survived. We got safely to Maine, and I went back a couple weeks later to get the rest of our belongings from the RV and say a fond farewell to it, as it could not be fixed. It was an expensive move, both in terms of money and emotional energy, and I hope to never make another like it in my life.
And now, here we are in Maine! It has been a few months, and we are settled in. There has been a lot of work to do on the house, because it needed a fresh coat of stain (it has cedar siding) and had some wood rot in small areas of the deck. So those repairs have taken up the majority of our time. Plus, it just rains here… a LOT! I’ve never lived anywhere where rain is very regular. It’s raining right now while I type this. So trying to get things done between the frequent rains has been a challenge as well.
But so far, Maine is a great place to live. We’ve taken a couple of trips to the coast, which is about a 30 minute drive for us. I find the ocean incredibly healing, and it’s something that has been missing from my life for too many years. The property we bought is on 15 acres of wilderness and only has a single neighbor you can see from some parts of the property (and not at all from the house itself), so the feeling of privacy is something neither of us have ever experienced before. Neither of us have previously lived in a situation where your neighbors weren’t right on top of you. And I have to say, it is very nice. Just taking the dog for a walk here is like visiting a national park. It’s now October, and the leaves have all turned beautiful shades of yellow and red. It’s pretty breathtaking.
This feels like home.