Monday, June 23, 2008

Please Give Me a Free Home

Because T-Rita asked, and because I'm supposed to be writing right now, I'll post my essay for the Red Feather home essay contest here. It's not much of a sob story--I'm not a widow or a leper or a raiser of puppies for the blind, so I had to just tell the truth about why I want their home.

Please feel free to give me your constructive compliments...
(From The Office:
Michael: Attention, please. We're going to have our weekly suggestion box meeting. So, you can all get in your constructive compliments ASAP.
Ryan: Don't you mean constructive criticism?
Michael: What did I say?
Kelly: You said constructive compliments. That doesn't make any sense.
Michael: Well Kelly, that was neither constructive nor a compliment, so maybe you should stop criticizing my English and start making some suggestions.)

The Essay
As my parents drove the bumpy, winding roads on Friday nights, I would push my nose against the window, gazing at the mountain cottages with their yellow windows blinking at me in the night. I’d think (between worried glances to make sure the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t behind that pine tree there), When I grow up, I want two things: to be a writer and to live in one of those mountain homes.

Part of the Denverite exodus each weekend (forgive us for we know not what we do), we were one of the families of four driving through your woods and trying for just one day to catch that peace and beauty and wildness of the mountains we didn’t find on our wide suburban sidewalks.

And so, my heart has always been on pilgrimage, desiring to know and embrace my beloved Colorado…always wanting to peek under that log and behind that tree and over that hill. Over the backs of the Never Summers, under the mossy rocks of Grand Lake, and around the curve of the Red Feather hills.

By God’s grace I became a writer…by night. By day I walk the wide suburban sidewalks from my white apartment to my grey cubicle. (It’s not as bad as it sounds. I work for a non-profit organization that seeks to release children from poverty, honored each day to play a tiny part in its mission.) But by night I walk the paths of words. By night I walk in my thoughts to the green mountains where I, one day, will be able to live and write full time.

March was a big month for me. My second book came out, a book that, by God’s grace, will inspire others to find out about those who don’t have enough, to love those in poverty, and to act to help them. Currently, I’m writing a book that will lead small groups through learning more about the needs in this wide world and how to pray for them. Who would have believed my dream would come true? Certainly not me. What a chance, what a blessing, to use my skills and my voice to speak up for those who have no voice.

Still, the heart wanders. Still my nose is pressed against the window, waiting for that time when my night will become my day. When I’ll spend my full time using my voice, my writing, to do good. OK, it sounds cliché. But clichés were made for a reason. They resonate. They clutch at our most deeply felt desires.

One of these days, I’m going to drive away from faceless apartments and sterile suburbs. I’m going to drive to a community. A simple place with neighbors who wave as you pass on the dirt road. I’m going to open that car door. I’m going to stand before my mountain home with its yellow eyes blinking kindly at me, surrounded by peace and beauty and wildness. And I’m going to write.


T. said...

I love it. Thanks for posting it. I felt like I was a fly on the wall on the journey through your life.

The fine print in the contest says that if you were to win that you have to pay taxes on the amount of the house. Did you see that too? Just checking.

Jon The Hart said...

I like your essay. Being the curious fellow I am... I read the rules, and investigated a bit.

"IF CONTEST doesn't generate 2000 entries by the deadline, all entry fees will be returned in self addressed stamped envelopes."

So at $100/entry they're looking to sell this house for $200,000. I'm guessing they didn't hit their 2000 mark, hence the extension.

I wonder... is this house worth $200,000 or is this a clever way to turn a profit in a down market.

Turns out it's valued at just under $180k, not a bad gain on $100, but aside from the value the whole thing seems fishy to me, insomuch as I would wager if they do get 2000 people to enter that someone they know might just happen to win. Anywho... some stats on the house are below...

If it was free, I'd totally enter.

Sales Information

Reception # Sale Price Deed Type Sale Date
99062155 $140,000 WARRANTY DEED 07/07/1999
87029544 $65,000 WARRANTY DEED 05/01/1987

Value Information (as of April 25, 2008)

Total: $171,900

Building Improvements
Building ID: 001
Property Type: Residential
Built As: Ranch
Occupancy: Single Family Residential
Year Built: 1982
Year Remodel:
Quality: Average
Condition: Average
Class Descr:
Exterior: Frame Siding
Interior: Paneling
Heat Electric Baseboard
Roof Type: Gable
Roof Cover: Wood Shake
Foundation: Block
Rooms: 7
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 2.00
Units: 1.00
Unit Type:
Stories: 1.00
Total Sq Ft: 1027
Condo Sq Ft:
Bsmt. Sq Ft: 1027
Bsmt. Fin. Sq Ft: 1027

Building Detail Type and Description
Detail Type Detail Description Units
Appliance Garbage Disposal 1
Appliance Dishwasher 1
Basement Finished 1027
Basement Garden Level 1027
Balcony Wood Wood Fin 375
Porch Open Slab 208
Basement Walkout 1
Balcony Wood Wood Fin 50
Basement Bsmnt Conc 8 ft 1027
Appliance Range Hood Fan 1
Add On Electric/Radiant Heat Not In HVAC 338
Stairway Stair Wood Exterior Fin 2
Fixture Toilet 1
Rough In Laundry Hook Up 1
Fixture Water Heater 1
Add On Wood Stove 1
Fixture Sink Bathroom 1
Fixture Bathtub Standard 1
Fixture Sink Standard 1

Becky said...

I love the essay. You are a fantastic writer AND a fellow Colorado girl. :)

Amber said...

Thanks for your constructive compliments! (And, yes, of course I read the fine print! :) )