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The "lock and leave" house

Our adjustment from Airstream ownership to a hybrid Airstream-home ownership seems well under way. By "under way", I mean we are already spending money on care and feeding of the house we bought this week. We're also beginning a two-week period of intense effort to set the house up so we can begin to ignore it and get back to the primary business of traveling in the Airstream.

That probably sounds cynical, but as I've mentioned in the blog before, we're not ready to give up the traveling lifestyle entirely. The house is a strategy to provide a measure of stability during the school season. During the travel season, it needs to be "lock and leave", as our fellow Airstream traveler Doug says. That means we can walk away at a moment's notice without worrying that things will be OK.

Although we don't intend to spend this summer in the house, and it is utterly devoid of furniture or personal possessions of any type, we still need to secure it while we will be gone. Here in Tucson, because there are so many snowbirds, there are a lot of services specifically designed for us. Thus it was easy to find a company that, for $35 per month, will come by and check on things, water the lemon tree, pick up the unsolicited flyers, etc.

In Arizona, there's not a lot that needs to be done for a "summerized" house. Obviously there's no chance of pipes freezing, but the monsoon season does mean some intense thunderstorms will come through, and so it is good to have someone checking for leaks and wind damage. Dust is also a form of precipitation here, so to make the house look lived-in the service will periodically sweep the walks.

In Florida, a friend came back to their winter home and found mildewed underwear in their dressers. They had made the fatal mistake (in Florida) of turning off the air conditioning while they were gone. Here there's actually a chance of things being damaged due to excessive dryness. Some people recommend filling the tub and kitchen sink with water, to humidify the air. This is particularly important if you have antique wood furniture. The house-checking service also runs the taps a little on every visit, just to make sure the P-traps are not dried out (otherwise dangerous sewer gas could enter the house).

The goal of the next two weeks will be to make the house truly turn-key, so we can leave it behind without care. We bought the house with low maintenance in mind, so not much needs to be done. We have no lawn, few plantings that aren't native to the desert, no pets, and a maintenance-free exterior. But still a half-dozen trips to the hardware store are probably going to be required. I keep telling myself that this is an investment in the future, but I can't shake the feeling of being a successful jailbreaker who is now voluntarily walking back inside the stone walls.

Tucson smooch.jpg

Today's photo is courtesy of Emma. Last night we went out for a walk around sunset and Emma posed us for the photo above. It's one of a rare few pictures we have of Eleanor and I together, so it will be treasured even though it's corny. Emma is getting handy with the camera but also a tyrant to pose for. "Closer! Turn toward me! Hold hands! Now kiss! Close your eyes!" Ah, the suffering we must go through for her art.


Nice job on the photo Emma. Looking forward to seeing you guys in the beginning of June.

Not corny at all!

Emma, Great Job!!! I love the pose...but I think you should have gotten them a little closer together!!! That one needs to be printed and saved!


Emma...Great shot...they look like school kids...

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