5 Years Ago Today, We Gave Up a Dream

The beginning of the journey, the day we bought the land and picked the location of what would become our beloved Tango Canyon.

I have mentioned in previous posts, our family has experience “transplanting” from the City to the Country.  We lasted 8 years.  Sometimes dark and lonely, sometimes like a cable television show where city folks learn how to manage their lives surrounded by unfamiliar creatures like scorpions, wild turkey, tortoises, vultures, newborn deer and copperhead snakes.  But one thing remained constant:  My husband’s dream to be close to his children and provide a simple lifestyle our family would always remember.  We fought with the neighbors, our friends/employers and sometimes each other throughout the highs and lows of our time in the country.  But we never stopped loving each other or our dream.

The children and I made daily sojourns out to the place in the country that was to be our home and they christened it with their laughter and love.
The children and I made daily sojourns out to the place in the country that was to be our home and they christened it with their laughter and love.

Along the way, my husband and I learned that giving up on a dream is not failure or surrender.  It is just an unexpected twist in life’s path that may leave scars but also offers great gifts.  When we returned to the City and the comforts of old friends and family, we had stories and experiences to share that others had only dreamed of.  As one of Mike’s lawyer friends put it, “You have been away from the reservation.  Not many of us have the courage to do that.”  There’s something about going away that is terribly frightening and inspiring at the same time.  On my horrible days, I would frown and tell people, “If you want to get to know yourself really well, move to the f—–ng PRAIRIE!”.

The children's handprints in front of their country home.
The children’s handprints in front of their country home.

The part we are proud of is that our family made its mark on the people and community we grew to love – and they on us.  We did not fit in there nor do we really completely fit in back here in the City because of the lessons we learned in our small town.  But that’s okay.  We had a dream, we lived it for awhile and then gracefully left it behind…..and survived to tell about it!

Our safe haven in the country.....the place we asked our children to leave in search of a new life in Kansas City.
Our safe haven in the country…..the place we asked our children to leave in search of a new life in Kansas City.

So, on the 5th anniversary of our departure from the home we loved so well we named it after Mike’s father’s homeland’s national dance, “Tango Canyon,” I am proud to report that all is well.  Transition complete.  Our journey unfolds before us everyday and it is good.  And we are better for having known the rugged world of Southern Kansas and its inhabitants.

City Pups Immersed In The Country

I don’t know about any other gals, but 19 years ago when I said, “I Do,” I didn’t give one darn about whether the Handsome Groom could drywall like a champ, or, on the more basic level, even fix a leaky faucet.  Does anybody?

I married him for his intelligence, wit and that mysterious Half-Latin machismo that got me so stirred up at our first lunch date my calves literally burst through my pantyhose – and he didn’t mind!!!!

Then things started to break around the house.  ALOT of things.  In conversations with my husband about what needed fixing, I started to feel like Emily Newhart and her adorable, book-smart, practical Bob.  bob-newhart-show-suzanne-pleshette

Fortunately, my lawyer husband had plenty o’ handy clients who were good-hearted and just a phone call away.  Problems solved!  At least some of them.  I learned that certain men who are genetically challenged in the handy department are also – well, to put it bluntly, pretty lousy GRILLERS, too!  We had our share of well-intentioned dinner parties where the guests walked away wondering, “What the hell was that mystery meat I was just served?”.

It was fine, though, we lived in the city and any deficiency of the homemaking sort (I am neglecting to tell you that I, the “Pumpered” Princess, as our Argentinian cousin lovingly  refers to me, am completely worthless around the house) was easily solved by finding a “service.”

In 2002, now with two babies, our perfectly appointed household “rescue team” went away because we moved to…..and I shudder to say this …… THE COUNTRY!

Mike with kids on 70th  “Goodbye, City Life – Green Acres Here We Come!”.

In Southern Kansas, a fellow knows how to do many handy things – to infinity.  We bought 34 acres – to do what with, I am still mystified.  But there went “Brender and Eddie” while their city friends waved goodbye…..

My husband immediately traded in his BMW with lovely seat warmers for a bright red F-150 pick up truck.  Perfectly Appalling, Right?

“What are you going to do with a pickup truck?” I calmly inquired one day.  Oh, his eyes lit up with wonder as if he had seen Jesus himself as he replied, “You know, haul shit and stuff.”

Okay.  That’s fine.  We can do this, my Inner Diva told me – we can rise above our pathetic City Helplessness and conquer the untame land of the heartiest souls on Earth known as…...KANSANS.  Yes, that very special place where people throw parties to, of all things – burn their land!  The place that was once referred to by a City Transplant not terribly unlike myself in the 1800’s as “The land of grasshoppers and drought.”

Soon, our lives became an adventure and our completely privileged and helpless demeanor became a source of entertainment for the locals.  One time I was advised to seek advice from the Farmers at the local “CO-OP” about our barn swallow problem.  These awful creatures build mud nests on your home then sit atop your roof (because they basically own you at this point) protecting their young.  “How do they protect their young?,” did I hear you ask?  By divebombing the eyeballs of any threat.  So, I put my signature red lipstick on and drove to town to this apparent shrine of intelligence, the Co-op.  I was told to tape plastic snakes near the nest of the barn swallow and assured that my problem would soon disappear.  What I would give today to hear those farmers’ howls as I left from the Co-op on a mission to the local Dollar Store in pursuit of plastic snakes.  The joke was on me:  it did not work.

Finally, exasperated by our complete incompetence, I suggested we do something as a family that would be good for the community.  We were matched with a Little from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  He visited every Sunday.  Success!  And you know what? My sweet husband and son were the kindest, most patient souls with this lost little boy.

Mario with BrysonThey spent endless hours playing together and our Little did not mind one bit that we were weakling city pups – he really enjoyed us!!!

Fortunately, for me, our time in the land of awe-inspiring sunsets had an end – because I am just a girl who needs the comforts of a city.  George Lopez once said, “I need to get back to horrible crime, terrible parking and great Chinese food!”.  But we did have a lot of laughs, and I grew to accept my husband – and his adorable, quirky, country-wanna-be self.

We did what we could to “work the land” we bought and had some memorable bonfire parties in the canyon behind our home.  But, alas, the city beckoned us back.

And now “Bob and Emily” are back where they belong – laughing and reminiscing about the times we had trying to be RUGGED INDIVIDUALISTS.