Between the Lines

Confessions of a Serial Homebuyer

I’ve bought three houses in as many years, and sold two of them.  Having been excluded from participating in the housing bubble by extreme poverty, I suppose I’ve been making up for lost time.  In 2008, when my mom died, I inherited what was—by my modest standards—a considerable sum, and there was no doubt about what I was going to do with it: For decades I’d been dreaming of the day I would be able to buy a house of my own, and—finally!—that day had come.

I’ve written in this space before about my search for hearth and home.  How the decadent city became intolerable for one of my age and disposition, and why I wound up in a small hamlet of vacation homes on the Russian River, known as Rio Nido, where the counterculture meets the redwoods.  You’ll recall my clash with an Evil Developer, who used his political connections to build Section 8 housing smack dab in the middle of a towering redwood grove down the street.  That sent me across the river to a seemingly idyllic park-like neighborhood known as Vacation Beach.  Alas, this sweet spot soon soured as the proximity of noisy neighbors, and the general down-at-the-heels aura of the town of Guerneville, prodded my restless spirit to action.

What I had seen happening in Rio Nido—rapid pauperization—was also happening down the road in Guerneville, a town of 1,500 or so, double that in summer, half hippies...

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