The L&T and I just sold my house in Dunsmuir, and when we finished the quiet work of signing papers, she asked me if I was sad to see it go.
For a minute, I wasn’t sure.
I bought the Dunsmuir house in 1999 after coming to the conclusion I’d die young if I kept living in the Silicon Valley. I weighed 234 pounds, even short hikes left me redfaced, and I got tired of battling traffic every time I left the house.
Simply put, I wasn’t enjoying life in the big city, and given my weight and general lack of exercise, the concept of “your money or your life” was acquiring a breathlessly real patina.
I ended up buying a little house in Dunsmuir which was located only minutes from the Upper Sacramento River. I moved there the day before trout season opened in 1999, and I remember my first task was to buy a trash can at the local hardware store.
I bought it, carried it back to the house, then drove to the north end of town to visit with Bob Grace at the Ted Fay Fly shop. When I walked in the door, he glanced up and said “Heard you bought a trash can.”
Welcome to small town life.
Older Bro was there and though he wasn’t fly fishing back then, he was enough of an outdoorsman to realize that with the opener only hours away, the priority was to locate the fly fishing gear among the boxes of stuff piled in the living room.
The Dunsmuir house was the first place that was truly mine.
I hung bamboo fly rods in the front closet (I left the light on all night to dry wet rods); loaded the living room with waders, float tubes and bicycles (figured they called it the “living” room for a reason); and didn’t bother with luxury items like furniture or decorations.
A friend said it seemed like the kind of place a serial killer would live, and though it doesn’t sound all that sweet, I think he meant it as a compliment.
I fished and hiked enough in the first four months to drop 25 pounds of blubber, and the little granny flat behind the carport became a flophouse for fly fishing friends.
For someone who had always lived with someone, owning my own home was freeing.
I came and went as I wanted, and for the first time in my life, no one on the outside world would know if was quietly tying flies or committing wild acts of depravity (for law enforcement officials and purposes of Big Data, all acts of depravity were consensual).
Back then, the Upper Sacramento was only open half the year, yet I still managed to squeeze in more than 100 days of fishing.
Eventually, life changed. I moved to Mt. Shasta, got married, and adopted a couple of firecrackers with legs (defying the laws of chemistry, their fuses are always lit).
We rented the house, but the last couple rentals ended badly, and we came to the conclusion we weren’t really cut out for landlordhood.
So we sold the house to a nice guy — a Bay Area working stiff who wants to eventually live up here and fish a lot. He got a pretty good deal, and I got one more complication off my plate.
When she asked me after the signing, I thought for a minute, then told the L&T I was a little nostalgic for the old place, but when I visited it these days I mostly saw a house full of stuff waiting to break.
See you at the title company, Tom Chandler.