HOW WE GOT HERE--Kristi
The Wild Woman’s Whitewater Rafting Adventure was an annual event with my group of single mom friends. We would head out to a remote, pristine little Shangri-La located in the North Cascades mountain range in
During these trips, we usually encountered an adventure or two, like the time one friend in her short cut off jeans and cowboy boots attracted the attention of one too many cowboys. Or when I fell out of the raft during a class four rapid, was sucked into a hole and saw God. We somehow always managed to survive with only minor scrapes and more than a few hangovers. But one year was different.
That was the year, after drinking one-too-many chocolate martinis, we all decided to pile into the red jeep and see what sort of trouble we could get into at the local cowboy bar. And that’s where I met Bill, a quiet, handsome, long-haired hippie; the future love of my life. He had uncharacteristically come to that notorious bar to hear a band he liked, and was casually standing in the corner sipping a beer, when he caught my eye. There was something quiet and gentle about his demeanor that appealed to me after years of being married to someone who was not. Plus I had vowed to be the first “Wild Woman” out on the dance floor so I asked the quiet hippie to dance. Or, rather, I dared him to.
“Are you going to stand there all night drinking, or do you want to dance?” was my now-famous opening line. Why he didn’t run for the hills is anyone’s guess, but dance, we did, and then we talked for hours. In the following weeks, we began a steady correspondence, back-and-forth visits, and a cross-mountain romance.
Three months later, Bill was living with me and the girls in
But Bill did not love
At the same time, my life in the city was becoming more and more untenable. I had a new boss who wanted me to go from conducting large, impactful outreach campaigns to writing her personal memos. I had to refinance my home to buy out my ex- husband, and was now living beyond my means. My bills were piling up, the freeway was always clogged, and my kids were in daycare (or school) ten hours a day. Traffic, stress, and guilt began to work their magic until one weekend in the valley, as Bill and I were sipping coffee in the sun on a bed of warm pine needles, and taking in his incredible view, I finally said, “Okay, let’s do it. It’s time to move.” Had I known what I was getting into, I might never have uttered those words. But looking before I leap had never been my strong suit, and leap I did.
Three months later we had sold my home, quit our jobs, negotiated a new parenting plan with my ex-husband, got married, and bought a tiny 1904 log cabin on several wooded acres in our valley paradise. I was ecstatic! Not only was I getting away from my ex-husband, tyrannical boss, high housing costs, and mind-numbing traffic, I was also living in a beautiful environment with low over head, a wonderful man, and more time with my girls.
Bill was thrilled to be home and found work easily in his trade. I had some savings after selling my home, and could afford to take a little time to figure out what I was going to do with myself. My youngest daughter, Rose, was four years old when we moved, and had been in full time daycare since she was one. I was thrilled to have the time to get to know my kids again.
That first summer, Emily, my eldest (age 9) spent the summer with her father in