Exploring Green Country

Yesterday we took Auntie and Mom on a drive to explore the area northeast of Tulsa: Catoosa, Claremore, Owasso and Skiatook. It took the better part of the day. They wanted to see "the country" that might possible make a good place to retire. We saw some lovely properties with room to grow, their wish is to buy a place with land so an additional bungalow may be added, creating a sort-of "family compound". We stopped in Clarmore for lunch at Gin's Apple Dumplings restaurant. Our hopes for some good, homemade Southern cookin' were not fulfilled. The food was undercooked and bland. We made the best of it and ate enough to stave off hunger headaches and then hit the road. Next time, we'll be sure to get into town before two o'clock so we can try Dot's Cafe, which was recommended by the Chamber of Commerce when we stopped in for information on the town.

At Rogers State University looking at Claremore----------- In the mouth of a big red hippo! Hilarious!

We got back to our midtown home around 5:00 pm, mom and auntie were amazed by the Friday afternoon traffic on the highway. There was none! They also thouroughly enjoyed seeing that this area is lush, green and rolling hills. Nothing like they had imagined. I think many folks think Oklahoma is brown, flat and dusty, like the old pictures from the Great Depression. It's really too bad, but in a way, I am grateful, it's like our own discovered treasure. Coming from California, Oklahoma is so many things that the Golden State isn't....wide open, uncrowded, fresh air, clean water and abundance of space. The pace of life is slower here, just a touch, and the traffic? There's really none to speak of...

So, although I will always love the City by the Bay, I can see myself settling in here where there's still wide open plains where Buffalo roam. Of course, I am city girl at heart, so Tulsa the perfect fit. We can be at a lake or out in the country in less than 20 minutes, but we can also be in downtown, in the thick of it all, in leass than 10. Plus the cost of living is so much more reasonable! Gas is now down to $2.49. J got a raise last week...25%! So we should be feeling more comfortable in the coming weeks and months and finally get down to the business of paying off our debts and saving money for a house. We spoke with a loan specialist and he said that with our credit we could qualify for a FHA 3% down loan on a home. So, that's our plan...perhaps for 2009 or early 2010, since the experts are forecasting that home prices will continue to drop in 2009. Tulsa hasn't really been affected by the national housing slump, but we really won't be ready to buy for 18-24 months so if things come down just a bit, that will be a bonus for us.