A sixteen-day escrow. Might be some kind of record. Anyway, we are now the proud owners of a beautiful home in Old Town Fort Collins, CO.
Here’s Jeanie, getting the key from our outstanding real estate agent, Rick Hausman. Great name for a real estate agent, eh? We had some wonderful agents when we were selling our house on Bainbridge Island, too, but we both think Rick is the new Gold Standard. He’s very low key, doesn’t really try to sell you anything. He simply, absolutely, loves Fort Collins. And when you ask him why he loves Fort Collins, he has plenty of concrete reasons: miles upon miles of world-class bicycling trails; not just one, but three nationally-ranked breweries; a lively, vital, growing economy centered largely around a highly respected state university; thousands of old-growth trees; more sunshine than just about anywhere else in the US…and the list goes on. And on. And ends with perhaps the best feature of all about Fort Collins: its citizens. Jeanie and I have often wondered where the polite, civilized, normal people of America had gone. Now we know: they’ve moved to Fort Collins to be with their own kind. The people of Fort Collins are so polite, it’s almost scary. They sit on their porches on warm evenings, sipping wine, and wave at you when you walk past. The checkers at the various stores smile and ask you how your day is going–and actually look at you. They beg your pardon if they’ve somehow managed to get in your way. They throw their trash into litter containers, and mow their lawns, and hang cheesy little decorations that say “Welcome” in their flower-filled yards.
Rick drives a Subaru, and is contemplating (I think) buying a Volvo. His black-framed glasses sit just a bit croookedly on his nose. He smiles a lot, talks admiringly about his Dad who’s in the home-building business in Colorado Springs. He doesn’t like big cities. “I don’t do traffic,” he says simply. He loves to bicycle and hike. The latest news from his home is that he and his lovely wife Katy are struggling to keep a couple of robin chicks (one apparently fell from its nest) alive behind their house. Jeanie and I stand in his office, waiting patiently while he discusses his plight with a friend visiting from his office down the hall, and our hearts warm from the conversation. This other fellow is a “birder” who spends the first couple of hours every day walking around the area, watching, listening to birds. He and Rick talk briefly about some of the birds he’s seen: ospreys, blue herons (huge!), pelicans, and, of course, robins. And throughout their conversation, there’s an overtone of humble respect, even reverence, for the natural beauty that is so abundant in this part of Colorado.
How could we possibly not want to live among people like Rick Hausman and his friend, and the scores of others like them–good, down-to-earth people–we’ve met in this beautiful little city?
We’d have to be crazy.