Pack Your Pony!

On the Friday after Christmas, Seth and I closed on a very special property where my mom and our small family of animals will live much closer to us. I’m over the moon!

Having my mom and lifelong best friend so far away has been one of the most difficult things about being sick. We have an integral bond not completely definable in terms of friendship, love, and endearment. (It will make good book fodder should anyone ever talk me into writing my memoirs.) Needless to say, it’s a key ingredient in the special sauce that is my intrinsic happiness.

And while I am too scientifically stubborn to believe my medical progress is directly correlated with stress or support of one relationship, I know many of my friends and even casual acquaintances reading this who do. It doesn’t seem like a productive ‘argument’ to have, so I’ll agree “stranger things have happened” and leave it at that. What I do know is that I will be a much happier bunny once my mom and I are more available to each other than we presently are.

Knowing this better than anyone, Seth has done his part to move heaven and earth – again.

I grew up on a small, rural farm which my mom literally built with her own hands, and sadly we lost it due to a combination of the economic downturn and unrelated domestic events. Seth and I had been work friends and dating for only a short period of time; I was bowled over when he offered to invest in a new farm, essentially providing enough capital that would allow us to keep our family (animals) intact and not homeless.

We had to find a place on a very small budget, and time was of the essence. We found a tract of land with a half-finished house in West Virginia. The distance would be a challenge (going from a 2 hour to 7+ hour drive), but what we could afford wouldn’t be anywhere near Philadelphia. I promised my mom I would visit once a month, and that’s exactly what I did for two+ years, while I was healthy and airplane flights were competitive.

Unfortunately things went to hell in 2011. My mystery illness turned cancer diagnosis made independent travel nearly impossible, and the 7+ hour drives became more frequent.

Previously Seth and I would drive out for a week-long visit just two or three times a year. Now he is schlepping me there every six weeks or so. (And not once has he complained.) Seemingly overnight the farm’s distance went from unhappy to unbearable. I was in and out of the hospital, while my mom had no one we could trust to tend to the animals, not to mention help her with a very long, stressful drive, so she could visit me.

We listed the farm as ‘for sale by owner.’ A year passed with little activity. We broke down and decided to list with a Realtor in early 2013. To date, we’ve had some interest (showings) but no offers. I have listed the property information at the end of this post and appreciate you sharing the listing with anyone who will read and share.

Seth and I knew we had to sell the existing farm in West Virginia before buying a new one. To carry an extra mortgage for an undetermined length of time would be foolish, stressful, and insane! And that doesn’t even explain that I would need to use every penny I’ve ever amassed for a new downpayment. What kind of crazy person would do such a thing?!

Me, apparently! There are few events that will make two balanced, logical and otherwise risk-adverse people take a chance like that. And frankly, I hope you never figure out where your limits are. Mine was a grand mal seizure and the discovery and growth of a dozen+ small brain tumors. Seth having to check for life signs after my seizure may have been his breaking point.

Very quickly our priorities clarified, and we made the conscious decision to move my mom immediately, no matter what that meant.

Fast forward five months, and here were are! The house needs some basic pieces (appliances, a floor refinish), and the barn and fence need patching before we can safely move everyone to their new home. Paint and other cosmetics will be projects along the way and aren’t considered critical to the move (or in the budget!)

Even though she will have to manage everything at a distance, my mom hopes to move by the end of January. I think an end-of-February goal is more feasible. She has been tasked as the general contractor on all things ‘new farm,’ and my brother (a marketing pro) will continue to focus his attention on attracting a buyer for the farm in West Virginia. Please help us spread the word about this beautiful property for sale!

* Via our custom, mobile-friendly site:

* Via

* Contact our Realtor, Harry Cain, at (304) 455-2550 or harry_cain21 (at) hotmail (dot) com

I’ll do my best to keep you updated as the big move nears! Please know that moving our furry and feathery family is a delicate process! My fundraiser stays open to help me pay all expenses on my Frog List, including the cost of moving one very handsome, roan pony! 😃

Here’s to the Happiest New Year yet!


10 responses to “Pack Your Pony!

  • Sjoukje

    Hi Jessica!! That’s such wonderful news!! Im so happy for you that your mom and the furry feathery family will be close by soon!!! Making the house safe to live for mom and animals is the first priority….painting or decorating not important 😉 You can do that once she’s there 🙂

    Sending you, Seth, Blossom & Gracie much love

  • Mary Ann

    This has to be the best medicine you’ve been prescribed. Congratulations and much happiness in your new home. Hoping your mom can arrive sooner than later.

    My first 2014 inspiration is when you said: I hope you never figure out where your limits are.’ Thank you for that and, always, for sharing your story with us all.

    Here’s to a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2014 with lots and lots of Frog List check marks!

    Mary Ann

  • Kathleen Hoffman, PhD

    I’m so happy for you!!!!!! Will keep you, your mom and your loving Seth in my thoughts and prayers! A wonderful new year wish fulfilled! Happy New Year to you all!

  • Sabina

    Dear Jessica,

    Firstly, GREAT to hear from you. Being a cautious person myself, averse to taking risks, I know exactly what a giant leap this has been for you all. That being said, the few times in my life where I have taken risks, the outcome has always been much better than that nagging, worry-warting little voice that lives inside my head could ever have imagined. You’d think such positive outcomes would change me permanently into a risk taker but I think I’m hard-wired for caution and it takes a huge mental effort for me to act when the outcome is largely unknown. Part of me never wants to find out where my limits are, but the grander, braver part of me is curious. Anyway, I am so glad you have taken the leap because you have told us how much it would mean to you to have your mother permanently with you.

    Your mom sounds like one of those “pioneering types”, capable of building a country, that they don’t seem to make many of any more. I can understand why you want her physically beside you. This does not detract from Seth or your brother’s support in any way. Rather, her presence will not only provide you with additonal support, but them as well, and vice versa. Your journey requires a team effort where every member is important.

    Praying for an outcome that will more than meet all your needs.

  • Nora DePalma

    This is GREAT news! Couldn’t be happier to hear. Very best to you, Sean and your Mom for 2014.

    • Jessica Rice

      Thank you! Happy New Year to you too! How’s V doing these days?

      How’s the planning coming along for Las Vegas 2014? Is that in March?

      I don’t know when/if I get another break from treatment, but I’m keeping all my options open, just in case; Seth and and I haven’t visited our favorite bar in 2+ years! 😊



    • Nora DePalma

      Veronika and I will be together in Minneapolis all next week. If we get through the week without turning into PR popsicles, we hit Vegas Feb 4-6 for KBIS and Design and Construction Week. You must tweet me your bar–we’ll raise a toast!

  • Scott

    Hope your mom isnt impacted by the 9 county toxin spill in WV and all the crazy water restrictions (no bathing, cooking, washing, drinking, etc.). Looks like its pretty bad in that area. Think that chemical company is in some deep doo-doo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: