Oregon stories: First we live in a hotel, eew

What else could we do?

When we moved to Florida, we had spent a whirlwind weekend buying a house a month before we sent all our stuff and hopped in our car and drove across the country. We arrived two days before escrow closed and the moving truck showed up 15 minutes after signing the last piece of paper at the title company. Whew, it was close all the way -- and way too fast.

It's small but somehow there's enough room for our two computers. Kim can continue working, while I wander around Portland trying to figure out what to do next.

At least I still have a great view.

First things first: find an apartment. Ok, I did that. Actually, I really did and we move in on Saturday. I'm praying for lots of help, hint hint.


Road trip: The big picture

We traveled 3,202.4 miles on our trip across this huge country. Some days, like jamming through Kansas and Missouri, we drove over 450 miles. One day we only drove 143 miles -- that was the day we drove from Limon, Colorado to Ft. Collins, Colorado, where we spent some great time with Patti and Walter, who we knew in San Diego.

Our route took us from Florida through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and finally, to Oregon.

We realized how much we don't know about the people of middle America -- how they live, what they do, what matters in their lives. We don't consider ourselves as being in that group, I'm not quite sure why, but we don't. Maybe we think we're better or smarter. I know I made plenty of jokes about hicks and red-necks and very over-weight people. I've lived in a bubble of one kind or another for the last 10 years. I'd like to see beyond my own nose for a change.


Road trip: Hello Portland!

And 3200 miles later:

I have 100s of photos to edit and sort and clean up and write about, so it will be a little while before the story gets filled in. We had a safe and wonderful journey to our new home state.


Road trip: Goodbye Florida

We really did do it. We really did leave Florida. And we're never going back.

(all the pictures get huge if you click on them)
On Monday the truck showed up, two guys loaded all our stuff and the truck went away. On Tuesday, we finished the house sale, cleaned the house for the new owners, turned in our cable box and made one last stop at the Betty Lane Thrift Store.

We thought that it would take us all day to do that stuff but we breezed through it and hit the road. This is the main road/bridge out of Clearwater -- over to Tampa and the major freeway.

There are 30 pages in our handy little TripTik. On Tuesday we flew through 3 of them.

Our only desire was to drive and drive and drive until we were out of the state.

And that's exactly what we did. I wanted to stop the car and kiss the red Georgia clay. Instead, we quietly left Florida behind.


Florida stories: Goodbye Clearwater

The moving truck comes tomorrow morning. This is our last night in this house. I actually remember our first night. I hated it. That pink color in the master bedroom was so loud, it kept me up all night.
I may or may not post while we're on the road. I will be taking lots of pictures and I will have the cable for downloading and I will have access to the internets and Kim's laptop, so I'll have to see how I feel. I might like to have a vacation -- from everything, but not from you, gentle reader.


Sure, let's go to St. Martens for a week

Think they had a good time? Isn't it so wonderful that they brought back a picture of a lizard? I think that was just for me. Certainly I like the other pictures, but the lizard? Hey, he's perfect.


A Florida story told by flowers: Every cloud has a silver lining

I guess it makes sense that as we're about to leave Florida forever that I would think of things that I like about it. I'm also thinking of reasons to be glad we came here. I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that moving to Florida was a good thing, but good things have come out of being here:

We completely and totally removed ourselves from $cientology, not as a result of moving here, but nevertheless, while we were here. And I think it helped being here when the decision was made. This is, after all, the "mecca of the Church of $cientology." That made it much easier to witness the wrongness of this "church."

We learned a great deal about home renovation, building trades, permits (or not), building codes and how to ensure that people doing work for you do it right. We have lots of new skills and we've picked up some really nice tools (yes, we could have acquired them anywhere, but oh well).

We met Stephanie. And, believe me, Stephanie has pretty much saved my life. I won't bore you with the gruesome stories of all the injuries I've had, but suffice it to say, I was in some pain. That pain is gone and I feel better than I have for many years.

We learned to laugh again.

We went to the Kennedy Space Center.

I got to live in another place (like San Diego) that has beautiful flowers all year 'round.


The things people do

I was just rummaging around, reading other blogs, which is good for getting my mind off the nuttiness of packing and calling the utility companies and running out of bubble-wrap and bugging Kim every ten seconds with some lame new thing to worry about. Here's what I found:

I'd never heard of Mr. Heavyfoot before, had you? It's a bit that Kids in the Hall made up and they're very popular (somewhere) but, of course, if you're as culturally illiterate as I am, there's no way you'd have the faintest clue who they are.

Go right now and read this. Right now. Go.

Florida stories: It's not always sunny

click to see great big version of the picture, you can see every raindrop

Florida stories: Lizards

I've always been crazy about lizards, I love to watch them run all over the place. They're really fascinating to me. San Diego, California had lots of them. Clearwater, Florida has lots of them. I have it on good authority that Portland, Oregon has none of them. Oh, my heart is breaking.

I can sit in my office (which I will have for four and a half more days) and look out the window and see lizards climbing, jumping, fucking, eating and running. They never bore me. Never. I've been watching them closely the three years we've been here. I can now estimate the age and I can tell the gender. I forgot one of the other fun things to watch: battles! Whew, those guys really go at it. I saw one strapping, little contender lose his tail, wise up and quickly leave.

I love lizards so much, I've started putting them in my house. You know that old lady with the collection of goose-themed decorations, i.e., salt & pepper shakers, napkin holder, cookie jar, etc.? Well, I'm turning into a slightly (only very slightly) hipper version of her.

Maybe I could find a lizard-themed bedroom suite.


Chaos and coming unglued

Well, the previous post clearly demonstrates the depth of my present confusion. I mean, what was that? But I'm leaving that post in. It's good for me to see what a basket case I've become; it gives me some perspective. (No disrespect to mamabird, I'm glad she could make some sense out of part of it.)

It's just too hectic right now. Chaos. I feel like I'm keeping 5 million things balanced on my nose.

Kim helps. He's always so calm and he reassures me that everything is okay and is going to be okay.

I run into bags and boxes and piles of junk in the middle of the night. I need to get more organized. Every day I think it'll get easier or that I'll get more done than I actually get done. And then the end of the day comes and I feel defeated.

We are making headway. We will be ready for the moving truck next Monday. It will be okay.

The little version of me

Over the years, I've been told by various people that I have a certain determination and purposefulness about me. I've been told I'm stubborn and hard-headed. My friends have told me that they trust me to always tell them the truth, that I don't pussy-foot around and make up shit just to have something to say. (Side story: Allison's name was chosen because I read somewhere that it means "truth-teller". When she was growing up, I told her the only rule was to always tell the truth. And she does that.) I believe that being honest and straightforward are very high virtues and that it's easier to live with others when the truth is always out there. That said, I know it's not always easy to hear the truth. I love being on the telling side but not so much being on the listening side. Oh well.

So I was a little girl once, but I don't remember ever being particularly carefree. I remember being vigilant and careful. It was great to have a big brother who took care of me as much as he did. I know he was having his own rough time and it's amazing that he was so gentle with others.

I'm grateful for everything that has happened to make me the way I am now. I value my strengths, try hard to admit my shortcomings, and work on accepting others for who and what they are (this is the hardest part for me).

I've read a few things recently that are all about how the world is going to hell, we're all going to die, all politicians and governments are corrupt and evil, and on and on, just miserable, depressing garbage.

If we all give up, if we buckle under this weight of doom and gloom, if we believe all the bad, bad, bad, then that is exactly what we'll get. There's nothing that says we cannot see the problems, know they're wrong, get busy doing something (anything) about them and maintain a cheerful existence while doing so. They are not mutually exclusive.

I'm just saying.


Random old photos, #2

A sculpture by Henry Miller titled Écoute, at Les Halles, Paris

Fountain, Las Vegas hotel

Cactus flower

Arizona desert, crumbling building


Florida stories: Fixing an ugly house

A recurring theme on this blog has been the renovation of this house. When we made the bubble-headed decision to move here, we thought we'd better have a house to move to. So we flew in and spent one day looking at property, picked two houses, made offers that were accepted and went back to San Diego. We did the rest of the process remotely. Silly us. We trusted the real estate agent in Clearwater, a $cientologist who was recommended by another $cientologist.

We knew that the house had some problems. We knew we were going to be doing some "remodeling." That was okay, we'd done plenty of that in San Diego. The inspection that was done didn't cause us any particular alarm, so we thought, "It's fine, just some paint, a little tile, no sweat." Well, we'd been in too much of a hurry and hadn't registered a lot of what was wrong. For instance, I'd completely forgotten that three rooms had been coated with thick plaster that had been "pulled" with a wet sponge, so the end result looked surprisingly like meringue (think of a lemon meringue pie, just like that). All that plaster had to be scraped off and the walls resurfaced. That was a lot of work.

We knew the colors weren't quite right and that we'd be painting, but we'd forgotten how weird the house really was -- low ceilings, odd spaces with no right angles, dark rooms, bizarre solutions to add-ons. So when we arrived and started living in this house, we were worried, to say the least. I can't possibly tell you or show you all that we did -- it's simply too much. But here are a few photos that will give you an idea:

So this is the house that we made beautiful and aesthetic and easy to care for and easy to live in. And this is the house we finally sold so that we can get out of Florida and go live in Oregon, where sane, intelligent, good people live (I know that all my friends who don't live in Oregon at the present, will certainly move there as soon as they possibly can).

Next stop, Portland. ROOOOOAD TRIIIIIIIIP!