Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Post-California Blues

Just two days ago, I was basking in the southern California warmth with my mom. We'd spent six days in the San Diego area, where it's as California feeling as I'd ever imagined.

We rented a little elephant grey Chevy HHR and drove all over San Diego, leisurely as if it were North Dakota. There's few people on the roads and everything sort of runs together nicely.

The first day we stayed in Old Town, which is touristy, and woke up early for breakfast before wandering around town through Mission Beach and lunching in Balboa Park. The heat was sweltering even in the shade, so we decided to head up the California coast.

Meandering along the coastline, we saw people laying on the sand, riding their bikes and appearing to live the easy life. I didn't even know people lived like that anymore. We stopped in the town of Carlsbad for the night and headed further up the coast the following morning, accidentally ending up in Laguna Beach. In both towns, we met ladies from California who were unassuming, open, interesting, and real.

The last three nights we spent in La Jolla, where I had an optometry continuing education event. The education was mediocre, but it served its purpose. Our favorite place in San Diego was Coronodo Island, with its 1888 hotel, shops and beaches. Not to mention the bridge to get there or the road on strand to return. Gorgeous and peaceful is how I'd sum up San Diego.
Returning to Portland, the weather was cold, rainy and about 60. I had to turn the heat on yesterday. I just could not warm up after all those hot days in California...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's all okay.

"Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous,barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating."- Simone Weil

So I've been dealing with both real and imaginary evil and mostly real good in the last several months.

My house is still scheduled to close on October 12th. There've been several large hiccups along the way but we have worked through them with some deep breaths and continuous dialogue among all the involved parties. The last major hurdle is the appraisal. So please continue to cross fingers and pray this gets through.

If the universe is truly being as kind to me as it seems, I will close on my house and move to Germany a few days later. My employer will be shipping all my goods abroad for me, a luxury I have never experienced before. I just have to figure out what is actually in all of the rubbbermaid boxes which were stored for two years in my basement and decide what will stay and what will go.

The man (Tim Cook) who hired me and has been acting as my liason to Germany and the civilian army life connected me with a psychologist who is leaving Germany on December 1st and will be giving up his two bedroom, two bathroom apartment. It's six miles from work, so should be bikeable seasonally. And also has the luxury amenities of a garage and washer/dryer. I can hardly imagine. (Especially when comparing it to the crappy studio flat in New Zealand which cost about the same amount.) My goods will be arriving from Portland about December 1st, so I'll stay in a pension for the first 45 days or so. Not too bad of a set up.

So it seems everything is still lining up as I would have hoped. If I knew even what I was hoping for when all this first started happening.

I have the fear always of the floor dropping out on me. I don't know if it is pessimism or if it is because the floor actually dropped out on me when I was a kid. I don't know. But. I'm trying to be sane, calm, postive and trusting of the world that all this will come together just as it should.

So y'all are welcome to visit me and stay in my spare bedroom and wash your clothes, as long as you bring me bags of fresh veggies in return.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

California Dreamin'

Three days into my California excursion, I can't say that I'm more calm or truly on vacation, but I'm distracted and I'm not sitting in Portland waiting to see what happens next, so I guess that is all positive.

My mom came down and met me from North Dakota, so we tooled around the Southern California coast for the first two days, meeting several very nice California ladies in the towns of Carlsbad and Laguna Beach before heading back to La Jolla, where I've got three days of optometry continuing education scheduled. The first day of class was okay, mostly a bit dull, but some interesting aspects and I've come away knowing more than when I started.

Yesterday, I received a call from the Germany job regarding a physical form that needs to be completed. The stream of paperwork in this job appears to be endless, causing me to wonder sometimes what will truly happen with it. Though before I left, I met with two sets of movers to obtain quotes for shipping my 2800 lbs of belongings overseas. So that is promising.

I won't update status on the house sale just yet, only to say that closing is scheduled for October 12th. After that day occurs, I will file a full report on the fantastically horrible experience of the repossession and sale.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Keeping fingers crossed

Ok, I've had the worst strain of Murphy's Law luck in the last week but I have decided that today is the day for the turn-around. Right now. Today at noon.

The buyers are inspecting the house right now.

Tomorrow evening I am off to San Diego for an optometry conference and mini-vacation, which I think I might just need. My mom is meeting me from North Dakota-- and we'll arrive within thirty minutes of each other, so long as no plane is ridiculously late.

It's sunny in Portland- approx 90 for the high today. Too hot for me, but oh well. I am more of a cool weather fan really.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not so happy Sunday

I had a morning of reprieve from life thanks to Shanta and the Sellwood Farmer's Market and came home with a bag of honeycrisp apples and two squash. But resumed "Can't breathe, I want to die feeling" shortly after our separation and reading emails. When will this all be over?

Someone just hit me with their car, please! And it will all be over.

Ok, so I am overly dramatic. And I can't say anything. So.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I have changed my mind to:

I hate McMinnville.

Last time it was quaint in a small town way.

Today it is slow and painful in a small town way.

How it takes 25 minutes to order a coffee even though there is only one person in line in front of me.

How someone has locked themself in both the women's and the men's bathrooms for the last 20-30 minutes as well. I might pee in the corner.

How a person on the street is standing in the parking spot to "hold" it for their friend or whoever. I wanted to run them over.

How I could go on.

Most likely it's my own short fuse and lack of patience at the way of the world in the present moment.

I am crabby. That is certain.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Drowning in paperwork and life

I'm filling out yet another fifty-three pages. Yes, fifty-three.

So exhausted from paperwork, house sales, other personal problems which I will not state here, that I wonder sometimes how I am going to get through the day or the night or the morning for that matter.

I had a partially bald man come to give me a bid on shipping my belongings to Germany this morning. I'm allotted 4,000 pounds. They estimate I'll have about 2,500. That's including the small piano, which is the bulk of my weight.

Today I was sitting at the piano, trying to calm myself by letting my fingers glide over the keys. It didn't really do the trick. I think vodka would've worked better. But it was nice anyway.

When I'm done with all this, I'll write several interesting posts on pursuing overseas employment, renters, and house sales. But until the cards have fallen, my lips are mum.

Please send good vibes my way if you have time and inclination.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Few little fun pics

A most beautiful quilt I saw in the window in McMinnville. Anyone want to make this for me?

The couch that makes into a bed for those of you who'll be visiting me in Germany. It's only a full. And it's FIRM. But I think just fine.

If you wanted to see the most beautiful bike in the world, here it is. And it's mine!

Breakfast. Made by me. Yummm.

The flyer for my house. Not too shabby. Did you know that my house has a walk score of 91? No wonder I don't have a car!

Me on working holiday in McMinnville. Even looked professional. Amazing.

House for Sale! Final photos.

By the way, these are way out of order, but I can't be bothered with rearranging them today. The official RMLS posting is: HERE. Use number 9071807.

The Evil FIVE yards of mulch that I shoveled! While mulching for the six hundreth hour in a row, I banged my head on the overhang on the side of the house, had a mild nervous breakdown which lasted ten minutes and then was over. I may never order mulch again.

The piano that mom sewed 1200 fake cabbage patch kids to buy when I was 9 will be going with me to Germany. I'm allotted 4000 pounds to ship there and back so Nana Kathy suggested, "Why not take it?"

That's the giddyup chair in the corner from New Zealand. It will ROCK your world. Picked out with Molly and Josh when they visited me in Parnell, Auckland.

Hand painted table and chairs highlighting the blindingly shiny floors. (Thanks for the tip, mom!)

Second hand bed and headboard gift/borrow from Carrie Ann.

My first piece of real art. Bought with Shanta at the Salem art fair.

Where you can sit down and throw back a few...

Ha, ha I have a built-in coffee shop. Just kidding! It's the Fresh Pot on Albina.

New light fixture was NOT a joy to install but repainting the chalkboard on the island was!

The evilness of repainting the bathroom. The joy of the clawfoot!

Grandma's needlework highlights the freshly painted risers.

Mud-colored second bedroom which shockingly will hold a Queen bed.

Where the pears commit suicide.

My old bedroom painted in the compulsory "Beach Glass by Martha Stewart" color.

Bad picture of the side yard where you can go for a contemplative stroll.

11 bags of yard waste plus one 55 gallon bin and one 32 gallon bin. (Fig suicide tree in foreground.)

Lucky horseshoe on the front porch.

Can you tell I repainted the front door?

Big-ass shiny basement and my beautiful orange bicycle.

My two favorite possessions. Man, I recommend these. Totally worth your cash. They are from 2001, still totally charming and going to be loved by Carrie while I am in Germany.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Two days of evil rain.

I'm at my second home, The Flying Cat coffeehouse, about a half block from my house (using wifi). I've been doing the 16-18 hour days of working til my fingers bleed and brain's asphyxiated from the paint odors. (Not all my paint is low VOC so I'm probably getting progressively dull-minded as I work on my house.)

This morning I thought it looked like sun, so I painted the window ledges outside. Oops. Rain. Hence my mental vacation from house-repair at the Flying Cat- trying not to think about the four yards of mulch gathering weight on my driveway.

The second cup of coffee is kicking in and I'm finally waking up.

I've learned a few things in the last week: (this is NOT sarcasm)
1. I love working on houses.
2. I love manual labor.
3. I love playing my piano.

Oh, and I'm quite surprised at all the things I can do. I forgot how handy I was in the house. It's a nice feeling.

Happy LABOUR Day.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Last night, I decided that I needed to make a list of all I've accomplished since regaining possession of my house on Sept 1st.

(to do still in green)
: repaint all walls, wash ceiling and touch up, repair cabinet door, wash floors, fix faucet
Kitchen: touch up paint walls, doors, wash curtains & rehang, remove light fixture and replace, fix drawer in island, touch up door, wash & wax floor, clean appliance doors with stainless steel cleaner
Living/dining room: touch up paint walls and ceiling, wash floors, remove light fixture and replace, hang picture, clean piano, shine floors
Parlor: repair storm door, repaint entire room, wash floors, shine floors
Main floor bedroom: touch up paint walls, wash floors, touch up baseboard, shine floors, stage room, hang pictures,
Stairwell: repaint all risers, wash stairs, touch up paint walls, repair gouges & touch up ceiling, repaint railing
Master bedroom: touch up paint walls, wash walls, wash floor, shine floor
Second bedroom: touch up paint walls, wash floors, shine floor
Basement: wash floors, wash floors again, touch up floors, touch up walls, organise stuff from storage area
Exterior: paint front stairs, wash railings on back porch, touch up paint outside upper windows
Yard: trim bushes, pick up fallen fruit, trim trees, haul away waste, mulch garden areas, pull weeds, mow yard, scrape next to driveway
Misc: Pick up saddle oil/stain for chair, pick up small sideboard from downtown

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Introducing: Visiting Photographer, Alex Jones

I've been meaning to upload these for a while. One afternoon at Ross and Dee's house, the three of us had a grand time in the front parlor room. Alex and Lucy are a pile of fun. (They're in the running for my "favorite kids of all time" award.) By the way, Alex took all the pics except the first two and the last one.

This was at the Walker Art Center sculpture garden. Interesting. True.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

House rehabing: the short list

I'm back in my house. It's nicer than I thought it would be. (Gee, I had good decorating sense!) It's good to fill it with my spirit and blood.

Today I touch-up painted as much as I could, repainted the bathroom and ran to the hardware store for a few supplies. The day is gone. And I have much to do.

The yard: a never-ending creator of rotting pears. Next will be rotting figs. Good thing I have massive yard waste bins.

Also trying to re-decorate the place with my few artistic things. "Staging" I guess is what it's called. I could have used my realtor's things, but mine probably fit better in my house. Certainly, the giddyup chair will help sell the house for me.

The list is endless, and it feels like I am not getting much done. One person, even crazy, insane me, is limited on what she can accomplish.

Add on to that, thoughts of Germany, moving companies calling, continuing the credentialling process and impending letter to renters with deposit refund to compose.

I don't have a minute to spare.