Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Big Move to Bend

It’s been a really crazy week.  Last Wednesday, 5/23/12, I was in Seattle hanging out with Jessie.  We mostly spent our days together goofing off and reading, when she wasn’t in school; some of our favorite things to do. On Thursday morning, I dropped Jessie off at school and headed to the airport to catch my flight to California.

Janet picked me up at the airport and we drove back to the hotel to pack up.  I had put on jeans in Seattle, it’s not particularly warm in Seattle at the moment, and when I hit Sacramento I was overjoyed with the ability to put on shorts!  In May!  We left around 4pm and headed north towards Klamath Falls, Oregon.  We realized, with such a late start, we would never make it to Bend in one day so we thought Klamath Falls was far enough.

Once we started climbing up out of the lowlands of California, the temperature started dropping enough to scare the bejeezus out of us.  The car thermometer said it was 37 degrees, but I chose to ignore it.  When the sun was but a fond memory, Janet said, “Is that snow I’m seeing in the headlights?”  Being such a level headed, scientifically minded person I said, “Hell no!  I don’t see anything!”

By the time we turned off the car, finally put the Prius to sleep, the temperature in Klamath Falls was 34 degrees.  Fahrenheit.  Janet and I, of the short pants and sleeves fame, looked at each other, put our heads together and debated the best way to get our bags, backpacks, and snack bag out of the car and into the hotel without going outside.

I won’t tell you how long we debated, but it was getting mighty cold in the car when we finally, truly, realized that couldn’t happen without driving through the front door.  So we took a deep breath, flung the doors open, ran to the back, grabbed our stuff and ran, full tilt, to the entrance where we were welcomed into the warm embrace of the Holiday Inn Express.  Power to the points (wink, wink).

So you can imagine our dismay when the nice young man at the front desk informed us we HAD to write down our license plate number on the paperwork.  Like most normal people who move a lot, we have no clue what our license plate number resembles.  So, once again, we both looked at each other.

Janet didn’t say a word, but her eyes said, “please, please!, don’t make me go back out into the cold.  You know how much the cold bothers me and I’m barely wearing any clothes.  Please go look at the plate and tell me what it says.  I’ll do anything you want, just don’t make me go back outside.  Please, I’ll make you brownies when we get settled in Bend.”

Damn, how can I say no to those eyes?  So I ran out and took a picture of the plate and ran back in at lightning speed.  If only we hadn’t packed our long sleeved shirts and jackets in our suitcases before we left California.  It was 90 degrees there, in our defense, and it was hard to imagine we could drive out of 90 and into 34 degrees in the space of six hours.

We woke up Friday morning eager to make our way to Bend, to our new home, when we happened to look out the window and saw all the snow.  Don’t the people in Klamath Falls realize it’s the end of May?  It shouldn’t snow at the end of May!  That’s why we moved to Bend and not Klamath Falls.  Did I live in Texas too long?  Did it mess up my view of climate?

We drove up Highway 97 and it was mostly uneventful; the occasional snow flurries and U- Hauls in the ditch aside.  At one point, Janet turned to me and said, “What have we gotten ourselves into?  Last weekend it was beautiful and now we are ten miles away from Bend and there’s snow everywhere.”

Luckily, in those last ten miles, we dropped down however many feet we needed to be under the snowfall level and we cruised into a snow free, relatively warm 57 degree, beautiful Bend, Oregon.  When we told Joe at our property management company about the snow, he told us it had snowed in Bend a few days earlier.  I chose not to hear that statement.

While still in Vancouver, when we were packing up, we had to make three big piles: things going to Seattle, things we were taking to Bend for the summer, and a small, Prius sized pile of things we were taking to Sacramento.  We planned pretty well, but we forgot one small thing; it’s always the logistics that mess us up.

We forgot about Friday night in Bend, after driving up from California, but before we actually had any of our stuff.  Since we refused to spend another night in a hotel, we slept on the floor with our little blankets and pillows we bought at Target (which is having a terrific sale on pillows) and Costco (where we also had to buy a couple of towels).

I can honestly say at the age of 43, sleeping on the floor is not an easy thing to do.  But I woke up Saturday morning not as sore as I thought I would be.  I thought I would snap, crackle, and pop all the way into the bathroom, but I only crackled a little.  We did wake up early though, before 7, because it wasn’t comfortable enough to lounge around on the floor.

We put ourselves back into the car and headed for Vancouver which is a very nice 3 hour drive from Bend.  An added bonus: no snow anywhere.  We picked up the Budget truck and headed over to the storage unit.  (It was cheaper renting a one-way from Vancouver, WA to Bend, OR than it was a local rental from Bend.  89¢ a mile would have been very expensive.)

We packed up the Budget truck in about ninety minutes and TruckerJenn headed off to Bend with Janet following close on my heels.  We left our Chevy truck in Vancouver, waiting for a friendly face to drive it to Bend.  That little Budget truck did a great job.  I made it up the hills fairly easily.  I even passed a couple of semis and one little old lady driving a car older than I am.

When I got home (yay, Bend!), Janet helped me back the truck into the parking area near our condo without killing anyone or destroying the truck or any parking structures.  That’s always a good day in my book.  I will admit, though, I almost took off a couple of branches from a poor innocent tree when I went to park the truck on a side street for the night.  I’m pretty sure no one saw.

We unloaded in another swift 90 minutes and, after we were done, it looked like the Budget truck had vomited in our living room.  I was so tired after packing the truck, then driving the truck, I had a hard time carrying boxes up the stairs to the bedroom.  Janet and I joked we should be on an episode of the hoarders show because we just had little footpaths to the sink, fridge, and bathroom.

We couldn’t bring our king size bed, it wouldn’t fit in the small bedroom, but we brought Jessie’s futon couch and decided to sleep on that mattress for the night.  When we woke up on Sunday, we really couldn’t decide which night’s sleep was better: the floor night or the hard, unforgiving futon night.  We came up with a verdict of undetermined because we could have been sore from the three hours of moving, but I’m not convinced.

Sunday was spent looking through boxes, determining what went where and trying to unpack as much as we could.  When making our pile to Bend, we were under the assumption we were going to rent a 3/2/2 house with a ton of space and storage.  We ended up with a small condo and now I don’t know where to put some of this stuff.  So we’ll probably end up taking some of it back to the storage unit and pile it with the Seattle stuff.

Another thing we did on Sunday?  Something Janet has dreamed of for a year? That’s right! We bought a cute little travel gas grill; the kind that sits on top of a table or other firm structure.  So, of course, on Monday we spent the morning putting it together and then the rest of the day grilling sausages and pork chops.  Yes, life is good.

How did I respond to moving day and a couple of unpacking days?  In my usual I’m-as-healthy-as-an-ox (if-he-were-dead) way, I became sick.  By noon of Tuesday my stomach didn’t feel well and then, before you knew what happened, I was down for the count.  I spent Wednesday suffering on the couch feeling sorry for myself.  And we only get one channel, but I’ll talk about that later.

As you can imagine, with all the moving and unpacking, we’re creating a lot of dirty clothes.  Just one problem: we don’t have a washer/dryer here, just the hookups.  So, in between being sick and unpacking, we’ve been running through Craigslist looking for stackable washers and dryers because it has to fit in the closet sized condo.  Janet found a set in Portland.  Life would have been easier if it had been in Bend, but it never works like that.

It was such a good deal, of course that’s only if it actually works, we decided to jump back in the car, wicked early this morning, head back to Vancouver, get our Chevy truck, and buy a slightly used stackable washer and dryer.  I left Janet in Portland, she has to work during the day (it’s really only me who goofs off) and I came home to write a blog.

Janet just crawled in from her drive back home and I’m sure she’ll enjoy a little relaxation time this evening; after she grills something, of course.  Me?  I’m kicking back with a big slice of brownie, washing it all down with some sun tea.

jenn

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Let’s Go to Bend!

Janet and I went to Bend this past weekend and found a place to stay for the summer!  Okay, we had a little scare in the beginning thinking we wouldn’t be able to find a place, but it all worked out in the end.  Seriously, we thought in this economy it would be easy to find someone who wanted to rent their second, heavily mortgaged home to us on a month to month basis.  We were mistaken.

We arrived in Bend and realized that bringing our shorts was just wishful thinking; it’s still pretty cold up there.  Who knew we would need to bring our parkas to Bend and Seattle at the end of May? It was in the 80s and 90s in Sacramento and most of the rest of the world.

We started our search for a home on Craigslist and found some listings but couldn’t get anyone to respond to our inquiries.  When we called a realtor who specializes in vacation rentals she told us stories about listings on Craigslist from people who are in foreclosure and people who stopped paying their mortgages who are just looking to make a quick buck.  So, of course, our response was to panic.

Me being the level headed one (don’t laugh Janet), I decided against moving to Bend at all.  It just didn’t seem to be in the cards for us.  But then we found a great management company who had the perfect month to month rental for us.  The only problem is the fact that it’s a pretty small condo.  It’s a 2/1 with small bedrooms and a tiny living room.  It’s probably only 650 square feet.

Me being the cerebral, non emotional one (stop laughing), I agreed to it and then, after I’d thought about it, said it was too small and let’s just move to Seattle now instead of waiting until September.  We really couldn’t find anything better than the little condo so Janet took me to IKEA and we played; I too can be an interior designer at HGTV.

WE CAN DO THIS.  We treated it like a game as we analyzed each of IKEA’s little roomed apartment layouts 359 sqft,  594 sqft, 650 sqft.  How can we create as much space as possible with as little furniture as we can but still have places to sit down?  Since most of our furniture will not fit, we’ll have to be careful not to make Budge too angry (curse you, Budge!).  Thrift stores here we come!

The whole point in going to Bend is our desire to spend more time in the Great Outdoors, so having a small domicile isn’t that big of a deal.  And according to Janet, the condo has the one thing we need, the one thing that has been missing from our lives the past year, the one thing Janet has been dreaming about for twelve long months: space for a BBQ grill.  I see pork chops and applesauce in my future.

At the end of the weekend, with our Bend situation under control now, we moved on to Seattle so we could see the Mariner’s game on Monday night.  The Texas Rangers were in town and Yu Darvish was the pitcher for the Rangers.  Since I’m so non-emotional, my first thought was, “Oh crap!  Why bother even going?  The Mariners will definitely lose.”  I went, of course, and not just because Janet hit me upside the head with our already bought tickets; I went because I was buying the first baseball for my brand new baseball collection.  (The Mariners won decisively, btw.  I knew they would.)

I decided, a while back, to collect one baseball from every stadium except for the New York Yankees.  Since the Mariners are my first and strongest baseball loves, I wanted to start at Safeco Field.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen display cases for baseballs for all 30 teams; I’ll just scratch out the Yankees and buy a ball at a minor league game; maybe an affiliate of the Mariners?  Or I can take Jessie to a Round Rock Express game, the Ranger affiliate.  She loves the outfield grass and I’m a halfway infatuated Rangers fan.

It rained all afternoon, before the game, but it stopped raining and the clouds dispersed just in time for the game.  They actually retracted the roof so we could see that large yellow orb in the sky.  I believe you people call that the sun.  We were pretty cold as the game temp was only 60.  Seriously, how do these people live here in the tundra?  My nails turned blue and I thought I was going to lose skin off my cheeks; mostly the ones on my face.

Anyhoo, life is pretty good now: I’m warmer, we have a place to stay for the summer, I bought the first baseball for my collection (my UFO baseball from Roswell, New Mexico and my <save the> Alamo ball from San Antonio don’t count), and I had pizza for dinner.  What more could a level headed person like me need?  Well, long pants for one.

Book Update: I am this close, THIS CLOSE, to being done.  Stay tuned.  Devan’s Story: Blue Hydrangeas.  Book One of the Vancouver Series.

jenn

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The Perfect Sandwich

I’m a big fan of sandwiches.  Probably not more than crunchy tacos, but a big fan nonetheless.  They’re so versatile: they can be found hot or cold, on a variety of breads, and filled with everything under the sun.  I’ve always loved going to Subway and ordering a veggie on wheat because I feel it’s really just a lazyjenn salad.  I think Janet and I have found the perfect sandwich…in our opinion, of course.

It’s the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Cafeteria 15L located in the B terminal at the Sacramento Airport.  We just found out they have a restaurant in downtown Sacramento where we will go very, very soon to see if the sandwiches are the same quality and deliciousness.  The fact that we have a coupon to the downtown location doesn’t hurt one bit.

The sandwich is a big beautiful piece of chicken breast with no fat anywhere, which is important to me.  It’s deep fried just right, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  It’s then dipped in buffalo wing sauce and they pile on the blue cheese.  I’m not a big fan of blue cheese but it really does go well with spicy buffalo sauce.

We just flew from Sacramento to Portland and we stopped by 15L and had their delicious sandwich.  Have you ever eaten something you absolutely loved, thought about it for a while, then went back to eat it again and were terribly disappointed?  It’s never like that with the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.  It seems to be getting better and better.

We came out to Bend to explore the various neighborhoods and maybe find a place to live.  It would be nice to actually rent a house out there and not have to live in a tent.  Running water is a good thing.

Book Update:  The manuscript is done as much as I can do, the cover is done and looks great, Janet is reading it over as we speak, catching various typos.  I’m afraid of jinxing myself, but I think the book could hit the (kindle) book shelves next week!

jenn

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Our Anniversary 2012

Our anniversary, Janet and mine, is coming up soon and we’ll be this many (just imagine me with 4 fingers held up).  It’s hard to believe Janet has put up with me for as long as she has and she swears she’s not done with me yet!

How do people stay together after the initial honeymoon phase is over?  I have no clue.  I think it helps if you like each other and love each other at the same time.  Yes, those are two very different and important feelings.  I also think it’s important when the things you have in common are big and the places you differ are small and mostly just add spice to your life.

Here are some things we have in common.

Our Basic Fibers

Call them what you want: morals, ethics, principles, beliefs.  Your fundamental beliefs should be very similar, in my opinion.  Our right and wrong meters are closely linked and I don’t know of any real differences in our morals.  I’m pretty sure Janet’s not a serial killer.  I’m still here.

Our Sense of Humor

I had a hard time deciding where to put this one, our funny bones are very different, but decided on a commonality because we both love humor; it’s such an important part of our lives together.  I’m more of a slapstick kind of a gal.  I have a knack for saying things people are not expecting.  Janet is more of a straightforward humorist.  But we both crack each other up on a daily basis.

Our Love of Travel

Not shocking, really (curse you, Budge!).  It would be cheaper if neither of us liked to travel, but since that’s not the case, I’m glad we both do with equal fervor.  Even with her travels for work, Janet still loves to travel for fun.  This year we’re going to the Dakotas and next year, if all goes according to schedule, we’re heading for Greece for our 5th.  Unless the Greeks are still rioting in the streets, then we’ll go to the Florida Keys or somewhere else mellow.

Our Love of Eating Out

Another Budge buster, but something we definitely have in common.  I like to eat out because I’m not much for cooking and clean-ups are a breeze.  Janet likes to eat out to try things she doesn’t want to or won’t make at home.  Fried chicken is a good example: it’s a lot of work to make and I won’t let Janet make that big of a mess in the kitchen.

 

Here are some of our differences.

Birthplaces

I was born on the west coast and Janet was born on that other coast.  The east coast is much more formal than the west, much older and conservative.  I spent my first 23 years in Seattle; and, well, Janet’s probably really happy that I shave.  This isn’t such a bad difference; Janet has brought some formality into my manners and I’ve taught her the art of snarkiness and drama queen-isms.

Our Love of Animals

I was a little concerned, at first, with Janet’s lack of enthusiasm for puppies and kittens, but I think she’s coming around to Jessie and my point of view.  I think the pros of animals outweigh the cons by a ton or two.  We’ll talk about this point in a few months.

Our Temperaments

Janet and I are the polar opposites in temperaments with Janet not liking confrontations and me enjoying them immensely.  I’m a hot head and Janet gets very quiet when shown anger.  She just steps back and lets me fizzle out.  I don’t believe this is a deal breaker, at least not so far, but it’s something I should probably work on.

Alcohol

Janet doesn’t drink.  At all.  She will take sips of wine and exotic drinks of mine but that’s as far as her consumption goes.  I, on the other hand, enjoy drinking.  I don’t drink as much as I used to and if I did I’m sure this would become a problem for us.  It sucks being sober around heavy drinkers: they’re loud, obnoxious and think they’re funny.  I don’t need alcohol to act like that.

This blog was harder than I thought it would be to write: Janet and I have a lot in common and very few really important differences.  I could have mentioned a lot more things in common.  For instance: our love of learning, our fear of getting older, our love of the outdoors, how we both love a good commitment, our love/hate relationship with TV/exercise/eating healthy…the list goes on and on.

I still love and like Janet.  I find her funny, intelligent, driven, and loving.  Our goals are the same (get Janet off the road), our different styles of humor surprise and amuse us, and we’re concentrating on, not only the here and now, but our future together as a family of three.  All in four short years.

jenn

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The First of Three Moves

We made it to Sacramento!  For the last month, Janet and I have been packing our things with the anticipation of moving three times in the next 6 months.  Why on Earth, you might ask, would someone willfully and knowingly move three times quickly like that?  That’s just how we roll.

Almost immediately after moving into our apartment in Vancouver, we realized we had made a mistake.  And by “we” I mean me.  I thought it would be easier to rent an apartment than anything else: cheaper, easier to clean, easy convenience to a pool and workout room.  It didn’t work out the way I thought it would.

Our three bedroom apartment was expensive compared to renting a house; I had no idea until we were settled in.  The father of one of Jessie’s friends told me how much he was renting his house for and it was $200 cheaper than what we were paying.  And much nicer.

Janet let me pick the apartment we would call home and I picked the second floor in the back by the walking path.  I’ve learned something about the sandwich apartment: it sucks.  The walking path in the back that looked so inviting?  It’s 1/50 of a mile and it’s where all the dog owners take their dogs for walks.  Yeah, crappy.

The walls are so thin in the apartments you could hear everything going on around you.  When our neighbors would have sex it sounded like they were in the room with us; and they weren’t impressive.  When the woman downstairs would yell and scream obscenities at her husband?  It was like I was right there with them enjoying the show.

The little boy upstairs runs everywhere and loves to jump off the furniture.  I know I have a daughter, but I don’t like most kids and I didn’t like that one at all.  His mom’s way of stopping him was to yell and scream at him to knock it off.  So, I either had him jumping off the furniture or his mom yelling and screaming.  Made for some aggravating weekends; thank heavens the kids went to school.

I realized, immediately after moving in, this was not our forever home and we would be moving at the end of April 2012 when the lease was up.  I learned an important and expensive lesson with this apartment: I will (probably, never say never) never again rent an apartment where I have people above me or below me.

A townhouse style condo where you share a side wall or attached garages?  Fine.  A condo where they have actually put a little money into the construction and you can’t hear the people above or below?  Fine.  A place where the walls are so thin I’m afraid if I trip I’ll fall right thru them?  Never again.  Plus, I really want to use my Zumba dvd.

When Janet and I went to Bend, Oregon in October we fell in love with the little town.  What a great place to spend some time.  Janet casually said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to spend the summer in Bend?”  Well, of course, I jumped all over that!  I didn’t hear the “Wouldn’t it be…” part; what I heard was, “Jenn, let’s move to Bend for the summer.  I won’t take no for an answer.”

So, we moved to Sacramento for the month of May (yay expense account!) to cut down on expenses and then we’ll be heading over to Bend until September.  We’ll end up in the Seattle area, the place I grew up, the place I have missed for twenty years.  I figure we’ll probably end up in the Portland area when Janet retires.  At least for the warmish months.

I’m not sure how all the moving will affect our budget (curse you, budge!), but I will try to be good and not have much frivolous spending.  The problem is I don’t feel any spending is really frivolous.  I really need that corona infused margarita with dinner.

I gotta run.  I’ve got a lot of work to do.  I have to finish a book, go for a walk, and probably do some packing; one move down, two to go.

jenn

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