Friday, October 30, 2015

Adjustments and Trade-Offs

The skylights were one of the things that attracted me to this house.  Because Bend has 100 fewer sunny days than Reno, I knew that winter would be long and dark.  You can imagine my frustration when we "possessed" our house to find that the occupants left a mess behind but took the time to close the skylight shades.
No one knew how to open them and we couldn't find information online.  We had the seller's phone number but when Ian called, the wife was terse and suspicious.  Imagine our surprise when three days later the husband called and proved to be talkative and informative - very.  He told Ian to put a cuphook on the end the end of a garden stake and explained how to use it.  Let there be light!
He also explained how to use this wood stove.  It's called Sunrise and was made by a small company that later went bankrupt so there's just no information available.  They wanted to create the perfectly efficient wood stove so it draws air from under the house and recycles the heat through baffles on the side, but to start it you keep the damper closed, the opposite of our old Jotul.
It's so efficient that a single morning fire was sufficient for the whole day.  And the brass door is gorgeous.  The house is 2 x 6 construction and so well insulated that we can't hear each other from room to room.  I was worried about a massive power bill but the house really maintains its heat.
I have thrown myself into unpacking boxes so my upper back is pretty sore today, but I was delighted to make space for Jane in the garage.  That's all the space we need for now because unfortunately after we spent $3,000 on our old truck, two weeks after we got here it blew a head gasket.  We haven't decided what to do since we need a truck but can't afford a new one.  Ian is having it towed on Monday to Josh's mechanic.

On top of that, it turns out that the dryer left behind was kaput so we bought a new one online from Sears which was delivered and installed yesterday.  The skinny guy who attached the vent hose slid out and cautioned us to not move it!  I don't like this hobbit laundry room stashed under the stairs and it almost turned me off on the house.
The dogs are still confused even though we've been here for a week now.  Sammie was really excited when we found her basket of toys.  She pulled them out and then laid on them.  She has huge "separation anxiety" so these were especially comforting to her.
DIL Missy's mom Julie comes up for a week after school is in session to see the boys play their sports.  This past Sunday was Evan's last 6th grade football game and we all went.  Josh told me that the rain in Bend just falls straight down and it truly does.  After rain in Reno being accompaned by fierce wind, this kind of rain is just fine and dandy.  And what do you know?  An umbrella works well without wind.  Evan's next sport is basketball - indoors!
There are trade-offs to anything.  Alexia has become very serious about the flute and is now taking private lessons.  My heart aches with missing her.  This is daughter Chris's flute that we bought for her in 4th grade.  She played it all the way through high school and even played it for weddings after she graduated.  Josh's sons have also picked up his instruments.  Logan is playing his trumpet, Evan is playing his trombone, and we're looking forward to school concerts in December..  What great investments those instruments were!.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Home

Our movers arrived and were ready to deliver about 9:00 on Wednesday.  The carpet installers had been working steadily since 8:30.  Once the old carpet was removed, the stinky pet smell went with it - huge relief.
They threw themselves into the task and were done well in time for the movers to bring in furniture.
Joe the driver from Reno brought his wife and stepson who slept in the truck cabin the night before and then they became part of the delivery team.  These two are local guys and unfortunately the weird driveway meant they had a substantial carry distance which they cheerfully negotiatied.  Joe and family were looking forward to dropping the trailer at an RV park on Hwy 97, driving up into Lake Paulina with the tractor to fish and spending the night in the cabin.  I was touched by the way they made a moment out of a work trip.
The shelves were delivered yesterday and I'm looking forward to filling them.  I took some time today to unbox some of my books, just because I've missed them.  I love the shelves!  Houses built in this era are notorious for limited storage, according to the plumber.  None of them have linen closets which is proving a challenge as I unpack.  We're going to need to buy a shelving unit for the kitchen too.  The plumber installed the new water heater yesterday morning.  He said the 25-year-old unit was ready to go, which was our concern. The sellers had done a lot of updating but that wasn't one of them.
Last ngiht was our first night here.  The dogs have been with us all along while we stayed with our kids but Maddie has been kenneled for a month and was really happy to be with us again.  She checked things out and then checked them out again, then finally came for a snuggle while I read.

I came out to the great room this morning, exhausted and barely awake.  I was startled to see a tortoise-shell cat staring in through the glass door and I freaked out.  After everything it took to kennel her for a month, to have her slip outside when Ian let the dogs out to pee was crushing.  I went outside and tried to entice her back in, and while she talked to me, she wouldn't come to me.  Ian was able to catch her but couldn't get the door open when she scrambled down, claws out.  We were upset to say the least.  I went back to unpacking, trying to get some of the areas cleared out so we can move around.  I tackled a miscellaneous pile of boxes in the guest bedroom and after I emptied a few she squirmed out from her hidey hole.  She had never been outside but was hibernating.  The cat belonged to a neighbor, poor kitty.  Figure the odds on that - two torties in two houses.  I had never seen one like Maddie before I had Maddie and now we have a lookalike.

Lots to deal with as we adjust and adapt.  The dryer they left was left for a reason.  Ian has ordered one from Sears which will come on Wednesday.  I'm kicking myself now for leaving our appliances, but I still love this house and I absolutely love Bend.  I especially love not living in the 40th parallel with the constant wind anymore.  It's more humid here so the cold feels colder but my contact lenses are thanking me.  Matt popped in today to fix the dining room table I broke.  I've never had the luxury of  being so close to my boys.

Here's the state of my studio.  It's going to be a great space.

Friday, October 16, 2015


We can't move in until our furniture is delivered next Wednesday but we visited the house today anyway.  This is the door from the bedroom and there's a hot tub right outside the door, warm and ready for us to slip into.  All the windows downstairs are low like this.
We're planning to heat with wood just like we did in our old house.  This tall wall on the end of the great room is the one that had us scratching our heads.  They had a piano there.  We have nothing but a small TV to go there.
The rest of the great room looks like this.  Since we were there last time, someone has closed the skylight shades and we don't know how to get them open again.  Bend has a 100 less sunny days than Reno and the skylights were part of our decision to buy this house.  Something else to figure out.

We went through it a few days ago with our agent.  Unfortunately the seller left in a hurry and the house is not clean.  The garage is full of piles of stuff, plus they left miscellaneous bits of furniture in the house.  Our broker called their broker and told him it was unacceptable, so they're going to pay for someone to clear it out tomorrow.  

We've hired Missy's housekeeper to clean house for us on Monday - both ovens haven't been cleaned in years - and we've also hired someone our broker recommended to clean the carpets that morning.  We're having the great room carpet replaced Wednesday morning because we think the bulk of the unfortunate pet odor is there.  There's going to be a time overlap from when they start, furniture delivery arrives and the carpet installers leave.  It's supposed to work since the movers won't have to walk in or through the great room.  The problem is the long narrow driveway.

My last two houses have been new so buying a "used" house is an adventure in compromise.  To their credit, the sellers are paying for a new water-feature pump, will have the sprinkling system blown out and are having the inside of the garage painted.

Meanwhile, we went furniture shopping for some book shelves which we have needed for a very long time.  Matt and Julia told us about a used place called Redux which sells quality stuff.  It's in a warehouse area with meandering show rooms.  We found these at the last one of course and bought them for that tall naked wall.  Plus they at the end of their consignment period and reduced in price.
Today we went back for these bar stools.  They caught our eye last time and our 30-year-old barstools have seen better days. These ours now and everything will be delivered Thursday - after all the other stuff is done.
I couldn't resist taking a picture of this living room set.  I sure would love to know the story behind it.
The irrigation canals have been turned off for the year.  Josh was thrilled to be able to put away the sprinklers and hoses until spring.  We've never been here this time of year and so have only seen the ponds and canals filled with water.  We had eyed a couple of houses that backed up to a canal because the canals are so pretty when they're alive but now I'm wondering about mosquitoes.

I think we got the right place for us and a week from now we will be living there - lots going to happen between now and then.  Tomorrow I am taking our new Deed of Trust to the library and getting a card, something I've been looking forward to.  It's a symbolic step for me since I'm already in possession of two library books checked out *for* me.

Friday, October 09, 2015

October in Bend

I suspect this is only the tip of the iceberg, but with both boys in sports, I expect and plan to be very busy.  Friday we went to Logan's cross-country meet in Drake Park, where 25 schools met up in the Oxford Classic, a 24-year-old tradition.  He had resentfully signed up for X-Country but just started to train.  A secondary sport is required by his high school and it does my heart good to see him falling in love with it.  Baseball remains his true love so I'm looking forward to an exciting spring.
Saturday brought a snap of cold weather but we braved the Fall Fest anyway in Downtown Bend.  It's just minutes away and always fun.  Unfortunately for the vendors, we probably would have spent more money had it been warmer.

And by Sunday we once again enjoyed Indian Summer.  Evan is in the 6th grade and has chosen football as his first sport.  Even though he's in middle school and these are school teams, 6th grade football is directed through Parks and Rec.  They won't play on a school field until 7th grade and I will miss the park setting.
Tuesday Ian and I sat on the front porch, waiting for our broker at "our" house because I wanted to measure some rooms and also to compare carpet samples with the existing carpet.  I wish we could afford hardwood or tile, but in the sake of time, we've decided to replace the great room carpet.  There's a strong pet odor, and while it's a gamble that we're attacking the source, we're all in agreement that at least that room needs to be replaced.
Evan is playing his dad's trombone in the school band.  A couple nights ago he was practicing and then came down to ask about some note positions.  There are things every day that confirm our decision to abruptly sell and relocate.  This is just one.
My daughter-in-law Missy prepared last night for her next day's class.  She has taught 1st grade for over 15 years but when the 1st grade enrollment was modest and kindergarten enrolled swollen at her school, the principle reassigned one of his teachers to kinder - Missy.  It's truly a complement to her skills and she has cheerfully (after tears) accepted this. 
I love being a part of the chaotic life here.  It's not something I've ever had from a distance, the trombone, the coloring, my grandsons in the driveway playing basketball, their team sports - it all confirms our rash move.  We have a three week interlude between our two closes of escrow.  I've decided to fill that time with reading.

And to that end, I attended the October Deschutes Public Library book group yesterday.  They read a book that I wasn't interested in so I attended as an observer and I pleaded newbie.  It didn't take long for me to recognize that it was the group for me.  The discussion was easy, intelligent, humorous and thoughful - plus it's apparent the group is widely read.  Afterwards I was chatting in an informal group when the facilitator returned with this copy of next month's book.  I told him I couldn't get a library card until later in the month so he checked it out to himself and told me to return it when I'm done.  Did I mention that I love Bend???

Monday, October 05, 2015

Musings from Sage Creek

I received an email this morning from the administrator of a website I used to contribute to, saying that the content is being updated.  I had completely forgotten that for a year I had written a monthly column.  I wrote this nearly six years ago and thought it an interesting back note to where Ian and I are today.

Musings from Sage Creek

November 2009

I have been retired for six months now, and one year ago at this time, I didn’t know that I would be retired at all. There had been rumors of staff reductions, but when the early buy-out incentives were announced, I applied and was declined. Rumors flew, people were leaving right and left, so I reapplied and waited to hear. I finally was confirmed and was emailed a copy of my contract the second week of June. I signed it on June 17th on my last day of work, and just like that, my employment was severed. I had entered, or rather, was catapulted into a new stage of my life.

I wasn’t sure what I would do with all the time that had previously been filled with employment. Every work day for me had been 11 hours long, including my lunch and commute. I would have an extra 55 hours each week, and I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how living every minute of every day with Ian was going to pan out. I had done everything I could do to get us ready for living on reduced income. I felt we were ready there, but I wasn’t sure if my head was ready.

I’m reminded of how I felt when I discovered I was pregnant for the first time. It was my first marriage, and I had only been married a little over a year. Starting a family hadn’t even been discussed, and then suddenly failed birth control left me facing something I was not prepared for. I was thinking about this the other day as I took my dogs for a walk. I had no idea what being a mother would be like. My parents had been older so I grew up with older people, not young families and children. I didn’t know how to be a mother, but I can tell you that I have loved being a mother, even if I was a little unorthodox. My children have provided the greatest highs and lows in my life and I’m so glad my life took that route.

Retirement has also been satisfying. We’ve returned to cooking meals from scratch and sharing the cooking. We expanded our garden this past summer and are now planning two more raised beds and are pouring over the Peaceful Valley Farm Supply catalog. I thought I’d have time to read a lot, but I find I’m really too busy for that. Though I still haven’t established a routine, I am able to spend several hours a day in my weaving studio. I cannot imagine how I ever had time to work.

My ex-husband was a Marine stationed in the Philippines. My father-in-law, a Navy captain, brought his ship into Subic Bay, so we’d get down to visit him each week. One special week, we took his captain’s gig out into Olongapo Bay to snorkel. On the return ride to the ship, one of his sailors asked me if I’d like to drive the boat. He explained how to site using a point of reference on the horizon. I was thrilled. After some moments, the sailor asked me I thought I was steering straight, and I allowed that I thought I was. He suggested that I look at the wake for proof. Following the boat was the darndest snaking trail of churned-up white water.

Many times I’ve thought about that day, believing that my life was directed and on-course, but it was probably more like I was chasing Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen. Looking back now I realize that though I thought I was going straight, my life has been much closer to the snaking white wake, trailing behind me revealing where I have actually gone.