Saturday, May 26, 2007

Yesterday, we were pondering what to do this weekend.  Then J gets a call from our friend James, who happens to be in town for a wedding!  Yay, somebody we know!  :)  I hadn't met him in person yet, so I was excited.  We ended up meeting him, his friend Jim and friends of Jim in SE Portland at this Vietnamese restaurant off of Hawthorne.  Mmmmmm - good good food, and lots of it.  Prior to meeting at the restaurant, J and I took the opportunity to stroll around and check out that little area.  I'm in love - that is definitely one of the areas I want to consider when we start looking for places to buy.  It was mostly older Victorians and bungalows.  Hawthorne itself is very funky but cool, with a lot of hippies, goths and punks.  And what store do I manage to find right off the bat?  This one.  Reminded me of Ipso Facto in Fullerton, but with much more reasonable prices.  And parking around there wasn't too heinous, even for a Friday night.  Plus, we saw a hearse drive down the street, so I took that as a good sign.

After filling our bellies, we toddled over to Dots, a little neighborhood cafe/bar a few blocks away.  I didn't have any of the food (even though the jalapeno fries looked pretty spectacular), but we had a couple of drinks and hung out for a little while.  In our travels, we came across the Baghdad Theatre, which is the only one locally playing Grindhouse, so J and I will have to go very soon so he can finally see it.  It's in the McMenamin's chain, so it will only be $3 and we can order beer and food.

After the bar, we drove James into downtown to meet up with the rest of his friends who came for the wedding.  We ended up at Saucebox, which is this upscale restaurant/bar with a DJ.  Again, we didn't order food, although what everybody else ordered looked pretty good.  By that time, J was getting really tired, and we wanted to give James a chance to hang with his friends, so we bid him adieu.  All in all, we had a great time hanging out and talking with James, meeting all of these interesting new people, and finally checking out areas of Portland that we hadn't seen yet and taking some of the mystery out of getting around this town.

And I love that all of this is only 9 miles away from our house.  It's like having all the best parts of Orange, Fullerton and L.A. right in our backyard.

I'm still unpacking.  The books are almost done, except for my smaller bookshelf.   We are using our coffee table as our entertainment center, since the old entertainment center bit the dust in the move (our fault, not the movers).  We'll still be able to use the shelves that came with the center, but I think they are going downstairs in the office.  But we are very nearly finished.  Most of the boxes I've come across just need to go to the garage.  Once things get straightened up a little more, we'll take some pictures.

And we've been shopping.  Our toaster oven was on its last legs, so I tossed it before the move.  We got this one to take its place.  This is the weirdest toaster oven I have ever seen, but it works great!  We also ordered new phones and a microwave, which have yet to arrive.  And today we are buying a bed (most likely just mattress, box spring and frame) for the guest bedroom.  Gotta take advantage of those Memorial Day sales.

On the job hunt front, I've had a couple of phone interviews so far, but nothing yet.  Maybe next week I'll get more calls, after the holiday weekend.

I also managed to unpack my needles yesterday, so I am totally cheating on my Dr. Who scarf and knitting on my Grasshopper socks for the sock club. I am loving the Silkie yarn! I'm going to make the knee high version, but I'm going to see if I can squeeze them out of one skein, since I have small feet. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Back online!

I don't even know where to start, but I'll give it a shot :)

Our drive up was fairly uneventful. We didn't hit much in the way of traffic, and I think we only had to stop for gas/snacks about 4 or 5 times. This drive was a major milestone for me - I've never driven for more than a 2 hour stretch. You can imagine the Grapevine was a bit of a challenge for me, but I managed to pull through. The first day (Saturday), we made it to Redding by 6pm. At that point, we decided to go for broke and push ahead to Roseburg, OR before settling in for the night. I'm still not too sure whether that was a good idea or not. We made it there safely, but that meant driving through the Shasta mountains and through the major hills on the border of Oregon. This is challenging enough during the day, but we were driving in pitch blackness by the time we crossed the border and beyond. We rolled into Roseburg at about 11pm, and I was never happier to see a hotel bed! J was fortunate, in that Lenore has that Caddy suspension and steering. The steering on the Benz is so stiff, I was fighting it through the winds in the Grapevine and the whole trip up, so I felt like I had Popeye arms. But I was awfully proud of myself for getting through the drive like I did. Then it was only a quick 3 1/2 hour drive the next day to the Beaverton area, so we had time to relax and drive by the property management office and our home for a look-see before the next day. Oh, and to hit a McMenamins for lunch as well :)

Tangent - am I just a big nerd for liking McMenamins so much? I was so utterly charmed by this little chain on our first trip, but I wonder if I am making a big deal, when they may just be the local answer to TGI Fridays? All I know is that they serve good food and great beer.

The cats acquitted themselves pretty well on this trip and managed not to kill each other. They didn't even pee outside of their litter box in the crate! I love my girls :) We smuggled them into the hotel in Roseburg because we were unsure of their pet policy, and kept them in their crate. We did let them out in our hotel in Lake Oswego, and they seemed to enjoy the opportunity to roam, cuddle, and hide behind the bed. We kept them in their crate during the move, and finally let them out in the afternoon on Monday after we had things sufficiently situated. They seem very happy to be with us, but I think they also miss J&M, because they've been yowling a bit :(

Tangent #2 - I highly recommend the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lake Oswego (which is also about 10 minutes away from our house). It was really nice, Embassy Suites quality, and they had a surprisingly lenient pet policy ($25 flat fee per night). It was only $108 per night with our AAA discount, and I think the rates might be even lower than that in the winter.

Monday was fortunately not as crazy as we feared it would be. We got to the property management company early, and they were able to get us in before our appointment time, so we got out of there at about 10:10. We zoomed over to the new place, and the movers had just pulled up to the house. We took a quick run through the house to determine where stuff would go, and started directing traffic. Whilst this was going on, we met two of our neighbors and talked to them for a little bit. They seemed to be about our same age, and they both have young-ish children. They both seemed okay with the hearse too, although they didn't understand too much WHY we have one, but that's to be expected :) At about 1pm, Comcast showed up to do their thing, and they left at about the same time as the movers, around 2-2:30. The rest of the day was spent rearranging some of the furniture, setting up computers in the office, getting the cats situated, and having a much deserved bottle of wine to celebrate the end of the move. Last night we slept in our own bed, and I was close to unconscious until about 5 this morning. Best night's sleep for the past few weeks!

Some observations about the house - we have lots of room, but the master and guest bedrooms upstairs are tiny, which sucks. I think we can still fit both of our dressers in the room, but we'll need to be creative. The guest room will be able to handle a bed, and that's about it. Yet both rooms have walk in closets! The mind boggles. I love that the W/D are upstairs, so I don't have to haul laundry around. The layout of the house is interesting - you walk into the garage and through the door, and the office area is on the right. There is a sink in the office, which apparently counts as a half bath, and there is piping in the closet for a shower (which gives new meaning to the term "water closet", har). You walk up half a flight of stairs, and that takes you to the landing at the front door. Up another flight, and you are on the second level, which consists of the living room, dining area, kitchen and breakfast nook. This floor is enormous, and I love having a big kitchen and living room. No bathrooms on this level, though - they are all on the third level with the bedrooms. We will take a lot of pictures, and I will point out some of the other oddities at that point.

The people up here are interesting. Totally laid back, friendly, and can't drive worth a shit. There's no real road rage, but there's a lot of eye-rolling when somebody gets cut off. There doesn't appear to be a lot of speeding, at least on the surface streets. It is gorgeous and green, even in the crappy parts of town. Where we live? Totally not a crappy part of town. In fact, it is more like Newport Coast. And apparently we live about 3 miles away from their version of South Coast Plaza. And yet, no real Nazi Germany aspect to it (yet, knock on wood). And at least in this area, most people are not from around here, either - our neighbors are from Boston and New York, respectively. And there are tons of Californians as well. But we're still getting our registrations changed and new license plates as soon as we can manage it.

Oh, and the rain. Rain rain rain. I love it :)

If you made it through this rambling entry, congratulations! Believe it or not, I've left a few ranty things out that I will let J cover, because I want to leave him SOMETHING to write about ;) We miss and love everybody in CA, and we'll update often with all the weird and wonderful things we encounter here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The final stretch

If any of you thought that, because I am unemployed, that I would get some form of a break this week, you would be wrong. I've been doing the last of the packing during the day, then some more at night after J gets home. Yesterday I taped and labeled most of the boxes, which is a chore in itself. Today I packed up the rest of my closet, but didn't tape up the box because I may still need some of those clothes for when I pack for the trip. I'm going through the office and garage today to see if there is anything else that needs to be packed up/taped. These two areas are primarily J's domain, so I am still a little unclear what he plans to do with some of it, but I will do my best.

We're scheduled to close today. We also have Eddie and some guy coming by to take away the spa and one of the big potted plants that apparently is dead. Can you tell I don't have a green thumb? ;) And I love how these people are making us do stupid stuff like getting rid of the ponds and this plant. They could have just done a bulky item pickup with the trash people. Whatever - I'm getting over it.

I can't quite believe that we're only going to be in this house two more nights. It's weirding me out a little bit. I've been concentrating so much on making sure we have a place to live and getting everything set up that I really haven't thought much about the fact that, "Oh crap! We're leaving!" I know I've said this many times before, but it still hasn't hit me yet, even with all the boxes packed up. Probably because we haven't even seen the new place in person, so it doesn't seem real to me yet. And I've been dreaming of OR for so long that THAT doesn't seem real to me either.

In other news, we had a good time at J&M's on Saturday for his mom's surprise b-day party. As usual, J and I were totally oblivious to the drama going on right before our eyes, so we probably had a better time than most everybody else. But I think that N. was surprised, and she was mostly just happy to see her sister who flew out for the occasion. It was also the last time that we would see A&L before we leave, and I admit to getting a little teary on the way home :)

Sunday was Mother's Day brunch with both families, and we had a good time. We'll see J's folks the day we move, and I have some glasses to drop off with my parents at some point, probably tomorrow when J is home, so we'll see them once more before we leave.

Oh, and on the job hunting front, I have a phone interview this afternoon with a company in Camas, WA. It would be an hour commute, but the job is exactly like my previous position, except without the stock admin stuff (yay!). So, fingers crossed for me. It would be great to have something waiting for me when I get up there.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Is That It?

Today is my last day here at work, and it appears that I'm going out with a whimper. My boss is out sick today, and everybody else is leaving at noon, so I will too. I even printed out my own exit paperwork to complete - heh. Comes with having an HR job, I guess :)

I did get a lovely breakfast potluck yesterday - scrambled eggs, devilled eggs, sausage, waffles, fruit, the yummy potatoes from the Jazz cafeteria (I will miss my breakfast quesadillas). Not to mention donuts, cake, and enough baked goods filled with poppy seeds that I started to wonder if they wanted me to fail any impending pre-hire drug tests. It was small, quiet, and I got to say goodbye to all the people I work with on a regular basis.

The packing continues and continues and continues. We have one more dish pack to fill, and then it's just smaller boxes of things to pack up. We're most concerned about the garage, but I think we can get a lot done in there this weekend.

We had the final walk-through yesterday afternoon, so I'm sure I'll hear today how that went. The new people have made such strange requests on stuff they want us to get rid of. Thank goodness our realtor is there to fight these battles for us :)

We also had a very nice going away party last Sunday. Wwe had so much fun, and it was really nice to see everybody together. I still can't quite believe that we won't be seeing our friends when we get up there. It will be a shock when it all finally hits me. I'm still in "roll with the punches" mode until all of our arrangements are complete and realized.

I'm sorry for not writing in here very often as of late. This will change once we get up north, since the computer will suddenly become even more important as my mode of communication to the outside world. I know a lot of you understand this well.

Not a lot of knitting to report, as you can imagine. Still slogging on the scarf when I am not packing and making arrangements. I did finally reach the halfway point, and I will be turning right around and doing the stripes in reverse order, so they mirror each other. I think it appeals to J's retentive tendencies :) I just wish now that I had done the original pattern in the first place. No time for regrets now, and I'm sure as hell not starting over!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Well, poo

The sweater didn't fit :( I should have listened to that small voice inside that said, "Maybe you should go up to the next size...". I will wait until we get up to Oregon, order about 10 more skeins, and start over. There is no graceful way to alter the result as is, but that is okay. Not like I'll have a whole lot to do once we get up there (aside from the job hunt, that is).

Everything is pretty much set up for us up there, we just need to finish our packing down here. This Friday is my last day at work, then we move at the end of the next week. We sign paperwork and take possession of the house on the 21st. I'm excited and stressed out all at the same time.

Still working on the Dr. Who scarf. That's about all that my poor pea brain can handle right now.