HELLO WASHINGTON
or

BUT WHERE DO WE SLEEP?

When we got to the rental agency we were told they had nothing available. This could not be. "You don’t understand," I told the rental agent. "In a few weeks we’ll have a huge moving truck (or two, or three) and failure to find a house is not an option!"
"Well, there is a house for rent, but it’s a little remote," she said. "Go take a look, peek in the windows, and if you think you’d like to see more, give me a call."

So we drove, out of "downtown" PT (we were getting the lingo down right away) over to
Discovery Bay. And it, indeed, was remote. There are NO traffic lights, NO street lights and a winding asphalt road which turned into gravel at the steep treed driveway. "Well, we said we wanted remote," says Greg. As we turned off of Highway 101, the only road in and out of the Olympic Peninsula, we entered a forest. Trees everywhere. Our first turn took us to Honeymoon Lane. Now, this is a sign if ever there was one...HoneyMOON Lane? Come on! (Anyone who knows me or has toured our home knows of my fascination with all things lunar.) At the top of the driveway stands what appears to be a disappointing blue sided house. It sits on a one-acre parcel but there's an adjacent lot that doesn't look like anybody's going to be building on any time soon. For sure the yard ain’t nothing to get excited about (however, I do kinda like the propane tank lawn ornament, don't you?). But hey; one of our goals during this phase of our "operation" is to eliminate as much responsibility as possible. Not having to worry about a garden was a big plus.

We peer into the windows. Mmm...looks pretty okay. It’s not my Kelton, but nothing could be. But, it was definitely worth a closer look. Especially when another “sign” presented itself. Although the house had been empty for a few months, there was an old hummingbird feeder hanging from the deck. The deck is right off the
living room which has a wall of windows. We decided looking out on the forest from the property, with the Bay just beyond, and a nearby mountain covered with trees wasn't a bad deal at all.

And this house had something extra, literally. Before we move to the house we'll build, we'll need lots of storage space since I've decided not to unpack any of our beloved collectibles and save all my creative energies for our new home. We were expecting to have the additional expense and worry of renting at a storage facility. But amazingly, this house had a
bonus/family room downstairs that was approximately the size of a 15’ moving truck, plus a huge two car garage. If we were successful in renting this house, we'd have enough space to house everything under one roof. Greg and I exchanged meaningful glances and as soon as we got outta there, we called the rental office. But we got a little jolt when they told us there was another couple interested. Now there was much nail biting, especially because the price was so right. Californians will laugh at a 1500 sq. ft. two-bedroom house for the princely sum of $840/mo. In fact, we thought they must've made a typo on the info sheet; surely they had dropped a one before the eight! But no, $840 was correct, even with that million dollar view. Later in the day we got word lady luck was still with us and the other couple passed.

Now we had
a house to move to!

EXPLORING the PENINSULA

With our main mission accomplished, we had a little free time on our hands and we decided to use the rest of our trip as a mini-vacation, see the sights and do some recon work.

The
Olympic Peninsula located in the Pacific Northwest in Washington state is made of many communities and nearby towns. Driving to Seattle will take you two hours. In a little over an hour you can drive from Port Townsend to Sequim (pronounced Skwim - many of the names here are Indian and Indian casinos are common) to Port Angeles. These three cities are where we spend most of our time. As for weather, the rule of thumb is, for every mile west of Port Angeles, you get an extra inch of rain. By the time you drive to the rain forest in Forks, you're up to 140 inches of rain a year! But the Olympic Peninsula is located in the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountain Range which means its annual rainfall is more like that of Los Angeles. There is no industry on the Peninsula, so it's not the place for a young family looking to find their fortune (although there's always exceptions). There is no natural gas on the Peninsula, only propane (and for those fans of "King of the Hill"... "and propane accessories"). Most people are on septic systems. DSL has come, although our rental house is located on the outskirts of Port Townsend in Discovery Bay. In other words, it's in the boonies and it's not available here, so we've ended up installing "satellite internet" service which is pricey. Getting the satellite system was so pricey in fact, that we opted to dig the trench for the wiring ourselves. It's not as slow as modem, but not as fast as DSL.

There are state & county parks everywhere. The biggie is the
Olympic National Forest and the breathtaking Olympic Mountains. You can hike and bike, fish, dive, kayak, you name it. Almost every weekend there is some event or festival. Port Townsend has a Film Festival which is gaining notoriety as well as a Wooden Boat Festival. Sequim is known as the lavender capital of the world and every summer they hold the Lavender Festival and also the Irrigation Festival. Trust me, there's something for everyone.

Some of the other communities are: Port Hadlock, Diamond Point, Chimacum, Port Ludlow, and Quilcene.

The Peninsula may not be as sophisticated as L.A., but they’re not exactly Hicksville either. I thought I’d be leaving good restaurants and healthy groceries behind, but I was wrong. Notice I didn't say healthy restaurants. They don’t have a nearby Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods (it's a trip to Seattle for those), but they do have non-chain store alternatives. Port Townsend has the
Food Co-op and Sequim has Sunny Farms. They have Walmart in Port Angeles and Costco and a newer bigger super Walmart is being built now in Sequim, and Home Depot has already begun construction. Within an hour's drive there's a shopping mall and stores like Best Buy, Target, Ross, and Home Depot. One of the first things I did was go to the local markets, Safeway and QFC, to look for all those special items I use to run the house fearing I would have to abandon my favorite products. But I was pleasantly surprised to find nearly all of them.

Although the driving time between cities seems long, the scenery makes it a joy.

Sequim is in Clallam County and is known as a "retirement community"; the average age is 59. But strolling through the stores and markets, I see plenty of young people. The average age of Port Townsend and Port Angeles residents is 35. In our discussions with locals we learn that up until recently, the Sequim City Council was all about discouraging growth but now they are opening their arms and encouraging business. We're learning that there is indeed an influx of new residents from out of state and that land and home values are increasing steadily. This, of course, is a double-edged sword. I guess there isn't a state in the USA that isn't going to have to deal with this fact. But...in our lifetime, it will never grow to the proportions of a megalopolis like Los Angeles.

Port Townsend is located in Jefferson County and is famous for its Victorian architecture and charming Bed & Breakfasts. The story goes that back in the 1800s both Port Townsend and Seattle were vying for a contract to be the next big port for commerce. Seattle won. And Port Townsend eventually found its way to become a vacation port. We stayed at the Bishop Victorian Hotel during our stay to rent the house. Very nice. But there are also others, most notably the Ann Starrett Mansion, and the Old Consulate Inn, both impeccably restored Victorian homes. There’s even a B&B fashioned out of old cabooses in Sequim. We passed on the quaint B&Bs because we knew we didn't have time to enjoy all the amenities.

Port Townsend was featured as the location for An Officer and a Gentleman. It has a great little main street that can keep you busy all day long just window shopping. There are interesting stores featuring local artists, great little book shops, a superior ice cream parlor (Elevated Ice Cream) and plenty of antique stores - something I MUST stay away from. If there’s one thing I don’t need more of it’s “tsotchkes”..but then, if I found a really unique man-in-the moon....

If you would like to know more about the area, check the local newspapers online: the
Peninsula Daily News, the Port Townsend Leader, and the Sequim Gazette.


Addendum (July 2004): OOPS! Well, I’ve found something else to collect (damn!). Dragonflies and fairies. I’m trying to be sane about it, but there were these adorable
fairies I just stumbled across at a wonderfully eclectic shop called April Fool (I think there may be a message in there for me!). These collectible figurines were fashioned from the turn-of-the century illustrated books by Cecily Parker and I just couldn’t resist. Guess I got started on this kick after seeing the most charming little film called Fairytale, A True Story. It’s based on the Cottingley Fairy incident in England around the time of World War I. Anyway, this is Red Campion, one of about 40 in the collection - and more to come. Isn't she just the sweetest thing! As for the dragonflies...just before we left L.A. I made the mistake of opening up an Ikea catalog and saw these dragonfly lights. In the midst of all the craziness of packing, I tramped all the way out to Glendale to buy these things...but they were so worth it! Another case from the files of the "collectible addicted".



FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

One thing I would sorely miss in Los Angeles were my favorite restaurants. No more fettucine Romano at Anna’s on Pico, no more Fatburgers, no more Moroccan feasts at Moun of Tunis or pumpkin soufflé at Off Vine or cream of pumpkin soup at Mustache Cafe or pecan crusted halibut at Delmonico’s, or... But I do go on. However, we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find some interesting and delicious restaurant fare.

If you've done any traveling outside of California, you already know you rarely find healthy cuisine. It’s really all about comfort food. Everything is laden with oils, fats, and cream. Heart attack on a plate but yummy for sure. If you're watching your diet, you've got to get in the habit of asking what's in the recipe, what's put on the sandwich bread, what's in the sauce. Salads swim in dressings (so ask for them on the side), pasta sauces almost always have cream added or else they float in a sea of oil, any bread will be soaked in butter.

In California, almost every Chinese restaurant offers brown rice. Not here. When I’ve asked for it, I get this look like a dog cocking his head and the waitperson repeats the question back to me in disbelief, “brow-rye?” “No, no, brown rice!” I say distinctly. Still no concept. “You know, brown, like this sauce color....b-r-o-w-n...” No go, never hoid of it! Oh well...

During the stress of the move and with all the meals we had to eat on the road, we gave up and threw our healthy eating habits out the window and that continued for a while after we arrived. But now we’re back to a more healthful diet and make most meals at home. I'm proud to say I'm making most meals at home. Betcha didn't know I could!

We’ve already found a couple of places that work better with our diets: Sweet Laurette in PT (Port Townsend to you greenhorns) has a lovely lunch menu with healthy salads and sandwiches; not to mention some great pastries (okay, so we’re not strictly on track!). And across the street we had two incredible dinners at the Wild Coho (the owner was a sous chef at the Four Seasons in Seattle). Wednesday night is “regulars” night and everything is 15% off. Thursdays are $5 Thursdays: you can order anything on the menu for $5. Smaller portions, yes, but you choose from a smorgasbord of taste delights from Italian to Moroccan to Continental and everything inbetween. There's also a nice deli store with interesting cheeses and specialty items as well as healthy sandwiches called Provisions. Sequim has some good restaurants too including the Oak Table which has a wonderful brunch menu and good salads, and Jean's Deli (which used to be a church) for homemade soups and sandwiches, and the 101 Diner, reminiscent of Bob's.

And of course, everywhere you go there is fresh fish: remember these are port towns, so you’ll find salmon, halibut, crab, oysters, mussels, and clams.

But, there's still the occasional splurge. We lunched at Fat Smitty’s (the local Fatburger) in Discovery Bay and breakfasted at Logger’s Landing in Quilcene where a short stack gives the Empire State Building a run for its money.

IT COULDN'T HURT TO LOOK!

Greg was anxious to check out building materials for the new house project while we were at it and was just blown away to find a superior woodworking/lumber supply store, Edensaw, hidden away in the woods. Edensaw was every bit as sophisticated, if not more so, as companies found in Los Angeles. Things were looking better and better.

As we made our way around the Peninsula to check out the communities of Sequim and Port Angeles (the town with the largest population), we happened upon the annual Builders Expo being held at the Sequim High School. What a well-timed coincidence this was. As we walked to the auditorium, we passed kids playing ball and what a refreshing change from the youth in L.A. Imagine this: we didn't see one student wearing a backwards baseball cap. But the bathroom walls looked mighty odd. It took us a while to figure it out: we weren't used to seeing public areas that were graffiti-free.

Early impressions: The pace of life definitely seems more relaxed here. Maybe because life isn’t as harried and people aren't rushing to be somewhere on a tight schedule, they're more willing to be of assistance.

We've run into very few "natives". It seems as if almost everyone relocated from somewhere else, and not surprisingly mostly from California. It's as if everyone here has learned to take a deep breath and just chill. And unlike the attitude in Oregon of "Californian go home", you just end up in conversations about where you came from and why you got out.

Anyway, one of the booths represented a local real estate office and, naturally, we began to ask a few questions. The Windermere agent,
Jan Sivertsen, was nice enough to take us around. The fact that we weren't “in the market to buy" didn't seem to phase him at all.

Jan shows us several parcels and takes us to a development with great mountain views. has been developed by
Green Crow, a long-established family-owned logging company. This land was “harvested” about 15 years ago and is now again populated with trees - thousands of 'em. With the impending boom, Green Crow made a good business decision and parceled the land for homes instead of waiting another 20 years to re-log it. It looked fantastic, but there were no mountain views that day. Jan assured us they were there, it was just that “the mountain wasn’t out”. Translation: overcast.

Oh well. Besides, that’s not what we came up for on this trip. But we left town mulling over the possibility of throwing our original plans away and buying property sooner rather than later. Especially after talking to locals who advised us that property prices were definitely on the rise.

ALL ABOUT PACKING UP

But I transgress. First, there was packing to do, and moving trucks to load and drive. Here's Greg and crew prepping the truck and loading the first item: the ever-lovin' swing! Ask Greg sometime about the logistics of loading this little item.

With the help of the wonderful Scott Carter who wrangles the college boys of the UCLA Fraternities, he arranged for some
volunteer help from the Greek community to assist with the loading. They were kind enough to make the offer as a thank you for the community work I had been doing in the neighborhood for the past few years. We couldn’t have done it without them! Or the other friends who came to our rescue.

Despite the fact that we had two months “free rent” to pack up our Westwood home, it still took an additional week. It took three days just to dismantle that swing and required Greg to build a contraption called a
"block & tackle" (a contraption that would make the Amish proud) just to get it down off the garage roof.

I swear this guy must love me...when I think of all the extra work he's done over the years just to accommodate my fetishes...

When we began the packing phase, we started off with about 50 boxes just to make sure we had enough to finish the job... When last we counted, we had over 700 to get to Washington, and that didn't include furnishings. It soon became painfully evident that it was going to take more than one 25’ truck to get us out of town.

Greg has the ability to think things out clearly. And he needed this skill for this complicated move; especially because we opted to do it all ourselves. Among his many talents, Greg is a great researcher and can navigate Google like nobody's business. His research uncovered that the moving industry was deregulated a few years back and it's become the "wild wild west" out there. When you call a major company such as Allied or Bekins, you're just getting an agent. The agent comes out and gives you a price, but that turns out only to be an "estimate". When the actual movers show up, they're free lancers. Once your belongings are on their truck, they inform you that the actual cost is much higher than the estimate and they can then hold your household hostage until you pay up. And there are countless horror stories of lost, broken, and stolen valuables. Anyway, by the end of this operation, I was calling him General Patton. Greg's very organized and came up with a computer database that cataloged every box and its contents, plus earmarked which room in the rental house each box would go. His system included another important bit of info: colored tape to
code the corners of each box. Red meant fragile, yellow was a caution, and green tape meant you could park a tank on top of it. With so many people helping to take boxes out to the truck, it simplified things to call for all the green boxes first, then yellow on top of the green and then call for all the reds. This system proved to be absolutely indispensable! Especially since many boxes were going to be left unopened.

I cannot impress upon you the stress we were under during the move. Every single day of that two months (plus a week) was spent packing. We went through reams of newspaper and dozens of rolls of packing tape. If I EVER again hear the sound of packing tape being stretched across a cardboard box, I think I’ll scream! In a lame attempt to relieve some of the pressure and help keep what was left of my sense of humor, I resorted to this naughty tableau of
Raggedy Ann & Andy. And poor Bud, he was stressed and bewildered: his normally calm home was now turned topsy turvy. It was hard to find a place to relax.

No matter how prepared you are or how early you begin the process, it always comes down to a big rush and lots of stress. Here was a typical “Murphy’s Law” moment. We’re in the street with the moving truck. Just getting a 25’ truck plus a car carrier parked on a busy neighborhood street was a joke in itself. It took planning ahead, saving parking spaces, contacting the city, you name it (and still we got parking tickets - a last parting gift from L.A.!). So there we are in the street with both volunteers and paid laborers loading boxes and dragging furniture up the truck ramp. Who knew that the City of L.A. would choose that day to do some roadwork just up the corner and was diverting all traffic down our street. Part of that traffic was city buses. Now add to that the trash truck which pulls up blocking our driveway. No problem...they’re usually there and gone in seconds. But not this day. Just as they started to pull away, their engine died. Now there’s our 25’ truck, their huge truck, and here comes two city buses - one coming from each direction - all there on our one lane street. Just unbelievable. And just a typical moving day.

And if all that weren't enough, the new owners of our place (despite our being lenient with them on several occasions) charged us $1500 for the extra week’s stay. It gets worse: if we had stayed an extra day, they were going to charge us $2000 a day, every day, until we moved. This part of our getaway was definitely a nightmare.

But in between the incredible stress and exhaustion, there were some wonderful times.

FAREWELLS from UCLA & the UNIGIRLS

I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Call me crazy, but I actually look forward to class reunions. And when my high school’s 20th was a disappointment (the venue, not the people), I decided to get involved in a big way when it came time to plan the 30th (and the 35th). Our 30th turned out to be a great success; everyone had such a good time reconnecting. So many of my high school girlfriends told me what a great time they had, I decided to throw a little luncheon. A tradition was born. And that begot the UniGirls. Now, a growing number of us gather for semiannual luncheons. It’s become a very special part of our lives. I miss it already. That lead me to launch the UniGirls website so all of my classmates can wallow in bygone days and find pictures of old friends to find out what they’ve been up to. When my UniGirls found out I was leaving L.A., they threw me one heck of a going away party. And what a send off it was! UniGirl Robin offered up her amazing Malibu home for the fete. All that and a view of the ocean too. What memories. (Thank you thank you Robin (&Kathie), Judie (& Teleia), Susan, Sue, and Wendy. I'm ferklempt...Oh just thank you everyone!!!)

And then there was the neighborhood gang farewell. In my zeal to insure our little apartment house remained desirable, I ended up founding a community organization, the North Village Improvement Committee, to address quality of life issues in Westwood’s apartment house district. It soon became a full time job. Before I knew it, I was maintaining an extensive website and ended up on every list of every local organization. I went to meetings at the LAPD, UCLA, and the city. I attended Council meetings and met with Mayor Hahn (he knew me by my first name - turned out his wife was a General Hospital fan). I spoke with the Chief of Police, Chief Bratton about my pet peeve graffiti. A Battalion Chief of the L.A. Fire Department, Chief Schneider, became a friend - he even attended "Tuna Friday".

A little sidebar here: my irreplaceable assistant/friend/housekeeper,
Marleni, managed our home since we moved to Kelton in 1990. I don't know what we would have done without her all those years and she is sorely missed already! Among her many talents, she made incredible tuna salad...and I love tuna salad. So somehow the last Friday of the month became "Tuna Friday" and family and friends from far and wide came to sit at our table for some tuna sandwiches and good conversation.

Anyway, when my fellow activists found out, a farewell party was organized. A big thank you to
Steve Sann, party organizer extraordinaire & Sandy Brown for offering up her lovely home. Food and party supplies were donated by local businesses and restaurants, like Damon & Pythias, and an extensive bunch of friends showed up for my send off.

I don't mean to brag...well, yes I do... at the farewell I was awarded all number of commendations for my “work”, suitable for framing.
Fire Department Battalion Chief Schneider gave me the most incredible plaque (a stand-in was used here) which eventually had an authentic Battalion Chief's helmet mounted right to it! Field Deputy Evan Lincove delivered a commendation from Councilman Jack Weiss, UCLA's Scott Carter & the Fraternity Gang gave me a beautiful object d'art complete with engraving, Senator Sheila Kuehl sent her commendation via her able assistant Emily Gold who came with her grandmother and North Village resident Faye, Viet Tran from Mayor Hahn's office and Susan Strick from the City Attorney's office awarded me yet another certificate, Diana Brueggemann and Ericka Lozano representing Asst. Vice Chancellor Sam Morabito brought yet another award and a UCLA sweatshirt, and Laura Lake, Carole Magnuson, Sandy Brown, and Lila Rioth (important women of the community all) presented me with a commemorative photo from the day the North Village neighborhood signs were installed after our organization won our petition to the City Council.

Thank you to everyone who supported my work, and everyone who came to say
goodbye.

All this and an impossibly wonderful schedule of goodbye lunches and dinners with friends and family sandwiched in between dreary hours of packing.

All I can say is, I was absolutely blown away by the response and well wishes.

What wonderful memories I have to take away.

AND WE'RE OFF!

With the threat of outrageous financial penalties looming over our heads, and despite all of our organization and packing skills, it still comes down to feeling like you’re being rushed outta town on a rail. Those last few days were horrendous. Exhausted, aching, stressed, weepy, and aggravated, we limped along. Thanks to Greg’s heroic planning, we were able to squeeze out every inch of space on the trucks. On May 18, we set out with our second truckload and literally inched our way across two states to reach our new home on Port Townsend’s Discovery Bay.

We started out with our first truckload on April 18. With a full truck as well as a car carrier in tow, going was extremely slow. It took three long days to make it to the Peninsula. After we arrived and unloaded, we had a few days to unpack and take care of some business. Part of the business was a thorough house cleaning of our new place. It's been a very long time since I've lived somewhere where someone else has lived, and although the house looked clean, I couldn't be comfortable until I knew it was "Shelley & Greg clean". We had thought ahead and packed this first truckload with plenty of cleaning paraphernalia. I got busy on dusting walls and doors and polishing doorknobs and cleaning inside drawers and cabinets and scouring the hardwood floors.

Greg is just the best and volunteered to clean the kitchen and bathroom. A few years back we bought this steamer contraption that's supposed to basically disinfect anything you point it at. We figured we'd use it on the apartments when we had vacancies: it ended up collecting dust in the basement. But it came in handy here. Although Greg looks like he's not feeling well, he's actually in the midst of giving the bathroom a cleaning the
Marines could be proud of.

And then we caught a plane back to L.A. only to do it all over again on May 18.

Nothing is perfect: even the Olympic Peninsula has its drawbacks. For one, there is only one road in or out: Highway 101. If there’s an accident, life on the Peninsula comes to a complete halt. And that’s exactly what happened on our way to the airport to catch the plane after the first truckload. The section of highway right near our rental house can be very dangerous going. Since 101 is the only road, "container" trucks are everywhere. A container truck is driven by an independent who picks up a fully-loaded shell and makes his money by how quickly he can get to his destination (unlike a trucker who works for one company and is on salary). So, behemoth trucks are barreling their way around the narrow winding road most of the day and into the night. Add that to what we were surprised to find here: aggressive drivers. Many locals (either that or they're Washingtonians on holiday) seem to have lost their awe of the lush scenery and just want to get from point A to point B: a recipe for accidents and fatalities. Just minutes before we were to leave, a horrible fatality accident occurred just down the road. Traffic was at a standstill for five hours. Needless to say, we missed our original flight home. At least we were able to drive back up the hill and wait it out at “home”(unlike the hundreds of other poor souls who sat stopped on the road and praying for a bathroom while the State Troopers investigated). At least the airline was understanding and found us another flight once we got to the airport. Although instead of getting home in the late afternoon, we dragged in after midnight.

The first trip up had more curves to throw at us. The truck rental company screwed up big time (despite all our preplanning) and when Greg went to get the truck, he was greeted with blank faces. Seems they accidentally canceled our truck reservation. Long story short, several hours later Greg showed up to Kelton Avenue... with a truck he had to pick up himself... in downtown L.A.... during rush hour traffic. Don’t ask!

The second truckload went smoothly...until we got on the road. We’re “out of civilization” and near the grape vine when the engine light goes on and we lose power. We’re creeping along at 15 mph. Not that we didn’t worry during the first trip, but now we were really scared we’d have a breakdown. If that were to happen... As you know, no suitcase ever repacks the same. Just think of a 25’ truck with every square inch occupied and stored like some sort of Chinese puzzle. We would never get all the stuff repacked into one truck. And on this trip we had our kitty
Bud with us and we were already very worried about the stress this move was having on him. The rental company guided us to a nearby service stop and everything seemed to be okay. But with every mile, we worried...is this when the truck will stop? Is this when we get stranded?

When I think back on it, Murphy's Law and all (and there was plenty of Murphy's Law to go around), it was nothing but miraculous that we made it without any major mechanical failures. But as soon as we got settled in Washington, you can bet I wrote the C.E.O. of the truck rental company and gave him a piece of my mind! After researching the company website looking for "ammunition" to prove my point, I cited their company motto stating "they totally understand all the stresses of moving and they promise they'll be there for you". I told him I thought we deserved a rebate. Damn I write a good letter!!! The check arrived just the other day.

Other than the (unfortunately normal) stresses of relocating, from the moment we decided to make this move, everything just seemed to just fall into place.

They say that’s a sign you’re making the right choices

Our new life in a new state began on
May 22, 2004




SETTLING IN

It took five entire weeks...count ‘em...five weeks to unpack and settle in (just think of how long it would've taken if we unpacked all the boxes!). Going from a rather large and definitely complicated household to a much smaller space was quite an adjustment. How do you cut your kitchen and household supplies in half? We had to get very clever with our use of space. There have been lots of forays to Walmart and Target and Home Depot for storage, shelving, supplies etc. Our living room and dining room are one and the same. There's no room for a designated office. Solution: Greg made a huge table out of a 4’x 8’ piece of plywood. The two-thirds that occupy the living room is our office with all the computers and other paraphernalia, and the other third serves as our dining room table. For Bud's new litter box station, Greg stored the original door to our coat closet and replaced it with a cheaper one. Then he cut out what looks like a big door to a mouse house. It's also the coat closet, and the vacuum storage closet. The La-Z-Boys take up a portion of the living room and anchor the combination library, reading room. Another corner serves as the entertainment center. All of the unopened boxes that we won’t be using until we move to our dream home are filling up the huge family room to the ceiling. And a portion of the family room is our kitchen pantry and supply cabinet. The family room also serves as a makeshift closet where hangs the majority of what once occupied my magnificent closet on Kelton Avenue.

Since we're so far north, in early summer it doesn’t get dark here until almost 10 p.m. While we were setting up the household, before we knew it, it would be after 8 p.m. and here we'd thought it was only 4 or 5. One night we got home after a 4 mile walk along the cow pastures. Even met a farmer John. Really. By the time we sat down to dinner it was nearly 10 p.m.!

Our evening’s entertainment was a lightening storm, probably over 100 miles away near Seattle. It was our own private fourth of July celebration!

Now that we’re all snug and cozy here, we're slowly developing a routine. In the mornings we watch the clouds as they pass across the mountains from our living room window and look out on the
water and sky. After breakfast or before dinner we take a hike or a long walk. Within minutes we are in any number of primeval woodlands and marveling at the fact that this is actually where we live now. At some point during the day, we take a "break" and read. Or maybe not...just depends on how the day turns out. We're retired!!!

We've got nothing to do, and we're busy doing it all day long.

And we're happy to report that our little
Bud has settled in just fine.



The story of is now complete...
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Our Washington Experiences & Impressions
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The Diary of Building Our New Home