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Progress Report

Portland, Oregon: Since returning from our wonderful long Labor Day weekend with our grandchildren in Santa Barbara, we have been 100% focused on finally actually placing items in boxes to move. Technically, we have been purging and organizing this house for about three summers (when we weren’t off to a track meet, flying down to Los Angeles, or off exploring in our motorhome). The fact we are actually finally putting this house on the market is a huge relief, and having movers actually lined-up to arrive next week makes everything that was so surreal, seem finally REAL.

But one character in our little drama – probably the lead role in the production – is missing. We do not know WHERE we are moving. As we decide what to bring along to our mysterious still-undecided new local, we are always joking to each other: Where are we going to find room for two irons in a 1200 square foot condo? Will this bed fit in our new guest room? Will our new house have a guest room? A pantry? We don’t know.

For years we have joked we should just move back into the first house we ever bought in Portland, 35 years ago. 1200 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths, with the most memorable feature being the laundry was conveniently located in the master bathroom. Another memorable features was the $500 mortgage payment. (OMG, I just looked up that house on Redfin and it is worth $377,000. We paid $66,000.)

It’s an exciting prospect, moving to an unknown place. This scenario certainly gives new meaning to a possession “sparking joy” or not, and it is amazing how much crap a family of three can cram into a house over 25 years. Now, pretty-much all decisions have been made as to what we want to bring along with us to our future fantasy house, yachtyurt, or condo, and most boxes have been packed.

Not only packed, but cataloged and photographed. I’m very organized.

There was a two-day distraction where DT had cataract surgery. The procedure went well and My Driver was forced to take it easy for a while. Not exactly good-timing for a “no lifting or bending” restriction during a moving week – but it is what it is and it takes forever to get onto the surgery schedule these days. We are just so happy Dave’s eyesight has returned to his right eye… as are all other drivers when DT is driving a 45-foot motorhome down the freeway.

Meanwhile… down in Los Angeles, Lucy and Leo are getting situated in their new classrooms and Lucy has started soccer. Ballet and soccer = Our Lucy.

Oh, dang, I just love, love, love this photo of Lucy. She is prettier every day. But I’m very opinionated on the subject of our grandchildren.

Back to reality: last week I had to decide which dishes to move to an unknown kitchen in an unknown house in an undecided town. Between 1984 and 1987, we (and by we, I mean me) gathered quite a collection of tableware in Taiwan. I can’t call it “china” (no pun intended) because it is only dinnerware made mostly for everyday restaurant use by Tatung (pronounced DAH-tung, and translates basically to “Big Company”… they mostly make home appliances these days and are now a HUGE Company). If you have been to a Chinese or Thai restaurant anywhere in the world in the last 20 years, you are probably very familiar with the blue and white lotus pattern.

So, I may have only 16 pair of shoes and 6 handbags, but I have a serious problem with dishes. To my credit, a dinner plate was only $3, and we had several dinner parties a week while living in Taipei. The dishes I gathered are for American-style meals, and also Chinese/Asian meals (soy sauce/dipping dishes in several sizes, Chinese soup bowls, rice bowls, tea cups, chopstick rests, ceramic soup spoons, soup rests. We have used these dishes daily since 1984. No, I am not tired of them. They are so durable and still look amazing.

After much culling, only these pieces are moving to our new place:

We can still have a Chinese dinner for 10… exactly the same number of chairs we have for our dining room table that will never fit in our smaller new house, unless we remove the two leaves!

We still have to eat, and I have been focusing on simple meals and cheating with store-bought pizza dough, rotisserie chickens, and bagged lettuces while packing.


Last evening, just before dinner, we heard a racket in the forest behind our house. Two birds, with unfamiliar calls, were hooting-it-up in the trees. One bird swooped by the big floor-to-ceiling window in the family room. It was a pileated woodpecker – a Woody Woodpecker – and only the second time we had seen the species on our property in 25 years. The bird swooped up and down, in and out, and was squawking like mad. In the distance, we could hear his/her mate or mother returning the calls. So exciting! I can’t get over the size of a pileated woodpecker. This bird was even larger than a Flicker. Beautiful. Thanks for stopping by!

The movers will be here in a week to fetch our belongings and put them in storage until we ask them to deliver our things to our new address. On Wednesday (18th) we will move into our motorhome and camp at a local RV park while we finish-up situating our belongings. Then, painters will take-over Taylor Manor to get it ready to stage and sell. Such an adventure!

Hopefully I will update soon! Thank you for your emails. We need the encouragement.

Until my next update, I remain, your packing correspondent.


8 thoughts

  1. You guys are amazing! So many of our friends say, “where are you going, what are you going to do when you sell your Montana place?” They look at us as if we are crazy when we say, “we don’t know.”

  2. What a difficult decision you had to make on the dishes – they are still so beautiful – wish you could find a way to keep them all. Pileated Woodpeckers are awesome – their head looks like a jackhammer when they are looking for food on a tree – and they do make a lot of noise.

    Grandchildren melt your heart with every look!

  3. Congrats! We made the leap 7 1/2 years ago — unemployed, homeless, and living in our vehicle. Just recently closed on an actual house in a development north of Tucson. Keeping our motorcoach and Idaho lot for next summer. Enjoy the journey!

  4. Just love your posts. Have been following your adventures for years. Currently fascinated by your move to ??; putting your things in storage & living in your motorhome until you find the perfect spot to settle (hopefully near those enchanting grands). Am trying to convince my husband of 49 years to move out of our house where we have lived for 46 years, duplicating your strategy. However, our MH is only 25’, so it’s a hard sell! Wishing you luck on your move & search for a new spot. Thank you for sharing your interesting life.

  5. I’m terribly intimatated how organized you are. You have made this
    downsize move seem easy! Thus, I cannot help but believe you either
    have purchased your new home or have it located.
    My best wishes to you both, it all sounds exciting.
    Your dishes are lovely’s!!

    1. No – we do not know where we will settle. Just some where nearer than Portland to our grandchildren. Our house isn’t even on the market yet, and we have not purchased a new place yet. And it really wasn’t easy – we have been down-sizing bit-by-bit over the past three summers when we are home (which isn’t very often).

  6. Just wondering if there are collectors of your dishes? Were you able to sell them, or give them to a good home where they will be used?

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