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 The ending of chapter 16. Beginning chapter 17.

1 Jan

2016 was a very flirtatious year for us, homeownership wise. The flirting is over. Let’s seal the deal.
For most of 2015 we planned on finishing our house and getting it on the market by the spring of 2016. Big surprise it came way too fast. We were close to being done for maybe 6-9 months. So close, but not quite there. For me, it didn’t really feel quite there for a long time, I drug my feet. I was proud of what we’d done, learned and, to be honest, I drug my feet because I was sad to let it all go, although it did make sense to me. While there were great people that I had met and personalities I really wanted to be around more these last few years, it couldn’t outshine our life there as a whole. At the end of every day, or from the start, all I wanted was to be home with our little family. My door was always open but never knocked on, but in reality, sometimes you have to leave and close it behind you as well, and I seldom did that. So, in being rational, logical, and monetarily smart, let’s do this. Shooting to get on the market in the spring but, not unsurprisingly, the months just kept creeping up and pushing us back. So many details and nuances. So many uncertainties. So many T’s to cross and I’s to dot. Needing to buy this and sell that. Clean that and throw away this. What to take and what to pack. So many ridiculous amounts of, What? But we pulled it off. The last few months, or year(s), in San Diego was so amazingly eye opening. Tiny confirmations that we were making the right decision, from friends new and old, to family or surroundings that were wearing thin. So we did the unfathomable and proceeded to put ourselves and our fur babies’ needs first.

The time had come and we drove out of California with a blank roadmap. Drive North was about as much as we’d mapped out so north we drove. Searching over a small but generous part of western Washington, driving by dozens of houses and looking inside dozens more. There were houses that weren’t worth taking any pictures of, and some that were solely for comical purposes, and then there was a prospect that became a fit for us! And oh-my-fuck-yeah we found a house! Supposedly we should be getting the keys next week. Like, next fucking week!! It’s been one of those hurry up and wait scenarios. For months it’s been pretty much up, down, back and forth. We’re ready to sell! Wait. Sold! Hurry up and move out! Drive. Camp. Drive. Searching for the new house, found one! Wait. Paperwork. Ready. Go!! Waiting for the keys. I don’t think I need to paint an exact picture for you, I can’t. I’m convinced this is going to be an extremely interesting first month of 2017. 

My only hopes, wants or needs right away are, in this order: a secure fence for the dogs, that the old as fuck oven and fridge work for now, and hot water. Everything  we own outside this trailer is sitting in a POD is SD, for a couple more weeks it turns out. Thankfully our trailer has a mattresss that we can pull out and sleep on the floor in the house for the time being, and that will be the only piecce of furniture in the house until then. We have a space heater and plenty of blankets and pillows to cuddle up to and animals to use as blankets whether they like it or not. I know our possibilities when we start on this house are unlimited, that we will make a home for us forever or for someone else in the very near future. Making a tough or inconvenienced situation a warm and happy one, is rewarding and part of the journey itself. We try not to keep things boring around these parts. 

Cheers to a Merry New Year to everyone. And, if needed, a nice tree outside you can hide behind and piss on 2016. ❤🍷

The house that sooo wasn’t.

2 Dec

Here’s a peach we looked at. A great corner lot, nestled off the road, no through street and no street parking. Surrounded by properties valued well above this listing, meaning instant equity. Beautiful big yard, mostly fenced in, AND it was located on Bing street!! Bing!! The online listing had only exterior house and property pictures. It’s a renter occupied home so getting a tour inside takes a minute to coordinate, you know, to give them time to tidy up. 😬 Well, YAY! We got a viewing !! 

There’s a nice quaint front porch with seating area for your morning coffee. Look, there’s a couch!
Lots of closet space.
Roomy enough bathroom, there’s no tub but that’s ok, it has a nice pedestal sink. Space saver. 
It does have a small laundry room, outside on the side of the garage, complete with water heater and built in shelving, with what appears to be bird seed.
Also, the garage has shelving and was pretty big. My favorite part of this was when our realtor asked the occupants of they knew they had rats, due in part to the bag of garbage on the floor. 
The kitchen may need some work but it has a nice little dining area. I think we could figure out a small 2 seater table.

Not a lot of counter space but hey, I’ve been making it work in the little trailer 👍🏻

Like I said, maybe just a little work. 
Well, we talked it over and it has some foundation issues so that was the deal breaker, that and only that 😉. Oh well 😔  

 To flip or not to flip? That is the question. 

13 Nov

Well, we have our lists’ of properties, we’ve done our drive-by looksies spanning from Rochester up into Tenino, Yelm over to Olympia and all small towns in between and around. Our next tour of the state was northwest from Brinnon to Port Angeles. We took off on Friday to explore and do our next round of drive-byes, and well, we did it! We decided to actually call an agent and look at a house. Its a cute corner lot with a park right across the street 

The next day we drove back up (11/12) to Port Angeles. We knew full well going into it that it was rehab material. Now we know for sure it is a complete rehab!! I know it’s only the first property we’ve looked at from inside but we’re starting to get our feet wet. So many factors to consider, I mean, this is our future we’re talking about. I won’t lie, walking through the house I was envisioning how much fun it would be to make this cute little neglected house into somebody’s first home. Our first house was a complete rehab as well but we had literally no idea what we were doing, so much so that our first trip to Home Depot was overwhelming! We were fortunate then to know people that knew and taught us so much, able to get help from friends and know how to get cheap labor. Those that did have no idea how thankful we are for the time and knowledge they contributed. It was trying and exhausting and took us years to complete the task. But it was also fun. So thinking about the possibility of rehabbing and selling, is exciting. 

We had our Sunday funday and spent Monday researching a new area to explore properties and we got in touch with an agent in Bremerton WA. So today (11/15) we head on over. Its about an hour drive from our site and to get there we have to drive over the Hood Canal Draw Bridge. The gps is on and as we get closer it’s suddenly taking us on a detour that changes from 30 mins to 2.5 hours. What???  There were signs that read, “if blinking draw bridge will be closed,” well, we carried on, why, because we didn’t really know exactly what to expect. In case you’re wondering, yes it was closed. Now our gps says 3 hours to our destination! James gets on the internet highway to further investigate and thankfully their website says up to 30 mins for maintenance, so ok, lets just chill for a second. One car up ahead had turned around and left, it is a double yellow line so totally not legal, but I stored that away for future possibilities of aborting a mission. After a few minutes let’s just get out of the car with the dogs and peek over the side, it’s a beautiful, (I realize I say that word a lot bc it’s always fitting, but you’re probably tired of seeing it so so I’m going to have to hit up the trusty old thesaurus), clear day, calm water and birds flying around or chilling just floating on the water. If he could I know Beau would’ve jumped over that ledge and gone swimming with them. And adorable little otters floating around too!!. Sometimes you get stuck, and sometimes you get stuck in something great, so look. The closure was short lived. YAY!! Hours would’ve sucked balls!!

So we made it to the first house, (James is a “leave early” type of guy, bc he’s smart) on time! The first house, took it off the list bc there was a big barking shepherd next door and that and Lily would get old real fast!! The next was right next to the Naval base. Twice the size with a loft upstairs and a basement as well. Nice long driveway, garage and extra shed of a sort out back. All new windows, huge plus! Still a gigantic undertaking!! Having easy access to the base could make it a potentially easier to sell, being that there will be no shortage of families moving to Bremerton, or a possible rental. And Seattle is a short ferry ride away. So who knows.  Saw a couple other houses and were both just a good old fashioned no. Let’s head back to camp.

Yesterday (11/17) was our last day this neck of the woods and it was clear and sunny so James suggested we take a nice hike, which is good for all of us! There’s a trail 3 miles from the site with a difficulty level of moderate to hard and a lookout 2,200 feet to the top, about 2 miles and friends, up is the only way to get there. That fucking trail was ridiculous, at the base it was warned that there parts with  10%-20% inclines, and they weren’t joking! “Parts!” Where were the 0%-9% inclines?? NOWHERE! Mount Walker was it’s name. Fear it! About an hour into it, after several breaks we come upon 2 ladies walking down, and here’s me, crouched over, breathing heavy, (the air is thinner up there) “Please tell me we’re close,” her response, “Weeelllll not really. Just take it slow, the view is beautiful today.”😐 Bitches were in their 50’s! Pretty sure I just made them feel good about themselves damnit. So we didn’t make it to the top and after 10 more minutes I was over it, and I’m ok with that. I’ve seen so many beautiful views in my life that I chose to lessen the acute paralytic sensation I’m bound to feel in the morning and head down. The whole way I kept repeating in my head the lyrics to “Not My Idea” by Garbage circa 1995. More specifically, “, this is not my idea.”

So, onward to the next park. 

Beautiful west coast day.

11 Nov

We left our first week long camping stint (11/09) and headed northwest to Brinnon. It’s about halfway between Olympia and Port Angeles, WA. We had toured several towns around Rochester, peeked a little east of Olympia and a bit around the capital, and now we’re taking a look at the northwest penninsula. This little park we’ve unhitched at for the next week is just that, and I’m sad to say there’s no dog run for the kids. But it’s beautiful (I realize I say that a lot but I can’t help myself) and it’s alive and we’re right next to the water so their little bathroom break walks aren’t so bad. Our first full day was fresh and clear with no rain in the forecast so we chose to stay close and take advantage!! Lucky for us there’s a state park 2 miles away and and it’s been decided we’re spending the afternoon enjoying a fresh air hike. Something we didn’t know, you have to pay for access to all parks in this state. The government had to cut funds somewhere and to try to make up the difference we all have to pay the price. Should be no surprise that when states need extra money the first to cut from is the less “needy” services, like, you know, parks, infrastructure, schools, teachers. YadaYadaYada. The little things that don’t make much of a difference in our country or lives. Right?👍🏻

It was a refreshing timeout from all that’s going on now. On the way back to the truck we were walking alongside a stream and saw some movement! Oh! Fishes! James thinks it might be salmon but we’re unfamiliar with this neck of the woods so he asks the park ranger and she confirms, it was Chum and Coho. Took me back to my Alaska days watching the salmon run, only this time I wont be here to smell the rotting carccuses of the fish, now that’s a special kind of smell. (At least I think I won’t, the future is still unclear). And Beau really wanted to go fishing. I mean, really. ​🐡

After our getaway from all that is driving, making a travel trailer a home and googling properties, well kids, your union obligated break is over! So we peeked around the area, some short drives from where we’re staying, and maybe a half dozen listings. We’ve seen a lot of “eh, it has potential” properties. And some plain old negative as in, “I’m not impressed with the neighbors or neighborhood” sort of negatived. Then we came across this gem. Nice houses, shopping close by, something to take into factor. When we pulled up to it we literally started laughing! That real laughter you have when you hear a good joke or can’t believe this is real.  Although, it does come with a car and camper trailer as well, gee, don’t be so quick to judge Desiree! 😉 I guarantee the neighbors were looking out their windows praying we would be the ones to finally buy it and clean that shit up!! Sadly, no. Sorry not sorry.

So we called it quits for the day and went home. I attempted to write (it takes me days, obviously) and James attempted to start a fire. Bought a couple bundles at the corner store but kindling or fire starter didn’t cross our minds. Wood up here is quite different than San Diego wood 🙂 It needs a little encouragement. So that was a no-go. Alright James, let’s finish that round of Speed! 😘 

There’s still beauty in the world.

10 Nov

After our first venture out exploring land and looking at the properties with the criteria we envisioned, we took a few days off. Had a rainy weekend ahead of us. The RV park had a no tarps rule so of course we were concerned about that small leak we had our first rainy day with the trailer. After about an hour of rain (in the middle of the night) James got up to check the leak, fully prepared to climb on the roof and pitch that tarp up and face the possible consequences and plea for them to allow us to keep it up until the rain passed. And..YAY!! No leak. Remember after our first leak we were hoping it was just an issue with the trailer being level, so we picked one up, and my friends,  Level! Level, Level! Add that to your travel list. So we had our rainy days, we curled up together, watched movies. (Cable is shady and the campground had dvd’s to rent, for free, how cool is that!!)

I’m glad cable is shady. I’m glad that I don’t have it to rely on. I’m not gonna lie, it’s fucking killing me that I am weeks behind on some of my shows!! And I’m serious about that people, not a proud thing to admit to. But sometimes we need restrictions to remember that there is still life without tv’s and iPhones. It’s called human interaction. So here comes the good old fashioned games, the ones you don’t need anything for but light. The game Tenzi, I highly recommend it (thank you mom for buying it for me last xmas, love it)! Played several rounds but it can get a little loud with all the dice throwing and yelling and we don’t need to scare the neighbors. So lets try cards, how about Speed (I’m not a poker fan)? Haven’t played that since maybe middle school in the commons on lunch break, you all know what I’m talking about.  😉  So we look it up for a refresher and it all comes back, easy enough and I need to show James the ropes so we take several practice rounds, yes I went easy on the guy but when it came time to make it count, I slayed him!!! Which is an actual feat. This guy kicks ass at anything he does. The absolute most adorable moment was when he beat me and I swear it was as if he won the World Series! I laughed so hard with nothing but love in that laughter it was so great. The kids did not love the screaming (much like they don’t when our baseball or football teams are kicking ass) and jumping, they just don’t understand, but I loved how excited he was about winning a game, we’ve played many a rounds since then and he’s getting better, but not up to my speed. 

Well, after our fun indoors days we took a day trip up north to Olympia, and WOW was it a beautiful day. We took some time to walk around downtown area by the capitol building and around a lake. So many people out running or walking their dogs, just anything to enjoy the day. Beautiful sunny days are much more appreciated than they are in San Diego, I mean we (they) do have about 300+ of them a year. And the fall colors here, something I haven’t experienced in I don’t know how long. Refreshing. Back to house hunting. After looking at rural properties in need of rehab, just focusing in the area around our rv site, taking into account what would need to be done, where we’d get the means to do so, time, money etc. we talked about the what if? Yes, we came out here with visions of land and raising chickens and gardening and who the fuck knows what else, but without seeing and traveling the area in person you can never really know. So James broadened the search. Now properties and stipulations and criteria are malleable. Perhaps we buy a property in a higher price bracket, maybe flip?? Maybe less rural with acreage and more quaint with promise?

Well now I don’t fucking know! Neither of us do. The adventure continues. 

  The beginning of the search starts here 

4 Nov

So today (11/03) we ventured out into the big world of “Where are we going to live?” James googled properties for sale within our parameters over a few small towns around the park we are staying at and planned our endeavor. We are completely unfamiliar with the area, sans countless hours of James on zillow and other sites as such just searching and clicking. And searching and clicking. And searching and clicking. So this was just a “Let’s get our bearings straight” sorta day. Drove by 7 properties over about 4 hours. Just looking from inside the truck and again, scoping out the area. We’ve been out of our last home (that just sounds strange to say, last home, even in my head) for two weeks now. Driving and staying at RV parks, taking the dogs on walks and showering in the public bathrooms, it’s felt more like camping or a vacation than an actual life change with no idea of where and how, I’m gonna just repeat myself again, the where and how, this will all start again. I don’t know what I was expecting. I’m sure James didn’t quite either, we came in blind. You dream up visions or scenarios in your head, ideas in your mind. That will, and hope, is powerful. We trusted each other and dove in. And.We.Are.In.It. So we’re out driving, the country is beautiful, rural and small. He mapped out a kind of, lets say a letter P route, so we go up and over and around and down, through about 5 or so small towns. We’re driving to the first place and I told James, “Babe, this is it!” Or maybe we said it together, either way he insisted we must go on. Well, after our last little drive around the country, I let him lead. 🙂  Ok fine, I guess I can can see some reservations. 😉 Onward! The next stop is a few miles away, enjoying the scenic drive, the place is sort of off and up on a hill. Eh, not quite happy with the access and then, as we’re driving by the house next door there is a sad looking malnourished dog on their sad front lawn. Dealbreaker for sure! If you can’t handle an animal don’t own one!! And I will not let my dogs see that type of mistreatment. Lily is sensitive. 

So after the first two or so properties it started to sink in a bit. My brain started to rehydrate and process thoughts and my body started to calculate what would need to be done on every piece of land we drove by, looking at all things surounding as well. So many thoughts running through my mind, so many questions I’m asking myself,  “What level of rehab does it need, and where’s the nearest home improvement store?” And on that note, the road to get to and from, “How would we transport materials?” Think of how many trips we’d be making in a day and the time spent! Or when I need some milk or produce or that one ingredient I forgot while making dinner (this has happened more than I’d like to say but the corner store was just that, on the corner) “How far away is that?” Or When it comes time to work again “What is around us and how far away are we?” All things that I should be thinking of and a myriad more. And, of course, the first thing I take into consideration is and always is, the animals, our children. “Where and how fast could we build a fence so they can breathe?” Lily has known nothing but an open door to the backyard her whole life, and the other 3 have enjoyed it as well. I can’t wait to give the kids that again. “How long would the rehab be?” “Would we need to continue to stay in the trailer while the remodel is going on?” And if so, oh, hey! “Where does the poop go?! 💩Where’s the nearest dumping site?” Legit questions my friends!! Legit! So we drive some more. It feels like we drive forever on some of these country roads. A couple looked worth visiting again so we just might but we have more counties to look at for sure. It’s only just begun. 

Now let’s go ahead with the Q&A, only I’ll do both.

Q: Are you guys out of your fucking mind?!          

A: Yes. Probably. Most likely.                                      

Q: Do you have any friends, family or know anybody or anything about the area?                              

A: I’m gonna go with nope, nada, not a fucking clue as to what we’re doing.                                     

Q: You’re still young, how will you support yourselves in the future?                                           

A: Well, we don’t know at this time. I know just as much about the future as you do. Is it scary? As a fucking heartattack!                  

I’ll skip the rest of the Q&A and add a touch of visceral feelings.

Everyday I’m up and down, elated and scared. I’m either organizing or just staring at the tiny little scale of disorganization this little home can handle. I feel creative when I cook on a small scale. I feel artistic moving and moving again all the items of our home, finding where they belong, streamlining the in and the out. (James is definitely not allowed to put away mostly anything in this situation, and he is not sad) We’re making it work and will continue to do so. I believe in us and that’s the most important part. ❤️

Things go wrong. Just keep driving. 

3 Nov

So, James said I should write about the shitty shit as well. OK then. And let me make something clear, I know I can be an emotional handful. I am without a doubt my worst enemy and question almost everything I do. So writing this, isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. But, we all have imperfections.

Lets backtrack… I had been talking about the Oregon coast for years with James. And I mean years. I always thought I’d grow old somewhere in the Northwest. I can’t go inland. Nope. Nada. UhUh. So, back to… The Oregon Coast. Is. Amazing! And if you’ve seen it you know. So James plans a nice little trip on Monday (10/31) to drive up to Tillamook and then head up to Astoria. I know, I really do know better than to question his plans. He’s the google-er and the brains of the operation. As for me, I just had built this up far too much in my head. We get to Tillamook and don’t even get to the cheese factory. Dogs, We have dogs. We had stopped at a gas station and I asked the attendant if he new of any place to eat that was dog friendly. We had a half assed back and forth about dogs and how there probably wasn’t much in the way of outdoor seating, yadyada, in an attempt to make small talk while the gas was pumping. So, funny not so funny, he tried to talk about how loyal dogs are and of course i agreed and then he says…. (don’t quote me but these words are not embellished!)  ‘You could have a really bad day at work and come home and kick your dog and then 5 minutes later they forget and love you just the same’. I sorta froze for a moment and then the tank was full and it was time to leave. Still not sure how I didn’t jump out of the truck and throat punch him!!  Also really wish I did.                                                                              So we just continued on through town and I’m looking at the maps on my phone to Astoria and it doesn’t look like there’s much of a coastal drive. Again, don’t doubt him Desiree, it has been 15 years since you’ve last drove the coast. But still, I’m pretty sure all the good stuff is south. So what does he do? Turn around for me. Remember kids (and by kids I mean literally anybody traveling with him), trust in James’ planning skills. So we head south. Looking on the good old Google maps it looks like the 101 is more inland for a stretch so, hey, I think, lets take this highway, it looks like it goes more along the coast. Right?! 🙂  well its mostly trees, some houses and not clear signage! So we end up having to turn around at one point (did get one cool sighting of that amazing coast! ONE) turns out the road ended there. So we’re back on the highway and cruising along and suddenly it seems we’re driving away from the coast. Yep, it split off but I didn’t realize that bc I didn’t exactly know where I was leading us (don’t trust me). So we end up back on the 101 and off the coast. By now it’s been 4 hours since we left the campsite and one tiny little glimps of that wonderful coast. Sweet. I rock!! Let’s just turn around. Fuck it. At this point I’ve said i’m sorry an annoyingly number of times. James continues to say “it’s ok” clearly without a doubt frustrated, but, it’s ok baby. And then. And then!!! A fucking rock gets kicked up by the truck and fucking rams the window! So, sweet, a cracked window. And now i feel doubly bad. I’ve taken us on an hours long detour with nothing to see and, of course, because of me the window is now cracked!!Let’s all assume, also comfortably know, that I blame this on me as well. So there’s some hiding my face holding back tears going on. The truck is silent for the next hour or so on the way back. THEN

We’re 15 miles from our campsite. 1 HOUR AWAY TRAVEL TIME!!! I put us in rush hour! Sweet, don’t I feel even better now.                   We finally make it back ‘home’, it has been almost seven hours, no stops, nobody ate food, dogs didn’t get to walk or pee. Basically I feel like the worst person/travel partner/navigator there ever was. I was so overexcited about the coast that I made us miss it. Aaaaannnnnddd.  Finally we’re home. Give the kids a short bathroom stretch break, then feeding time comes, and after James says he’s going to take them on a walk, be back in about 30 mins or so.                                                                             Then this guy, who I unintentionally put through driving hell for hours, comes home with a little bouquet of flowers for me :). Walked the dogs to a Home Depot that is a about 10 minutes away. Said he knew I was beating my self up and thought I could use a little cheer. So of course I cry, I apologize again, which by now is so fucking redundant I want to tell me to shut the hell up! I am an emotional basket case!  So, yes, it was a completely wasted day, And I felt completely responsible. And shitty shit will always happen. I am thankful that I am with someone who truly has patience (or an unbelievable skill that Hollywood would admire) with me. 

So there it is folks. Shit goes wrong often. Don’t be me. Be James. Just keep driving, don’t start crying.