Moving in the Time of COVID-19

12 Dec

One of these things is not like the other.

Chatsworth Circle

Francis Circle

Fir Ridge Road

Da Vinci Street

Kennedy Court

Via di Villa Emiliani

Via Ruggero Farro

Cascara Court

35th Avenue

Did you guess? 35th Avenue is our new, and rather boring-sounding, address. We have always lived on named streets, some rather colorful. How can you beat “Via di Villa Emiliani?” Yet here we are. You can choose a house but not your street name.

Despite the urban-esque sound, we reach our new digs by traveling through placid farms with the Coast Range looming in the near distance. Vast fields lay only a few meters from our house, no doubt to be filled with housing before another decade passes. We are at the western edge of the Portland Metroplex, up against wine country, barely an hour from the ocean and only 25 minutes from Derek. Yet our street is typical of an American suburb, perhaps one of the most classic suburban street scenes in which we have dwelled since we left Omaha in 1987.

I do love this tree in a park near our home.

Three of the old addresses were in condo-land and two were apartments – ruled by condo boards – in Italy. Now we are embracing a sweet Craftsman-style house on a small lot with a very private back garden that I intend to transform come springtime.

The workmanship is incredible. Reminiscent of a 1940s bungalow but with an open plan and the features desired in 21st Century living. Here is the jaw-dropping coda to this tale: it was built by high school students! Forest Grove H.S. has run the Viking Homes Program since 1975. (Ours is the 2010 home.)

Buying and selling in 2020 are like walking a highwire with people shooting at you. Houses in the Portland area practically sell before they are listed. (See Cambiamo Case. )

COVID-19 only adds another 1000 degrees of complexity. Spending on home-improvements makes the proverbial drunken-sailor (as in “spend like a”) look like Scrooge. Refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, ranges, and ovens are back-ordered for months. We used to waltz into Sears (R.I.P.) or Home Depot, order an appliance, and have it appear in a matter of 72 hours. We are back-ordered until January 13 for a washer/dryer. Six weeks of laundromat stretch before me like an endless wasteland.

Scheduling movers, handymen, or anything else has to be juggled against an out-of-control mortgage and title market. Title companies are overwhelmed as mortgage lenders feed them 4 times the cases they are expected to handle. (One agent told us an escrow officer usually gets 10 cases a day and now they each get 40!) Assessors in Lincoln County are so backed-up that lenders have to hire them from Portland to make the four-hour round-trip. Without going into an agonizing litany of all the delays, I’ll simply say it was a stressful period getting from the fast-sale in Lincoln City to occupancy of the new house in Forest Grove.

It was very unsettling having strangers in our home for packing. One mask-hole from the moving company required constant reminders to stay masked and was reported to the company as not welcome to handle the move-in end of the project. Ric and I had good KN-95 masks to help protect us. Doors and windows were wide open letting the house temp plummet into the mid-50s so fresh air circulated. We moved into a hotel to make the whole experience less stressful and provide us a place of refuge. Since we are now almost 3 weeks past packing day, we are breathing a sigh of relief as all other workers have only been in the house briefly.

The furniture arrived on December 4, preceded by two days of painting (not by us, by professionals) and having some handyman services performed. By the following Monday, we were largely settled and had a tower of recycling ready for the local waste management company. They’ll get another tower in two days as we have finished unpacking (mostly). As of our one-week-in-the-house benchmark, there is art on the walls and I know where almost everything has been stowed. We can find our way to the major services in Forest Grove without the satnav.

Moving is not for wimps. Moving in the Time of COVID is insane.

We are not quite done, but here is a first look.

Several readers have asked how the cats are doing. I am sad to tell you that Frankie & Esther had to go back to the shelter. When we evacuated for the fire, we could not lay our hands on the cats to secure them for evacuation, forcing us to leave them in the house alone for the time we were gone. That was frightening. If we could not evacuate them for their safety, how would we deal with taking them to the veterinarian? They were a year overdue on vaccinations as it was. We consulted with our vet, who advised these were not likely to become socialized cats. She encouraged us to return to sender, which required a tranquilizer, a difficult capture involving a pillowcase, and a 3-hour round trip to Florence. We will adopt again when the right cats are ready for us.

11 Responses to “Moving in the Time of COVID-19”

  1. krumkaker December 16, 2020 at 06:00 #

    Congratulations on the move! The new house looks beautiful, enjoy your first Christmas there.


    • Laurel December 16, 2020 at 06:31 #

      Tack! It will be a low key Christmas for certain. Ric and Derek and I constitute the “crowd.” Perhaps Plättar on Christmas morning and most likely Köttbullar for Christmas Eve.

      Göd Jul!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. December 13, 2020 at 08:29 #

    Dearest Laurel,

    I did hold prayers for you and Ric during the fires but had no idea you had to evacuate. It was so hard to know which of our friends were impacted. The news was always dramatic but given the quantity of fire icons on the screen across the western US, it was hard to determine the real placement.

    I can’t imagine moving during this crazy year. Your home looks lovely and I know your garden will be magnificent. Can’t wait for more pictures.

    I am becoming increasingly bad about email; have given up Facebook entirely. One of my friends sends me a text to read my email. Funny how “calling on the phone” has disappeared.

    My year has been care-giving. My Mom will be 90 in April and has had one health issue after another for the last 5 years. She hates having to call on me but seems to have lost a lot of confidence as things keep happening. In September, her femur broke. A stress fracture which I am sure was caused by the hip replacement 3 years ago. She has walked crooked ever since the replacement and her bone just said, “enough!” Every time she goes in the hospital, they detect AFib and everything gets frantic. Of course, the trauma of the falls, breaks, etc., create the heart issues. They start messing with her meds and all kinds of other issues ensue.

    I sound heartless when I laugh at all of this, but we’ve been through it so much, it really gets ridiculous. This time, Mom and I had had enough conversations that she learned to say no to the doctors. They push, plead, lecture, etc. but she held firm and her recovery took measurably less time than our previous adventures.

    Like you, we are being careful about Covid. I’m still amazed the world is in such disagreement over such a simple thing as a mask but then seatbelts took a national law! I keep hearing people say they’ll be glad when 2020 is over as though changing the page on the calendar will make everything better.

    Enjoy your new home. May all good be yours in the New Year.



    Liked by 1 person

  3. graciamc December 12, 2020 at 14:35 #

    Congratulations on your new home! Glad you are almost settled. Moving is traumatic in the best of times. I can’t imagine doing it now but we know several people moving this year.


    • Laurel December 12, 2020 at 17:10 #

      Yes, it seems moving has become a pandemic project for many. We sure hope to be in Seattle some time in 2021! Miss the family there very much.


  4. Marcia Kakiuchi December 12, 2020 at 14:10 #

    Love your wood floors in the picture. Since we moved to Hillsboro from Ohio when I was 8 years old, I’m quite familiar with Forest Grove, Cornelius and of course, Hillsboro. I bet I wouldn’t even recognize these areas now with all of the building and basic ‘sprawl’. Your picture looks so cozy. Sounds perfect for you. Well, except you do need cat (s)!


    • Laurel December 12, 2020 at 17:11 #

      We do need cats!!! They will love the house and maybe the garden if we let them out. It is fenced so unless they are jumpers, they may have that privilege. The floors are very traditional and lovely so thanks for noticing them. Forest Grove is still a small town at heart. 🙂


  5. Wallswj December 12, 2020 at 14:05 #

    Beautiful home, looks like a lot of storage, and built by high school students! In close proximity to wineries and ocean as well. Sorry to hear about the cats. Keep well.


    • Laurel December 12, 2020 at 17:12 #

      Thanks, Bill! We loved our place in Lincoln City, but this one is so charming, and it seems to be absorbing all of our stuff. 😉 The location is a great balance for us.


  6. Grier December 12, 2020 at 12:32 #

    I’ve been thinking about you, wondering how you are getting on. What an ordeal! You are making progress and mid-January will be here before you know it. Your new home is a real gem!


    • Laurel December 12, 2020 at 17:08 #

      Thanks, Grier! Can’t wait to set up a hiking/walking date!


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