I haven’t posted for a couple of months! I’ll bring you up to date on why I’ve had such a quiet blog presence lately. (My subsequent post will be fiber-related. I promise.)
After two years in limbo, early this year we decided we had to step up our house hunting in the Pacific Northwest. We left the San Francisco Bay Area two years ago, settling first in the fiber arts rich area of Portland, Oregon and began house hunting. The problem we encountered was finding a new house that was both reasonably priced and, important for two retirees, single level. Due to strict density regulations of Portland’s urban growth plan, every house we saw in the greater Portland area was two or three levels high with very small footprints, resembling the little plastic houses that come with the “Monopoly” board game.
(I have to wonder how the restrictions comply with U.S. laws that forbid housing discrimination. Almost all of the two-level houses had all bedrooms and sometimes the utility room on the second floor, and the first floor of most of the three level houses was taken up by a garage. These houses automatically exclude people with mobility impairment and anyone who is concerned with aging knee joints. While the intent of the growth restrictions of the Greater Portland area are probably not discriminatory, their effects certainly are.)
Deciding against the Portland area, we packed up again and moved south to Eugene, Oregon (home of the University of Oregon), a city I enjoyed living 20 years earlier. It is still a nice city, but we ultimately decided we needed to live closer to a large city with an international airport.
We next cast our eyes back north and across the Columbia River to the Vancouver, Washington area – about 2.5 hours’ drive north from Eugene. As we didn’t want to pack up and head north to lease another dwelling before buying, for the last several months we’ve been driving to Vancouver, spending days touring new houses and meeting builders with our realtor, Marcus Saxon (who not only was committed to finding us a house in an area where we would be happy, but clearly had the proverbial patience of a saint), and then driving another 2.5 hours home. (Exhausting.)
Vancouver … new houses are being snatched up (both both U.S. and foreign buyers), which, of course, encourages the builders to raise prices. We saw prices go up $30-50,000 in a few months. We didn’t like the “quick buy now before it’s too late” feeling we were getting from sellers (not from our realtor).
Lo and behold, our realtor took us to a small city slightly north and east of Vancouver called Battle Ground. We liked the city, and we really liked the houses of the builder he recommended. Voila! So papers signed, we now wait for the house to be built. In the interim, while we selected the floor plan, we now face so many other choices, including (but not limited to): counter tops, sinks, hardware, cabinets, shower designs, tiles, flooring, windows, doors, paint colors (both exterior and interior), landscaping, appliances, and window coverings.
This will be my 30th move (give or take) in my life. While moving doesn’t get easier as we age, we’re certainly looking forward to unpacking our belongings!
My daughter and her family will be coming up to spend the week of Thanksgiving with us. Dare I tell them what they’ll be doing before dinner? (Pics source here and here) And did I happen to mention my son-in-law is a landscape architect?!
I’m know they won’t mind helping. Thor and I will help them by getting out of their way. Maybe we can take the grandchildren to visit nearby Mt. St. Helens. 🙂
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