Itching to move

Since Quinland started college, I’ve been trying to think of ways to save money. We canceled cable. We quit paying for (but not going to) Southwest Community Center. We decided to no longer pay anyone to walk our dog or (periodically) clean our house, tasks that are tough for me to plan for since my energy levels are all over the map. It seemed, though, that all my ideas were just drops in the bucket.

So I looked more closely at our expenditures. The one that jumped out at me, more than any other, was how much we spend on our home for mortgage, property taxes, and utilities.

I should start by saying that we live in a great house. It’s not the fanciest; it hasn’t really been updated since it was built in 1990. It’s not in one of the “hot” Portland neighborhoods; it’s smack in the middle of an area that doesn’t really have much within a walkable distance, and is hilly and has no sidewalks, to boot. Parts of our street are not paved by the city, and the nearest cross street is a washed-out gravel road. However, it is BIG, and it was really inexpensive on a per-square-foot basis. We like deals, and we had a ton of stuff, so it seemed like a good fit for us. We’ve loved having an above-ground finished basement (aka “double down”) where Quinland and his friends can hang out and stay up late and make tons of noise and not disturb us at all.

But if I was embarrassed before by how many square feet each of us had to live in (we can each pee on a different floor!), it is even worse now that Quinland is away at school. Although we’ve managed to stuff every last bit of it, two people don’t need this much space, especially when it costs so much to heat!

A few weeks ago, I started checking out the Zillow app (which is super fun) and keeping tabs on what was out there. I realized that if we moved two miles west, we’d be in a neighboring county with much lower property taxes. Now I’m checking for new listings every day, bothering my real estate agent about various houses, and trying to talk up the whole moving thing with David.

He doesn’t want to move. He figures we can realize a similar level of savings by renting out the basement. He doesn’t think we could fit into a smaller house, nor does he think our house is ready to sell. He’s correct on all counts.

But oh! I am ready for a new place, a new start, a chance to find a home that’s perfect to downsize into. The market is great for sellers, and…

Sigh. I can wait. There is time. Houses will continue to be sold. We can use this time to look into converting the basement to a rental. I can pare down our belongings to a reasonable number. Who knows? Maybe we’ll decide to just rent an apartment, one of those glorious places where somebody else deals with calling people to cut down the tree that is over the broken water main…


Deb and I are at the beach for a scrapbook weekend! Technically, I have scrapbooked: I’ve done exactly three pages, and I am proud of myself.

So what does one do at scrapbook weekend if one is not scrapbooking, you ask?

Well, we have a tradition that we follow on the way there. First, we stopped at every Goodwill between Portland and Lincoln City, where we scored on Creative Memories albums and a couple of games for David. And a clock. And a book. And a cool wine glass. Then we have lunch at McMenamin’s Lighthouse Pub in Lincoln City, where I always eat the salmon sandwich. (This particular trip, it was quite appropriate, because it was a Friday in Lent.) Finally, it is off to the beach house!

We settled in, and Deb got busy cropping like a maniac. I, on the other hand, did the work I spoke of yesterday, sorted papers, ate some candy, checked my email, took a nap, drank a margarita, watched some Olympics (men’s figure skating and women’s Super G, both incredible), wrote a blog post, and did a jello shot. There are some awesome women to hang out with, so whatever I do, I am having a good time.

Today, though, I really buckled down. I slept until 10:30, paid a couple of bills, sorted through my Christmas paper and stickers, did those three scrapbook pages (of Christmas 2016), did another jello shot, had another margarita, watched some more Olympics, took a really long nap, and then uploaded and sorted tons and tons of photos (from 1988 to 2006)!  I call this a productive day, in a very pampering weekend.

How to eat a cliché: one bite at a time

You know the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” right? I have an issue with this. See, I am a big-picture person. Some people can’t see the forest for the trees, but I can’t see the trees, because I am too overwhelmed by the enormity of the forest.

It is much less stressful to break things down into their smallest parts and do one thing at a time, but it’s so hard for me! I know, theoretically, that if I can concentrate on the next thing that needs to be done — and just do that, and give it my best attention and effort — I will ultimately succeed, yet here I sit at the beach for scrapbooking weekend, telling myself I just need to do a few critical tasks before I get to play with my friends, and I’m still not doing them. A couple of important phone calls, a few important emails, and I will have a clear mind and a clear conscience.

Now I’ve done most of it… but I find myself resisting the last couple of things. I’m listening to the conversations in the other room, eating Red Vines, writing this blog post — anything but making the calls. It’s ridiculous.

I need to bite the bullet, pull the trigger, stop aiming and just shoot. I need to Just Do It.

Ugh. Okay. Here we go.

All right, I’m back. It was mildly successful. Left a voice mail, tried multiple times to make another call, spoke to one person. Went and sorted paperwork to make up the difference.

Do I feel better? I suppose I do. I’m so darn tired that I think I should just go in the hot tub and go to bed. I’ll start this party tomorrow.