During the summer of 2018, my husband spoke the words that I knew what turn our world upside down... "I think Roseburg wants me for a job."
And that's how it begins... MOVING. AGAIN. This move, however, was like this endless slow-motion stressful movie, an endless tunnel with absolutely no sign of the light at the end. When someone is as high up as my husband is in his profession, companies find who they want to hire and then woo them from their current company. We knew this, and it's okay, because anyone qualified to do his work is either retired or already working somewhere -- and everyone in his field knows this.
So, we knew we were officially moving in September 2018, but had no idea of the actual details until December 17. On December 27, we were in Roseburg looking at houses (yes, TWO DAYS after Christmas!), we put our house on the market on January 4, Charley started his job (and his time in a temporary company house during the work week) on January 7. Also on January 7, I had to not only take our beloved 19-year-old kitty Sandy to the vet for the last time, but then I had to go to our Realtor's office and confirm which of the five offers we were accepting for our house. Yes, in three days, we had eight showings and five offers. A nightmare in the shape of a tornado with a huge side of grief. Fun.
We finally moved at the end of February 2019. Charley had been driving back and forth every weekend, five hours each way, for almost two months. Twice I drove down with the kids, but same difference -- a lot of driving, him working and learning his new job, me packing up our house and getting ready to move. It was your basic nightmare.
First load came down on Saturday, the 23rd. We'd packed ourselves, packed the truck, it was a nightmare. LOL Every other move (we've moved 12 times in 23 years of marriage), either the company has moved us or we staggered our time and had a month to move... and we had never moved farther than an hour in any direction. This was us moving ourselves over a long weekend to a new house five hours away. See? Nightmare.
On Sunday, we'd driven back to Astoria to fill the truck again. Exhausted, stressed OUT... we could not believe how much stuff we STILL HAD, even though we'd spent months getting rid of half of everything... but we did it somehow. We were ready to drive down Monday the 25th.
Except on Monday, we woke to the news reports of a huge blizzard hitting Western Oregon. Like, all of Western Oregon. Like, 12 inches of snow fell on Monday, all over Western Oregon -- right exactly where we were supposed to be driving through to get to Roseburg, and of course Roseburg was covered. This area is a place where it literally never snows. It usually does that thing where flurries fall, make it pretty, but melt by dinner. But, no -- this was a BLIZZARD.
The weather people said that there was going to be a window Tuesday afternoon where the temps would stay above freezing, which meant the roads might be clear enough to get through... so we headed out Tuesday morning -- 26' moving truck, the minivan, the four of us, four cats... OMFG WHAT A NIGHTMARE.
We white-knuckled it all the way down, passed dozens of cars on the side of the highway. It started snowing in Eugene. Then it started snowing harder. I was terrified... I kept telling myself to just keep driving.... just keep going.... we were getting passed by semis on the highway and it was starting to get dark. SO FUN. NOT NIGHTMARELIKE AT ALL.
But we did it -- when I saw our exit, I nearly cried. I knew we wouldn't be stuck on I-5. We'd made it to Roseburg. We drove to the house on roads with 12 inches of snow on them. I was still terrified my minivan would get stuck if I drove out of the tire tracks of those few trucks who'd gone before me.
But we made it to the turn to our neighborhood... then we made it down the main road.... then the little road before our even smaller road -- I was looking at the house while trying to stay in the tire tracks. I was looking to see if the snow had damaged the house, what trees did we lose? It looked okay.... one more turn and we were at the base of our driveway -- where both of our vehicles got stuck in the snow. BUT WE MADE IT!!!
Hiking up the loooooong drive with the cat carriers to our house that had to power was not fun, but very long story short, our camping equipment had been parked in the shop on Saturday, so we had all the supplies we needed, the former owners had left furniture for us, so we had tables and chairs and a bed for us, and the girls had camping cots and sleeping bags, and the house had a woodstove and a pile of wood in the shed... holy crap, people. seriously. This could be its own memoir -- believe me, I've got a pile of notes to work from!!!
That's how our life started here -- days with no power, a buttload of snow outside that took three weeks to melt, thousands in our county with no power for WEEKS, and generally a freezing, beautiful mess.
THEN ... I had to get us settled. I spent months working on the house, painting, decorating, making whatever, fixing everything else, getting us freaking settled. It's a 3,000sf house with 14 rooms and 2 hallways and everybody got painted. Everybody got curtains. Everybody needed furniture. Endless. Then I turned my attention to the outside -- our 4.5 acres, the garden and its 23 raised beds that were now absolutely choked with weeds, the orchard full of trees I couldn't identify... and we'd ordered our chicks and so the hens were on their way!! So we had to build the chicken coop.
Suffice it to say, this is why I have not worked on my writing in the last year.
I just didn't have time.
BUT -- the chicks are seven weeks old, their coop is done and their run is almost done. Soon they'll be able to play outside and then I can focus on getting the gardens ready for fall/winter. In the spring, they should be ready to plant. The soil needs amendments, so adding compost and then planting a clover cover crop will go a long way to getting the garden into a happier place.
And I will have time to write again!!!
My focus going forward is my farm -- Rosemary Hill Gardens -- and my writing here at Treetangle Publishing. In addition to novels, I have a burning desire to add nonfiction: memoir, essays, etc. And all of that was planned before we knew were MOVING. AGAIN.
We're not moving again -- this house is on 4.5 acres, has a well just to irrigate the gardens, grounds, and orchard, the house is huge and will serve us well forever, the shop is huge and will also work for Charley's workshop and my workshop for my Rosemary Hill business, I have an office for writing, a patio in back where I can stare into my beautiful, peaceful, amazing oak forest... we inherited two cats with the house, wild turkeys visit us every day -- some have babies we got to watch grow up, two other hens have no babies and just basically live here now. LOL
So -- that's my last year in a nutshell. Or, in an acorn cap. There's more to the story, though.... there's always so much more.
As a writer, I plan to dive into the past, translate the present and dream about the future...
The past will be explored in memoir -- growing up in Illinois, living in the Philippines, college in Seattle in the 80s.
The present will be explored in my blog -- what's going on in my business, my town, my country.
The future will be explored in personal essays -- what I think about where we're going, what should change, what should stay the same.
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Umpqua, OR 97486
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