Hiccups Happen

 

 

 

We sold our lovely home in Morro Bay and this set off a chain of events. Morro Bay was in the 60-degree range with a slight breeze as we backed down the driveway. And away we went. Off to the Northwest.  What on earth were we thinking? 

This substack /blog is a result of our move. Hey hiccups indeed happened and they were served up with a bit of irony and hilarity in the process. After all, we are in our late seventies and shouldn’t we be staying put? In Morro Bay we had friends but no family. We were established. We were comfortable and happy. There is no finer place to live than the central coast of California. Why oh why did we leave?

My husband, Rayman, teases that I like to move every ten years. He isn’t wrong except that he insinuates I’m part gypsy. However, in my own defense, there has always been a reason and he and I have always decided together to pull up stakes. So there is that. Leaving that aside, the other caveat is that while moving is a bitch, it has always ended up providing new adventure that include hiccups. And so it goes.

So, off we drove that mild winter day in December. Went headed to the great Northwest; specifically, we headed to Portland, Oregon aka Portlandia. The name sticks. Portland is a great city with trouble just like every other great city. It isn’t perfect. It’s no Morro Bay. However, we had spent the past 5 summers in a second home up in Portland and we had grown accustomed to its charms. The kids live across the mighty Columbia in Vancouver, Washington. We were close. The move made sense to us.

The day after we arrived, a blizzard blew in. Oh, my. I had never been in a blizzard. The closest ever to a blizzard I had come involved going to mountain to ski. Here’s the deal. At the end of the ski adventure, a trip home was all it took to leave the snow. Did I mention that skiing terrified me? As I skied down the trails, I worked hard not to get to the bottom of the ski runs. This resulted in strong legs because traversing the hill a100 times to avoid going fast takes work. When the day of skiing ended, I was ready for a piece of meat washed down with a glass of burgundy before I catapulted myself into bed. It was exhausting. But I persevered until one day I fell down on a flat run and couldn’t get up. That did it for me. No more of that foolishness. That was all I knew of snow.

Locked down in Portland because of an ice storm that followed the blizzard was our how we spent our first week in Portland. And that is how I decided I should try this substack business. I had time on my hands and was eager to write. So, here’s the deal. I will publish this post on my blog and on substack just for the fun of it! Incidentally, the name of my substack is Hiccups Happen.

Our doggie, Beau was shocked and unaccustomed to this new environment too. We drove our two cars up and the only one Beau could fit in was the Honda SUV CRV XYZ. On the floor of the car because every square inch of both cars were loaded with our stuff. Poor guy. This picture was snapped when we stopped at a strip mall to have a conversation with our broker about investing in a few CDs so the proceeds from our house would gather some interest. That was fun. Beau seemed interested too.

 

 

It was fun caravanning. I listed to Bach and Mozart because Rayman doesn’t favor longhairs and this offered me a perfect opportunity to indulge. He was probably rocking out to the Eagles. While alone, we were still together. Nice. The Oregon coast is beautiful, was beautiful. Plenty to look at during the journey north.

About those hiccups. Rayman lost his electric toothbrush somewhere. Our safe that holds our precious things was accidentally packed in a POD and when we finally caught up with it as we unloaded POD #1, we discovered we didn’t have the key to open the safe. Brilliant. Where is key? Don’t know. You would think that wouldn’t happen to our safe. Think again. When you are up to your ass in alligators, you forget about draining the swamp as the old saying goes.

 We also cannot find our financial files or our passports. That will keep us in the country. Hoping to find the passports before the election in November. We may need to move to Mexico. Just sayin. That wall swings both ways, doesn’t it?

Currently, our living room is a disaster area. Traffic cones might improve the place. POD # 1 contents included lots of our stuff along with furniture the kids wanted. Their furniture is now in their house. Our stuff is in their garage. Our house in Portland doesn’t have a garage which is not unusual for Portlandia. Most of the older homes here have garages that you can’t use because the garages are small and the driveways don’t have straight lines that would allow a driver to park a car by driving straight in. Matched with the problem that cars are so darn big now compared to the model T that they won’t fit in the garage. So people park on the streets which are so narrow, only one car can advance at a time. 

Here we are and now it is time to start thinking about getting to know our new state of Oregon. This state boasts Crater Lake, many extinct volcanic mountains, deepest gorge in North America. It has fabulous rivers including the Columbia Gorge, the Willamette, the Deschutes, the Snake, the Rogue are the famous ones. There are many more. Waterfalls. They do not rival the Yosemite falls but there are many to see here. Sand dunes and a rocky shoreline beckon. We are contemplating some trips to discover these things. Because hiccups always happen when you venture out, there will be much to report. Oh, and powwows. Planning on a doing some powwows this summer. With lots of reservations up here, the opportunities abound for Native American experiences.

See you soon!!







It will be a hoot.

BAPTISM BY SNOW

Well, now we’ve done it. It’s Saturday morning and the snow god has raised his head inn Portland (PDX). The wind is howling, the trees are whipping around as if they are telling the birds not to land, the squirrels not to invade. Snow is swirling about, the flakes are big as marbles yet light as a feather. Our bright red Weber barbecue offers a splash of color that is shocking, everything else turning white.

I must say I’m impressed by the ferociousness of the scene. This feeling will diminish if the lights go out which is a distinct possibility, isn’t it? The neighborhood hardware store may see us today. We might need stuff. And it it continues, which it surely will if predictions hold weight, we may spend the day and night under down comforters as we worry about the tree in the neighbor’s yard falling down.  You can actually see what way the wind blows.

Are we prepared? In a word, no. However, this too shall pass. If it gets too bad I.e. no power, we can find a hotel. And as I ponder the storm, why does PDX have a homeless problem? This is not a good place to live under an overpass. 

 

One thing PDX and the state of Oregon have is water. On our way over the pass that separates the ocean from inland, we followed a river, full to its banks with water hellbent to reach the Pacific Ocean. It was quite lovely to see the difference between then and now, California v Oregon. Everything is green here because of the life-affirming rain and snow. Now rather than worrying about the cows in a field of stubble, the cows braving the heat in a field with not a tree for shade, I can worry about the lambs and the llamas freezing to death.

Speaking of lamb, there are three lamb shanks in the refrigerator that I will cook if the power stays on. So there is that.

Rayman just retrieved one of our wicker chairs. It got blown off the porch and onto the stairs leading up to the front door. Then he let Beau out in the backyard and Beau seemed mystified at first and then scrambled back in to the comfort of the house. Not sure how we are going to deal with the “walk”. 

It suddenly strikes me life will not be ordinary here. And that is okay. I’m grateful for the opportunity. Tamara, our daughter-in-law came for dinner last night. Ryan, number one son, is in Utah having his own winter experience on the slopes, skiing down snow-clad mountains. He will have a hard time returning home with this weather. And then I remember the time we took him and a friend skiing in Utah and we stayed one night on the way in Elko, NV which was 37 degrees below zero. It was a trip for the ages.

Yesterday I spent time on the computer arranging DMV appointments, changing addresses, and all that comes with a change of venue. We emptied three suitcases, dusted out drawers, rearranged clothes. The one thing we really screwed up was losing track of our important papers. Where they are is a mystery. A mystery of moving. POD 1? POD 2? They clearly are not here and, of course, we need them. POD 1 arrives on the 15th at the kids house. Unloading in this weather will not happen if I have any say in the matter. Although I suppose one could argue that snow is better than rain for a cloth couch. We’ll see. 

Rayman seems happy. “It is what it is”, he remarked when I asked him if he was happy. And who can forget our first RV trip? I’ll put in the info in case you did forget that debacle. It was a hoot.

Oh, and then there was this trip (just click the link) : snowed-in

More to come as Mother Nature does her thing.

Comment to my email please. Thanks for reading!!!

OREGON OR BUST

We are currently headed to Portland to embark on a new phase in our lives. How we got to this point in time is worth a story or two. So, let me expound on that.  Just sit down now and take it all in.

DIVISIONS OF RESPONSIBILITIES TO FOLLOW FOR MOVING NORTH

We both had a discussion of responsibilities while in a sober state of mind which in itself may be a major milestone. Then we parsed out the work required according to aptitude or lack thereof. I would make all the arrangements based on our agreements of what would work. Rent two PODS, check. Hire loaders, check. Verify insurance, check. Make hotel reservations for our trip north, check. Sign all the docusigns, check. Change our address, check. Arrange for the house to be cleaned, check. And-the list goes on. Oh, and on that list the 1800-GOT-JUNK was scheduled for two separate pick ups. And yet, a third haul away was needed. Plus Jim, our favorite electric truck owner volunteered to haul all our food to the land fill. 

Rayman would lift things. 

Oh, I kid the Rayman!!

We both wrapped things up. Glasses, plates, lamps, pictures, etc. That was not entirely our choice because the guys I hired to load the PODs came through the front door and asked where our boxes were.  I said, “I thought we agreed you would pack and load.” “Oh, no, I just load”, he huffed and puffed. Preferring not to piss him off since he was loading our lives’ accumulated treasures into a big thing that was placed on the curb by a robot-controlled lift and drop machine that also shifted and jerked, I kept myself in check. So, there we were with a Gordian Knot. This was day one. 

 

On second day with these two characters, we rehired them to just pack. We worked like dogs all day wrapping, stuffing, taping, throwing rugs, and lots of lifting by the Rayman…Of the three days in which we were all attached at the hip,  that second day was the most sane. This was because they DID WHAT I HIRED THEM TO DO.

Third day of agony was another loading day. A second POD had arrived so now there were choices involved which slowed things up. A few loaded items had to be reassigned to the other POD and vice versa. And this was the drop dead date…everything that was going had to be in POD 1 or POD 2. But that wasn’t the big bloop. With hands above his head with all fingers sticking straight up like a the woman above is doing, loader number one entered the empty living room and announced that the glass table top out in the atrium has shattered while he was carrying it.

WHAT?

Yes. You heard me. So when I asked through clenched teeth, “How did that happen?”, he said it was caused by static electricity. “Yes, that has happened to me on several occasions. And if that wasn’t it, the table top was probably nicked, it’s old, right?” 

 

“Static electricity.” And believe me when I tell you that he seemed dead serious. That is when I figured I had to either scream, AAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH or just go nuclear. So, I looked up from the checkbook as I was sitting on the hearth getting ready to pay these guys and I said, “Well, isn’t that something.”

When the PODS were picked up by the same robot-controlled dumaflache, we turned around, headed into the house and looked at all the stuff that was still in the house. Stuff is very sexual because it seems to multiply. Actually, every day for a few weeks we had been making trips to Achievement House, a local charity. The amount of loot we unloaded because of this move was staggering. Furniture, sets of dishes, fancy wine glasses, that nail clipper that out-served its usefulness. Coffee maker, bean grinder, and a partridge in a pear tree (just kidding about the bird). Fancy dresses, a tux with shoes to match, the shredder, thousands of paper clips, safety pins, old buttons from the 1950s, costume jewelry and on and on and on.

GIVING THINGS AWAY

It must be a fact of life that people with means accumulate way too many things which I refer to as “stuff”. The stuff includes old tea cups never used, too many platters for food service, a yoga mat, a lifetime supply of printer paper…It also, for a cook, means every spice known to man must be thrown out. I flushed the flours, emptied the fridge of all condiments including anchovy paste and 5 bottles of pickle relish. My only excuse is that we had two fridges so it was easier for the pickle relish jars to hide when two ice boxes are involved.  Ergo: each fridges’ average was only 2.5 jars per fridge.

Back to the cook and her provisions for a minute. Frozen persimmon pulp from 3 years ago, a mayo jar full of fast-acting yeast from years past. The list when on and on. It was one of more depressing things I had to do through in this entire process. Throwing away perfectly good food is a gigantic bummer. But I did it… proving that it is easier to throw it away at the end of the process because I had reached my limit of dealing with all this crap now that we were almost done. Had I thrown it away at the beginning, my mostly morose-like emotions I had to deal with would have lasted longer

Do we take the fly swatter or no? Do the shoe horns, both of them for some reason, both stay or go? This is a pertinent question because we had another house full of stuff in Portland and why have three of everything? Does the bedspread go? What about the stag’s head that I use to dangle jewelry go? All these things had to be discussed and that slowed us down. Sometimes arguments occurred. Rayman hissed at me at one point…I was too directive throughout.

Bottom line, it all got done. Sun up to sun down we worked. We even slept in four beds. Our bed, the guest room bed because our bed was relegated to POD 1, the sofa bed in the den because the guest room bed was hauled to the consignment store, and finally the bed at Mary Kay and Jay’s casita because all the beds were gone. We had to move out before the close of escrow.

It is funny how different the Rayman and I are from one another. If there are two ways to do something, we always pick the opposite of the the other. Uncanny, it is. My idea for the shattered glass that still remained in the atrium is a case in point. I wanted to pay our gardener to do the clean-up. Rayman wanted to clean it up. Every time I turned around he was on all fours digging shattered glass out of the small pebbles that filled the spaces between the flagstone…using my Ralph Lauren soup spoon as a tool…all other tools were packed away in POD 1 or 2. He just couldn’t help himself. (And neither could I!! ) That was because the new owners noticed the shattered glass on the final walk-through. Just multiply that example by, say, 100, and you get close to the order of magnitude experienced by us during the ordeal.

 

OF WIPERS, KEYS, AND LOSING TRACK OF THINGS

A few other funny things happened. The Ford C-max needed windshield wipers. Instead of getting them, Rayman announced that no rain was expected so we could get them in Healdsburg on our way north. Today, we headed north. At Palo Alto it started raining and by the time we were opposite SFO  (20 miles?), the CHP was weaving from lane to lane to slow traffic because WE HEADED INTO A CLOUD BURST. At one point, a high profile truck passed me going way too fast and the road water washed completely over the car which induced sudden blindness. I could not see the road. Terrifying. Rayman was following me in the Ford. He got the same treatment from Mother Nature. He might have regretted not getting wipers after all. 

Then there were little funny things…like to speed up our getaway this morning, the first Saturday of the new year, I drove to the drive-thru for 2 lattes, Rayman picked up some pastries, and we headed down to the rock to watch the outsized waves lashing the jetty while we ate. He moved to my car. We ate and drank. He stayed to walk Beau and I headed back to the casita. Just pulling up in front of our fourth bedroom, my phone ran. Rayman was on the other “line”. He left the car key in my car. So, off I went to give him the key. It was no wonder, though. We had spent days trying to remember where this was and that was. Did we lock the door, did we bring the key, where was the iPhone? Where was the receipt from Ace for the scotch tape dispenser we were returning?  OMG, we forgot to do thus and such. It was just way too much to remember everything. Consequently, we remembered little. And that slowed us up. Have you seen the series, Slow Horses? It was nothing like that but I would very much like to plagiarize the name. We were slow horses.

When I was a kid I would ask my mom where my shoes were. She would exclaim, “In the shoe department.” Loosely translated that meant ‘look for them yourself’. Through all this work, I never once said that to the Rayman nor did he say that to me. We really were pulling together most of the time. It is just that the odd things seem to be the funniest to me. The inexplicable, the unusual, the downright unbelievable. Those experiences are what I remember.

But don’t get me wrong. There were problems. Rayman didn’t pull into the garage all the way and then hit the garage door opener by mistake and the SUV trunk was sticking up in the air. Crunch, scape. I shrieked and Rayman pressed the door opener again but the damage was done. We over-ordered some packing supplies and not enough of other supplies. So that required multiple trips to and from Home Depot in San Luis. But that is the way it goes. The ying and the yang of it.

The local food bank at the senior center in Morro Bay gladly took all of our unopened foodstuffs. Until the last day. I took some stuff in the building and was immediately intercepted by the rules Nazi. “Nope. We don’t take food donations”, he growled. “I’ve been bringing food donations here every day this week.”, I countered. He insisted and I insisted again. Then in a fit of pique, he explained to me that the director just sent out an edict that no more donations could be accepted effective this day. Well…I ask you, what are the chances? So as I was leaving the building, I dumped the food in their wastepaper basket. Vengeance by thine.

Now it is Sunday morning in Healdsburg and cold as a witches’ tit. Look at me. Already taking note of the cold weather. In Portland it is currently 39 degrees going to high of 45 today. Burr. Also, what were we thinking? We plan to meet up with our friends, Bob and Margaret for brunch and a day of visitation and fun. Ate at their new place, Enso, a Buddhist enclave that had GREAT food. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to live at Enso. We found it to be very calm and because it is brand new, very lovely to behold. Their two-bedroom apartment had a great kitchen. And because they are artists, the walls were covered with great art and some exotic masks that looked down from above the door jam. 

 

Stayed tune. There will be more stories of our historic migration north.

North by Northwest

As most of my readers are aware, we are moving to Portland, Oregon in January.The house is in escrow and ever since that event a few days ago, the ghosts are wreaking havoc. In one night, two light bulbs blew. The printer died, the thermostat turned to the darkside, and I’m sure are there are other things…but isn’t’ that enough to make one wonder?

So, I wonder.

  In other news, moving is a bitch and as many times in my life that I have moved, this is still an ordeal that is the worst yet given my advanced age.

So…our address in Portland will be as it ever was…3591 NE 44th Ave, Portland, OR 97213. Everything else will remain the same. Phone numbers, emails. So only an address to change.

We have elected to use PODS. One POD will go to Vancouver, WA where the kids live. They are taking a lot of stuff!! The other POD will be our stuff and it will go to storage…POD storage until we decide what the heck to do with all our stuff. We hope to sell the OR house and buy a one story affair next year.

Oh, my. Organization and planning are on high alert around these parts. Of course, we are both sad to be leaving the state of CA, my native land. Time marches on and it is time to be closer to my family, our family. We are looking forward to adventure and trying to squash any regrets to the dustpan of history.

So, there you have it.

Later, gator.

Dianna

P.s. we are happy to entertain anyone that we like to come and visit!! After winter, that is. No one in their right mind would go to visit in the winter, let along move in the winter. Just sayin.

Basements of Life

Do you wonder what lurks in the crevices of your garage?  or attic?  or basement?  CA doesn’t do basements too much but I had the good fortune of having grandparents that had a basement. It was dank, dark, foreboding. And I loved it in a dangerous kind of way. The steps were steep and one lone lightbulb illuminated the entire terrain. The wood that held the house up above the basement was pristine redwood that I once managed to lodge across the palm of my hand. A giant splinter of redwood. Yikes. Did that hurt.  

Once down in the abyss of the concrete reinforced (I hope) room, were located shelves. And on the shelves were unopened boxes. White boxes. And they had ribbon around them. Silver ribbons.  Along with those boxes were a myriad of plates, cups, glasses, piles of clothes. Thinking of it now, it is not too far removed from what the Rayman and I just found in our garage as we embarked on our “spring clean”.  However, the basement had much more character. It also had a vent to the outside which was useful for light and air. Uncle Dodo, the architect of my grandparents house was no slouch. He thought of everything, apparently.  

But I digress.

Our neighbor, the Jordan family had a basement too. As far as I know, these were the only two basements on our block but then I never did a census, and I didn’t snoop. Surmising is the best I can do.  Johnny Jordan was an entrepreneur in the entertainment business. He entertained people in his bars and liquor stores. And because of this perhaps, he made the basement of his house into an elaborate bar. It had red tiles on the floor and a small bar, complete with sink, mirrors, glasses, booze. And it had a closet. That is where we changed our clothes when we were putting on a “floor show” for the adults. The water heater may have been in it. Not sure. Memories have faded over time. But that basement was high class. It was a hidden gem. Perhaps it was a speakeasy!!  I think it is fair to say that their basement had far less spiders than ours did.  Oh, and how can I forget. It had a jukebox. With records.  OMG.  It was so cool.  And it also had a high window to the outside for air and light.

So, today Rayman and I started cleaning the garage and it brought all these memories back when I stopped to take a water break and sit down to cool down.  

Our garage is not nearly as interesting. And it’s full of stuff that I wonder what ever possessed us to buy. Oh, I’m sure we had our reasons but really. There must have been located 10 tubes of silicon stuff. Putty. 30 cans of opened paint, mostly mysterious as to the application they were intended for. Many from the previous owner so they must match our walls. Forty two cloth bags for lugging stuff home. Wine bags. You know the kind that have 6 compartments. Bags from Whole Foods, New Frontiers, Albertsons, Morro Bay Golf Course. Bags up the ying yang.  Old tire chains that do not fit on presently owned automobiles. Hats which we plan to keep but hats galore. Baseball caps, my floppy golf hats. And pictures. OMG. Family pictures. And many of them framed. So, I took the pictures out of the frames and they now the frames rest in the back of the Prius. Off to the Goodwill truck with the frames, old tools, clothes that don’t fit anymore. A major clean up.

But back to the boxes those boxes in the basement. When I got old enough to reach the shelves, I opened one of the boxes. It had a white small card attached. Dear Donna. Congratulations on your marriage. Love, Whomever. The boxes were unopened wedding presents filled with Fostoria glasses and plates. Cups and saucers. Never opened.  he vestige of a broken marriage.   How sad, really. My parents were only married for a few years, not long enough, apparently, to open the wedding gifts. Not long enough to set up house.  

Well, some of those dishes are in my kitchen today. I use them for desserts and salads. Quite useful to the homemaker. Take that to mean what you wish. I will spoil your fun by telling you that my mother was completely uninterested in making a home. Her favorite meal to make was fish sticks, at the dawn of the frozen dinner era. She was also quite fond of cream tuna on toast. So, I guess she didn’t need salad and dessert plates for that, now did she?

Well, I had my rest. The garage beckons. And I found an old box of my grandmother’s recipes (she was a good cook and homemaker). So, perhaps, I will share a few of them with you later on. But first, I must plow through that box and see what i can find.

Hope there aren’t any spiders in there.

All Aboard

East side of the Rockies

 

http://amtrak.com   Click on this link for train info.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kootenay_River Open by copying and pasting into your browser.

Today is our rendezvous with a train.  We are scheduled for a 4:45 p.m. departure.  It is now 6: 00 p.m. and there is no train.

Where is that darn train?  Well, let me step on my own story to back up and remind, you, dear reader, what the plan was.  We were leaving Portland on train 28. NN, The Empire Builder, to travel to St. Paul, MN.  Additionally, we booked first class at the insistence of the Rayman who said something to the effect of, “I will not take a train if I can’t have my own loo.”   To say he wasn’t thrilled was an understatement.  But Rayman is a fabulous person who knew he owed me a train trip.  This has been an ongoing convo for years…my begging and pleading to take Amtrak.  

Rayman on the other hand doesn’t like Amtrak because it isn’t a train you can count on.  This story is a case in point.  Which is unfortunate for me as the person that booked this trip!!  So, where is that train?

Everything is so complicated.  Our plan was to take Uber.  I couldn’t get the Uber app to work.  Tamara, our daughter-in-law, luckily had come by for a glass of wine yesterday so she got the Uber booked for me.  Well.  Uber got cancelled for the 4:45 train.  Then another alert from Amtrak came in.  The all aboard time was now 9 p.m.  Then the all aboard time became 10 p.m.  So we got to thinking, why don’t we just drive down to the PDX train depot and see if we can change our departure station to Vancouver, WA so the kids could take us to the train from their house, as they live in Vancouver. 

On the way to the station to do just that, Ryan called us.  He discovered the problem.  The train had mechanical issues and that is why it was late.  With that info percolating we decided to go talk to a person in person at the train depot.  That decision was made because yesterday when I had some software problems with the Amtrak website, I sat on hold waiting for a person from Amtrak to help me for like 100 hours.  The website, “just ask our digital assistant” didn’t even work.  

Perhaps I should send Secretary Pete Buttigieg this epistle.  Just sayin.  

Arriving at the train depot, I jumped out and sauntered in to the station and met with a man named Alex.  He said such classical things like, “Well, yes.  Train travel is unpredictable”.  When I asked what the problem was, he told me, “Well, the train from Chicago broke down.  A train to tow the train was dispatched.  It is currently in Pasco and it will arrive.  Then we will change the engine and off it will go”.    And,  when I asked him if the whole trip could be canceled, he said, “Excuse me while I take this call”.  Then he said to the person at the other end of the phone, “Well, do you want to come in on track 3 or do you want another track?”  This made me wonder if he ran everything at the the train station.  Holly mackerel.  

When he completed his call, he said, , “Now, what was your question?”  I said, “I don’t remember!”  Really, people.  I was now worried about who was in charge of things.  

Then I piped up and asked, “Will the train be canceled?”  He assured me he wouldn’t because “he would know”.  OMG.  Alex is to trains as Hal is to the space station.  

Returning home, we drove over the Steel bridge.  It is a draw bridge over the Willamette.  That caused me to remark that maybe we should traveled by boat up the Columbia.  

It is now 1:15 a.m. We are sitting in the Metropolitan Lounge at the train depot.  To state the obvious, the train is still indisposed and Amtrak is holding us hostage.  We spent $36 for a Lyft ride and the guy picked us up at 11:40 p.m. so we could get here on time.  We could have walked here with no problem of missing this train.

My new friend, Alex, was still here at the depot.  And he was still unsure about everything. Then we met some other new friends in the lounge.  Their story was thus.  They live in Portland but they booked the train to leave from Vancouver, so their daughter took them to Vancouver.  Well, the Vancouver station closed at 9:30 p.m. so they took the train coming from Seattle back to Portland.  And here they sit.

Just now Alex said all the sleepers could board.  We are sleepers.  We rose like a phoenix from the  grey couch and headed for the door.  When we got outside, Alex informed us there was a miscommunication and the train was, in fact, not ready after all.  At this point the passengers started to get a bit rowdy until it was explained that a person had died on the train east of here.  Then the train engine died west of Spokane.  Then a rumor started that a wheel needed to be replaced along with the engine.  Eye rolls were observed.  But the death news did have a calming effect because really, how mad can you get when there is a death on a train.  

Rayman mused aloud that we had booked the death train.  Then we retreated to the lounge again and sat right back down on the grey sofa to continue the wait in comfort.  

Another few minutes dragged by another employee came in and gave us our marching orders…to the train we went.  This time it was the real deal.  We embarked on the sleeper car, the last car on the train, and the last room on the car.  Here is a pic of us this a.m.

 

The room we have would have made a very good broom closet.  Our “room” gives new meaning to this space.  But before complaining, we are extremely fortunate to have a window that looks out at the world and other interesting things.  I snapped a picture of a coal train that I affectionally named The John Coltrane.  Much of the trip this morning runs along a river.  The Kooccccc river and there is no other way to see this part of the country except by river.  The view from the train has been extremely interesting.

If only you could have seen us at 3 a.m. this morning, trying to move into the closet.  Exhausted and annoyed, we threw stuff where it would fit… a 6-inch wide closet, a chair in the corner, and hit the hay.  My hitting the hay involved climbing up to the suspended bed without killing myself.  And there I lie looking at the ceiling which was about a foot from my nose.  A suspended futon is a good descriptor of the contraption.  And while I lie there being tossed around by the train, I held onto the thick cord that was attached in two places for the purpose of keeping me in my place.  One roll in the wrong direction and I might have been the next person to die on this train.

 

Rayman was in complete shock about the size of the room, the tardiness of the train, that without even saying it, I think I know this may be our last overnight train trip in the U.S.  

Barring him throwing me, MaMa, from the train, we are due to arrive in St. Paul, MN tomorrow evening.  

 

Man enjoying his own broom closet!!

Update, update, read all about it.

Things slowly but surely improved.  Our attitude adjustment was critical.  Expectations were modified.  Some examples.  The second night, we slept head to toe on the lower bed that serves as a couch during the day.  A employee comes by and converts it to a bed, a single bed.  This had the added benefit of not having constant air blaring at me from the ceiling vent which was located right by my ear.  Think of it as me trading in the air-in-the-ear situation for a Rayman’s feet in my armpit.  

 

The top and the bottom beds.

The observation car was a good car.  Chairs in various configurations tightly bolted to the floor, sat in from of the windows on both sides of the car.  Nice.  Spent lots of time there.  The dining car was well appointed sans crystal and silver or glass.  Throwaway was the name of the game.  At least they didn’t use styrofoam.  And eating was family style so we met Harold and Maude.  Just kidding Harold and Margaret, he a professor from Connecticut, and she of the – I don’t know who lives in Spokane.  Tom and Claire, he a retired surgeon from St. Paul, and she from St. Paul who intimated to be a doc but never stated it.  Lovely couple returning from Glacier National Park.  We traded info about our favorite websites for news, places to drink in St. Paul, etc.  

There is also a 90 year old two woman that travels by the train almost constantly.  She stopped by to tell me this a.m. that this is the worst service she had ever experienced.  She was traveling alone and could walk this tilting, lurching train better that me.  I almost fell into others’ laps as I weaved down the aisle.  She was sure-footed.  Oh, and she and another woman went and lodged their complaints with the person in charge of the entire train.  That shocked me.  Someone was in charge!!

We have about 5 hours left before we arrive in St. Paul.  Because we are being picked up by firends, I sent out a warning that we were going to need showers.  Yes, our cabin has a shower/toilet room but it was just too hard to stand and shower.  Rayman decided to try and as he was trying to get in the door of the shower, the train lurched which caused the door to slam shut and in doing so knocking Rayman on his keister. Luckily he fell on the bed.  So we scratched that plan and opted for a spits bath.  Or is it spitz bath.  Whatever it was, it had to suffice.  I’ll just say this is the first time that we have worn the same clothes for three days running.  My linen over blouse and my long skirt with no zipper or buttons was the perfect choice although I did get my skirt caught in my undies and after strolling the train, someone told me about this situation.  “Oh, quite the look!” I said as I pulled my skirt down.  Then I thanked her.  I just hope I’m not featured on TikTok without my knowing it.  It could be going viral as we speak.