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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


add comment

Leave Comment