Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day!

Current Location: Tualatin, OR

We've managed to evade the snow all winter...until today. Seattle did have a major snow event over Thanksgiving, but we were in Alaska. And it did snow while we were in Anchorage, but we were just visiting so that didn't count in my mind. We were counting our blessings when the snow was dumping on the southeast and the deep freeze was cooling down the southwest. Although we've experienced enough rain to last us the rest of the year, the silver lining is that rain means that it's warm enough to not have to worry about snow!

But our day has arrived. The weather forecasters have been talking about this storm for days. And late last night, our big snow arrived. All one inch of it! Almost all of the schools in the region were closed, which make me chuckle, considering that the snow was completely gone by 10 am.

Now I know that other places in the Portland-metro area received more snow and I fully understand that the closures were made early in the morning when the snow was still falling and I know that they're not used to getting much snow here, but still it was such a non-event! Having grown up in the Northeast and having spent more than 20 years in Colorado, I guess I'm used to snowfall measured in feet.

The widespread school closures also meant that many businesses decided not to open also. And that included Tracy's office, so she got an unexpected day off! Unfortunately, she's battling a bug that's been going around so she spent most of her free day in bed. And I spent most of the day trying to be quiet so she could sleep. I guess that's one of the downfalls of living in such a small space.

And unfortunately, this storm brought along a cold front. For the first time since we've been here, they are predicting overnight temperatures in the teens and low 20's. Brrr. I guess it's our time though, so no complaining here. We've had a pretty mild winter all things considered. It's so tolerable that we've both said that we would consider spending another winter here! If you had asked me earlier in the winter I might have had a different answer, but both the weather and our attitudes improved once we moved to Portland. It may not be your typical snowbird locale, but it's really not a bad place to winter down!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Current Location: Tualatin, OR

For the past couple of weeks, I have been working a very important job. It wasn't the job I envisioned for myself this winter, but we all have to play the hand that's dealt to us. For the first time in my life, I am an official, full-time housewife!

As I've mentioned before, one of our primary intentions for wintering in an urban locale was to land temporary jobs. I will be the first to admit that we didn't set ourselves up very well for success. We spent too much of the Fall away and while those visits were wonderful and I wouldn't trade them, that took almost 2 months out of our job search time. It was about this time that we were leaning heavily to relocating to Portland and wanted to focus our job search there. But we had committed ourselves to staying in Washington through the holidays. We thought we could still search for jobs 180 miles away and figured that if one of us landed a job, we would come up with some temporary living quarters until we could get relocated. While doing the preliminary work remotely was not a problem, we found that the recruiters really didn't want to do much until we were local. Understandable. Then the tree incident happened and that set us back another 3 weeks.

We were still hopeful that something would materialize. We would be in Portland for almost 3 months and the feedback we were receiving was positive. Just about the time that we were getting a little dejected, Tracy received an offer and it was right up her alley. She is currently providing some accounting assistance to a local non-profit. We're not sure how long it's going to last, but they are very pleased with her so we're hoping they'll keep her through March. I, on the other hand, have not been so lucky. Unfortunately, I have found that most of the technical jobs are desiring a longer commitment. Although I was willing to do work that I was overqualified for, I'm not sure my recruiter was as invested in me as Tracy's was in her. I think it would have been much different if we would have been in town longer.

So now that Tracy is doing the 9-5 thing again, she has hired me as her official housewife. I've never been a housewife before and I don't think she's ever had one. It's a new fronteir for both of us! :) And I, for one, am enjoying it, knowing that it is only temporary. I don't think I could do this for the long term.

So what do my days look like? Well, the morning starts out with me getting up with Tracy and fixing her breakfast (ok, I admit she let me stay snuggled in yesterday when it was cold and pouring rain). I pack her lunch and get her out the door on time. I have to say that it sure does make mornings a whole lot less stressful knowing that only one of us is on a time schedule. My next important task of the day is to get Hunter out for his business. We usually try to do a 2-3 mile walk, weather permitting. Then the fun keeps going with laundry, grocery shopping, house cleaning, or whatever other mundane chore is on task for the day. About then, it is time to get dinner started so that Tracy has a hot meal waiting for her when she walks in the door.

In the midst of all of that, I am busy planning activities for the weekend. One of the downsides to Tracy being employed is that our play time is drastically hampered. So I do my best freeing up the weekends so that we can continue with our exploring. We still have a long list to conquer. Hopefully, I won't run Tracy ragged!

It is amazing how quickly my days fly by. It seems like I don't do much, but before I know it, Tracy is walking in the door. It is pretty sad that a trip to the grocery store is the highlight to my week. Yesterday, Tracy suggested that we do the grocery shopping in the evening and I immediately said NO! I told her she can't take away my only excuse for leaving the house. Of course, I was only kidding, kind of. I don't want to do much exploring without her, but there are still some state and city parks that I would like to check out as soon as the weather improves. There are also some museums and such which offer free or deeply discounted admission during the week, so I will try to hit those as well.

Although I miss spending the days with my best friend, we know that it will only be for a short time. We have taken away a lot of positives from this experience. The first being that temporary professional contracts are a viable source of income. Since these tend to be significantly more lucrative than workamping, we will probably continue to seek out these types of opportunities from time to time to rebuild/increase our savings. And that might mean, that occassionally one of us may have to play housewife. Next time it may be Tracy's turn, but I'm hoping to do such a good job this time that I'll get rehired for the next opportunity! :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Current Location: Tualatin, OR

WOW! Once again, I am flabbergasted by this blogging community. First, let me thank all of you who left comments. Your support and kind words touch me more than I can say. And also thank you to those who mentioned me in their blogs. I am truly honored by the recognition. I had no idea I could cause such a stir! ;)

Oftentimes, my writing is just a form of thinking out loud and I think this was one of those times. When I started the post, I think I had a slightly different direction in mind, but I wrote what was flowing through my brain and that's what came out. My inclination is to write and rewrite until I get it just right, but sometimes I think it's better to just put it out there and let it be.

As I was writing, I think I was answering my own self doubts. For me, personally, I need to write from the heart. Ultimately, my motivation comes from within. I do go through periods where I struggle with my self esteem and it is during those times I question why anyone would find interest in my thoughts. But then I have to remind myself that I write because I enjoy it and it helps me formulate and organize my thoughts. Have you ever found that you think better while walking? When I was working and I was struggling with an issue, I would often take a break to walk around the block and would frequently return with a much clearer mind. Writing, for me, serves a lot of the same purpose.

So would I keep writing without comments? Probably, but your comments really do encourage me and I truly, truly appreciate all of them. So again, thank you!!

And now on to tonight's subject...PTSD. Yes, I'm talking about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I don't think I realized how affected we really were by the tree coming through our roof. Certainly, at the moment it happened it was a big deal and it directly affected our lives for several weeks afterwards. But once we got the RV fixed and settled back in our home, I thought it was all behind us.

Not so, appearantly. The wind makes us all cringe. We have a storm front moving through and this afternoon, the wind really picked up. We do have one tree that is near the back of the rig and as soon as things started falling, the animals were basket cases. Hunter paced and whined and wanted to crawl in the smallest space he could find. Jazzy wasn't a whole lot better; his eyes wide open with every bang. And you all know how loud an RV can be in a storm. We tried to turn on the radio to drown out the scary sounds, but I don't think it was possible to turn it up loud enough (and we wouldn't have been able to stand it!).

But it's not just the animals. We both find ourselves cringing with every noise and neither of us particularly like being under trees, whether it's in an RV or on foot. This morning, we went hiking, trying to get in a little exercise and fresh air before the storm arrived. About half way through the wind started picking up. We were deep in the forest and couldn't help but watching the top of the trees swaying. It was just a wee bit unsettling and I think it was about that time that we picked up our pace.

I wonder if our "wounds" are still too fresh and if over time, our fears will calm. Or will we always have a wind anxiety? I know it's somewhat irrational. After all, what are the chances that a tree would fall on our RV for a second time? Especially so soon after the first. But I think we are all experiencing some level of flashbacks. With each bang, I know I visualize a branch falling and causing damage. Hopefully, time will erase, or at least dull, those memories.

Thankfully, the rains arrived and the winds died down. I doubt that any of us would have gotten much sleep tonight otherwise. I never thought I'd be so happy to see the rain! :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Is The Purpose Of This Blog?

Current Location: Tualatin, OR

Once again, I find myself in a blogging block. And I think all of you are to blame! When I first decided to write a blog, it was primarily to keep our closest friends and relatives apprised of our location and excursions. I also wanted to keep some type of journal for historical purposes, so that when I lost my memory in old age (uh oh, I think I'm well on my way), I'll have something to remind me of these days. I wasn't particularly self conscious because I wasn't sure anyone would be reading. I just wrote what was on my mind. As a matter of fact I published my first several posts before I even shared the link with anyone! I wasn't even sure I was going to share it, but I must have let it slip in a moment of weakness.

And a funny thing happened. I gained followers. At first it was just a few, but the number kept growing. Now I'm up to 81 publicized followers and I know there are many more lurking in the shadows. A few of these folks I know personally, several others are fellow bloggers whom I follow, but many are people whom I don't know. I don't know how they found my blog. They've never left a comment or initiated contact. I don't know if they read regularly or just occassionally or if they still follow at all.

I am flattered by it all. It still amazes me that anyone would choose to read my ramblings, when there is so much more entertaining stuff out there. There are far better writers than me. And there are certainly those who are more diligent about writing. So why me?

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Suffice it to say, I am humbled by it. But that humbling has also led to a problem. Pressure! I feel like I need to write for you. I feel like I need to publish regularly to hold on to my audience. And I feel like I need to write interesting, informative pieces to keep you coming back. Although I've always told myself that I'm writing this primarily for me and it doesn't matter if anyone reads it, I know that's not really true. Having an audience is kind of addictive. Although I don't measure my success by the number of followers, it is certainly flattering to watch that number grow. And I have to wonder that if I stopped receiving comments, would I eventually stop writing?

So while it is motiviational to have followers, it also causes a challenge for me. You see, I'm a bit of a perfectionist and if I'm going to write knowing that it will be read by others, I want to write something good. And if I don't think I can do that, then I will procrastinate and not write anything at all. It's a bad habit and I've thought more than once about giving up this blogging business altogether; but I like writing and I like being part of the blogging community, so I'm not ready to stop just yet.

From the beginning, I've struggled with what I want the focus of this blog to be about. Do I want it to be a travelogue? Do I want to focus more heavily on the full-timing lifestyle and what it's like to live in a small box on wheels? Do I want it to be educational for those interested in RVing, either part or full-time? Do I want to keep it more introspective and talk about things like why I don't blog more often? I don't know, but I've always felt that I needed a direction. The one thing I do know is that I don't want it to be mundane. I don't want to talk about what I had for dinner or how many loads of laundry I did today. I realize that that's all part of the lifestyle too, but I think that's boring, both to write about and to read. But just in case you're wondering, I've done 4 loads of laundry over the last couple of days, made a trip to Super Walmart to stock up on groceries, and made a quiche for dinner tonight. :)

As I write this, I think the answer to my question is becoming clearer. I think this blog is probably a little bit of everything. I am introspective by nature and although I am a fairly private person, oddly I find it pretty easy to write about my feelings (much easier than talking about them!), so I will no doubtedly continue with my reflections. And although we tend to stay stationary for longer periods of time, we are still busy exploring and I would like to share our experiences. I definitely want to share more pictures. I'm getting better about remembering to take my camera, but I'm slow to get the pictures uploaded and if I wait for the pictures, I may never publish a post. I hope that some of my babbling will be educational and I will try to share tidbits of what I learn everyday. But mostly, I think I just need to write whatever's on my mind.

Maybe my blog doesn't need a singular direction. Maybe by just sharing whatever topic surfaces will be educational and interesting. And hopefully my writing will be good enough...

Do any of you fellow bloggers struggle with what to write about and how often to write? Or am I just crazy??