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Today is my mother’s birthday, so I figured I would tell you a little story about her, in her honor. (Plus, it’s getting late, and I can’t think of anything else to write about at the moment.) Happy Birthday, Mom!

I’ve told this story before, so forgive me if you’ve heard it.

Once upon a time, long, long ago – sometime in June 2000 – I went to my mom’s house for dinner. Meal concluded, my daughter and stepfather left the table, leaving my mother and I alone. Here’s how the conversation went:

Mom: Something’s going to happen on August 29th.

Me: What? To whom?

Mom: I don’t know.

Me: Something good or something bad?

Mom: I don’t know.

Me: Where is this something going to happen?

Mom: Don’t know that, either.

Me: (Ever the skeptic) Ok, so you’re telling me that on August 29th, something that might be good or might be bad is going to happen to someone somewhere? Way to go out on a limb there with your prediction.

Mom: (With that “mom” look in her eye that means, “Shut up now, if you want dessert.”) Look, I don’t know. I just feel like I’m supposed to tell you about it. That’s all I know.

Since I did want dessert, I shut up. The conversation turned to other subjects and mom’s “prediction” was all but forgotten.

Several weeks later, I arrived home from work after a long day at an out-of-town meeting. It was hellishly hot outside, and I’d had quite a long drive home through rush hour traffic, in a car without air conditioning. I wanted nothing more in life than a cool shower…and maybe a nap. But first, I stopped by my PC to check my email.

Glancing through my messages, one in particular caught my eye. I opened it up and began to read.

“Congratulations! You are the grand prize winner in the X-Files X-Props Summer Sweepstakes. As you may recall, the grand prize is a trip for 2 to Los Angeles, California to visit the set of the X-Files…”

Huh. This couldn’t possibly be real, could it? I mean, yes, I did vaguely remember entering the sweepstakes, but no one ever really wins those things, do they? I picked up the phone and dialed my mother. “Listen to this email I just got…”

After reading her the email, I asked, “What do you think? Is this for real, or is it just some kind of marketing ploy?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “But I hope for your sake it’s real. It sounds great!”

After a few minutes, we ended the call. I was in the middle of reading the email through for the 3rd or 4th time when my phone rang. Without preamble – and sounding VERY smug – my mother asked, “What’s today’s date?”

It was August 29th. And yes, I did win the grand prize.

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Did you ever have a song that you associate with a particular person or event, so much so that you can’t hear the song without evoking the memory? I don’t mean in the way that hearing the Emperor’s March makes you immediately think of Star Wars – if the soundtrack is good enough, it’s a given that you’ll be reminded of the movie. It’s more an autobiographical event that I’m thinking of…something from your past that has – for whatever reason – become indelibly entwined in your mind with a particular song.

I heard the song “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts earlier this evening, and was immediately reminded of my first school dance. It was the 7th grade Valentine’s Day dance, and that song was the theme. I was twelve years old. The dance was more than 35 years ago (Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!) and I still think of it every time that song comes on the radio. [Though I’m using the term ‘radio’ loosely…nowadays it’s more likely to be Amazon Music or Spotify or Pandora…]

It got me thinking about the frequency in which I associate music with memories. Is it because I’ve always had a strong affinity for music? I started playing the piano at 5, the flute at 9…the tunes are always on in the car, and if I know the lyrics, I will sing along to it. Does that make a difference, or does everyone do it? I can’t be the only one whose life has a soundtrack. Here are some of mine – show me some of yours in the comments!

  • “She Blinded Me With Science” by Thomas Dolby – This song will forever take me back to the first day of 9th grade, Mr. Kroto’s biology class. The bell rang, and as we all sat wondering what to expect, Mr. Kroto walked in and placed a huge boom box on the long counter at the front of the classroom. Without a word of introduction, he hit play, and Dolby’s 1982 hit blared from the speakers at top volume. Welcome to 9th grade Biology.
  • “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind – I’m not sure if this one counts or not. It’s not so much a song attached to a memory as it is the memory of the first time I ever heard the song. I was driving home from my dad’s house, late one holiday night. (I’m fuzzy now on whether it was Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, but I’m leaning toward the latter.) Local radio station DC101 liked to play full albums late at night, and on that particular night they played the album of a new group, Third Eye Blind. The first song on the album was “Jumper,” and I liked it so much that a few days later I went out and bought the CD.
  • “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel – This is probably one of the earliest song-memory associations that I have. When I was in the first grade, the local fire department came to our school to give us the talk about fire safety. Depending on what time of year it was, I would’ve been 5 or 6. (I skipped kindergarten, so was a year younger than most of my classmates.) During their presentation, they showed us a movie in which some kids playing with matches started a house fire that burned down the house and killed everyone inside. Now, it wasn’t a graphic movie – they didn’t actually show us the people being burned…but it was implied, and it made an impression. For quite some time, I couldn’t hear that song without feeling sad for that poor, dead family. To this day, I think of that movie every time I hear the song, and I think, “Geez, what an effed up thing to show to a bunch of little kids…”
  • “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas – I don’t remember how this came about, but a few years ago I told my sister that I was writing in my will that she has to get up at my funeral and perform this song. Whenever I hear it, I find myself hoping that someone holds her to it, and that I figure out the whole “haunting” thing quickly, so that I don’t miss her performance!
  • “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift – When she was 3 or 4, this was my niece Allie’s favorite song. Hearing it now reminds me of a recording my sister sent me of Allie singing that song. [Badly. Good thing she’s cute!]
  • “Bye, Bye, Bye” by ‘N Sync – When I was 30 and newly divorced, I used to go to this nightclub called Rumblefish with some girls from work once in awhile. One night, I noticed this guy I’d never seen before, watching me from across the room. We continued to make eye contact from time to time throughout the evening, and eventually, he asked me to dance. The music was loud, and it was hard to have a real conversation, but I learned that he was in the military and would be leaving the area the next day. (No, it wasn’t a ploy for a last-chance hook-up…get your minds out of the gutter!) Irrationally disappointed, considering we’d only just met, we parted ways after our dance. A little while later as I was standing, drink in hand, talking to my friends, I felt someone’s shoulder against mine. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him standing with his back to me, talking to a group of his friends, his shoulder barely touching mine. The hand that wasn’t holding my drink was hanging at my side and slightly behind me. After a minute, he moved ever so slightly until his hand deliberately brushed mine…and stayed. We stood there, backs to each other, hands lightly touching, not acknowledging each other in any other way as I chatted with my friends, he with his. After a few minutes, one of us moved away, and I never saw him again. To this day, it was one of the most romantic moments of my life. I never knew his name, and I don’t remember what he looked like anymore, but I think of him every time they play “our” song.
  • “Happy” by Pharrell Williams – In 2015 I chaperoned a chorus of teenagers on a tour of Germany and Austria. In the mornings, our bus driver – who was Serbian, and his name sounded like “Russia,” though I can’t remember what it was exactly – would sometimes blast the music, which the kids loved. We were somewhere in Austria the morning the whole bus sang and danced in their seats to “Happy”…and yes, we all clapped along.
  • “Hey Jude” by The Beatles – My grandparents had one of those mid-century console stereo cabinets – a piece of furniture about the size of a credenza, that housed a turntable and (I believe) an AM/FM tuner. The only 45 I can remember listening to there was “Hey Jude”…and occasionally, to “Revolution” on the B side. (If you don’t know what a turntable, a 45 or the B side is, ask your parents. If they don’t know either, ask your grandparents. )
  • “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede (a.k.a. the “Ooga Chucka” song) – When I was a kid, I had a portable record player, and would frequently borrow my mom’s 45’s to play on it. This was one. “Killer Queen” by Queen was another.
  • “The Rose” by Bette Midler – I was in the 5th grade, 9 or 10 years old, and one of my best friends, Kelly Ball, had a sleepover. It was a small party, just me, Kelly and our other bestie, Tracey Pariseau. At some point, we decided to hold a talent show, with Kelly’s parents as the judges. I don’t remember what the other two girls did for their talent, but I sang “The Rose”…and won first place!

Hello, faithful reader (or poor sap who stumbled here accidentally and can’t find the door to get away…).

I am sorry to report that I don’t have anything cohesive or coherent to blog about today. In fact, if I hadn’t challenged myself to this 30 blogs over 30 days business, I would be asleep right now. Or at the very least, I’d be in bed with my eyes closed, with the cat licking my arm. (I don’t know why…it’s just her thing.)

This is so bad, I’ve already nodded off 3 times just typing that last paragraph. I’m just gonna put us both out of my misery. But, I will at least leave you with this parting question…

I understand why Facebook placed a Garrett popcorn ad on my timeline – someone emailed me a link to their website earlier today. What I don’t get, though, is HOW DO THEY KNOW WE WERE TALKING ABOUT HALLMARK MOVIES AT THE PARTY TONIGHT?

Goodnight, Big Brother. Pleasant dreams.

Yes, I know, I’m reaching today. Once again, it’s 11:30pm, and I’m only just starting my blog. I’ll be glad when November is over and I can cut back to a more reasonable blog or two per week. Maybe then I’ll actually be able to come up with interesting content…

For those of you who don’t know, I am the Resident Manager for a Homeowner’s Association on the Oregon Coast. The neighborhood is made up of 35 single family homes, 10 condominiums, 107 townhomes and 30 lots that haven’t been built upon yet. I am the only employee.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…”But Jen, if you’re the only employee, who do you blame when something is wrong?” For the answer to that question, I remind you that the URL to this blog is ALWAYS-WRITE.com…because ALWAYS-RIGHT.com was not available. (haha)

While it’s true that working alone day in and day out with no one to help get the work done can sometimes be a bit bothersome, here are just a few reasons why it ain’t quite as bad as you might think…

  1. I get to work with some stellar local talent. I mean, check out this 8 1/2 x 11″ business card. It’s short. It’s sweet. It’s to the point. You’re not left wondering just what exactly is the nature of this man’s business. Got moles? Ted is your man. 20171024_155901
  2. People bring me wine. (These 3 bottles were all from today…I kid you not!) And occasionally flowers. 20171117_143244
  3. The view could be worse…20170719_083313
  4. I get paid to walk around the neighborhood and…look at stuff.20170620_201656
  5. I get to spend my lunch hour at the beach every day (that it’s not pouring down rain and hail with 80 mph winds…)20170821_19340720171110_125045

BONUS REASON: But the best reason of all is that I get to take my puppy to work with me every day.

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This will be a quick one, because it’s 11:30 pm, and I was just informed by my mother that tomorrow is not, in fact, Saturday. Come to think of it, I have a board meeting on Saturday morning, anyway, so even if today was Friday, I shouldn’t have stayed up so late. Ah well…I’ll sleep when I’m dead, right?

I spent some time poking around on Ancestry.com tonight for the first time. My first thought as I looked at a scan of my maternal grandparents’ actual marriage license was, “Wow, this is really something special.” As I dug a little further through my family history, I thought, “Holy God, this would drive an OCD person crazy.” In 10 minutes, I found at least 5 or 6 different spellings for the same relative’s name. Born Lula Krumrine and later married to a Nunemaker, I found my grandmother’s mother listed as Lulu Nunemaker, Lula Comrine, Lula Neunemaker, etc. Granted, Lula Krumrine Nunemaker doesn’t exactly roll right off the tongue to start with, but it just makes me wonder, how accurate is history, anyway, when you only have the accuracy of the person recording it to go on? What if George Washington’s first name was really Greg?

Anyway, I did learn one interesting bit of information that I *think* is correct…apparently my mother’s mother’s father’s mother (so, my great-great grandmother) was named Genevieve, and she went by the nickname “Jennie”. I always thought I was the only Jenny in the family. Kinda cool.

It also could explain why my grandmother always misspelled my name on my birthday cards, using “ie” instead of “y”.

My grandmother, Arlene Nunemaker in the high school Commercial Club

My grandmother, Arlene Nunemaker in the high school Commercial Club

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been participating in a fitness program called My Peak Challenge (affectionately referred to as “MPC”) that has helped me to lose 90 pounds (so far) since January 2016. I can’t say enough good things about this program. It has literally changed my life. Before MPC, I was upwards of 250 pounds, and I felt every bit of it. I was uncomfortable in my own skin, and my feet hurt pretty much constantly. I live within sight of the Pacific Ocean, and I never wanted to walk to the beach, because it was too hard to walk back home again up 197 steps and a 1/4 mile trail. Exercise in general just didn’t happen, and my eating habits were terrible. And then, I met Sam.

Well, ok, technically I haven’t met him…though he has commented on my Facebook posts once or twice. But, I digress…

Sam Heughan is the Scottish actor playing Jamie Fraser in the Starz hit, “Outlander”. He is also the founder of My Peak Challenge. In 2015, he wanted to inspire people to live healthier lives and challenge themselves to set and achieve goals – both fitness-related and non-physical – as well as to raise money for the UK-based charity, Bloodwise. It started out quite simply, utilizing social media to encourage people to work out and donate to Bloodwise. In 2016, as word spread about the program, it evolved into a 60-day prep program complete with daily workouts and meal plans to help prepare participants for their May challenge month. In 2017, it’s been bigger than ever. More than 9,000 “Peakers” have enrolled in what is now a 12-month program of daily workouts designed to build strength and endurance paired with a nutrition plan that offers daily menus for the entire year. And it can be scaled to fit any fitness level, whether you’re starting out completely sedentary, or you’re an Olympic athlete.

The best part – half of the $99 membership fee goes to Bloodwise to fund blood cancer research. Half!

I didn’t hear about MPC until December of 2015. Completely obsessed with Outlander (both the books and the tv series are fabulous!), I followed Sam on Twitter. He kept going on about this Peak Challenge 2016 thing, and I wanted to find out what it was all about. I had reached the point where I knew I had to do *something,* and this seemed like it might be what I needed. When I learned that there would be videos of Sam demonstrating the workouts, I decided to sign up. Even if I never did a workout, it’d be worth it. (If you’ve ever seen Sam Heughan, you know I speak the truth!)

But I did do the workouts, and when 2017 came around with a year-long program, I signed up for that, too. And now, here I am. I walk the dog to the beach, down and up all of those stairs nearly every day. My feet don’t hurt anymore. I basically have a full gym in the house, and actually use all of the equipment in it regularly. (I know, it boggles the mind.)

With this newfound appreciation for getting fit has come some healthier addictions, too. I have a strawberry protein smoothie pretty much every day. It’s better than scarfing down a box of chocolate chip cookies, and it tastes pretty darned good. My day doesn’t feel complete without it.

My other new addiction is goofy workout tanks. I seem to have amassed quite a collection. Here are just a few:

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Let me know if you would like more information about MPC (or my ridiculous shirts..)

I swear, I came upstairs an hour ago to work on today’s blog…and then this happened:
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It’s kinda hard to type with a 19-pound cat draped across your arm. Since the girls seem to want to be the center of attention today, I suppose today’s blog should be all about them….

One day towards the end of May 2007, I made the mistake of going went to my father’s house for a visit. In addition to my dad and my stepmother, my sister and her husband lived there as well. My sister was expecting her first child, and they were staying with dad temporarily to save up for a house. Unbeknownst to me, my brother-in-law’s cat had recently had kittens, and we spent most of the afternoon playing with the two-week-old bundles of furry evil cuteness.

There were three kittens, all female – a calico, a tortoiseshell and a gray striped tabby. The tabby had already been spoken for, but homes had not yet been lined up for the other two. I had an 18-year-old cat at home already named Jane Doe, and had decided awhile back that whenever Jane finally bit the big one went into the light, I was going to take a couple of years off of cat ownership…just to see what it was like not to have to scoop someone else’s shit every day for a little while just to be free to travel without having to worry about pets for awhile. No way was I taking one of those kittens. Nope.

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I went back the next weekend to see them again. Not because I wanted one, of course. I was just there to…help socialize them. Yeah. Shut up.

In an extreme moment of insanity weakness, I told my sister that IF she wasn’t able to find a home for the calico, I MIGHT be willing to CONSIDER taking her. I mean, what’s another 20 years of scooping cat shit, anyway, right? What my sister actually heard was, “I’ll take the calico.” I’m fairly certain there were no further efforts to find her a home after that. Bitch.

Resigned to my fecal fate, I started the process of coming up with a thoughtful and meaningful name for the cat. My method was quite scientific. It involved me blurting out any and every random word that came to mind, then my daughter rejecting it as a name . Driving down the highway, I would yell out, “Pothole!” and Megan would shake her head, and say, “No!” “Median?” “No!” “Speed Trap? Oh shit…[slams on brakes]” “No!”

This went on for several days, with no success. One afternoon, though, we had a breakthrough. “Traffic Light?” “No!” “Roadkill?” “Eww! No!” Then, as we drove past a motorcycle dealership…”Harley?” “No!” “Davidson?” “That’s a boy’s name. No!” “Harley?” “You already said that. No.”

But wait…it was perfect. The Harley Davidson logo is black, white and orange. The kitten was black, white and orange. Guys that ride Harleys have a little bit of an attitude. I was already getting the impression that this 3 week old kitten had a little bit of an attitude. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. The next time I went to visit, the kittens were about 4 weeks old. I held the calico in the palm of my hand and crooned, “Aww, sweetie…would you like for your name to be Harley?” and I swear, she tried to bite me. “Ok, bitch, Harley, it is.”

A few days after that, the little gray tabby got sick and died, leaving only Harley and the tortie, whom my sister and brother-in-law had started calling Tiny. When they were 5 or 6 weeks old, my sister came to me with a proposition.

“What would you think about taking both of the kittens?” My first thought was that obviously the pregnancy hormones were making my sister crazy, but I bit my tongue and let her plead her case. Since losing the gray kitten, she’d gotten very attached to “Tiny,” but she wasn’t in the position at the moment to take on any more pets. Would I be willing to keep the other kitten until she and her husband had a place of their own?

I pointed out the one glaring problem with her plan. There was no way on earth I would be able to raise a kitten for 6 months to a year and then give it away to someone else. “That’s ok, ” she said, springing the trap nicely, “at least if she’s with you, I can come visit.”

So yeah, then I needed to come up with another name, because no cat of mine was going to grow up named Tiny. Damn them all.

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The second name was a little easier. I wanted something that went with Harley. “Davidson” was out, because as Megan had already pointed out, it was a boy’s name. I went to the Harley Davidson website for inspiration, and found it. One of their bike models was called the Dyna. I liked the name, but not the spelling…so after a little tweaking, Tiny will forever be known as Dinah.

I’m pretty sure the whole thing was a set-up.

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This will be the last of it, I promise…even I’m tired of the story at this point. So, where were we?

Oh yes…I remember. We were here, with my new friend BoBo the Bear:

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We shot lots of video (complete with commentary) to send to my mom, then moved on to the next house. Still in the town of Oceanside, this one was in a different neighborhood. It was a little too masculine for my taste, with trendy concrete floors in some of the rooms, and, well, this guy…

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How could half a deer possibly complete with an entire bear? Nope.

The last house of the day was in the town of Bay City, a little north of Tillamook. It had a great view of Tillamook Bay from the front of the house, but other than the master bedroom on the first floor, all of the other bedrooms (there were 2 or 3) were downstairs and significantly smaller. Living in that house would feel a little too much like living in my mother’s basement. Nah.

After parting ways with Patti for the day, Sharon and I went to the local Pizza Hut for dinner. I then spent the rest of the night and a significant part of the next day sick as a dog. We had been scheduled to look at another house or two further north with Patti, but I just didn’t feel up to it, so we bid her adieu and moved on to our next destination: Astoria, Oregon. (I had learned that the other house had a reverse floor plan, anyway, which wouldn’t have worked for mom.)

Astoria is a charming little town located at the mouth of the Columbia River, and several films have been shot there over the years. You may have heard of a few of them: The Goonies…Kindergarten Cop…Stand By Me. Ringing any bells? After getting a good night’s sleep, I was feeling much better, so we were able to poke around the town a little bit.

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Now, I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point between seeing the “BoBo house” and leaving for Astoria, we found out that there was another prospective buyer that was planning to come back and take a second look at that house after the first of the year. I was not at all happy to hear this. The house had been on the market for close to a year already, and I had hoped it would stay that way until my mother and I made up our minds about the move.

Our trip had come to an end, and Sharon and I returned home to Maryland where I gave my mother the rundown on all that we’d seen. She had only my word and our videos to go on, but apparently BoBo had gotten to her, too. After hearing about the other interested buyers, she declared that, “they’re not getting MY house!” and made an offer to buy it.

That was the beginning of January, 2014. In mid-February, my mother flew to Oregon to close the deal and see the house that she’d purchased for the first time. (Totally backasswards, I know!) The 28th of February was my last day of work, and on March 13th we were on our way to BoBo and our new home in Oregon.

Oh, I almost forgot. Remember back in September of 2013 when I first broached the subject of moving with my mother? I had gone home that evening and sent her a link to a house I’d seen online with the comment, “Just think, if we moved to Oregon, we could live here!”

That, my friends, is the house that we live in today.

In our last episode, I was about to embark on a journey to the west coast to determine if Oregon was for me. My bestie, Sharon and I would spend a week traveling up the coast, looking at a house here and there, to get an idea of what was available. Our first stop was Lincoln City.

Located on the central Oregon coast, Lincoln City seemed to be a moderately-sized beach town. It’s main “claim to fame” in addition to approximately 5 miles of beaches, an outlet mall, a Cold Stone Creamery and Devil’s Lake is the Chinook Winds Casino Resort. In December, it didn’t seem to be too busy, but I could imagine there would be quite a bit of traffic in the summer. A 30 minute drive south would get you to Newport, a slightly larger beach town boasting an aquarium and a Walmart.

Sharon and I met up with Patti, a realtor from Tillamook who made the 90 minute trip down the coast to show us around. She had two homes in Lincoln City for us to see. One was discounted before we even found the house. It was the stereotypical coastal neighborhood – way too many slightly shabby homes crammed into tiny lots in an effort to create as much prime beach real estate as possible. Not quite the vibe we were looking for. Next!

The other home was much nicer. Located in a gated community, lots were larger, better kept – it looked more like a residential neighborhood and less like a vacation village. There was, however, one notable issue. The view:

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Yes, that’s a really great view…of the casino. We drove by at night, just to see what we would be up against:

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Yeah, probably not going to happen. Anyway, onward and upward…literally.

The next house was about 30 minutes north in the (minuscule) town of Neskowin. The view was much better with this one…

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…but the house itself was strange. Most recently being used as a bed and breakfast, it had the strangest layout….an exterior door in the bathroom…

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…and a family room that was only accessible by walking from the kitchen and through the laundry room…

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Bottom line, this one would’ve needed a lot of interior work to make it livable as a single-family home. No go.

The second home we checked out in Neskowin was the most expensive home on our list, but nowhere near the largest. The listing was deceptive. We didn’t find out until arriving at the home that it was actually a duplex. The finishes were nice, but the interior layout wouldn’t have worked for my mother with Muscular Dystrophy. Aside from the kitchen, great room and one bedroom on the main floor, everything else was downstairs. Pass.

Our next stop was about 45 minutes north of Neskowin, in the town of Netarts. On our way up the coast, we were excited to find that there are parts of the beach you can drive on.

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Staying a couple of nights in Netarts (in a motel that probably hadn’t been updated since the 70’s) gave us the chance to also explore the nearby town of Oceanside as well as Tillamook a few miles to the east, and Bay City a few miles north of Tillamook. Our realtor and tour guide, Patti, once again went above and beyond showing us around town, and giving us all kinds of valuable advice. (“Don’t ever eat at The Fern. They’ve been closed down by the Health Department more than once.”) In addition to showing us several homes and the town, she also took us down to Netarts Bay to see the sea lions that hang out there, to lunch at a local restaurant (not The Fern!), to the top of Maxwell Mountain in Oceanside to show us where the paragliders launch, and to Cape Meares to see the lighthouse and the famous Octopus Tree. She was the best!

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We looked at 3 homes in Oceanside, 2 of which were in a beautiful wooded community called The Capes. The first home we saw was nice, but with the garage underneath the house, it wouldn’t have worked for my mother. The second house, though….this one was *just right*…

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I mean, first of all, IT HAD A BEAR IN THE FRONT YARD, whom I immediately named “BoBo”. It had master suites on both the first and second floors. It had a great ocean view, and was the only house we’d seen thus far that had a relatively flat yard. (All of the others had been sloped and rocky, and my mother would never have been able to navigate them.) There wasn’t anything about this house that I didn’t like…it was – as far as I was concerned – the one to beat. Of course, we weren’t seriously house hunting yet, though, just doing some preliminary looking…

…or so I thought.

(To be continued…again! LOL)

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I’ve mentioned before that my mother, daughter and I moved to Oregon from Maryland about 3 1/2 years ago. I blogged about the move at the time, but never actually blogged about *why* we did it, or how it came about. So….here’s the story:

In 2013, I was working as a college registrar for a career-based college in Baltimore, MD. There had been many, many staffing and procedural changes at work, and I was quickly reaching the point where I no longer enjoyed my work there. I began updating my resume in preparation of finding something new.

At the same time, my mother and I were contemplating consolidating our households, to make it easier to take care of my daughter, Megan. Having Asperger’s Syndrome and a seizure disorder, Megan spent most weekdays (and nights) with my mother once she’d graduated from high school, and I would pick her up on Friday evenings for the weekend. This way she wouldn’t be home alone for long periods of time while I worked, in the event that she had a seizure.

One day, while looking at online job listings, it occurred to me that I didn’t necessarily *have* to find a new job in Maryland. I wasn’t involved with anyone, Megan wasn’t in school…we could pretty much go anywhere we pleased. I’d lived my entire life in Maryland to that point, and the thought of experiencing a new part of the country was intriguing. The only potential problem would be having no help with Megan…I needed to get my mother on board for this to work.

I started thinking about where I’d like to live. My mom had a vacation home she’d inherited on the east coast of Florida that I loved to visit – but I knew I’d never convince her to move there. She’d been threatening to sell it since before I started thinking of moving. Still…the idea of living near the water sounded good to me. That’s when it hit me. Oregon.

My mother had been to the small town of Tillamook, Oregon several times to visit friends of hers, and each time she came back threatening to move there. Oregon, I knew from elementary school geography, was on the west coast, which meant there was an ocean over there, too! Mom could be near her friends, in the place that she raved about, and I could be near the water! This could work!

Now, to convince her. I broached the subject one Friday evening in September 2013. “Would you ever really move to Oregon, do you think?” She looked at me like I was crazy for a minute, before saying that we couldn’t move to Oregon, because we had too much stuff. I told her about this grand new invention called the “moving van,” which would haul all of our junk across the country for us for a fee. She made a few more protests, and then the conversation turned to other subjects.

When I got home that evening, I started looking online at homes for sale on the Oregon coast. One of the first ones I looked at seemed perfect. It was a beautiful house with master bedrooms on the first and second floors , very close to mom’s friends, and had an ocean view. I emailed her the link with the note, “Just think, if we moved to Oregon, we could live here!”

Over the next few weeks, we continued to bat the idea around, and my mother raised a valid point. I had never been to Oregon – in fact, I’d only been to the west coast once in my life, to Los Angeles…before we decided to up and move clear across the country, I should probably at least make sure I liked the place. I planned a trip for mid-December and my bestie agreed to accompany me. We would stay in a few different places on the coast, in order to get a feel for the different towns. I even made arrangements to meet with a realtor, though we weren’t really *seriously* house hunting yet.

Or so I thought.

(to be continued…)