Portland!

Jan. 31st, 2011 08:17 am
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We got moved in, safe and sound on Saturday. The movers, to our shock were amazing. There were some minor headaches. But I didn't have to tie anyone to a chair, give them a million paper cuts and pour lemon juice all over them. So that's good. We don't have (reliable) internet service yet, but that should be rectified within a few hours. And I start the new job today.

Have to go eat breakfast and do things, I probably won't get to post again today but for those of you who watch Gavin, I'm sure she will have plenty to say. I'll post again as soon as I can.
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I never did post on why I think Portland will be so much better. So, here.

By the time we left Baltimore, the things we had hated about it had driven us so nuts that getting into Eugene, everything looked so nice and appealing, for at least a few minutes anyway. Hell, East Cattlefuck North Dakota had it's own charm when we stopped there on the train and at the time, if that was where I was going, I think I'd have been happy for a bit.

Recognizing this, both Gavin and I have had to question whether we're excited about moving to Portland or away from Eugene and if we will be happy in Portland for what it is, or if we'll just be superficially happy for a while because it's not Eugene.

There are still things that I like here, but he sum total of them does not add up to a place where I can happily live. Whatever weer to happen, I need to be out of here, I know that. Need to be like I need to breathe. Even if certain things had gone perfectly and smoothly without a hitch, I might have been able to tolerate for a bit longer, but I would not be happy. I know that. I give it maybe another six months before I was climbing the walls.

When I went up to Portland last week for my interview, I was dead tired, but started to feel a little better just getting on the train. I got off the train and walked into the train station, and was feeling even more "right", like there was something there that I was missing. Um, then again, it could also be that I have a thing about train stations. Especially really big, old ones. Portland's isn't the hugest, but whatever the criteria may be, it's met. Train stations like 30th Street station in Philadelphia, Penn Station in Baltimore, Grand Central in New York, and apparently Union Station in Portland feel...hmm, almost like a sort of temple to me. I love traveling by train but I'm not one of those railroad buffs or anything. But tehre's always this sort of feeling of "rightness" to them for me. I used to even have a sort of ritual where every time I was in 30th Street station, I would go to the Chinese buffet there and get some food and sit down in the middle of the floor and watch the sign board flip through the departures and arrivals. (30th street station also looks a lot like it should be a temple...lol)

Anyway...I didn't have a lot of time walking around the city that day, but it was enough to start getting a feel for it. There was an odd familiarity to it. It reminded me of cities in the northeast- but cleaner. Some blocks felt a little like Baltimore, others felt a little like Philly. There was more of this same feeling when we went back on Saturday to look at apartments. I was feeling like I was getting parts of me back that were missing. Between living in the city, and getting a job that I'm not going to have to get an all-new, "not-me" wardrobe fore, and knowing that I will be allowed to dye my hair fuschia again...woohoo!

I've badly missed having to look up to see the tops of buildings, and public transportation that consists of more than just busses and runs after 9pm...hell, I've missed the "ding" of the ilght rail trains- so much! And Portland's system is so much better than Baltimore's was. There's a whole other city just north of us, too- Vancouver, Washington is just across the river to the north, and they have a separate public transportation system, but the fare passes for Tri-Met and C-Tran are interchangeable. And for some reason, I just love the idea of a city that's split up by a river. And there's an air-tram and street cars and....and....

One of the really good signs that we see is that we've found a hangout, a default place to go where we don't know where to go. Back in Baltimore, that was the Barnes and Noble at the harbor where we would get coffee and unless it was too cold, sit outside on the balcony and watch the world below us. We ran into Dominic there semi-frequently also. We've never found a place like that here in Eugene and try as we might, we can't think of any place that we'd want to be such a thing. There's one such place that had some possibility, but it also just wasn't quite right- not close to enough other stuff, minimal people-watching potential and various other things.

There are just so many little details, I don't think I can list them all. Suffice it to say, I think going up there Saturday has shed any doubt about being happy In Portland versus being happy Not In Eugene.

Life tells me, again and again, that I need to be in a bigger city to be happy. Doesn't have to be The Biggest City EVAR (Love to visit New York, for example, don't wanna live there.) But it's pretty safe to say that I need a good public transportation system, an Amtrak station, a population of around half a million give or take and buildings that require I look up to see how high they are to be happy.
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We are moving into our second-choice apartment. We should be going up this weekend to sign our lives away the lease and it's looking like the date it is officially ours will be the 20th.

Things continue to go well. I was just given a 20% discount on the moving truck! And because our moving costs will be a LOT less than expected and it's a third floor apartment with wacky layout, we've decided too splurge on some moving help. Not going to hire a company to haul our stuff, just going to get help loading and unloading on each end.

Details continue to fall into place. So nicely.

*happy dance*

New address will be distributed on a need-to-know basis. If you think you've got reason to have our address, leave a comment.
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So...Portland. We spent Saturday up there checking out a couple of apartments. We were supposed to look at three, but we only saw two. On one hand, it really pissed us off, on the other hand, it's okay. We didn't need the third one.

We were supposed to hop on a train at 530 in the morning, but just before the train was supposed to ger there, tey made an announcement that the train was having engine difficulties and that they were trying to get another engine, or a bus and didn't know lhow long it would be but they would make an announcement when they had something. Gavin and I were standing outside, instead of inside, and I was drinking some soda. I got it in my head that I should go over top the tracks and pour some for Hermes to help things along, so I did. Felt like I had done the right thing. A few minutes later, nothing had happened and while I didn't expect that everything would work instantaneously, I felt like I should do somehitng more. So I pulled some gummy bears out of the b ag of foodish thigns that we had and scattered a few of those on the tracks. that time, I got in my head a "Thanks...and talk to me at quarter of."

We were getting cold, so we went inside for a bit and a little later, there was an announcement that they were getting a bus and it was on the way. Then I noticed the clock. It was exactly quarter of six. Heh....and I thought I had just imagined what I heard in my head. In the end, the bus got there a bit over an hour after we were supposed to leave and we had to call and push back our first appointment. Since we were supposed to get in at 8am and the first appointment was only a few blocks from the station, we made it for 830. We pushed it back to ten, and got in around nine, so we got some coffee in the nearest Starbucks, sat there for a bit and made our way back to that apartment.

There were two units available in this one, we were told that they were both one-bedroom, and identical except that the kitchen was on opposite sides. The rent was the same on both, so we were only going to look at the one. But we ended up deciding to look at both, they were right there and all.

Glad we did. It turns out that they weren't identical, and the seoncd apartment was so much better- it's a two-floor apartment. The bed room is its own floor, with the bathroom and a big closet. The down side is that the stairs are a spiral staircase, and there's no separate door in on that floor. So getting our bed in is going to be a pain- I think it might actually be easier to try to bring it in through the window....oh yeah, the windows. There are two of them in the place. But...well, basically, one entire wall on each floor is a window. And it looks like they open like a big door. So that might be good. Lots of light too.

Cabinet space in the kitchen is okay, but counter space....doesn't exist. We're going to have to improvise there. But we have a table here that could serve that purpose. Our dresser wouldn't be able to go downstairs, so the dresser could be our new TV table.

But we're not thinking too much about it yet because the other apartment is our first choice. The other place is just across the river, next to the Rose Garden Arena. It's in this building from the early 1900'sthat has a huge, crazy closet with a revolving door that you can access from three different rooms. Decent counter and cabinet space and a vintage phone. You know, the kind that you pick up the ear piece and takl into the box on the wall? Yeah one of those. That's the intercom system to the front door.

We should hear on the second one today, looks like we already have the first one if we want it. So either way, we have a place.

The third place...well, as far as we can tell, doesn't exist. Long story short, we spent a couple of hours running around and around the area where this place was supposed to be. Must have asked a dozen people, and they were all "Um I don't know where that is. Does it exist?"
The arrangement had been that we would go and check the place out at our leisure, there was a lock box on the door with the key and we were given a code to unlock it. If we wanted to apply, we were to give the leasing agent a call and he was going to come and meet us. Only that didn't happen. We were beyond pissed off. Even more so when repeated attempts to call said agent resulted in no answer. And calling a friend to have him google the address resulted in a picture of an intersection where we had been where there was no apartment building. I had googled it before and gotten directions but not looked at the picture.

So...wasted time. Too much of it. In the end, we said screw it. The place, if it existed, was too far from down town for our liking anyway.

We're going to run out to pick up some things, so I'm going to end this one here. Will continue later with why Portland will be so much better.

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