Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
As promised, this is an outfit I wore apartment hunting on one of our first days looking. It has been the pits living out a suitcase. Did you know I'm a terrible packer? I am. I always end up with too much this, not enough that, I remember to pack lingerie (multiple items, I think I wore one item once), but forget to pack socks. It's all chaotic. The weather here is also such an adjustment. While the folks back home are suffering in the heatwave, I have found myself comfortable or chilly. Apparently it's unseasonably cool right now, which is good to know, but most days I've been here it has been mid-60's to mid 70's, and quite chilly in the evenings. Of course, I left my my khaki trench hanging in the hall closet, and the rest of my coats are packed away. This jean jacket is all I have which means wearing skirt so I don't look like I am in a jean track suit.
Jacket Thrift (Old Navy) / Shirt Torrid / Skirt Clothing Swap / Shoes Target
I love the color of this skirt. It's such an intense, eye-catching shade of green. When I was at the Your Weight In Gold swap, I tried this on and it fell right off. I let a few of the size 24 women nearby try it on, but it didn't fit any of them. I was too attracted to the color, which reminds me of the '60s, and I felt compelled to take it back in the hopes I would have it altered. My friend, Maggie, took it in, and now it fits perfectly. It's going to be a fall staple. I know it.
I've gotta say, I haven't been missing the heat. My hair has never looked or felt better. Straight hair in July? All day long? This is a first, and I love it. I would like to learn how to dress for the season despite the temperature. If I can thrift some brighter cardigans and a neutral light coat, I should be in business. It's all about layers right now.
I gotta get to bed. Tomorrow is Moving Day!!!
Friday, July 22, 2011
I still cannot bring myself to sort through all of the photos I took on our journey to get to Portland, but I will. When I have the attention span to focus on one task at a time, right now there are too many present details to consider. Last week it was apartments, the beginning of this week it was jobs, and the past few days have been everything that goes into moving into a new place: setting up utilities, paying rent, figuring out where to go to find furniture, making priority lists about what we need right away and what we can live without for awhile, looking at cheap DIYs. So much to do; so much going on!
As I mentioned in the last post, Gerry and I both had our own ideas about what we wanted to find in a place. Well before we left, he and I made 5-point wishlists for our new place.
My list included:
2) Storage room/Closet space
3) Room for a kitchen table
4) Location to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, grocery etc. (the ability to live a more pedestrian, less suburban lifestyle)
5) 2 bedrooms, 2 baths(?!?!)
Gerry's list included:
1) Toilet location (I burst out laughing when he explained this to me, but it is such a valid consideration for a fat person! He wanted to make sure he had enough room to be comfortable on the toilet... as in not wedged between a wall and the sink)
2) Location (West of the river; closer to his new job)
3) Gas stove
4) Dog friendly
5) Air conditioning
So with all of these hopes in mind, Gerry and I took to the streets in search of our new home. We learned very quickly that living downtown was just not going to accommodate our wishlists. We looked at two apartments downtown and they were both about 600 square feet, one bedroom, zero kitchen space, and sort of like prisons. Not at all what we had in mind, and very discouraging.
I had read (in one of my many Portland books) that getting out there, walking or driving around in desired neighborhoods would yield more interesting results than internet searches. I'd say that information was only somewhat true. Driving around (aimlessly) led us to discovering different areas of city, and it's how we found our desired neighborhood. Once we found our neighborhood, we drove its perimeter writing down every apartment phone number we could see from the street. We looked at several potential apartments using this method, but I think padmapper.com was the most valuable resource in relation to budget and location. It's the resource that led us to finding our new place.
The neighborhood we chose was Multnomah Village, an older, close-knit community in SW Portland. We were attracted to its pedestrian downtown area with all the perks I desire in city living, as well as the average price of apartments in the area. Multnomah Village is about 15 minutes away from downtown, but has public transportation options for us. The duplex we ended up choosing is as close as we got to our wishlists. It's a two bedroom, one bathroom, two story space with over 1000 square feet. It has two small balconies, a fireplace, a dishwasher, washer and dryer hookups (his uncle is giving us a washer, and we already Craigslisted a dryer for $50), a dining area and a garage with an extra storage room behind it. It was also just a little bit under budget. We're very enthusiastic about finding it, although the one real bummer is no dogs. Maybe next year? It also does not have air conditioning or a gas stove (surprisingly none of the apartments we viewed had gas), but I think Gerry may like our duplex even more than me. I can't wait to take pictures of it, and show you guys how it all comes together.
Moving day is tomorrow! Tomorrow is also garage sale day. I am excited and hopeful about finding furniture and other houseware items. I plan on taking my camera with me, and documenting our quest to furnish our apartment on a tight budget.
P.S. I know this post is very wordy. I'll have an apartment hunting outfit up tonight or tomorrow morning.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
We made it to Portland! Gerry and I are staying with his aunt and uncle in (far) Northwest Portland until we can find a place of our own. We're so lucky that he has relatives with plenty of space to put us up. This house we're staying in is huge, and I haven't even seen portions of it yet. I had to ask if they owned a TV because I hadn't seen one (they do). We've got plenty of room to feel like we're not cramping anyone else's style, which I wasn't previously sure about. Down the street are his cousin and her family. They have 3 chickens, a golf cart and an australian shepherd that tugs at my heartstrings because his behaviors remind me of Dixie.
We went apartment hunting today, which proved to be exhausting and deflating, but we're armed with a new plan of attack and plenty of enthusiasm for tomorrow. We've both got our own set of priorities, and finding a place with the criteria to accommodate our needs is going to be tricky. I'm skeptical, but hopeful, and if compromises need to be made, then that's what we will do. The important thing is WE MADE IT, and what a journey it was...
I took more than 500 photos while on our road trip; the primary bulk are from Yellowstone. It's going to take some time before I go through them all, but I thought I'd share some Instagram and phone pictures. If you follow me on Instagram (@mittenpaws) or Twitter (@mittenpawsduh), you may have seen some of these already. These are a nice taste of our big fat American road trip, personal manifest destiny, and one of the best weeks I'll probably ever have.
Bartlett, IL to Lawrence, KS
Lawrence, KS to Denver, CO
Denver, CO to Pinedale, WY
Pinedale, WY to Island Park, ID
Island Park, ID to West Yellowstone, MT (the day we added to spend more time in Yellowstone)
West Yellowstone, MT to Boise, ID
Boise, ID to Portland, OR
Wish us luck finding an apartment soon! We need to get that taken care of so I can start worrying about finding a job. Just gotta take on one thing at a time.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Our Big Fat American Road Trip is about to commence.
I'm going to try to document as much as possible,
And will be back with all sorts of updates as soon as I can.
A new chapter of mitten paws begins today.
Hope you'll check back to read all about it.
I'm moving in with a boy, eeeeeeeeeeep!