*Moving out of the youth hostel and into a house
*I miss my car!!
*Getting stuff out of storage and unpacking
*Having adventures with spiders (no photos!)
*Looking for work
*Settling into "real life"
*Housemates and the neighborhood
But I’m very thankful to be here, and to see another part of Portland. And by having been in all these different places, can now navigate around anywhere I need to go. Have also started to understand that some parts are appealing, some parts are not, but that this is how a big city works--it's a whole mess of all different stuff mixed together.
I will be sharing this home with two other women and a dog named Penelope. I haven't lived other people in a long time, so it will be interesting to see how it works. However, the youth hostels have certainly been preparing me to share space with other people!
Spent most of the day riding buses looking for thrift stores. Got on the bus going the wrong direction at first, and then corrected that and it ended up just being a very long bus route, and very unappealing part of the city.
The exciting news of the day is that I got a real Portland library card! How official am I? I don’t have to ask for guest internet passes anymore, but just walk in and sit down at the computer with my very own library card. I feel so native!
I miss my car!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday: Got a late start due to a cover letter/application I was doing that took longer than planned, but around 2pm, walked and bused to my storage container to unload it and take my stuff (via taxi this time) back to my new place. I got a special introductory deal on the container ($1 for a month! plus a few fees, of course), but that was about to run out. Rather rainy day, so I spent much of the day damp-ish. Why can I never seem to remember to get an umbrella when I have the chance??
Since it was Tuesday, the storage place wasn't busy and I had the freight elevator all to myself. Felt reluctant to fuss with it, though. Stuff! So tired of packing and moving and organizing and protecting and fussing over material things! But I did it, brought it down, checked out, called a cab and got it back to my new place. Eventually got all the stuff up the steps to the house, then back down the steps to my room. Yuk. Piles of boxes and bags and stuff everywhere. And very angry knees (sorry knees!).
Wednesday: was tired from Tuesday, but still went way out to the Goodwill on Halsey Street and got some odds and ends of stuff to organize the room, and found a small, lightweight, working TV! SCORE!!!!! Plugged it in at home with my converter box and rabbit ears antennae, and got, like, 30 channels!! (some are shopping and uninteresting, and there are five or six Spanish language channels, but all the main networks are there, too!) Had the TV on ABC Wednesday comedy night shows while I made some sense of the mess in my room and it was SO NICE! Part of me thinks I should give up TV, like it would indicate some sort of superior mental state or something, but I am so not there yet!
Thursday: VERY tired and grumpy now. All my stuff in my room, plus having TV again, and suddenly this no longer feels like some sort of adventure or vacation, but real life and a real life that’s all wrong and that I would rather replace with my old real life, old apartment and grocery store and friends and predictability.
Still rainy again today—of course it is while I’m trying to run all these errands, and did I, in my hours of power shopping yesterday at Goodwill, get an umbrella??? No, I did not!!! I got useful things, like a TV and a summer shirt that I won’t be able to wear for months!
So the main goal for Thursday was to check my UPS box, which of course is nowhere near my current home, and also about getting to Fred Meyer, so I could get some miscellaneous things that were not available at the much closer Whole Foods. This, of course, ended up being a lot of walking and backtracking. As I started out, I worried that my red windbreaker jacket would not keep me dry/warm enough in the drizzle, so I tied my big green grocery bag around my neck, where it lay behind me like a lumpy cape. I figured it would at least keep my back from getting as wet. Worked out okay overall, as I stayed warm enough, if not completely dry. However, I kept forgetting about it and wondering why people were staring at me so much.
Anyway, got my bag of stuff from Fred Meyer, then had to ask for help in the parking lot, in the dark, in the rain, to get reoriented for the bus, but very nice lady helped me with that (people are so nice here!). That bus took it’s time, and then I had to transfer to the number 8 bus, and that was the bus that took FOREVER; seriously, it was the bus that would never come. (of course, it actually did show up, but it really felt like it never would...you know what I mean.) And I was truly and officially wiped out at this point, and that’s when I decided that I’m officially over this whole public transport thing, and I WANT MY CAR!!!!!
Yes, I know, it's not very green of me, and the public transport thing is great in a lot of ways, but....sniff...miss my car...
And, by the way, did I finally remember to get an umbrella at Fred Meyer? While walking through the aisles in a wet jacket and wet shoes? You might think that would do it, but no! No umbrella!!!!!
But now, I’m settled and un-packed and in a nothing-much-going-on neighborhood, with a library and a grocery store, and a few shops that I don’t have any interest in. No tourists or touristy things. And I need to start working, soon. I have been wanting stability and a return to some normalcy, but of course, now that it’s here, I’m all bored and bummed out.
But never fear! Excitement can be found even in the most boring of circumstances! For within a short time of starting my organizing and cleaning fest, I came face to face with: the Spider Dilemma!
So, if you are not a fan of spiders, maybe you might not want to read this part, and skip down to the next heading...
Adventures with Spiders
So, back to my new room: I immediately killed one spider in the closet that I thought had characteristics of a brown recluse—don’t know that it was, but there were so many places for it to escape if I hesitated that I just squashed it. Felt bad, but!
Then there was another one under the bed, but a different kind and a not-brown-recluse type, and that one I captured. I wanted to find out what it was, in case it was a helpful spider, then I would let it go again and do its thing. So I took the spider, in a plastic container, with me to the library to try and identify it. I brought it in a carry-on bag and a couple of other things to donate to the Make a Wish bin next to Whole Foods, and all the way there I kept telling myself, “Do not put the spider in the bin, do not put the spider in the bin.” I did not put it in the bin, but it is so something I could totally do, so I had to be careful.
At the library, I was careful to look over my spider without letting anyone see what I was doing, but kept fearing that I would find out it was some kind of really dangerous spider and that it would escape, and then I’d have to tell the librarians that I’d let this lethal thing loose in their little one-room library. And the ensuing fallout, etc.
But I did not open the container, and it did not escape.
I wasn't able to identify it for certain, but think it was either a Hobo Spider or a Giant House Spider, neither of which was something I wanted to put back in my room. Also, learned that there are a lot of spiders in Oregon that you wouldn't want hanging out in your room, so then I took a few deep breaths so as not to freak out, because my basement room has a wood shelf thing built over a cement outcropping that has a gap all the way around the bottom, and the inside of that could be full of anything.
According to various sites on the internet, spiders don’t like peppermint, so I immediately got some peppermint essential oil and Bonner’s liquid peppermint soap, and sprayed the heck out of that room. My eyes were stinging for hours! I now have little cups of peppermint in all the corners, and that gives me enough peace of mind not to worry about it. That and the fact that I haven't seen any spiders since the first two.
By the way, I did turn the spider loose in a natural area. After spending about 12 hours in a plastic prison being jostled about, I thought it was only fair to let it go.
(end of spider story)
Saturday, January 11: Very slow start, still tired from all the week’s doings. My accomplishments of the day were: hauling back a pile of groceries from Whole Foods on my little luggage cart thing, and taking a nap. Rainy today, and windy, too! Like a Michigan rain.
The weather here is like limbo weather; like it should evolve to warmer or colder or something else, but it just keeps on being about the same. Very odd. Disorienting, like time isn’t passing properly, stuck in a Groundhog Day movie-like scenario where the days don’t pass and the seasons don’t change. I like it better than Michigan (especially this winter when I keep hearing about how horrible it is there!) but it’s odd.
The sun is shining in through the dining room window, where I’m working, wonderful! Am having a “Let’s get to it!” kind of morning, and am determined to be working this week, whether clerical or industrial or whatever. The room is organized, I have some clothes, I need money, I need something to do, I need to get out of the house and be interacting with the world.
Did a bunch of cooking to put things in the freezer, and made some cards for learning Spanish. So many of the interesting jobs want bilingual Spanish, and I have, about once a year for the past decade, gone on a “Must learn Spanish” kick that fizzles after a few weeks. So, we’ll see how far this goes—I’m not going to learn Spanish in time to help me get a job right now, but for future attempts?
Spent most of my computer time on yet another temp agency on-line application. They wanted to know all kinds of info, including my addresses for the last 10 years—who asks that??? So invasive!! Actually kind of freaking out about putting all the information down. Don’t like giving out my SSN and basic stuff; all that extra—for a temp agency!—just making me anxious.
Came home to Penelope very excited to see me—Dee had gone out to a meeting and Penelope was very much wanting to be with me, shadowing me. That’s fine, I’m glad to have the company. Met a cat on the way back from the library and she was very sweet, a short-haired gray and cream tortie chunky-butt cat named Sammy; she came right up and sat on my lap.
Am going down tomorrow to take some tests (typing, Excel and Word proficiency, etc.). Will dress up and be professional and get a job right away! And then will hate said job and wish like crazy to be unemployed again!
Had to actually get up a certain time this morning, and even though it wasn't early early, I was still feeling worried about it. Have not had to worry about getting up at any specific time, really, for about five weeks now. I put on the outfit I'd decided on the night before and felt like an impostor, like I was wearing someone else’s clothes. I have been able to get away with being rather scruffy for the last 8 years, and now I’m not quite sure what to do with clothes.
The shoe thing didn’t go well either, as I decided on the brown ones, but when I went to rub off some water-spot looking things, I took off part of the polish! Ruined! Not that I liked them, but $8 and part of my life went into getting those dumb things. So I settled on the black ones, which I actually kind of like, but then had to wear my black tights under my pants as I don’t have any black socks. Black tights, despite being washed 2x persist in smelling sort of moldy—not sure what that is all about. I got them new here. Then put on my nicer coat and got to wear my new multi-colored scarf that I got at that vintage store a few weeks ago, and I did like that at least. So at least one thing that worked!
The testing and interview went okay, but after all was done, I asked if they had a lot of stuff coming in, and the lady I talked with said, brightly, “Well, you never know!” Which meant, no, they don’t. So. This is just not going as planned. Hmmm. Five weeks and no job. Must trust that this is going to work out, but feeling scary.
Thursday, January 16: Job stuff again, searching and wondering and realizing that Oh, there’s time between the application and the hiring? I’m prepared to not get hired, I just am flummoxed by how long it takes them to decide yes or no or whatever. The one job I applied for back weeks ago has a webite to check to see the status of the job, and it was at “Under Review by Human Resources” for a couple of weeks, and now it’s been on “Under Review by Hiring Committee” for a couple of weeks. Come on, people! Get it in gear!!!
Well, all I can do is keep looking. It will work out, it will work out, it will work out. Maybe I’m just focusing in the wrong area? Need to branch out more?
Anyway, foggy this morning, but cleared to a lovely sunny day. Alternated between using computer and taking walks around neighborhood. Going in one direction there are some rather nice houses, and gorgeous trees. Foggy again as evening fell.
But one of the things in my pocket now is a little fold up UMBRELLA! Finally got one!
Saturday, January 18: Lots of walking today, doing errands. On the way home a girl of about 7 years old asked me if I wanted to buy some stones or seeds for five cents—it was so cute: there were little half walnut shells filled with seeds, and they had little pieces of wood with names for each set. I bought one called “Mo.”
Then, on the bus on the way home, a man got on the bus wearing a cape and plumed hat, plus knee-pads and mud boots, and was carrying a bunch of odd gear, like a huge padded shield and a huge padded bat. Several passengers talked to him about his outfit, and he said that he’d been in a kind of Renaissance fair, doing mock sword fights all day.
By the time we got to my stop (which was their stop, too!) I was fairly done. I ran away from them, seriously, ran, and went to my appointment. There was lots of paperwork to do and the interview went okay, I guess, but there wasn’t any work offering. I talked with the interviewer about how I used to do temp work, a little here a little there, and she agreed that it didn’t work like that much anymore. Bummer!
So then I went to catch the bus home--and guess who was on it???? The same group of 3rd graders!!!!!
I stood stock still for a second, recognizing some of the faces I’d seen on the way downtown, and then I quickly asked the bus driver if I could get back off. Couldn’t believe that their play and my appointment timed out like that! It probably would have been fine, but…one test of nerves a day is enough!
Anyway, there are grassy yards, but mostly there’s an extremely varied assortment of plants and flowers and trees and ground cover. And other stuff! I passed a house today that had a sort of rocket looking thing on top of a wishing-well looking thing. There are stone mosaic pathways and walls, cob benches and other structures, the occasional mural-painted garage, statues, totem pole type things, wind chimes, Tibetan prayer flags, protest signs/banners, tables and chairs, vegetable gardens, and miscellaneous and stuff I’m not sure what to call. I saw a yard that had hundreds of wire hangers stuck into the ground, one right after the other, and another place had turned their (flat) little front yard into a Japanese garden that was all pattern-raked gravel. I've seen a couple of little display cases that have poems for passersby to read, and another huge one that had a moving toy Christmas display, complete with a train going around in circles. There is a kind of intricate richness to some of these yards (and houses), lots of details that happened over time and with care--and the moss on walkways and steps and walls gives everything another dimension of age and earthiness. I would LOVE to spend some time talking to some of the owners of these homes and yards, to see what kind of people created these whimsical little spots. There is a home just down the street that has an old typewriter on a pedastal in their front yard. What do you suppose that means???