in Photography and Art, Rosings Park

Moved In

It’s fortunate that Kris and I don’t ever intend to move again. Based on how long it took us to unpack and feel “moved in” at this place, we might never make that adjustment anywhere else. However, after fifteen months of s-l-o-w progress, we do at last feel moved in.

It helps that the bathroom remodel is finally nearing completion. (Yes, it has been nearly eight weeks, and yes it’s only “nearing” completion.) The job is 97% finished, which means the place is perfectly usable, but that there are little details (dimmer switch, power to the garage/workshop, and final inspections) that need to be completed.

It also helps that over the past week, we’ve finally tackled some of the move-in chores that we delayed for the past year. Last weekend, Tiffany came over to help us. While the Gates girls organized the garage, I tackled the garden shed and the spare shed. (You know you have too many outbuildings if you refer to one of them as the “spare shed”.)

(As we were cleaning, I found a dead bird on the lawn. It was probably killed by a cat, but its carcass had been taken over by yellowjackets. There were a dozen of the bastards politely taking turns to eat the bird’s innards. Despite a fear of bees, I managed to snap some handheld macro shots.

The bees were unhappy when I took the bird from them. They swarmed about the spot in the lawn for several minutes, longing for bird flesh.)

When we’d finished, the garage was neat and tidy (and empty); all the stuff in the garden shed had been shifted to the spare shed; and the garden shed had been converted to a playhouse of sorts (for visiting children).

When I was growing up, my grandparents had lots of outbuildings, too. One of them (the one filled with dynamite — no joke) was used as a playhouse. There were cups and saucers and chairs and tables (and the aforementioned dynamite) and all sorts of other things to play with. To make our playhouse, I hung the old bathroom cabinets from the wall, and dragged the old bathroom vanity into place. The space was completed by a small table and the two old chairs from Mac and Pam (chairs that are now destined to go to Craig and Lisa, whenever they want to pick them up).

All this cleaning was great, but the final step that allowed me to feel “moved in” was this: I hauled all of my old computer stuff to Free Geek, a Portland-based nonprofit. How much computer stuff?

  • Thirteen monitors
  • Eighteen computers
  • Four printers
  • One scanner
  • Dozens of memory modules, about eight hard drives, scads of modems and sound cards and video cards

Most of that equipment was still usable; some of it was even good. I ought to have taken the time to sort the wheat from the chaff, but in the end I just switched my brain off, grabbed everything, and hauled it away. That computer stuff was a boil that needed lancing; it was a sore on my mental life, and I’m relieved to have it gone.

Now my workshop is mostly empty. (All the more so since Kris had me haul the filing cabinet into the house last week.) I have some woodworking tools (and some comic books) laying about, but mostly the workshop is now an empty space. I’ll spend a couple nights this week tidying it up, and then maybe I’ll actually start a woodworking project. (Wait — we still don’t have electricity out there. The bathroom’s still only 97% finished; part of the remaining 3% is reconnecting electricity to the workshop.)

As my obsession with photography continues to wax, I’ve developed other possible uses for the workshop and the playshed. I could convert the playshed to a darkroom, and I could create some sort of photography studio in the workshop. The spaces are great, but there’d be a lot of work converting each to its new use. Still, it’s something to consider.

Meanwhile, Kris’ sister, Tiffany, recently moved to Portland. A truck filled with her belongings arrived on Saturday. We helped her unload the stuff Saturday morning, and she’d unpacked nearly all of it by Sunday afternoon. Holy cats! It took me and Kris fifteen months to move in; Tiffany did it in a day.


On 29 August 2005 (10:53 AM),
Joel said:

As someone who has moved away, let me be the latest to welcome Tiffany to the neighborhood. Tiffany, I’ve always liked you, and since I’ve also always liked Portland, it works for me that you’re there.

On 29 August 2005 (11:01 AM),
Tiffany said:

Thanks for the welcome Joel. I hope to see you soon.

Jd, thanks for not showing the dead bird, the description was gross enough.

On 29 August 2005 (11:36 AM),
Tammy said:

We have been remodeling our master bath for two years now. The toilet has been out for all of that time. Luckily we have two other bathrooms. I’m just sayin’ I’d give anything for an eight week remodel!

On 29 August 2005 (02:33 PM),
Amy Jo said:

Three comments:

(1) Welcome to Portland Tiffany. I suspect you don’t remember me, but we met a few years back in Alexandria, VA when Kris was out east for some sort of training. We moved back to Paradise, oh, sorry, I mean Portland, a year ago after four years of braving the wilds of the DC Metro Area.

(2) JD–A post showing more photos of the bathroom is warranted. Some of us would like to see more than the tub . . .

(3) JD–I would love to see a post about the dynamite lurking in the shed/playhouse. Did you know it was there at the time? Were there any rules of behavior designed to keep your grubby little hands off the dynamite? Did you break the rules?

On 29 August 2005 (03:06 PM),
mac said:

More importantly, where is the blasted stuff now?

On 29 August 2005 (03:25 PM),
Stacy said:

I’m glad you donated your items to free geek –they are running some amazing programs.

Yes, moving is not fun, but good thing you’re done.

Stunning photo. I didn’t know bees liked blood.

On 29 August 2005 (03:41 PM),
Pam said:

I am ready to claim my garage sale picture in order to help you clear your garage of clutter. And I can’t blame you for passing on the chairs, but what changed your mind?

On 29 August 2005 (04:35 PM),
tammy said:

Jd may recall this differently but the only thing I remember about that dynamite is that we were told to not go behind that wall. It was a little half wall with no extra door or anything. I didnt know until just a couple of years ago that there was dynamite in those boxes. We played out there for years and never got into the stuff. Grandpa would stop on his way into the house from the fields or barn and we’d give him carrots or crackers. There was an old red wicker chair out there he’d sit in. I recall him reading the paper in there with us sometimes. Grandma very seldom visited. Now as a Grandparent myself I see this all so differently. What a special place they made for us there in that playhouse. And because of spending just a few minutes a day with us we now have lasting memories.

On 29 August 2005 (06:52 PM),
Lisa said:

Why was the dynamite around to begin with? It’s not a common household item these days…

On 29 August 2005 (06:52 PM),
Tiffany said:

Hi Amy Jo,

Yes I remember you, Thai food. I could not find you in a crowd, but that will change soon. Thanks for the welcome.

On 29 August 2005 (07:04 PM),
Ron said:

When Grandpa bought the place it was all woods and stumps. After he logged most of the place he had to blast the stumps to be able to farm the land. One of my favorite memories is blasting stumps with Grandpa as a kid. We would dig a hole under the stump and Grandpa would tape together as many sticks of dynamite as he thought it would take to tear it up (sometimes it took 2 attempts to get all the stump and big roots) and then he would insert the blasting cap and fuse and shove it down the hole. He would then tamp dirt back in the hole to keep the blast from coming out the hole and then he would make me crawl under the tractor and wait while he lit the fuse and would crawl under the tractor with me. After the explosion and the pieces all hit the ground around us we would crawl out and go look at the hole to see if all the roots got torn out. I remember the smell of the smoke and the bad headaches it gave you. Grandpa would tell me to stay back until the smoke cleared, but being an impatient little boy I would run up to see the new hole. To this day I love explosions and the Fourth of July.

On 29 August 2005 (10:47 PM),
J.D. said:

I should point out that I have no firsthand memory of the dynamite. I only know about it from stories that Ron and Tammy have told at recent family reunions…

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