Getting Situated: A New Home Base During the Pandemic

Since a good chunk of 2020 continues to seem surreal, it is fitting that we finally write this post in mid-September about mid-May, already four months past! Recently we heard a podcast that considered each day “Blursday” since all days of the week appear to blur together. Perhaps this makes for a good excuse for “Blursember” instead of September?

Our New Home Base
On May 15, we signed the lease on a condo. It was uncanny how quickly we were able to locate a place that will serve as a home base for the foreseeable future. With so many Washington State University students living in off-campus housing, we are grateful that we found a place in a quiet neighborhood that is at the opposite end of Pullman than the university.

The condo is much like a duplex with two units attached via a common garage wall and a shared driveway. It’s all one-level with an attached one-car garage. We have 1500 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, laundry room, kitchen, dining and living rooms. There’s a small deck that gets afternoon shade. Coming from Tranquility the Trailer with its 250 square feet makes the condo massive comparatively speaking! Lawn care and snow shoveling are included in the rent, This makes a turn-key situation where we can leave with our trailer and only need to stop the mail and newspaper. 

Our New Home Base in Pullman, Washington

Before placing Tranquility the Trailer into RV storage, we moved its contents into the condo and gave the trailer a good spring cleaning. 

With each trip from the trailer, we move into the condo.
Once the furnace was working in the condo, we began moving kitchen items, bedding, clothing, and toiletries.
Tranquility the Trailer is empty and spring-cleaned. It doesn’t look like a full-time abode.
Tranquility awaits future camping adventures.

Having Jeremy and Michelle less than a mile away has worked out wonderfully in many respects! They had a spare chair with ottomon and a chaise lounge that they loaned to us. In Denver, our daughter, Stephanie, and son-in-love, Shane, indicated that they were ready to replace the sofa and loveseat that we passed along to them during our 2018 downsizing. Would we like to have these pieces and the two lamps back? Yes! Although, these pieces would remain in Denver until our return later in the summer. In the meantime, our anti-gravity reclining camp chairs became part of our living room experience!

Our anti-gravity reclining camp chairs and rugs from the trailer work well for living room furnishings.
Jeremy and Michelle loaded up their chaise lounge, chair, and ottoman.
We greatly appreciated the use of these pieces along with our reclining camp chairs.

At first in the condo, we were using our two simple camp chairs and a portable table for our dining room furniture. During downsizing, we gave Jeremy and Michelle our square pub table and four stools. Two years later, they were ready to reclaim space in their home and re-gift the set to us. This was wonderful timing.

Our regular camp chairs and portable table are in the dining room.
Jeremy and Michelle regifted back to us the pub table and four stools.

Our REI air mattresses that we used for tent camping before full-time RVing worked well as our beds on the master bedroom floor. The other two bedrooms only had items from the trailer moved to closet shelves, so no furniture. One of those bedrooms became Diane’s workout space with yoga mat, free weights, and bands.

Our REI air mattresses worked as our bed on the master bedroom floor.
Our first night sleeping in the condo was delayed until the furnace was repaired.
The spare bedroom was Diane’s workout space with yoga mat, hand weights, and bands.

Acquiring Household Goods
While the bulk of our household from downsizing had been in climate-controlled storage in Denver, we knew which items we sold, donated, or re-gifted. Between the local Walmart’s curbside pickup feature and Amazon delivery, we began adding to our new household. Through Walmart we added several housewares for the bathroom and kitchen. Using Amazon, we ordered: bed-frame-in-a-box, mattress-in-a-box, TV, vacuum, several small kitchen appliances, and a tower fan. Trying to support local businesses, we purchased a microwave from Largent Appliance in Pullman.

The Lucid Mattress comes vacuum sealed and in a box.
The Lucid Mattress gets unpacked.
Once the mattress fully expands two days’ later, we can sleep on it.
The Bedframe in a Box from Wayfair arrived.
Tools are supplied and easy directions. It took 45 minutes to assemble the bed frame.
Our bed looks normal and sleeping off of the floor is great. Plastic drawers on either side serve as night stands for now.
The Roku TV (used for streaming) arrived. No TV stand required as it fits nicely on the hearth. A box became the coffee table.
Hmm. Decided to wrap a fleece throw around the box so it matches the interior space.

Then in Moscow, 10-miles away, we purchased two office chairs at Staples. In lieu of desks, Steve laid out a plan for an L-shaped work space using cinder blocks and two new residential doors. He purchased supplies for the desks from Home Depot in Lewiston, 25 miles south, and the local Pullman Building Supply.

The second office chair arrived from Staples, so Steve got it assembled.
Steve works on painting the cinder blocks and doors that will become our desks.
It took a week to complete, partially to let the paint cure. We have a wonderful L-shaped work space for two. The chairs are from Staples.

Establishing Residency
The first days in the condo had us working on the checklist to become Washington residents: vehicle registration for truck and trailer, drivers licenses, voters registration, renters insurance, vehicle insurance, health insurance, library cards, and opening an account at a local bank. Unfortunately, the drivers license facilities were closed until early July, yet we were able to get temporary licenses and indicate our wish to register to vote. It was tricky to establish medical and dental care, as they were just offering appointments beginning in mid-July after having been closed due to state restrictions due to COVID-19, except for emergency care. At least we had appointments scheduled for later in the summer.

Our Location and Our Community
Here in the Palouse Region that includes parts of Eastern Washington, Western Idaho, and Northern Oregon, we are tucked mid-hill on one of Pullman’s four hills that make up the city’s landscape: Sunnyside Hill, Pioneer Hill, Military Hill, and College Hill. There’s a narrow valley between the hills where the main arteries take us to businesses, city services, the RV storage complex, Washington State University, the medical complex, and points north, south, east, and west. Across the valley with less than a 10-minute walk, Jeremy and Michelle, live mid-way up their hill. It’s a perfect location for walking to and from one another’s homes, which we do frequently. Plus, we enjoy creating various walking routes in town.

May 17, 2020 was our first socially distanced visit with Jeremy and Michelle took place in their backyard over a pot of coffee!

The primary challenges we’re facing are limited contact in the community. From the beginning, we committed to a “buddy bubble” with Jeremy and Michelle. Except for the cases when we’ve needed medical or dental care or they have a rare driveway gathering with up to a handful of others (book club), it’s just the four of us meeting on their deck or our front lawn. With great anticipation, we’ll look forward to the time when we can get acquainted with others. For now we’re exchanging emails with the library director, picking up books via curbside. We order local produce, baked goods, or take-out meals via on-line and pick-up curbside or with very little contact. Several times we’ve ventured into the Safeway or RiteAid stores during senior shopping hours. There have been very few people shopping during those times.

What’s Next?
By late May, we were as situated as we could be until we could return to Denver to retrieve the rest of our household. This exercise affirmed how much we carried with us as full-time travelers AND how much we really don’t need as far as material items. In the next post, we’ll share the timing and the experience of returning to Denver for the remainder of our household plus the shift for welcoming those items back into our lives!

Living Life at the Speed of Sanity
Be safe. Be well.
Diane & Steve