Life Happens

Life Happens

We are in between homes. Moving seems to be our knack. We just made our ninth move since September 2009. By the time we move into a townhouse in July, we will have accomplished ten moves in 12 years. Yikes!

Last year we arrived in Pullman on May 12, 2020, found a home to rent on May 14, and signed a lease on May 15. By May 20, we began living in the home having waited for the furnace to be repaired. There was instant appeal with one-level living, proximity to Jeremy and Michelle, and lawn care and snow removal included in the rent. We viewed this as a perfect scenario for renting during the pandemic and hopefully beyond. Although during that first night we were awakened by a shrill alarm, which was to the sump pump in the crawl space below. We quickly realized that we hadn’t lifted the trap door when we looked at the house. It was an oversight on our part, especially given the many years as home owners and facility managers.  Steve lifted the trap door to find a pool of water surrounding the sump pump. Hence, we live and learn.

Each day the sump pump ran off and on sometimes many times an hour. We were told by an HOA board member that there was likely a seasonal spring. A plumber was called several times over the year when the alarm went off.  There wasn’t much he could do except to make sure the sludge was cleared so the sump pump could work. Because the cause of the standing water was never addressed, the water just kept flowing into the crawl space. Our expressed concern has been, “If water is beneath the home, there’s a good chance that it’s impacting the home above.”

By December, a musty odor had developed inside the home. We placed Damp Rid containers in the bedrooms, kept windows cracked after showers, and ran bathroom and kitchen fans. We used two air purifiers in different parts of the house.  The humidity level in the back two bedrooms remained higher than the rest of the home. December and January brought snowfall, so additional moisture. In February, Diane began watching Craigslist and various rental apps, attempting to align a move to coincide with the end of the lease.

In early April we discovered mold on several window sills. We alerted the landlord, who when she saw the mold, and smelled the mildewy odor, indicated that she’d let us out of our lease early. We immediately began in earnest scouring property management and realtor websites for a different home to rent. The rental market is hot here, partly due to being a university town. Much of the available rentals were on College Hill. At this point in life, we aren’t up for living on College Hill or in an area with college students. Finally, we found a townhouse in another part of town and signed a lease on April 30! What a relief!

Move-in isn’t until July 8. To bridge the gap, we intended to extend our lease through mid-July. To remain out of the house as much as possible until then, we were planning several camping trips and a road trip to Denver. We had already begun packing up some boxes and moving them to the garage, which had a humidity level in the normal range since it was on a concrete slab.

On May 2 the situation took a dramatic turn when we discovered more mold, this time on an interior wall. The musty scent had become unrelenting in recent days with warmer daytime temperatures. A call to our landlord included she and us mutually agreeing that we needed to be out of the home immediately due to health concerns.

Scheduling a Move and Moving in 7 Days

Having been minutes away from retrieving the trailer for a camping trip when the mold was discovered on May 2, we immediately sat down and plotted out a plan. Obviously, we ditched the camping trip. Instead we began moving everything from the master bedroom, closets, and bathroom to the hallway, living and dining rooms. Our last night’s sleep was in our bed, now in the dining room.

Monday, May 3:

    • Visited the City RV Park to reserve four nights initially. Then added 11 more.
    • Pulled Tranquility the Trailer from RV storage to the RV Park.
    • Moved essentials into the trailer.
    • Packed boxes.
    • Began calling for a storage unit. Nearing the end of the university school year, both storage and movers are often difficult to find on short notice.
    • Searched for a moving company.
    • Steve set up a P.O. Box at the post office and mail forwarded.

Tuesday, May 4:

    • Exchanged calls and emails with storage companies and movers.
    • Packed boxes.

Wednesday, May 5:

    • Movers scheduled for Saturday morning at 9am.
    • Storage unit available beginning the morning of May 8, which was moving day.
    • Packed boxes.

Thursday, May 6:

    • Packed boxes.
    • Steve staged the garage to make it easier for the movers.

Friday, May 7:

    • Moved the trailer to Jeremy & Michelle’s driveway to “mooch-camp” because the RV park had already booked reservations for WSU graduation weekend.
    • Moved the archives and some fine art to Jeremy and Michelle’s basement.
    • Steve called the storage unit company confirming that the current storage tenant would in fact be out in the morning. Yes, the tenant would vacate the unit.
    • Packed boxes.

Saturday, May 8:

    • Movers arrived at 9 a.m.
    • Couldn’t sign the lease or SEE the storage unit until Saturday at 9 a.m.
    • Diane arrived at the storage unit company, signed paperwork, and was assured that the prior tenant had vacated the unit.
    • Diane drove across town to the storage unit only to find a lock on the door. The previous tenant hadn’t vacated. 
    • Frustration was vocalized by Diane. She and Steve exchanged places. Scrambling ensued. Storage company located tenant. He moved his car from the storage. A fluid spill was cleaned by the storage company. 
    • Steve purchased protective sheets for the floor due to potential seepage of cleaners used on fluid spill.
    • Within an hour, the movers unloaded the household into storage. They were diligent in wrapping the furniture, loading, and unloading. Needless to say, we have contracted with them to move the household from storage to the townhouse in July.
    • Later that evening we finished clearing the house of any other last minute belongings.

Sunday, May 9:

    • Enjoyed brunch and a relaxed visit with Jeremy and Michelle plus a call with Stephanie for Mother’s Day.
    • Moved the trailer back to the City RV Park for an 11-day stay.
    • Finished moving the last of the household to storage.

Monday, May 10:

    • Cleaned the home except for the carpets. Wanted to avoid dispersing any additional mold or mildew spores into the air.
    • Climbed into bed exhausted from this wildly intense move.
    • It was nice to officially be out of that house!

Thankfully, we’ve been able to cover many expenses due to the last month’s rent, part of May’s rent, and deposit refunds from the landlord.

The Two-Month Interim Period

Fortunately, we’re in a position to be fairly flexible. Last week we worked through the calendar leading up to our July move into the townhouse and put together an itinerary. With the increased popularity of camping since the pandemic hit, it’s become quite the exercise in securing a campsite reservation, especially with short notice.

Over the interim, we’ll camp at Pullman’s City RV Park as part of five different stays.  We view these as “stay-cations”. We also have reservations at Dworshak State Park in Idaho and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington. We’ll make a 17-day trip without the trailer to Denver. It will be such a relief to finally see our Denver family. Thankfully we’ll position ourselves back at the City RV Park to provide extra ease in getting into the townhouse.

We count our blessings for Tranquility the Trailer and having Spring as a good camping season. We now feel relaxed. The lack of stuffy sinuses, the cessation of minor headaches, and more restful sleeps, remind us why we needed to leave the home. We now feel relaxed. This little abode-on-wheels feels like a natural for us having been home for the better part of two years when we were full-time RVing.

“Life is a great adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Onward to adventuring we go!

Diane & Steve

Emerging from the Pandemic Cave!

It’s May 16, 2021. We’re beginning to feel like cave people emerging from a cave.  Thanks to being vaccinated against COVID-19 and having an amazing vaccination effort of residents in Pullman, Washington where we now live, we’ve begun feeling comfortable entering some local businesses. Although masks are still required and we potentially will continue to wear them longer than our state and local restrictions recommend. It’s been quite odd to have been new residents during the pandemic and feeling quite insulated from the community.

While yesterday was one year since we took possession of the home we rented, it seems like a blur of 12 months in some ways. As with many people, we became cloistered and our routine didn’t vary much, feeling robotic sometimes. Thankfully we had each other plus Jeremy and Michelle as our extended “buddy bubble”.  We couldn’t have done it without one another!

Diane wrote many Instagram posts, partly out of sanity and missing social engagement. It was also an attempt to write of our journey and try to convey positivity with others.  It’s been helpful to stay in touch with family and friends (especially since we’re no longer on Facebook), but also like-minded travelers, talented photographers, and like-minded encouragers. Through Instagram, we’ve been able to get acquainted remotely with local businesses so that once we were ready to visit them, we knew a bit about them.

In Pullman, we have walked hundreds of miles over, down, and around Sunnyside Hill and Pioneer Hill the past year. It was a great way to get more acquainted with the parks, the neighborhoods, and the vistas.  We’ve had walk-up, pick-up, or drive-through coffee, ice cream, restaurant meals, and library book checkouts. For grocery shopping we used curbside pickup, a cottage bakery walk-up, and farmers’ market drive-through nearly 100 times the past year! This has meant so much to us as customers to be safe during the pandemic. How we appreciate all of the employees and businesses who made this possible.

Sourdough Boule & Pretzels by Clumsy Crow Baking
Pups & Cups Cafe, Pullman, Washington

In January and February, we were able to obtain our two vaccine doses through our medical center. For the first dose, we walked into the building and felt an energy that we hadn’t experienced in a very long time. There was happy chattering (somewhat muffled due to masks) smiling eyes (no exposed mouths due to masks), elbow bumps, and applause for the staff. The clinic worked like clockwork.

The past year made it difficult to embrace the normal celebrations in life. There seemed to be collective grief that expanded to a degree not experienced by us before both on a familial level and societal level.  Perhaps the exuberance experienced at the vaccination clinic was in reaction to that grief! Losing family members and not being able to physically be present for their Celebrations of Life have been the most difficult. Although being able to view the small service for Diane’s sister-in-law via a video-stream in January at least helped somewhat.  Weddings that were postponed will hopefully be rescheduled. Our nephew and new niece-in-law weren’t able to have a wedding, yet married just before Christmas. Christmas virtually with our Denver family was a good bandage of sorts, but not the same as in person.  Doggone we miss those hugs! A year ago, our niece graduated from high school. In December another niece graduated from community college.  Yesterday our nephew graduated from Indiana University. Thankfully all three graduations were virtual.

As we continue making our way back into society, it will be interesting. It feels counterintuitive to just jump into the deep end. Instead, since we’ve already dipped our toes, we’ll move through the shallow end and gradually wade to the 5-feet section for now. The really deep end may take quite some time!

In March we spent a day scouting for potential places to camp this year. Thankfully we discovered a campground within an hour from Pullman. We returned in early April to spend five days near a river under the Ponderosa trees. It felt “normal” to camp and get out for hikes and walks. 

McKay’s Bend Campground, Idaho
The Snake River, Asotin County, Washington

In late April, we met up with a couple who we’ve been “following” on Instagram and they “follow” us. They were camping 30 minutes from Pullman, so we set up camp chairs in a parking lot, nibbled on fresh baked cookies, and visited for over two hours. It was fun to meet new friends and now to continue remaining in touch.

In June we’ll make a trip to Denver with hugs for our family filling the truck bed to the brim. Otherwise, camping in the Pacific Northwest will be our primary travels.

Please let us know how you are doing and managing as many of your activities resume.

Attempting to Live “Life at the Speed of Sanity”!

Diane & Steve