Yes, we’re still alive…

No, we didn’t crash and burn between Portland and Silicon Valley.  It’s been a whirlwind few days of packing, unpacking, moving, blah, blah, blah.  We’re still in the discovery mode of, “Where is the nearest Grocery store?” and, “Ohmygod, I need an oil change – stat!”  Yea, I didn’t exactly have time to prepare THAT well before we moved – le sigh.

So here’s where we are – and this is a picture-less post for reasons I will explain in a minute.  We’ve unpacked almost everything and have “settled” as well as we think we reasonably can for an apartment that we are not quite ready to call our “permanent” place.  We still have piles of boxes everywhere with the thinking that we may just end up moving again before we’ve lived here a full 30 days – again, more on that later.  We also don’t have internet set up in our place yet – though the internet Lords are supposedly at our apartment right now with Dr. J while I’m ensconced safely at work, so hopefully before this day is through we can take some pics of our new place and show you it in all of its “underwhelmingness” – haha!  Hence, no real picture postings to share.

My first impressions?  The traffic isn’t as bad, the drivers are horrible (I can’t decide if they’re aggressive @$$holes, bad drivers or just simply Californian), the weather is a little like living in that movie “The Truman Show” (perfect *every*single*day* – completely not normal for this originally Midwestern girl) and living in a two-story walk-up with a pup isn’t as terrible as I thought it would be, though I think she’s mostly bored to tears.  It helps that the weather is always nice so taking her on walks  really isn’t a big problem – I may change my tune come winter.  In other Maggie news, she’s still not quite accustomed to all of the “noises” like car doors and people walking outside our window, so she’s a little jumpy and barky but we’re adapting by keeping a fan on for “white noise”, so that helps – we tried last night to go “fan-less” and she barked at least every hour on the hour – “Bark!  It’s 1 am and all’s well!”.  She’s also made a million and a half friends with all of the cute kids in our complex and has licked the crap out of practically all of them – she would’ve been a great Momma.  I’m also getting used to an endless morass of people everywhere *all*of*the*time* and can really appreciate why people around these parts buy a place in Lake Tahoe just to “get away from it all”.  No, I really do!

As for “plans” at this point?  We’re still trying to figure that out.  We may end up moving before our first 30 days are up on the lease simply because I don’t really have a decent place to work from home.  Even though my company is based here in SV, they’re not looking to provide me with a cube or an office anytime soon so I do need a decent place to squat from at home.  Working from the kitchen table, the bed or the couch just isn’t going to work for me in the long term.  However, we’re also not looking to spend a ton of money until we can lease our house back in Portland (which we haven’t even started marketing yet) and even when we do get our house leased, I’d much rather be saving my cash for “the perfect place to buy” in a few years.  I may be spoiled, but I can deal with an ugly place so long as it “functions” for the needs that we have.  The present place just isn’t quite at full functioning for us right now.  But it was cheap, took dogs and, most importantly – it was available!

So that’s what’s up with Tell’er All About It…still figuring things out and trying to stay “sane”.  Expect an update soon with pics of the new place – word is we’ve finally got internet at home!  God, how can one live without it???

Pack it up, Pack it in…

Right now our house is looking a little like this…


That is to say – it’s total chaos…

It might be pretty obvious by now but in case it isn’t we’re only moving two rooms (the Room of Requirement and the Guest Bedroom).  We’ve split up our kitchen items and have purchased just a few “basics” for Dr. J when he gets down there.  I have my doubts that all of our crud is actually going to fit into that trailer plus two cars and a Maggie….but we shall see….wish us luck!

Shut the Front Door!

We’re on an exterior mission to fix up the house’s curb appeal before we lease the house.  Here is step one!

Ready….set….lookatourterriblefrontdoor!!!!!!!

It’s pretty sad and pitiful, isn’t it?  We heard from several of our neighbors that this door had been “knocked in” by the previous owners.  Something about being a foreclosure and them trying to get in and “steal” things from the bank (like the kitchen sink and all of the appliances).  Pretty sure they won “Homeowner of the Year” award in a parallel universe.  Oh, and we still haven’t traded out the Sheriff’s Locks on this bad boy.  We’ve been rocking the two toned handles since 2009!  Pretty sure we win “Homeowner of the Year” in this universe – haha!

But as if all of that weren’t bad enough, the door also faces west and gets all of the prevailing winds and moisture from our rainy Pacific Northwest winters.  Once it’s wet, the sun comes out and bakes it so up close it’s looking a little more like this:

…in other words, kind of warped, damaged and dried out from the sun.  We kind of hemmed and hawed around repairing this door for awhile for God knows why.  First it was because we thought we would need a handyman or carpenter to repair it because it looked like it was “out of true” and we wanted to try and salvage it.  The door looked crooked in the frame but after breaking out our level and straight edges we realized it was the casement that was crooked and not the door – haha!  Classic.  Reminded me of that Shel Silverstein poem about the kid who has wavy hair and eventually shaves it all off only to discover he just has a wavy head.  Well, we definitely weren’t going to tackle repairing the casements (that takes a calibre of skill that neither of us have and a can of worms that we didn’t have handy).  So that kind of gave way to the fact that we could go ahead and try refinishing the door and then seeing what happens.  After all, replacing this door is not an option.  It’s a full 8′ tall and as expensive as they come so may as well try to give it some spit polish…

So we removed the door:

…which gave Maggie a perfect perch to monitor all of the goings on:

…and then Dr. J got to sanding it down so it was smooth as a baby’s behind – literally took like 20 minutes:

…then it was into our secret stash of stains and paints and we found a leftover stain from….mystery project?  It may have been leftover from when we finished the Ikea Countertops for our desk in the office but we really don’t remember.  In other words – it was free.

Then we let it dry, sanded, poly-ed, sanded, poly-ed, replaced the door hardware and VOILA!

How’s that for some updated curb appeal?  Not bad for a quick weekend project that only cost us the cash to replace the locks.  Is it perfect?  No.  But we’re renting this house from here on out so it doesn’t have to be perfect for us.  It just has to look good!  And since we’ve purchased a nice storm door to protect it, we’re hoping that this finish will be nice and protected from the elements – fingers crossed.

Let’s take this outside…

Do you realize we’ve been in our house almost three years and we’ve only posted on the outside/landscaping like maybe a handful of times?!?  Wait, let me see if I can throw them all out there for you because it’s really not much:

The Back yard:

The Front and all around:

Three years…and that’s ALL we’ve done.  All of that and a bottle of rum .  It’s actually kind of embarrassing.  But when you spend your summers moving in, renovating a laundry room and finishing up a massive bathroom remodel while hosting a bajillion out of town guests, some things just kind of have to get skipped.  And let’s be honest, summer in Oregon really only lasts a solid two months so whenever we have a free minute and the weather is nice, we’d much rather be doing this:

…or maybe something like this:

Who wants to spend ALL of their spare time working in the yard?  Certainly not me!  Get me outside so I can have F.U.N!  But there are only so many times that you can play the “fun” card before your parents come to visit and tell you to “Grow up!”  As I hang my head in shame I kind of have to agree (*pouts*).  And since we’re planning on putting this house up for rent, we need to figure out a low maintenance scheme so that when we leave it the house will hopefully be on “auto-pilot”.  We’ve got some serious issues floating around our outdoor spaces and it’s high time we grow up and fix ‘em.  First, perhaps a little bit of a list might help:

Front yard:

First off, we feel pretty lucky that we don’t have to do a ton of maintenance in the front since most of it is covered by the HOA.  We don’t have grass in the front so no need to worry about mowing and the HOA covers mulching every couple of years (though they do “barkdust” instead of mulch, so it erodes fairly quickly.  HOA, fail!).  And our plant life has been looking pretty paltry lately.  We’ve dug out roughly 6 bushes that have all bit it since our time living here and we have another one that’s on it’s last leg (*update* – it died.  We had to dig it up too).  We’ve done some planting here and there over the past 3 years but the landscaping could use some help.  Here’s a WAY old pic from before we closed on the house…

All three of the bushes in front (the two red and one green) are dead and gone and then the spider-y plants behind those have all died as well.  On the left side we dug up another bush and we have a Rhododendron that we planted just under the front window that I think is having drainage issues and is kind of on its last leg :-(.

Our front door…*groan*…

It’s a hot mess.  It’s obviously seen a fair amount of water damage over the past few years and since it faces west, the sun has done the rest of the work that the water didn’t – cracks, scratches, and just overall baaaaaaad.  We did purchase a nice storm door to hopefully quell any future water damage but the whole finish is a mess and needs to be refinished.  You can read about it in this don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it article of yore.  We also still have the old sheriff’s locks that were installed when the house was foreclosed – one brass and one brushed nickel.  In short, reeeeeeeeeal classy.

Back yard:

Oh, the backyard.  First off, it’s just plain dinky.  After we built a fence and dug out a garden, we’ve just tried to keep it as maintenance free as possible.  Here’s a pic from before moving in…

Let me explain a few things.  First off, Oregon summers really only last about 3 months (if we’re lucky).  We’re beating down the beginning of July right now and we’re still dealing with rain showers pretty much every day and temps hovering around 65-75 depending on the day.  Fabulous if you’re a vampire – horrible if you like to garden.  Last year, we really didn’t get good summer-y temperatures until the last two weeks of August and we still only got up to around 85!  That being said, we basically only use our backyard for two things – growing vegetables and Maggie’s personal loo when we’re too lazy to take her on W-A-L-Ks (yes, I have to spell it – she goes nuts if I say “walk”, “park”, “block” and about 100 other words and phrases that she understands – seriously, she’s the smartest dog ever!).  We don’t really use our backyard as a “hangout” spot because, let’s face it – it’s always friggin’ raining!!!!  So I have quietly eighty-sixed multiple plans by my husband to build decks, pergolas, buy more expensive furniture, etc, etc.  Honestly, I just don’t see the point because we never use it.  In fact, we spend more time “maintaining” our backyard than we do sitting out there and enjoying it and I blame it mostly on the weather – haha!

But there’s still so much to be done back here.  We’ve done a fair amount already (when we’re diving between rain drops and/or chopping down our overgrown Sage and Rosemary plants:

…but I admit we could do more.

So here’s hoping we can figure out some time this summer between road trips to California to get’er all done!  We’ll be updating a few things here and there.  In fact, we’re sneaky – some of those things have already been tackled!  Muwahaha!  Stay tuned…

Decrease, delete, declutter…

We’re moving to California!  Which means….we need to downsize – a LOT!  In fact, we’ve put a deposit down on a….wait for it…1 bedroom, 600 square foot apartment.  Yes, we are moving from a 4 bedroom, 1900 square foot house with a garage to a 1 bedroom, 600 square foot apartment with no garage and no real storage (more on that in another post).  I know, I know – it is certifiably crazy, that’s for sure!  Regardless, there’s a lot of this going on lately:

…in other words, we are trying to clear out the clutter.  So far we’ve already paid one junk hauler to come through and take away half of our garage worth of stuff and have taken one Mazda3 car load worth of clothes to send to Goodwill and to Powell’s Books to get rid of a laundry basket filled with old paperbacks that we never read.  Seriously, I got rid of some of my summer reading requirements from my high school AP English classes and even the dress that I wore under my gown to my High School graduation!  We won’t discuss how many hairstyles ago that was…

So this brings up a good point.  How do you decide what to give away, donate, re-furb, etc.  I’m a MASTER de-clutterer.  It’s probably because I’m not really a very sentimental person except in rare cases and my Mom taught me from a very young age to go through the crap and keep only what is super meaningful/useful to you.  So I thought it would be good to kind of detail here a couple categories of things here – maybe it’ll be helpful, maybe it won’t?  And maybe we’ll be getting to more stuff later on!

Clothes – Ahhh….yes, clothing.  Here is where we ladies tend to go overboard.  But I have a few simple rules for controlling clutter.  First off, you need to go through your closet every season change (well, fall and spring essentially).  And you should also go through it whenever heavy items fall on you whenever you open the door – it’s always a good rule of thumb.  But here is how I determine what to keep/throw away:

  1. Have I worn it in the past 6-12 months OR have I worn it in the previous season?  If the answer is no for both of those, then it’s probably time to say hasta la vista, baby!  Just to be safe, try it on to be sure it fits….
  2. Does it fit?  This probably seems pretty obvious, but I can’t tell ya how many people I know who keep those “skinny” jeans just in case they might fit again.  Lemme tell ya somethin’, honey.  Get rid of them!  Once you do lose that weight, treat yourself to a non-calorie item and go out and buy NEW clothes!  Also, remember this saying always – “You should wear your clothes.  Your clothes should NEVER wear you!”  If you don’t feel absolutely sexy/beautiful/insert miscellaneous compliment here, then it’s time to get rid of those clothes.
  3. Stains?  Missing buttons?  Repair work that’s outside your scope?  Again, pitch it.  Especially if you’ve attempted repair and it’s just not taking.
  4. If you need more space, then click here to learn how to fold your clothes the “right” way – Seriously, I have so much space in my drawers now because of learning how to fold shirts this way.  And it sounds silly, but both Dr. J and I used to have our own “methods” for folding shirts and now we both fold this way because it saves us *so* much room!  It may just change your life – you never know!
  5. Lastly, understand your climate – Everybody said when we moved to Oregon that we wouldn’t need our warm winter coats and (for the most part), they’re absolutely right.  There are also a lot of “climate” issues that I’ve noticed about living in Oregon versus living in Ohio – anything that’s suede and/or water penetrable in my closet absolutely *cannot* be worn.  That means shoes, coats, blazers – you’ll rarely see an Oregonian strutting their stuff in a pair of Uggs – it’s the most colossal waste of money!  So eliminating these items from my wardrobe is pretty important.   Now that we’re moving to California, we’ll no doubt be going through a whole other set of wardrobe changes….gotta make room for it!
Books – I’m finding out as I get rid of books and try to offer them to people that so few people are reading these days!  Ugh!  It’s such a crime!  I can’t sleep at night if I don’t read a few pages of *something* before I go to bed.  But I think books are kind of clutter-catchers, especially light summer reading paperbacks.  Dr. J can read a 500 page novel in about 36 hours on a vacation so we have amassed quite the collection of books.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this snap below:

I know a lot of people feel somewhat sacrilegious in throwing away books, so here are a few tips that might help you out when it comes to decluttering books and also some thoughts on how to purchase books in the first place:

  1. Buy yourself an e-reader - Are you a Nook-er or a Kindle-er?  In our household, we’re both.  And honestly, I don’t think it matters very much anymore what kind of e-reader you should buy.  If you like to read, they are VERY affordable nowadays (an entry-level e-reader will only set you back about $100 these days).  And if you’re looking to declutter, this is an absolute no-brainer!  We purchased an e-reader about a year ago and honestly it is just about the best thing we’ve ever done.  When we went to Hawaii last year, we took our Nook and Dr. J read about 2000 pages in a matter of a week.  Not sure how many books that was but it doesn’t really matter.  An e-reader is a declutterer’s best friend!
  2. Go to the library – This is one I’m always trying to get Dr. J to use – I mean, 2000 pages in a week is easily 3-4 novels – possibly more!  And since his tastes in reading tend towards fiction, it’s very “disposable” light reading that he can easily check out of the library and return with no need to store it!
  3. If you must buy, then leave the paper, take the hardback - Here’s a tip – hardback books are pretty and they really give a bookcase a nice “distinguished” look (minus the dust covers).  Paperbacks, however, are ugly.  Their spines never retain their shape, the artwork is very often ugly and super market-y/loud and they just DO NOT look good – i.e., they are very disposable.  I realize books aren’t all about looks, but if it’s something that I feel “obligated” to keep because I’ve read it, then YES, it IS about looks once the passage of reading enjoyment has gone.  And, no, I don’t believe in keeping books as “conquests” or as a brag sheet.  That’s what the public library is for!  If it’s paperback and it’s a “disposable” title, then I say pitch it – unless it’s something you read often.  And if you read it often, you may want to consider forking over a few extra bucks for a hardback version because a paperback is not good for repeated reading – or see about buying it on your e-reader!
  4. Now I have the book, how do I decide to keep/pitch? - This is a very personal question – and it really depends in your level of interest in the book.  I have a few books that I re-read every few years or so and make it a point to keep them handy for those times.  For example, I re-read the Harry Potter series probably every couple of years from 1-7, so those books will always be on my bookcase (and some are paperback just to give you an idea).  However (and I will probably get a lot of crap for admitting this publicly), I had to pull teeth to get through the Twilight series  so I ended up sending those books to the toss pile even though it was a high quality hardback set.  If it’s a book that I will likely never touch again and it’s a paperback (see paperback note above), then I have no qualms in giving it the boot.  So ask yourself these questions – Do I love it?  Will I read it again?  Does it have a memorable inscription/meaning?  Do I need this book for work/class?  If the answer is ‘no’ to any of those questions, then it’s time to retire the book.
  5. Where do I send my old books?  - As unsentimental as I may be about “stuff”, I do still think that books should be given proper burial.  I.e. – send them to a used bookstore, a library, or see if some of the titles you have are appropriate for your local school and call to see if they would accept donation?  There are so many options for getting rid of books.  Don’t ever feel like you have to throw it in the garbage – that IS actually a crime!

So that’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m sure there will be repeats of tips above on other sites, other places.  We still have a long way to go – namely the kitchens and the bathrooms will need a serious down scaling.  But we’ll get to those in time.

It’s time for another (video) house tour!

The last time I did a video house tour, it was back before we renovated the bathroom and finished up the Room of Requirement – i.e. it was well over a year and a half ago!  And since we’re planning a pretty massive move down to California, I thought now would be a good time to update the latest video tour.  Because…le sigh…it might be the last time to really photograph the house before it gets all “torn up” before we move.  So here goes nothin’!

CLICK HERE FOR HOUSE TOUR 2012

Oh, and if you’re curious what the last house tour was like, then you can click here for the one we took in January 2011.  It’s kind of funny to watch them one after the other just to spot the changes.  Dr. J and I recently watched the one from 2011 and it’s amazing to see the old master bathroom and how much of an upgrade we gave that sucker.

Here are some fun things to point out in the 2012 tour:

  • Maggie, the Mascot Mutt – she kept following me around upstairs (as she always does) and made some cute cameos :-).
  • My “technical difficulties” with the camera – I just couldn’t win (story below)
  • The completed office, Room of Requirement and Master Bath!
  • I was still wearing my Pajamas when I made this tour so notice how I slyly avoid looking in mirrors throughout the tour – haha!  there are a few peeks, though – don’t worry, it wasn’t anything too risque!
  • Apparently I say “Love it! Love it! Love it!” a few times throughout.  I don’t notice it, but Dr. J did…haha!

So that’s the video house tour 2012.  Hopefully it should come in handy for our future renters-to-be??  Who knows?  Also, I just couldn’t seem to “win” the day I shot this.  I went to use the Flip cam, realized it was out of battery and switched to my point-and-shoot camera which has video capability.  I shot the downstairs with no problems, then when I went upstairs I accidentally shot myself directly in the mirror wearing my pajamas and my hair all a wreck (classy!).  So I had to do another take and then my camera ran out of battery (gah!), so I had to do a quick charge and rush through the last half of the tour – hah!  It was funny :-).  Like I said, I just couldn’t seem to win!

Let me know what you think.  You’ll have to head on over to YouTube to watch the video but it should give you a pretty good idea of the layout of our house and all the changes we’ve made since the last tour.  Enjoy!

California Dreamin’….

…and just like that, we’re movin’ to California!

WHAAAA????

Yea, I know, I know.  Explains the lack of posts lately, no?  It’s been one craaaaaaaaaazy spring!  After we wrapped up the office project back in March-ish, the blogging dropped off a cliff simply because I knew what nobody else did – Dr. J was secretly looking for a new job and I was flamboyantly freaking out.  And since I knew that we were facing a 50-50 shot at moving, we certainly didn’t want to invest the time in house projects – hence, quiet blog.

But lemme back up.  Dr. J is Mr. Smarty-pants.  I know this for two reasons: 1) I married him so of COURSE he’s smart – haha! and 2) I hire people like him for a living and I’d kill to have a candidate like him in my back pocket at all times.  Well, I kinda do…but that’s another story (MEOW!).  Around Christmastime, Dr. J started getting pinged by recruiters for jobs – opportunities here, opportunities there.  But since he’s in the tech industry (and by tech, I mean HIGH tech), there really was only one option for him in regards to location and it WASN’T Portland, Oregon.  In fact, most of the jobs he was looking into were down in Silicon Valley, i.e. South San Francisco Bay in California.  Dr. J got not one, not two, but THREE amazing job offers from three different (all top-notch!) companies.  So while it was an INCREDIBLY difficult decision, we recognized that both his and my long-term career prospects are much sunnier in the Silicon Valley than the Willamette Valley.  Which means…

We’re moving from here:

…to (roughly) here:

Crazy, right??  I’m still in the “flamboyantly freaking out” phase of this process, but I’m trying to remain calm because I know a cross-country move is inherently easier if you just go with the flow.  And since we’ve done it once before at a much greater distance, this is far more do-able than the previous move.

But onto the questions that I’m sure everybody will no doubtless be asking:

The house??  What about the house???  I figured this would be a pretty big question.  Hello??  I’ve only spent the past three years gabbing about my greatest hobby!

After much soul-searching we’ve decided to go ahead and keep the house and find a good renter.  The main reason being we still want to play “the game” and keep scoring those bitchin’ tax advantages.  We also know that there is absolutely no way we could afford to buy a house in California at this point.  The real estate market down there is one of the most expensive in the country (more on that later) and we’d rather hang onto this house and rent it out in the hopes that we can sit on that egg for a few more years and hopefully score a few extra bucks when the market improves.

But why aren’t you selling??  You’ve done so much work!  You surely should be able to get something for it!  Maybe….but maybe not?  We talked to our Realtor and her advice was pretty invaluable.  While our Realtor believes that we have done beautiful work around the house (she actually said that I should be a Home Stager and give lessons to her other clients – cool!), we’ve merely maintained the value of our house due to the market and not improved it.  In other words, if we go to sell it today, we could likely get exactly what we paid for it three years ago.  This wasn’t entirely surprising to me.  I had always envisioned us being in the house 5-7 years as opposed to just under three and the market just hasn’t recovered that much here in the Portland area for us to get a decent return.  That’s why we did some of our major renovations (like the master bathroom and the laundry room) as soon as we could afford to do so after moving in simply because (in my ideal plan) it would have put us as far away from the renovation to the selling process as possible and, hopefully, allow us to gain more value.  In other words, if we had gone with the original plan and sold in 2-4 more years, we likely could’ve gotten a pretty sizable bump in value.  But the renovations aren’t the problem.  If anything, our house is still valued well and above some of our neighbors and shows exceptionally well.  The problem is all of the other houses in our neighborhood.  A few homes in our neighborhood have gone for some pretty paltry prices recently and that’s largely due to them being distressed/foreclosed/short sales, etc.  That’s always a disappointment but that’s entirely outside of our control and not something to get too upset about.  So, long story short, if we sell the house at or around our purchase price, add in fees and all that crap, then we’re bringing money to the table and that makes Momma unhappy.  Sure, we could likely list high and pray for a bidding war, but then our greatest fear at that point is having the appraisal come back negative (due to the aforementioned foreclosures and distressed properties) and then BAM!  Sale falls through and we’re right back to square one.  So, no, we’re not going to sell.  It’s too much of a gamble at this point.  We’re going to lease it, hold onto the property for a few years and then sell in a few years when we feel like we could walk away with a few clams in our back pocket.  It’s not a full-proof plan, but it’s a plan nonetheless!

But….you’ve done so much work!  How could you give it to a renter???  Yea, I know.  I’m kinda sick about it too.  But the market just isn’t what it used to be.  And, again, I don’t regret ANY of the updates we’ve made to this house.  We were able to get a lot of good use out of those renovations and enjoy living here as well!  But now it’s going to be a wonderful rental because it’s so beautiful and hopefully somebody will recognize that and be willing to pay for those luxuries that we’ve installed!  If we hadn’t made the changes (specifically the laundry room, the master bath and all the upstairs rooms), I don’t think I know we wouldn’t be able to rent it out for a decent rate.  I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to call these spaces their “own”, even if it’s just for rent:

When are you moving?  The short answer is sometime between July 16th and the end of the year.  Fortunately, Dr. J’s new company is going to go easy on him in regards to when he moves and I fully intend on taking advantage of that as much as possible.  He starts July 16th down in California and has to be there for 2 months straight for training, etc.  He’s actually down in California *as*we*speak* looking at places to live – *fingers crossed*.  I’ll be splitting time between Oregon and California, de-cluttering the house, tending the garden, and getting the house ready for a tenant. Once the autumn hits, we’re going to hit the ground running to find a renter for this house and once we do, then we’re gone-zo!  To be sure, everything is so tentative right now, but that’s the basic gist.

Where will you be living in California?  Silicon Valley!  Ok, for those not in the know, here is a basic map of Silicon Valley and rough locations of a “few” companies that are based there:

Ok, so it’s a really dated map of where all the major tech companies are were located.  Judging from some of the names and logos on this map, I’m imagining this map to be around 10-15 years old.  I don’t see Google, Apple or Facebook on here, the Intel logo is O-L-D and Sun Microsystems hasn’t been in that location since Oracle bought them, but you get the gist (and I’m a total DORK for knowing all of that). That whole area is Silicon Valley.  At the very top of the map (you can click on it to see it bigger), is San Francisco, which is about an hour or more away from “The Valley” by car.  The proverbial “heart” of Silicon Valley is San Jose, California, which is actually the biggest city in the bay area (yes, even larger than San Francisco or Oakland).  And, yes, Silicon Valley is actually a VALLEY.  There are mountains separating the Valley from the Pacific and from the Central Valley.  I have no idea what they’re called, but I’m sure I’ll find out in time :-).  Nothing’s been decided yet, but that’s essentially where we’ll be living.  Oh, and is it becoming clear that two tech-lovers like us are perfectly suited to living in this area?  Our cup literally overfloweth with potential job opportunities for the future.  Seriously – can’t beat that!  And as I told my parents, if you want to design cars – eventually you have to move to Detroit.  This is the same exact thing.  Only, if you want to work in the tech industry, eventually you have to live in the Valley.  It’s that simple.

What about your job, L-blogger?  Oh, I almost forgot to mention this!  Fortunately, I work from home anyway and my company is based in Silicon Valley as well so if anything it’s actually helping my career and not hurting it!  Their collective response when I said I was moving down to California was, “Great!  Now we can see you more often!”  I mean, really, we never would have been able to do this if I weren’t already gainfully employed going into living in California. I wasn’t gainfully employed when we moved to Oregon 4 years ago and that was so difficult.  I actively left a job in the summer of 2008 only to have the economy tank about 6 weeks later and ruin all chances of me getting a job for another year and a half!  Hence, the blog began!  The other nice thing is that I have some pretty great banner companies in my background and a TON of associates down in the bay, so I’m geared up to keep both of us gainfully employed at least for the foreseeable future – we make a pretty good team, no?

But California/Silicon Valley/San Francisco is so expensive!!  Whoa, buddy, don’t we know!  It’ll be a challenge – seriously, we know!  We both know that we won’t be able to rent (much less buy) a 1900 square foot house with four bedrooms (which is what we currently have).  We also know that we’ll probably have to sell, donate or give away a good portion of our things or put them in storage for a few years until we can find a place to keep all of it.  We know taxes will be a pain (actually, lower than Oregon in some cases if you can believe that).  We know that our lives will essentially be tethered to our jobs and in the short term much of our other favorite hobby of traveling will probably go by the wayside while we settle into our new routine.  We know ALL of these things.  And we’re up for the challenge!  We’ve both been saying recently that the house we purchased was too big anyway and we really could live with a lot less.  We don’t need four bedrooms for just two people and a pup.  So, yes, we know that living in California will be a challenge in so many ways and a significant change to our lifestyle.  But we also know that there is no better time for us to take on this challenge.  Before we have kids and before we get too attached to Portland (oh, it’s SO easy!), we gotta try out this adventure before we’re unwilling to have any adventures anymore.

Can we come visit/stay with you??  For the  short term (at least the  next 6 months), the answer is going to have to be a pretty disappointing no.  In other words:

While we would love to have visitors, our lives are going to be going full-tilt  with us splitting time between Oregon and California (and becoming intimately acquainted with highway I-5 and the Bay area airports) that it’s just not feasible for us to have guests in Oregon OR in California.  Also, whenever Dr. J and I will be together will be pretty rare and precious, so we gotta focus on that when we can since we are going to be living essentially separate lives for the near term.  Le sigh….  We’ve also been the “Tell’er All About It B&B” for the past few years and it’s honestly been a real struggle for us (seriously, 17 weekend guests last year out of 22 weeks – OHMYGOD!).  Not that we don’t love having people over – we most certainly do!  But until we get situated we just can’t have people stay with us.  But if you’re in town staying at a hotel nearby, let us know!  We’ll gladly come visit you!

Well, that’s about all I can tell you in a nutshell (Help!  I’m in a nutshell!).  Regardless, if you have any other questions, please feel free to share in the comments below and I’ll do my best to address everything in an upcoming post or in the comments directly.  It’s a pretty big move for us (not as big as it was four years ago, but still…).  Definitely life changing, to be sure!  It’s nerve racking, exciting, scary, stupendous and a whole lot of other words I can’t think about right now!  Stay tuned!