As I mentioned in the first part of this series (JUNE), the month of July was all about wrapping up my old life in California and making the big move back to Oregon. This post is more an album of memories for me and may or may not be of any interest to anyone else, though there are some connections to tiny houses scattered throughout. I’ve been having a hard time writing this since it is very bittersweet and emotionally complicated, so I’m just going to post it as is and get back to more of a focus on my tiny house with the next post.
An old-fashioned Fourth of July in Oregon
Wrapping up 25 years of work
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’ve “retired” from state service. I’ve worked at the Coastal Conservancy almost all of my adult life and it’s been like a family to me, taking me back when I’ve gone off on other adventures. I was involved in several very large, complex projects and it was no small task to transfer all that information to my replacement, not to mention cleaning out years of files. I went right down to the wire, even having to leave my first retirement party early to get everything done by the time I left. Though I don’t have any pictures from my Conservancy send-off, I was incredibly touched by everyone’s kindness and generosity.
While I worked in Oakland, most of my projects were centered in Santa Cruz County and the central coast of California. I was honored to get a proclamation from the board of supervisors, though I was just one of an incredibly stellar team that made these things happen.
Terrors of a long-distance hauler
I had planned to sell all my furniture, but since my parents have an unfurnished quasi-apartment in the barn that I am staying in while I finish my build, I decided to bring my stuff up rather than have to replace it all. This led to the tricky challenge of getting my couch on top of my car and making sure it was firmly attached. Jim was kind enough to help me with this but we were both a little concerned whether it would stay on.
I was just up for a couple nights, but one of the things I wanted to do was pick up my siding so I would have it for August. I’d been stressing about how to transport it on the hour and a half trip and decided to borrow my uncle’s truck and dad’s trailer. Still drained from the long drive the day before, I set off the next afternoon, the plan being to strap it horizontally across the top of the trailer. The cedar siding available at that time only came in 14′ lengths. This time I checked it more carefully to be sure it was dry. It was a big bundle on a forklift and they said they’d load it while I was inside paying. Each board is pretty light and for some reason I never really thought about how heavy 89 of them would be. When I came back out, the back rail on the gate was already bowing dangerously.
At that point I wasn’t sure what to do, so I strapped it on well and slowly drove off. Every little crack in the pavement I went over set the load lurching up and crashing down, further bowing the rail. As I got out on the highway, I had visions of the little pins and hinges on the trailer gate giving way and the entire load shooting off the back, causing massive pile ups and mayhem. Fortunately there was horrible traffic so I crept along, sweating bullets and feeling terrible about what I was doing to my dad’s trailer.
Quelling panic, I found myself behind a big, black pickup truck that had a bumper sticker that said “Cowboy up or stay home”. So I cowgirled up and put pedal to the metal. Made it back with no tragedies other than a busted trailer and adrenaline shakes (some cowgirl I am).
Saying good-bye to California
My last week in the Bay Area was a flurry of visitors, celebrating, and final cleaning and packing. Here are a few highlights:
And so closed the California chapter of my life and a new one began.
To be continued… (AUGUST)