Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday five: "A year of travel is so much better than STUFF."

We've had the opportunity to share our "purging" story with quite a few folks so far.  Some we've met recently; many came through our apartment during our weekend pre-sale almost a month ago, our subsequent public sale the following weekend, or our final "prices slashed, please please please - just take it away!" two chaotic weeks before leaving.  Everyone who's asked has been intrigued and supportive of our plan; one of the best responses to our story is the subject of this post.

The purging itself isn't really much of a story though.  Small bits and pieces involving emotional attachment were stored with family and friends (thank you, you know who you are!); the rest was sold, given away or as a very last resort, trashed.  But five moments definitely stuck out in our minds as we reflected on the insanity of the process.  In no particular order, they include...
  • The first hour of our pre-sale when a friend's son bought Patrick's computer table and another friend bought his armoire.  These triggered momentary panic attacks of "um, where do I put my stuff?"... coupled with "um... this just got really real".
  • The second hour of our pre-sale when a friend's son fell in love with Clarence Jr. and took him home. 
 Clarence Jr and Penguin - BFF 
(he also took home Crabby, now known as Will.I.Am.)
  • The second-to-last day of our purge when a couple excitedly bought our bulletin board with map and pins intact, and promised to chart their own territory.
 $2 for the board and map
make your own dream: priceless
  • The last day of our purge when Mike came through on the couch.  Two people had just flaked on the bed - our only other remaining big piece of furniture - at the eleventh hour.  We ended up strapping it to Patrick's Subaru and donating it to Community Warehouse and we were very worried that we'd have to do the same with the couch (it wouldn't have been pretty).  Mike not only came through with the money and the on-time pickup, he also offloaded several condiments and a couple of beers we would've otherwise had to trash.  Thank you, Mike.  Enjoy your worcestershire sauce.
  • The last hour of our purge.  A woman had emailed in response to a Craigs List ad looking for anything for her family's new apartment; their family lost their home a while back and they were finally able to move into their own place after struggling for seven months.  She trekked all the way from Beaverton and took the last of our dishes, pots/pans, random cleaning products and anything else we wanted to give her.  Her gratitude was overwhelming. 
And so we were left with an almost-empty apartment, a truckload of personal possessions, and a general plan... in other words, a will and a way.

the end before the beginning

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Belated Friday five: Portland lasts.

We thought it would be fitting to spend our last week in Portland enjoying the worldly food goodness our fine city has to offer.  (At free and happy hour prices, of course.  Money - or lack of incoming money going forward - has been a topic of late.  We have planned well, but we know that if anything, it's the unknowns that will get us.)

Anyway.  And so, in chronological order...

  • Monday: An anniversary of sorts so we splurged a little and went to Swagat for their lunch buffet.  Yes, a $9.95 buffet has now become a splurge.  In other news, we didn't really need to eat again until breakfast...
 curries and lentils and naan, oh my
  • Tuesday: Yuki for Jen's favorite sushi roll ever made (in Portland).  Crispy spicy tuna deep fried and served with their magic sauce... Oh and some other sushi too.
but first, Broadway Brewery for 
a cider and a hot tamale+raspberry wheat blend
(trust us, it's amazing)

all that matters is on the far right
and that sauce in the middle

  • Wednesday: Marrakesh for free, thanks to an unfair exchange for our banana stand (guess it's true?).  Delicious... but now we want to go to Morocco to complete the Pepsi challenge!
lentil soup, Moroccan salad
(not pictured: B'stilla Royale,
veggie delight and chicken with apricots,
almond cake with mint tea)

  • Friday: the Pacific Northwest's finest at Hawthorne Fish House.  You might note a lot of bread above, and you might recall that Jen is gluten free.  She didn't care this week.  But Hawthorne Fish House uses rice flour for all their fried foods, meaning Jen can eat most of it!  She shouldn't eat the deep fried cheese curds due to the cheese+grain issues, but let's face it... no one really should eat deep fried cheese curds.  And no one should order two servings of them, either.  Not that we did. 
(OK, maybe we did order two servings of the deep fried cheese curds)
  • Saturday: Wolf & Bear's falafel on top of our own refrigerator's greens, hummus, olives and veggies.  Best falafel on the east side, hands down.
 it's been around the corner from us for years
why did we not go there every day?

Tomorrow starts the routine of oatmeal, road snacks and dinner via campfire for a few nights...  Heaven!  (Heaven is cold and rainy, right?)

Quote of the day: "Um, I have no idea where I'm going tomorrow when we leave town, FYI."  Most likely we'll stay in Olympic National Park for a few nights before heading up to Victoria/Vancouver.  Let the fates decide!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

An open letter to my coworkers, past and present.

Hello... Jen here.  Have had something on my mind for a while now, and I just updated my LinkedIn profile so the timing seems right for this post.

Our April departure decision was a bit sudden due to numerous stars aligning, karma working its magic, and various other surreal-yet-real personal factors.  I recently moved into a new position at work that I've really been enjoying so the decision was a little bittersweet.  But I've said it before and I'll keep saying it - when stars and karma and surreality talk, I listen. 

Over the past 15 years I have had many roles, many managers, and many learning experiences.  My first "real" job out of college started out as a three week temp gig while I looked for long-term employment in the Bay Area.  Nine years with the same department later, I had an amazing group of friends, some wonderful travel buddies, and loads of market research and project management under my belt.

my going away party was pirate-themed ~
how awesome is that?

My second job, hands down the hardest job I will ever have, was definitely a case of stars aligning.  I learned how to be unbelievably flexible, how to manage people (zero to six staff overnight will do that for you), how to get the right people in the room to make decisions and trust that the right things will happen as a result... and I also learned a lot about my limits.  A very important lesson I'm grateful for every day.

signed by the hardest working people I have ever known

My third job, which has subtly turned in to my fourth, fifth and sixth jobs, has been a great experience as well.  I've had to hold my own in conversations with some brilliant minds, I've learned how to predict the future (give or take a month or six), and I've herded a lot of really funny, inspiring cats.   
you cats know who you are

I have no idea what this travel adventure will bring and I have no idea what life has in store for me when we return to Portland.

a police officer?
an astronaut? a professional soccer player?

But what we're embarking upon requires all of the skills I've collected over the years. Whether you know it or not, each of you helped me get to this point.

And so I happily thank you all.

I'm sure this means a lot to you as you read this over your lunch hour while I'm preparing to traipse off to who-knows-where... but please just know that it means a lot to me.

(I know what you're thinking - CAN WE JUST LEAVE AND START POSTING TRIP NARRATIVES ALREADY??!  SHEESH!!  Rest assured, we feel the same way...  But first we have some gratitude issues to deal with.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One last time...

In less than two weeks we will be on our way to Canada (and so on, and so forth).  We're definitely in a spending lockdown right now but we do have a small list of "lasts" we want to do in the next 10 days... Powell's and the Aladdin Theater aside, of course.

Three restaurants and cafes to enjoy one last time:
- Hawthorne Fish House for gluten free happy hour
- Rimsky-Korsakoffee House for a final taste of Portlandia
- Yuki for the best sushi this side of town

Three last Portland experiences: 
- last run through Laurelhurst Park
- last brewpub moviehouse (fingers crossed for a 2 for 1 Tuesday at the Academy)
- last free coffee from New Deal Cafe, courtesy of countless Laurelhurst Theater ticket stubs

So many more options, so little budget and time.  Portland people, what would be on your list of lasts?