Fri 25 Aug 06

So, I feel good about our prospects now.

For the past few days our daily routine went something like this: wake up in the Super 8 Motel, walk the dogs along the Williamette River, score some free muffins/bagels/juice from the continental breakfast, spend a couple of hours in the hotel room puzzling over what to do with our day or where to look for housing while we wait for our checkout time, drive to the library and do Internet searches, make phone calls, I eat lunch of leftover bagels and Mary buys a sandwich at one of those trendy restaurants near the riverfront park, drive around the city some more and eventually realize that another day has gone by without any future home prospects, back to the Super 8.

It’s an awful feeling not to have a house of your own to come back to at night. Not to be able to cook breakfast for yourself in the morning or be able to lounge on your own couch. Not to have a place to leave your valuables or to leave your dogs unattended for a couple of hours.

It’s incredibly tough to rent a house in Corvallis with three dogs and no jobs. Particularly with three dogs. I suppose this would be a challenging task anywhere, but in a college town with skyrocketing property values our options really are in the single digits.

For the past two days we even talked a little about leaving Oregon and either trying a different city/state or going back to GR. Either that or lose a dog (a few apartment complexes here will take two dogs, but not three), not the happiest of propositions.

But, getting back to my opening sentence, we had a couple of developments today that have us thinking more positively. Firstly, I think we found a super-nice town house to rent a few miles outside of Corvallis (in Philomath). It’s not cheap, but it’s big, modern, available soon (early Sept) and will allow us to keep three dogs. Our application is in and our finances solid, so it should be a “go” assuming they don’t mind our current unemployment status.

Secondly, Mary got a call back about the job for the Corvallis School District and has an interview next week. It sounds like they have agood number of applicants, but I¬†know Mary interviews well and this would be a huge boost if it worked out (consistent income and benefits with a potential long-term employer). No pressure though. Either way it works out, it’s nice to know that we do have viable employment possibilities here.

Thirdly, we dropped off most of our belongings this afternoon at a temporary storage facility ($32/mo) until we’re able to move into permanent residence. I can’t even explani how nice it is not to be hauling around thousands of dollars worth of stuff in the back of the car anymore.

And this is all good, because I really want it to work here. The more I explore this city, the more I like it. I like the genuinely friendly people. I like the outdoorsy focus without the feeling of “we’re being outdoorsy because it’s cool.” I like walking into Safeway grocery store and finding an entire aisle of interesting and endemic wines. I like seeing mountains (small ones) as a city backdrop. I like bakeries that serve alcohol. I like that people bike to bars/pubs/restaurants to have a beer. I like that smoking is banned pretty much everywhere in the entire city (including bars!) I like all the green space. I like the free skate park under the freeway. I like fresh fish markets with fish on ice and organic food options in stores. I like the continuity of a city that rallies around a university and its sports without being too annoying about it (Go Beavers! I can’t wait for college football Saturdays here.)

Of course I know there will be plenty not to like. I know I’m not going to like all the rain in the winter. And I definitely don’t like the housing prices already. But, whatever, it already blows Grand Rapids away in terms of things that I personally need from a city.

Now I just want to be settled so I can start getting involved in everything this place has to offer.