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Tag Archives: moving

From Rome to Home 

25 Feb
25 February 2017. Moving is tough on every level. It’s non-stop labor, a constant stream of decisions to make, and an endless outpouring of money. After almost four months of transition, we have made the final move and are permanently installed in our new house in Lincoln City, Oregon (population about 8600). The kitchen is assembled, new flooring installed, walls are freshly painted, and we’ve slept here eight nights. The new shower is almost done. Maybe by Wednesday. We have a few boxes remaining and the office and guest room to organize plus artwork to hang.
Janie has settled in nicely.

Janie has settled in nicely.

Not surprisingly, we have some observations and musings about our move and new town.
Traffic Jam. Heavy traffic in Lincoln City in winter consists of more than three cars stopped at a red light. That will change when the tourists arrive in the summer, and traffic is a bit heavier on weekends even now, but what a pleasure it is to drive with virtually no traffic! We drive 28 miles to get to the “big town” of Newport (population 10,268) to shop at Fred Meyer, but considering it can take me an hour to go 10 miles from Beaverton to the East side of Portland to meet friends for dinner, the 40 minutes zipping along with a view of the Pacific Ocean makes me happy.
The shower in the master is not quite ready to use.

The shower in the master is not quite ready to use.

People are very trusting, Part I. There was no key to our mailbox in the development (14 households on our cul-de-sac), so we stopped by the Lincoln City Post Office and filed a request with the very friendly clerk. He said we’d get a call when the delivery person had changed the lock. No ID requested, no proof of residence. Huh. A week later we went back as we had not received a call. The key was there and another clerk simply handed it to us. No ID, no proof of residence required.
People are very trusting, Part II. We contacted a handyman service to get some help with furniture assembly (we cut a swath through IKEA to furnish the place), installing some fixtures, and getting the place cleaned after all the renovation work. A cleaning crew was dispatched and two strapping lads spent 3 days doing our punch list of tasks. The owner of the company simply emailed us an invoice. Never met us, never asked for a credit card nor a deposit. They did a great job.
The living room is waiting for a nice easy chair that will arrive in April.

The living room is waiting for a nice easy chair that will arrive in April.

Amazon and UPS instead of a moving van. On the occasion of my retirement in 2015, the government shipped back 1100 pounds of things we could not part with. It’s been sitting in storage in Portland. Artwork, precious family items, and model trains make a household complete, but you can’t sit on them nor eat off them. We also had a few boxes shipped from Italy at great expense; mostly clothes, some household items we cherished and could not replace.
The media room is missing a sofa, also arriving in April. Janie loves to sleep in the recliner, though.

The media room is missing a sofa, also arriving in April. Janie loves to sleep in the recliner, though.

Moving in we did not have the proverbial pot to pee in much less a bed to sleep in. (The house did come with two big screen TVs, however.) After the big IKEA sweep, I hit online shopping hard: Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, Potterybarn, Lands’ End, and especially Amazon. Most have free shipping if you buy enough stuff, or in the case of Amazon, have a Prime membership. We’ve always felt Prime was a good deal, but that $99 per year really paid off as FedEx, UPS, and the USPS dropped off a steady stream of Amazon boxes at our door. One single order was north of $2100.00 and the shipping charge was $1.00. I have not been able to figure out which product was the culprit as there were so many items in the order. We did not have to pack the stuff, we did not have to hire a moving van, but we had to unwrap a mountain of boxes. North Lincoln County Recycling has been very helpful moving that cardboard out.
The guys doing the flooring ran out of materials in our office so we had to wait a few extra days to finish setting it up.

The guys doing the flooring ran out of materials in our office so we had to wait a few extra days to finish setting it up.

Janie has adapted beautifully. She had been a bit of a pain-in-the-ass at Derek’s: very clingy, insisting on climbing on my pillow and sleeping on my head, waking me up with her twitching tail. We had to lock her out many nights just to get a few hours uninterrupted sleep. Upon arrival at the new house, she is back to her old sweet self. She fully explored the house her first day here and seems to understand this is her permanent place. She found cozy napping spots and has slept peacefully on the bed allowing us a full 8 hours or more each of the past few nights. And it is so quiet here! No motorini roaring past, not even barking dogs, and since our house has radiant in-floor heating, not even the gentle whoosh of a furnace. When it is clear, the stars look close enough to touch.
There is a lot of exploring to do. We’ve been non-stop on moving and settling in since February 8 and the weather has not been conducive to walks on the beach nor hikes in the woods. Today we finally had a chance to take a walk in the hills behind us and enjoy some sunshine and brisk (45F/7C) fresh air. It was our first real walk in three weeks.
We have come a long way from Rome, literally and figuratively, but we really feel at home here.
Now for a shameless plug: If you know of anyone traveling to Italy, please recommend they check out my book at Amazon. Walking in Italy’s Val Gardena is available worldwide in print and Kindle format.  I will be blogging more over at Project Easy Hiker if you would care to follow me.
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Stuff

2 Oct
1 October 2016. What to do with our stuff? Uncle Sam is not paying for this move, although he graciously shipped what little we declared precious-to-us upon our retirement. We did not want to pay for 18 months of storage for things easily replaced so we only shipped only 1100 pounds back to Portland. (For reference, when we moved to Roma, we shipped 11,000 pounds of household goods.) We have no furniture in storage and few household goods. Stored for our return are artwork, Ric’s collectible trains, some family crystal and other memorabilia, a few books. Not much more. We sold a lot of stuff when we moved from the embassy apartment to our own place on Via Ruggero Fauro.
My guardaroba or wardrobe. Much better than a closet.

My guardaroba or wardrobe. Much better than a closet.

We took a few pieces of furniture to our mostly-furnished retirement rental, but nothing worth shipping across the ocean. As most American homes come with closets, our guardarobe (which we LOVE) are unnecessary.
We had hoped to keep a few more things and ship them back, especially two 8’x10′ carpets we love. However, shipping is a very expensive prospect. After receiving a bid on sending back the rugs, clothes, pots and pans, and this-and-that, we decided it would be far more fun to spend that much cash on buying new than sending old. It was a crazy amount of money.
This is the first pass at clearing out. The JNRC will receive it all.

This is the first pass at clearing out. The JNRC will receive it all.

Our landlady will take some furnishings that add value to the apartment for the next tenants (our European T.V., the guardarobe, a desk, lamps). Other items will go to the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center. They will take all the men’s clothes and shoes we can gather, my old and heavy sewing machine, some kitchen gear. Our Peruvian housekeeper is taking women’s clothes which her family in Peru is anxious to have. (This is a thing. Our doctor told us his mother and sister give their clothes to their foreign-born housekeepers, too.) What these sources won’t take will go to Roman recycling: the street, where the pickers will claim it in about 65 seconds. (See Changing House from May 2015.)
We are shipping things one 10-kilo box at a time through Mailboxes, Etc. The cost will be a fraction of that for shipping what we had hoped to send through the transfer company.
We will ship only clothes we love and that fit. We are not packing I-might-use-these tee-shirts or if-I-lose-five-pounds jeans. Only one pair of heels for me as I have worn heels about four times in the past 18 months. No sheets or towels (easily replaceable and pretty old anyway), no 15-year-old flatware, no toiletries except those we need for the trip home. I think Ric is down to owning three pairs of shoes instead of eight. I have a way to go on that front. Thinking about it, when we travel we pack only two pairs of shoes each, three bottoms, five-or-six tops, a couple of layering pieces, and a jacket, yet we manage for up to four weeks on the road. We don’t really need all that stuff in the wardrobe. The challenge is not getting caught up in replacing all of it. I sure could use some new pajamas, though. I haven’t bought new in about two years. I feel a Nordstrom order coming on….

Changing house

8 May
In Italian we say cambiamo casa: we are changing house versus the colloquial American “moving.” I like it. The Italian verb muovere is used for lots of things from “moved to tears” and taking legal action, to a dog wagging its tail, but never for the process of going to a new residence, hence changing house. Ric and I have been very busy changing house and thus there have been no posts to GoodDayRome and few to Our Weekly Pizza.
External view at Via di Villa Emiliani. You can see my head in the window to the left of the balcony.
External view at Via di Villa Emiliani. You can see my head in the window to the left of the balcony.
Some of you may not know, but we are retiring later this month and staying in Rome: the plan is to remain here for two years to travel and enjoy before returning to Portland, Oregon. We had to leave our lovely apartment on Via di Villa Emiliani because it was provided by the Embassy and a new diplomat is arriving soon. Last October we embarked on a search for new place (that alone will be a future subject as it was a process unlike in the U.S.) and May 2 we picked up the keys.
We have continued to shed stuff. We started to downsize in 2003 when we left our large home in Lake Oswego for condo life in NW Portland. We continued when we moved to Rome as our embassy-provided apartment was almost half the size of the condo. The new apartment is furnished, although we chose to bring a few pieces along, and as we will be paying to store anything we send back to the U.S., we wanted to send only those items we most cherish: Ric’s collectible trains, some family heirlooms, art, and so on. No sense paying storage for two years for a set of flatware that cost $130.00 10 years ago. We retained for use in Rome things that make us comfortable: our own linens, some kitchen utensils, wineglasses, espresso cups, our Nespresso machine (of course!) and so on. (The “furnished” rental apartment has two wineglasses. Seriously?)
 Our embassy community is a great outlet for selling furniture and we were able to unload sell almost everything we needed to: bed, desk, table and chairs, various cabinets, excess luggage, small appliances, etc. There are several churches involved in refugee relief and the local Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Within the Walls, was able to take some things and referred me to another large relief organization that picked up dishes and other kitchen items we no longer need. When we get back to Portland my 13-year-old plates can be replaced.
Then there are the things that it is hard to find a “home” for. They might be disposable or unwanted by us, but they might be treasures to someone else. A “garage sale” is unheard of, so we carefully set these items out by the curb to see if anyone would claim them. If they are still there in a couple of hours, we take the next step and put them in the trash. There are people who make a life out of “picking” and no doubt some of their treasures end up at Porta Portese, and there are neighbors who will claim a watering can, flowerpot or lamp.
The train tables-- two-of-four -- momentarily used to stack things before moving.
The train tables– two-of-four — momentarily used to stack things before moving.
Ric had some hobby tables he used for his trains. They fit in the category of things-not-worth-storing-for-two-years, so we set one out in the street one day, and voila! it was gone in less than two hours. So a few days later we set out another one. Whoosh! It vanished while we went to the market. There were still two left and we figured we’d use the same magic act to make them disappear; However, in talking to our portiere who was claiming some garage shelving we wanted to give away, Ric said we should ask him if he was interested in the other two hobby tables. So we invited Emilio up to see them. Oh yes, he wanted them! At his casa al mare he has three storage units and can use the shelving for beach umbrellas, chaise lounges, gardening equipment, and all the paraphernalia one has at a beach house. Or he can put them at his son’s house. But, he wondered, did we set one of these units out the other day? Because Emilio was the
Items left curbside are retrieved by people who can use them.
Items left curbside are retrieved by people who can use them.
person who claimed it off the curb! He is, in his own words, un conservatore, a person who keeps stuff.
Changing house in a city full of apartments with tiny elevators is fascinating. Balconies and windows become entry-and-exit points for boxes and furnishings. The team rolled in with a small truck (easy to maneuver in the narrow streets) and a lift vehicle that provided an outdoor elevator. In less than 4 1/2 hours they boxed or wrapped everything for the new apartment and loaded it on the truck. By 4:00PM they had everything inside the new one. At each end the portiere (building superintendent) supervised the process. A second morning was devoted to packing up the items for storage in the U.S. Click on any photo for a slideshow and larger view. 

 

So as I write this it is early Friday morning. We are still not completely unpacked. The bedroom and bath are organized, but the kitchen is still in boxes and while most of the electronics are hooked up, the guest-bedroom-office is a dumping ground to be sorted out. We have 10 days before the first guest arrives so we need to kick into high gear. And we still have 7 days of work left before we retire.
So we are establishing “Base Camp Barton” where the cats will reside while Ric and I travel, and many cat sitters have been lined up for the coming months. More later….
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