Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our New House... with Reflectors!

In the process of designing business cards for Welcome Home Girlfriend, one of my friends wrote under my name “Owner/Visionary”.

Wow… I liked that. Visionary.

Vision is something that has entrenched my being to such a degree, that it is actually hard to see things the way they really are…I default to what they could become.

I actually have to clip my mind, so to speak, to see things the way most people see them, often, the way my husband, Darrell, sees them. Realistically.

Now that we had agreed to purchase the Mobile home, my visionary mind wanted to take over. Once I can get accurate dimensions, a ‘feel’ for the rooms, traffic flow, sunrise/sunset, breadth and width my mind begins to chug like an old steam engine. Maybe a steam engine and a humming bird combined. The humming bird part of my mind is fluttering up, down, back and forth, in and out, to see how things could connect. The steam engine is the power that builds gradually to make it happen.

Asking permission, I went out to the mobile home several times to walk through and absorb the soon to come new environment. I became excited that it WOULD work on this beautiful piece of land. A compromise to fulfill a dream. An affordable reality.

The move actually took place in May. I was surprised at how many permits were required to move a house. The land finally had a driveway, a flat graveled spot and hook ups for water and septic tank. We were ready.

Now in my mind, a good time would have been to move it early on a Saturday or a Sunday morning. I have long forgotten which day of the week this took place, but I DO remember it was a week day at 3:00 in the afternoon… up 205 from Stafford, up Holly Lane, very slowly with all the traffic of people coming home from work. I wanted to walk up to each car window (since it was that slow) and apologize for the move at rush hour. This was long before the 213 expressway so most traffic went up Holly Lane. Not a good way to meet and greet your new neighbors. I suspected they would know and remember who we were.

In all my excitement and vision, I finally stepped back to see what we were contributing to the manicured country drive… a white trailer with yellow metal trim, flat curved roof, red and yellow reflectors and mini metal doors. Hmmm…we were really going to have to work to create a home that would ‘fit in’, but I had ideas!

We placed the home facing east to capture the majesty of Mt. Hood. The only problem was that it placed the original front door at the back of the house at a 6’ drop-off with no deck or stairs. The ‘front’ door of the future was actually the original back door that entered into the laundry room. Some restructuring was in order but we found that with mobile homes, because the exterior is built first, then the flooring is laid, THEN the walls are added, it was similar to moving a wall in a house of Legos.

The original laundry room became the Front Entry Hall and the laundry room found a new home right outside the original front door.

The first summer was beyond delight for the children. Running through fields of grass towering over their heads. Fruit trees with fresh apples, big cows with big eyes stretching their head through the fence to eat our grass, because it was greener! Climbing trees, importing friends from the city, no cars, no traffic, no hassles… just the sweet smelling country, at last.

We captured a picture of Mindy and Tori reflecting on the wonder of their new home while sitting on the front steps. A picture I will always treasure.

We were living in the country.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

We're Moving to the End of the Oregon Trail

"Welcome Home Girlfriend" is a dream that I have had for nearly two decades. I gathered information, pictures, ideas, dreams and visions putting them all in 3-ring binders organized with tabs for easy reference.

I was serious. The binders grew with my collections of ideas but the reality of it ever happening seemed rather bleak.

At the time, we lived in a 1969 mobile home (not manufactured but one step up from a 'trailer'). It was a way for us to move to the country into affordable housing.

Moving to the country was a miracle in itself. Our home in the city was financed with a Veterans loan and in order to move, we had to find a house with an additional bedroom because we had 5 children.

The houses that had 5 bedrooms, even the most modest were always out of our price range. It was Darrell's dream to move to the country, so I believed there would be something that would work.

My father called and said he thought he found a 5 bedroom home and I should take a look. Daddy wasn't one to get involved with our personal lives, so this intrigued me and I affirmed my interest. He wouldn't tell me anything more than it had 5 bedrooms and followed with a chuckle. Ponder.

Without telling us where we were going, Darrell and I, all the kids and Mother & Daddy started out on the hunt. Much to my surprise, we ended up in a beautiful neighborhood off Stafford Road ... a classy area south of Portland.

This increased my hopes, but my Dad, being very frugal, I knew to 'keep a lid on it'! We turned in a long driveway to a modest millionaire home and I am thinking "Amazing"!!! How is this going to work.

The home turned out to be an old friend of his whom he had gone to grade school with in Broadbent, Oregon. The gentlemen was a genius that had not even completed his grade school education because of family needs. But he never stopped learning and inventing.

It turned out that he had invented the air breaks and air drill used by dentists. This may not be exactly right, but close enough. His inventions had provided a prosperous life and now he and his wife were living in their dream house.

Out back...

under some fir trees...

covered with moss...

was a 5 bedroom home. Mobile home.

I must say, the preparation I had done to keep myself from being disappointed didn't prepare me for this. I do believe in a 'half-full' outlook, so I purposed to have an open mind.

With 5 children and another one on the way, function must become the priority. As we walked into the Avocado Dream kitchen, I had to admit, I think it would work. It actually had 5 bedrooms. Three in the double wide section and a pull-up add on with two additional bedrooms.

It could work.

My job now was to find land where the home could be moved. We wanted to be in Oregon City, close to my sister and close to so many historical houses which I had ALWAYS loved.

I found 5 different pieces of property that were possibilities. Each would require a septic tank and a well which made the actual cost somewhat unknown.

My father's friend wanted to go on a tour to see what I had found since he was eager to get the mobile off the property after sitting there for several years... empty, under the trees, in the pasture.

We looked at all the different properties and he wasn't impressed. He asked me if there was anything else... Hmmm... yes, there was another one.

It reminded me of when Saul, in the Bible, came looking for David to crown him King. After looking at all the brothers, he asked if there was someone else...yes, the ruddy little brother out in the field. But he was the one that God wanted for king.

There was a piece of property at the top of Holly Lane that when I drove by, I would slow down, as slow as possible and just look. There was a big had painted sign on the land. "Septic In, City Water, $40,000"

It was breathtaking! A view of Mt. Hood, Mt. St Helens (when it was bigger) and Mt. Rainer. Sloping green grassy field, old apple orchard, spectacular view of green pastures on rolling hills... heavenly.

After driving by many times, I actually drove into the field and walked the land. It was SO beautiful and smelled so sweet. Again, keep a lid on it... it was not possible or within our price range.

Our ‘benefactor’ asked me to take him to the last piece of property. It was a ‘baited-breath’ moment. (Yes, I know bated-breath, but for me it was baited!)

We drove into the field and I parked the car, paused and turned off the engine…and waited. He suggested we get out and walk around, sounded okay to me!

He walked with his hands in his pocket with his suit jacket flapping in the breeze.

Now to keep the visual, although he was a millionaire, his brown suit jacket seldom matched his brown plaid pants. He did not display the ‘classy’ sophisticated look, but his heart was of gold and he loved to share with others and help their dreams come true. As he walked around, he kept muttering “Uh-huh, uh-huh.”

My mind was racing with hope. It was a warm day in March as we walked through the field and paused by one of the old apple trees in the lower orchard.

He looked at me, put his hand on his unshaved face and muttered… “I want you to have it!, Yes, I want you to have it! I will work out the details and we can move the house here.”

Even as I type, my eyes fill with tears at the wonder. The mercy. The grace. Amazing! In my heart/mind I was doing twirls like Julie Andrew in the opening scene of Sound of Music. Amazing.

We were going to live on the most beautiful piece of property in Oregon City.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Checking off a goal for the day!

My goal for today was to create a blog for "Welcome Home Girlfriend". I do believe I have accomplished my goal.
Still much to learn~