Home Shopping, Part 1

Over the course of our four-day visit to the Portland area, we visited many homes. Some old, some new. Some nice, some not so nice. We didn’t leave with a decision, and actually, didn’t even really hone in on a particular area. The good news is that there are a lot of areas that seemed interesting to live in and a lot of homes where we could see ourselves. It’s beautiful here (have I said that before? haha.), so easy to find things to love about almost all the neighborhoods.

Here’s where we struggle:

Buying a house when you have kids is HARD. It adds a whole ‘nother layer to the process – you have to find the right area, the right home AND the right schools. Luckily, it seems the Portland area has some pretty excellent elementary schools – so we’ll be set for the next six years. The perfectionist in me wants to find an area where elementary, middle and high schools are all rated outstanding. The rationale side of me is saying ‘you won’t need high school for 10 years – things could change. Satisfactory ratings are fine.’ And then my gut is telling me that school is really what the child and family put into it, so as long as you don’t purposefully choose one ‘in need of improvement’, everything will be fine. Besides, Kenny’s super smart, so I have every confidence he’ll breeze through Math and Science homework with the kids and help them learn no matter where they go. Haha.

Another part of the struggle is that we’ve lived in our current home for over seven years and really haven’t checked the real estate market since. Living here has taught us what we don’t want in our new home (i.e. that special old home “charm”), but we really have no clue what we DO want in terms of amenities. Our list is pretty much: we want to walk in and live there. Maybe we’ll paint. Just maybe. (Our current house drove the fixer upper lust right out of our systems. Sure, they can be a better deal and you can make them your own. But we really want to wake up on Saturdays and not worry about parging the basement walls or updating the bathroom, so I am perfectly happy walking into a beige house where all of the design decision making has been done for me. For now. Haha.)

And finally, things have changed. A lot. For instance, new homes now come with things like a central vacuum. It’s a nifty little invention that enables you to carry a lightweight vacuum and tube around your home, and you just plug it in to various outlets around your house. The thought of not having to lug my Dyson Animal around the house is appealing to me, but it probably shouldn’t be a deciding factor on where we live, right? Some of the really new homes come with solar panels. Again, appealing, but probably not a decision making factor. And while the new homes come with these intriguing things, most have no yard. Literally like a patch of grass that allows you to shimmy along the rear of your house with, uh, your rear actually dragging along the siding.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. When we move, we’ll settle into some lovely corporate housing and really turn up the heat on finding our house. We’ve set a goal to be in our new home by the time we head East for the holidays.

We’re home? We’re here? We’re here. It will be home later.

That wasn’t a wind gust you had on Friday, September 23, folks. It was Kenny breathing quite possibly the biggest sigh of relief since older brother discovered that Mikey really liked Life cereal.
Judging by the gorgeousness I saw from the airplane alone, I can safely say I think I am gonna like it here. I have never seen such beauty. Snow-covered Mountains! Valleys! Lakes! Clouds! Volcano! Farms! Evergreens as far as the eye can see! Are you picturing it? (Yea. I know. Lame attempt at me trying to make up for the fact that I now have zero pictures from the trip to share.)
The kids’ reaction: “Where we goin’ next?” Poor things had been on so many planes and in so many cities, it was just a subconscious reaction at that point.
Rounding out my first impressions from the air: The first thing I saw when leaving the airport was HomeGoods. Literally. Nothing’s ever bad when there’s a HomeGoods nearby, right?

PHL > ORD > PHX > PDX

We got to put the stress of house selling aside for a few days. First ever visit to Portland for me and the kids – woooooo hoooooo!

We connected in Chicago and had breakfast at Chili’s. Who knew Chili’s in the airport would serve breakfast? And yes, our tortilla-chip-fanatical kids caught a peek at some folks having salsa and chips for breakfast. And yes, that means we got some, too. Don’t judge. It’s always time for Chili’s salsa.

We then connected in Phoenix. And had ice cream for lunch. Listen, folks – this was a mini-vacation!

Finally, after seeing two-thirds of the country from an airplane window over the course of a full day, Oregon was in sight. And it was stunning. Snow-capped mountains, evergreen trees, lakes. I think this is gonna be good. It’s gonna work out.

It only took 12 hours to get there. (Don’t panic future, visitors – that’s not the norm!)

P.S. I killed my computer. And sadly hadn’t yet backed up my Portland pictures.