New Year, New Beginnings

Cole and his buddy Spike pooped out on New Years Eve

Cole and I rang in the New Year with a very small group of friends at home. We ate pizza and played games while the dogs played games of their own. We called it a night shortly after watching the ball drop. It was a wonderful, impromptu, low-key night and exactly what the doctor ordered after my rough end to the year. Since my apartment lease was up for renewal just around the time the new hotel next door was nearing completion, I decided to look around town and see what else was out there. It didn’t take long at all to find a super cute studio apartment in Northwest Portland near all my favorite shops and restaurants. Since the place I was living at was unwilling to negotiate the rent increase and the place was running such a great deal on rent, I put in my notice and spent the next month or so preparing to downsize before the move. I sold a lot more things including my couch, coffee table, end table, dresser, and several pieces of art.

Cole on moving day

Unfortunately, this is right about the time my old back issues stopped in for a visit not just once, but three times within the month. I began to worry that I might be approaching the need for another back surgery, after all, it had been 13 years since my last one. Luckily, a round of oral steroids seemed to do the trick and I was able to productively participate in my own move last week, with the help of my amazing friends! The move itself started off a little rocky: there were significant issues picking up the U-Haul (note to all of you out there: don’t opt for the “self-pickup” at the U-Haul on NW Quimby St in Portland, Oregon). I also was blessed with the pleasure of getting stuck at the train crossing both coming and going. To add to it, my IKEA bed frame did not want to come apart and since it would not fit in the elevator, my poor friends had to finagle it down three flights of steps. In the essence of efficiency, I had ordered pizza and beer earlier in the day to be delivered to the new place at 8pm but the delivery person came early and called me while we were stuck at the train crossing so she had to wait a bit for us to get there, hence we enjoyed warmish pizza and slightly warmer than optimal beer. After that, things went much smoother and the unloading went pretty quick. We all hung out drinking beer and cider in the new place until around 11pm or so before everyone went their own ways. After returning the U-Haul, and taking Cole for a quick walk, I fell fast asleep in my new place. The next day I unpacked, hung pictures, and recycled my moving boxes in less than three hours. It quickly felt like home and I was immediately happy with my decision to relocate and downsize.

Great light in the new place!

Now being car-less and a couple miles from work instead of right across the street, I have become a public transit commuter and with that brings all sorts of new adventures in Portland. This past week of commuting to work has gone fairly well. The morning commute is pretty quick and painless but for some reason, the commute home seems to take longer than it should. One night after work, I missed the streetcar by about 10 seconds which was super frustrating and Thursday night the streetcar had to shut down at one point due to a malfunction in the rails at an interchange section leaving me to hoof it on foot a good deal of the rest of the way home. One morning after I got off the streetcar to work, a saw a car blow through an intersection downtown and narrowly miss getting hit by the Max (light rail) by a mere second or two. That would have been a disaster for so many people! 

Cole’s new comfy dog bed

I took Cole to Wallace Park last weekend to check out the dog park and to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood. As expected, Cole played hard with the big dogs. He ran around and around for about an hour or so until he appeared to be tired and ready to go home. Unfortunately, as soon as we left and began walking home, it became clear he was moving slower than usual. Once we got home, I could easily see that he was limping and by the end of the night, he appeared to not want to put much pressure on his left, back leg at all. I got him in for an appointment on Tuesday morning with his vet and the diagnosis was fairly good: just a strained muscle. He was prescribed five days of anti-inflammatories and appears to be doing well now but still needs an x-ray during his next dental cleaning appointment in April to see if anything more serious is going on and/or if we need to adjust his activity level, in case the x-rays show arthritis. It’s hard for me to believe Cole is a senior pug, he’s always been so active and athletic. I guess time catches up with everyone but part of me hoped he would somehow just live forever.  Today I picked up a nice plush and cushy dog bed for him so if he doesn’t want to jump up on the furniture, he can comfortably rest at floor level. I’m also going to look into getting some steps for him to use to get on the bed. The hardwood floors in the new place are a bit slick for him and several times now he’s failed to land in bed with his running jump starts, definitely not good for his aging body. Nonetheless, we will adjust to the demands his aging body requires and will find a way to keep the adventures going as long as he is comfortable doing so.

Soon, spring will be here and we’re looking forward to all the blooming flowers and photo opportunities they present. Until then, Cole and I are holding up in our beautiful new space with great books, food, music, and wine to pass the time. Be sure to check out my new Oregon travel blog and Etsy shop when you have time, I’ll be updating both soon in the coming weeks! 

Kristin Roosmalen Photography on Etsy

“Thinking “here goes nothing” could be the start of everything.”

~ Drew Wagner~

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