After staying in hotels for a week and hearing the sound of our bank account slowly being drained competing with the sound of hi-cool A/C, we had a place to live. Portland was in the middle of a heat wave, temperatures over 100° during the day and not dropping much below 80° at night. Lazlo didn’t understand why we were watching a lot of TV in the hotel room and not outside chasing tree-kitties (a new code word for squirrels).
Sunday morning we repacked the Jeep for the last time, tied the painting and the ironing board on top and headed to the dog park near our new apartment to wait until noon to meet the apt. manager.
At 11:30 she called and said they were in Seaside and could we meet them at 5:00 instead. Oh sure, heat wave and all, we’d love to spend 5 more hours outside with our dog waiting for you. (Luckily our friend Amber was home and gracious enough to let us come visit her for a few hours.)
Sunday evening we moved in. The heat was indescribable, but I will attempt: I felt like I was on a tropical vacation. Only with the sound of traffic. We’d brought a tiny incompetent oscillating fan with us and the heat was mocking it. Keith and I both easily lost 5 lbs that night sweating. And poor Lazlo was panting all night, giving us the illusion of a Magic Fingers® bed. All over the radio they were saying every store was completely sold out of fans and air conditioners, don't even try. Here we were on a Sunday night/Monday morning, coming a little late to the heat wave preparation game, but hoping against all odds to find something to make it bearable to sleep without resorting to sleeping in a bathtub filled with ice cubes.
The hazards of living near a construction site. Ugh. Oh well, it’s pleasantly cool at that time of day and I wasn’t sleeping for more than 30 minutes at a time anyway. Time to get up.
After some research on the laptop courtesy of our local coffee shop on the bottom floor of our building, we were lucky enough to buy one of three air conditioners left in the city. We spent a couple of hours putting it in the bedroom window, put up curtains and pulled the shades and waited for sweet cool air. It didn’t take long for Lazlo to get the idea. Last night was a great night of sleep. Keith even chastised me for covering up with a blanket.
We justified the cost, and the idea that we were going against our new motto of Live Simply, by saying that there is no way we could leave Lazlo alone in our apartment on the 4th floor during any kind of heat once I go to work in a couple weeks. The poor little guy was experiencing heat exhaustion from one night and didn’t eat and barely drank the whole next day. So we are good pet parents, and I admit I love sleeping without constantly turning over to expose new sweat to the breeze of the fan. Nature’s cooling mechanism works OK, but A/C works great.
We made a trip to the library, which was like Mecca to me. Three giant floors of so many books. I checked out six and helped Keith find a couple. Also, learned how to operate the self-checkout! City living!
Today Keith went back to work and I walked to the DMV to get an Oregon registration and a driver’s license. After a few tense moments, I passed the “written”/computerized exam and had my very own appallingly bad driver’s license photo on file with the state of Oregon. “Register to vote?” Yes. “Be listed as an organ donor?” Yes. Then I walked to get a parking permit for the Jeep, ate lunch, took Lazlo for a walk, walked to Goodwill for a lamp and a trashcan, came back to the apartment and read, took a nap, and now I’m downstairs using wifi. I have no idea what I will do for the next few weeks until my job starts. Read a lot, take a lot of walks with Lazlo. But I am so glad to live somewhere where most things I need to do are within walking distance. Even the DMV, a good 20 or 30 blocks from here, was not a bad walk. And I got to know Portland a little better. My legs and feet are sore and that’s, as Martha Stewart would say because you know how I love to quote Martha, a Good Thing.