If you had told me a year ago that I would own a house now, I would have laughed at you. A year ago, I was working something like 6-7 part-time jobs just to make ends meet. But, I was at the end of my rope. Mentally and emotionally, I was frayed and fractured and I needed a change. Two things happened: I took a real assessment of what my future looked like and decided, 1. I was not going to pursue a Master's degree, and 2. It was time to get a full-time job.
My best friend had been working at a local jewelry store for some time and mentioned that they had let someone go and she had been promoted to manager. I coyly asked her, "so....does that mean you're hiring someone to fill your position?" She quickly responded, jokingly asking if I was interested. When I said yes, she told me I'd better not be jerking her chain. By the end of April, I had a new job. I thought it would be part time, but they quickly increased my hours to full-time. I let my other jobs go--some quickly, some over the span of a month. By June, I was home free with one full-time job. As an artist, in Portland, that can often seem like some sort of miracle (obviously, I have had to sacrifice my time in the studio a bit, but more on that later).
Fast forward to August when a friend posted a house for sale on facebook. It was a 1 bedroom, 1 bath house in North Portland for $189K. I instantly thought, "What! There's still houses for that little?!" It sparked interested, and David and I started looking at our options--was it even possible for us? Turns out we had some work to do, paying down debt and getting affairs in order. (I'm aware this is an over-simplification of the facts, but you can always ask me details later.)
Now, I'm not going to tell you that the home-buying experience in Portland (especially for first time buyers) is all unicorns and rainbows. I feel like we barely got through it with our skin still intact (and I am still, weeks after closing, dreaming of a weekend I can spend lounging in hot springs). I'm just going to push through all the drama and heartache and craziness and yell....WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!
A home of our very own!
We are so excited. Sunday is moving day. We have spent the past couple weeks painting and packing and moving some stuff over (I can't wait to show off the transformation). The other day, I had multiple 'hot dates' with the electrician (to wire the garage so we can finish it to be my studio!), the pest control guy, the insurance inspector, and a rep from ADT. I cannot even tell you how good it feels to have a place of our very own, after 10 years of being together, where we get to really build our future.
As we leave our apartment this weekend, amidst all the joy, I admit to feeling some sadness. We've only been here for 3 years, but those three years were chock full of life changing experiences. When we moved in, this apartment was a desperately needed change after some difficult family trauma. It was a place to heal. It has allowed me to pursue my dream of finishing my degree, and Dave was able to pursue his interests in nutrition and weight-lifting. This apartment saw me through my thesis, sitting at this same table, looking out these same windows. When Sonya died, I stayed in bed for days. This apartment saw me through that grief, and the healing of building the exhibition pieces we had started together.
But slowly, the environment around us has started to erode my creativity and feeling of safety. About a year ago, I was sitting at my desk in the front room when there was a shooting right across the street. I have never hit the floor so fast in my life. I also don't think I have sat at that desk since. There have been multiple shootings in the neighborhood since, and I stopped going outside at night unless I really truly had to. That means no trips to the studio after dark, and rarely would I even feel comfortable walking around the neighborhood in the daytime. That may sound like some paranoia, but when shootings happen in mid-day, you take notice.
I am ready for our own space. I am ready to move forward into this new adventure of our lives. Keep your eyes peeled for before-and-after pictures, as well as studio renovation updates!