Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I didn’t die. I moved to Oregon.

If you’ve been wondering why there haven’t been any blog updates, well, that’s the reason. Boom—I’m in Oregon now.

Rainy, rainy Oregon.

Even when it's sunny, it's rainy.

I don’t even know where to start with this, so I think we’ll go in sections.

The move itself
It seems like suspense and horror movies all have to do with ghost houses and ancient curses and impossibly brutal psychopathic killers. I think I could make a pretty convincing horror pic about the moving industry.

Oh sure, it seems simple enough.
My first mistake was outsourcing the choice of moving companies to my husband. I had a lot on my plate at the beginning of February, and I thought to myself “Here is a task that I can hand off to Brian. He can do the ‘man stuff’ (i.e., make all the phone calls), and I can work on actually packing up our home and finding a place for Blue. Everyone wins!”

But I’m going to let you in on a little secret. My husband is not very good at the internet. I work on the internet from sunup to sundown, so maybe my perspective is skewed on this, but it seems to me that there are some basic principles to be followed when one is using the web for research:

1. Use a legitimate search engine. I like Google. I tolerate Bing. I am willing to accept that some poor souls are still using Ask. My husband uses Yahoo. Say what you will about their privacy policy, Google has the algorithm that works. That’s why they’re No.1.

2. Cross-reference. I don’t believe anything online unless I can find it in at least two places.

3. Read the reviews. Yelp. Angie’s List. BBB. Whatever, just pick one.

4. Check the map. This is probably my favorite thing about the internet. I can get detailed satellite images just by typing in an address. When I was evaluating where to board, I checked every single possibility this way. I got a sense of the terrain, the tree cover, the distance from home, the facilities (arenas, round pens, parking and pasture all show up really well).

So, like I said, Brian=not good at the internet. So he just searched moving companies, took down their numbers, and called for a quote. No additional research, he just picked the cheapest one.

And that’s how we ended up spending thousands of dollars and more than a week to do something that we could have accomplished in one day with U-Haul and some pizzas.

They were supposed to come load our stuff up on the 13th. Then they changed it to the 14th. Then the 15th. Meanwhile, I’m sleeping on the floor of our new apartment because I had to report to work while all this was happening.

Not cool, Colonial Van Lines. Not cool.

My new job
Have you ever thought about how all the stuff that is on the internet actually gets there? Like really pondered it? 

Someone had to write every single word that's on the internet. And when you click a word, it takes you to more words. And those words take you to more.

And that, my friends, is the essence of my new job. My first project is to write a website. Again, ponder with me what that really means. I’ll give you the ballpark math on this.

Roughly 50 clickable spaces on the home page.
(multiplied by)
5 additional links where each of those spaces takes you.
(multiplied by)
10 more detailed topics reached by each of those 5 links.
(multiplied by)
Another 2 or 3 pages reached by each of those 10.

That’s 5,000 individual pages before we even get to things like job descriptions on the “careers” page and the rotating cast of classes and events on the calendar. And I’m writing all of them at roughly 200 words a page. That’s a million words.


But hey, I have a window.

The boarding situation
Finding a place to board has been trickier than I anticipated. For one, Heather spoiled me in a lot of ways since I was her only boarder. I kind of called the shots there. And I think she and I had a Vulcan mind-meld when it came to making good decisions about the welfare of our horses. Here in Salem, I might be at the mercy of some lunatic.

The woman who is taking care of Blue right now is not a lunatic. Well, then again, anyone who is still breeding horses for a living in this economy might be just a little unhinged. But actually Danielle is quite nice and very smart about how she feeds and exercises the animals. 

There are other nice things about this setup. Blue has a big, bright stall with nice neighbors, Mickey—pasture social director, much like the famous Jose—and Red. His stall opens to the outdoors, so he can watch the goings-on of the farm. There’s a small indoor arena for riding during the downpours. (The constant, endless, relentless downpours...) 

I know, I know. It wasn't raining at the moment when I took the picture.

If I ever have the opportunity to ride off the property, after about 200 yards of what might be called “town,” it is straight up the mountain on a road that makes Cache Hollow look like a gentle slope. If we can trot up McCully Mountain without stopping, I’ll know we’re getting somewhere with the conditioning.

But I’m not thrilled with this place. I think they were already over capacity before she called and offered me a stall. This means that there isn’t any room for my stuff in the tack room. 

That means that every time I go out there, I walk in the rain to get my horse, then I take him to the arena barn and tie him up somewhere. Grab a wheelbarrow and a tarp and go back out in the rain to get my tack from the trailer. Come back in, groom and tack, ride, untack, venture back out in the rain with the tack to put it in the trailer, walk back to the arena barn again to get Blue, then walk him back to the other barn. All in the rain. I know this sounds like I’m just being lazy, but this is a big place. I don’t have time to make so many trips back and forth.

Plus, it is a solid half hour from my apartment. That time could be better spent too!

So now that I’m here and have more time on my hands, I’m seriously shopping for a better board situation. I want more variety in my trails and maybe some like-minded riders to condition with.

So, all-in-all, Oregon is an adjustment—but we’re progressing.