If I thought saying goodbye to the Columbia River Gorge was hard, what’s even harder is living a liminal existed commuting to the gorge and back every week. Today when I checked into our motel of the week, the clerk at the desk asked for my driver’s licence. “You live in Hood River!” he said, rather surprised. “It’s complicated,” I answered.
Complicated isn’t the half of it, sigh. The future is about as complicated as the past… at least my present is usually peaceful, depending on the moment. When Ben got laid off in February, his whole company went out of business… or well, everyone but the CEO and owners, so it seemed pretty well dead to us. With no prospect of a job in Hood River itself (the only other company in town with electrical engineers wasn’t hiring and even the Unemployment office sent a tactful letter suggesting he start his own business instead since he was likely to run out of benefits before finding a job), we decided to move back in with my parents in Lake Oswego.
The job market is not favorable at the moment, as any of you looking for a job knows. Despite getting regular interviews and looking hard, Ben still hadn’t found employment when out of the blue, his old company asked if he could work again part time. Well, three days a week driving out to Hood River would pay a bit more than Unemployment. We couldn’t trust the company to stick around, but well, some money is better than none, so thus started my grand commute. I’d hang out in the library for three days trying to write while he worked, and he kept apply to jobs.
While it’s long, the drive is certainly beautiful. I’m sick of I-205 and would happily never see it again, but every time I-85 opens up just east of the metro area and ahead the sky and river spread out, every day I see a new stunning view. Clouds and mist, sun and glittering water, there’s endless variety on the gorge, sometimes all in one morning or evening’s drive, as we might go through several patches of rain, sun, fog, hail, rainbows, etc. Even as it wears me down, it remains stunning.
Now, come June, now the company is asking him back full time. Leaving us in a truly liminal position. For one thing, Hood River is now filling up with vacation rentals, so anything not for vacations wants a year lease. We hardly expect the company to last six months, let alone a year. For another going from 20 hours to 40 hours a week in Hood River is a big jump. We’ll be spending more time in a hotel than we will at my parents’ house.
Good thing under “occupation” I can put author, or I’d be a homemaker without a home. (sigh)
For the two weeks we switched from commute to motels. They’ve been a parade of forgetting things, spreading cream cheese on the lunch bagels with the handle of a fork the first week, and eating cereal out of a plastic container every morning the second. I think I have everything this week, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
The month of May at least, my writing did not suffer. I picked something straightforward, a full book edit of “Dragon Boy” and accomplished it. Now I’m regrouping, and my focus will be on “Much Ado About Villains.” I’m not sure how well I’ll hold up, but on the other side of things, I do have long periods of time in motels ahead of me, which at least is quiet and not too uncomfortable. I think by the end of it though, whether we get an apartment here or Ben manages to get a job elsewhere, I will have done enough traveling and motel staying to be satisfied for years to come. My idea of “vacation” will be to live in one place and go nowhere for longer than a year.
At least there’s mountains, rivers, and waterfalls.