We'll Always Have Washougal...

Part 1 of my "Farewell to the Cabin"
I started this post when we were still in California.
It was right after we sold the cabin and were in the middle
of packing up for our move here to Connecticut. I left it
unfinished--partly because of time constraints but maybe because it
was hard to let go of a place I really loved. I have since allowed myself
to mourn the loss and remind myself that "things don't matter, people do". In that 
process I have come to realize that it is the memories, feelings, and closeness of family that are
wrapped up in a location that make it meaningful. And we get to take all of that with us even
if someone else owns the cabin now. 

At the moment, I am up to my elbows in packing paraphernalia (up until spell check showed me otherwise, I had no idea that word had that extra "r" in the middle. It gives it more of a charming back-woods hick sound--perfect for our setting here!)  so anyway--as I am packing and cleaning, I am thinking of the fond farewell we recently bid our cabin in the woods.

The last morning we were all there, I took little Mason downstairs to look out the windows. He loved standing on the ledge and gazing at the river--pointing with his tiny finger at anything that caught his eye. We stood there watching the river flow past when suddenly a huge (YUGE!) bald eagle swooped down from the tops of the trees and flew up the river. It was only the second time I had seen an eagle do that while I was standing at that very window. 

The first time was about a week after we moved to the cabin. Andy had been down-sized out of a job and we had sold our dream home on Prune Hill. We were in a state of uncertainty as we figured out what to do next. We looked at homes to rent in the same area we had lived but I really wanted a change. I felt it would be a good thing to put some distance between the kids and their friends and allow us to make deliberate decisions about how they would spend their time. We were sure that when a job came along, it wouldn't be in the Northwest and we wanted to allow time to start the transition before the move. Andy saw the cabin for rent on Craigslist and he knew I had been looking at cabins over the years--dreaming of a family cabin some day. It was a big sacrifice for a man who loves technology and convenience to even show me the ad.
 But he did.
And it was love at first sight.
We went to look at it and I fell head over heels. Literally--I fell in the river
 I couldn't think of living anywhere else. 
We found out the owner really wanted to sell the cabin--it had been on the
market for a long time with no prospects. We decided it would be a great place for 
the time being and a place to come back to our beloved Northwest wherever we ended up.
So, we bought it.
And then we packed up our lives into several storage pods and downsized and simplified. 
It felt good.
 I continued to serve as a counselor in our stake YW presidency although it was a bit of drive to the stake center and the ward buildings for conferences and activities. But it was really close to Girls Camp. I was over our stake Girls Camp and it was scheduled to begin a few days after we moved to the cabin. Andy also started right in ripping the kitchen and bathrooms apart and had the water turned off the morning we were to leave for camp.Shayla and I laughed that we would have to go to camp to get a shower. 
But a week later, we came home to a beautiful, transformed cabin kitchen, and brand-new bathrooms.

He preserved the laundry chute at my request.

My Christmas present--he painted it red for me!
Here's a peek at the old tub.

In the beautiful, cheery laundry room.

That looked like this before Andy transformed it.

He went to great lengths...
and heights...

To make the cabin comfortable and beautiful.

A "Before" picture of a bathroom...

the beautiful "After"

We thought we would be there a short time and he would find a new job and we would be off on our next adventure. But the days turned into weeks and then to months. We enjoyed a care-free summer and then the winter rains set in.  We had the road paved when Andy realized it was going to be awhile and his beloved cars were taking a beating. He wasn't ready to go all in and trade in the convertible for a Jeep.

Shayla and Seth were in seminary and in the interest of stability for them, we drove them back to our old ward building. Every morning. 
At o'dark thirty.
We rolled out and I made them a hot breakfast.
Andy did the driving--forty minutes one way.
I would crawl back under the warm covers of my comfy cabin bed and do my
morning scripture study. 
When he got back we would snuggle.
When he was in the midst of his corporate ladder-climbing and business traveling and hard-working career building, there was no leisurely snuggle time. The fast track has no side track for snuggling.

I was home schooling the youngsters but Seth and Shayla went to the high school for half a day for math, French and sign language.  On dark cold mornings, I let the younger ones sleep in and enjoyed the quiet peaceful mornings. It always felt cozy and warm in the cabin.
We did our studying in front of the wood stove in the kitchen or wrapped in Pendleton wool blankets in the big living room.  Science was all around us with the forest plants and animals. We had the bats, rats and cats teaching us about the circle of life and animal habitats. Andy would pick up the older two at noon and treat them to a trip to Home Depot and lunch several times a week.
Then we spent the afternoons and evenings learning construction and remodeling in a real life, hands on way.


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