Sunday, January 17, 2016

So Long

Summer on Vashon Island is the perfect place for kids. We moved here in late June during a 2-month period of virtually no rain. It was gorgeous. The deer were basically greeting us every morning. Our house was this beautiful early-20th century farmhouse with a teal door on acres of overgrown grass a few blocks from town. We played at the beach and in our yard and rode bikes and spotted porpoises swimming in the Puget Sound.


As fall started, the rain was slowly coming on and Simon broke his foot and things got a little harder, but we still enjoyed what fun Vashon had to offer. Jamund could be found with the kids at the skate park and Eleanor had a weekly dance class. The highlight of fall though was probably the sheepdog trials held at Misty Isle Farm in early September. It was hot, but there were sheep-dogs, herding sheep all day! We had so much fun.

As the wintery days started, though, and Kari's OCD was becoming more of a thing we realized she needed regular therapy and help. Regular doctor visits off-island meant we had to experience commuter traffic for the first time in forever. Issues with King County and permitting meant that our home (which we'd hope to have built by the end of the year), probably would be delayed for another 12 months. Life got sort of hard! Not that it's without its joys, but the long days of playing outside and sliding down the hill in front of the library have been replaced with lots and lots of ferry rides, complications of how to take Simon to school if Kari had to take the car to an appointment, how to watch the kids, etc. Also, Kari and Simon got strep twice. Eleanor and Jamund once. In a total of 3 different varieties (we will spare you the details).

So, it was with weary bodies and somewhat hopeful hearts that we went to visit Kari's parents in Henderson for Christmas. It was a welcome relief to be with family in a modern home with more than one bathroom (did we mention our "beautiful farmhouse" has only one bathroom that is downstairs when all the bedrooms are upstairs?). And did we mention, grandparents! And Uncle Matt (who basically was the best nanny of all days)!

But of course a change of scenery didn't cure Kari of OCD and after a heart to heart/list making session with Mom/Grandma, it was decided that maybe living on a remote, rural, only accessible by ferry island with one car in an old house wasn't the best idea. Stability, accessibility, modern conveniences, and a more walkable neighborhood seemed to be high priorities for a better Ferguson family lifestyle. Maybe Vashon was not our place after all. :(

But where was our place? Since Jamund can work remotely, it is like "anyplace can be our place!" Which may seem awesome but is also completely overwhelming. We both felt strongly (while visiting London a year or so ago) that we needed to be in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle itself is a bit too pricey for where we'd want to live, and going farther out in the suburbs presented similar issues to living on Vashon (far from doctors, etc.) and just didn't seem very fun.

We had visited Portland last year thinking about building and didn't really like it, but after thinking it over decided to give it another shot. Portland is so cute and walkable and relatively affordable. It also has a lot of  OCD specialists, which is really really important to us.

After Christmas we flew from Vegas to Seattle, and the next morning drove down to Portland. We spent the whole day looking at houses, without any success. Exhausted and famished, we had our anniversary dinner with the kids at the flagship Spaghetti Factory in Portland and decided to stay another night to keep searching. Not the most romantic evening, but you know. We all slept well :) Anyway that night Kari found a house in Vancouver, Washington that looked "perfect".

We were pleasantly surprised as we drove to the house the next morning. Instead of malls and four lanes of traffic thoroughfares, we were in the "old" downtown area of Vancouver. It looked like Portland but less sketchy. Old houses, new houses that looked old, little restaurants, an old movie theater, sidewalks, porches, trees. We envisioned strip mall surbubia, the bedroom community to Portland, yuck! But the house looked awesome, exactly what Kari would have designed in a home. It looked like a house from that show "Fixer Upper".

The home itself was in the late construction process (no landscaping, exterior not yet painted, workers milling around), and we loved it. It was beautiful, within walking distance of the school, a park, and the cute downtown area. We toured, talked with the builder, and went back to our hotel to mull it over.

Within a few minutes, we decided to make an offer. Within a few days, we were under contract. Having to break the news to our builder on Vashon was super sad (he is still planning to build "our" house and sell it and then we can get the money we put into it out), and having to break the news to our friends here sadder still. But for now, the stability and access to getting help for Kari's OCD trumps all else.

We are excited to be in a new place for all of us, exploring it together for the "first" time. It's a fresh start in a new place. We are excited to bike and walk and eat at cute restaurants and still be within 15-30 minutes of downtown Portland. And yes, we are excited not to have to a take a ferry quite so much. Maybe just for our future visits back to the Island :)


  1. Cute house! I'm so glad you were able to find something that works for you. Sometimes you have to make a decision and live with the consequences just to find out it doesn't work out how you thought. Then as you move on, you never have to wonder, what if? Your time on the island will always be a part of you. Glad you could have that experience.

  2. Vancouver is great :) I have lds friends in camas as well. I'm
    So happy you found a beautiful home. :)