The Last Best Beach House

Hello again from the edge of the continent.

We are at a point now where we can actually say that there is news! We have secured a rental house in Waldport, OR. Haven’t heard of Waldport? We are not surprised. Waldport is a “city” of about 2000 people. It is 18 miles south of Newport and 8 miles north of Yachats.  To be completely clear we will be in a community just outside of Waldport called Bayshore. To get this out of the way right up front, our cats get to come with us! Steve and Mortimer are moving to the ocean.

The house is a 2 bed/ 2 bath house with an additional office space. There are two features that strongly define this house. One is that the carpet throughout is a deep, rich, vivid, (loud) sea green color. The other is that the house is up on a hill with large windows running the length of the house all of which lead out to the deck and have a full view of the Pacific Ocean. Bonus feature, the place is far enough up the hill that on the Tsunami map the house is just inside the safe zone.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The current renters bought a house a just gave notice so we cannot move in until August 11. We have decided that now we are going to take a trip down the coast then go see both sets of our parents before returning to Missoula to truck up and move. I have updated our “Hyslop Spotting” notes with a fluid itinerary. There will be more moving and property details to come but for now I have to tell you the incredible story of how we got into this place.

I have mentioned (at length I think) how few rental properties there are along the Oregon coast at this time. I found a listing with a rental/ real estate agency that I mentioned in my last post. We went to look at it around 1PM Friday. The place was in a nice enough community and the house was fine but it was deep in the woods. The view out any window in the house could have been Montana or northern Idaho. We knew this was probably not the property for us but we continued to talk to the agent showing the place.

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As we talked about coming from Montana and finding ourselves on the Oregon coast the agent, Maggie, started telling us her story. Maggie grew up in Baker Montana! She moved to Salem, Oregon with family and then, over time found herself in Newport. We talked about Montana and the call of the ocean and we really hit it off.

While we were talking, Maggie was clearly thinking something she was not saying. As it became clearer that this was not exactly the new Casa de Hyslop, Maggie had a surprise for us. She told us she had a place she’d like us to see. The tenants had just given notice (seriously, like the day before). The property was not listed yet but if we wanted she would show it to us at 3 that day. We said sure, there are so few place and we were not out anything to look.

During the time in between the showings Maggie called the tenants and asked permission to show the rental. They were kind enough to say yes. We noticed that carpet right away. The carpet is the color of a crayon that a stylish six-year-old would select to color Ariel’s tail. A little thrown, we were still open minded. In the middle of the master bedroom however, standing there, confounding us all (Maggie included) was an honest to god stripper pole. A stripper pole. We all stared . . . and then laughed . . . a lot. While we looked at the room I feel the need to mention that no one touched the pole. Maggie assured us that the pole would be gone before we moved in so just put all of those ideas away. Seriously, someone else’s stripper pole . . . ewww. This whole time Maggie wore a wry smile. She knew something we did not.

As we entered the main living space she swept her arm across the room indicating the wall of windows and said “There you go Montana.” What we saw was breathtaking. There is a large deck running the length of the house which was impressive but even more so was the view of the ocean. From the middle of the living room in the house on the hill, standing on the dark sea green carpet looking out over trees tops and roofs was the mighty ocean.

I couldn’t breathe right away. I teared up and was embarrassed. There I was a grown ass woman crying at the fact that I could see water through a window. Maggie told us later that she was in her twenties before she saw the ocean and the first time she did, she cried too. This house just felt right. We filled out the application materials right away and got them to Maggie but by this time it was 5pm on Friday. We would have to wait until Monday for the office to get us all checked out.

We spent the weekend continuing to search for houses, just in case, we had to have a backup, or several. After lunch on Monday we called Maggie and her offices had still not heard back from all of the Montana references they needed. She said she’d call as soon as she knew. The workday came to a close and we were all nerves. Tuesday, we needed to do laundry and hatch a plan. We intended to leave Lincoln City and the whole area on Wednesday and we had still not heard about this house.

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Laundromat in Lincoln City

As Cody was pulling the clothes from the dryer I got the call from Maggie. It’s ours! We are in! I felt my blood pressure drop so fast I thought I might pass out. We drove out to Maggie’s office in Newport and talked about the house and Montana, and again received assurances that the stripper pole would be removed. While we were  filling out forms and paying deposits, Maggie told us that her sister still lives in Helena. She talked a little about her sister’s kids and mentioned her niece’s name. I was taken aback by the last name, Schwaller.

I asked Maggie if she was related to Jake Schwaller (a UM law student I absolutely adore). Don’t get ahead of me here, Jake is Maggie’s nephew! She texted him a picture of me in her office signing rental papers! There are too many more little connections to describe what becomes a giant net of ways in which we and Maggie are connected.

Over the last fifteen years it has been obvious to us that Montanans are some of the greatest people out there. It is a little silly that I can still be surprised by the thoughtfulness of Montanans. This last week, 700 miles from home, Maggie from Baker, Montana saw in us that same Big Sky spirit and helped us make the next step in our dream a reality.

We are headed out now to explore some more coastline and visit some family. We have covered a lot of miles, with a lot more to go. There is still much to do. We had an idea about who we were before, and we knew that this was a journey of discovery, but it has certainly been a surprise to discover what we knew all along, We Are Montana.

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