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Failure to Plan, part 2

November 13, 2008

My Dad is moving back to Colorado and I’m sad.  As I’ve mentioned before, he was born in the log cabin his grandfather built on the Oregon Coast, in Alsea.  My great-grandparents emigrated to Oregon via the Oregon Trail and later imported my great-great-grandfather – who is buried in Oregon City.  That’s how I can claim a fifth-generational tie as an Oregonian.

My Dad’s family later moved to Clark County, Washington around 1942 and my Dad has lived in the Portland-metro area until we asked my parents to move to Colorado while my Mom was dying.  My Dad has been living in a single-wide, on my brother’s property, ever since.

A couple of months ago, my Dad came out for an extended visit.  We tried hard to convince him to move back to Portland.  Not only are we grandparent-deficient here, but we like having him around.  We also thought we would like to spend more time with him, especially in his advanced age and declining health.  He returned to Colorado after my Smiling Son’s first birthday in September, but showed no indication of returning.

The next thing we knew, he had flown back to Portland (while we were out of town), bought a 25-foot travel trailer, and began making plans to pack up his stuff in Colorado and move back to Oregon to live in that trailer – which he’d parked on a friend’s place in Wilsonville.  Two-weeks later, he was back.

Well, I believe in good planning.  It is fun to be impulsive and spontaneous, but only about things that lend themselves to being fun and spontaneous.  A quick trip to the beach, buying a candybar, or taking a personal day.  These are all things that tend to rely upon impulsiveness.

Marriage, cross-country moves, and buying new red sportscars do not lend themselves well to impulsive decisions.  Of this I know too much (and if you stick around this blog too much, you might discover some of which I speak).

Anyway, to make a long story short, it didn’t take my Dad long to discover that living an hour an a half away from any family, with no sewer service, in a small trailer parked ilegally near $800k homes was not going to workout well.  We watched the discouragement and depression creep over him.  We offered other solutions, but he’d already spent any liquid cash, or reserve credit he had.  Last week he told us he was going back to Colorado and today he is loading up a U-Haul trailer and putting his newly acquired RV into storage.

We had lunch with my Dad yesterday, to celebrate the day I was born, fifty years ago.  As he got into his car, on that very rainy Portland afternoon, we waved goodbye – hoping he survives 2-3 day the drive back to Pierce, Colorado.


  • If my Dad had laid out a plan…
  • If my Dad had saved some cash…
  • If my Dad had found a suitable place to park his RV…
  • If he had waited until he sold his single-wide in Colorado…
  • If he had been methodical…
  • If he had been open to advice…

One of the wisest bits of advice I’ve picked up during the course of my life was picked up during my disaster management training:

A failure to plan is a plan to fail.”

It is sad watching my Dad headed back to Colorado with his tail between his legs.  It is even sadder knowing I won’t be able to spend much more quality time with him during his remaining years alive.

I’m going to miss him… I already miss him.

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