Too sweet? Too dry? I can’t tell.

When we visited Seattle in May, we stopped in this sort-of-ice-cream-parlor for dessert one night because John had an ice cream craving.  He got a sundae, probably with peanut butter in it, and I got prosecco in one of those old-fashioned wide-mouth champagne glasses with a scoop of blueberry sorbet in it.  It was delicious.

Since it’s the perfect summer treat, I tried it at home tonight.  Burgers for dinner, sorbet and prosecco for dessert.

It didn’t turn out so well.  I mean, it was okay…sort of.  The sorbet (I got raspberry) was good with the prosecco, but the prosecco was not good with the sorbet.  I’m not sure what went wrong, and I’m not sure I want to find out enough to try it again.

It was a nice idea, though.

A scare

We had a bit of a scare the Thursday afternoon we left for Portland and then Rhode Island. A few weeks before that, John emailed his HR department to find out if RI is one of the states his company has set up payroll taxes for.  I didn’t bother emailing mine because I’ve had several conversations with them about moving around, and they had indicated that even if they’re not set up in a particular state, it’s not a big deal to get it done.

So right at the end of the workday that Thursday, John got an email from his boss saying that HR won’t support our move to RI – it’ll cost too much for them to set it up.  John swooped into my office to give me the good news (really – he slid in in his socks).  If his company says he can’t move where we want to go, then screw the company – he’ll quit.  (He’s so excited – he’s been itching for an excuse.)  I had been waiting to email HR until we knew exactly where we were going to live because I didn’t think it would be helpful to them to know we were thinking about three or four states – they don’t care until we pick one – but I figured that with John’s news, I should check.

I emailed Jenny, my HR person, and told her that we’re probably moving to RI at the end of August, but we’ll know for sure by the end of next week.  Her response only said that RI isn’t on the list of states they allow, so I emailed back “If a state isn’t on the list, does that mean I can’t move there?” and tried to keep the freak-out to a minimum.  By the time I sent that email, it was after working hours, so we got in the car (Portland and airport-bound) and started discussing worst case scenarios.  I mean, there’s really only one worst case scenario, but what would we do if it happened, if both of our companies said we couldn’t live in RI?

And what does it say about us that our reaction is to quit, since we don’t think they should have any say over where we live?

We spent the car ride making plans.  Let’s say my HR says they can’t/won’t set up payroll in RI.  First step: appeal to my boss.  Can he convince the company to set up payroll in RI if the alternative is I quit?  Am I that valuable?  Let’s say they still say no.  What states are already allowed?  None in New England, but New York is on the list.  Would we consider New York?  Is it worth a year in NY if it keeps my job and gives us both time to find others (so we can move to New England)?  Or do we both quit anyway and take our chances on moving and finding work quickly?  What about not moving at all?  Or what about not signing a lease yet and moving homeless at the end of the month anyway, but when we maybe know more about the situation?  We could crash with family if it came down to it.

We had everything mapped out and were starting to feel okay with our plans when we stopped for dinner and before we even ordered I had my answer back from Jenny.  To the question “If a state isn’t on the list, does that mean I can’t move there?”, she replied “No, that’s not what it means.  Tell me which state you pick.  We’ll work it out.”

Big sighs of relief plus a cucumber margarita, and we were able to sleep that night.  As well as possible, anyway, in the loud and kind of icky Ramada.

I don’t need that kind of stress.  I aged a year in those two hours.

Three rooms down

We have gone through the basement, the living room, and my office.  Nothing is packed yet (we’re still using most of it), but we have thrown away or gotten rid of everything in those three rooms that isn’t going to make the move.  We still have about two weeks before we have to empty the house, but I don’t see any point in waiting for the last minute.  Maybe I need a countdown.  Uh…countdown to the day the PODS container arrives: 13. Oh, we’re within two weeks.  Who was talking about waiting until the last minute?  I think we’re close enough.

Love at first sight

I have fallen in love with a pair of shoes.  They’re the ultimate Disney princess shoes, and my heart aches for them.

I saw them on Tom & Lorenzo’s site, and for the first time in my life I was compelled to go to the designer’s website to see more.  If it’s possible to fall further in love, I did when I saw them in midnight blue.

They’re calling out my name.  “Buy me, Zannah!  We’ll be so happy together!”  I don’t have anywhere to wear them or anything to wear them with, but those are tiny details.  Are they comfortable?  Who cares?  (Okay, I do, but let’s put that aside.)  Do they come in narrow?  Probably not.  Are they more than I pay in rent?  …..Yes.  Yes, they are more than I pay in rent.

Drat.

I love them, I do, but the don’t-buy-them factors are adding up and the practical side of me says I don’t get to be a princess in $2150 shoes that don’t go with anything I own, that probably aren’t comfortable, that probably won’t actually fit, and will sit in my closet unworn because I don’t have any occasions to wear them.

I will have to find some other kind of princess to be.  Like this one.

But oh, those shoes.

It is what it is

I sat in the backyard for a little bit this afternoon wearing long pants and a hoodie and shivering a little even though the sun was shining and it’s AUGUST because Oregon doesn’t understand how summer works.

Of course, we spent a few days last week in Rhode Island in sweaters and sweatshirts, so I guess summer is broken everywhere this year.  Or maybe it’s just broken wherever we are, since summer seemed to be handing out 100+ degree days everywhere we were NOT, and maybe I should just wear a hoodie and be grateful.

I sewed!

Washing my sweater/hoodie broke it apparently, since after it dried (gentle cycle, air dry) I noticed that one of the pockets was hanging half off.  Luckily for me, the thread was still attached at one end, so I unearthed my bag of sewing kits (I have four or five travel kits), figured out how to thread the needle, and FIXED IT.  You can’t even tell.  Then we went to see Dunkirk and I spent two hours crying.  I cried horrified tears, sad tears, tears of pride, a few more horrified tears, and then some happy tears.  Stupid emotional movie.

I also ate all the popcorn in existence, so I’m skipping dinner and going to bed early.  All that crying wore me out.

Where am I? Who are you? Who am I?

I’ve slept in my own wonderfully comfy bed two nights in a row now after twelve nights away, and two nights in a row I’ve woken up in the super-dark middle of the night with zero idea where I am.  BOTH NIGHTS home.  The disorientation passed quickly, but it’s a super-weird feeling to wake up in your own bed not sure where you are.  Maybe this trip was too long, or maybe the ocean is on the wrong side of me, or maybe this is a sign that it’s time to move, or maybe I just think it’s a sign that it’s time to move because – guess what – IT’S TIME TO MOVE.

It’s officially official.  We’re moving to Providence at the end of this month.  We have given our current landlord a move-out date, we have scheduled the move with the movers, we have signed a lease, and we have sent a rent check.  We are moving.  In three weeks.  The to-do lists have begun, and…that’s all that’s begun.  The purging and packing will start any minute now.

Deep breaths.

New skill

I’m toying with video editing for the first time in my life.  My first practice project was to edit clips out of half a dozen minute-long videos of a squirrel being super-weird in my backyard and string them all together into one two-minute video.  I think it was successful.  It needs a soundtrack, maybe, like Yakety Sax.  That’s a project for some other afternoon.

And because you so patiently watched that video for me, you get a bonus video of the squirrel eating a stick like it’s corn on the cob.

Hold your breath and hope for the best!

We are submitting our application for a really good apartment right….now.  Cross your fingers that no one got there first and there aren’t any hiccups in the process.

It’s a townhouse in a great part of town with a bookstore, three coffee shops, and a few restaurants within three blocks in one direction, and a park and the Seekonk River a few blocks in the other direction.  It’s an end unit, with parking in the back (no yard – that’s okay, we have a park), three levels plus a full basement (with laundry), 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and new appliances.  When we saw it yesterday, the management company was in there with three or four guys doing the painting and cleaning.  The bathrooms aren’t great, but our other main contender had even less ideal bathrooms, so this one still wins.  This one is 2 miles to the main branch of the library, 1 mile to Brown University, and downtown is less than 2 miles away.  Easy access, easy walking.

We’re super excited.  Now we just need to sign the lease.

Better than Monday

Things are looking up, but we’re still not crazy about not having a decision made yet.  As of right now, 9pm Wednesday night, we have two places we could be happy with (very different from each other: a fancy apartment downtown and a house in a small town), but we haven’t applied for either.  We’re seeing three more places tomorrow morning, then another mid-afternoon, and two more late afternoon.  We’ve got feelers out on a few more (maybe for Friday), but our hopes are high (probably too high) for tomorrow’s mid-afternoon showing.  Perfect neighborhood – here’s hoping the house is perfect, too.

Too early to tell

We’ve only had one full day of house/apartment hunting.  I have to keep reminding myself of that.  We didn’t find our next home yesterday (Monday), but that doesn’t mean we’re destined to be homeless.

It’s only been a day.

It’s only been a day.

It’s only been a day.

There.  That might work.  Partly, it’s frustration.  We’ve found a lot of places we’d like to look at, but we’re not getting a lot of responses so we can’t schedule times to actually see them and I feel like we’re spinning our wheels.  After one day.  Which I realize is ridiculous.  We sent out a bunch of messages around 10pm last night, and it’s not even 8am right now, so to be worried that we haven’t heard back when no one has gotten to work yet is not terribly reasonable.

I can be reasonable.  And we still have four full days to look, including today.

This is stressful.

On the other hand, already this visit has reaffirmed for us how much we’d like to live in Newport or Bristol or a couple of neighborhoods in Providence.  If we have to go further afield to find our very next place, at least we’re sure we want to make it work here at some point.

Deep breath.  Shower (I think I sweat more in hotel gyms – no breeze!) . Breakfast.  Search.

Ramada: you can freeze to death and eat soggy cake!*

*To be fair, the soggy cake was not Ramada’s fault.

Neither of us slept last night, not more than a couple of hours.  The bed was super uncomfortable, the kids didn’t leave the pool for at least an hour after we went to bed, some light (maybe from the A/C unit) was glowing too brightly, and I was fuh-REEZING.  I can’t sleep when I’m shivering, there weren’t any extra blankets, and we were too tired to figure out the A/C plus it was mounted really high on the wall.  We were both awake an hour before the alarm went off, awake enough that we just got up at 3:30 instead of waiting for it, and then our flight to Seattle was too short for napping (only 30 minutes in the air).  We are going to crash so hard tonight.

So with the uncomfortable bed, the mildewy smell in the room, and a couple of other things, I think I have validated my resistance to Ramada hotels over the years.  I mean, last night the price was right and obviously it was okay, but given a choice, I’ll choose something else.

The last time I can remember staying in a Ramada was for our first anniversary, 2001, in San Diego.  John and I had just driven across the country for the first time, moving from Newport, RI to San Diego to get to my first ship.  We didn’t have a place to live yet; the plan was to find an apartment within the first few days and stay in cheap hotels in the meantime.  When we got there, we spent a night or two in a Motel 6 (where one night I got up around 3am and got in the shower because I thought it was morning), and then decided to splurge on the Ramada for our anniversary night.

Mom had packed the top layer of our wedding cake in dry ice for the cross-country trip.  The dry ice lasted until we got to San Diego, and then we replaced it with regular ice for the last day or two.  We realized that might have been a bad idea when we started to unwrap it in the hotel room.  There was some dripping, and we moved to the bathroom sink.

First layer of aluminum foil: water from the ice. No big deal.  Next layer of foil: more water.  Next later of wax paper: water and a few crumbs.  That’s when we started to worry.  Next layer (foil or wax paper – can’t remember): more water, more crumbs.  When we finally got to the actual cake it was pretty water-logged.  The middle was still edible, but I can’t say it was good.  Still – we ate it.  I mean, not the whole thing, but enough to count.

The beginning

Our trip has begun!  Sort of.  Tonight is Erev Trip, or maybe that was last night.  Our flight from Portland to Seattle is at 6am tomorrow, so we’re doing the park-sleep-fly thing in the airport Ramada tonight.  The airport Ramada is…not so great, but it’ll do for a night.  The biggest issue is that it’s 8pm and our shuttle leaves the hotel at 4:20am so we’re getting up before 4am and we need to go to bed but it’s still broad daylight outside and our room overlooks the pool and there are kids playing in it and tomorrow is going to SUCK.  But we’ll be on vacation!  It’ll be a bearable kind of suck.

They just made it harder for me to buy books. Idiots.

I’m a little bit annoyed with Amazon this week.  My to-read list is a private Amazon wish list.  Any time I hear of a book I might be interested in, I add it there.  I might not buy it from Amazon, I might get it from the library or a store or wherever, but I have one place I always add books.  The list USED to have a sort feature that would let me sort by price (high or low), sort by books with price drops, sort by date added, etc.  A couple of months ago, all those sort features disappeared from the browser version of Amazon.  The only sort feature left was by priority, and since I never prioritized anything, it was not useful to me.  Thankfully, the Amazon app still had the sort features I liked, so EVERY SINGLE DAY I sorted my list in the app by price (low to high), and probably four times a week, a book on my list would go on sale for $.99 or $1.99 (Kindle version), and I would snap it up.

Then this week, the app got updated and hey – the sort feature is gone.  The only thing left is by priority.  Here’s the thing: I have over 400 books on my list.  I am not going to scroll through the entire thing looking for the items that have gone on sale, and that means I’m not going to know about the sales, and I’m not going to buy the books.  (I’ll buy some of them eventually, but not at the rate I’ve been buying them.)  I have plenty to read already on my Kindle (or at the library), so Amazon just updated themselves out of $400 a year from me.

I chatted with a customer service rep, who assured me that some sort of sort feature will be back, but she couldn’t say what and she couldn’t say when, so I’m not holding my breath.  I’m just really annoyed.

Relax your face!

In late June, Charles (Wendy’s husband?  Partner?) took a ton of pictures of me riding Olive so I could see how I look, see what I’m actually doing, look at what’s right and what’s wrong.  It was pretty cool, but the first thing I noticed, and practically the only thing I can see, is that I’m making the same odd super-serious face in EVERY SINGLE ONE of the 146 pictures Charles took.

So now, for the past month, I’ve added “relax your face” to the 15 things I’m trying to remember to do right while I ride.  It’s the least important thing, of course, so I tend to forget about it, but still.  The yoga instructor I liked reminded us often that our faces were not helping us balance – there’s no need to scowl.  I try to apply it to riding.

The other thing I’m getting out of these pictures is that I’m rising a little too high out of the saddle over jumps.  I think.  I would like to jump more to practice getting it right.  Of course, it’s hard to focus on that when I’m actually flying through the air.  Hence the need for practice.

I prefer options

Here’s a downside to smaller towns: the shopping sucks.  I decided to buy a new dress for Corey’s wedding because I don’t have anything between somewhat formal and t-shirt dress, and I don’t want to wear either of those things on a beach.  I didn’t want to order anything online because EVERYthing fits differently and while trying on all the clothes at the mall sucks, it sucks less than ordering a bunch of things, trying them on, and then returning them.  I hate returning stuff I bought I online.  Anything that involves shipping packages is a pain.

Eugene has a mall, so I went there after work today.  The mall is pretty lame – I miss Tyson’s Corner Center – but it has two department stores, a Loft, and a Banana Republic.  The other stores are for teenagers.  I feel out of place just looking in the windows.

Loft first – no dresses, but their tank tops were $6 each so I bought two.

Banana Republic – only work clothes.

Macy’s – plenty of dresses, but most were more formal or too mother-of-the-bride.  I found two that could work and asked them to hold them for me.

JC Penney’s – yes, I went to Penney’s.  It was the last option in the mall, and you know?  I found a dress there that’ll do the trick AND it was on surprise sale.  Love that.

Turns out I want a place that has better shopping that one tiny mall.  Even though I rarely shop.

Wait – I just thought of something important I have to look up and….YES, there is an Athleta in Providence.  YAY!

The Winchester boys are my heroes

I love Supernatural, you know I do, but the season 10 episode we just watched about college kids dying via electronics possessed by a vengeful ghost was nearly as bad as the season 1 episode about the racist truck.

The show is going into its 13th season – every episode can’t be a winner.  Still, I’m happy to be watching the show again.  I missed you, Dean!

Let’s get ready to rumble!

If you haven’t watched GLOW yet on Netflix, go.  Watch.  It’ll only take you 5 hours.  I’ll wait.

It’s a lot of fun.  John and I have been watching nothing else all week, and we watched the last one tonight and moved went immediately to the GLOW documentary (also on Netflix).  Looks like the creators of the show watched the first half of the documentary and then made the TV show.

I’m not inspired to go out and wrestle or anything, but maybe I have a teensy bit more interest in all that wrestling stuff I’ve been ignoring all my life.

Proof!

After much delay, I would like to present three videos of me riding a horse who is jumping (not very high jumps).  I was going to say these were videos of me jumping, but, as John has pointed out before, I am not the one doing the jumping. Olive is doing all the work.

These were all taken the morning of July 4th.

We raised the second jump in each set for this last one.

Guys, it is SO much fun.  Even on a day like today when Olive veered right and caught my toe on one of the uprights so that it half twisted me out of the saddle and the upright crashed down behind us and Olive freaked and started to run out and I was scrambling to hang on, calm her down, and NOT fall off.

I was successful at all of those things, so yeah – SO much fun.