I’d like to think it wasn’t on purpose

I had my next to last lesson with Wendy today, and it was awful.  Okay, maybe not awful, but it wasn’t good.  I rode Olive, and I was anxious and unsettled and so was she (probably my fault) and it felt weird and uncomfortable and like I couldn’t do anything right.  Objectively, I improved as the lesson went on.  Objectively, a lesson like that is a good thing because it forces me to focus on things I don’t have to think about when everything is going well.  Subjectively, it’s NOT FUN.  It occurred to me that maybe it’s subconscious self-sabotage, like how Mom has said she used to pick fights with Dad before he left on deployment in an effort (again, subconscious) to make saying goodbye easier.  If that’s what it was, it SUCKS and I don’t want to do it again.  I have one more lesson, I’ll probably ride Tigger, and I would like to enjoy it, please, brain.

Of course, right after I got her saddle off her, Olive peed all over the barn, so maybe she was uncomfortable, too.  Still, even it wasn’t just me, it was certainly a lot me, and I need to not do that.

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.

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.

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.

I made John drive

We went to Portland last Saturday, mostly to check out the neighborhoods of apartments we’d consider renting to see if Portland is our next move.  The verdict is still out, but it wasn’t a promising day.  We drove all over town, but not much was available where we want to live.  Kind of disheartening.  We did get a better sense of the city, though, and it still seems pretty cool (despite recent news and undercurrents).  The one place we got totally distracted by could be the BEST, but its main problem is that you can’t walk to ANYwhere from it.  It’s near the top of a ridge, I think the neighborhood is Hillsdale, and the place was AMAZING.  The drive up is twisty and winding with spectacular views of the city and the river and beautiful houses.  This apartment (house?) is 2 bedrooms, 1200 sq ft.  We think it’s a big apartment over a three-car garage, but the ad isn’t clear.  It’s a detached building, next to a beautiful house with gargoyles on the front walk.  GARGOYLES.  It would be quiet and peaceful and beautiful and impossible to get in and out of in bad weather or in a hurry if you want to run a quick errand.  It’s the opposite of what we have in Eugene (and what we want), which is a house close to shops and restaurants and the library and walkable to everything.

It’s a no.

Still available, though, if anyone else is interested.

Putting the fun in chores! Or something less stupid.

The only way I know of to make doing the dishes fun is to play loud music and sing along.  Dancing is optional, but encouraged.  Drunkenness is encouraged but not always practical and often not necessary.  We do a lot of dishes now that we’ve downsized our kitchen.  We run out of clean dishes to use before we have enough dirty ones to fill the dishwasher, so we rarely use it.  We never used the one in Annapolis, and we’ve used the one here once.  We didn’t use the one in the apartment in Ashburn, either, so that’s….one dishwasher cycle in two years.  Because wow – two years next week is when we moved out of our house.

Anyway, dishes.  I prefer to wash than to dry, and I don’t mind the washing because really, how hard is it to wash two plates, two forks, and two glasses?  Plus music.  Music makes the world go round!

Sitting in comfort

We bought a couch (on Sunday)!  And it arrived today!  And it’s comfortable!  Technically, it’s a double chair (not even a loveseat), but it’s big and it’s cushy, and it’s chocolate brown and kind of stripey/soft corduroy.

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We thought about the couch (it was only $100 more), but it was enormous, even bigger than our old couch, and we are not making a purchase of that physical size again until we stop moving around.  This is plenty big enough for the two of us, even with those big cushions on it, and most importantly, it fit through the front door with no issues.

Proof we have furniture!

For those of you who aren’t on Twitter or Instagram, here are some pictures of the house with our furniture in it.  It’s not as neat and clean as it was Tuesday night, so you’ll have to live with three-day-old pictures.  Once our offices look less like disaster areas, I might post those, too.

Bathroom!  Obviously.

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Living room!

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Bedroom!

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Kitchen alcove!

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Kitchen!

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This concludes the photographic tour of our new home.  Rooms not included have been cordoned off with a red velvet rope.  Even we are not allowed in them.

Good morning to me

John had a call this morning at 8:30 eastern, so the alarm went off at 5:15.  It rained all night, and it was raining when we woke up and ALL I WANTED TO DO was stay in bed and listen to the rain (and go back to sleep), but no.  I mean, I stayed in bed until about 5:40, but that wasn’t enough.  Now I’m sitting at my desk, which I have placed by a window, and I can see into our pretty backyard, through the rain.

It’s a cozy day for staying inside, and the advantage of starting work so early is that we’ll be done with our work day by 2 or 3pm (our time), and then we have the WHOLE afternoon to do other stuff.  Today’s chore is unpacking.  I think we might finish today, actually.  Tuesday night, after the movers left, we unpacked the entire kitchen and part of the living room.  in the living room, I unpacked boxes while John set up the TV and all its associated pieces (he had the important job).  Last night, between work and dinner, we took about an hour to finish unpacking the living room.  Tonight, we’ll focus on unpacking our clothes (which I imagine we’ll finish), and then we’re pretty much done.  It’ll just be a matter of arranging things to our liking.  We don’t have a linen closet at all, so we may buy a set of cheap shelves or maybe just another tote-type container like what I’m using for sweaters and workout clothes.  The arranging is how we’ll figure out what else we don’t have, and then we’ll decide what we can do without (there’s a shelf in an alcove in the bedroom – maybe we can use that as a linen closet) and what we absolutely have to buy.  We’re putting off the couch purchase.  Let’s let the spending from the move die down a little first.

I want a nap.

Wake me up when…no. Don’t.

So….I started to write a post, and judging by the number of misspelled and outright missing words I found, what I really need is to go to bed.  We got our bed back last night, and I slept well for the first time in two weeks, but one night isn’t enough.

Tonight, we will do a little unpacking, eat dinner, and crash.  EARLY.  Our mornings are early, since we’re attempting to work east coast hours.  The early mornings and an air mattress for nine days – not a good combination.  I do not recommend it.

I do recommend sleep.  Which I am going to have.  Soon.

A little more settling in

Sunday morning started out gloomy, but we went out for pancakes and then to Home Depot.  And then the sun came out!  We bought a little reel-type lawn mower for our postage stamp lawn, a rake, and a dandelion puller (because we have WEEDS and many of them are dandelions).  I’m not crazy about having to do yard work again, but there’s really not much.  John mowed the back and front of the house in about 5 minutes Sunday afternoon.

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Then he re-potted our avocado plant,  because yes, we drove across the country with an avocado plant in our car, and we want it to grow big and strong.

The old pot is in the background.  Perspective is making it look smaller than it really is.

The old pot is in the background. Perspective is making it look smaller than it really is.

Sadly, the little hedgehog pot-hugger dude doesn’t fit on our new pot.  We’ll have to figure out somewhere else to put him.

Here are a couple of shots of our backyard, for the curious.  Not so surprisingly, it looks a lot like it did the last time I posted a picture of it.  Not as wet this time, and you can see flowers in the bed over near the shed in the second picture that weren’t there in February.

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Our stuff is coming tomorrow!  YAY!

Settling in

It’s hard to settle in without furniture, but we’re trying.  John is calling flight schools and flying clubs, looking for one he likes.  I’ve made an appointment for a facial at Massage Envy (my first in MONTHS) and an appointment for a haircut (just a trim THIS time – my first in…a year?), and next on my list is finding a new doctor.

Our washer and dryer came, and I’ve done a couple of loads of laundry already, and it’s WONDERFUL.  Our very own machines, FULL SIZE, in OUR basement, which is way cleaner than the Annapolis basement, and I’m very happy about that.  Yay!

I’ll be happier when our stuff gets here.  But for now, the weather is nice, and I can do laundry!

Violence is in my future, I can feel it

I have been forced out of my comfort zone, largely because I don’t HAVE a comfort zone right now, and it is a good and wonderful thing.  I got up this morning (early this morning) to get online before one of my big weekly meetings, and I found that I couldn’t get online on my work laptop. My personal laptop was fine, my phones were fine (I almost typed “phine”), John’s computer was fine.  My work laptop was good yesterday.  Why not today?  It has something to do with Comcast, and I’m going to have to call them, but I didn’t have time right then (meeting starting).  And because of the meeting, I couldn’t dash out to Starbucks for more reliable internet.

I got through the meeting, but I was SO frustrated and wound up.  And THEN we heard from the moving company, who said the truck will be here between 2 and 5pm on Tuesday, which is the latest time possible within the window they gave us.  I’m SO glad we rushed across the country.  That added anger to my frustration (and I sent them an email that hasn’t been replied to yet), and THEN I remembered my air card.  That’s the solution to my work internet problem, and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it sooner.  I still didn’t want to work another day in the house without furniture (First two days: sore butt from sitting on the floor.  Third day: sore legs from standing at the kitchen counter all day.) and it was still too early for the library to be open, so I packed up my air card and my laptop and headed to the 5th Street Public Market area, just a few blocks away.

It’s a beautiful sunny day, right around 60 degrees, the people at the breakfast place make a really good decaf Americano, and I’m sitting out in the courtyard looking down over a splashing fountain with a chicken on it.  I haven’t figured out the significance of the chicken yet.  I can work here, and I can breathe again.

But I really want my stuff!

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

There are no chickens in this picture. Sorry.

Back into the swing of work

John had to go back to work Wednesday, so I decided to start slowly and try to catch up on email before anyone really expected me to do any real work.  Once Outlook stopped refreshing, I had over 3200 emails.  Most of them (around 2300) were emails from our ticket system.  Usually, I read them all, but that’s day by day, as they come in, and even then it’s not always manageable.  I decided to ignore ALL 2300 of them and start fresh on Thursday, so I deleted them all.  That left about 900 emails from real people, so I spent about 7 hours today going through those and trying to get a sense of what’s been happening.  What’s been happening?  Both a lot and not that much.  It’s probably the same for any job when you disappear for a week and a half.  The biggest news is that I have a new boss (I totally dreamed that Tuesday night, too.  Weird, right?).  My old boss left abruptly 3 (maybe 4?) weeks ago, and my new boss started this Monday.  I didn’t expect them to hire someone so quickly (I don’t think anyone did), but hopefully it’s a good thing.

No one asked too much of me on Wednesday, so it wasn’t too stressful except on my butt.  We stayed in the house all day (except for lunch), and I can say from experience now that working in a house with no furniture sucks A LOT.  Where is our furniture?  I wish the moving van had a tracking number like packages do.

Sense is overrated

I can’t decide if 14 states feels like a lot to cross through in five days or not enough, considering we crossed the ENTIRE country. Same with knowing that we’d never been in half of them before. Is that a lot? Not a lot? I have lost all sense of perspective. And all sense. And, since we got here, I’ve been fighting decision fatigue again. It’s kind of scary to waffle between options, knowing the choice you make won’t be wrong (the thing you’re trying to decide on is not that important), but completely unable to choose. I don’t like it. It’s not all the time, and it’s not debilitating. In fact, I think it only happened twice and only Monday morning. It’s still weird, and I don’t have to like it.

Five days in the car. I was ready to give the car a break (my butt was ready to send the seats packing), but at the same time, I wasn’t ready for the trip to be over. It wasn’t restful, and it wasn’t a vacation, but we didn’t have to do anything except drive. Work was a distant memory. It was freeing. We’re still somewhat in limbo, since we don’t have our stuff. I called the moving coordinator Tuesday morning (Day 7 of the 7-14 day window), and she said the driver couldn’t provide an ETA yet, but call again on Friday, and maybe they can provide one. Sigh. No internet yet, either, but the install kit could arrive any day, assuming it has actually shipped. I placed the order Friday night, but I never got a confirmation email. I called them Monday, and they confirmed the order and resent the email. I just realized I never got that email, either. I have to call them again and hope hope HOPE it’s out there and actually on its way. Cross your fingers for us!

Update: the install kit arrived and we have internet!  We still don’t have anything to sit on or at, but we have internet!

First day

Yesterday was an odd day.  Good, but odd.  We had plenty to do, so we got up relatively early (woke up around 7:30), checked out of our hotel, and had a quick breakfast at Panera, conveniently located next to Sears and Target.

First, Sears for a washing machine and dryer, to be delivered Thursday.  The salesman suggested we buy fishing rods.  We didn’t.

Next, Target for an air mattress, a broom, a mop, Windex, Tilex, sponges, paper towels, toilet paper, and a shower curtain.

After that, back to the house to clean.  It looks great and was pretty clean to begin with (SUCH a nice change from our last place).  That took a couple of hours (and we’re considering becoming no-shoes-in-the-house people), and then we started walking.  We walked from the house to the library (the long way because we forgot where it was), with a stop at Noisette Pastry Kitchen for a couple of really good sandwiches.  The library is really nice, but a little frustrating since we can’t check anything out yet.  We walked back to the house after a while (it’s about a mile away), hopped into the car, and drove to Home Depot to make a copy of the house key (the property manager only gave us one).  Picked up dinner, came home.  Exciting.

The light was neat this afternoon as the clouds blew away (it was rained the first half of the day), so I took a few pictures during our walk to the library.

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