Should I stay or should I go

We had an ice storm today.  Well, we didn’t, but there was an ice storm in parts of Oregon today.  And we had enough sleet that we’ve got little icicles hanging from the gutters and the trees are covered in ice and the poor rosebushes are weighed down by the ice.

It’s icy is what I’m saying.  Also cold.

We’re slow-cooking for dinner (good day for it), and The Bloggess made me laugh.

We are considering sticking around Eugene for a little bit longer than originally planned.  Partly, it’s because John is excited about his new band (which still needs a name) and wants to give it a real shot, but mostly it’s because we’re not ready.  We haven’t made much of an effort to figure out where we’d go next or how we’d make it happen, and if we go right when our lease is up (which is less than four months from now), we have to be moving at full speed on that right now.

I don’t want to do that, and neither does John.  We still like our plan (possibly with modifications), and we still don’t plan on staying in Eugene forever, but we feel like we just got here.  There are still things to do.  So maybe we’ll stay a little longer.

On the other hand, John is sick again (congested and miserable), for the third time in five months.  Maybe it’s the house and maybe we should move.

Flash mob!

Apparently, Thriller flash mobs the Saturday before Halloween are a thing, and they’re a thing in Eugene.  We saw them two Saturdays ago when we were out for Will’s birthday, and they’re gathering people to do it on October 29th.  It was a lot of fun to watch that night, and it looks like it would be a lot of fun to join.  The night we saw them, there was no doubt that I was going to join them.  (I was quite enthusiastic.)  Now…well, I get lazy.  They’re practicing in the evenings once a week, and I would have to leave the house…  Who wants to leave the house at night?  So, I’m lazy.  This week.  Maybe next week.

Going to have fun this weekend!

The long weekend is almost upon us, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  We don’t have any major plans, but we have a long list of little things that should help us finish settling in.  Hopefully we can do fun things in between the little necessary things.  (I’m sure we can.)  I just want to be able to relax a little.  Work has been nuts (even working from home – it’s been nonstop), and our weekends so far have had so many errands to run that I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to enjoy them much.  Working on that.

Task completed

We signed a lease for a cool apartment in Annapolis this morning!  Yay for us!  That’s one thing I no longer have to worry about.  Now that the housing situation is taken care of, I can move on to the next couple of things, like moving.  We’re moving in THREE WEEKS, so I’ll just switch over to thinking/planning/worrying about that full time.

We took today off work and spent three hours in the storage unit going through the rest of the books.  There are twelve boxes in my car now, so I’ll ask my coworkers to go through them this week and then donate the rest.  The storage unit has officially been purged (except for the bookshelves, which are going to Brian (if he still wants some) and Sean and Emily (who will take as many as we’ll give them).  So this weekend, we’re going to turn a sharp eye on everything in the apartment.  What can go?  What’s being stored?  What’s traveling with us?  The biggest thing for me is trying to get all of my clothes into one dresser.  The smaller dresser.  I can do it.

Roller coaster

Apartment hunting is a roller coaster ride, and while I do love roller coasters, I’m ready to get off this one for a few months.  We’ve still got a month to go before we’re homeless, but I am not one to leave things to the last minute (I’ve changed a lot since college), so I’ve been keeping an eye out for apartments for a few weeks now, and we’ve been to Annapolis two Saturdays in a row.

Oh, did I not say?  We’ve decided our first stop is Annapolis or somewhere in that end of Maryland (either side of the bay).  Last Saturday, we went with not much of a plan, and we were completely discouraged.  We couldn’t anything short-term (3-4 months), and we left (after a very pleasant dinner with Jess and Chuck) pretty unhappy about it.  On the ride back, we decided we’d have to stay at least 6 months, and since there are some pretty big upsides to that decision, we’re happy with it.  The biggest upside is that staying somewhere for 6 months means we won’t be looking for the next place the whole time we’re living in one place.  And for this particular move, it means John won’t feel rushed through getting his pilot’s license.  AND, since most of the places we’re thinking about going are near friends we don’t see often, we’ll be able to spend more time with them before we move on.  Definitely the right decision.

After that, I spent all day Sunday on a couple new sites (Hotpads is great), sending out a TON of inquiries about apartments and saying up front that we’re looking for 6-months leases.  I got some pretty good responses, and we headed to Annapolis again yesterday with 4 appointments and the promise of a couple more.

But now I need to eat, and I’m going offline for the rest of the evening.  I want to tell you about how Saturday went (and the crazy real estate agent we met), but I will do my best to do that tomorrow or Tuesday.

Good start

I heard “Shut Up and Dance” during this morning’s class.  Makes me happy.  There are worse ways to start the day.  And I get to spend this week telling the people I work with that in less than two months, I will be telecommuting 100%, so let’s discuss concerns now.  I will be having the same conversation over and over again.  It’s a good conversation, and so far all reactions have been positive.  And I’m happy to do it – it means we’re moving forward.

The biggest step forward right now involves finding a place to live next.  We should really get on that.

Obsolete media

I spent most of my Saturday using a USB video capture device to transfer old VHS tapes to mpeg files.  I had to borrow a VCR from a coworker because I haven’t seen one in person in…lots of years.  There’s no way to do it other than in real time, so it really took most of the day to transfer about 9 tapes.  There was also some time spent in trial and error, including trying to find a way to save to mp4, which I was unable to figure out.  And since I can’t figure it out just yet (I have to return the VCR on Monday, so I had limited time to troubleshoot), we won’t be getting rid of the originals.  We’ll just store them.  They don’t take up that much room.

Among the videos I transferred are three years’ worth of marching band videos, my high school best friend’s senior project, and our wedding video (because even though digital cameras existed when we got married, they weren’t used that often – all of our wedding pictures are analog, too).  I don’t know that I’ll ever watch all that stuff, but it’s nice to have it handy.

I’d like another weekend, though.  Can someone make that happen?

What’s to be nervous about now?

I got the go-ahead yesterday to tell my team about our plans.  FINALLY.  My boss, HR, the CEO, and the CFO are all being supportive.  (I haven’t spoken to the CEO and CFO, so I don’t know HOW supportive they are, but that’s irrelevant now.)  Yay!  So I wrote some notes yesterday, was nervous all morning, and met with Ben (my senior guy) just before lunch, where I blurted it all out with no regard for my notes.  Luckily, he understood what I was saying and doesn’t have any immediate concerns.  He’s the linchpin – where his mood goes, the team’s mood follows, so I need him to be positive about it, and he was!  Not over the moon, but why would he be?  I just need him to NOT think it’s a disaster.

So then I went to Wegmans to buy cupcakes so I can bribe the rest of the team into contentment when I tell them at our weekly meeting in….less than 90 minutes.   Updates to come.  Hopefully very boring updates.

Update: They’re fine!  They were outwardly supportive, at least, after they made sure I was NOT leaving them and they were NOT getting a new boss.  Which is sweet of them.

SO relieved.

Just say something already!

Trepidation has turned into impatience.  My HR person hasn’t told ANYone yet.  She wants to have a conversation with my boss first, then tell the CEO and CFO, and it seems that finding the time to have that first conversation is proving difficult.  COME ON ALREADY!  I don’t like secrets.  I’m trying to be above-board with everyone.

On the other hand, it’s Friday, it’s Molly’s first day, and the sun is shining.

On the edge of my seat

Trepidation is the word of the day.  Last Wednesday, I told the head of HR about our plans for working remotely (and gave her the mid-August date).  She’s excited for us (yay!), and she said she’d tell the CFO and the CEO.  Once I hear back from her (or them), I’ll know if they’re with me or against me (it’s an us vs. them world!), and I’ll be able to share what’s going on with everyone (at work – you guys already know).

I HAVE to wait for their response.  If they support me, I can tell my team I’ll be working remotely, and we can work through any difficulties that might come up.  If they say no, then the conversation with my team will be very different.  My HR person said I should know by the middle of this week (it’s performance review time, and everyone is very busy), so I’ve been sitting on this for days and I WANT TO KNOW NOW.  Tomorrow is the middle of the week.  Has she told them?  Do they know?  Every time I see them, I wonder.

I hate being left hanging.  HR is usually very good at getting back to me, so I can only assume they (CFO, CEO) don’t know yet.  Or they know, they’re thinking about it, and they haven’t told HR anything yet.  I’m going to ask her, of course.  I’m not the type to sit and wait, and it’s been four full business days, so I’m not being crazy-impatient.  Just normal-impatient.

Hunting

Molly is apartment-hunting in DC!  This is going to be cool.  She’s looking in a lot of neighborhoods that were fairly shady 15 years ago, but have changed a lot since then.  I keep thinking we’ll have live vicariously through her, but no!  We can do that, too!  We ARE going to do that, too!  We’re going to move to cities we’re not familiar with, and rent apartments short-term in cool neighborhoods!  Even though I’m living and breathing this giant change, I keep forgetting that we are going to be able to do whatever we want.

Whatever we want!

I would like to stop having such long days

It appears to be Crisis Week at work.  I spent hours on conference calls with one client yesterday, and hours on conference calls with a different client today.  Also, I went in early to help wrap up yesterday’s problems, but couldn’t do that (someone else did) because of the new crisis, AND I worked until 8pm because we’re short-staffed and I didn’t want to screw anyone on my team by making them work the late shift more than once this week, so I just finished an 11-hour day.  Half of it was productive, much of it was annoying.  But it’s over now.  John just watched Atari: Game Over (which appears to be an episode (the only one?) in a series called Signal to Noise that maybe failed, based on the IMDB results), and the music over the end credits was happy enough to make those couple of minutes the best part of my day so far.  Of course, Google is failing me – I can’t find the song.  Don’t ruin this for me, Google!

But hey – I feel much better than I did, and it was super-duper nice to work the afternoon from home.  My twice-monthly meetings with my boss start next week, so I plan to make this a regular thing and let everyone get used to the idea.  I want to talk to her about it before I do it, but it’s going to happen.

Reading is next, and bed, and tomorrow is Thursday, and you know what?  I really like Thursdays.

I guess I’m not in control of my own destiny

Remember how yesterday I was going to leave work early and enjoy some sunshine?  Yeah…I shouldn’t have said it out loud.  The universe didn’t take it well.

“Oh, you want to leave early?  You’re a little frustrated with work?  Looking forward to some nice spring weather?  Need a break?  Oh, ha ha ha.  That’s so cute.  Tee hee.  That you should have such aspirations – oh, it’s too much.  Really.  Pardon me while I wipe away tears of hilarity.  Oh, ha.  Hum.  Hee.  YOU WILL BE PUNISHED.”

A three hour conference call began at 3pm.  I left work at 6:30.  I might need to placate the universe somehow.  I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to offend!

Update: It JUST occurred to me that yesterday was April Fool’s Day.  Was this a cosmic joke?

No more (for now)

We’ve decided to take a break (again) from Downton Abbey.  Last night, all we did after we got home from work was make dinner (John was in charge – penne with olive oil, mushrooms, spinach, and parmesan) and then watch several hours of that show.  (You can’t watch just one episode!)  I feel like a slug.  Maybe it’ll be a weekend-only show.

I need to get outside more.  The forecast is encouraging…in fact, I might try to get outside at lunch time today.  I brought my lunch (Again!  I know!), but that’s not a reason to stay chained to my desk.  Leaving the building doesn’t mean I have to get something else for lunch.

Abandoned the lunch idea.  The plan: work through lunch (which I usually do anyway) and try to get out of here a little early and go for an easy jog!  Get some sunshine and feel less slug-like at the same time!  I feel confident I can pull this off.  Semi-confident.  Okay, there’s a 50% chance I can get out of here early.

It’s my party. I can freak out if I want to.

Written this morning, approximately 10am:

There is no wrong answer.  There is a better answer, an easier answer, but any answer will have the same result.  So why am I so nervous?

I’m meeting with my boss in an hour, to tell her that we’re leaving the area by mid-August, but I’d like to keep my job and work remotely.  I have all kinds of supporting details about why and how and how this can work, but that’s the main point.  I figure there are four possible outcomes:

1. She says “Oh, how exciting!” and “Of course we can do that!”  Best outcome.

2. She’s less enthusiastic but willing to give it a try.  Good outcome.

3. She says “No, I’m sorry, but we can’t work that way.”  Not the best outcome.  I use the time to look for something that WILL let me do that while working here for the next five months.

4. She says no and fires me on the spot.  Highly unlikely, but possible.  Worst outcome.

No matter which of the four outcomes I get, we’re still leaving the area in 5 months.  This isn’t a negotiation.  We no longer have to carry a mortgage (whoopee!), so we can handle it if I end up unemployed for a few months.  I might even enjoy that.  For a little bit.  (John would totally be jealous.)  Mostly, I want to keep my salary and not have to look for a new job (because that sucks).  I’ll have to eventually, but I don’t want to now.

So…I’m nervous.  Logic has nothing to do with it.  It’s a hard conversation to have.  Deep breath in, deep breath out.


Post-Meeting Update:

My boss had the best possible reaction.  She didn’t exactly say “Oh, how exciting!”, but when I said we’re leaving the area in 5 months, and I would like to keep my job and just do it remotely, she said (very quickly and sounding somewhat relieved), “Let’s do that.”  No hesitation, no problems.  I am free.  We’re just not telling anyone until about a month out.  I feel SO much better.

Sharing walls

We are officially apartment-dwellers again.  We moved out of our last apartment (in San Diego) in July 2003 – it’s been almost 12 years since we’ve shared walls with other people (hotel rooms aside).  Our first two nights were uneventful.  Quiet.  It was actually better than a typical weekend night living across the street from a bunch of teenagers, so this may be an improvement, noise-wise.  When we woke up this morning, we could hear someone chipping away at the ice on and around their car, but our alarm had already gone off, so that wasn’t really disruptive, either.

I’ll take pictures soon.  The bedroom is almost free of boxes, and the living room is very close to looking like a living room.  I may never show you pictures of the other bedroom – it’s like a war zone in there.  We can’t even walk in the room.

The stairs (three flights) are not a problem when we’re not carrying lots of stuff.  (That part has SUCKED for moving.)  Grocery trips will have to be short and often, with only enough groceries capable of being carried in one trip, but that’s okay, too, and we now live across the street from a grocery store (and the two Wegmans locations are just as handy as they were).  We’re 7 tenths of a mile from our new boxing gym, so as soon as the ice goes away, we’ll be running there.  It’ll be nice to be able to run again.

Good things are happening!

Almost there

Emily and Sean are coming tomorrow to help us move the heavy stuff.  We’ll move the couch, the last two bookshelves, dining room table, coffee table, media center, dressers, and the bed into the apartment.  So basically, as of Saturday night, we will officially be living in the apartment.  And since we’ll have people to help, we need to get as much moved as possible, and that means we have to be ready, so we’ve spent nearly every waking moment packing things.  I’ve skipped yoga and zumba in the evenings, and we only went to boxing on Monday and Wednesday.  Tuesday morning, we got up, packed up the linen closet, and went to work.  When we got home Tuesday evening, we packed up the kitchen.  (We’ve been eating mostly takeout anyway – we can eat out of takeout containers for a few more days.)  Wednesday night, we started packing up the bedroom, and we finished that last night.  Tonight, we picked up the truck and packed up our bathrooms, and we’re pretty much ready.  All is going according to plan!

It’s a little sad – tonight is our last night to sleep here.  But it’s all in service of our grand plan and our very exciting future.  Yay the future!

Happy Birthday To Me

I’m officially rescheduling my birthday to some weekend with perfect weather in the spring.  Possibly late spring.  I definitely need a do-over.  One that involves wine.  On the one hand, yay – we got a lot of moving done, and that’s something I wanted.  On the other hand, it was maybe the WORST weekend we could have scheduled a move.  Let’s start with Friday.

Friday: My actual birthday.  My gym was closed, so there was no boxing.  John and I went to the normal gym, but eh – it wasn’t that much fun.  Then I stayed at work late, which is also no fun on your birthday.  Highlight #1 (during the day): Chastity took me out to lunch.  We went to the Cheesecake Factory and ate only appetizers and cheesecake.  Delicious.  Highlight #2: everything after I got home.  John picked up Indian takeout (yay!), so that was waiting for me when I got home, but even better, as I walked in the front door, I was enveloped in the smell of a cake baking in the oven.  Best smell in the world.  The smell was so good I wanted to dig myself a hole in the middle of the cake and go to sleep in it.  So for my birthday (the part that counts), I ate Indian food and cake while watching Stardust (I love that movie). That part was good.

Saturday: The forecast called for 5-8 inches of snow, but it wasn’t supposed to start until late morning or early afternoon.  We picked up our truck at 8:30 and were back at the house before 9.  The snow started before we got home.  We spent the next four hours carrying a bed, 10 bookshelves, and 54 boxes (all books and office stuff) from the basement out through the garage and up the ramp into the truck (thank goodness for the ramp), then back down the ramp and into the storage unit (which is only 2 miles from the house), all in below-freezing temperatures (I think it was in the single digits) and driving snow.  We had to keep sweeping snow out of the storage unit before we could put anything else down on the floor, and it was SO cold.  Three pairs of gloves were not enough to keep my fingers warm.  Getting the truck back to the house was treacherous (the roads were awful and windshield wipers on the truck didn’t actually touch the windshield – useless things), and then, to add insult to actual injury (we were sore and achy and I’m bruised all over my arms and legs from schlepping heavy stuff), we couldn’t get it into the driveway again until we shoveled the four inches that had accumulated so far.  We left the truck idling in the middle of the street while we cleared the driveway and sidewalks.  Then we collapsed.

Sunday: Weatherwise (hee – hi, Margaret!), Sunday was the complete opposite of Saturday.  The sun was shining and the temperature climbed into the 40s.  We still had to start the day with shoveling the four inches of snow that fell after we collapsed Saturday afternoon, but after that, we loaded the truck with a few more things for the storage unit and some stuff for the apartment.  The storage unit part was comparatively easy, but the apartment – whose idea was it to take the apartment on the 4th floor?  Sure, we’re in good shape, and on a normal day, three flights of stairs is no big deal.  But over and over?  Carrying odd-shaped and heavy boxes?  Really?  That was not fun.  We quit around 3:30 and returned the truck, then treated ourselves to cheeseburgers and fries at Cheeburger Cheeburger, with milkshakes to go.  It was around 5 or 5:30 when we got home, and after those two days, we were wiped out.  We showered, climbed into bed with our milkshakes, watched TV for a couple of hours, and went to sleep early.

Happy birthday to me!

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Another step forward

I’m not sure if this should count as a whole step or a half step, but it’s definitely some kind of step in the right direction.  We signed a lease today!  We officially have an apartment, and we are going to officially start moving this weekend.  We also officially have a storage unit, so this weekend will be more about moving stuff in there, but I’m sure we’ll put something in the apartment.  Symbolism.  Plus we have to do the initial inspection and write down every scuff mark.  The future is almost here!