My Moving Tips

My recent move is still on my mind in a big way (the stacks of boxes lining each room might have something to do with that).  I wanted to share the knowledge I gained with you from my experience.  These are things which did and did not work for us.  Obviously, not everything that worked for us will work for everyone.

We rented a 20 yard garbage dumpster, and I would absolutely do that again.  Was it pricey?  Absolutely.  Was it worth it?  Yuppers.  We had a number of large items which had to be thrown away.  We don’t have a truck, so in order to throw away large items (plus the massive amount of random things we needed to chuck) we would have to rent a truck and make multiple trips to the dump, which would have cost us time, money, and hassle.  With the way we did it, we had the dumpster sitting in our driveway for a couple of weeks.  We just took stuff out to the container whenever we needed – no fuss, no muss.  We weren’t charged for the time, but for the end weight of the filled container.

As we were going through the move, we looked at each item and pondered it.  Is this something we want to box up and move?  If so – go for it.  If not – might anyone else want it?  If so, donate it.  If not, into the dumpster it goes.  It was that simple for us – pack it, donate it, or pitch it.  We felt really good about that process.  It was the perfect time to clean out.

I bought boxes.  That was a win.  Obviously, it was more expensive than getting free boxes at the booze store, but in my mind, it was totally worth it.  I didn’t have to go from store to store, trying to squeeze assembled boxes into my tiny car – they were all collapsed and I could easily fit way more into my Saturn that way.  Once assembled, they were all like- or similarly-sized so they all stacked beautifully.  If you have the funds for it, I’d say go for it.  My mistake with that was that I bought boxes without handle slots – go for the handle slots.

Labeling the boxes – complete fail!  I bought boxes which had check boxes on the side which told my loved ones where each box was to go.  On the top were the blank lines on which I wrote the contents of the box.  Yah – no.  With the boxes stacked three or four high, I have absolutely no idea what’s inside any boxes other than the top one.  So very frustrating once you’re in your new house, searching for that thing you need right now!! Label on the side.  And the front.  Maybe the back and the other side?  I did that for my previous move.  At the time, it felt like overkill, but now I totally wish we’d done that for this move.

If I had the money next time, I would absolutely hire movers.  As it was, we had a team of 4 – 6 of our loved ones to help us out.  We had so much stuff in our house and garage that it took two trips in the largest moving truck we could find.  Our friends and family were so exhausted by the time we were mostly done that we called it quits before we were actually done.  Hiring a couple of moving men would have caused me far less guilt.  I hated how exhausted everyone was because of us.  Yup.  Hired hands.

The pizza and muffins were a win/fail.  It was nice that we had the food and water on hand for our movers.  However, I overestimated and we had WAY too much left over.  Sure, it was nice to have the leftovers for a few days after the move (during the last part of the move and the cleaning of the old house) – I didn’t have to worry about providing meals for us.  However, I had no idea I could become sick and tired of pizza and Costco muffins.  Blech!  I think there might actually be pizza still in the fridge.  I’m so tired of pizza, I don’t even want to touch the boxes to throw them away.

Next time, I would find a way to have tunes anywhere there were people.  Music lightens any load.  We had tunes while Mr. C’s sister was helping (thanks, Jen!) and made me realize what a difference it makes.

I hope that helps with your move!  I hope it is a non-event for you.

My NEW New Job

So, Mr. C and I were out on date night last week.  We were just kinda meandering through our new town, enjoying each other, the lovely weather, and the slow, quiet mood of the town.

We happened along the candy store.  Hm… Backstory time.

A few months ago, we happened to be in this town to celebrate Mr. C’s mom’s birthday.  After enjoying lunch, I walked next door to a little candy store, where I proceeded to have a fairly lengthy conversation with the store owner about candy making (something I’ve done for years).  This is a miracle unto itself – as an introvert, talking with strangers is a real challenge for me.  But, I really enjoyed talking with her.  I ended up giving her my recipe for microwave caramels.

The other night, while Mr. C and I were on our date, we stopped by the candy store to ask if she tried and/or liked the recipe.  Once again, we had a lengthy conversation (much to Mr. C’s surprise).  He told her about the White Chocolate Toasted Pecan Salted Caramels I had made for him.  She looked at me and asked if I was looking for work.

I beamed, and said, “As a matter of fact, I am.”

Since then, I’ve been in her store one other time to set my schedule with her.  I start next Wednesday, and I’m totally excited.  Luckily, she’s just as excited to have me on board as I am to be there.

She wants to expand her business.  She needs someone who will not only come up with new ideas, but will execute those idea to fruition.  My creative side is just aching to start working with her!

Yay!  I think this experience will be really good for me!

**I will not eat candy all day and gain more weight.  I will not eat candy all day and gain more weight.**

My New Job

I cringe when I say this – I work at Home Depot.  For some reason, at 40 years old, after working as an executive assistant for a CEO, I have a hard time saying out loud that I work at Home Depot.

When I got the job, I thought my title was “Backoffice.”  I had a hard time with that one, too.  Q: What do you do?  A: I count the tills and balance the safe.  Blah, blah, blah.  So very undignified.  Since I only do that 2 days a week, and I want more hours, they decided to fill the rest of my days with… wait for it… watering.  Ugh!  I guess a job is a job, right?

But, magically, it morphed into something better.

I’m not “Backoffice.”  I’m “Bookkeeper.”  That looks SO much better on a resume.  Now, I can honestly say I’m a bookkeeper.  I kinda like that.

And then, the lady who is training me sorta put dibs on me.  She likes something about me enough that she’s going to try to steal me from the outside garden area.  Yay!

And then the HR lady told me that she wants to steal me too.  Now that’s actually something I’ve wanted to add to my resume for a while, now – “HR Assistant.”  Oooo!  Kinda hopeful about that one.

So, I don’t think of Home Depot as long-term, I do like the opportunities is is offering me and the future it might afford.

Yay!

Oh Man! Where to Start?

Okay.  First off, we’re in.  We have officially moved into our new place.  So much has happened since then.  Thinking about it – I think each new event should get its own blog entry, so I guess you’ll just have to wait for the next few installments.  🙂

So, the new house has its good and bad points.

The dogs love the loft.  At first I couldn’t figure out why.  Now, I think it’s because it’s carpeted.  They’ve never experienced a carpeted room before.  I think they also like being able to look down on us.  Not sure.

The super cool pond out back in which I was positive Prince would love to swim – yah, it’s got some old rusty chunk of metal in it.  Prince won’t go anywhere near it.  Sad day.

Speaking of rusty water – our drinking water isn’t potable.  Very sad!  We’re waiting for the guy to come out and fix it.  Drinking bottled water in the meantime, and very carefully washing dishes and laundry (think “bleach”).

And it is all the way out in BFE.  It takes me twenty minutes to get to work.  Blech!

But, the drive to and from is so lovely – tree-lined streets, vineyards and farms.  It really is a very nice drive.  So, if you don’t mind driving, you can enjoy the 20 minutes of driving instead of spending that time being stuck on some major freeway with 20,000 other people who are hating the commute.

It’s so quiet on our property.  Most of the time, the only sound I hear is birds.  Every once in a while, a good breeze will rustle the leaves in the trees.  The other day I heard one single firework.  It’s so peaceful out here!

There’s so much storage space!  Everywhere I look, there’s a cupboard or a closet.  It’s incredible!  I even have a closet specifically for my kitchen appliances.  I’m in chef heaven!

We decided to use the downstairs family room as our master bedroom.  It isn’t even weird that we don’t have a bedroom door (it’s usually just Mr. C and I.  When his son is here, he isn’t able to walk on his own, so there is no risk of him walking in on us or anything.)

Because we are out in BFE and there is so much land (three acres!) it feels like we have our own secluded haven.  If I look out our front windows, I am reminded that we do have neighbors (I have yet to even catch a glimpse of them, let alone meet them.)

The biggest downside to the move?  All of the boxes.  Still so many boxes!  So tired of boxes!

Oh wait – I suppose I could do something about that, right?  *sigh*

Moving Day

Today is moving day.  Before the whirlwind of friends, family, and boxes begins, I just want to take a moment to say goodbye to this house.  We’re leaving it far earlier than we had expected, and with how busy we’ve been since the moment we found out we were leaving, I hadn’t really taken the time to deal with the end of this chapter.

For the most part, I’m glad we’re moving.  But, there are downsides to leaving this residence – reasons to be slightly melancholy.

My life changed when I moved into this house.  I began my life with the man of my dreams – the man who would love me, support me, and encourage me.  Granted, I’m taking the man with me on the move, but this house was somewhat symbolic for me.  In this house, I felt more like a partner and an adult than I ever did while I was married.  In this house was the start of my forever with my guy.

It is in a really nice neighborhood – quiet, nice neighbors, and a view of the nearby mountains.  I will miss the neighborhood.

And I was accustomed to this house.  Change is hard for me.  I know where all of the light switches are, which outlets are on the same circuits, etc.  I will have to adjust to the new house, learning all of it’s quirks.

The kitchen in this house is much larger than the one into which we’re moving.  I’m going to miss this space.  I mean – the kitchen is the most important room in the house, right?  I’m sure this year in the new house will cement in me the importance of a large kitchen in our next home.

The master bath in this house is only 3/4.  When Mr. C and I take a shower together, there is barely any room to switch spots.  While I may complain about my butt touching the cold shower wall, I do enjoy the closeness it demands.  Both of the bathrooms in the new house are full baths – no forced body-pressing.

As I look around, there are things about this house I will miss – the sunlight that comes into the entry, the garden on which we have worked so hard, the huge living room window, etc.

I guess it’s time to walk away from the old and embrace the joys of the new house.

Goodbye, House.

moving

The Day Before

It’s finally here!  Tomorrow is Moving Day!  It’s going to be a very busy day!  We’re hoping to get our entire household (and garage – yuck!) packed up, moved, and then unpacked.  However, today will probably just as busy.

Mr. C is taking today off work, which is a really big help.  There are just some finishing preparations which will be much more helpful with his assistance (taking apart our ginormous bed, for starters.)

We have to finish packing up any odds and ends.  ‘Cause we don’t have enough boxes filling every available space in our house.  I’m so tired of boxes!

MovingBoxes_1

Thankfully, we have our couples counseling today.  My first thought was to cancel it, but I really think we need to see Helena.  She seems to balance us and bring us back to where we need to be as individuals and as a couple.  (We will probably lose her once I start working, which is the saddest part of this whole move!)  She definitely gives us a plan which to use to keep us going in the right direction when we know we have something challenging ahead of us.  So, taking the hour out of our day is a really good use of that time!

We’re also going to do our walk-through today.  I’m totally excited about it!  We only saw our new home that once, and it really was a whirlwind.  In all honesty, we’re not even sure if it’s carpeted or not (I’m fairly certain it’s not).  It’ll be good to go back through it again before we move in so we can have a plan of attack to help the move go more smoothly.

We also have to pick up the moving truck.  Since we’re going to have it this afternoon, Mr. C and I are going to start packing it this evening to get a jump start on it.  I mean, do what we can today to make tomorrow go more smoothly, right?

I’m exhausted just thinking about all of it!

French

When I was in high school, I took just enough French to be able to convince myself that I know French (insert chuckle here).

I took four years of it.  I tested out at a college level.  I still think in French from time to time and I have spoken with my sister occasionally in French.  Actually, I am usually embarrassed when I chat with her because she is much better than I am.  In truth, I know my French sucks.

And yet every once in a while, it pops up that I do know at least a little bit.   For some reason, my blog server seems to think I know French.

french

I’m not sure if you can see that or not.  It tells me when that particular blog was posted.  “Il y a 2 mois” is what it says.  Or, in English, “2 months ago.”  Why my blog server decided that I all of a sudden spoke French is still unknown to me, but it is nice that I can understand what it says.

There are moments like that in my life.  If someone is speaking basic French in a movie, I can understand it.  I often wonder if those around me understand it, too.  I mean, if it’s so simple that I can understand it, others must be able to, as well, right?  It turns out – not always.  I do know a little more French than many Americans.

I’ve also found that if there is rudimentary Spanish written somewhere, I can translate it (Romantic languages are all very similar, and if you can understand one, you have a good chance of understanding another).  With the basic knowledge, I can often translate some basic written Latin, which is really fun.

Can you tell I love languages?  I’d love to take a Spanish class and be able to eavesdrop on those who wouldn’t assume I know it.

Gainfully Employed

So, something good/bad happened yesterday.  I got a job!  Well, as long as my drug test and background check come back okay (insert snicker – I’m as white-bread as they come!)

It feels good knowing that I’m going to be earning money again.  Plus, my new income will help pay for my upcoming vacation.  I’m kinda excited about getting back to work, which really surprises me.  I love being a homemaker and focusing on my writing, but apparently some part of me missed being in the work force.

It’s not even an exciting job.  I’ll be working for Home Depot (very) part time.  I’ll be in their cash office two days a week, starting at 5:00 (it’s a good thing I’m a morning person!)  On the days I’m not in the cash office, I’ll either be cashiering or … are you ready for this?  Out watering plants.  That’s right – they’re going to pay me to come in at 5:00 in the morning to water plants.  I’m cool with that.  I’ll be home in time for a nap.  Woo-hoo!

Everyone I spoke with said they love working for Home Depot, some having been there 15 – 20 years!  (I think longevity at a job speaks volumes.)  The perks looked pretty inviting, too.  This might end up being a really cool gig.

HD4

The only thing is – each shift looks like it’ll be four to five hours.  Like I said – very part time.  I would really like to pay off my debt and save up some money.  In order to do that, if I’m working at minimum wage, I need to get a second job.

Here’s where the bad part of getting this job comes in – it was WAY too easy for me to get.  Literally my first phone call in the job search was to that Home Depot.  It was the first application I sent in.  In years past, I was extremely cocky about my ability to get a job.  That made me quite frustrated when my job search was so difficult, last time.  I hope that finding a second job will be a problem-free as this one was so I don’t become frustrated!

Homeward Bound

I’ve wanted to buy a house for about a decade now.  Due to circumstances, it hasn’t been an option.

With our landlord giving us less than four weeks to pack up, find a place, and move out, it really gave Mr. C and me a wake up call.  We don’t ever want to be put into a position like this again.

We want to be able to plant a fruit tree without needing to get permission from our landlord.  We don’t want to put up a large pool with permission, just to have that permission revoked and having to take it all down again.  We want to have the security which home ownership provides.

Our current landlord is a tool (duh).  Our new landlord seems like a really good person.  I’m really looking forward to working with her.  I am 98% certain she would never pull the crap on us that our current landlord has done.  However, we still would like to have say over our home/property.

The obvious step is to work toward buying a house.  We hope to be able to be able to do so in a year.homeEeek!

We checked our credit on Credit Karma.  It really was as easy as they say it is.  We very quickly had our scores, what we could do to improve them, and all sorts of other really helpful tools.

Needless to say, we both could do things to increase our scores.  So, over the next year, we’re going to do what we need to do to get those numbers up.  I’ve been searching for a job to help in that endeavor.  Mr. C is working on his end of it.

So, while we are packing up, preparing for the move, we’re doing it with the thought that we’ll be moving again in a year.

Blech!

I hate moving, but the idea of moving into a home of which I will be co-owner is very exciting!  It makes the idea of getting a job sound better.

Mammogram

Yup.  That’s right.  I’m old now.  I had my first mammogram the other day.  I wanted to share my experience with you.

First off, I didn’t have my paperwork with me (yay!  Moving!  Can’t find anything!)  I had the address plugged into my phone, but didn’t manage to enter the suite number, doctor’s name, or anything helpful.  I arrive at the complex and look around, trying to figure out how I was going to find out where I was supposed to be.  Should I walk into each one and say, “Am I supposed to be here?”  It was awful!

I walked into my first choice (which boldly said, “radiology” outside the building).  However, once I walked in, it spoke of removing tattoos.  Um… probably not.

I walked back out to my car to try to call my PCP.  Yah, that’s not going to happen.  The only number I have is for my insurance and they’re completely unhelpful when you need to talk to your doctor.  I could e-mail her, but there’s no telling how quickly she’d get back to me.  Ugh!!!

I got out and started walking around.  As I passed my initial first guess, I notice that it says, “Mammography.”  I’m doing it.  I’m just gonna go in and ask.

Yay!  It was the right building!

Now, do I sit and wait or do I go to the bathroom?  Is this doctor one who is always on time, or will I be sitting here for half an hour?  I don’t want to be in the bathroom when my name is called, so I wait.

A few short minutes later, my name is called.  Phew!

“How ya doin’?” she asked.

“Terrified.  How about you?”

She laughed.  “You’ll be fine.  We’re going to do a 3D mammogram.  It’s much less painful.”

Mm-hm.

I walk in and see a “robe” with a small box of chocolates on top.  Boehms chocolates.  Okay.  We’re off to a good start here.

She leaves, I undress and put the robe on.  She re-enters and the fun begins.

I swear – I got more action there than I have at home in a while.  She was all about man-handling my massive boobs.  She did it very nonchalantly, reminding me that she does this all day, every day.  Touching another woman’s boobs is probably no different than shaking someone’s hand to her.

It was weird!

And then I remembered that I had forgotten to brush my teeth.  She was right in my face as she touched my underboob sweat (ewwww!!!)  I didn’t want to add insult to injury by making my morning breath wash over her.  No talking!

Much to my delight, she was right.  It didn’t hurt.  Much.  Due to the type of mammogram, it didn’t take as much squishing – only enough to keep my boobs in place.   Yay!  And someone had forwarned me that I’d have to stand on my tippy toes during the whole process – nope.  Flatfooted the entire time.  She raised the machine to my height, so I was completely at ease the whole time.  Woo-hoo!

It was done relatively quickly.  I re-dressed and then was escorted to the viewing room, where the image of my x-rayed boobs were larger than life.  Wait – were those lifesize?  Exactly how big are my boobs, anyway?  Yikes!

3d mammogram

These aren’t my boobs, FYI – Like I’d show you my own boobs!

I was left sitting for a while.  As I studied my images, worst case scenarios starting running through my head.  What are those streaky things?  What are those bright spots?  Oh my god!  I’ve got cancer!  I’m gonna die!

I’m supposed to get a job to help pay rent.  Once I get a job, I’m going to lose my insurance.  Then I’ll die for sure.

Mr. C isn’t here to hold my hand while I get the bad news.  I’m going to sit here and break down with nobody to hold me.  This is gonna be the worst!

As I was planning my funeral, the doctor walks in, shakes my hand (very firmly – not something I get a lot of, as a woman), and walks to the image.  I join him, bracing myself.

He explains the 3D process, explains why it hurts less, and tells me that I don’t need a reference, so I can just call in a year to reschedule.  He makes the image come to life, starting with the skin (visible pores – ick!) and then moves through my breast tissue, showing me that there was no cancer.

“What about those streaks?”

He assures me that’s just breast tissue.

“And those bright spots?”

“Calcifications.”

“So, I’m good?”

“You’re good.”

I shake his hand and walk out, my health and life restored.  Yay!  I’m gonna live!

So, long story short (too late!) the worst part about my mammogram was my imagination.  Yay!

For those of you who have yet to have a mammogram – I don’t know about the regular ones, but the 3D ones are about about as painful as a dental cleaning (and much faster).