stress marks

I haven't posted much lately, mostly because I've become somewhat consumed with this move and even I am getting tired of the incessant whining that has become my own personal soundtrack to accompany all things move related. There is little to update, but somehow I've managed to turn it into a post anyways. Go me!

  • Right now the plan is this: We'll fly to CA sometime around the 21st of October and spend a few days shuffling through the available houses on the market. BG will come back mid-week to tie up loose ends at work and get the house packed up; LG and I will stay, continuing to look for a place to call home if we haven't found one to make an offer on before BG's return flight to Philly. If we have found and made an offer on a house, LG and I will spend our days lazing in the sun, sifting through the sand for seashells and watching unicorns prance lithely through fields of daisies while fairies and sprites feed us grapes and ambrosia under a gossamer canopy held aloft by serenading cherubs. Guess which scenario my money is on.
  • The tree house is still on the market. We are waiting anxiously for the results of the two appraisals that were done last week to give us some indication of how much we stand to lose if a buyer doesn't appear in the next 3 weeks. For those of you whose reaction to that sentence is along the lines of "Huh?", here's how it goes: We can either sell the house ourselves in the normal fashion, or, after making a good faith attempt to do so, we can throw ourselves on the mercy of the Evil Empire and ask them to take it off our hands. To paraphrase the immortal Jessica Rabbit, "It's not really evil, it's just portrayed that way." That process has already been set into motion in the form of the two aforementioned appraisers(um, hello! The house has been on the market since April, people. I'd call 5 months of carrying our tissues down to the garage after each and every nose-blow JUST IN CASE someone wants to look at the house a pretty damn good faith attempt. Unfortunately there's been a shortage of Robinsons looking for tree houses in the Philadelphia area.). The Empire will take the average of the figures that they come back with and we have the option of selling the tree-house to them at that price*.
  • On Monday the house will be inspected and tested; all of our worldly goods will be surveyed and cataloged. Crates will be ordered**, cranes will be scheduled***.
  • Tuesday will mark the beginning of redefining life as we now know it. Meals will be less about nutritional content and more about consuming the remaining non-transportable items in our inventory. What do you mean we can't have rice, string cheese, and maple syrup for dinner? Rice = whole grains, Cheese = dairy, Maple = trees = vegetables. Throw in a few peanuts for protein and how much more balanced can nutrition get? Cleaning products, paints, and any thing remotely flammable will be gathered neatly into a pile in the garage and subsequently stared at as BG and I bounce the query "What the crap are we going to do with these?" aimlessly back and forth between us. With the exception of the wine. The wine we know what to do with. In fact, there's a good chance that taking care of the wine will lead to a solution for the cleaning products et al. Hopefully we will have the sense to wait to act on that solution until the next morning. Laundry will be sorted according to what will fit in the beast bags, prioritized by what we think we'll possibly need before the truck arrives at our new home (which could be a matter of days, weeks, or months, depending on how that initial bullet point up there goes). Trips to Goodwill will be come as frequent as trips to the library, the grocery store, and the park.
  • Oh, and to add just a dash of excitement into our chaos soup, BG will be working 14+ hour days until the 9th. Ladies and Gentlemen, to truly enjoy any further programing, you should set your dials to the frequency of W-H-I-N-E! Thank you and enjoy the show.
And what have I been doing to prepare for all this merriment and fun? Reading this and this and this. Finding out that her husband just got laid off. Babysitting for friends during the birth of their fourth child. Listening to my siblings as they plan for evaluations, plan charity events, plan major life changes (Joe, I'd link to you, but oh yeah. YOU DON'T BLOG.), plan for a new baby. In short, realizing that I really just need to suck it up and get over myself already. Yeah, it sucks. It's stressful and frustrating and hectic and time consuming. But the move? I really can't complain about it. We're going back to an area we know, to people we love. We know (more or less) where the grocery store is, the library, the book store, the best pizza place in town. We know what the commute will be like. The Empire hires movers for us who pack, load, and drive everything for us. If we haven't found a place to live in by the time the truck gets there, they'll store it all for us (for a month on the Empire's dime) until we find one. It's just me, the boy, and the daddy. Oh, and the two cats, but they've done this a time or two. We have friends to stay with when we get out there (short-term, I promise!) and email, blogs, and the phone to keep us in touch with the friends we leave. My own drama is pale when compared to those around me, but I seem to be unable to keep my focus on the half-full portion of this glass. Bah. I'll keep looking for my optimism, but until I find it, expect posting to be sporadic at best.



*Appraisals just came in. Low. So now we can either dispute the results and hope for a better outcome, take the results and figure out how to make up the difference, or hope that the house sells on it's own and that the sale reflects the true market value****.

**This just doesn't fit in a standard packing box.

***This won't make it down these and has to go out this way. "'Ain't no ladder tall enough. Ain't no mover strong enough..."

****Um, yeah, so when establishing the appraised value of our house, we were dinged for things like "Limited street parking". Never mind that we have a garage. And live on one of the rare streets in this city that doesn't require a permit to park on it for more than 2 hours. What I want to know, is where did they draw their comps from? Middleton, Wisconsin? Silly me. I thought they'd use a place with similar square footage or, oh, I don't know, THE EXACT SAME FLOOR PLAN? Something like the one for sale next door that we SHARE A WALL WITH? Apparently? Not comparable.


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imagry

"... and suddenly they were Siamese twins, joined at the chocolate-chip cookie."


Maybe not exactly PC, but you've got to admit, it does paint quite the picture!

spanked

The fantasy football season has begun (yeah, yeah, we're a week behind. We've got this little MOVE going on...) and tonight my mighty Finger Puppet Mafia took on the SIL's Windy Lou Who's.

The score as of this moment is 116-85.

The Puppets and I shall now hang our heads in shame as we head up the stairs to sleep off the spanking the Lou Who's continue to dish out.

To the locker room, boys... we can do nothing but further damage by hanging out here tonight.

housekeeping

Just an update on the "greening"...

If you look over there ---------------------------------------> and scroll down, you'll find a simple log of how we're doing. I was thrilled to see that the few steps I took made such an obvious change. BG was thrilled with the smaller checks that he wrote to the utility companies. I'm also please to report that Campaign Reduce Refuse got off to a great start -- the first and second weeks of August we only took two bags of garbage to the curb. We slumped in our efforts a little the third and fourth weeks of the month, but still managed to limit our non-recycled waste to three garbage bags per week. So I'm feeling pretty successful. This month the goal is to limit our curbside waste to 2 1/2 bags per week and I am extremely hopeful that our meter readings will drop even further, especially with fall weather peeking around the corner.

I also re-took the Happy Planet survey and although the changes there were subtle, there was change. I'm still trying to figure out how much stock to put in such surveys -- I'm a bit wary of indexes that "calculate" your happiness based on so few questions. And, depending on the time of day, the time of the month, and whether or not there's any chocolate in the house, my responses to the personal questions can quickly shift from one extreme to the other. But it's still a baseline of sorts and I'm inclined to think that despite it's suspect accuracy, it gives me a direction to aim. Here's how my results compared to last months:


Life Expectancy
8/3/07: 80.1 Congratulations. Your life expectancy is above average for your gender and country. Whether it's eating well, not smoking, getting regular exercise, or just being lucky enough to have the right genes, you're doing something right. However, nobody's perfect and we could all improve our health a little! Aside from getting all the above bits of your lifestyle right, there are some more surprising factors that can influence your life expect - for example, giving up your car, avoiding living alone, moving out of the city or shrugging off stress.
9/4/07: 91.5 Hurray! Your life expectancy is well above average for your gender and country. Probably, you're doing all the major things right - eating well, not smoking, getting regular exercise, and you're lucky enough to have the right genes. Are there any more ways you could make a difference? Some factors that improve your life expectancy are more surprising than others. For example, giving up your car, avoiding living alone, moving out of the city and shrugging off stress.

Ecological Footprint
8/3/07: Your ecological footprint is 6.55 global hectares, or 3.64 planets. This is equivalent to the average in Bahrain. Your ecological footprint is below average for the country you live in. Oh dear! You are using between three and five times your share of the planet's resources, even assuming no resources are set aside for other species. That's well above the world average, and even above the average for most industrialized countries.
9/4/07: Your ecological footprint is 6.18 global hectares, or 3.43 planets. This is equivalent to the average in Ireland, Norway or Singapore. (The rest of the text was the same... my small change, apparently, is still within the "Oh dear!" range.)

Carbon Footprint
8/3/07: Your carbon footprint is 3.14 global hectares, or 1.74 planets. This is below the average for your country (5.84 gHa).
9/4/07: Your carbon footprint is 2.79 global hectares, or 1.55 planets. This is below the average for your country (5.84 gHa).

I find it interesting to note that my over-all "personal Happy Planet Index" number went down a bit (from 30.7 to 30) and that although my Life Satisfaction, Personal Feeling and Personal Functioning scores decreased (respectively 6-5, 6.55-6.08, 6.32-5.99), my ability to function socially went up (4.98-5.03). If this trend continues I'm afraid that in my effort to "do my part", I'm going to live longer, make everyone around me happier, but hate myself while I do it. How's that for incentive?


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wordless wednesday

Check out the links to the rest of the participants over at Wordless Wednesday!

today i learned

It's hard to be stressed out when your little boy wants to have a tea party with you.

Will that be one lump or two?

Thanks, Little Guy! That was just what Mama needed.

7 weeks (and 3 days, 10 hours, and 56 minutes, but who's counting)

From an 8/22 draft entitled "coasting":

It's official. Well, official-ish, really, because nothing is ever "official" with the Evil Empire until it has already happened. And then it still might be undone, so don't get too comfy or involved in anything that can't be suddenly stopped or handed over or walked away from. So really, "official" is just an honorary placeholder of a word that describes nothing concrete or certain. Does your head hurt, too? Um. Okay, let's try again.

The shades of officialness of That of Which Naught Must Be Spoken have shifted to slightly less grey; the great Invocation of Total Silence About All Things Worth Blogging (ITSAATWB) 2007 moratorium has been lifted. So, without any further ado, it is with a distinct sigh of relief that I announce to you, dear internet:

We are moving. Duh! Didn't you post, like a million years ago, about having put the Treehouse on the market?

To California. Wait, wait, I want to Google your new location. Was that Road, or Avenue, or Boulevard?

As in the state. Ha ha. You're so funny. You know that "St" is the abbreviation for "Street", right?

On the other side of the country. Um. Er. Okay. You're for real?

Yup. Before the end of the year and probably as soon as the beginning of November.

Please note the upbeat, playful tone. The general excitement overriding an undercurrent of sadness. Excitement at the prospect of reuniting with friends who quickly became family as we started out on our own 10 years ago. Excitement at getting a "second chance" to see and do all the things we didn't see or do because we were too busy doing all those things that keep you so busy when you're young and still trying to impress everyone else and each other and naively believe "there will be time to do that later" but still haven't learned the hard lesson of how quickly "later" comes and goes and before you know it 6 years later you get a call on your cellphone right in the middle of a staff meeting and it's your husband telling you to meet him at such and such steakhouse so that you can discuss the "news" that he just received that will wind up taking him 1,751 miles away to a place that truly believes that the words "State of" were just accidentally placed in front of the word "Texas" and no one has had a chance in the last 162 years to get out that pesky bottle of white out that keeps drying out at the top so you have to really shake it and maybe even chip away at the clump at the top to get the little brush out and make the correction and anyways, isn't it much easier to just adopt the annoying habit of while flying the state flag at the same height as Old Glory? And so you find yourself left to finish out the school year in the new Kindergarten position that you just got shifted over into because the district had to make budget cuts and it was determined that there weren't enough 2nd graders to merit having 4 separate classrooms and since you were the last one hired, your class is the one that gets shuffled to fill in the vacancies in the other classrooms but you were hired as a full time employee so they have to honor your contract before the contact of the long-term substitute who has been fulfilling the role of "teacher" to the 20 not-quite 6-year olds in the classroom down the way so, hey!, let's see how many lives we can disrupt as we shuffle you here, place you there, do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around because that's what its all about! Right?

Um, wow. Guess that had been building up in there for a while. Back to the point...

So we left CA in a bit of a blur. Now we had been presented with the rare opportunity to go back. And we're were excited about it. But the excitement was tinged with that familiar hue of regret. Because as much as we tried to use the lessons of the past to our benefit, we knew we simply hadn't been here long enough. We hadn't seen all there is to see. We hadn't heard all there is to hear. There are smells and tastes and textures that we wouldn't get to embrace, to absorb, to saturate ourselves in and take with us as a part of the "new we". Our time here had just begun to brush the outer edges where "guest" becomes "guide", where "hearth" becomes "home". We would just have to take the time we had left and check as many boxes as we could, recognizing that we would have to limit ourselves to the flavors that we could inhale as we rushed from one "must see" to the next.

Please notice that the publish button on that draft was never pushed.
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BG's phone would ring over the weekend. My mind raced "Is this it? THE call? Is it official?" And it would be a little more official. Sort of.

An email was received. My heart began to pound "Okay, here it is..." Um, well, kind of. The offer had come in and BG had accepted the terms. But the terms didn't specifically state the date.

Another phone call. Another email. A week... two weeks... And while the tension was unspoken, it was palpable, steadily pushing us both beyond the brink of civility.
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Yesterday, BG emailed the Powers That Be and his Hail, Mary! finally brought about the desired response. We have a start date. November 1st. Disclaimer here: Although we have an official start date that has been blessed and anointed in the obligatory frankincense (or is it mir?) by all the hands that must do the blessing and anointing, it is still subject to change. Hopefully by no more than a week on either side or the bag that I keep running to put my head in is going to be in serious need of replacement.


7 weeks.
A month and a half.

Imagine waking up in the OB-Gyn's office (did I schedule this appointment? How did I get here? Are my panties securely hidden in the toe of my shoe? Because, omigod, I will positively DIE if the doctor sees my panties!) and receiving the news "Surprise! You're 32 weeks pregnant!" Give or take a week or two on either side, of course. That rasping sound? That's the sound of trying to breath through a trachea that has shrunk from it's normal 20-25 mm diameter to less than the circumference of the point of a needle. That's pretty close to how I'm feeling about all this right now.

7 weeks.

To sell, find, and buy a house. Or if we can't find one to buy, find a place that allows month-to-month leases and cats and then figure out which items of our day-to-day life we absolutely need to have with us while everything else, including the boots that you couldn't imagine ever needing in Northern California because, hello, it's California, but then two weeks into having all your earthly belongings that you didn't think you'd ever need packed up and tucked neatly in some warehouse that you couldn't get to even if Google and MapQuest and the GPS in your car were all to suddenly agree on the best route, a freak snowstorm hits and you suddenly realize that flip-flops aren't necessarily all-terrain footwear, but until Target opens and you can tunnel out of your front door, you're gonna have to just deal.

7 weeks.

To figure out if we should all go out at once or if he should go by himself or if he should go with the cats or if I should go with the boy or if I should go with the boy and the cats or if we should all go and then he should come back or if we should all go except for the cats and then he or I and the boy or some other combination should come back for the cats or if it's even possible to make a move when there are so many possible combinations or has our life just inexplicably turned into a giant Rubik's cube and we must now fall on our knees and pray to the great Stephen Hawking to come save us from impending doom. Drama much?


7 weeks.

It's enough to make this little tidbit from another draft laughable. Melancholy echoes? Fait accompli? Seriously, what was I whining about?
so it begins... dated 9/2
And that's the big secret. Of course, since the eventual outcome has been declared prior to posting this, making this into a big announcement is rather anti-climatic. The wringing of hands and sleepless nights needing someone, anyone, to offer insight and help list the pros and cons of such a life changing event have long since passed (um, hello! What did you think I spent August doing?) and now I'm just left with the melancholy echoes of fait accompli. Unless, of course, something changes between now and then - whenever then is - and all the deep sighs and the opening of The Notebook to scratch out of this or add that on the ever lengthening list of "Should We/Shouldn't We" have been meaningless drama.

Seriously, Mom? Chill.


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wordless wednesday

Check out the links to the rest of the participants over at Wordless Wednesday!


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query

Why is the default ringtone on my bluteooth the "dun-dul-un dun dun, dun-dul-un dun dun" part in the beginning of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries? The sense of impending doom alerting me to the fact that I have a call coming in is a bit over the top, if you ask me.


Unless, of course, it's my mother calling...



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image from:
http://www.susandunn.cc/Asgardsrei__3_.jpg