Sunday, June 19, 2011

June Update

Well -- I won't even look at how long it's been since I posted. Too long, I know.

For those who don't know -- I've moved to Ohio with my boyfriend, who moved from California to South Dakota first. Poor lad -- that's 2,800 miles in a smidge over 2 months!!

The move was as smooth as can be expected when I'm involved. We got a late start by a day due to issues getting paychecks cashed to have the money orders for the new apartment and then finding out that the insurance company I had chosen doesn't phrase the policy the way the leasing company prefers. Nothing like last minute issues! I would have known this earlier had I called to ensure they received my fax the week before. But I did find an insurance provider so all is good there. (The documents have to list the apartment complex as co-insured, not as an additional interested party. Very few companies list it that way as it can also be taken as the leasing company also residing in the house. Weird, but it's all good now.)

We had wonderful traveling weather the first day (Saturday) with a nice tail wind. We were going to attempt to get there by Sunday prior to 5pm as the office would be closed for Memorial Day. 1,100 miles. Should be do-able, yes? Yes.

We got a bit over half-way and as it was around 1am we decided an hour nap would be a good thing. (We had left around 3pm and had been up since 8am.) I couldn't sleep, so I let MyHoney have a nap, woke him up and we were off. Well....not 20 minutes later I was getting tired enough to be in the danger zone and so we pulled over into a small truck stop (almost more of a gas station) and slept for close to 4 hours, if I remember correctly.

We got off to a good start...until the storms caught up to us. At that point, the roads were so wet that MyHoney's car was unable to maintain traction so we pulled into another rest area. It wasn't raining anymore at this point but it was time for a good stretch. And we no sooner got into the building when the heavens let loose. It was difficult seeing the van from the building. This was the same storm system that spawned tornadoes in Chicago. We spent well over an hour at this rest area (Three Rivers, IL if I remember correctly) and at this point realized there was simply no way we could make it by Sunday before the office closed.

MyHoney's car was struggling at 65 mph so we dropped it down to 55 mph and it did much better. The cat was traveling well beside me. I had her in a medium dog crate with water and a small litter pan. We pulled into Olympia Plains to get her some cat food as it was obviously going to take longer than planned. I had contacted a friend here in our new town to ask if the offer of a sofabed was still open so we knew we had a place to sleep our first night.

The next stop, still in Olympia Plains, was McDonalds for a quick bite. He then noticed the passenger rear tire on his car -- with the nice long gouge in it with steel poking through. We also found out that Sam's Club there doesn't stock those tires as they're a performance tire. Thankfully, with the financial help of family and a tire store that had the tires in stock, a mere 2-1/2 hours later we were on the way. Again.

We drove until probably 10pm or so and then we found a nice Pilot truck stop next to a large creek. We parked there with the agreement we would sleep as long as the first person who woke up. That person would then wake the other one up. I let Fuzzy (the cat) out of the crate and she slept in a little hole in the boxes behind my head. This truck stop was really nice and I felt very safe there. When we went in in the morning it was like walking into a nice hotel lobby. I had no problems paying a bit of a premium gas price (the only time I've ever paid over $4 a gallon at this point in my life!) for the comfort and convenience.

We drove until mid-afternoon and Fuzzy had begged to be out of the crate again so she was again behind my head. Looking in the review mirror, I could see she was much more comfortable up there. We stopped for our last lunch break at a lovely rest area and I picked her up to put her back in her crate for the break. Only to find her back half wet. She had apparently tried to get her litter pan but she was so big and it was so small, she ended up missing and getting the blankets in the crate instead. We pulled a towel out of MyHoney's car and I took her into the restroom for a quick bath. At first she was very content to rest in the nice, cool sink. Then the water turned on (automatic faucets). She jumped a bit, then decided it wasn't worth the effort. hehe She stuck it out for a short bath then I wrapped her up in the towel and took her outside to dry off while we ate (she was in a harness and on a leash). My left foot was beginning to swell so we rested there a bit while I put it up. Fuzzy took the time to explore as far as the leash would let her which I felt was a good sign as to how well she would ultimately adapt. Then it was back on the road with her now established in the hideyhole on the towel.

We got to Fairlawn, OH and stopped to pick up a change of clothes for us (as al of ours were packed in the trailer under the tarp!!) and then new supplies (litterbox, food/water bowls) for Fuzzy. From there, we drove past the new apartment complex and then managed to get to our friend's house. To be asked if we would be upset if they had rented us a motel room for the night so we could stretch out without their 3 downstairs cats pestering us and Fuzzy. So SpouseofFriend took us to the hotel where we each enjoyed a nice, long shower and Fuzzy was free to explore the room. We went back to their home for a wonderful chicken dinner followed by great conversation until midnight!! (Sorry, SpouseofFriend, for keeping you up so late!)

The next morning we left the van at the hotel, took Fuzzy with, and got the keys to the apartment. More of a townhome, almost! It's a 2-level 2-bedroom apartment (floor plan can be seen here). We have the bedroom on the main floor with a nice private balcony and a lovely view:

The bedroom downstairs we plan on using as a workspace for his sewing and eventually my jewelry making. The storage room has the washer/dryer hookups and we'll rent a washer from the apartment complex for awhile. We're also renting a garage nearby for his car & my trailer. Our building is what is called the "forgotten building" as it's tucked back behind 2 other buildings and has more of the adults/small families rather than the college kids. And so far, I have no complaints of any of the neighbors.

I'm working as a Kelly Services temp driving 30 miles a day right now for a long-term assignment while looking for something closer. MyHoney is still looking as well as working on making new contacts to pick up his sewing business again and start a joint venture among 3 of us: Him, myself and a mutual friend. All in good time but we have very hopeful plans for the future.

The more I drive around the more I really like the area. I am hoping for a very enjoyable time here in Ohio.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What on earth happened to January??

I swear, I looked at my calendar and it was just barely the beginning of January. And now it's already February? Time to get my flail on!!

For what, exactly, am I flailing? Well...I'm making a huge change in my life. My son is 18 and is no longer in school I'm no longer required to keep tabs on him (although it's hard not to) and I've always said once he turns 18 I'm living my life for me. So the beginning of May I am moving to Ohio!!

But here's the caveat -- I'm only taking what will fit in my minivan and the 4x8 trailer I have. That means no furniture is going with. I'll take my airmattress and bedframe, my camping chair, my folding table and chairs, the toybox I got as a young 'un that Dad made and is my blanket chest, and the Barbie dollhouse Dad and Uncle Russell made for me when I was a young 'un. I am wanting a clean start and that is what I am doing.

It's scary and exciting. It's guilt-wrenching and relieving. I feel so bad moving even farther away from my Dad and my brother and his family. I feel guilty leaving my son. I'm also really looking forward to this. I have so many friends in OH already, courtesy of Ravelry. It's just amazing how people you meet online and then in person as they travel can be just as comfortable as meeting family. There are better job opportunities for me there, as well.

And it's just time for me. Time for me to explore. Time for me to continue learning about myself.

And time to start purging myself of the past, so to speak. I'm already sorting and culling what I want to take with. Priorities, of course. Two cats, slow cooker, roaster, marble pastry roller, wine glasses, glass food storage, books, yarn, blankets, fishing stuff...what else? Oh, yes. Clothes. ;-) The people in Ohio might appreciate that.

I took on a second job to help add to the moving fund. I work at a hotel at the front desk and oddly, I really enjoy it. Between that and my other job, I work anywhere from 44 to 60 hours a week. Which means my eating habits have dropped back into the quick-and-easy-but-not-necessarily-healthy category. I've regained some weight and need to get refocused on that a bit. If only healthy food tasted like chocolate, yes?

My son is looking forward to my moving. What teenager would't be? But he's also apprehensive a bit and we've been talking things over about different options he will have to pay bills and such. His best friend has already laid claim to my room, which I find amusing. He is really enjoying his job at McDonalds but is also thinking things through as to what he wants to do with his life. He has a good head on his shoulders and he has what he needs to make the right choices. Hopefully he doesn't let himself get swayed too much by his peers...

This all sounds kind of crazy and sudden for me...but it's been in the works in my head for a long time. And things are falling together for it nicely. Some One is watching out for me and guiding me down this path. I'm looking forward to seeing where it leads.

And to enjoy my life. I was reminded today at work...

Sometimes, tomorrow never comes....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Beginnings

So, I'm done with my training at my second job and so I can resume my regular schedule of being up late and waking up late. My intention this week is to get up and do Self magazine's Stairing Contest. Modified, of course.

Essentially, it's 50 steps with the right leg, 50 with the left and then 10 incline pushups on the stairs in between sets. You're supposed to do this on the stairway but mine is older and so they're rather tall. I'll be using my step and then doing incline pushups against the wall. And I'll be starting with one set three times a week. My ankle and hip are bugging me and so I don't want to push it too much. No sense hurting myself further, right?

This weekend I've been suffering slightly from a case of cabin fever. I'm tired of watching TV (well, Netflix and DVDs) and I'm tired of putzing around online. I want to sit on my front porch and listen to audiobooks and knit. I want to walk around the lake and not worry about freezing. I want to go fishing, and not ice fishing!! I want to go camping. What can I say, cold weather does it to me every time. :-)

On the crafty front, I have a baby project going for a friend of mine who is pregnant, a secret square project, and I'm test knitting a fingerless gloves pattern. I'm sure there's more but those are the top three I'm working on. The baby project is crocheted, the other two are both knit.

The second job is going well. It's a front desk clerk and my co-workers are pretty great. It is only part-time as well but every penny helps. It was nice to treat my son to delivery pizza last night, for example. We've lived here for a year and have only been able to get it once in that time. It tasted good and now I'm good for awhile again.

Not a lot else -- these next few months will be filled with work and culling things that I don't want to move 1,000 miles. And, quite frankly, there will be a lot of things that I just won't be wanting to move that far. I hope Salvation Army and Goodwill are prepared for me!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Year, New Me?

How many times do we hear that phrase in the months of December and January? How many times do we say it? often do we actually follow through?

I learned a long time ago that resolutions are not for me. If I don't keep them, it sends me down a path of self-loathing and I spiral on until I hit, if not rock-bottom, pretty darned close.

I have goals, though. And 2010 I hit quite a few. I never did make it down to the weight-limit for sky-diving. In fact, I've put back on 10 pounds. I'm still down 28 pounds -- about 9%. I'll take it and gladly. Why? Because I'm learning my triggers. I'm learning what sets me off emotionally. I'm learning what I do and don't like to eat.

One of my goals is to become more self-aware and to stand up for myself more. I did not put my life "on hold" for anyone this past year. I didn't "wait around" for Mr. Right-now to get in touch. If he didn't have the time, it was his loss, my gain. That's not to say that I have written these people off completely. If they do contact me, sure, I'll go out for a drink or to a movie. But I'm not waiting for them if I want to go to the movie, either. I have no problems going by myself and enjoying my own company now. Fishing by myself? No problem. L, the friend who I used to go fishing with often, has simply stopped speaking to me. She no longer replies to texts or answers her phone. I don't know why and while I am hurt because I really do like her and enjoy her company, I also realize that perhaps she was a friend for a reason and that reason is gone. I have great memories and nothing can take those away from me.

I am no longer upset that I'm on an anti-depressant. It is helping me cope and keeping me sane. Well, relatively sane. It helps to know that this is a temporary situation -- as things improve in my life then my mind will sort itself out and the need for the anti-depressant will lessen. But if it doesn't? Well, it's not exactly the end of the world either, is it? God made me this way for a reason -- who am I to question that?

I'm learning to let go of things, too. Including my son. As scary as it might sound, he is now 18. As such, it's been really hard not asking who/what/when/where. We're both adjusting to the change -- he wants more freedoms and so is frustrated when I ask when he'll be home. I explain that I'm asking because I need to know if he'll be there for supper or if he needs a ride to or from work. I need to know so that I can plan accordingly. His life affects others, not just him. We also have a living arrangement and he needs to keep his part of that. It's not that I'm taking away freedoms by insisting he keeps his part; it's that he is of an adult age and that means more responsibilities, not automatic freedoms. In all, it is going well. There are some days where the lack of communication is frustrating but as a whole, he's doing well and I feel okay with letting him go.

I spent part of 2010 meeting new friends. Well, new in that I hadn't met them in person before but I had known them for quite awhile via the Internet. What a wonderful thing the Internet can be. I met my HunniBear and Sheepie and their families last summer and both times it was just like sitting down with family. It also showed me how lonely I am here in this town and how many things I know I would enjoy doing that I am missing out on.

I knit my first pair of socks and went on to knit 5 more pair before the end of the year. Not bad considering just a smidge over a year ago I was still trying to figure out how to use two needles at a time, let alone five! I'm really enjoying knitting, though and it is somewhat frustrating not having local friends to share that with.

The last goal I had for 2010 was to try shuttle tatting. And I did so, on New Year's Eve. I'm not sure I will ever be proficient in it, but time will tell. There is a definite trick to it but I know that the things that can be created are well worth the time.

The year 2010 ended better than it began. While I was still only working part-time and still struggling financially, I was in a good home with a wonderful landlord working a job that I enjoy and I was again thinking of my future and what I want and where I want to be.

For me, 2011 will be a year of changes, however. I started a second job this past week and so for a couple of weeks anyway I'll be working 60 hours a week. It will be nice to get a couple of bills caught up and then start putting money aside for what I'm terming "My Big Move.™" I'm ready to spread my wings and fly a bit. Meeting HunniBear and her family and Sheepie and her family started a bee a-buzzing around my head.

HunniBear and I have been commenting a lot on how we must be sisters born of different parents (and since she's from Great Britain -- that is a task!). We think a lot alike, we have the same sense of humor and we both have commented how much fun we would have if we were but closer to each other. When we met in Mitchell on their move from Utah to Ohio, it was comfortable and fun.

Sheepie and her family just showed me how much I am missing out on with having no local friends to speak of. And they showed me also how easy it can be to make new friends. When we met in Mitchell on their Epic Trip™ from Ohio to Utah and back again, it was comfortable and fun. In both cases, it was full of warmth and true caring.

I looked at my friends list in Ravelry and lo -- there are quite a few in Ohio. HunniBear is in the Dayton area and she has "first dibs" on me so I looked at housing in that area. It's not horribly bad. I found a one-bedroom apartment I like that has more square footage than the first floor of the house I'm renting right now (and of which I've always maintained the first floor alone is enough for just me) for only $80 more a month. While that seems like a lot going from a house to an apartment, I'm also keeping in mind that with that there is yard care and snow removal among other things that are not included in my rent here. Not to mention lower heating/cooling costs.

Then I looked at job opportunities for me. Wow. It wouldn't take me long to find a good paying job at all. There is a really good transit system in place and so I could also save quite a bit using a bus pass instead of driving everywhere. There are two good universities should I opt to pursue some higher education.

And most importantly? A built-in network system. With people who know me, love me and really want me there. That in and of itself has been such a boost to my sense of self-worth. I have a HunniBear, a Sheepie and a Magpie all providing such wonderful support and shoulders to lean on. Mr. Sheepie even told me to make sure I bring my fishing stuffs! Mr. HunniBear and I got along great and he told me that I would always be welcome. I haven't met Mr. Magpie yet but Magpie assures me he is safe. hehe So it isn't just that I have friends...but that I have full-blown families waiting for me with arms wide open.

There are cons, of course. I would be even farther away from my father and my brother and his family as well as the extended family. It would be really hard to know that I'm no longer just 5 hours away by car. But it's my turn to see a bit of the world. I "settled down" at 18 when my son was born. I did everything I was "supposed to" and while I've been -- content? -- I haven't been truly happy. My brother lived in two states and owned a home in one before he married the woman of his dreams (and I maintain to this day I could not ask for a better sister-in-law!!). It's my turn to have my time. To find out what I really enjoy doing. To see parts of the world.

And to leave my son to fend for himself. That is the hardest part of all. He has a respectable support network here, however. And he really does like it here. He is a little uncertain of how he'll do on his own but he knows he has the knowledge and it's time to put it into practice. I'll do everything I can to make sure he's not been set up for failure, of course. But he has the basic knowledge. He can grocery shop, he can cook, he can clean, he can do laundry. He knows how to prioritize his money and is practicing that now. I wish I could set him up like my parents did for me. I wish I could leave him a car. I wish I could have money to help him out on occasion. But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, right?

I have my Dad's support. He isn't 100% happy about it, which I understand, but he understands my feelings and he is at least at terms with it. My brother and I haven't talked about it much because we just simply don't talk a lot. My SIL and I have, though, and about the only thing she said was something along the lines of it wouldn't make a lot of difference because they hardly see us anyway. Which is true enough -- although I did refrain from saying that the Interstate is a two-way highway and they have better financial capabilities for traveling than I do. :-) I love her and I know she meant no ill-will. It is true -- we don't get to see each other hardly at all. But with better job opportunities, that has a better chance of changing.

So 2010 was the year the good started coming back again. What will 2011 bring?