Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Go Tits Up

We had a little adventure last night.

Phase 1 was complete, we got Doug down to Maryland and he enjoyed his first week in the new house and the new job. The plan was for him to fly home here on Friday (last night) and come to my office to pick me up after what would probably be a fun/bittersweet/sad night of saying goodbye to my people.

Text at about 6pm says his flight is delayed at least 2 hours, meaning he wouldn't land until after 10pm. I knew there was no way we'd be hanging out at the office that late so I was about to suggest he take the bus home, and I pick him up there when he told me he was going to jet over to the other counter and try to get the flight to Manchester NH.

Success. But, I had to leave the party to go get him. Thankfully I had only one beer before this transpired.

Co-workers helped me put stuff into my car, and lots of hugs and smell ya laters transpired. Amazingly, I didn't cry.

Got a text from Doug saying "taxing the runway. I'll race you." I told him "It's on."

I arrived in Manchester in time to actually see his flight landing. U2 live concert blaring from the speakers, I pulled into the cel phone lot and texted that I was there waiting for him. He texted back saying he'd call from the curb and I could come pick him up.

I turned the engine off, and waited. U2 still blaring from the speakers.

Ten minutes later, I went to start the car and got nothing but clicks - and then the alarm went off. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Doug called asking where I was.

"Houston, we have a problem," was my reply.

He walked over to my location. I had turned the car all the way off, let it rest, tried again - nothing. I got out, set the alarm, unset it, got in, tried again - nothing. Doug did the same - nothing. We called AAA and the guy tried to jump the battery. He said it was 100% drained - but all my interior lights and the radio were still working. The click click click part of things sounded to me like a starter problem. But he had no way to test that.

After about an hour - we opted to have it towed to our mechanic (Thank you AAA plus) and rented a car to drive home with.

Over the past 30 years, Doug and I have gotten to the point where we don't rattle easy. I know I posted a while back about our little pick up truck, check engine light, and "Born to Run" singing while we gunned it up the highway just hoping to get our asses home one summer night. We take a deep breath - and we just go.

While waiting for AAA we had good conversations about what our new Plan B was going to be, since they (Doug and Geoff) needed this vehicle to drive to Home 2 with. We decided he, the boy, and the dog and a car load of our things would go down. I'd stick around here as I was planning to do, only now I'd drive instead of fly on Friday. Our car is with our mechanic. I have a rental to get through the next couple of days and the list of things I have to do. And I'll head down either Thursday afternoon and break the trip up with a visit to my sister, or, one fell swoop on Friday. We'll see.

This morning, I gave my last tour of our church to an actual Lord and Lady from the British Parliament, so that was kind of neat. They were lovely and funny.  I had considered canceling my being tour guide on this day, giving it to someone else. I'm glad I kept it. It was a wonderful way to end our time here, especially at this church.

Doug just called and said they made it to the house, Geoff is settling in, and they are going to find some food and enjoy their first night at the house. So I'm happy to hear from them, and happy they are safe.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Operation GTFO

We got approved for our rental. Things are going to happen swiftly. Doug got up this morning and he immediately (but first, coffee) started the garage. Our neighbors are moving out also, so they have a dumpster, Doug made use of a bit of that space.

Here's the timeline:
1. He is leaving in the morning on 9/17
2. He starts his job 9/18
3. My office closes Friday 9/22, with shenanigans to follow, or all day, I'm sure
4. He's flying home either 9/22 or 9/23
5. My danish friends are visiting Boston for their annual Pats/Red Sox/etc pilgrimage, so we'll see them that night, and do more cleaning/packing
6. Doug will leave on 9/24 with the other car, Geoff, and the dog
7. Geoff will meet Verizon and utilities that need interior readings on 9/25

Now, here's where it is still fluid
1. Initially, I told our landlord the moving truck comes on 9/27 but he asked us to move the date to 9/25. Begrudgingly, I contacted the moving company to see if they can accommodate that request. His poor planning on when to make the apartment available is not my problem. I told him we were paying through the 30th, and he should make the apartment available for 10/15 but... he listed it for 10/1 Because I'm a nice person, and my husband, son, and dog will be in Maryland, I'm okay with moving up. Otherwise I'd say suck it.
2. Jess has her driving test on 9/28 and I kind of wanted to be here to hug her either way, pass or fail. But hopefully pass. Really, really hopefully pass. But she told me that I don't need to be here. My mom wasn't there when I got my road test so... Go, ma. Go. So ... I'll go. But if the movers come on the 27th, I'll stick around until after the road test to hug her, like it or not.

So that's the next couple of weeks. Shit got real, yo. And as my friend Rob sings "hush my mouth, I'm going south. Point me to the door."

Sunday, September 03, 2017

This Blog and Being Nice

Up early and firing on all cylinders. Sitting in a hotel somewhere in Maryland, in my Guster Happy Frappé T-shirt and yoga pants, sucking down a giant 7-11 coffee, filling out online application forms.

We found a place that we're applying to (so many forms) and so I need dates.

Dates. So many dates.

How long have you worked here? How long did you work there? What dates did you live there here and anywhere? How old is your dog?

I am so incredibly thankful for this blog.

Without the blog, where I kept records of things, I would never have the move in date when we moved into the 1774 Colonial (that we lost, thanks Bank That Shall Not Be Named) and I would not know how old Brodie is. When did I start working at my current job, and which time did I start working there.

Doug has a great memory for dates but I'm usually always a year off, up or down.

And I keep get lost in reading the blog. Losing the house entries should have a trigger warning on them for me because they are so stressful to read.

I hate getting stressed out about things, especially things that I can't undo, and couldn't control. And I blogged honestly about losing my shit in the midst of moves, and I know that I can be a bitch sometimes when things push me over the top. Hopefully this move won't be anything like that. Fingers Crossed.

I have a record of Early Morning Geoff waking up on the first morning in the 1774 house looking for breakfast, and I now recall with vivid recollection taking him to the town coffee shop at 6 am to get donuts and coffee, since we didn't know where any of our food really was in all of the boxes.

And I also am reminded that in the midst of things that are stressful (like losing our house) I have done good things for people, for strangers. Like paying $13 to help a girl who was short on her family shopping. Having my son tell me that I'm the nicest person he knows. Pondering even back then how no one is nice to anyone, and how there really are no roles of niceness in so many young people's lives - I think that I've done my best to be honest and kind and nice, even when I am losing my shit over things.

I keep telling myself I need to write more frequently so I remember things. I don't think I have dementia or anything, I'm just not really cognizant of what dates are.

After 50 it's all a blur, right?

I haven't gotten nostalgic or misty or anything yet. But in looking back on the entry from three years ago when we were moving in the deep heat of August into our house I wrote:

The way I see it, and this is my mantra, "It's only two years. Two years from right now, right this very minute, we can move again if we want to. Anywhere in the country. Anywhere in the world. Anywhere."

Here are more dates and facts that cover the last three years. We will be moving before the end of September. We spent 3 years in our house with our happy wood stove. We lost 2 of 3 dogs while at that house, and one of the finest dogs that ever lived among those. We graduated a boy and made him an Eagle. We broke two snow blowers. We had coyotes in the woods behind the house that sing at night and sometimes wake us up from our sleep when the windows are wide open. We had the loveliest neighbors across the street in our good friends the Kellers. We had a farm stand and ice cream parlor next door - one of which I'll miss horribly. And I can't believe I didn't shop at the farm stand more frequently. John would give us a free Christmas tree because I maintained the town Facebook page as a volunteer admin and he said it was a job that he didn't relish, so he admired me for doing it (again a nice thing that I do?) I will miss our library not for the books but for the Pokestop for Pokemon Go! And Team Valor will have a hard time maintaining the four Gyms in town without me and Doug running out in the middle of the night to kick Instinct out. Jess will have to drive over and take care of keeping things in order.

And here we are. More than two years later but. Here we are.

And. Here I am, in Maryland, a whole brave new world where I don't know hardly anyone, and I have to admit it is cool and somewhat terrifying because I don't know if anyone will be nice. Or if yet again, I'm going to be the only nice person my son knows.

We shall see.

Friday, September 01, 2017

The Big Update

The summer pretty much vanished. I started several posts but my brain was only focused on the fact there were no updates to share, so I abandoned the entries.

Then everything changed. Overnight.

Doug had three prospective, very good, very interesting jobs. He managed to get ahold of a recruiter, and then another recruiter called him, and finally one company called him after he submitted dozens and dozens of applications.

In one week he went from nothing to everything. He had interview after interview. The universe just clicked for him. He got an offer, he accepted it, and we're good to go. He starts his job on September 18, so we're looking for our place to live, working with a rental agent provided by my company (thanks Company!) and we have seven places to look at this weekend.

One of the jobs he interviewed for, he really wanted. Really. But the pay was more than 20k less than what he gets right now and we can't afford for him to make not near what he makes now. They offered him an extra week's vacation, but, you can't pay your bills with vacation time. One job was at a school district, and he realized the amount of work he'd need to do to get certified and re-licensed was crazy, and expensive. So he opted to remove himself from that candidacy.

The job he took is west of Baltimore, pays well, is a six month contract with the hopes of permanence and more money after the six months are up.

So he took that job, and if it doesn't work out, he now has access to two recruiters, both of whom were eager to place him in a position. He's open to whatever happens.

But step back a little and look where his job is.

Baltimore. That's not in DC. Or near DC.

If you know the region, you know that's a big distance. We looked at a lot of options for where to live, aiming for right in the middle.

Laurel, Odenton, College Park were all on the list. I stalked zillow listings, I eagerly awaited notifications from my realtor for new rentals fresh to the market.

In my heart of hearts I wanted to live in Brookland, and be a total hipster old lady, but the lowest rent we found was over $3000 a month. And that's just dumb. We can't afford to live inside Washington DC with the three of us and a dog - nothing is the right size in our price range.

Our realtor suggested we focus on Silver Spring, so I have easy access to the Metro, and Doug has a straight shot up to the town where he'll be working.

Additionally, we took into consideration Geoff and his life. Looking at the community college system, Montgomery County has a great college and programs he may do incredibly well at. So he is looking at classes for the spring. And we're close enough to DC, and the surrounding area is urban more than suburban, so he may have a lot more employment opportunities than say Millersville.

We are off to find a place to live this weekend. Fingers crossed. Silver Spring, here we come. Each of the places we're looking at are inside the beltway, inside 495. I'll have access to downtown to the red line Metro, and Doug will have easy access to getting up north.

In the meantime, I started a podcast, but haven't put the podcast out into iTunes yet. I still have some tech things to figure out about it. In the meantime, if you want, you can go to and scroll down to the bottom for episode 1. I'm interviewing friends to say goodbye to them, but not goodbye - smell ya later.

Over the last week I've been purging and cleaning like mad. I had started pulling content down from the attic in June, and then stalled.

I took today off to do more. But first, coffee.