Monday, May 28, 2012

Operation Closet Begins!

Okay, I gotta say: I'm pretty darn proud of my moving efforts today. Well, this past weekend, too. I headed out to our little storage space all by myself and dug out the kitchen boxes, sorted out the necessary from the extra, and loaded up my car with the former all by myself. I had forgotten my iPod in Portland, too, so it was a very quiet endeavor. Then, even though I spent an extra night in Tacoma, I managed to wake up on time and leave bright and early this morning to head back to Portland. Traffic was decent and I made it to the apartment a full hour before I needed to be at work - meaning I had time to unpack the entire car full of boxes, yes! Then work was going so well this afternoon that I put in an extra 2 hours, arriving at home just in time for dinner a la Dad (there are crazy-awesome benefits to having a former chef as a father!) and then putting in another hour to moving, going through a large chunk of my closet and loading up a duffel bag and a garment bag with "keeps" - did I mention that I then put those in my car so that they're ready to be unloaded when I swing by the apartment tomorrow during my lunch break to work on painting the dressers? And yes, now I am watching Real Housewives on YouTube and blogging and browsing Pinterest but, hey, I have to settle down for bed somehow, right? Keeping fingers crossed tomorrow will be another successful step toward the end of the move-across-town-that-never-ends!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Measure Me in Moves

When semi-strangers find out how much we have moved over the course of our adult lives, the first question is generally, "Is your husband military?" Nope. Even once I explain that my chosen field of work is fairly specialized and not offered at many universities, there is still that look of consternation that can't easily be explained away, other than to shrug, laugh, and close the topic with something along the lines of, "Yeah, we both come from pretty nomadic families and seem to have inherited the wandering spirit."

It's true, actually. My husband's parents were born in rural Louisiana and lived, by way of my father-in-law's military career, in many different homes (including a stint in Germany) before settling in the Tacoma area when he retired while posted at Fort Lewis (now Joint Base Lewis-McCord). Pretty far to travel when you both grew up as poor black kids in the country pre-Civil Rights era. A couple generations before them, my husband's ancestors were slaves. We haven't been able to trace his lineage past his grandparents as far as given names go, and documentation is scarce. Even my father-in-law didn't have a birth certificate; we think he was about 70 when he died but, since he picked his own birthday, that may be off by a few years.

My dad is from Zurich, Switzerland. His parents both came from large, farming families, but moved to the city to find work as young adults. Even now, 30 years after leaving home, my friends describe my dad as sounding "like he just fell off the boat from Switzerland!" So funny when they ooh & aah over his accent except, you know - Switzerland is a land-locked country. After completing trade school, my dad moved to Toronto for a job, where he met my mom. She grew up in Saskatoon, but her father was an English immigrant and her mother a first-generation Canadian who was raised in a boxcar. We've been able to trace back several generations, enough to know that my grandfather's father died in World War I, there is a strong streak of Irish on my grandmother's side, and I am without question the tallest woman ever in my family at 5'9" - most of my female ancestors hovered around the five foot mark.

So perhaps wandering & moving is in my blood, but it's still a pain in the ass. Every time we move, I swear we'll never do it again. Even now, as I pack boxes, yet again, I know that this is merely a resting point, not a final destination. You know, unless all three of us want to squeeze into a teeny one bedroom apartment at some point in our lives. It's part of my personal history, I suppose: college dorm shared room to college dorm private room to junior year off campus house to senior year off campus house, all in Washington; third story apartment, basement apartment across from Mormon missionaries, townhouse, rent house, all in Virginia; crappy apartment, third story apartment, run-down apartment, nice apartment, all in Texas; my parents' guest room, my new teeny apartment (with my boys at my mother-in-law's), and then...? 14 moves in 13 years - ugh! And yet, the memories created in each of those homes? Irreplaceable, indescribable, beautiful. So I'll keep packing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In Transition, Yet Again

After what seems like many more months of waiting for the apartment to be ready for me to move into, enough construction has been completed that we were able to move my couch and other big pieces of furniture in today, before the doorway between the office and the apartment is walled up. Now don't get overly impressed when I say big furniture - that consisted of a couple dressers, my bedside tables, and a rolling-deskie-thing I purchased at a garage sale last summer for $10 that will be my microwave & other small appliances holder at the new place. I'm still loving the fact that it's on wheels, especially since my new little kitchen is, well, little.

The team was assembled by 8:15 this morning - me, my husband, my dad, my intern, and two handsome fellas from her ward. Have I mentioned that having a twenty-something, single intern definitely makes me feel like a thirty-something, old married gal? Ha! Good thing she shares my affinity for cupcakes. The U-Haul truck was loaded up by 9 am and we headed over to the new place. Nothing like driving a big ol' truck over the Marquam Bridge at a mere 50 mph with a stupendous view of downtown Portland in gorgeous sunny weather! Can you believe it's nearly 90 degrees in Stumptown today, after weeks and weeks of yucky clouds and rain? Thank goodness Spring seems finally to have sprung!

So after unloading the truck & bidding our new LDS friends farewell (they had to head home and get showered for church at 1:00), my dad & husband headed over to my mom's house to pick up the table she has been putting off taking to Goodwill. Don't let the intended fate of this table fool you - it is *gorgeous*! Seriously, though, if my mom says the words "table pad" to me one more time, I may fly off the handle. This table has lasted nearly twenty years in your house, but suddenly it needs to be protected in my apartment? Picture me rolling my eyes...

While they were gone, I got busy hanging curtains and installing the lamp in my unwired bedroom. The ruffly shower curtain and clear liner went on without much issue, but halfway into the kitchen curtains I realized the power drill/screwdriver wasn't fully charged, so they will remain partially-installed for the next few days. I was happy to see that my pink & white fleur curtains looked right at home over my wide bedroom windows, though, even if they're not yet earthquake-proof. My husband oohed and aahed over the office closet curtains and the living room window curtain, this being the first time he'd seen them. I'm so excited to get everything installed and unpacked and to feel settled in my own place - it has been a *long* year of feeling like we're always squatting in someone else's home.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Gotta Motivate Myself

I'm going to do some serious packing this evening. Really. I am. After a long, bananas day at work, I pretty much just want to curl up and go to sleep. But I also want to be done with the business of moving (which you may recall was supposed to happen in early April) and, honestly, if the place were ready tomorrow, I definitely would not be ready to move. Sigh. I'll be honest, this year is starting to feel like it's kicking my butt. I'm not feeling awesome about my performance at work, at home, with friends, with family, anywhere. I'm not working out enough, I'm not sleeping enough, I'm not spending enough time focusing on a healthy diet...double sigh. Where do I start? Step one appears to be packing. The sooner I'm packed up here, the sooner I can settle in the new place and start to try and make it feel like home. All the curtains are done, so the sewing machine, fabric stash, and patterns are going to get boxed up tonight, not to be seen again until they are firmly in my new home. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Loves on Fire

Today is one of those days where I simultaneously have a thousand things and nothing to say. Deep, I know. I'm sitting here in my mother-in-law's family rooming, watching my darling husband and my precious son watch American Idol and thinking about how lucky I felt to attend the 1st grade music performance & open house at my son's school tonight. Last year, I would have taken such an evening with my family for granted. This year, I feel lucky just to be in the same state with them. I feel thankful to touch my sweet baby's chubby cheeks, to hug him tight and kiss him (you know, when he lets me). I feel safe to reach out my arm at night and feel my husband sleeping next to me. I don't even mind when either one of them wakes me up early or lets a smelly fart or inhales 3 bowls of spaghetti, leaving just a bit for me. Did I mention how much I love cooking for them? Love it :-)

So I'm just sitting here, uploading the videos I took at the performance and feeling blessed. Blessed beyond the garbage that flies at us. Those are the distractions, this is the purpose, this is the point, this is my family, this is my love.

These are my loves

I am on fire for them

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Living Room Syndrome

Note: This was written Sunday, when I was traveling from Denver to Portland. 

Do you know someone who suffers from Living Room Syndrome? Perhaps you yourself have suffered. You see, Living Room Syndrome is far more painful for those around the afflicted soul. Attacks generally come on with no warning and can last for several hours without a break. Recurrence is unpredictable, though experts say people in their 20s & 30s tend to be most susceptible, although unmarried men in their 40s & 50s also often show symptoms.

What is this terrible disease, you're wondering? Simple. Living Room Syndrome is marked by unthinking acts of careless rudeness on airplanes, the most marked of which is reclining ones seat, therefore stealing space from the person behind you to get a little more for yourself. Also included: loud conversations, walking up and down the aisles for most of the flight, using electronic devices that make noise audible to other passengers, and more. Basically, the person with LRS forgets that they are in a public space, not their own living room.

If you have taken a flight in the last 5 years, you have probably suffered the effects of someone else's Living Room Syndrome. My sympathies go out to you. And to those of you who are afflicted by LRS? I hope never to meet you in an airplane. God bless!