Higitus figitus

The husband has had an extremely busy week at work, with long hours (last night he got home at 1:30 a.m. after a floor debate that lasted into the morning) and not much time or energy for anything else. This means that packing the shoebox has been up to me and while this truly isn’t a problem–I’m pregnant, not disabled–I do wish that Merlin was here to help. Hockety pockety.

Fortunately a lot of our boxes are still packed and stacked in the furnace room, which has doubled as the husband’s closet and tripled as off-season storage while we have lived here. Unfortunately in the last six months no fewer than seven utility/service/repair/handymen have come and gone from that room to fix anything and everything, so what used to be a carefully stacked and somewhat arranged set of boxes is now a haphazard leaning tower of cardboard and flimsy wire shelving.

Even more unfortunately, more for my attention span than anything else, there is a lot in those boxes that we have lived comfortably without for some months now, and, you guessed it, it’s not all coming to the new condo.

One thing at a time though. We have the shoebox until the end of the month, so there’s no need to box or donate everything before our mini U-haul arrives in the morning to carry our mattresses and my dresser to the new place. The priorities are packed and stacked neatly in a shoebox corner, since as Merlin says, “Books are always first, you know.”

And the sugar bowl is still sitting on a kitchen shelf, that pushy little bugger.

Thank you, readers!

Yesterday this blog crossed the 14,000 hits threshold–thank you, readers!

Some of those views are one-time, and some of you are faithful readers. I appreciate each one.

The stats tell me where in the world my blog has been viewed on any given day, and redwhiteandnew has made appearances this year alone on screens in Canada, Turkey, the Philippines, Italy, Ireland, France, the Czech Republic, Germany, the UK, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Nigeria, Vietnam, Colombia, Malaysia, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and, most interestingly to me, the Maldives.

I started this blog to keep friends and family up to date on our lives as we moved from the old home state to the center of the free world, and assumed that the blog would be primarily work-related and work-focused. Life takes some funny, not funny, unexpected, exciting, and terrifying turns, but it’s never dull and realizing that has helped me feel just fine blogging about What’s Happening Now, whether that’s Martha, moving, having the little oyster, looking for work, or just walking Dietrich.

Redwhiteandnew is a biographical statement, nothing more and nothing less. What I post is an honest account–or my best interpretation–of daily life, milestones, and unique events or experiences, nothing more and nothing less. I have fun writing, and I love reading comments when readers post them and so, for all the time and attention you all have put into pushing the blog over the 14,000 mark, thank you! Nothing more and nothing less.

Goodnight moon…

Our last night in the little carriage house.

Goodnight room…

All the frames are off the walls, standing up in a box, waiting for their turn to be loaded into the moving truck tomorrow and leaned against new walls in a new home.

goodnight moon…

Last night I emailed our new landlady and asked about access to the apartment, for furniture moving purposes. Turns out the 90 degree turn at the top of the stairs has been “possible for 5′ and 6′ couches” and that was all we needed to hear to know that our 8′ 6″ espresso brown gem needed to find a new home, and fast. Some good friends of ours showed interest in it the other week, and her parents picked it up tonight, leaving us a check that will pay for the new tires we need before we drive.

goodnight bears, goodnight chairs…

With half our furniture gone, we are confident that everything will fit in the 10′ truck we reserved. A friend who helped us tonight laughed when we mentioned the size of our rental. The husband asked how I feel about being able to fit our material life into 380 square feet. I feel better about driving on the Pennsylvania turnpike, that’s how.

goodnight kittens, goodnight mittens…

While the husband worked his last day in the district office, I did a thousand things to get ready to leave, apart from the packing. Utilities are transferred, the post office has our new address, the key hand-off is coordinated, online banking is set up at our new credit union, my tickets to come back for work next week are reserved, furniture is sold, laundry is clean, dishwasher is empty, car is wiped out and floor mats washed, and the pile of taped and labeled boxes in the corner grows by the hour.

goodnight clocks and goodnight socks…

One of the pieces that went to a good home was the husband’s dresser so he is packing all of his clothes in the empty luggage we have. For his sake, I hope Ikea does not disappoint.

goodnight little house and goodnight mouse…

Tomorrow is more packing, loading the truck, a few more errands, new tires and an oil change, and another load of laundry. As much for his sake as for our own, Dietrich is going to dog camp for the day. I hope he gets five tail wags again.

goodnight comb and goodnight brush…

The other middle and Nephew 2 are coming over in the morning. They are bringing donuts, we are supplying the coffee. I have already decided that the things riding in the front seat with me are the coffee pot, a measuring tape, and the checkbook. Priorities.

goodnight nobody, goodnight mush…

Our dear friends and neighbors came over tonight for wine and company before we go. She showed me how to Skype on my iPhone. He took the husband to get Wendy’s. They took home the flowers and herbs I had in the window, and the apples left in the fruit bowl. I let my eyes have one tear each while they prayed for us and our journey.

and goodnight to the old lady whispering ‘hush’…

This home, this quiet little space in the city, which often feels like living in a fairy tale, will welcome new people and make it hard for them to leave when the time comes, too.

goodnight stars…

I’m sad to leave friends and this little house.

goodnight air…

I’m excited about what is next, and greeting it with the husband. Days until takeoff: <1.

goodnight noises everywhere.

One box at a time

After a wonderful Thanksgiving with my side of the family and three days of dog camp for Dietrich, we’re all home in the carriage house to pack up, one box at a time. Actually, the husband and I are packing while the dog is snoring loud enough to wake himself up at regular intervals.

After breakfast with friends this morning, the husband pulled out of our garage storage room all the boxes and sports equipment and maybe-we’ll-need-that-when-we-have-a-house items and piled them in the garage. We spent a few hours sorting donations from trash and recycling from things we’ll keep and we’re both amazed at the amount of stuff we felt we needed to keep when we moved in here. The final keep pile is a fraction of the original pile, and I was pleased to find all the guest bedding I knew we had stored in a Rubbermaid tub somewhere.

Can I keep this? Ok, thanks. It can ride in the back seat with me.

About a year ago a friend said in response to my lament that I had to get rid of a sweater I loved, “But there are so many other great sweaters in the world, and now you can have one of those instead. There’s always going to be something else out there that you love just as much.” Not only has that bit of wisdom been the inspiration for me to whittle down my wardrobe since then, but it’s easily our motto for clearing out and packing up.

We have a smaller space to go to, and more than we need. Yes, we are donating or selling some items that have been useful to us and that at least one of us likes very much–but these things are all replaceable. Like the oldest sister said to me once, “Getting rid of the thing doesn’t get rid of the thought behind it.” Plus, who doesn’t like an upgrade now and then?

Tomorrow will be our last Sunday at our church. We have had friends leave church before, but have never been those people ourselves. It feels like something grown ups do.

The husband and I are almost certain that the 10′ truck we reserved will be big enough for what we have to take with us. When we moved in here, we used a 14′ truck and had a bit of room to spare. Our load this time is much lighter, although I just realized that for that move we had two of our own cars and my parents’ car, and have added a dog since then, which costs us a whole back seat…well, looks like the keep pile is about to get even smaller.

Days until takeoff: 4.

Ode to my book club

Oh, book club.
You are the best book club. You are¬†funny and intelligent and serve excellent food at each meeting and tasty wine most months. Together we explore great literature and crappy new releases alternately with crappy literature and great new releases and our opinions are well-informed and not easily changed. As we stray off topic, often never to return, some point this out while the rest of us ask for seconds on dessert. Cloth napkins our banner, required to wipe tears of laughter but also handy for mopping up drinks when someone bumps the table around which too many of us have gathered. Are we going to talk about the book? our motto. Who’s hosting next month? our call to arms. I’ll be there but I need a ride! our battle cry, answered the third Monday of each month by these, our comrades in pages.
Oh, book club.
You are the best book club.
I love you and will miss you.

And now a book club haiku:

You bought the book? Why?
Library books smell like chalk.
And stink up my car.

Last night was my last book club meeting for a while. See above to know how I feel about that.

Days until takeoff: 8.

I decorate, therefore I am

One of the things I was looking forward to most about living in our little carriage house was decorating for Christmas. This place would be the pinnacle of holiday cheer with a few stings of lights, a snowman or two, and thick snow carpeting everything outside the big windows. Moving now means I won’t get to decorate until we get to Arlington.

I decided that was crap and decorated the carriage house for Christmas anyway.

Tonight after decorating I went over to the other middle’s house for dessert and bedtime stories with Nephew 2. The other middle and I drank our coffee in front of her DVR recording of the royal wedding, which yes, happened in April. That’s how busy our lives have been.

Days until takeoff: 10.

Dinner and a movie

On Wednesday night the county GOP hosted their annual Lincoln Day dinner with Secretary Condoleezza Rice as the guest speaker. The husband’s boss, Congressman X, sponsored two tables and we were at one of them. The event was great and extremely well attended. A handful of my own representatives were there and the ones who didn’t know before that we’re moving away know now.

Chatting for some time with my favorite representative and ignoring the little chimes the wait staff was dinging to get people to take their seats, the husband and I were some of the last ones standing in a room of 800 when the program began. This would have been far less embarrassing if we a) knew where our table was and b) realized before we were the only ones standing that table 21 was front and center and we had to make our way there from the neighborhood of table 79, in the back corner. Oops.

Last Thursday, now more than a week ago, I had a Skype interview with Company Z. An amazing friend and coworker who is far more technologically savvy than I (not hard to be) set me up with my own Skype account and her laptop at a coffee shop around the corner from work. She sat nearby in case of technical difficulties (which we did have) but with headphones on to give me privacy so although anyone getting coffee between 11 and noon that day knows my greatest professional accomplishments and struggles and what I’m looking forward to in my next job, KT does not. What a friend.

Me: I emailed the guy who would be my boss at Company Z and thanked him and his team for Skyping with me today.
The husband: Good move. Did he write back?
Me: Yes, he said they’ll be interviewing through Thanksgiving and get back to me shortly thereafter.
The husband: That’s great news!
Me: Not really. I have been on their radar since early September. I have done a creative cover letter, resume, writing test, editing test, two phone interviews with a recruiter and a Skype interview with a team of five people. If they don’t know by now if they want me, they don’t want me.
The husband: Way to be positive.
Me: The benefit to being a pessimist in this case is that I can only be pleasantly surprised from here.

Yesterday the fire alarm went off at work and we all assumed it was a drill, getting our coats, purses and coffees and wandering down the stairs to huddle next to the building outside. Turns out it wasn’t a drill, but that there was a bomb threat to city hall, which is attached to our building. We were evacuated to the Capitol where we played euchre in the Speaker’s office until given the all-clear.

Last night was the Christmas kick-off event in the capital city. (I think they know it’s Thanksgiving that happens next week…) I stuck around for the festivities and had a great time with my friends, all of whom I am going to miss more than I care to think about. So we took a family picture.

{Work} family photo. Olan Mills style, baby.

On Tuesday the husband and I picked up the last Harry Potter DVD, newly released, and still haven’t finished it. Only so many hours in the day and time is flying.

Days until takeoff: 11.

Starting to leave

Last night the husband and I went out with the landlords. We ate too much, laughed too loud, and stayed up too late having a blast. They want us to come back one day and buy from them the big house that we currently live behind. It’s something we would consider way far down the road.

Bye, cute little house we love living in.

The boss and I sat down yesterday and worked out what December will look like for my job. I’ll be on vacation the week after Thanksgiving so we can move, and then I’ll come back for the important days over the next two weeks. I’ll continue to work from DC for the rest of the year and if I don’t have a job by the last week of next month, the boss and I will talk again about extending our arrangement. This set up is mutually beneficial (her words, not even mine) and I’m really thankful it’s working out this way.

Alas, on Saturday I sold my five CD stereo and yesterday I realized that it had my Jimmy Buffett collection still inside. SIGH. Guess I should listen to my own refrain: “It’s just less to pack.”

Who knew this little place was a duplex?

Yard sale

Yesterday I hosted a 5-hour yard sale to lighten our moving load and raise funds to pay for a moving truck to go across two turnpikes. <insert angry eyes>

Because I hadn’t planned ahead and Friday was Veterans Day (thank you for your work, sacrifice, and bravery, veterans!) and the banks were closed and then they don’t open around here until 9 am on Saturdays, my wonderful husband came running up the driveway at 9:05 on Saturday morning, carrying $100 in singles and quarters.

The husband: Any customers yet?
Me: No, thank goodness. I put 9 am on the signs when I made them this morning. Only Facebook and the church email say 8 am, so anyone who came before I had change was likely to be a familiar face.
The husband: So. You think you’ll get a lot of customers? It is November. People aren’t really looking for garage sales.
Me: How long have you lived in this town? These people are always looking for garage sales.
The husband: <looks at ground>
Me: You don’t think I’m going to sell anything!
The husband: Well.
Me: Poo poo. Someone from church already emailed to take the dehumidifier, so there. I made $20.

With everything we were selling, poor Dietrich assumed he was included.

In the end I/we made more than $20 and the amount left to donate is portable in our car alone. Plus, according to my research, we have enough for a moving van to take all the toll roads and we can still afford to stop for coffee. Success!

The landlords have had almost a dozen applicants contact them to see our apartment since they posted it…on Friday. The landlady decided tonight that she has enough candidates to choose from and won’t show it again. We took Dietrich and one of her dogs to the dog park today while a few more interested parties toured our little home.

Sharing a cab.

The husband and I spent the entire weekend cleaning out and hanging out. Overlapping and impromptu visits from out-of-town friends on Friday night were the highlight of the week and the entire reason the husband and I didn’t get around to clearing out our closet until midnight and I was making signs for the yard sale the morning of. What I will miss when we move are not the things that found new homes on Saturday, but the friends and Friday nights like we had this week.

Oh, and I will also miss the grocery store that is open 24 hours a day so that I can buy poster board for the yard sale signs at 6:30 a.m. the morning of said sale. See Para. 2 about planning ahead.

Rented!

As of today, the husband and I are tenants of a lovely basement apartment in Arlington, VA. No, we haven’t actually moved, but now we have a place to land when we do.

The situation and place couldn’t be better and couldn’t have come together more smoothly (oh we of little faith!). I found the place on craigslist on Saturday night and emailed the landlady with our interest. She got back to us in an hour and I carried on an email conversation with her.

Me: And look where it is, right by a metro stop.
The husband: Hmmmm, which one?
Me: I don’t know, but one of them! The bars on the windows are a little weird, but at least there are bars on the windows. I guess the place needs them.
The husband: Yeah, your dad would love that. Which metro stop is it?
Me: Eastern Market.
The husband: <reads email from lady> Baby, you and this lady are talking about two different apartments.
Me: Whaaaaaat.
The husband: You’re talking about the Eastern Market apartment, and this is the lady from Arlington.
Me: Ohhhhh crap. What did I say to her? Now she won’t rent to us because I sound like a clueless moron!

Turns out nothing I had said made me look like a clueless moron and she was none the wiser when the husband spoke up. 48 hours later, our names are on a lease and I can change the address on my resume to Arlington, VA.

Our move date is now the last week of November. We will do Thanksgiving with my parents and two of the three sisters, come back here to pack up, and hit the road before 12/1.

Now to give our intent to vacate letter to our landlords. <weeps> And after tomorrow’s election, I will talk to my boss. <weeps> And next week I’ll go to my last book club meeting with the world’s best book club. <weeps> And then we’ll start packing a home we just finished unpacking last month. <weeps>

In other news, Company Z called me today to set up a Skype interview this week. An amazing friend from work has agreed to show me how to use Skype (what? some of us are late adopters) and then set me up with her laptop at her kitchen table during lunch this week. I offered Wednesday or Thursday to Company Z, mostly because I don’t want to wait until Friday and Tuesday, being election day, is no good in my line of work.

After dinner the husband gave me a quick online tour of our new neighborhood and the DC metro map. Our new location couldn’t be better, for real. We are a few blocks from stops on two different metro lines, and the husband is just five stops from work.

Me: Ok, how close are we to Georgetown? And by Georgetown, I mean Georgetown Cupcake.
The husband: We’re here, and Georgetown is here. <zooms out slightly> And then Alexandria is just down here.
Me: Oooo, how close are we to Hooray for Books, on King Street?
The husband: <types in destination> 4.1 miles. So not bad at all.
Me: 4.1 miles and it’s an hour and 12 minutes to get there?!?! That is absurd! I get that the traffic is bad but that is absolutely pathetic!
The husband: Baby. That’s an hour and 12 minutes by walking.
Me: Ohhhh.

Next up: More applying for me. A garage sale (seriously, email me if you need anything; we probably have it and are willing to part with it for a small fee). Moving truck research for the husband.

It’s amazing how little we notice Daylight Savings when we’re kids, but now at the ripe old age of 26, this crap catches up. The husband is out watching a football game and I’m at home blogging and looking for work. Until now, that is, when I just decided that leasing an apartment 700 miles away is enough work for one day and I’m going to bed. If I’m unemployed a month from now, I will briefly blame Ben Franklin.