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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day Five Of Moving Has Me Asking WTF

Crass, I know.

We started moving on Saturday but were a little shorthanded because our dear friend Justin, who was planning on helping us, had an unexpected opportunity to open for Kid Rock at the BJCC. Lots of things went not as expected, including the fact that we had barely given ourselves a week to prepare.

In fact, we still have stuff to bring over. Including all our dishes. And our pantry food. It's been weird, man. The kids are with their dad this week and while it wouldn't surprise them to see it, I'm glad they're not witnessing the craziness around here.

The icing on the cake was one of my managers telling me that suddenly my ability to only work between 8 and 2, which hasn't been a problem since I started there in November 2011, is a problem. One thing I have really wanted this year was to work more as a substitute teacher, and this looks like my opportunity.

Another challenge I'm going to try turning into an opportunity: a tiny kitchen and almost no storage space. Please tell me how to do this. We cook a lot as a family and this is a tiny, tiny kitchen. I think this could be an  opportunity to 1) create one-on-one time with each kid, giving them each one night to do dinner, and 2) figure out which kitchen items I really use the most and give away the rest.

Living in a smaller space requires us to think creatively. I'm looking forward to being closer to the places we didn't get to visit often enough before. Spending time looking at the "things" we have and then deciding which to keep will give us time to reminisce while also providing opportunities to create a cleaner space around us.

I'm sure my family is up to the challenge. Now I've got to go assemble some beds.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moving Day

Well, not today. Saturday. Four days from now, my family will pack up all our earthly belongings and move them from a spacious three-bedroom home on the edge of the country to a three-bedroom apartment closer to the city. I won't bore you with the details behind why we're moving (though I think they're very interesting, the friends and acquaintances who have been forced to hear the story would roll their eyes and probably choose to be covered in hot lava rather than listen to it again). But we are. And our lives will be different.

Living in a bit of isolation has really spoiled us. The only person who ever really came unexpectedly to our door was our landlord. We could leave windows open with little fear of disturbing the people next door or across the street, who were separated from us by a huge hedge of trees and cacti and a heavily traveled county road, respectively. Deer and fox sightings in our wooded back yard were a regular and much-loved occurrence.

Things changed, though, and now we're moving to an apartment (though it is pretty spacious, I have to say, and with much newer sinks and toilets and showers and floors than our 1950s home). I'll miss my huge kitchen with more cabinet space than I could fill, and island the whole family could gather round, and my very cool Kitchen Aid wall oven and electric cooktop. I'll miss the huge picture windows in our front room. The side screen door is also a favorite of mine, especially on cool days, and the views of sunrises and sunsets from this home are only matched by those I witnessed as a child growing up in New Mexico.

Now we'll have neighbors, which means kids for my kids to either play with or complain about. We'll be driving them into school on alternating weeks, and picking them up, which will be a long commute daily. Our area has a nice playground and a picnic area, and is within a couple miles of things we would like to do regularly but really can't because we live so far out now. The best part will be that the people who made our lives here difficult will no longer be a part of our picture. I wish them well, but I'm glad to be dealing with a professional management company and parking hassles in a parking lots instead of bulldozers and backhoes in our yard and unpredictable personalities.

If any of my readers have made the switch from house to apartment, particularly with kids, how have you dealt with the difficulties? What was your most surprising challenge? What about apartment life did you expect to hate but ended up finding endearing or even pleasant?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The To-Do List

I'm great at making lists. I can think of all the things that need to be done and sometimes even the order in which they should be done. My head is full of lists. Sometimes my wallet is full of lists. I have daughters who like making lists, too. My mother never shops for groceries without a list. Microsoft Outlook's task lists used to be my favorite part of having an office job.

Actually following the list is a different story, however. The only thing I crave more than having definitive rules and boundaries for a situation is breaking all the definitive rules and boundaries in a situation.

I rarely stick to a shopping list (I always remember something along the way, or find something BOGO or for a really great price). And lately, my to-do lists have gone mostly unfinished, in part because we have cable again (probably not the wisest move but I do enjoy having a few channels we didn't have before) and in part because I've been unmotivated. I know we're moving in the spring (but have no idea where to yet) and that really makes me want to put projects off because why? And we were recently so legitimately busy that for two days the dishwasher went untouched.

I've decided to start with the other to-do list I've been slowly building in my head. Partly because it's more fun but also because I think fulfilling this particular list will bring the focus and happiness necessary to want to  check off items on my daily home-oriented other to-do lists.

I want to make a monthly effort to spend time with friends. Amazingly I no longer do this. A couple of years ago, I was making weekly efforts and maybe overdid it sometimes with the socializing (which was new to me after years of only hanging out and doing things during school hours). Being a newlywed has made me want to spend most of my free time with my sweetie, but I think it's time I give us both a break and focus on meeting up with other friends sometimes (or even going to the movies alone, which I love).

Another something I want to try is volunteering with Special Olympics. My mother did this for several years and loved it. Recently, a friend in Atlanta spent her weekend with Special Olympians and couldn't say enough good things. I'm going to look into it this week.

I want to stop talking about work at home. Most of my coworkers are delightful, but my job is endlessly frustrating, and I know my family is sick of hearing about it. This will be the hardest thing for me, even harder than....

The last thing on this list (for now) is to start driving with no radio or music on when I am alone. Not every time, but sometimes. A couple of years ago, when I first went back to work after years of being a stay-at-home-mom, my pastor Paula suggested to me that I drive home from work in quiet so I would be ready to take on the noise of home once I pulled in the driveway. It helped a lot.

What little thing could you do to improve your life?