Tag Archives: moving

Things I Learned On My Never-Ending Car Trip

7 May

1. Indiana sucks. The only thing cool in Indiana is those energy windmills. And after a while, those get sort of intimidating. Just row after row of windmills. Watching you. Waiting for their chance. Sort of like the children of the corn.

2. Kentucky is pretty. I feel this is a secret America’s kept pretty well hidden. It’s all green and hilly and generally pleasant to look at. There’s a lot of signs advertising bourbon tours, as well, but I guess that would be cool if you were into bourbon.

3. Tennessee is terrifying. I knew, intellectually, that Tennessee had mountains. I also knew I would be driving through Tennessee. I did not, however, put together beforehand that I would have to drive through mountains. They sort of sneak up on you, too. You’re all oh, Kentucky, what pretty hills you have, then all of a sudden it’s Tennessee and you’re working very hard to keep your car from careening out of control over the edge into nothingness, wondering how in the hell something that sounded as little as a 6% grade can ruin your life, trying very hard not to think about those runaway semi truck ramps and if they actually work or if really they just launch the trucks into the air. The only plus side is Tennessee smells inexplicably good. Like I wanted to roll down the windows and stick my head out. There must be some flower in abundance there that makes it so pleasant, but whatever it is, I don’t want to know. It would be like finding out how hot dogs are made.

4. Georgia sort of smells like Tennessee. Except with the volume turned up. So like Tennessee’s older, uglier sister who’s trying too hard and put on too much perfume. Sort of like whatever magic flowers exist in Tennessee became mutated by Georgia. I rolled up the windows for Georgia.

5. Total insanity sets in around hour ten. I was talking to myself, responding, laughing at nothing. Dancing and singing loudly in an attempt to keep myself awake. Possibly hallucinating gremlins. However, if you’ve driven 14 hours the day before, total insanity sets in at minute one.

6. I can, in fact, get sick of junk food. I want nothing to do with fast food chicken sandwiches for a while. See also, french fries. I cannot, however, get sick of breakfast sandwiches in any form.

7. It’s possible to see the skylines of Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, and Atlanta in one day. Which is sort of a cool trip, but you can’t do anything except wave at any of the cities.

8. You are not granted oranges the minute you walk into Florida. Also, it took me forever to find a palm tree. I call shenanigans.

9. Butts can, indeed, fall asleep. I thought that was a privilege saved especially for appendages. I was wrong. So very wrong.

10. Florida is one long-ass state. Which is especially sad when you’ve spent the past two days clinging to a sliver of sanity in your car. I became insanely excited the minute we entered Florida. It was a false sense of completion though, because we were really nowhere near where we needed to be. I have made you a pie chart of time spent in each state.

As you can see, that Florida pie wedge is stupid big. If you were picking a slice to eat, you’d want that one. That pie wedge trampled on all my hopes and dreams. Luckily, I plan on never driving ever again in life. Fingers crossed teleportation is invented soon.

Plusses and Minuses

22 Apr

Oh, my god, you guys. I’m one of those people. I’m sitting in a Starbucks updating my blog. I feel like everyone can see my furious typing and they know, they know what I’m doing and they’re judging me for it. Probably they’re also judging me for my lack of makeup, stringy hair, and five-year old t-shirt from my undergrad. I would judge me, too. On the plus side, I’ve snagged a table near a wall so no one can walk behind me and actually confirm that I’m obnoxiously, publicly blogging. On the minus side, this place is packed to the gills and I had to pretend I didn’t see an old lady walking towards this table that I ended up at. I’m not proud of that. She’s fine. It’s not like IĀ  knocked her down.

We turned in our cable box and internet equipment on Friday. It’s been… horrible. About five times a day I’ve been sitting at the computer, attempting to go online, trying to repair my connection before I realize what an idiot I am. I thought I had been doing so well with my resolution to unplug a little, but clearly when push comes to shove I’m just a junkie who needs her fix. Hopefully we leave before I find myself in a back alley, trading sexual favors for the opportunity to shoot up some wifi.

On the plus side, I’ve watched about seven hundred episodes of this cute show on PBS called B Organic. I’m learning so much. On the negative, they’ve already begun replaying them, so all the episodes are already reruns for me. I blame Earth day.

On the plus side, I’m getting so much done. I’ve shampooed the carpet, I’m going through things, I’ve packed a ton. I’m going to head back now and tackle the kitchen and bathroom. On the other hand, the apartment did not look this good once in the four years we’ve lived in it, which has given me a special sort of shame. Also, I implore you all to shampoo your carpets. Rent one from Home Depot, it’s super easy. You will be super shamed by what you find. I’m probably going to be spending next Saturday with another cleaner, if the apartment we get into has carpet. I can no longer trust carpet is okay.

On the plus side, we did find an apartment on Friday. It was a two bedroom, two bath, which sounds like a palace when you figure we’ve been living in a shoebox for the past four years. I actually almost wanted to turn it down, because it was way too big and it was slightly more than we wanted to spend, but it would have been available on the very day we came in. So no staying with relatives! On the negative, as you can probably tell from the fact I’m talking about the apartment in the past tense, we lost it on Saturday. Why is everyone doing this to me? There is a two bedroom, one bath which we’re unsure will be available on that Thursday, or a one bedroom, one bath that we’d have to wait until May 5th for.

FINGERS CROSSED, people. I cannot wait until May 5th. I love my family, but the brother we’ll have to stay with lives with his girlfriend and their dog. So four adults and three dogs in a one bedroom apartment. For ten days. Also, he’s 30 miles from my work and 50 from Husband’s. This would be… hell. Torture? I’d almost rather be water-boarded if it would guarantee me an apartment we can move right in to. So again, fingers crossed, well-wishes, rain dances, whatever I need to do to make this happen. If this works, you can totally have all my well wishes and good luck for the entire months of May and June.

It’s funny because I don’t have any good luck to speak of so this is a bum deal for you. So I understand if you don’t want to send me any luck, but maybe just don’t send me any ill will. I totally have enough of that.

Seven Days

18 Apr

This is my last full week in Chicago. We’re leaving so early Wednesday morning it may as well be Tuesday. I have seven days left before I have to close the door.

I sort of run around in a haze of nostalgia on a daily basis, mooning and swooning over anything that can strike a memory. If I was nostalgic before, there’s no word for what I am now. I’m worse than an elderly cat lady with Alzheimer’s. Everything is making me cry. The last time I’ll shop at this grocery store. The last time I’ll eat this pizza, take this train, go out with these friends, work Saturday in this office. Even things that shouldn’t matter to anyone ever, like this is the last time I’ll go to this dentist or gynecologist. Who moons over the gynecologist?

I’ve always been the type of person to look back and mourn. I know there’s just as many firsts in the future as lasts, and everything is a new adventure. You can’t anticipate all the firsts, though. They’re new, exciting. In the moment you’re focused on the events but you can’t be sure what’s coming. It’s terrifying. You can wallow in the lasts, pull them around you and relive the things that have already happened. Grieve for the things you’re putting behind you. It’s comfortable to me.

I might be a smidgen more excited about if all if we had a place to live. I know, did your heart just fall out of your ass when you read that sentence and realized in one week I’ll be driving 1400 miles to nothing? I didn’t want to mention it, but welcome to my last month. We’ve been having some trouble finding both places that can accommodate the dogs, and places that even want to deal with us. It seems the rental market is filled with things available for you right now, and if you’re not standing on their doorstep with your moving boxes they’re not really interested in dealing with you. That means it would come to follow that once we get there, there will be more things available now and then everything will be fine. I have poor luck though, and don’t tend to operate in the realm of “fine” so much as the realm of “everything just blew the fuck up.”

So in one week, I’ll either be fine and in a lucky apartment that sprang up, or living in my car, showering with those rinse-off showers they have by the beach. I guess if you’re going to be homeless anywhere, you should pick somewhere sunny.

Shifting focus

28 Mar

I feel I need to shut up about moving. Or, more accurately, buck up and stop whining about it. So here are the main things I am not going to miss about living in Chicago.

1. My kitchen.

Honestly? Are words even needed here?

2. The plumbing in this apartment. This building… she’s just so old. I love it but it’s got it’s drawbacks. Notice the plunger in the above picture? That’s our special kitchen plunger. Yes, sometimes we have to plunge our kitchen sink. Also, I think it’s safe to estimate that I have spent more dollars on drain-clearing liquids and foams than I have on lattes. Not joking. Also for some reason we have no hot water and no water pressure between 6:30 and 7 AM, the exact time I need to shower.

3. Tourists. Oh, my god, tourists. You have no idea how much you annoy me, with your fanny packs and your getting lost and your asking me where the Hancock tower is when we’re right next to it. The way you stop in the middle of the sidewalk to crane your head up at the buildings and then I run into you. The way you don’t know how to ignore the people asking for your change. The way you ask the bus driver for directions. The bus driver is not your tour guide. His job is to drive the bus. Get on the bus if it is going where you want to go. If it is not, then don’t. Simple.

4. Trying to get anywhere in my neighborhood during Cubs games. I will always have a special place of hatred in my heart for the Cubs and their fans. With the drinking and the vomiting on my sidewalk and the wondering if they even know how baseball is played, or if they’ve just descended upon Wrigley en masse for the beer.

5. Perhaps it’s optimism, but people here are really dumb about dressing for the weather. It hits fifty and out come the shorts. Stop pretending you’re not cold! You’re cold. Your lips are blue and you’re shaking. Put on some damn pants.

6. Some of the beaches on the lake here shut down from time to time due to high E Coli levels, especially if we’ve just had a big rain. Then they open again. Where does the E Coli go? You expect me to swim in the water just because the E Coli has spread out? I’m going to need a better explanation for that. Also a full-body, waterproof wetsuit. If you expect me to touch the water.

7. At least one time a week, I nearly get run over by a cab. Cabbies here are crazy muthas. They swerve all over the place and run red lights and don’t care if you’re in the cross walk. Leaving the area will definitely lessen my chances of becoming road kill.

8. They renamed the Sears Tower the Willis Tower. I refuse to acknowledge this change, and this is something that might be easier to accomplish outside of the city. Here, everyone keeps reminding me. Screw you, Willis Tower. YOU DON’T KNOW ME.

9. The wind. I know, I know, the wind is not why it’s called “The Windy City.” But the honest truth is this bitch is windy. I sometimes lie awake at night and wonder if tonight is the night the wind is going to break in and steal my soul. I’ve been blown over flat on my ass multiple times. You hear that? Wind has pushed me over to the ground. Normal wind. I’m not even talking about a storm or bad weather.

10. The hot dogs here are weird. They have on them: yellow mustard, chopped onions, relish, pickles, tomatoes, peppers, and celery salt. The fuck? You know what I want to eat on a hot dog? Ketchup. You know what nearly gets you stoned here if you eat it on a hot dog? Ketchup. I definitely look forward to eating hot dogs without judgement.

Perhaps, when I am sitting on a non E Coli infected beach, eating my hot dog with ketchup and thinking about my normal sized kitchen, I will be more at peace with the world.

Unraveling

27 Mar

Not that my grip on reality has never been one of my strong suits, but suffice to say, girl’s falling apart over here.

We officially pull up anchor and leave Chicago in 28 days. That’s less than a month! Then I get to drive 23 hours over 2 days, with only two dogs for company because Husband will be in the rental. And four hamsters, but they’re even less talkative. It is not something I am looking forward to. Actually, I’m fairly confident by the end of the trip I will likely be muttering to myself in a new language I’ve invented. Possibly about communists.

Also, speaking of the rental, somewhere along the way we decided that we would only need to make do with a rental car. We honestly don’t have too much to begin with, as our current apartment is a postage stamp. Further, there’s a fair amount of furniture we’re just tossing. It’s not worth moving or donating. On the other hand, there’s stillĀ some things we’re planning to take. That we’ll have to fit into the trunk of an a small car and the trunk and back seat of a full size car. And now I can’t wrap my head around tetris-ing what little we do have into one and a half cars. I feel like I should be taking measurements and making a diagram. That or just tossing every last thing we own and perhaps stealing new things when we get there.

And the super mega fun-time funnest part of all of this? We have uh… nowhere to move to. I know! In Chicago you’re forced to hunt and scramble and sign your lease about 1-2 months before hand, lest your awesome apartment find be snapped up. Apparently, in Florida, everything is available now now now. And no one wants to talk to you about a month from now. I suppose it’s likely we’ll find something in the last 1-2 weeks before we move out, since if everything is now it’s likely there will be more things for now when now is then. But it seems equally likely at this point that we will not find anything until we get there, perhaps even a week or two in. And that? That is an idea that sends my spreadsheet-making self into an unidentifiable tizzy. Sort of like the Tasmanian Devil with more eye shadow and perfume, and less composure.

So I’ve spent the past few days alternating maniacally making plans with staring at a wall and hoping I’m not drooling too much.

I like how I state this as if this entire entry isn’t a testament to my rapid mental decline.

Shiny table light jungle topic green smash nap.

Farewell, my friend

14 Mar

We’re having some unseasonably warm weather here. I’m pretty sure that’s the case everywhere. Somehow it seeped into my brain and convinced me to walk home today. That wouldn’t be so ridiculous if I didn’t live about five miles from work. I didn’t have anywhere to be though, so I wasn’t in a rush to get there. The lakefront was crawling with people happy to be sprung from their winter captivity.

It was gorgeous and it was peaceful. Whenever I’m out in the city, I just feel so at home. I almost feel like anyone could come to Chicago and click with it – it’s just so wonderful. Not that I’m biased or anything. I’ve just loved everything about my time here is all. Spending some time alone with the city, pounding the pavement, gave me a long window of time with which to think.

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I’m really beginning to think I shouldn’t be leaving. I know I go back and forth on everything. I’m a waffler at heart. Everything is a good decision until I make one, then immediately everything else makes so much sense. I don’t think it’s a case so much of the grass being greener as it is never joining a club that would have me. If I’m making the decision, it must be the wrong one. I mean look at me, I’m a neurotic mess most of the time. It’s surprising I can get up in the morning and choose a cereal and leave on time and only have one hissy fit over what to wear in my closet. Saying hello to someone I pass in the halls at work is a five-step process.

So I made the decision to leave my home and I’m back to doubting it. It’s not like Florida and I are entering some sort of contract. Almost any decision is reversible. If we like it, we’ll stay. If we don’t like it, we’ll move. In the meantime, we’ll live life. Just like everyone else. But I’m still chock full of self-doubt and self-loathing and regret. For something that hasn’t even happened yet. How can you regret the future? I feel with equal intensity that it will be wonderful and horrible. Ideal and deeply flawed. The best and worst thing I’ve ever done.

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It’s hard to remember exactly what I was feeling when we moved to Chicago five years ago. For some reason 22 is soft around the edges for me. I have the memories. I remember punching a huge hole in our U-haul due to some misguided advice from some strangers who helped us back it directly into a dumpster. I know the sleeper couch we bought specifically for our studio apartment didn’t fit in the door of the building. I remember walking Kobe around our neighborhood for two hours that first day, just waiting and pleading and begging for him to just pee anywhere. I remember him peeing the minute we stepped inside the door. I can see the tears of frustration when I look back, but it’s hard to remember the internal. The feelings, the drive, the motivation. I remember my first day of grad school, but I don’t feel the anxiety.

I feel like I have more of a handle on what I was like at 17 even though it was further away. Senior year and it’s twists and turns are vivid. The emotions are easily recalled and gut-wrenching, at times. Is memory an inverted bell curve? In five years, will 22 sharpen into focus, only to smear out the details of 27? I like the recovery effect but not the loss in the meantime. I’d like to talk to 22, ask her if she was nervous. How she knew she was doing the right thing. If she had any doubts or fears about getting up and leaving almost everything she knows. If we have anything in common, if we can commiserate about all the ups and downs of new adventures.

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I can’t ask her how she knew it would work out, if she even knew it would. I can’t get tips from her about how she kept it together. I can only trust she made the right decision the first time around, and I have no reason to doubt her now.

So you’ve decided to move to Florida and perhaps you should explain yourself

29 Feb

I was giving a lot of thought to our next move. Our lease is up in April, and it was a choice between finding a different apartment in Chicago; moving back to our home state, Michigan; or being semi-ridiculous and moving the whole kit and caboodle to Florida. I made lists and weighed pros and cons until the cows came home. (And by that, I of course mean until I lost my ever-loving mind.) I was riddled with anxiety and guilt about a whole bunch of aspects of the decision. What would my family say about me moving even further away? What if something happened? I’ve always loved winter and the seasons. What if I hated it? I’ve done some pretty extensive credentialing for my profession in my state. What if it doesn’t transfer? What if I have to take more classes?

I was about two seconds from turning tail and running to Michigan. Husband would have done it, too. Reluctantly and begrudgingly, but still. Until I realized that while I had a laundry list of excuses, none of them were really good enough to stop the move. I mean, what if I hate it? So what. I hate a lot of things. We’ll move again. What about my family? Well, I get home to visit as it is about twice a year, even being six hours away. It’s pretty likely we will be able to keep up with that from Florida. Further, exactly zero people visit me on a regular basis, so if I’m farther away it’s really more of a burden on me than anything. And what if something happens? If somethings going to happen, it will happen, whether I’m seventeen hours or seven hours or seven minutes away. And as far as work, so what if I have to take a class or two. I’m a nerd. I love school. Also, my current job is letting me transfer. There’s about zero other places I could go where I would already have a job.

So, with staying in Chitown requiring me to sell a kidney to pay rent, and moving to Michigan being more of an end-of-the-road type deal, it was almost a no-brainer to spend some time in the sunshine. Husband is crazy excited, and I had to actually stop him from buying a Disney pass before we even got there. I can be excited when I don’t allow myself to be overwhelmed by the logistics of it, which is maybe about ten minutes a day. It’s not a permanent thing, but more a happy, working, extended vacation. (At least that’s sort of my intent. If I hate it, then it’s a pretty shitty vacation.) We’ll reassess in a year or two and then make a more permanent decision. Until then, I’m just going to buy a lot of tank tops and hope for the best.

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