Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When You Are Broke....

Why when I am broke do I suddenly feel the urge to go all the way? To throw my hands up in the air and proclaim to the world that "fine, I am broke. If I am going to be broke I might as well be really broke!"

How did this happen? Oh, that's right we haven't had a paycheck in the last 30 days. That was a rather unpleasant surprise. Our program pays monthly on the first of the month. Under normal circumstances I would be elated! No more weird budgeting tricks to make things look better on paper than they did in the check register. But I got used to seeing deposits made every two weeks, and right now I would sure like to see one.

I am a little concerned, because payroll mistakes happen - and they are more likely to happen with the first check. We cannot have any hiccups in the system. Things must work as planned. No room for error. Technically, that money has already been spent!

I had a good chuckle with my husband this morning as I told him about the fiscal situation we are in. Everything has to arrive and be sent at exactly the right time for it all to work. One little mistake and we are in a whole lot of trouble. I don't think I am going to miss this suspense - you know, that day in the future where this will actually seem funny instead of horrifying. Can't get here fast enough.

For the last 30 days my balance has been in a nose dive and as we get closer to the end of the month the ground is getting ready to meet it. Everything is due in the next three days: rent, credit card balance (moving expenses), appliances. All the big ones are due this week.

I made the responsible mistake of checking my balance before heading out the grocery store. We left with a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. No fear, we have other food in the house so we aren't starving. But for the first time, in a long time, I didn't just pick up something else. We mean business.

Just before arriving at the grocery store I stopped at the UPS store to send a package. The documents for my husband board exam application and fee payment of $1,500! It is also due tomorrow - thus the overnight at the UPS store to the tune of $45.00.  We didn't send it earlier because it could have landed in our July billing cycle and could be due in 3 days. We aren't going to have the money in 3 days. Waiting until now makes certain it will land in our August billing cycle which is due in September. We didn't have to wait this long, but I can't handle looking at large balances. Oh, the games we have to play!

A reader previously asked me about the cost of a fellowship. I haven't forgotten your question, the bills just keep coming. I can say without a doubt that the past few months have been the most expensive months of our entire medical training. No lie. It is going to be a fun post to write!

I knew this perfect storm was coming and tried to prepare for it. I cashed out the last of my retirement savings. I know, not a good choice in normal circumstances. But, there is nothing normal about residency/fellowship. In the end, we decided that we needed the money more NOW than we will THEN. A few thousand dollars today means a lot more than it will next year (see how easily we rationalize our decisions). The only problem with this is that it takes 60 days to access, and our 60 days is up next week. I should have done that earlier and then all the fun I am having today would never have happened.

I wasn't kidding when I said our paycheck had already been spent. We need everything we currently have and that paycheck to make our bills this month. It isn't a pretty scenario. The money from my retirement account will keep us from living a paycheck behind and in the red. You know how I feel about being in the red. We have never actually gone there, I am not about to go there now. On the flip side it also means that our safety net is gone. There is no where else to go.

I need abundant thoughts. The kind of thoughts that grow on the branches of money trees, and rain down hundred dollar bills. I can see a thunderstorm of cash coming our way. The question is whether or not it will get here before the bills do.

In the meantime we may know the literal meaning of not having two nickels to rub together for a few days. Not really looking forward to that.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Only a Week Left!

Where will you be on August 6th? Only 1 week left until our first ever Medical Mondays Blog Hop.


What's a BlogHop, you ask?

A bloghop is a link up where bloggers can link up their blogs and find other blogs which peak their interest to follow. 

Don't have a blog? 

No worries, just be sure to stop and find some new favorite reads!

Who can link up?
You can be a doctor, nurse, EMT, therapist, Vet, anything in the medical field.
You can be a med student or nursing student, or simply a student with aspirations to work in the medical field.
Are you and intern? Resident? Come on and link up!
Spouses and SOs? Come on down!!

Save the Date for our first BlogHop!
Mark your calendar for Monday, August 6th. Link up your favorite medical/medical life post to share! Write a new one or post an old one, we're not picky.

Let us hear from you! Will you be participating? We would love your support!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Army Wives meet Doctor's Wives

I have all kinds of strange addictions. Last year I had an episode with Netflix, then I moved on to Facebook, Pinterest, Blogs, and now I am back to Netflix. I just can't seem to stay away.

I find a show I like and end up watching episodes back to back until I finish the series. I will never be able to watch a current TV show again - I won't have the patience for it.

My guilty pleasure right now happens to be Army Wives. When it was first broadcasted (years ago) I remember thinking, great another "wives" show and vowed to not watch it.

What possessed me to start watching it now I do not know. What I do know is that Netflix has 81 episodes and they are all sitting in my instant queue. I save the laundry, the dishes, and most of the housework in the living room and kitchen until the kids go to bed and then I turn on my show. Truthfully, sometimes I also institute mandatory quiet time so I can catch some during the day too.

I am only in season two at the moment, but I can say without hesitation that I really like it. Part of the draw is the friendship of the women. Their lifestyle and varying degree of rank resonate with my experiences as a Doctor's Wife In Training.

There are 4 main women characters who are married to soldiers, and one lone man married to a female soldier. It will soon become very clear why I find myself so drawn to these women, they could be my friends. (Sadly, after 8:00 pm they are my friends - you are too).

Claudia Joy played by Kim Delaney is married to the post commander. He is the top dog, so to speak, at their army installation. She is involved in all the humanitarian and family projects going on, she is the first one to drop off baked goods, she is the most senior of the group, she is the person that everyone turns to for advice, she is experienced, she is dedicated, she is focused, she is kind hearted - yet she doesn't put up with crap. She is strong.

In my world, Claudia Joy is the attendings wife. The woman who has been by her husbands side during medical school, residency, fellowship, and practice. She has done whatever she could to help her husbands career flourish. She knows what her role is and executes it perfectly. Everyone wants to be Claudia Joy.

Denise Sherwood, played by the lovely Catherine Bell, has been married to Major Sherwood for 20 years. She married young, they had a son, and she has followed her husband where ever duty has called. She always wanted to be a wife, and even though she was just short a couple of credits on her nursing degree she stopped school to become a mother. She is innocent to the ways of the world in some respects, and yet something about her says that she wants to do more but the timing hasn't been right.

I my world, Denise Sherwood is playing....me, the fellows wife. She has put a lot of time in, yet is lacking some of the experiences that come with actually being "done". She is trying to keep things together at home and raise her kid(s) while her husband is away, and make things easy for the man who works so hard when he is home. She is trying to figure out who she is. I have always loved Catherine Bell, I used to watch her on Jag - way back when.

Then there is Pamela Moran, played by Brigid Brannagh, who is married to a special ops soldier. She is bold, and says what is on her mind. She can be explosive, yet she has a way of seeing everything very clearly and calls it likes she sees it. She doesn't sugar coat anything, and if you don't like it - move. She has a radio show on post where she gets to talk about whatever is on her mind. Her husband's job doesn't have set deployment dates. Instead, he gets a call in the middle of the night and then disappears, unable to tell his wife where he is going or when he will get back. They have two kids, and trying to explain their life is hard.

In my world, Pamela Moran is the junior residents wife in a surgical specialty. They have seen a year or two of battle, and are right in the middle of it, but it has been enough to know that the next couple of years are just going to suck - but what can you do about it. You put your game face on and plow through it.

Then there is Roxy LeBlanc, played by Sally Pressman. She is young and full of life with two little boys. She married her husband after knowing him for only 2 weeks and this is still their honeymoon period. I love their story. She is a firecracker and has the best lines. She is a southern girl who has had a rough life and has finally found true love. What she didn't consider was that the Army was like a mistress. Slowly she is starting to figure out that the Army comes first, and she isn't sure how she feels about that.

In my world, Roxy LeBlanc is the med school wife. Being a doctors wife sounds great, and you're all excited to help you husband study and get ready for exams. You are certain this is going to be an awesome adventure and you'll get to move to great places and see cool things. And then reality hits you.  The man you married isn't home and when he is he doesn't act like the same man you dated. He is stressed out and exhausted. As match day approaches you don't know where they are going to send you. It may be to a not so great place, and the things to see you may be seeing alone.

I am not going to talk about the guy, because he is nice and all - but I don't know any men like him, sorry Roland.

I love this show because I can see all the women I know (some of you, even) in these characters. I can relate to what these characters are going through because medicine isn't all that different from the army. These women support each other regardless of where they are in the chain of command, be it officers wives, enlisted wives, older children, smaller children. They understand that the life they have chosen isn't like the other people that they know. They have given up control of a portion of their lives for something bigger than themselves. They know that where they are now is only a stopping place, not a destination. They are Army Wives.

With a few minor changes they could easily be Doctor's Wives.

If you haven't seen it and are curious now, go see it for yourself and let me know if you see what I see.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Skin to Skin and Face to Face

I am in one of those places right now where I am thinking and pondering often about how I can teach my kids the things they need to know, and get them to do what they need to do without being that mom who screams, nags, and hovers. Honestly, that is the mode that I most easily fall into. It comes very naturally, and I am pretty good at it. Does it produce the results I am looking for.... no, but I keep doing it.

Last week my 7 year old son had a meltdown over something that I would classify as not tantrum worthy. He just lost it. My default reaction for this type of behavior is to send him to his room to cry it out there because I don't want to hear it. But instead, I made a conscious decision to hug him and let him cry without me telling him how ridiculous it was to be upset over something that doesn't matter. It obviously mattered to him.

What a difference that singular moment had on my son's behavior and attitude for the remainder of the day.

My kids aren't getting hugged enough. Sure they get hugged. But, they aren't getting the touch of their mother as often as they need. They aren't getting the one on one face time they need with their parents. I let my son lay in my lap and cry for 20 minutes while I rubbed his back. When he was done crying I told him that I loved him (instead of what I was getting ready to say to him just before I would have sent him to his room).

That experience got me thinking about how many times during the day do I say "I love you", or give a hug that is more than just a pat on the back. How many times do I do these things hurriedly, or without making eye contact, or from the bedroom door as they are going down for the night? How often do I rush to discipline, often from a different room, when a display of love might be the remedy?

I may be a "stay at home mom", but am I a "with my kids" mom? That's a scary question. I have been home with them, but have I been with them?

It is good to be in the same room with my kids. It is better if I am next to them, doing what they are doing.

It is good to read with my kids. It is better if we are all reading the same book, together.

It is good to have lunch with the kids. It is better to be sitting down at the same table.

I am guilty, guilty, guilty.

Multi-tasking can be a virtue, but sometimes it is also a vice. I have a bad habit of trying to rush though everything, and trying to do everything at the same time. There is a lot to be done. Really, most of it is just busy work. What is another load of laundry waiting to be folded? What is a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded? What is a bed that needs to be made?  What are any of these things compared to the very real emotional and physical needs of the people we love and who trust us to provide for them?

I have translated some of my new discovery to my relationship with my husband. At least one night a week I rush out of the house as soon as he gets home to take care of errands that are more pleasant without children in tow. Most nights I start working on the all the stuff I didn't want to do, or couldn't do, while the kids were awake. I have been guilty of treating his presence as a disturbance to my routine instead of making the most of the time we have.

My husband works hard, long hours. I am sure yours does too. At the end of the day, he wants to be with me - face to face. I can see the tension and exhaustion on his face when he walks in the door and I have two choices. I can give him the time that he needs, that we both need, or I can go about doing what it is that I think is so important. In the end, whatever I have left undone, can be left undone a little longer.

I hasn't been easy to just sit down and talk with my husband while a sink of dishes is staring at me from across the room, calling to me. Or ignoring my phone as it beeps. Or stopping whatever it is I am doing. It hasn't been easy to hold back the complaints about my day long enough to let him share something from his day. It hasn't always been my first instinct to reach out and hug my husband the moment he comes home, or just sit and rub his back without him asking.

The power of a touch to heal and soothe the mind isn't a myth. We instinctively know how to do it when a new baby comes into our arms (I love that feeling), but we forget that the big kids and adults in our life also benefit from the touch of someone they love. They need it.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Virtual Vacation

I need to remember to thank the nice ladies at Doctor's Wives Living for giving me a weekly virtual vacation. (Since that is the only vacation in my near future).

Each week they post a photograph of an amazing place and ask their readers to identify where the location is.  If they just posted the picture and told me where it was and how fabulous it is, I wouldn't pay nearly as much attention to the picture as I do. It falls into the category of brilliant ideas I wish I would have thought of.

By lingering over a photo for a couple of minutes each week I get to take a mini-vacation. Last week it was to the Iguaza Falls bordering Argentina and Brazil. I studied that picture. Analyzed the terrain, the color of the water, the height of the falls (I thought I could even feel the air) and guessed somewhere in South America. Close - but still wrong. My friend Emma at Your Doctor's Wife guessed it correctly. High-fives (that was you, right?)

This week the location looks equally as magical, although more densely populated. And those beautiful Mosaic walls! I start wondering what they are drinking, what language they are speaking, what are they taking a picture of or looking at? This is what happens when you actually look at something instead of just glossing over it. You see all the individual pieces that make up the picture.

Which brings me to my "big thought" for the day. Sometimes I feel like my life is just that, a bunch of glossing over and not much paying attention to the small details. I think about that with my kids, my husband, my to do list. Am I looking, really looking - or am I glancing?

Do I look at my children when they speak to me? Do I stop what I am doing when my husband comes home? Do I take care of the most important things first, or save them for last - where they usually fall into the "didn't get done today" pile.

I love moments like this that snap me out of my foggy state long enough to appreciate what I see in front of me and get me started in the right direction again. I bet they didn't expect that from a little picture!

If you would like to take your chances at identifying this vacation spot head over to Doctor's Wives Living and submit your best guess. Who knows, maybe you will be their next winner - unless it is me. Or maybe you will have your own "big thought" as a result. Give it a try.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Things To Love About Your Man Working ALL THE TIME

Since I had my little scare last week (one of the worst days of this month) I thought I would lighten things up a bit by sharing my 10 Favorite Things about being married to a man who is seldom home during daylight hours.
  1. I can have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner if I want without having to share.
  2. The TV remote is mine. I can watch chick flicks all day/night, no sports!
  3. The kids are always in bed earlier when I am alone, then when he is home.
  4. I can wear pajamas all day and he will never be the wiser. For all he knows I got dressed today and then got ready for bed just before he came home.
  5. I have all day to tidy and clean the house. Not that he expects it, but I like to have something to show for my day. A small little accomplishment.
  6. I can spend time connecting with my friends online, playing games, words with friends, blogging, creating, online window shopping, checking email, checking... looking... searching... without feeling guilty that I am not spending time with him.
  7. I can stand in my closet and play dress up like I was actually going out. These clothes have to get worn sometime. Oh, the places I could go.
  8. I can sit in my bed and read with the lights on, without worry about disrupting his sleep.
  9. I can experiment with different discipline techniques on my kids without needing a second opinion or for him to "get on board". 
  10. The online shopping purchases always arrive in time for me to hide the evidence. He wouldn't mind if he saw them ... the man is nearly perfect.
What are some of the things you enjoy during these day/nights?


Monday, July 23, 2012

Playing Sherlock Holmes

Are you a fan of the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Robert Downey Jr.? I AM.

I have a feeling that the inspiration for this post can be directly attributed to having watched both the first and second movie this past week.

Do you recall the scene where he is answering a question posed by Dr. Watson's girlfriend? It was meant to be light-hearted but Holmes hit it on the head with one minor flaw in his conclusion that upset her. Really it could be any scene because that is what Holmes does... takes clues no one sees and solves the mystery. That is why we love him.

The house we have rented for our 12 month fellowship has left me clues! So this is my attempt at describing the people who lived here before me based purely on the evidence they left behind. I have no idea if I am right, but it is fun to guess. I am putting on my super sleuth hat. Are you ready to be dazzled?

A child lived here. They left writing on the wall in both pencil and crayon. There are two small bright pink stains on the carpet. The child is a girl. The height of the writing leads to me to believe that the girl child was either 3 or 4 at the time. She was learning her alphabet and may have been attempting to write her name before she was caught.

The master bath tub is pristine but the shower is well used. The adult members of the household were not familiar with the sheer joy that comes from taking a bath.... or the female adult member of the house was just as busy as I am, and does not have time for a leisurely bath.

The person who did most of the cleaning/cooking was very nervous indeed. The caulking/sealing around the sink has all but been scrubbed away. (note: I need to have that replaced.)

We are still receiving mail for this person (so I know their name, but cannot pronounce it). They are either running from someone or something, or do not know standard procedures for changing their address or forwarding mail, or do not want to. I choose running.

I do know that someone in this house had some plastic surgery work done. Ah! They had an invoice in the mailbox when we arrived. I promised I did not open it because that would illegal. But it was not an advertisement.... we all know what a bill looks like before we open it.

From my assessment the woman (who has a name I will not reveal) may have been a outlaw that underwent dramatic plastic surgery to change her appearance (and a little tummy tuck and breast lift to fix what having a child will do) and has since left the country with a new name (that I could pronounce) and a face like Angelina Jolie's to seek her revenge on those who gave her away. Her small girl child right behind her.

Mystery solved!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Is Customer Service Dead?

When is the last time you really experienced good customer service? I am beginning to think it is a dying art. Somewhere along the way we have either lowered our expectations so much that we don't think anything of it, or the providers aren't interested in dealing with customers - just selling whatever it is they are selling.

I just got off the phone with a utility company. Mind you it isn't my current utility company, it is my previous one.

Why would I hear form them? No I called them. This makes the 3rd call I've had with them.

See my current gas utility is requesting specific information from my previous gas utility stating that I have made my payments on time, haven't had any returned checks, and no disconnections. If I am able to provide that information they will waive the $110 security deposit for me.

Certainly if one gas utility was asking for it, another gas utility would be able to provide it without much problem. Right?

Wrong. On my first call, the customer service representative said he would send it. Instead, I received two generic form letters (in two separate envelopes - what a waste) saying my account was paid in full, the other stating it was being reported as current. Well, that isn't what they are asking for now is it? They are asking for historic information. They kind I know they can see on their screen.

So I called again, and asked for the specific letter. I was told they can only send out these automated letters, they can't write what I need them to write. I got a little testy. I wanted to call her a liar. Who says you can't write a letter?

I also worked customer service in a phone center in college. We had automated letters that we sent. But if something came up that an automated letter wouldn't cover we also had letterhead templates where we could write a custom letter and have it signed by someone with the proper "authority". It isn't that difficult. The only difference is you had to actually write it instead of order it by number.

I asked to speak to a supervisor, because somebody there has to have the authority to write a letter. Of course a supervisor is never on duty when you need one so I was promised a return call in 24 hours.

Twenty hours later I receive a call from the supervisor who I can already tell is on the defensive. Why? Don't they want to help their customers? Don't they want to make their experiences pleasant?  Wasn't I a good customer? Apparently not. She isn't helpful and offers nothing. We can't write you a letter. I don't have letterhead. We only send automated letters.

Who do they hire at these places if they don't trust them enough to write a letter! And I wasn't asking for something bizarre, just a simple letter. For heavens sake I will write it myself and send it to you to sign. (I half contemplated scanning the letter they did send me and making some changes in Photoshop, but my conscious wouldn't let me.)

In the end I drafted a letter (on my own letterhead) explaining why I was providing two letters from my gas company that didn't say anything much at all, and included a copy of my bill pay transactions for the last 12 months. I am hoping that the people who work at my current gas company are smart enough to connect the dots and see that I am a decent customer who pays their bills on time and will waive the $110 deposit.

In this situation I have utilized the time of 3 of their employees, 2 pieces of paper, envelopes and separate postage - all for what? It was a net waste for both of us.

My last few experiences with customer service have been miserable. The people setting up new services are cordial and very helpful - they want your business. But once you have the service, pray nothing happens that requires you to talk to customer service. They are no longer in the business of making and keeping customers happy.

I am seriously trying to think of a good one, and I can't.

Scenarios like this are played out across all industries (medicine included). People are told exactly what they can and cannot do. They aren't allowed to think and use common sense to solve problems. Instead, they are given defined boxes that they aren't permitted to deviate from. You may answer the phone, you may push this button, you can say this - but, nothing more.

I dislike boxes, I like people who care.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ready to BlogHop?

Okay Medical Peeps! Are you ready for this?

I don't know about you all, but I'm always on the look out for new reads and LOVE finding other medical/medlife blogs.

Emma, Your Doctor's Wife, and I are hosting our first Medical Monday Blog Hop!


What's a BlogHop, you ask?

A bloghop is a link up where bloggers can link up their blogs and find other blogs which peak their interest to follow. 

Don't have a blog? 

No worries, just be sure to stop and find some new favorite reads!

Who can link up? 

You can be a doctor, nurse, EMT, therapist, Vet, anything in the medical field.
You can be a med student or nursing student, or simply a student with aspirations to work in the medical field.
Are you and intern? Resident? Come on and link up!
Spouses and SOs? Come on down!!

If you're not sure, shoot Emma an email (yourdoctorswife@gmail.com) or leave a comment below.

Save the Date for our first BlogHop!

Monday, August 6th

Link up your favorite medical/medical life post to share! Write a new one or post an old one, we're not picky.

Would you like to Co-Host?

Co-Hosting is a fantastic opportunity to gain more exposure and readers for your blog. Emma and I are currently looking for 3 co-hosts to help us spread the word! If you are interested, or would like more information, please email yourdoctorswife@gmail.com.

Let us hear from you! Will you be participating? We would love your support!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's 9:30. Do You Know Where Your Husband Is?

Remember the Public Service Announcements they used to play on the television in the evening asking parents "do you know where your children are". If you were a child of the 80's you probably remember hearing them. If you heard them, and I heard them, I guess that means we were up too late, because they were intended for our parents to hear, not us. We knew where we were!

"It is 9:30 pm, do you know where your husband is?" I hear the announcer, and I am startled. NO! I don't know where my husband is. I don't even know where to look. I don't have a single contact number. I have his number, that's it. And if you remember I only have 1 bar, so there is a chance my call won't even go through.

Days like these I start to freak myself out. And I don't freak out easily. Maybe it has something to do with being in a new city/hospital/neighborhood/house.

DrH left this morning at 5:45 am. I got a text from him at 1:05 pm saying he was starting his last case. He told me a little about it last night as he was studying for it. I knew it was going to be a long one, but I didn't expect it to be this long. It is 8 hours later and I haven't heard anything.

I am not used to this. I mean, I am - and I'm not. It has been a while, and I am out of practice. Before I would usually get some kind of warning. He isn't on call. And then the past three months I haven't been present to panic when he didn't get home, I was in another state (maybe I should have worried more then).

At what point do I start to panic?

I realize that is ridiculous, he is a doctor - these things happen. I roll with the flow. I always have.

But what if something DID happen?

He is exhausted. He was on call this weekend and we didn't see him. Monday was better, but he was up late studying for this case - he is still sleep deprived. He knows he is sleep-deprived. I know it is bad when he is the one to admit it.

His commute from the hospital is 20 miles. A lot can go wrong in 20 miles.

How long would it take for me to be notified if something did go wrong?

It's no good worrying myself, playing the "what if" game, hopefully for no reason.  But I don't think I will be able to sleep until he gets home. Looks like I am going to pull a late night, too.

Update: by 10:30 pm I did hear from him - all is well, he will be home soon. Nights like this one make me wish he had a more predictable job.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Year Ago Today

I am unveiling a new blog post that I am calling "One Year Ago Today".  I will pick a day and go back in my archives to see what I was doing and how much (if anything) has changed.

This following post was from July 17, 2011. In light of my post last week about the thank you card I didn't want to write, it seems God is trying to tell me something. Maybe I should listen.
It's time for a little gratitude and some reality, too.

I have been blessed with good parents and in-laws. My mother was here for 23 days and my father for 10 days entertaining my three children so I could take care of our newborn and my own recovery. We are three weeks out and I am feeling much better. My in-laws came in on Friday and will be here for another two weeks. Their visits are always a blessing to us.

Perhaps I am more grateful because we don't see them very often. I wonder if my sisters and sister-in-law, who have constant interactions with their parents, realize how good they have it. Probably not. The only way to appreciate what you have is to live with it's absence. Not just for a weekend, but for months and years. We really appreciate them!

I am particularly grateful because they are here for me, even if they think they are here for the grandkids. It has been 8 days since I last left the house and probably that long since I last put on make-up or blow-dried/styled my hair! It's not pretty, but it is clean. Their first day here my father-in-law asked for a grocery list and took my son to Sam's club and came back with copious amounts of delicious foods. We will not be running out of corn dogs any time soon!

Today is Sunday and they took the kids to church, yeah! The baby is napping and I've been able to catch up on some phone calls, and of course this blog. As we were getting ready I was already thinking ahead to two weeks from now when the responsibility of getting 4 kids and myself ready for church is mine alone. How is that going to happen? It's a good thing we have afternoon church at 1 pm, if it were any earlier I doubt we would make it before it was over.

This weekend has been a rough one for the doctor in our house. He was/is on call this weekend and he has been busy. He worked all day Friday and then had one of the junior residents take his call for a few hours so he could pick up his parents at the airport. On the way back from the airport he was called in. He took his parents to the ER while he evaluated a patient. They got home at 10:30 pm. He was home that night for an hour before being called back out. I think he slept maybe 5 hours that night.

First thing Saturday he was back at the hospital at 6 am, had two cases, and didn't get home until 7:00 pm. He had dinner with us, and then was called back to the hospital. He didn't get home until 12:30 am. I think he slept maybe 4 hours that night. Early this morning he had a call from the hospital about the patient he saw the previous night. He left at 5:30 am and we haven't seen him since.

I was worried about him about 10:30 this morning and called his cel phone only to get his nurse who confirmed that he would be in surgery for another hour. I have a feeling things haven't gone well. It is several hours later and still we haven't heard from him. I think he has seen his parents for a total of 4 hours (and that may even be too generous an estimate) over the last 48 hours.

I am still worried for him. He hasn't slept, he is exhausted. At the same time, I am so glad that his parents are here to keep me company, entertain my kids, help with the house and the grocery shopping. And I'm also glad that they get to see what our life is. People have a tendency to forget when they can't see what it looks like, what it feels like. It isn't always this way, but it is often enough that it has become normal for us. I am also glad they are here because I don't know how I would manage the demands of a newborn and my three kids alone right now. I am worried/terrified about how I am going to do it when they leave in two weeks.

But today I am trying my hardest to just be grateful that they are here and not worry so much about what will happen when they are gone.

Now I feel bad for being so hard on them. They have been good to me, I need to remember that.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Words With Friends

And because I have been thinking about friends for the last few days I realized I had yet another category of friends - the originals being those that I can see with my own two eyes, and my online friends that I probably "talk" to more than anyone else. But I almost forgot about a subset of my friends. The ones I used to know in flesh and blood that now are my Words With Friends Friends.

I have several friends from my previous home that I have ongoing games with. We play every day. One is incredibly smart and seems to always bet me. But I just assumed it was because she is so smart... always reading those really smart books. It doesn't matter if I am ahead in the beginning, she knows how to play the game. When I do beat her, I throw myself a little party because it doesn't happen very often.

Another one I swear cheats. How, because she was my gym buddy and I know her vocabulary and I know the books that she reads. But it is also one of the reasons I adore her. Most of the words she plays I would bet she doesn't know the definition of, she admits it. Many of them I have never even heard of, and promptly start checking the dictionary. You know, as a way to improve my vocabulary (which is how I justify playing games at all) and improve my game.

And yet another friend is, well, just like me. She is also the best friend that I referred to in my post last week. It is only fitting that our games should be fairly evenly divided. She wins some, I win some. We always play words that we both know - we are evenly matched, and it makes for a fun game.

One of them hasn't played in a few days and she is always playing. It has been three days since she played a tile. In the year or so we have been playing that has never happened, even when she has been on vacation. It leads me to believe that something is probably going on. It means I should probably call. Funny how when you stop "talking" to people in favor of "playing games and texting", making a phone call seems like a foreign idea.

I am praying everything is alright, because I feel completely helpless so far away. Time to make a connection, the old fashioned way.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Making Friends

To go along with yesterdays post I thought I would explore something that has given me reason to ponder over the years. What is the "golden ratio" of characteristics that make for the best friends?

I started thinking about this when I found out we would only be living in our new city for a year. A year isn't a lot of time. But I want to make the most of it. So the question really became, "how can I weed through the hundreds of people I may come in contact with, and find the people that have the greatest potential to become friends?"

It sounds harsh, and rather unfriendly of me. I always try to be friendly.

Let's be honest. Not everyone we meet we have interest in becoming friends with. And by friends I mean the kind that you want to have over for dinner, call on the phone, trade babysitting with. I like having a large acquaintance pool, but I have noticed that my friend pool I like to keep a little smaller.

When I think about the characteristics of my best friend, we share the following (in no particular order): kids of similar age, medicine, hobbies, religion, body composition, political affiliation, economic standing, beliefs about money, food preferences (and probably more). And maybe what makes her my best friend is that our husbands are also best friends, too. We have a magic combination.

I also have a friend with whom I share little in common (by comparison). The tie that binds us together is that she was the person who I met first. Other than that we shared: neighborhood, age, religion, and political affiliation. Our kids are no where near in age, our economic status is different, we manage our money completely opposite of each other, an easy 100 lbs separate us, our husbands are friendly,  and I am not always ready to eat her cooking. But she is my friend, one of my longest and dearest.

So what is the magic combination? Is it a numbers game? Are some characteristics weighted more heavily in favor of friendship? I still don't know, but I am positive that one exists. How? Based on pure experience. I can't think of a single friend that doesn't share at least three thing in common with me.

I don't rush into friendships, or at least I haven't in the past. My fear now is that as people find out our stay here is short-term will they be interested in investing the time to forge a friendship? Will I be interested? How much time is necessary for true friendship to develop? I don't know that I have ever been able to accomplish that in such a short time. There have been the exceptions, like my best friend. Some people you meet and immediately know you will be friends. Now off to find those people!

What are some of the commonalities you find make for the best friends? Or do you have friends with whom you have nothing in common?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Impressions

If you only get one chance to make a first impression, what do you to to recover when the first encounter is impressionable for all the wrong reasons?

I was reminded this past week, as we've met and been introduced to countless people, that the art of making a proper introduction is a dying one. For the record our host and hostess, for the 4th of July, were fantastic and played their roles spectacularly.

I know that I live in a fairy land, where people all follow the rules for making and giving introductions circa 1900. But I have been involved in too many poor introductions to not say anything on the matter. And as this is a time when many people are moving and meeting new people it seems only appropriate.

For all things pertaining to etiquette and social decorum, I defer to Emily Post.

I downloaded her free ibook Etiquette for some light reading and have enjoyed many of her topics. One of which is a section on teaching children proper table manners. They don't eat with other people until they can master eating with a utensil. I like that.

Back to introductions. The following is taken from her chapter on correct introductions:

"The younger person is always presented to the older or more distinguished, but a gentleman is always presented to a lady, even though he is an old gentleman of great distinction and the lady a mere slip of a girl."

"The more important name is said with a slightly rising inflection, the secondary as a mere statement of fact. For instance, suppose you say, "Are you there?" and then "It is raining!" Use the same inflection exactly and say, "Mrs. Wordly?" - "Mrs. Younger!"

Are you there? - It is raining!
Mrs. Worldly? - Mrs. Younger!

It is a rather lengthy chapter, and nobody makes introductions like this anymore. What are we left to do?

I have (in the past, of course) been involved in some very bad introductions. They were bad because they weren't made, I didn't go out of my way to initiate them, and then in subsequent run-ins with the person they were just awkward. It is difficult to know what the core reason was, but it always felt odd.

So here is my advice on making your best first impression and introduction. Wear something comfortable, that you know you look great in. This probably isn't the time to wear something brand new that you haven't "tested" the waters in. Wear something you know works and that makes you look and feel fantastic. (Note: just make sure it is occasion appropriate. Use common sense.)

Same thing goes for hair and make-up. Now isn't the time to try something that is a radical departure from your current routine. Unless your current routine involves showering every third day, wearing pajamas at 3:00 pm, and natural (i.e. no) make-up. Then depart quickly.

Assume that everyone is new, and you will be right some of the time. When you are the new girl in town, church, or school you may assume that everyone already knows each other and they have been here forever. I am finding, more often than not, there are new people everywhere. We all move around! Better to risk thinking someone is new and introducing yourself and be wrong, then begrudging the world for not noticing you are new, when everyone around you is equally as new to the scene.

I will admit I am not perfect at making introductions. Some go more smoother than others, but I keep trying. I pay attention to the things I like. I make sincere compliments (especially to those with great shoes), notice people with children about the same ages as mine, and always make an effort to sit down next to someone. 

The sitting thing is hard for me, because I generally like to be seated first and have people sit next to me, not the other way around. But, you do what you have to do.

And don't forget to Smile:-) Who wants to meet a Mrs. Crabby Apple?

It is OK to introduce yourself to a perfect stranger. Not everyone has to be your friend, but you should at least be friendly.

This may have been the best little pep talk I've given myself.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Thank You Card I Don't Want to Write

I like cards. I send handmade birthday cards to my family and friends. I send handmade thank you cards to people who do nice things. I do it because I like to make them, and because I believe it is good manners.

Now that we have officially completed unpacking I have all my delicious supplies ready to work. I have thank you cards to be made for the women who helped me clean my house, the members of our congregation who brought my husband food while he was living alone, the nice man who sent my husband a clipping from the local newspaper he was mentioned in, the families who had us over for dinner when we visited for graduation, and the list keeps growing.

I like thank you cards, but there is one that I am preparing to write that doesn't have my heart in it.

It was "suggested" that we might want to pay for the increased utilities for the time that the kids and I stayed in my in-laws extra home. The suggestion wasn't made to me, but rather by my mother in law through my husband. Or my husband offered and they accepted! I am not sure exactly how it went down, he can't even remember how it came up. But, yesterday his mom asked about it so it appears to be on their mind too. It is his family, he gets to deal with that kind of stuff.

I need to write a thank you card, that includes a check for $200 to cover the utilities. But I don't want to. My feelings are hurt.

As you may recall, for two and half months the children and I spent time with our extended family in another state while my husband finished up his residency. Most of the time was spent with my parents because their home accommodated a large family, and they really wanted us there. They said as much. It is nice to be wanted.

About three weeks were spent in my in-laws "extra" house about 20 minutes from the home they live in. During our time there, we didn't see them very often. They had us over for church and dinner on Sundays. Maybe once or twice during the week we saw my mother in law but it was primarily at her daughters house (who lives around the block from them, in a home they purchased for her to "rent") with her children and husband.

They only reason we stayed there was so that we could spend time with them and it didn't happen as much as I thought it would. We were there so we wouldn't hurt their feelings. Had I known how infrequent it was going to be we wouldn't have stayed. I envisioned us spending every day together. Maybe not ALL day, but some of the day. During the last six years we only saw them once or twice a year. Kids this young grow fast, I assumed they would want to hang out with us... what else were we going to do? Sitting in a sparsely furnished house, in a city we haven't lived in for 6 years, with no DVD player, no cable, no Internet (finally I asked my neighbor to borrow their wifi). You get the picture.

They aren't hurting for money. They have no debts (except a small mortgage on the house they bought for the daughter which they are paying off as quickly as possible - I think the plan is 5 years), collect 3 retirements and 2 social security checks, and sold an airplane while we were there. The airplane was the source of some discussion during our visits. An airplane that has been disassembled for the last 10 years, sitting in a hangar they were paying monthly fees for. There is also an italian sports car in the garage that hasn't been driven in at least as long.

The house we stayed in has been vacant for the last 6 years. They have paid utilities on that empty house the entire time. Our three week stay I am sure did increase their bills for that one month. We provided our own groceries, entertainment, and left it clean.

They bought their daughter a house last year! Her assisted rent is less than half of our current rent, 46% to be exact. They put a huge down payment on it so the monthly mortgage would be small enough for their daughter to handle until her husbands grandmother passed away and she would be able to pay them back. She is still having a hard time making that commitment. But the grandma did pass away, so there should be money soon.

It is almost like they forgot who they were talking to. Remember, we are the kids who just lost the equivalent of $40,000 cash when we sold our house. They know that. We are the ones who don't ever ask to borrow money, we figure it out or do without. We just spent a small fortune moving and getting set up in a new state. I am praying our first paycheck comes before the bills do. When will that first paycheck be here?

My parents on the other hand, have significantly less, and didn't ask for anything. We stayed there knowing we were loved and welcomed. Not once would my mother have suggested we help buy groceries (although I did), or contribute something to the utility bill.

I know it is only $200 and not worth having hard feelings over, and I am going to send it today. But it is $200 and $200 means a lot to us right now. We aren't done yet, and when we are we have a pile of student loan debt that is going to take more lean living years to pay off. Surely, they couldn't have forgotten so quickly.

They can have my $200, but they aren't getting a handmade card. (pout)


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Utility Debacle

There are some things associated with moving that I would prefer to never have to deal with again.

Can you say Utilities?

Canceling. Setting Up. Getting right.

The water, gas, and electricity were all set-up and ready to go the moment we walked in. But, there is always a problem somewhere. Such is life.

We had debated for months whether or not we would continue our very basic DirecTV service when we relocated. As I started looking for Internet providers (a must in the new world), I discovered several bundled packages that would make having both of them very affordable. By affordable I mean $31 for TV, $20 for Internet with $10 off each month for 12 months. A total of $40 for both, I can do TV for that.

So we did, or I thought we did.

We suspended our DirecTV account when we moved, and were contemplating it's merits. That account happened to be in my husbands name. When I called to see about bundling services they took my information. What they did on the bundling side was attach my husbands name to my social security number. When they went to "authorize" (after the call ended), it threw up a red flag and activation was delayed because the name and social security number didn't match.

I received an email from AT&T... but let's be honest, I didn't read it. Why? Because it came with a whole slew of emails from all the other providers confirming my request, I don't have time to read junk mail. So I didn't. Had they put something in the subject line that would have got my attention, maybe I would have. But putting my confirmation number as the subject didn't send off any bells.

And as I told them, a phone call or a text would have been better. If you send an email to someone who is setting up Internet service can't you assume that they won't have access to email? I am no genius, but it seems to make sense. What if my phone didn't have that capability? Some don't.

I did read it when we arrived and went to set up our computer and it wasn't working. When I called I was told of the error. I sat on the phone for two hours trying to get it straightened out. I got mad. They said it couldn't be activated any sooner, they needed 5 days. Really? And what for my troubles? Nothing.

Then when they finally did come out, 5 days later, the man left before we could confirm it was working. It wasn't working. This time my husband got mad. I told him I wouldn't speak to AT&T ever again. The next day another person came out and only 11 days after my initial request did we have reliable Internet service again.

And because I am on a roll, can I say that AT&T cell phone coverage in our area stinks. In the house we have 1 bar. I drop calls, or don't get them, all the time. Yesterday my husband called to say he was coming home, I didn't get the call.  I knew he was home when he walked in the door. What if it would have been an emergency? We are in no mans land, in a huge city - go figure.

Because we like to frustrate ourselves we called AT&T for that too. They said we have a cell tower with a deteriorating signal in our area, they don't know when it will be replaced, but rerouted us to a different tower, so now we have 2 bars.... still not 5.

During those 10 days that we didn't have Internet service I really thought I might go crazy. There is only so much you can do from a phone (especially one that has one bar). Not happy with AT&T right now.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Ahh... Appliances

In the last six years we have purchased 2 washing machines, 2 clothes dryers, 2 refrigerators, 1 range, 1 microwave, and 1 dishwasher. I fancy myself pretty experienced in this exercise of appliance selection.

Can you believe that I allowed my husband to select the appliances we needed for our rental? I am still a little baffled by my sudden trust, seeing as this is the first time I have allowed him to participate. They were purchased while I was driving across the country. See, he arrived two days before the kids and I did. The schedule just worked out that way, and really what was the hurry if there wasn't a washer/dryer or refrigerator? Those are the work horses in our home.

Am I happy with his choices? Of course, because when given the opportunity he always chooses the best of his options. Meaning he always chooses better than I would have. Those pesky dollar signs really put a damper on my preferences. I knew full well giving him the power to make this purchase meant that I would be getting something nice, and for once I didn't care how much it cost - what is happening to me?

When we realized the house we were renting didn't have a refrigerator or washer/dryer (yes, I knew before we signed the lease) I kicked myself a little. It would have been nice to have them already here and ready to go. But.... considering how well they cleaned the house I can only imagine what those appliances would look like. In the end, I am very happy with our new (although scratch and dent), clean, refrigerator and washer/dryer. And they are mine to do with what I please.

That means they are also mine to deal with when they break. The refrigerator has a water/ice dispenser and we noticed after the first day that puddles were forming on the tile in front of it. The first time we dismissed it as "darn kids, playing with the fridge". The second time I started to get worried, and by the third time we were moving the refrigerator and assessing the damages. After some trial and error we discovered that they installed the water line wrong. Instead of actually "connecting" it, they just placed the water line in the hole. Genius. Do I have to do everyone's job?

Now that we fixed it, we are good to go. And the washer/dryer, other than sounding like a tornado, is great. I am sure all dryers sound like that, but we have been accustomed to having it in the basement where we never heard anything. Now that is on the main living floor I am sure I am just more aware of it. I hope that is the case.

And since I am talking appliances, can I say that if the other appliances were mine I would replace them. They look nice enough and new enough, but the dishwasher trays are rusting (prongs breaking off and everything) and the oven needs to be cleaned and leveled. How did the previous occupiers live with an oven that moves every time any pressure is applied to the surface? I am cleaning it and it rocks back and forth. Call me chicken, but I am afraid to move it and see what is back there. I am going in!


Friday, July 6, 2012

The Massage That Almost Happened

I can count the number of times I have had a professional massage on my two hands. If I think really hard I can remember each of the places and occasions that warranted them.

You can imagine my delight when early in May I took my kids to a free play day at the Microsoft store in the local mall. If you have a Microsoft store in your area, you may want to check to see if they having something similar. For 45 minutes on Fridays they have someone entertain your kids in a program they called Fun Fridays. Original name isn't it?

I didn't care! We tried going one other other but it was canceled due to ??? We tried again and hit pay dirt.. it was on. Imagine 20 kids sitting on the floor listening to stories, playing games, singing songs, having a great time. Imagine my delight when the leader announced to the mothers/caretakers/fathers who were there that they also had free chair massages! Yes, please.

So I enjoyed a lovely 10 minute chair massage and talked to the therapist about my serious need for a massage. She totally sold me... I needed a massage! I had knots in my back, everywhere. I tend to carry my stress right between my shoulder blades. So I filled out her little form and she said you should totally come in for a 1 hour massage. To which I replied I think I will!

She made the appointment for me right then. She said take this certificate you'll get 10% off. You'll just have to have a brief consultation with the Chiropractor.

So my appointment was set for the week of Mothers Day. A little gift to myself. I was looking forward to that day for two weeks!

The day finally arrives and I show up to the office all excited to get a massage and relax for an hour only to be told that I didn't have an appointment for a massage, but I did have an appointment to meet with the Chiropractor for my free health evaluation. I tried explaining that the woman I talked to scheduled me for a massage. And then the blindfold came off. The receptionist clarified that before they could provide any services, including massage, every patient needed to have an evaluation by the chiropractor.

I can't believe I fell for that! As politely as I could, I told her "I don't live here, I don't need a Chiropractor, but I do need a massage". Would begging help? No.

My choices were
1) waste a Chiropractor's time, and mine, so I could schedule an appointment for a massage at that office at a later date.
2) go to the nearest spa I could find and pray they have an opening.
3) give up on the endeavor altogether

Guess what I did?

I turned around and walked out the door, deflated. See I had already arranged for babysitting for the 90 minutes I would be gone. Choice 1 would just make me angrier. Choice 2 could take all day. Choice 3 it was.

But to save the day there was a TJMaxx in the same shopping center, and I spent the next hour shopping. I needed something. If it couldn't be massage therapy then retail therapy would have to do.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Independence Day Results Are In

So how did it go?

I lived to write about it, and truthfully, it went off better than I imagined with only a few minor hiccups.

To solve the "bathing suit/half naked" scenario I had created we opted to forgo swimming altogether, for everyone. We just wouldn't swim. That also meant I wouldn't need to schleep (sp?) beach towels, swim gear, goggles, etc for four. I didn't want to look like we were moving in, and that is exactly what it looks like when we bring anything, anywhere. It takes a small army to get us around.

When we pull up we see a bouncy house! A bouncy house! I didn't even include that in my prayer but it was totally answered anyway. Only this bouncy house had water! Yes, water - because everything is more fun with water. Now I had three kids (because the small one doesn't know better yet) begging to get wet and telling our guest (who we were just introduced to) how we didn't bring our swimsuits.

Our hostess was amazing, and miraculously had swimsuits for all three of them that fit. And she didn't seem phased at all by our illiteracy. I would be thinking to myself "didn't they read the invitation"? If she had that thought, she didn't show it.

There were no hands in the pants, no picking noses, no tantrums, no screaming fits... it was a miracle. A Fourth of July miracle!

But of course, there had to be one gaff. And it had to happen the moment we entered the house. My son felt prompted to exclaim "is this a mansion"? As the hostess lead us upstairs to change into her children's clothing, he again had to open his mouth: "You have wood floors, just like us, but our house isn't this big. We don't have a pool. We don't have a jumping house. This is awesome."

I wish I could have frozen time for just a minute and given my son the "please don't talk about other people's houses in their presence" talk. I should be grateful he was saying something nice, unlike my daughters comment about a big booty she saw at Walmart the other day. In her defense it was seriously large, and it was hard for me not to look. But still we don't say things out loud!

I just remembered another embarrassing moment, courtesy of my son. As she lead us up to her daughters room to change my son immediately began to disrobe in front of our hostess. He displayed his 7 year old naked, full frontal, self to a complete stranger and wasn't the least bit phased by it. I apologized for his lack of modesty and assured her that we were working on it. Thank heavens she has small children.

Nothing like making an impression.

The one thing I will say (when do I ever have just one things to say about anything) is that it is difficult to work a room when you are trying to keep a responsible eye on three children who are in a swimming pool. Nothing makes me more nervous than a pool full of kids. I couldn't delegate the responsibility for life guarding my own children to anyone else... what kind of parent would I be? So DrH was on his own for a large part of the day. I was grateful I had a baby to hold and keep me company while my eyes were trained on the water.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pray A Disaster is Adverted

Last week I was excited about our first invitation to a social event in our new city, meeting other fellows, residents, and attendings that my husband will be working with. That was last week. You only have one chance to make an impression and I am afraid we are about to blow it, and so early!

Today I am in panic mode. Forget what to wear, what to bring. I have bigger problems.

The picture I have created in my head doesn't exist. I saw it, I did. It was there. And for a moment I actually believed it.  My children: clean faces, teeth brushed, clothes pressed, hair combed, using napkins as they were intended, well behaved. AHHHHHH!

For the last three months we (I) have let our offspring run wild. Literally, wild. My parents live in the country where they could run out the door and play for hours without worry for their safety or need to provide entertainment. They entertained themselves with sticks, bugs, trees, grass, rocks, lizards, etc. I let things like naps, baths, and reading time fall by the wayside in favor of adventure, games, bare feet, and pure fun.

It is time to be structured and raise our expectations. It is time to get back to the way it used to be.

Problem is we haven't had time to do that yet. It will take a couple more weeks before they are back into a routine that is predictable and reliable and ready for public appearances. We are still getting used to a new time zone and home. I will use that excuse for as long as I can pull it off.

In the meantime, I need to pray. Pray that my son will keep his hands out of his pants. That my daughter won't tell her dirty potty jokes, that the other one won't pick her nose, and that my baby will suddenly stop throwing fits the minute she doesn't get her way. She has entered the 12-18 month phase where just because she can get around she feels she is entitled to do whatever she wants, when ever she wants. There isn't much hope for us tomorrow.

I am contemplating calling a friend that has small pets for some sedatives. Would anyone notice if my children were oddly lethargic in the middle of the afternoon? I wouldn't, but the thought briefly crossed my mind (just in case you were getting ready to call the authorities).

I forgot that there would be swimming. That means swimming suits, and I haven't been to the gym in 4 months! I forgot that my kids would most certainly want to swim so one of us has to get in the water, because they will be impossible to deal with if they don't get to swim. It doesn't seem fair that the first time I meet people that I will need to be half-dressed. My body doesn't tan, except for my arms, face and the tops of my feet. The rest of my body is resistant to tanning. It isn't pretty.

Pray for me, send good vibes, think white light, light a candle..... I am going to need it.

Note to self: If I ever host a get together where people are going to meet for the first time there will NOT be swimming, but there will be a great big bouncy house where the kids will stay and scream till they pass out from sheer exhaustion.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

For He's A Jolly Good Fellow

Day one over, and about 363 to go.

I may regret saying this, but thank heavens he is back at work:-) We have basically spent 2 1/2 months apart. Then we spent every day together for a week and half. I can't handle those extremes for too long. I was starting to get a little crazy(er).

It might not have been all due to that, but it was part of it. After so long you get into a groove and when it is turned upside down it takes a period of adjustment. We didn't have enough time to fully adjust, just enough time to start getting on each others nerves. (And I fell bad for saying that because I probably wasn't getting on his nerves, he is that kind of guy). I explained my sudden mood swings as PMS just without the PM and just the S.

I like to work alone. And we have lots of work to do. Unpacking and reorganizing falls into the "get out of my way and let me do this" category.

We spent a lot of last week eating out, watching movies, shopping, moving boxes from one room to the other, some cleaning, and some unpacking. But I am on a mission now. If only I could get the kids to cooperate and stay out from under my feet while I blow through this place like a hurricane. It is amazing how much I can get done is a short amount of time when I am alone.

First day... if you can call it work, was mostly paperwork and over by 2:30. Not nearly enough time for me to do much. (You must think I work slow, I work fast but am easily distracted).  Tomorrow looks to be just as short. I am ready for the real work schedule! Maybe Wednesday?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Moving for the Second Time

I am so over this moving business. Having already moved once two months and two weeks ago I feel like I am an experienced mover. Let me just say that moving a second time may be even worse than the first.

Yes, I am excited. Yes, I am ready. Yes, I want it to be over.

No, I don't want to pack. No, I don't want to drive again. No, I don't want to unpack. No, I don't want to clean.

Did I mention I have never laid eyes on the house we are renting? By laid eyes I mean that I haven't been closer than a 1,000 miles and some photographs from this house? Am I crazy? Yes.

We looked at it online. Used Google Earth for orientation. Relied on our realtor to make decisions for us. But I am still anxious to see it. Feel it. Be in it. Not because it is something super special, but because I am dying for a place to unpack these bags. I am tired of living out of a suitcase. At this point it could be anything anywhere just as long as someone could promise me that I will never have to do this again.

So what have I learned?

Don't pack things you aren't going to use. Seems obvious, but I brought some stuff we didn't use and I am looking at it knowing full well it isn't going to get used this next year either. Ditch what you don't use.

Just because everything fit the first time around, doesn't mean it is going to fit the second time. What did I buy?

You are going to buy more snacks than you can possible eat during a two day drive. If it makes you feel better do it. Otherwise, just realize you can stop at a drive-thru and it won't be the end of you. On the other hand, should something awful happen I am certain we are prepared to survive for at least a week.

Teach your children to urinate outside before getting into the car. Trust me, there will never be a bathroom when you need one. Instead there will be long stretches of desolation with wind blowing gravel at you. Oh, and bring a roll of toilet paper.

If you have to ask "should I get gas here" just do it. You never know when the next gas station will appear, and someone will probably have to use the bathroom anyway. Speaking of gas.... we were driving along a forsaken highway and there was nothing for miles. I have never seen nothing like this kind of nothing ever. I realize I am just about out of gas and think I see a gas station ahead... could it be a mirage? No. But it was a gas station that had closed around the time that gas was $2.67/gal.

I am looking at the map and realize there is no way we can get to the next town. I can turn around and head back the other direction where I saw an exit that had a sign for a hospital. If the town has a hospital they surely have a gas station.

My luck there are two towns. One is 13 miles to my right named Iraan, and the other is 8 miles to my left named S...something I can't remember. I go with the shorter distance, although not the one with the hospital. As I am heading around the mountains I wonder how long it will take someone to find me and my family should we perish, of course after our stock of snacks and juice boxes run out.

I finally get to the town and feel relief. They have a pool, certainly they have a gas station. I drive right past it because it looks pretty shady, like it might not even be a real gas station. The pumps are old, it feels creepy. And then we are at the end of little town - no other gas station. So I pull up and send my mother in with $10 to prepay for gas and help my son to the potty while I change a diaper and try to figure out what to do about the gas.

There are unsavory looking men, five of them, standing around this little pump with just me and my three daughters. We look like easy prey. Finally my mom comes out and the guy asks if we need help. I am still changing that diaper.

He tells her that the pump is broken and that it does not register the correct amount. He asks how much we want, and she tells him that she just gave $10 to the attendant inside. He tells her that she needs to put in about $5.00 of gas. The glass covering the pump is broken out and he manually resets the numbers to zero and starts to pump, stopping at the $5.00 mark. Either we just got swindled, or he knows his math. We don't care. Even if we paid $10 for $5 worth of gas, we are getting out of there and I vow to never allow my gas gauge to register less than a half tank for the rest of the trip.

Next time, if there is a next time, my husband is going to drive with the kids and I am going to drive alone. Seems fair.

On to the next chapter!