Archive for the ‘Moving’ Category

Another Update of Sorts

10 Jun

So those of you who have been keeping up with me on Facebook know that we have finally moved back into our house.  Things are still kind of chaotic, but BOY IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME.  I’ve found that my house contributes greatly to my quality of life and I missed this house fiercely.  Sometimes it’s the little things, you know?  For instance, I’m currently really enjoying:

  • A dishwasher that makes dishes cleaner instead of dirtier
  • A stove that turns on when you tell it to
  • An oven that not only HEATS, but heats to the correct temperature (not that I’ve done much cooking recently, but just knowing it’s there brings me a great deal of pleasure)
  • A floor plan that makes sense and includes things like CLOSETS!  With DOORS!
  • A garage
  • Neighbors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Having our room more than 2 feet away from the kids’ rooms
  • A washer/dryer with more than one button
  • Cleaning service by my awesome housekeepers
  • A color scheme that makes sense and doesn’t try to combine  orange, teal, cobalt blue and forest green in the same room
  • Watching the NBA finals in the media room (GO MAVS!)
  • A single flight of stairs

A year in Alaska was a great experience for the kids and I have no regrets about going there… but home is wonderful.

In other news, I injured my knee jogging the day after we arrived in Texas (go figure – I can run a 10K in 35° weather in Alaska, but can’t jog around the block in Texas without hurting myself).  It still hasn’t healed and the doctor wants me to have an MRI because he suspects that I’ve torn my meniscus.  I’ve been stalling on the MRI because it’s going to cost me $400 with insurance, but I think I’m going to have to suck it up and have it done.  Because I’m beginning to think that otherwise, I’ll never be able to walk up a flight of stairs normally again.

(insert change of subject)

The kids start several weeks of summer camp next week.  I’m excited about this because a) it’s a performing arts camp and I think they’re going to LOVE it, and b) I’ll finally get some time to myself.  Maybe I’ll have the chance to do something about all those boxes that are still stacked in the dining room.  Ooh, and maybe I’ll get around to blogging more than once a month.

In the meantime, CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHAT WE DID WITH ALL OUR TRASH CANS???

 
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Posted in Health...or Lack Thereof, Moving

 

Adjusting

16 May

I LOVE PAVEMENT. That’s one of the first things that hit me when we moved back. The roads? PAVED. The parking lots? PAVED. And it’s clean pavement, not covered in layers and layers of dirt and sand left over from the winter’s ice treatment.

I haven’t seen – much less driven on – a single dirt road since we left Homer. And I’m totally cool with that. My car is clean. A clean car – inside and out – is one of the things in life that just makes me smile.

Today we went to a bank. A real, live, actual BRANCH of Capital One and talked to a real, live, actual banker face-to-face.

I also took the kids to get haircuts at their favorite little “get a toy when you’re done” place. They both look pretty sharp, if I do say so myself. I was even able to keep Koren from getting scalped on top.

My skin is begrudgingly adjusting to the added humidity in the air. And makeup. See, I actually have to groom myself when I live in Texas. As in, daily showers and everything. And this is a place where makeup is not just reserved for evening dresses. Women here will actually apologize if they’re in your presence without their make up on. As evidenced by peopleofwalmart.com, pants may be optional, but makeup is not.

It still shocks me (and admittedly, makes me a little giddy) how many stores there are here. I drive around just soaking them in. Container Store, Ikea, Home Depot, Best Buy, Target, Costco, Whole Foods, Toys R Us, DSW, malls, and any other store or service you could want – all within 15 minutes. I’m exercising restraint to keep myself from heading over to Allen for designer handbags.

I cannot wait to go to Costco. I have already visited Ikea, but just to window shop. Also, I really want to go to Container Store, but I can’t leave there without spending $100. There’s also the little matter that I don’t actually have a house to accessorize yet. So that one will have to wait.

Even when I do shop online now, I have more options.  While Bluefly and Amazon are great, it’s nice to be able to choose from more than two sites on the internet.  If they don’t flat out refuse shipping to Alaska (that’s a foreign country, right?), most stores would agree to ship to the Last Frontier only in exchange for my life’s savings, first child and perhaps my right arm.

I’ve fallen madly in love with Cragislist, and am knocking things off my “Things We Have to Buy” list left and right.  Washer – BOOM.  Dryer – BOOM.  Bed for Koren – BOOM.  Car Seat – BOOM.

Also, I’m seriously crushing on LivingSocial.com, ever since I got a dental exam, cleaning, x-rays, and teeth whitening treatment for $70.  I really need an exam and x-rays and was wondering how I would fit that into our budget.

* * * (insert random change of subject) * * *

The kids get worn out a lot easier here. Perhaps it’s the lack of an actual routine. Perhaps it’s the heat (which isn’t really hot, it’s just that we’re not really used to anything above 38 degrees anymore). But whatever the reason, once we hit about 3 in the afternoon, they’re pretty much done for a while. Today I’m making them take naps because they couldn’t seem to do “quiet time” without erupting into conflict every 5 minutes. I sent them to their rooms and 15 minutes later they were both out cold. Kaelin hasn’t napped in two years, and Koren had given up his naps a couple of months before we moved. Or so I thought…

He also fell asleep during dinner the other night. We went to On the Border (real! Mexican! Food! *) and he fell asleep on my shoulder while we waited for a table. He slept through the entire meal – we were fortunate to get a booth – and went straight to bed when he got home. Kaelin made it through dinner, but put herself to bed as soon as we got home, requesting that we do a bedtime story some other night because she was just too tired to get through one tonight.

We’re enjoying seeing family and friends again. We had the opportunity to see some friends at a graduation party the other night, and that was lots of fun. Madelyn is one of Kaelin’s favorite friends and her family came to visit us in Alaska, so we enjoyed getting to see them in person again.

I need to get on the ball with scheduling some play times for Kaelin and her friends before the kids start full-time summer camp programs in mid-June. Actually, there are a lot of things I need to get on the ball with, and I’m trying to knock a few off the list every day.

But seriously, after being bored out of my mind for 6 days in a car, I’m pleased as punch to be busy right now.

*Well ok, I know that among the purists of ethnic cuisine, the term “real” is debatable when applied to a chain restaurant, but what I mean by that is “Mexican Food” that’s worth paying for, and tortillas that weren’t purchased at Costco.

 
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Posted in Culture Shock, Food, Kids, Makes Me Happy, Moving, Sponsored

 

Off the Road Again

16 May

Excuse me while I sweep some of the dust away that has gathered around here…

Well, we’ve made it.  A few weeks ago, I flew the kids to Seattle to see their Ana and Papa, and then on to Texas a few days later to spend time with my parents while Jens and I made the journey south.  Then I flew back to Alaska solo (though I was accompanied by my friend, the 24-hour stomach virus, that had me rushing to the airport bathroom to rid myself of lunch and copious amounts of trail mix).

Once I returned to our house in Alaska, we had a little less than 48 hours to finish packing and get outta Dodge.

The road trip was a little more bearable than the time we did it in reverse a year ago.  We took a different rout and really only had one day of plains as far as the eye can see.  And that was just the last day, so our anticipation over reaching our destination overshadowed the lack of scenery.

The price of gas was painful – especially in Canada – and had us longingly looking forward to the point at which we could ditch the huge, heavy trailer and the always-4WD Jeep Commander for something that might net us more than 12 MPG on the highway.

Despite the price of gas, the trip ended up being a lot less expensive than it could have been, thanks to friends and family that put us up for half the nights, as well as redeemable reward points (both ours and those of my generous parents) that paid for the rest of the hotel stays.

But regardless, no matter how well the trip goes, by the sixth 12-hour day of driving, you’re really ready to not be driving anymore.  Boredom is dangerous for me, because I have a tendency to start planning and scheming new ideas.  At one point on this trip, I went insane and decided that I needed a puppy. I spent many hours researching, and finally selected the breed and even the breeder.

Also, I think the muscles in my legs have atrophied from sitting in the car so much.  I’ve gone jogging a couple of times since getting back and it’s been significantly harder than it used to be.  Between some harsh knee pain and what I can only guess is less oxygen in the air, getting back into the exercise has been a little rough.

Nonetheless, it’s good to be back.  The ever-reliable Texas sun has been out and we’ve had some amazing 70 degree days.  We’ve spent time at the park and even got to take in a baseball game last night in celebration of my uncle’s birthday.

The only major part of this move that we have left is actually moving back into our house.  At the moment, it’s still being occupied by tenants, but we get it back on the 1st of June.  At that point, we can get all our stuff out of storage and I can spend a few days a month the next 12 weeks unpacking and getting everything set up again.

 
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Posted in Moving

 

I Guess the Dog Book is Coming With Us

26 Apr

Packing with children around is hard.  I have been accused multiple times of ruining my kids’ lives by throwing away broken toys, scraps of paper that have made their way under beds, or games that have lost 70% of their pieces.

Fortunately for me, the kids have been able to spend full days at school yesterday and today.  So hopefully I’ll find a few less of these notes pinned to the wall next to my side of the bed after a knock-down drag out.

Mama,

Ples let me breng mi dog book.

from Kaelin

 

P.R.

19 Apr

As I reached the guard rail on the overlook, I threw my arms up and my head back, and sent a holler of triumph out over the ocean.

(Then the awareness of other people hit me and I tried to make it look like part of a post-run stretch.)

(Hi!  I’m a dork!)

Y’all, I did it again.  I ran 2 5K’s in a row.  This time, whenever it started to feel “comfortable,” I pushed myself to take longer strides.  Not enough to exhaust me, just enough that my legs were feeling it the whole way.  In the end, I was rewarded.  I shaved 5 whole minutes off my time for the 1st 5K, and 6 minutes off my time for the second one.

Today was, very possibly, the last chance I will have to run the spit.  From here on out, we get into some hard-core packing to move, and the weather is supposed to go downhill tomorrow (supposed to…as though the weather report is EVER accurate around here).

So I am incredibly pleased that I got to finish strong.  While a 31:50 5K isn’t much to brag about in some circles, it feels fantastic to me – the kid who couldn’t run a mile in P.E. class to save her life.

I probably won’t be on the computer much from here on out, so if you send me an email I will get it on my phone, but you may not get a long and detailed response.  Cheers, and catch you on the flip side!

 
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Posted in Exercise, Homer, Moving

 

Moving

12 Mar

Well, it looks like we’re actually going to be heading out of here in less than 2 months.  Somehow that seems really close.

The landlord informed us that people may start coming to look at the house (I guess he’s trying to sell it) which prompted a panic attack at first because MUST CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!!!! … but it needs to be done anyway, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.

The worst part of moving is the packing.  Mostly because I have this foreboding feeling that no matter how diligent I am at labeling and organizing the boxes, we’ll unpack everything back in Texas and be completely unable to find those stupid little things that are so important, but have a tendency to disappear.  Then it will be off to the store to find some cheap television cables or DVI cables because even though I KNOW I PACKED THEM IN THAT BOX, they have mysteriously disappeared.

The one part about moving that I AM looking forward to is the lightening of our load – getting rid of stuff.  Don’t tell the kids, because it’s mostly toys that we’ll be offloading, but I hope to have a slightly less jam-packed trailer on the trip back than we had coming here.  Especially since we won’t have quite the same amount of extra hands around to help load it.

It would also be nice in case Border Patrol decides to pull everything out again in their search for guns.  Last time we weren’t entirely sure it would all fit back in there.  Maybe this time we should strap all our stuff into the trailer with our endless supply of DVI and USB cables, and then we wouldn’t have to worry about finding them when we unpacked.

 
 

The Sun Sets Again

09 Mar

Thank you to P&G’s Have You Tried This Yet? program and Kroger for sponsoring my writing about trying new things and breaking out of my everyday routine. Click here to find great savings on high-performing P&G products at a Kroger store near you. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

* * *

A little over a year ago, my husband and I went on a Sushi date.  It was during this dinner that the conversation veered suddenly to Jens announcing that he missed Alaska and and wanted to move back (well, back for him – I have never lived in Alaska).

The first thing I told him was that I didn’t want to move.

We had a stable, happy life in our little corner of North Dallas.  I had just spent a ridiculous amount of time carefully choosing where the kids would attend school the next year, and had just turned in applications and deposits.  We had a nice house, a nice job situation, a nice group of friends, and everything was NICE.

And then I began to mull it over and the idea slowly grew on me.  I mean, WHY NOT.  We had lived in the same area of North Dallas for 7 years.  And as NICE as a place like Dallas is, it doesn’t have much going for it in the way of excitement or adventure.

And then in this weird way, everything started falling into place to make this impossible transition… possible.  A nice, fully-furnished place to rent in a quaint little Alaskan town, renters for our current house in Dallas, storage solutions, everything just seemed to fall into our laps to the point where we would have felt silly NOT to take this opportunity to move.

As you have probably read, this last year has been an adventure for us.  There have been many ups and downs, and we are officially moving back to our nice little life in North Dallas at the beginning of May.  But even through the challenges, I have never regretted making this move.  Our life here is nothing like our life in the burbs, and I appreciate the experience of knowing the difference.

As our time here draws to a close and we prepare to move back, there are a lot of things I’m looking forward to reintroducing into my life.  And there are also a lot of things about this little Alaskan hippie town that I will miss, and I thought I’d share them here.  Actually, there are several of these that I already miss because they are only available in the summer and I’m a bit sad I won’t get to enjoy them again this year.

But without further ado, here is a list of things I would never have experienced if I had stayed in my little comfort zone:

  • The view of the mountains and ocean from our house
  • Eagles
  • The moose that loves to nap for hours in our yard
  • Beach access within 15 minutes
  • The summer farmer’s market
  • Handmade soaps (I’m going to have to find a way to bring back a big box of this stuff)
  • Homemade jellies & jams from the lady at the farmer’s market
  • Fat Olive’s pizza
  • Fresh king crab
  • Cinnamon rolls and fresh bread from Two Sister’s Bakery, with which there is no comparison on earth
  • As much FREE! Halibut! as I can eat
  • Watching the kids play in the tide pools and scavenge the shores of Seldovia
  • Ferry rides when the waves are huge and the boat soars up and down like a roller coaster ride
  • Jogging the trail that runs down the spit on a breezy, sunny, 60° day, surrounded on 3 sides by the mountains and ocean
  • Fires made with real wood
  • Jens getting off work at 2:30pm every day
  • No wait at movies or restaurants during the winter

 

Here, Part IV

21 Apr

Where was I?  Oh yes.  God had developed a nasty sense of humor and our grandly laid plans for a year of adventure were going to put us into bankruptcy.  Death!  Destruction!  Misery!!

And then it happened again.  Jens put out the word that we were in need of new renters, STAT, and we got a bite.  One of Jens’ former coworkers and her friend had been dying to get out of their apartments and into a house, and they were looking for a house like ours in an area like ours for a price like the one we were asking.

And then they saw the media room and were sold.  Also, they told us they didn’t mind if we left all the furniture we had left for the original tenants, so that saves us the cost of moving the stuff out and renting an additional storage unit every month.

She just needed to get a certain job before they could sign the agreement.  The next day, she got the job.  The day after that, we received the signed agreement.

Since the lease term is starting later than our original one, we may end up staying here through next summer.  But I gotta say, missing another Texas summer doesn’t really upset me that much.

And we all lived happily ever after, THE END.

(I hope…)

 
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Posted in Moving, Such is Life