Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Time Change

My body needs to have a crash course in adjusting to new time zones. 

It's like I'm hard wired.  No matter what I do, I can't seem to force myself onto a new sleep schedule.  The whole "go to bed early" or "force yourself to wake up early" thing just doesn't seem to be working for me.  I need a new tactic, because I'm currently staying up until the wee hours of the morning, and by extension, sleeping half of the day away.

I figured that between the drive cross country, the lack of sleep that I got during our trek, and the hard work we did once we arrived, I would have no problem adjusting to being 3 hours ahead. 

Apparently...I was wrong.


Some of you will likely shriek when you read this (sorry Mom), but these last few mornings I've slept in (been in a coma) until well after 10:00 (ok, 11:00 this morning).  I don't know what's wrong with me.  I can't remember the last time I slept more than about 8 hours (and that's being generous) and now I'm sleeping almost 10!  Is it possible that I'm finally catching up on the sleep that I've missed over the last 4 years???

Even now, as I'm writing this, I'm acutely aware of the fact that it's 12:30 a.m. and I'm WIDE AWAKE!  I'm feeling invigorated!  I'm cruising job sites, sending out applications, monitoring the US Open, and seriously considering doing some dishes, or laundry...or something!

Seriously, someone needs to bash me over the head with a frying pan, or better yet, throw a bucket of cold water on me to get my booty out of bed in the morning (no, not really, because then I'd not only be wet, but I'd be pissed!!!)

Tomorrow, we're setting an alarm and getting up at a reasonable hour.  Really, I'm going to be out of bed before 9:00 a.m.!!!  I've had enough of this - time to embrace Eastern Standard Time!!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A State Of Chaos

Is it possible that some of us are destined to live in a constant state of chaos? 

If so, then I'm definitely one of those people. 

Granted, at this moment I'm dealing with MAJOR life changes, but I feel like I've been living in a perpetual limbo over the last months (ok, years).  

I want to know how people do it differently.  How do they have it so together?  Do they actually do it differently, or are they just better at faking it than I am?

I don't own a home, I don't (currently) have a job, I don't have a plan, and I honestly don't know what my life will look like a year from now.  Aaaah...chaos!!!  It's like I'm trapped in "temporary" (which I would guess is a lot like purgatory).  Never quite settled, never sure what's next, no set agenda - just...making due...existing.

It's a constant feeling of being unsettled, and I'm starting to get sick of it.  I crave routine, I crave stability, and I'd give anything to be sitting here complaining about how boring and predictable my life has become.  

I have to expect that at some point, I will begin to make sense of my life.  Things will fall into place, regularity will be established, and I'll look back and laugh about how scattered I was......I hope.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Frugal Frame Of Mind

We're coming up on 2 weeks of living in Ohio.  Whew - where has the time gone?

While there are still many (many) boxes to go through, still more stuff to get rid of, jobs to find, and a regular routine to settle into, I feel like we're doing ok so far.

Anyone who has moved can attest to how expensive it is.  Needless to say, moving from California to Ohio forced us to tighten our belts a little bit (ok, a lot).

When we arrived, we wanted to truly make an effort to break out of the "eating out" routine that we'd gotten so used to in California.  To think of the hundreds of dollars that we've spent over just the last 6 months eating in restaurants or ordering takeout - well, it's enough to scare me straight!

Upon our arrival, we make an unofficial deal to eat out less, cook at home more, and try to be smarter about our finances.  2 weeks in, I think we're doing alright.

Since we've arrived, we've eaten out for dinner exactly once (with my dad), and have only ordered in pizza (to share with my parents).  Other than that, (and the occasional run to Bruegger's for a bagel sandwich at lunchtime) we've been great about cooking at home, eating leftovers, and only buying what we need at the store.

Granted, part of the whole "only buy what we need" is because we don't have any pantry space - literally, the few things we have (peanut butter crackers, a box of brown rice, olive oil, etc.) is currently sharing a shelf in our laundry closet with detergent and paper towel.  So, seeing as we're not blessed with abundant cupboard space, we're making due.

In the long run, I know that we'll find places that we enjoy ordering takeout from, and I know that we'll start to eat in restaurants again, but for now, as we continue to guard our money (what little we have), I'm proud of us for embracing our inner Julia Child and cooking up a storm in our tiny kitchen! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Starbucks Isn't Looking Too Bad...

I know, I know - I've only been in Ohio for 1 week, my apartment is still in disarray...I should get the rest of my life in order before jumping back into work.

No?  That's not what people are thinking?  Well...crap!

Terrible as it may seem to some, I've enjoyed not working.  Mind you, I'm terrified about depleting what (little) financial reserves we have, and as the money suckers (like utilities, insurance and rent) keep appearing, I'm secretly wishing that the folks at Publishers Clearing House would finally draw our names and show up with a big fat check!

Don't get the wrong idea - I like working.  I want to work.  I like the idea of earning my own money, and I really like the idea of not worrying about how we're going to pay for silly indulgences like...groceries!

I realize it's only been a couple weeks since my last rant about the job search (Wanted: A Job) but I'm just (still) having a hard time figuring out what I want to do. 

Ben puts me to shame.  He has literally hit the ground running, making phone calls, doing odd jobs for my parents, and has actually managed to bring in some money in the last week.  I'm so proud of him, but I'm also jealous - he knows what he likes, he knows what he can do, and he goes for it. 

Me, I'm still grappling with whether to pursue grad school, or work at a university (hopefully to make getting into grad school easier), or just get an administrative assistant job (to bring in some money), or hold out for my "ideal job" (assuming I can nail down what exactly it is), or just say "to hell with it" and go apply at Starbucks (literally, as I write this I have another screen open with a Starbucks job description on it).

I know I'm not the only one looking for a job right now, and with the economy the way it is, I know that any job will put me ahead - I'm just someone who takes work seriously.  I want to like what I do.  I want to like the people I'm working with and the company that I'm working for.  I want to look forward to work, not dread it and spend my free time thinking of creative ways to get out of it.  I want to make enough money to keep us comfortable, but I also don't want to be a sell-out who works a job of no significance because it happens to pay well.

*Is it wrong that I also question whether or not I can go back to working in an office?  I've worn capri pants and flip flops to work every day for the last 4 years - I'm honestly not sure that a business suit and cubicle are in my future.*

I know that there are no simple solutions - I just need to get my resume out there and see what comes of it.

I'm trying to keep the faith and hope that the right situation will present itself.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I've never claimed to be one with the elements.  I don't camp, I don't hike, I don't do...y'know, "outdoorsy things". 

But, I do love being outside.  At the beach, at a lake, at a park on a beautiful spring day, (does eating outside at a restaurant count?) - I appreciate these things. 

Today, in spite of my lack of "natural flare" (pun intended), I'm thankful for nature. 

I spent quite a bit of time outside today (for me). 

Ben and I walked Mia a few miles along the Metro Parks trail that runs behind our apartment complex and took her to a local dog park.  Then, again this evening, we walked in the opposite direction on the trail and enjoyed the quiet of dusk.  We saw deer twice today (as Ben fought the urge to get a gun and go hunting), appreciated the shade, and watched for lightening bugs (something we didn't get to enjoy in California).  While taking Mia for her final "out" of the evening, our ears perked at the sound of rumbling thunder, and we watched as the sky lit up with the approach of a storm.

Just being outside today, in the fresh air, getting some light exercise, life seemed simpler somehow.  Things slow down.  You can't rush when you're in the forest (Ben has pointed out that the trail behind the apartment isn't really a forest, but hey, I'll call it what I want).  I can't speak for everyone, but I know that when I give myself a chance, I almost always enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors.  Granted, this doesn't mean that I'm going to plan my first camping trip to the hills of central Ohio any time soon.  I'm just saying, something about walks, lightening bugs and thunderstorms makes you appreciate the simple things - which I know I need to do more of.

So, today, I'm thankful for nature, and the opportunity to be a (brief) visitor every now and then.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Today was day 4 in our new apartment.  Things are slowly starting to come together, though the apartment is still in a bit of disarray. 

One side effect of moving was that we had to unplug ourselves from our DVR in California. 

I know we're not the only ones guilty of it - we rely way too much on what we've recorded on tv.  In the evenings, after a long day, we're usually found on the couch vegging out in front of a variety of shows.  On the weekends?  Yep, couch potato central!  Much of our free time is spent saying "what should we watch now", or "what's on tonight?".

Before we moved, I went through our Series Manager to jot down the shows that we record, so that in the time between leaving California and arriving in Ohio, we wouldn't risk forgetting one of our precious programs.  God forbid we miss an episode of Storage Wars or Project Runway (no really...I'm serious!)

The number of shows that we were set to record was staggering - too many to mention, and some I couldn't even remember watching. 

In any case, since we left California, we've exponentially reduced our time spent in front of the tv (a side effect of driving cross country for a week), and I think it's been a good thing.

 I'm sure by the time the US Open rolls around, or the fall season starts, we'll be singing a different tune, but for now, I'm really enjoying the fact that we've been unplugged for a few days!

P.S.  The cable guy comes on Thursday!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Great Move-In

Well, we made it.  We are officially here in Hudson/Stow, and in our new apartment!!!  Yay/whew!

After several long days on the road, we are glad to be here, relatively unscathed!  

First the good news - we got the entire truck unpacked in a few short (though they didn't seem short) hours.  Also, this morning, both moms set to work in our kitchen and got all our cupboards loaded and ready to go for us.  Our apartment is in a great location - an end unit at the corner of the property - surrounded by trees and grass on 2 sides!  Finally, it took about a day, but I no longer have the sensation of moving, even when I'm standing on solid ground (a side effect from driving from California to Ohio).

Now, the not-so-great news - the apartment is tiny small (this we knew, but some things you don't really appreciate until you're there in person, and since this is all we can afford, I'm willing to go with it)!!!  How we ever thought we could take stuff spread around a 2,000 sqft house and put it into an apartment that's less than half the size is beyond me.  We are currently living in a jungle of boxes, with no clear cut plan in how to tackle them.  The bathrooms are teeny, the kitchen doesn't even come close to holding all our stuff, and we need to buy several large pieces of furniture (a tv cabinet, bookshelves, a dresser, a couch) which can be fun, but ultimately sends me into a mild panic attack at the thought of spending more money (especially when neither of us has a job)!

Long story short, we're here, we're getting settled, and I'll be glad when I can walk through the apartment without tripping over boxes, shoving suitcases out of my way, or trying to remember which room something was tossed in during the move-in. 

I know it's not "Thankful Thursday", but I'm so thankful for our moms (getting us organized), for Steve (the son of my parents' neighbor who helped us unload our truck), and for Ben (for suggesting that we come to Ohio in the first place). 

I know things will come together, and if nothing else, this apartment will be good motivation to save our money and stick to a budget so that we can buy a house!

Overall, the good outweighs the bad! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The End Of The Road

The end is in sight. 

Tonight is the last night in a hotel...whew! 

Only 6 hours of driving left for tomorrow...double whew! 

Tomorrow is officially our move in day at our new place...yay!

It's certainly been a long process - the cleaning, the organizing, the packing, the driving - I'm glad that we're almost done. 

Yes, we still have unpacking and organizing to do, but at this point, anything will be easier than the last few weeks have been. 

So, as we head into our last day of a very long cross country road trip, I'm thankful for the end of the road, which is now officially in sight, and I'm thankful that tomorrow begins the next chapter of our lives!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's Not The Journey, It's The Destination

I've never been one for scenic road trips.  While I don't mind driving - in fact I used to look forward to the 7 1/2 hours that I had to myself while driving back and forth from college and home - I am not someone who wants to stop every 60 miles to go into a local store, or seek out the world's biggest ball of twine, or drive 2 hours out of my way for some other monument, national park, or tourist destination.

When I drive, I want to make good time.  I want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible.

I know the saying goes "It's not the destination, it's the journey".  Well, that might be true in terms of being a metaphor for life, but when it comes to road trips, my motto is "just get there!".  Unless I'm about to pee in my pants, or the vehicle I'm driving is literally out of gas, I'm hard pressed to pull over.
As we continue our trek across the better part of the country, these words feel true more than ever before - JUST GET THERE!!!!

We're more than halfway to Ohio - so far we've gone from California to Nebraska, with only Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio still on the agenda.

I don't know if it's just me, but all the states are beginning to look the same - flat.  The only good thing about Nebraska (which, for the record, looks exactly like most of Nevada and Wyoming), is that it's more green than brown, which is a definite bonus after 3 days of brown mountain driving.

Tomorrow, we'll stop in Des Moines to meet up with some of Ben's family for lunch (only a slight detour, and one that I'm looking forward to), and then hit the road once again. 

Insert theme song here..."On the road again.  I just can't wait to get on the road again..."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Goodbye, California!

Yesterday we officially said goodbye to California.

I'm a mixture of sad, nostalgic, and excited to FINALLY be on our way!  It was a rough week, our nerves were...frayed (to put it mildly), and we are now officially moving on (literally).

The drive was long, boring, and made even more difficult because Ben and I were in 2 separate vehicles!  I was lucky enough to drive "Big Red" (as we affectionately call Ben's Ford F-350), while he had the unpleasant task of driving the moving truck, which was also towing "Little Red" (my Suzuki).

But, after about 11 1/2 hours of driving, we successfully arrived in Salt Lake City, just in time for dinner with Ben's family!

Today, the reality of being "homeless" hit me a little bit.  I am still referring to California as "home", in conversation and part of me feels like we'll be back there in a few days.  Then, Ben was showing off some video of Molly from our last days with the kids - so of course, that made us cry. 

I know that this is going to be something of a process and that over time I'll fully "get" the fact that we don't live in California anymore, I'll probably accept that we don't get to see Jack and Molly every day (though I don't have to like it), and hopefully at some point, Ohio will feel like home once again.

As California is further behind us and we get closer and closer to Ohio, I know things will get easier - for now, I'm just missing our old life, and feeling nervous about setting up a new one. 

Let the transition begin!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thankful For Stuff

During the last week (ok, the last several) as we've prepared for our move to Ohio, I've done a lot of complaining about the amount of crap that we have junking up our house.  The endless piles of random paperwork, the clothes that haven't seen the light of day for months (ok, years), the kitchen appliances that have never been used, and the frustration that I feel while sifting through the infinite chaos that is our home has been about enough to send me right over the edge. 

That was until tonight. 

My friend, who is an Assistant Principal at a local high school, was telling us about some of the crazy outfits that kids were trying to get away with for their school pictures this week.  This, of course, led to a discussion not just of inappropriate picture outfits, but of blatant disregard for the dress code in general. 

She was telling us about a girl who today had on a tiny pair of "beige" shorts that (the way she told it) offered roughly the same amount of booty coverage as a pair of underpants.  So, the offending young lady was escorted, by my friend, to the office to call home for a change of clothes. 

Well, my friend overheard the conversation that the girl was having with her mother on the phone and realized that she wasn't trying to disregard the dress code or be disrespectful - her family simply didn't have the money to buy new clothes, so she had squeezed into last year's shorts, even though they were too small.

When I heard that, all my frustration about having "too many clothes" and "too much stuff" just melted away.  I realized that while it is a hassle, and while I really don't need everything that I have, I'm incredibly lucky to have what I have.  I can eat in a restaurant if the mood strikes, I can buy gifts for friends, I can fill up my car with gas, and most importantly, I can afford to buy a new shirt or a pair of jeans when I need them.

So today, despite my complaining, I'm thankful for all my stuff!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Process Of Packing

Moving sucks.  No, scratch that.  Moving is a fun and exciting adventure that marks the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. 

Packing sucks!

I can't stand the process of packing.  It's tedious, frustrating, and leaves you scratching your head, wondering how the heck you managed to accumulate all that stuff, not to mention trying to figure out how the heck you're going to fit all of it into your new place. 

Yesterday, we were productive - pictures came off walls, books and DVDs were boxed up, closets were cleaned out - but I now find myself wondering why we have so much stuff, and where the heck we're going to put it once we get to Ohio! 

We've been blessed with a beautiful house to live in.  Unfortunately, our dreams of home ownership are still out of reach, so we'll be hanging our hats in a 2 bedroom apartment that is roughly half the size of our current home.

It's understandable that when a couple moves in together and 2 homes become one, you're going to have double the stuff.  Well, there must be squatters hiding in our attic, or evil twins secretly storing their household items in our closets, because we have more stuff than 2 people could ever possibly require!  Sheets, towels, toiletries, pillows, blankets - we've got too many (and none, may I add, are in very good shape). 

But, in addition to the moving expenses, the new cost of living that we're saddled with, and the fact that neither of us has a job yet, we can't just throw stuff away and figure that we'll buy new once we arrive in Ohio.  Nope, we need to be thrifty, responsible, and we need to move all of this crap from point A to point B. 

And so, today, we continue the frustrating and exhausting process of packing.  We will sort through paperwork, clear out more closets, pack up the bathroom, and hopefully by the end of the day will find ourselves a tiny bit more organized than last night - when the haphazard piles of "stuff" lying around made it feel less like we were in the process of moving, and more like we were organizationally challenged mongrels auditioning for an episode of "Hoarders".