Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coherency is fleeting

As I type thing, I'm at my in-law's, reclining in a bed that is not mine in a room that was, once upon a time, my husband's, despite its feminine makeover.  Right now, it's something between a guest room and a storage space as Chris's younger sister, Mel, has returned home after moving out for one week and is housing all of her kitchen goods here. 

We are, however, completely moved out of the cottage.  It sits empty as a new tomb, its only occupants a legion of hair balls roaming freely in the wake of the move. And here I had sworn I cleaned it enough . . . nope . . . *sigh*

Yesterday, two pleasant fellows--one a father of twelve (yep, you read that right) from Brooklyn and the other ex-military from New Jersey--packed up all of our possessions in only five hours.

This morning, three fellows came into my house and removed all 70+ boxes and furniture, save an ugly desk, a wobbly bookshelf, and a broken elliptical machine. I sat in my car because I was too exhausted to bother bouncing out of their way for four hours, watching everything roll out my front door. 

Do ignore the broken mini elliptical we left behind . .  . As far as we're concerned, he doesn't really exist any more . . .
  You see, last week Chris came down with a nasty cold.  Come this Friday, I was feeling a little sickly, but, hey, it's just a sore throat--pop some vitamin C and we'll be dandy. Saturday I didn't get out of bed. Nope. Couldn't sleep the night before, and just lay in bed that day while Chris worked on throwing out unwantables. Sunday I was almost human. Monday, I think I might have been human, just maybe, save a slight cough and a stuffy nose.  Today, I couldn't. I just couldn't.  My brain is having issues completing thoughts--I'll get out of my chair and then wonder what on earth I'm standing for--and saying words properly. My cough sounds like I'm puking up my lungs. So, yes, I hid in my car and let the nearly-recovered Chris interact with the movers. I just couldn't. The very notion was exhausting.

Now, we are here, in my in-laws' house. 
Chris has settled in nicely enough. The place is eerily quiet. It's not usually quiet when we're here--the three dogs bark through human chatter and the TV plays sporting events.  Now . . . nothing.  I don't know how to feel about being here--grateful, certainly a great deal, yes. Still . . . could it have been my parents' house? Should it have been? Even though they don't have an extra room? Should it have been a hotel? Or even an air mattress in our empty little place, like squatters in an abandoned fortress?
I don't know how this will go, being here for a week and a half while we wait for February 8--the day of THE event, when it happens, the take-off, the don't-look-back-now-it's-happeneing-for-really-reals-now! day.  I'm nervous about living with anyone--even my own family--for more than three or four days.

I wish I could write something more interesting--I had so many good, funny ideas, but they left randomly, leaving only shadows, and I can't form the words any more.  There will be more, soon.    And I'm hoping it will be quite funny. 

Right now, I'm just trying to process it all and remind myself that my cold isn't REALLY the xombie plague . . . .

For now, here's a cat in a box.

Navi was completely bewildered by the whole turn of events these past two days . . . she could only cope by sitting either in a window or this big empty box . . . "I haz da box. No room for mores. Just me." 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wife is Lost


His boss let him cut the trip into three weeks instead of four!!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I tell you what--driving to the airport to pick him up created a nerve bundle that combined six-year-old me on Christmas Eve with twenty-two-year-old me the night before my wedding.  Giddy? Just a tad.

I mean, I contained it pretty well up until that point.
Went with my folks to their Saturday evening church service, out to sushi, then home with them to play Rummikub and Bananagrams  (so much fun! :] I love games that have to do with patterns and words), and I was completely chill--no bouncing, no random squeals of jubilee, just me going "Hmmmm . . . . Welp, Ellie, I think you beat me again . . . Oh, no wait, go Mom! Always Mom . . . "  THEN I got in the car to head to the airport and I was like a Chihuahua who hadn't peed in a week.

To make matters worse, I am TERRIBLE with directions. I mean, give me a GPS and I'll survive, but don't let me loose on my own.  I got lost in a kitchen once. I am not kidding.  If I were one of those rats sent to find the cheese in a scientist's maze, I'd starve not for lack of survival drive but simply because I can't find the ding-dang cheese.

So you send me to Orlando International Airport, alone, with no way to contact my husband and get directions. It's not a huge airport compared to some, but, for someone like me who was STILL getting lost in the office backrooms after working six months, it's an intimidating little beast. And, might I add, that Orlando drivers are not the most patient folk? All I want is a sign that says PARKING. That's it. PARKING. But all I see are signs for Terminals A and B . . . .

I think I'm supposed to go to B, but isn't that like just drop-off and pick-up? You can't park at a terminal can you? I don't know!
OOH! PARKING!!! There it is! A teeny tiny sign that says "Economy Parking!" HUZZAH!!! . . . Wait . .. this is like three miles from the airport . . . Chris doesn't want to walk three miles . . . better try again . . . SHUT UP, GPS!
Oh, never mind, thanks GPS, you're a champ.
Ok, ummm . . . I guess I'm going to a terminal then . . . which one? B? Oh, oops, stuck in the lane for A . . . A it is then . . . It doesn't REALLY matter when you're just picking someone up, right?
Oh, GOD, a parking garage! I hate these! I hate them hate them hate them hate them! Ok, just keep driving, and don't knock over any yellow cones . . . just keep driving . .. and, we'll park here because I'm not sure how far I should go . . . and, now, the inside . .. where I hopefully don't end up on a plane to Tokyo . . . Oh, silly, I'd have to have a ticket for that . . .

As it turned out, I was in the wrong terminal and it took me a trip up an escalator, then into an elevator, then meandering between baggage claims searching for the hubs.
Cell Phone Rings: "Hello?"
"Where are you??"
"Baggage claim. Where are you?"
"Baggage claim."
"Which terminal?"
"SIGH I told you I'm in terminal B."
"Well, driving and lanes and stuck and crying and--"
"It's ok. I'll find you."

So I stand very still and wait because any attempt of mine to move would get me any more lost and then Chris and I might never see each other again and I'll be stuck here like Tom Hanks and---
And suddenly there's Chris coming down the stairs, clad in a brown leather jacket and shaggy hair, holding a guitar case and looking like a roguish, homeless musician traveling the world on the money thrown into his guitar case.
Good lord in heaven, I married a handsome man.


Because, once again, he had uncovered me when I was very lost and alone in the dark and saved me from the monsters.

So we walked together, and discovered that I had parked at the farthest corner of the parking garage.

I have a blister to prove it.
And a husband :]

P.S. The moral of the story is that, if you ask me to pick you up from the airport, you will very likely end up having to save me instead . . .

P.P.S. The title is a reference to this children's book my mom always read me when I was tiny (to this day, I still read it in her voice, even when I'm just remembering it).  I realize now that it was prophetic to my existence--constantly lost. It's the tale of a pup who doesn't listen to his mother in the grocery store and ends up getting lost wandering the aisles. Super cute, if you can still find it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

And reality sets in

Peeps, I think we've finally set a date.

Does that sound like we're planning a wedding? It kind of does, doesn't it?

Does anyone miss the wedding plan bit of engagement?  I knew early on that I didn't want a long engagement, and, therefore, wouldn't have time to waiver on the tightrope of indecision--blue or purple? Lilies or roses? Piano or guitar? So, technically, I started planning our wedding almost a year before we were actually engaged (and, P.S. it was blue--always blue, since I was five and decided that pink was a stupid color . . . no offense . . .).  We planned, we DIYed, we budgeted, we decorated, and, suddenly, the big day arrived and was over. Just like that.  In a flash, all those months of work vanish into photographs, wedding bands, and smiles. 

I think the move will feel like that, a little bit.
This whole thing has been in the works for over a year.  Last Thanksgiving, Chris's dad was helping him with something in the backyard and suddenly said, "You want to live in California?"
"Kay then.  New job with the company's opened over there.  I'll let you know."
And that was that. 

Five months later, Chris interviewed and was told he was accepted. 
We knew nothing, besides a vague idea of location and timelines that kept changing.  We would move in June, no May--March then! January? February? Ever?

Chris called me this afternoon to announce that he had put a deposit on a rental townhouse in a lovely little town called San Juan Bautista.  It's one of those quiet little places where "downtown" is one street lined with mom-and-pop diners and antique shops.  Chris's parents love visiting when they're in the area on business. We made a brief stop there during our own exploration this past summer, and it really is quite charming.

We have to sign the lease on February 9.
Which means we'd fly out on February 8 and hope the moving truck filled with possessions (all the ones I've not managed to get Chris to throw out--anyone else have any complications trying to get men to release random objects?) follows closely behind. 

That's three weeks from Friday, peeps.


And, oh, um TWO weeks from today that I have to get stuff cleaned up and thrown out before the movers come to box up and load everything. 

It doesn't quite seem real, yet.  It's getting there, but we haven't really reached it.  I don't think we will until we step off that plane and find ourselves in an empty house with three furballs, two suitcases, and an air mattress. Alone.  Over a year of building anticipation, and then it's over.  

Don't get me wrong--we are SO excited.  We love the little town, the townhouse is adorable, and the complex seems lovely.  We'll be out west--something we've wanted for years but never really thought we could achieve. We'll be putting down new roots in new places, independent, creating something new. 

Still, it's starting to seem real, and that means that talking about goodbyes isn't just talking any more.  They're going to happen.  We will hug our families, exchange the "I love you" and "I'll miss you" and "Keep in touch, see you soon" and then we'll be gone.  It's not final--we'll see them at least twice a year for the annual company meetings, but still . . .

It's just weird seeing your plans finalize into something concrete.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"In my own Little corner . . . "

I've had two weeks now . . . or is it three? I can't keep track. Days sort of melt into each other like flavored syrups into milk. They become something all together new and exactly the same.

New Years week, I kept my sisters--sixteen-year-old Catherine for three nights, and, after that, the two littles from Thursday to Saturday.  That gave me purpose. I had people to feed, dishes to keep clean. Now, it's me, three furballs, and Netflix.

Every time the littles come over, we make homemade pizza. It's kind of a must . . . Plus we do things like play with sculpty, decorate cupcakes, paint, and then, if we're making more than pizza, they love helping me cook.
Oh, and, of course, this time, we had an Avatar: the Last Airbender marathon because it's just plain awesome.  We talked about what makes a good story and laughed every time Sokka spoke. It's fun being a big sister :]
So, in my time in isolation, I've compiled a list of pros and cons to being solitary and unemployed a freelance writer  . . . sounds legit, right?

1. I make my own schedule
  • This is AWESOME. No one tells me when and where or why or how. If I'm sleepy, I sleep. If I'm hungry, I eat. If I want to exercise at 2 AM, then, doggone it, I WILL.
  • The down side is that I do stupid things like exercise at 2 AM and then I can't fall asleep until 5 AM . . . My poor body is going to need a major schedule rewrite once Chris is home. Let's just say I'm adjusting REALLY early to West Coast time, k? 

2. I get to eat whatever I want.
  • If I want to eat all vegetarian and make vegetarian meals, I totally can.  If I want to use salt in my cooking, I can (Chris is sensitive to high levels of sodium, so most of our cooking is with very little to no salt at all).  If I don't want to eat something, I don't have to. I am both my own chef and my own customer.  Please me? I think I'm up to the challenge. 
  • I like cooking for other people . . . cooking for myself is simply a matter of survival . . . so basically I nibble on salads or chips and salsa with fruit smoothies.  There is little to no motivation . . . and laziness, maybe . . . I kind of hate that . . .
3. There's less mess
  • It's just me and my mess, which is pretty easy to pick up. 
  • I'm the only person around to take out the trash and empty the litter box  . . . and carry heavy things . . . Oh well . . . 
4. I have the bed all to myself
  • The puppy can snuggle with me, I can sleep in any position I like, even diagonally, which seems to be my favorite.  
  • I have the bed all to myself :[ 
5. It's CHEAP
  • The toilet paper lasts longer, there's less demand for food, and I don't run the air conditioner as passionately as the hubs.  The TV stays on, but, for the most part, computers stay off. I don't need much to live on.  
  • Can you really put a price on companionship? Even if he does prefer the house an igloo and kills a rainforest in a week?

6.  I have the house all to myself
  • There's no positive about this. There's just not.  
  • Do you know how scary it is living in a house in the middle of the swamp filled with mutant bugs that like to crash all kamikaze-like into the window? Big bangs and taps that sound like a serial killer's erratic Morse code? "I'm coming for you. Just as soon as you turn out the light." TaptaptaptapBANG.
    Once I realize it's very likely NOT a psychopath in a clown suit with knives (pleasepleasepleaseplease), I wonder how MASSIVE the roaches and moths must be to make that sort of crash.  Oh gosh, I don't know which is worse . . .
    Thank goodness the dog barks when there's something really there and sounds bigger than her meager 30 pounds . . . well, at real sounds outside and imaginary sounds like babies and dogs on the telly . . .

Basically, I can't wait to have Chris home and a reason to be on a schedule, a reason to have food in the fridge, and someone to snuggle with and talk to who can actually respond with words and doesn't pee in the yard.

Have you ever lived alone? Loved it or hated it?