What I Learned in Maryland So Far

Over 40 in Maryland is exactly the same as over 40 in Pennsylvania.  Still the same aches and pains, still wake up feeling exhausted.  Still weigh the same (even after 2 solid weeks of stress! SMH).  And, still can’t read the fine print on anything.

Praying mantises can take “many hours” to mate, according to a source Todd found on the internet, after I asked him how long it takes.  I asked because we had a pair of praying mantises on the wood frame right next to our front door for 3 days.  THREE DAYS.  In the exact same spot.  They were there when all of our guests arrived to celebrate Owen’s birthday, and they were there when everyone left.  10 people and 4 dogs passed in and out that door, several times. They did. Not. Move.  For 3 DAYS.  So I decided to Google it.  I found out that females don’t always eat the males after mating.  But Wikipedia said that they were more likely to do it if they were hungry, and one study suggested that males approached hungry females with more caution.  I’d say they’d also be more cautious on the dismount too, under the same circumstances… and therefore I’d say our Romeo by the front door was weighing his options.  For THREE DAYS.  On day 4 they had moved (together) to the side of the house about 2 feet away, less conspicuous, and by the day’s end I was regarding the female with not a little bit of sadness when I saw her alone by the front door.  I looked around for body parts and, having found none, concluded that either she ate him whole, or he got away unscathed.

It’s going to be a tough winter.  I can tell.  I read something somewhere about caterpillars and predicting winter conditions, but I don’t remember what it was … something about their coloring – lots of black, or very little??  Well, there are literally hundreds of them crossing the roads and driveways every day.  That’s gotta be a sign of something, right? And if they aren’t the predictors of some terrible apocalypse, then stink bugs surely are.  They number in the thousands and, as previously posted, they lend the vague feeling of being in a B-horror flick.  The praying mantis lingers just an inch from the opening of the screen door, as if awaiting her moment to spring into the house.  The bugs are trying to get in, people!  Because it’s going to be a bad winter, and they know it.

Drivers in Pennsylvania really are nuts.  Todd was right.  I used to think he was just ragging on our drivers because he was gunning for Maryland.  That was, until I moved here.  While I’ve heard many a rant about Maryland drivers and their occasional aggressiveness – not to mention the surprising number of texters (in a state where handhelds are banned and as of October 1st  the police can and will pull you over if you’re caught using it) – Todd has always maintained that they are courteous.  They will let you in if you are driving with traffic and not being an asshole, and they are expert mergers.  So NOT so in PA. 

A recent trip north found me screaming at this lady who came to a full stop at the end of the ramp before she felt it was safe to merge onto  … are you ready for this?… an emptyhighway.  On other roadways, my attempts to pass other motorists were met with cars that sped up to prevent it.  And the showstopper this week?  Merging onto a notoriously busy highway near my old home, where cars are coming in from the left and merging in from the right (very hairy) and the car in front of me slows from over 60 mph to almost a complete stop to allow another car on the shoulder to get into our lane.  She’s lucky she didn’t cause a 15-car pileup.  And when I moved to the left lane to go around her, she sped up and took off.
And speaking of people in cars…the parent drop off at both schools is very well organized, in spite of limited space, but much more entertaining than where we came from.   Unlike Oley, the people here are not so polite that they won’t blow their horn and yell out the window at a parent being stupid, or holding up the line by attempting an illegal left turn on the exit.  Oley would send flyers at the beginning of the school year to remind parents of drop off/pick up procedures – in the vain hope that they actually read them (I would bet my shot of Don Julio that nobody does). 

Here, there is a SIGN by the stop sign at the end of the drive that clearly states, “No left turns between 7:30 a.m.-8:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.”  The reason for this is obvious – the middle school is located on a two-lane street in town, and buses and cars are coming in from both directions; therefore, if someone is trying to turn left they won’t be able to easily, and thus will hold up the drop off line.  Translation:  they can’t pull out because of traffic, and cars can’t pull in because they aren’t pulling out, students are late for homeroom, and everybody is pissed off.  It just becomes one big clusterfuck.  So one morning, the clusterfuck was notified by the car behind him blowing her horn, and he’s like “what?!!” and she yells something out the window at him, to which he responds something, and proceeds to turn left anyway.  Then the guy in the second car behind him opens his window – after the dude had already made his “illegal” turn onto the street – and yells some expletive at him (which I consider to be wasted breath, since no one heard him). 

But the incident at the pick up yesterday topped even the best rant out of Oley.  So I’m in line, waiting for Owen.  There’s a woman in front of me in a Lincoln Towncar with her toddler hanging out the passenger side window.  Owen gets in the car.  Meanwhile, other cars in front of Mrs. Towncar have departed.  She’s not pulling forward to allow others behind us to actually enter the lot (they are still on the street waiting to pull in).  And not because she’s ignorant.  It’s because she’s holding onto her toddler’s legs so she doesn’t accidentally fall out the window, and has no idea how many cars she is holding up behind her.  Finally, her daughter comes out – or who appears to be her daughter – and attempts to get into the car.  A cat-and-mouse game ensues between herself and the toddler, who by now OUGHT TO BE IN A CAR SEAT.  Meanwhile, I’m still stuck behind her with my cargo safely loaded, and there are a half dozen cars behind me that can’t go anywhere either.  Then 2 more girls approach the car on the driver’s side and begin a conversation with the woman, all while big sister is chasing her little sister from front to back seat with both car doors open.  I just CANNOT MAKE THIS SHIT UP, PEOPLE.   It’s at this point that I decide I have enough room to back up a few inches and then pull forward around Mrs. Towncar.  This is when girl # 2 opens the passenger door as I am trying to go around the car.  And now I can’t move because to continue forward is to either hit her and girl # 3, who has at that very moment decided to pull out her cell phone, or plow through the row of parked cars on their left.  Todd would’ve blown his horn until it exploded by this time, but I – still feeling a bit “newbie” and not wanting to be marked as “crazy new bitch” – kept my cool and did my best you’ve-got-to-be-kidding look until I could get around them. 

I have also learned that I can no longer avoid surrendering my PA driver’s license for a Maryland one.  As I have previously mentioned, I do not like change.  This revelation hit me again as I remembered my move to Oley 11 years ago and how I’d continued to drive back to the old town for Mom’s club activities.  I realized that I tend to transition change by holding onto something from the previous place.  In that case, the superficial friendships I’d made in the old town as a mother.  In this case, it’s my driver’s license.  Todd mentioned it the day we moved in, and I quickly dismissed it as not pertinent. (It probably sounded more like yeah, yeah, whatever.)  Mostly because I did not want to relinquish my residency there, which is silly really.  It has nothing to do with Maryland.  I mean, years ago I was this close to moving to California.  And years before that, I thought I would never leave New York. 

Nevertheless, I cannot change my address on my bank account without a new driver’s license.  And, I cannot apply for assistance for my daughter without proof of residency here.  Assistance for Ava is based on medical necessity – where she is guaranteed medical care and expenses covered because her life depends on medication and care.  Type 1 diabetes is a very expensive disease, and the co-pays alone can bury many of us.


Because of our proximity to the Herr’s Potato Chip Factory, we cannot get our favorite potato chips anywhere near our home.  I haven’t yet checked the Walmart store a half hour north of us, but as of now we are stockpiling Good’s potato chips each time we return to our old area.

On a good day, we can actually smell potato chips in the air. On a bad day, the smell of mushroom farms annihilates the air.  Not all the time, said the school secretary, but when the wind is blowing the right way…  The right way?!?  There is absolutely nothing right about being assaulted by the combination smell of a rotting carcass and a dirty contractor’s outhouse whose door hasn’t been opened for 6 months.

We can buy wine on Sundays!  Anywhere, anytime.  Pennsylvania has loosened the padlocks on liquor control on the day God rested, but only at predetermined L.C.B stores, and even so – their hours are limited.  If I need wine for dinner on Sunday at 8 p.m., I can get it here – just 5 minutes away.

Gas is cheaper! Gas is cheaper!  La la la la laaaa la!!!  I filled the tank here on my way to PA to drop the kids at their dad’s – I paid $3.22 a gallon.  Twenty minutes later, in PA, the gas prices were averaging $3.33.

And speaking of gas – if you want to fill a propane tank in PA – the law apparently requires that the tank is transported upright.  Trust me on this.  Apparently, Maryland doesn’t really care if a 100-pound tank full of propane takes a nap in the back of your SUV.  

The ultimate quick fix for a broken nail – a coat of clear polish, a piece of tea bag (without the tea leaves –and if you have to ask – you don’t deserve to know) and a second coat of clear polish to set it.  I didn’t actually learn this in Maryland, but I was repairing a (really bad) torn nail that I acquired in Maryland – in an incident that unequivocally qualifies me for the title, Queen of Freak Accidents – and by the power of Facebook I was able to learn the repair secret from my friend back in Oley.  Does it work?  Of course it works.  I wouldn’t have posted it otherwise.

And, since I mentioned it, I AM the queen of freak accidents.  I tore my nail while making the bed, when I yanked on the comforter to pull it up and caught my fingernail in the fancy embroidery.  (By the way, I don’t recommend yelling Oh my God! over and over when your spouse is in the next room.)  I can further qualify my claim because just this morning I was walking through my bedroom and swung my arm up for whatever reason, caught the string of my hoodie and the metal tip of it hit me directly in the eye.  True story.  I felt it prudent at this point to take the day off to lie on the couch under a blanket.
I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.  ~ Winston Churchill

The things that have been most valuable to me I did not learn in school.  ~ Will Smith

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.  ~ Henry Ford

Conversations With Todd – Episode 2

https://fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net/rsrc.php/v2/y4/r/-PAXP-deijE.gifIt all started yesterday morning when I sent Todd, who has been dealing with an onslaught of negative shit lately, his horoscope.  You can read it here:  http://www.freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/sagittarius.html
The following is the IM transcript from Facebook. 

Todd:  thanks honey, I guess I’m not really a bull s*** magnet.
https://fbstatic-a.akamaihd.net/rsrc.php/v2/y4/r/-PAXP-deijE.gifMe:  nah
but anyone can step in bullshit
it’s like a wad of gum you didn’t see in the parking lot when you step out of your car
should you be punished for being unaware?
I don’t think so
all you need is a stick or something to scrape that shit off your shoe and keep walking
just remember – you can’t live in this world without shit
everybody does it, everyone has stepped in it at least once, and – in my particular case – has had it splattered on their face

Todd:  Thanks, beautifully stated.

Me:  and then, of course, is the bird bombing … I wonder what percentage of people have been bombed by birds??
I tried googling it and when I started typing “what percentage” it auto-generated “of men are gay” which I find fascinating, since that must mean a lot of people are googling that.
And then when I added “…of people,”  it auto-generated “have herpes”… so again, I wonder if this is a hot topic around the world
Is this a concern for people at large?
Todd:  hmm, funny?
Me:  But a few people claimed they are pooped on every day
and then they clarified that they own birds
WHICH is another reason I just don’t get why anyone would want to own a bird, since they poop so indiscriminately all the time. I mean, that seems like a serious karma issue… at least for the bird… like, don’t shit on the hand that feeds you??
And don’t you dare tell me you can train a bird to poop in a specific location, like cats in a litterbox
I’m still recovering from the news that P has litter trained her dogs
That is just f-n nasty. Imagine what that must smell like.
Then again, maybe you really don’t want to.

REALLY long, would-be-awkward-if-he-weren’t-my-husband lull in the conversation.
But don’t worry honey, we can undo whatever they have done. All it takes is a little time, an eviction, a complete renovation, and some fresh Kilz.

A lot more time goes by, whereby I begin to wonder if I’ve somehow upset him by reminding him of the mess his other tenants are proliferating next door.
Me again:  Well, I’m taking a poll.
Todd:  But, disgusting as it may be, I heard it was good luck if a bird poops on your head?
It is definately not good luck if you step in poop
People who own birds could stick their head in a bird cage every morning.
Me:  Yes, bird poop is reputed to be good luck should it land on you. However, that might also imply that people who own birds are purposely manipulating their own luck. Which can’t be good. Someday that bird will die, and it will be time to cash in all the bad luck they’ve been avoiding.
Where there are birds, there will always be shit. BTW…My poll has taken off! (No pun intended).

Miscellaneous $hit:

My poll produced many victims of bird bombings.  I was impressed with the pure skill and precision with which the birds executed some of the attacks.  From military-style open sunroof bombings to nailing a moving target (a child’s arm hanging out of a moving car), to the more mundane beach bombings and even two separate unsolicited Disney attacks (and one was in a wheelchair) – which – I think – is appalling considering the supernatural power Disney commands.  Disney can do anything.  I mean, if they can make the trash cans empty from underground, surely they can eliminate the presence of birds.

17 people were hit, and 4 were hit at least twice.  5 escaped the horror, but 2 knew someone who didn’t.  1 was hit in the face (unequivocally the worst) and, actually, my daughter was also hit in the face when she was in the backyard around the age of 3.  However, the air raid award goes to Liz, who was bombed by a goose at the tender age of 7.  A goose.  If you have never seen goose shit before, you haven’t lived.  It is the biggest, nastiest, greenest pile of poo you will ever see outside of a zoo. Unless, of course, you worked at Omnicare in King of Prussia, where geese regularly used the top of our building as a rest stop.

I suffered a pigeon strike in Washington Square Park in 1990 where I was studying on an exceptionally beautiful spring day.  Which, incidentally, reminds me that someone pointed out how funny it is that everyone remembers exactly where it happened.  And when.

The face splattering I referenced in the above exchange with Todd did not, in fact, originate from a bird.  It was my then-infant son, whose diaper I was changing and absentmindedly leaned down to be eye level with the trap door that suddenly exploded in my face.  I was coated in that thick yellow breastmilk poo from forehead to chest, and could not even open my eyes. True story.  Learn from this, people!  Never.  Ever.  Get that close to your baby’s bum.  Unless it’s covered.  Or you’re wearing goggles and a raincoat.

Todd misspelled “definitely.”  He says he was tired, and ordinarily doesn’t.  I – with a BA in English – admit to having misspelled this word for over half my life… it’s like this terrible habit that took me years to break, and one I must consciously avoid every single time I use the word, like chewing nails.  Which I don’t do.  Chew nails, that is.  But I still chew my cuticles – an equally, though far more unsightly, habit from childhood.

www.freewillastrology.com, formerly Rob Brezney’s Real Astrology – which used to appear weekly in the City Paper, is still awesome and entertaining.  I am not getting paid to say this.  It’s a little unconventional forecast that is a unique departure from “you’re going to have a shitty day.”

And, coincidentally, my horoscope told me to be a bird for the following week… which is to say, not to shit on people (though I have to admit were I an actual bird, that could be fun for a day) but to be a bird, which is “more intensely alive than any other living creature,” according to Norman J. Berrill (a zoologist). “Birds have hotter blood, brighter colors, stronger emotions.  They live in a world that is always present, mostly full of joy.”  I’d say this is me, to a “t.”  (You’ll find the full horoscope under Gemini.)

My prolific thought for the day, which I hope to impart to my grandchildren someday:
No one is immune to shit.  We all do it, we all have it, we do our best not to step in it and, unfortunately, many of us have had to clean somebody else’s shit up.  Just wipe it off and keep rolling. 

(I hope Nana would sanction this.)

Changing Places – We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

We’re beginning week 3 in our new home, neighborhood, and schools.  How are we doing?

Ava couldn’t wait to go to school on the first day.  After she got over her indignation over being stared at on our visit the week before, she was anticipating all the attention the new girl gets, as she jealously witnessed firsthand in Oley this year.  I picked her up 6 and a half hours later and she was happy and chattering about new friends Emily, Emily, and Chloe (my brother Daryl and my other brother Daryl… ) and showing me her “Welcome to our school” cards from the class.

Owen, as expected, was a little more apprehensive.  The night before he was tearful and worried, and I admit that on top of the diabetes management, I didn’t sleep well.  We walked into school together and met with the guidance secretary who would give him his schedule and go over it with him, introduce him to his “buddy” for the day – a shifty-eyed kid named Brock who was new last year and has moved “lots of times.”  Then it was time to say goodbye as he was led away by the guidance counselor for a school tour before classes started.  I reminded him of the pickup procedure and where I would be parked.

Things roll a bit differently in these schools.  In the old elementary school, the teachers walked their classes out to the buses and made sure they were on the right bus – here, the students walk themselves out.  Parent pickup is a signup sheet every day where you sign your kid out and wait in the cafeteria for them to come down the hall.  There’s no “matching” student to parent.  In the old middle school, dismissal was for all students simultaneously.  Here, bus riders are dismissed first.  Then, after the buses pull away, the car riders and the walkers (because the school is actually in town) are dismissed.  Again, no matching of student to parent – and we just line up in our cars and wait for the kids to come out and find us.

Educationally, Maryland schools are reputed to have been ranked #1 for the last 5 years according to Education Weekly.  And my kids are really getting a sense of what #1 tastes like.  Owen was worried about getting into a high school math class like he had in Oley, and after a handful of discussions regarding his math level and being challenged, he was placed in the only available option here:  Advanced Math for 7th grade.  Once he started – albeit in medias res – then he became stressed over not being able to follow what was being taught.   He didn’t understand.  Every day was stressful – he says because of math.  You gotta understand something about my kid – he wants to be successful.  I mean, all kids do, but my kid doesn’t want to do something unless he’s sure he can be successful.  I can pinpoint the exact time of his life, to the day, when this became reality – but, I won’t call out ancient parenting mistakes. 

Anyway, he has found his way – without my intervention… and is doing well.  Yesterday I received an email from his math teacher welcoming us to the district and offering any help he can in regards to Owen’s education and success.  It brought a great big smile to my face in the middle of the Comcast office where I waited 30 minutes to return equipment.  He still insists he’d rather stay home than go to school, but he’s learning and realizing that other schools teach material differently – and sometimes better.

He is loving gym class – a place that was once the bane of my adolescent existence – he entered just as they were playing parts of football and he came happily home the first day to tell me he’d been tackled.  And I got right back up!! This is so not what I ever thought I’d hear him say.  Today they played a game called Capture the Frisbee, the same game they played in Oley but there was called Capture the Cow.  This made me laugh so hard I almost peed myself.  (Oley is a traditionally large farming community.)

Meanwhile, back in grade school – my daughter failed a basic geography test.  I mean, so basic that she couldn’t properly distinguish continent from country, and she couldn’t place herself on two of the four maps.  She did correctly place herself on a map of Maryland.  WTF???  I was appalled.  And frustrated to the point of tears –which my dear husband had the pleasure of walking into after a long day of work – because how could my daughter not know these things?  I’d have understood her confusion over Maryland, IF she’d had any.  But it was the only one she got completely correct.  And then I began to wonder what the H she was learning in her old school.

All frustration aside, it’s been tough navigating the waters of a new “home.”  While we have moved in, we are still cleaning up the former tenant’s path of destruction – the rec room downstairs is musty and dirty beyond words, and everything we moved from the former house that didn’t have an immediate place in this one went down there for some later “redistribution.”  The dishwasher’s control panel is malfunctioning and so I have been hand-washing dishes.  The internet is pretending to be possessed and refuses to remain seamlesslyconnected, so that I am forever restarting the modem.  And when I do, I hear, “Mom – the internet’s not working!” in a voice that was made for loudspeaker announcements.

Stink bugs.  We have stink bugs.  There were thousands of them hovering at every doorway and window on the house, suddenly appearing on curtains and climbing walls, chewed up and spit out by the cat, slipping silently into cars and making little girls scream like murder in the backseat and, until recently, making me feel like I’d accidentally fallen into a starring role in some old Hitchcock film.  And suddenly, they are … gone.  (cue the creepy music)

The dogs moved back with us the day after our big move, which we were thoroughly not ready for… and Sabra the crazy brown poodle cried for hours after the love of her life, Moses, left for the home they once shared.  Both dogs are in dire need of grooming and smell like a wrestler’s ass crack, and every time they go outside they come in covered in burrs.  The first night they were up and down, pacing and licking (a sound that to me rivals nails on a chalkboard) and finally… Pi vomited on our brand new area rug at about 4 a.m.  

Todd got up early one weekend morning to whack the source down.  BUT – I am so not thrilled with the amount of dirt that accompanies two dogs with free run in the backyard.  I haven’t vacuumed this much since the two long-haired, couch loving cat days.  I thought my upchuck days were over.  Think two proper poodles don’t eat grass like cows and regurgitate just minutes after reentering the house??  You are wrong.  Dead wrong.

Oliver has made a full recovery from his harrowing journey here and, as I expected, is enjoying his newfound land of the lost.  He disappears for hours and I have no idea where he is.  I have searched the house over for him and turned up nary a whisker.  However, he is still wearing his bell-carrying collar… so we always know when he’s around.  His first late night investigation elicited a thunderous clap that rang through the house, and my follow up investigation revealed a large piece of crown molding he had knocked down from the top of the kitchen cabinets onto the ceramic tile floor.   And in true form, he sat there gazing at me and nonchalantly licking his paw like he’d done nothing to awaken the entire house at 3:30 a.m.  He has, like the girls, tested out his boundaries with what he can get away with:  there will be no lounging on the dining room or kitchen tables, and the girls have learned  are learning that their stinky selves will not be permeating furniture and beds here.

The neighborhood is a wonderfully quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac where the fastest car whizzes by at a whopping 20 mph, and there is apparently no shortage of intrigue and fodder for a writer’s mill.  We have a crazy cat lady with a married booty caller who drops in from time to time, and a police officer who planted traps around the neighborhood to catch the stray cats who dared to shit on his driveway where his little girls play.  There’s a house that was foreclosed some 3 years ago with its front screen door slightly askew on its hinges and gaping open, the backyard like a jungle but the front mysteriously upkept.  And the unmistakable animosity between the two neighbors to its right, as evidenced by the 12-foot wall erected between them.  There’s more.  There’s got to be more.  And I can’t wait.

Changing Places – Moving Day

I have a confession to make.  I hate moving.  Hate.  It.  Okay – that’s out of the way.

When I moved to Oley 11 years ago, I announced to everyone present on moving day that this was the last time I was moving.  Well, obviously I was wrong.  Last time I moved was to my dad’s – without most of my belongings which remained in the house until I found my rental – and 3 months later I had a lot of helpers to help me move those belongings off my lawn (yes, on my lawn) and into our little rental house up the road.  At the time I was just so glad to have that little house – and embroiled  in a hot mess of custody – that I hardly noticed the hardship of moving.

This time was going to be different.  A lot of packing and moving began in the week or two before, but the furniture and everyday stuff was going to have to wait until the day before.  I swore I would NOT stay up til 4 in the morning like I’d done 11 years ago, palsied like a heroin addict in withdrawal and breaking out in hives.  So, with a silent dread in my heart and prayer to above, I was in bed by 11:30.  And up again around 5:30, packing and awaiting the arrival of our skeleton crew to load up the truck.  We ran out of boxes.

We rented a 20-foot truck – because it said  “3-Bedroom house.”  Well, maybe 3 bedrooms, but certainly not the living room, dining room, and kitchen.  We had the moving truck, a pickup truck, my Escape, and the restaurant’s catering van.  All the above were filled to capacity, and I was still running around collecting odds and ends and trying to stuff them into the nooks and crannies of my vehicle.  Almost forgot to load up the groceries – since they had to be the last to leave the house.  And the cat – who was not happy to be held captive in the bathroom for nearly 5 hours, with the barebones conditions of a prison (albeit with pretty curtains and a window on the outdoor action).

It took us about 5 hours to load everything we could, knowing full well that we would have to come back at some point later, and our small caravan began its slow journey south.  The house must’ve looked like a tornado blew through it… I haven’t seen it yet but will be back tomorrow to finish up the odds and ends (and all our curtains!) and clean up.  Ava and I were the last to leave – because only I can go in and out of my house a hundred times before I’m satisfied I have everything I need.  Did I leave a light on?  Is the heat running?  What important thing did I leave behind?  Where’s my cell phone?

So, with Ava wedged in the backseat between laundry baskets and American Girl dolls, and Oliver riding shotgun, we hit the long road home.  Ava was excited.  I was already ready to cry and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet.  Oliver, thoroughly NOT a good passenger, began his long solemn howl just 3 minutes from the house…which finally abated some 40 minutes later and just minutes before he started gagging and vomiting inside his carrier.  A very excellent way to build an appetite right before picking up lunch at Wawa.

The drive was otherwise painless, but a little longer than expected since every community on the Route 10 corridor was having a yard sale and apparently the Amish are avid yard-salers too.  We arrived at the new house a short time later to the equivalent of ants in an anthill… our next door neighbors had come over to help unload and everyone was hauling ass to carry the furniture and boxes in.  My neighbor unpacked all the groceries and dishes and put everything away in the kitchen.  I am still amazed at how fast the work got done here, as compared to the snail’s pace of the old house.

Todd was running around hooking up this, moving that, unpacking this, hanging that.  Yes.  He was actually hanging paintings.  14 hours later and nearing bedtime for the kids, I realized I hadn’t even looked at my husband, let alone exchanged more than a handful of words, all day. 

And between all the unpacking and making beds and ordering showers and washing up floors, I was checking blood sugars and treating lows, fielding questions from the son about internet connections and the computer, and making sure the windows and doors were shut so the cat couldn’t decide to walk home.  (Cats have been known to do that – return to their old home – I had a cat once that disappeared for 3 weeks after we moved into the house where I grew up.) 

I don’t know what else happened.  It’s all a blur – kind of like being in a car accident where all you can see is what you were doing right before, and what happened after you were snapped back to the present.  I couldn’t wait to go to bed, because I knew I’d finally get a chance to be alone with Todd after feeling like two ships passing in the night, but by the time I arrived he was out cold. 

The next morning Owen was up at 6:40 and I secretly wanted to club him over the head so he’d stay in bed a few more hours, but then Todd was up right behind him muttering something about coffee and whatever project was first up on his list for the day.  Ava was the only one who slept in.

We have so muchstuff.  Everybody who helped, or even heard about it, was perplexed by the sheer volume of things we were able to apparently hide in a 1200 square foot twin that filled our 2500 square foot home and the entire space of the rec room downstairs.  And that rec room – is currently an area labeled disaster zone, complete with yellow tape.  Well, not really yellow tape – but only because we don’t have any, not because I don’t have a sense of humor.  I do have some chalk though – once I find it – and I may just draw an outline of my body on the rec room floor.
The tally:
Items broken:  0… (a miracle, if you ask me).

Items lost:  1… (only because not being able to find anything for the first 3 days does not count as lost).  I lost my driver’s license.  And I mean, it’s lost.

Casualties:  1… the cat.  Well, he’s alive, but he was definitely the greenest-looking orange cat I’ve ever seen.

Blood sugars out of range:  3…two lows, 1 high.

Hours spent on my feet:  16… (and another 11 on Sunday.)

Malfunctioning items in house:  4… (internet, dishwasher, and 2 toilets).

Cell phone calls received:  14.

Dollars in gas: $ 160.00 (on the first day.  The next day, another $80.00 for round two.)  Because we had to fuel up 2 cars, the catering van, a friend’s pickup truck, and the U Haul.

It’s easier to die than to move… at least for the Other Side you don’t need trunks.  ~ Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose