Hot water is overrated

Hot water is overrated

Moving is a funny thing, and I just have to learn to go with it sometimes.

The water heater broke about 2 days into our home ownership. The warranty has been called upon, the plumbers will come. But not until next week. Meanwhile, I’m heating water on the stove and washing my hair in the sink. And that water? We can’t drink it. Or wash dishes with it. Because we haven’t been nearby during office hours to pick up a test kit from the water treatment plant to find out if it’s even safe. Ah, well. Next week. Meanwhile, the dishes can just pile up in the sink (it’s not like we’re really doing any cooking anyway).

The toilets are another matter…they both run, and leak. The master one is off because it’s the worst. The other we can use intermittently if we turn on the water source each time. No biggie.

The overhead light/fan in the master appears to require some sort of remote to work. We don’t have the remote. So either we have light, and a full blast fan, or nothing at all. We choose nothing.

We’re still working out what all the light switches are for. And a bunch of the lights need bulbs. We have some. Packed. Somewhere. Maybe next week I’ll find them. Or the week after.

My lunches this week have consisted of an entire jar of queso and a big bag of chips. Dinners have mostly been chicken strips from Hardee’s. Yeah. That’s what happens when you don’t have a kitchen. Or working oven. Or water for that matter.

It’s all relative though. I’m ecstatic to have a home. A real home. A forever home. And we had the chimney cleaned and checked out. Really, what more does a girl need than a fireplace? Hot water is overrated.

Deep breaths

Deep breaths

It’s time for deep breaths. Christmas is only eight days away. Moving day is 11 days away.

We signed the lease last night. We got the keys. We’re going to start moving things tomorrow. (A HUGE thank you to our landlord for letting us begin the process before the holidays!)

I keep telling myself to just be patient. Come January I’ll have time to read, and knit, and do all the wintry things I love to do. And sewing? I long to do a little sewing…

But I’m not sure it will happen. There will be the unpacking/settling period (although shorter, since most of our things will be in storage). And then there will be all the things that didn’t get done at the start of winter, like tax stuff, business stuff, etc. And then there are the time sensitive things like finishing Husband’s anniversary gift (I’m only three months late…), sorting and backing up all our photos before my computer crashes for good, etc.

So many things take precedence over enjoying a cup of tea and good book. It leaves me wondering why life has to be that way.

Christmas itself is often that way, isn’t it? Busy. So much to do. Shopping and wrapping and decorating and baking and parties to attend and on and on it goes.

I was recently bemoaning (again) our lack of Christmas this year. No tree. No lights. No real decorations to speak of. It’s all packed away. Along with most of our clothes, dishes, etc.

But someone at church gave me a big hug and said, “You know what? It makes for a simpler Christmas. One year, all I did was put up a tiny little tree and my family thought I was crazy, but it was so much less stressful than trying to do it all.”

It’s true.

Stress is pretty high right now, but it’s not Christmas stress. The few gifts we’re giving are already wrapped and ready to go. Even stocking stuffers, hidden away in closets, are prepared. Just a few cookies are baked (and already mostly eaten). The only decorations are a small train set, two stockings, and a nativity.

nativity

stockings

But even if we didn’t have those things, even if all we had was a Bible. Or even just Luke 2 (which I have mostly memorized, so maybe the Bible isn’t really necessary). It would still be a wonderful Christmas.

Just like Whos in Whoville showed, it isn’t the trappings that make Christmas special. In fact, they really aren’t necessary at all.

Christ is Christmas, and He is with us whether we have a tree or not.

Ginger helping wrap gifts

Ginger likes to “help” with the gift wrapping.

This year

This year

Last year, the holidays didn’t feel very holidayish. This year is turning out somewhat the same.

Partly because any holiday without one so loved as Michael is hard, and partly because we are so much in transition. We’ll be moving the week after Christmas, which means instead of decking the halls this December, we will be packing them. I struggle with that. My most favorite time of the year will pass with hardly an acknowledgement from us. That’s tough.

And more than anything, I will miss our tradition of driving all the way to the mountains to find and cut the perfect tree and bring it home. But all that time, effort and money just to have to tear it down in a frenzy of moving? The sparkly lights are beautiful, but not so much when surrounded by mountains of boxes and rolls of packing tape.

Alas, I am coming to the realization that this year just isn’t our year. Oh, I had grand plans for Christmas — for the decor, the colors, the lights, the wrapping. It was going to be perfect.

Then we moved. And now we’re moving again.

So I’ll save it. All the plans and dreams and beauty. I’ll save it for next year.

And I hope — I pray — that next year we will be in a house of our very own, decorated to the nines with lovely cheer.

Until then, Holidays, you will be missed.

Christmas lights

Today

Today

I don’t have my usual Wednesday post…there has been no knitting and little reading going on in the past week. Unfortunately, after moving just two months ago, it now appears we’ll have to move again. Before the end of the year.

I’m no stranger to moving, but this one sort of took us by surprise. The house that we are living in has been for sale for nearly 2 years. When we moved in, we knew that it was for sale (which is how we managed to get a month-to-month lease). And, lo and behold, it sold. The buyers really liked our “presentation,” or so they said. Does that mean we should get a commission for this?

Now we are not only looking for a place to buy, but we’re also back to looking for a place to rent in the meantime (monthly, of course). It’s a frustrating turn of events.

So today, as I’m working on some Christmas related communications for work, I’m cranking up the Christmas music and sipping hot chocolate flavored with Girl Scout Thin Mint creamer, determined not to think about how this move will affect our holiday celebrations.

After all, God is in control. Always.

hot chocolate

Sand and a puppy nose

Sand and a puppy nose

Ginger at the beachA friend recently asked me to pick her up from an appointment while her car was being serviced. I was more than happy to oblige, but the night before I realized just how crazy my truck had gotten with the move–it was kind of embarrassing. Boxes of tissues, mail, random pieces of hardware, a modem that needs to be returned to Verizon (ehem), trash, a zillion water bottles, a misplaced sweatshirt, a pair of dirty socks (yeah, dirty). And with my (Craigslist) tonneau covering the bed, I’m afraid to even look in there (last I saw, I know there were bags of potting soil, the dog’s back seat cover and some other miscellaneous items).

I cleared out the trash and recycling, and a few of the random items (although I think those dirty socks just got shoved under the driver’s seat). But when it came down to it, there just wasn’t time to work on the dog hair, Ginger’s nose smudges on the windows, or the sand that seems to permeate everything.

When I picked up my friend, my first urge was to apologize for the mess. But I didn’t.

Because that mess? It’s the evidence of my life.

Sure, the dirty socks should probably go in the laundry, but the sand? It means we went to the beach. Which is great, because although it’s only a few miles away, we so rarely get to enjoy it. And the dog hair? The nose smudges? It means that we have a wonderful dog who loves to accompany us on our adventures. Those are things I never want to apologize for. And instead of being embarrassed, I’m choosing to be proud of my disheveled truck.

The thing about moving…

The thing about moving…

Sad faces
Leaving our home made us sad.
We had somewhere around 20 different people help us pack, move, and unpack recently. Family members came into town just to help unpack. It’s a blessing from God to have that kind of support.

Some days though, some days it just all seems like too much.

Like when the rain starts just as you pull into the driveway with the rented U-Haul truck. Or when you just want to take a hot shower after a long day of moving, but there isn’t any running water, so you’re just plain out of luck. A jug of tap water and a little hand soap will have to do.

Our new backyard, a wonderful place for the pup, is apparently infested with mosquitoes. Only 10 minutes in the backyard (to “supervise” the unloading of the new-to-us Craigslist fridge) and I ended up with a half dozen bites on my ankles, to be added to the other dozen bites I had received while loading the moving truck in the dark, in the rain.

Now, I know mosquito bites are usually just a nuisance. But I’m allergic to those pesky little insects, and I end up with giant red welts that last for days if not weeks. Not pretty. Add to that the various bruises in colors of red, purple and sickly greenish-yellow covering my legs at this point and it’s quite a sight.

The new house is working out for us, although we haven’t had much time to settle in. I love the ceiling fans in every room and the spacious size of the living room. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the light in the new bathroom is on a motion sensor. (I thought this was great as someone in our house has a hard time remembering to turn off the bathroom light…)

I’m not very familiar with this new area though, and more than once I have headed to my computer to look up directions only to realize that we don’t yet have internet access. Oops. I’m learning to just wing it.

Eventually, our water was turned back on and we were returned to the 21st century (you never realize how dependent you are on something until you have to do without). It was high time to take a shower, but I forgot about that light. In the middle of washing my hair the whole room went dark and I just about panicked thinking we’d lost power and didn’t even know where the electrical box was yet. I flung open the shower curtain and voila, the light turned back on. Motion sensor. Oh.

By my second shower in the new place you’d think I would know better, but no. Again, the light kept turning off mid-shower. Eventually, I gave up and showered in the dark. And, of course, shaving with all those giant welts of mosquito bites? Not fun. At all. Especially in the dark.

By now, we also have internet. I can go weeks without cracking open my laptop, but somehow, when I don’t have access to the World Wide Web for just one week I can’t seem to get by without it. Figures.

One of these days maybe the new place will feel a little more like home. At least a place to land while we continue to search for our real home. And really, a place to land is a blessing from above.

The moving truck
Packing the truck in the rain…

**Photos of the new place to come soon, I hope!**

Leaving home

Leaving home

Flowers

In some ways it seems I’ve been leaving home for most of my life.

My first experience was just after my 10th birthday. I distinctly remember looking around my emptied bedroom, gazing out the window, and uncontrollable tears started to flow. I was about to leave behind everything I had ever known. My home, my school, my friends. I was devastated.

But children are resilient and I bounced back pretty well, making a new life for myself as I attended public school for the first time and made new friends.

I left home again at 17, this time with less trepidation and a lot more excitement. I spent the summer before college living with my brother in Santa Barbara, Calif., and working as a nanny for my newborn niece.

Soon, it was on to college and the fulfillment of a long-held dream–to live in Montana. It wasn’t long until I knew that Billings was now my home, and the friends I made there were added to my family.

Each summer of my college years was spent in a different location–New York, Ohio, and Illinois. And upon graduating, I took up residence for a short while in Indiana before heading to Ohio where I started my very first full-time, career-oriented job.

Just over a year later, I left the home I had created and the friends I had made there to start a new life in Virginia.

Since moving here, I have lived in three different zip codes, soon to be four.

You’d think by this time I’d be used to leaving home.

But this house? I’ve lived here for 28 months. The longest I’ve lived anywhere since I was 17. It has become home unlike any of the others. And leaving? It’s hard.

I know a new chapter awaits us. And I am excited to explore and discover all that it holds. But this leaving isn’t an easy one.

Flying south

Flying south

Geese flying south
The geese are flying south already. The days are still long, but a little cooler. The garden is winding down–fewer tomatoes to pick, fewer plants producing. It’s time to till in. Time to can what’s left. Time to begin the process of hunkering down.

Except not really. This move has us completely off kilter. We still aren’t sure where we’re moving to, and only a few short weeks left to finalize that. The house is mostly packed. But mostly isn’t good enough and right now it looks like a twister went through.

Meanwhile we’re living among boxes and too much dog hair on the floor because vacuuming just isn’t a priority right now. (My apologies to anyone who steps foot in our house right now.) Ginger is on the brink of another anxiety episode. We’re trying to pretend like it’s totally normal to be packing up the whole house so she doesn’t have anything to worry about. Moving day is going to be a hard one for her.

I’m beginning to really yearn for fall–my favorite time of year. More so this year than most, I think, because with September will also come relief from this stress, a settled-ness, another opportunity to nest. As the air becomes crisper and the leaves begin to change, life will also change and evolve. We will be flying south in our own way.

This move may not be what we wanted, but we will embrace it for all it is worth and boldly move forward in our lives toward the next thing. Whatever that next thing is.

Everything in it

Everything in it

We found out last night that we will have to vacate our home in six weeks.

Six weeks to find a new place to live, pack everything up, and–hardest of all–say goodbye to our life here.

I know it’s only a home, and a rental at that, but it’s our home. The beach house, while loved, was never really ours. It never held our furniture or dishes or pictures on the walls. This house…this house has been a real home for 27 months.

Country House

Our house, the day we moved in…

I won’t lie, there were a lot of mixed emotions that came with the news, and a few tears. We’ve had a lot of good times here, and some not-so-good ones. But the memories we will take with us, those cannot be left behind.

The question then becomes, where will we move to? Where will we live? Where can we take our little family of people and pets and provide for each need?

As Husband and I tried to settle our hearts and get some sleep, we read Psalm 24:

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?

The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.[a]

They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.

Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c]

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

We serve a great and awesome Lord–one who holds the whole earth in His hands. Did you see that very first verse? The part about the earth being the Lord’s, AND everything in it? Every person, every house.

He will provide.

“Best” Friends

“Best” Friends

Best Friends

I am forever and always one of those people who have only a few good friends. I prefer it that way. Although I have a many, many acquaintances, there are only a handful of what I would call real friends and even fewer would make the category of “best”.

You see, for a person who has only a few friends of any kind, describing one or two as “best” is serious business. I’m simply not like my wonderful sister-in-law, who has often had 15 or 20 “best” friends.

Over the course of my entire life there have been only 8 people that I have ever called “best” friends, and one of them was my brother, two more were college roommates…But these friends are the ones that I “do life” with. They’re the ones in the trenches with me, the ones who hold me up and who I can in turn support when they are in need. These are the friends that make life beautiful in spite of the messiness.

With my best friend AmberAt the moment I would include two lovely young women in this category. One of these women lived in Ohio, several states away, and recently moved to Florida. Amber and I met under somewhat different circumstances–we quickly became very good friends in spite of our vast differences because we consciously chose to be genuine and transparent with one another, even when we were basically strangers.

I am so excited about her recent move to Florida, I can say that honestly because it doesn’t mean that I will see her any less and she and her husband will have the adventure of a lifetime creating a new life for themselves in Florida, and of course, I want to visit their warm state =).

But my other best friend is different. She lives less than 10 minutes from me, for which I have been very grateful. We are new friends, meeting about two years ago and becoming close in very little time. We have so much in common it is easy to be friends–bosom friends, as Anne might say. Alas, now she is also moving, to South Carolina.

I support her decision and I know it is for the best, but in spite of that consolation, it’s sad to see such a close friend move. So this weekend we are planning a quintessential “Holly and Abbi” evening–good conversation and a good Jane Austen film. It will be a farewell reminiscent of all our lovely time spent together.

And in another week, when she moves, I will be once more on the hunt for the right person to call best friend. And somewhere along the way, probably when I least expect it, one will appear in my life.