Moving and Grooving … Not So Much

When I heard that moving and changing jobs were two of the items in the Most Stressful Life Events, I decided hey…I’ll do both at once.

To those of you who pull up roots and move across the country, kudos to you.  That seems like a lot of fun (said no one, ever).  Your accomplishment almost makes me feel badly for complaining about my semi-local move.

Almost.

Now, I decided in all of my wisdom to take the new job first, and commute back and forth while arranging my physical move.  Why not?  How can it possibly be bad to slide into my new position, over an hour away, while trying to arrange moving companies, downsize my belongings, and pack for the move?

First, let me say that I am moving from an area with high tourism this time of year.  Second, let me say, I hate tourists.  Thank you, young family in the mini-van, for playing something on your car DVD player that I could watch while stuck in the bumper to bumper traffic during my commute.  Thank you, as well, Mr.  Older Gentleman in the baseball cap for keeping me safe by refusing to drive at the speed limit.  And a special thanks to all those who somehow manage to crash their cars so perfectly that all travel lanes are blocked in all directions, at rush hour.

And did I mention that I live over a bridge? Not in the troll variety, but definitely in a pain-in-the-ass variety. As in a bridge that is the only way in and the only way out of my little piece of hell. Picture this, if you will, 10 to 12 toll lanes spread across an expansive highway, chock-full of vehicles as far as the eye can see, who, once through the toll lanes, ALL must merge down into two – count them, people, two! — tiny bridge lanes. It goes about as well as you would think. Fun and games, people, fun and games.

And let’s not forget the truckers … all of whom seem to travel at the same time (I mean, really!?) and all of whom, instead of coordinating their driving so that they all make their way through one end of the toll entrance or the other (I don’t care which, just pick one!) would rather spread out into numerous lanes across the vast sea of traffic and then, using their sheer size and apparent disregard for simple etiquette, squish whole lanes of vehicles into an untraversable funnel that keeps everyone involved from moving forward.  What did I say above? Fun and games. I honestly think that if people truly knew how to take turns AND if trucks could please, for the love of God, just follow each other through the toll lanes, that traffic could be eradicated on the Bridge I hate so much. As it is, it’s like trying to pour mud through a pinhole.

When I finally complete my hour long, now turned three hours long, trip to the House of Forgotten Boxes, I need to organize, scrutinize and itemize my belongings before stuffing them all in bags with sticky notes that say, “Dining room,” “Bedroom,” and “Who cares?  I should have tossed this out years ago.”  I believe my belongings multiply in direct proportion to how many hours I have spent driving. Seriously, it’s true.

It’s amazing the things you convince yourself to keep when you are moving. What should be a purge instead becomes a stroll down memory lane.  “Awww, the receipt from that one store I went to that one time somewhere I don’t quite remember, three years ago.  Better keep that, I may need to return whatever the hell this was.” “Look, it’s my Halloween costume from sixteen years ago.  I can use this again someday.”  “It’s my favorite Crocs!  Ummm…okay, never mind, I can throw these away.”

My new job is great, and the people are fantastic.  I feel a little lost when they discuss local adventures; I feel that I almost understand, but then they throw some twist in there that makes me do a Google Search later.   “Let’s get crabs at Dave’s after work, his lawn mower opened that chicken egg last Christmas.”  I nod and smile.  I may even try to act like I know.  “Ah, yes, Dave certainly did pick that oyster out of the chimney.” Blank stares follow, and they all talk about me over the water cooler at lunch.

I haven’t learned the shortcuts of my commute yet, either, and when people ask how I get to work they offer all sorts of useless advice.  “Oh, you should have turned at that snowball stand on the west corner of the dirt road.”  One day I’ll get it, but for now, I am lost in every way.  And that’s just the commute.

At work, in my new building, I am convinced that people randomly switch floor stickers in the elevator.  I find myself wandering around the rooftop looking for the printer, or down in the basement with the janitor, who, as it turns out, is a lovely person despite his overall serial killer-like vibe. He gave me a wonderful recipe for salmon fritters.

At home, I am surrounded by boxes that clog once familiar doorways, causing me to get lost in my own house, which is saying something considering the size of this house (have you seen my house? It’s small … as in tiny, like Jerry’s mouse-hole tiny).  I haven’t seen the kitchen in a week, but my daughter tells me it is still there.

Image result for jerry's mouse hole house

I have been on the phone for about three weeks trying to schedule my new cable in my new house, and I have been assured a cable worker will be at my new home sometime between now and December 23, 2022.  Somehow, my mail has been getting lost.  At least, that’s what I’ve been telling the bill collectors, but I’m not sure how much longer they will keep buying it.

As stressful as all this is, I know it will be worth it in the end to be settled in my new home and job.  But for now, I believe I may have crossed through the third gate of Hell.

And obviously, I can’t find my way back.

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 54801

Stardate 20180302 – Time: Past the Point of No Return

Day started entirely too early thanks to the asshats next door neighbors.

Subsequent thoughts in shower: wouldn’t it be nice if some people wore shock collars activated by universal remotes?

Found a random screw on my living room floor. It’s official. My life is falling apart.

Started to go to the new gym one town over. It’s all the rage apparently.

A membership cost $30 a month. Not including yoga or the pool.

Donuts and coffee at the Dunkin Donuts up the street cost $4.50.

Guess who saved $25.50? And that’s only for February. I’m on track to save $255 for the rest of 2018. Go me!

Low rations and procrastination in completing weekly errands collide, resulting in a headache inducing lovely jaunt throughout town.

Had an epiphany halfway to the library right in the middle of Walking on Sunshine.

Marvin the Martian was chosen as the referee in Space Jam because he was both an alien AND a Looney Toon.  It all makes sense now.

Left library with spiffy new copy of Space Jam.

Frustrating that I have to put gas in my car considering how damn small this town is. Where the hell have I been that I need gas again?

Wish the Dollar Store sold gas.

At the grocery store, I ran into a guy wearing camo as I was walking down Aisle 5 looking for Oreos. To be fair, this one wasn’t my fault. I didn’t see him.

Survived small talk at the register. Hope to God I never have to do that again.

Made it home in one piece with most of the items I went out for and a great many I did not.

Asshat’s neighbor’s dog was out, running loose, so I had to sit in the car for 10 minutes waiting for it to decide whether it wanted the lame treats its owner was proffering from her front door or Wendy à la king.

Still wishing that shock collar was a thing…and not for the dog.

Bright spot: Space Jam!

Would You Like a Mug With Your Coffee?

I love coffee…I guess it just goes without saying that I love mugs for my coffee. So much so that my cabinets are overflowing with the bounty that is my mug collection. They’ve infiltrated my plate shelf and are stuffed into the spaces between the salad bowls. You’ll also find mugs sitting precariously between the serving platter I never use and the fancy teapot I only bring out for company.

There’s a Doctor Who Tardis mug, a Scottish plaid mug, a mug from the National Gallery of Art, two from Luray Caverns (or maybe three?), a bright red Starbucks mug (extra big for lots more coffee!), a lovely cream-colored mug adorned with Scottish castles and landmarks – and no, I’ve never been to Scotland, but I did find a store that sells stuff from Scotland! Fancy mugs, dollar store mugs, souvenir mugs, mugs that I just thought – and still think – are eye-catching…I have no shortage of mugs. If you come to my house, you’re ensured of two things…a baked good and coffee served in an interesting mug.

Suffice it to say, I need another mug like I need a hole in the head (as my mother used to say).

As you may remember, there is a new Starbucks, relatively new at this point anyway, in my local grocery store. Yes, Starbucks has graced our fine little town. Unfortunately, not happy with simply promoting a die-hard coffee addiction amongst the general public, Starbucks also pushes a variety of coffee related accouterments…like…you guessed it, MUGS. The powers that be at Starbucks headquarters are smart too, wicked smart, because come Fall and then the holidays, the choices they offer expand.

Our new-ish store is no different and let me tell you, the stuff they have there?? It’s a mug hoarders dream, trust me. I suppose it’s a good thing my bank account keeps me in check because otherwise, I’d need to expand my collection into the bookshelf. Oh wait. No. Not there. No room. Okay, well, I’d have to expand somewhere at any rate. Hey, don’t roll your eyes at me…I know I have issues.

In the meantime, if you’re listening Starbucks, you’re killing me. I just want you to know that. I hope you’re happy. You’re. Killing. Me.

too cute for words, and kind of reminds me of NYC for some reason

 

who doesn’t love Fall leaves??

 

isn’t it just too adorable? gets you right into the “here comes the snow” spirit!

 

love this…simple yet elegant

 

this…this one is my favorite by far. it was all I could do to leave it sitting there on the shelf.

My Introvert Life – Log Entry 54732

Stardate 20172110 – Time: Another Saturday Night (hmmm…that sounds like a song)

The kids are gone, the critters are fed. I have the night to myself. I can do anything, go anywhere. The world is my oyster.

*fast forward one hour*

Ah, bed feels so nice right now. *sipping on a freshly poured glass of Chocolate Zin*

Now, where’s that remote??  There’s a classic horror movie marathon on!

 

Humble Pie — It’s What’s for Dinner

I think…I just think perhaps…someone is hungry.  And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the troublemaker in the door was the one who put her up to it. Does that make Shaylee the feline mafia boss and the ne’er-do-well on the bed (aka Holly) the minion? These two often have a simple yet civil tolerance for each other — when they work together, it’s time to worry. BUT I’m the boss in this house and I’ll feed the critters when I’m dang good and ready. So there.

Okay…so if you’ll excuse me, I have to go now and feed the critters.

 

 

What’s for Dinner?

I came across a parenting article recently and even though my kids are older, with diapers and daily tantrums over “tie” vs “velcro” shoes a thing of the past, I was curious, so I took the time to check it out.  Actually, I found this particular piece of child-rearing commentary on the same mom advice blog that I’ve brought up before, the one that decries “mommy shaming” yet mom-shames religiously.

This new wave of helpful hints was about dealing with “picky eaters.” The writer’s solution? Let the kids choose. Sounds simple, right? Turns out it is simple. Basically, as the mother (or I guess, father…this article happened to be directed at moms), you fix whatever dinner you want and if the kids don’t want to eat it, fine. In fact, you start out the meal with the announcement that “eat or it not, it’s up to you.” Having no punishment for abstaining from any of the foods presented is the key here. Further, rejecting the main meal does not preclude being given dessert. Dessert is a given.

Now, this is all fine and good for kids who might eat “something.” But what about kids who won’t eat anything? My daughter is just that kind of kid. Not so much now that she’s older, but when she was little? Oh boy.  She took picky eating to a whole new level. There could have been a buffet in front of her – a veritable feast – and she would decide for whatever reason that she liked none of it and simply would not eat. No, that tastes funny. That’s brown or green or yellow. That’s slimy. It’s got onions in it. I don’t like gravy. Or my all-time favorite, a simplistic “Ewww.”

Or what about the kid who will eat dessert (since that can’t be withheld) and nothing else?  I can easily envision my kids, when they were young, having dessert every night for dinner – if it were available.  Hell, I would too if I had those rules. Come on! Who wouldn’t?

Force feeding kids by making them sit at the table until they eat something doesn’t work either. Been there, done that. On both sides of the table. I remember sitting at the table in an ever-escalating series of “battles of wills” with my mother over some vegetable or another. I recall a particularly long evening spent at the table brought about by Brussels sprouts. It wasn’t fun for me and I can’t imagine that it was a great time for my mother either. I’m sure she had better things to do than deal with my mulish dinner habits. Sorry, Mom. My kids inherited that same stubborn behavior willpower.

My son took it even further. I mean, of course he did. Why wouldn’t he? The curse my mother flung at me all those years ago worked. Like gangbusters it worked. I now have kids who act just like I acted. In case I haven’t said it lately, thanks for that, Mom. When my handsome, intelligent, ever-so-charming son was about five or so, he threatened that if I insisted he “eat those stupid peas already,” he would throw them back up. And. He. Did. Ahhh…memories. Hey, he gave fair warning. He still won’t eat peas and the boy is 24 years old.

I suppose we could just live by the old adage “oh, they’ll eat when they’re hungry” as they forego their mid-day and evening meals night after night. Indeed, that’s what this suggested routine seems to be, just done in a nicer way. I imagine the success of such a campaign all depends on the temperament of the child and just how hungry they’re willing to be to prove a point.

The thing is, you can’t force kids to eat. You can’t force them to sleep. It’s the two things really, besides bathroom habits, that they ultimately do have control over. Unless you’re a monster who literally force feeds your kids as they’re tied to a chair. But if you’re a normal human being, you can lead them to the table, but you can’t make them eat.  Threaten, cajole, humor, and beg…but you can’t really MAKE them. They choose to give in, or not. Same with sleep – you can put them to bed and order them to sleep, but only they can really make that happen.

I guess I was never overly finicky about what we had for dinner…I didn’t care if my kids ate hotdogs with mac and cheese while I ate the eggplant parm that I liked. I didn’t mind if we had home-made chicken nuggets (à la Chick-Fi-La, but my own recipe, which is healthier) three times a week. That tuna casserole they both love? Sure! Why not?

It’s different now that I’ve cut out the majority of meat for myself, but hey, the kids are old enough to feed themselves now, so I don’t really care…they’re on their own. But when they were little, I decided after a while that dinner time was simply not a battle I particularly felt like fighting. Of course, this decision might’ve taken place right after the “peas fiasco of 1997,” but it’s a solid decision nonetheless.

I also knew my kids were stubborn assholes strong-willed individuals who would go without food long enough that eventually social services would be called. So, dinner often had a kid-friendly menu in our house. Why deliberately put food on the table that you know someone won’t eat while hoping for the best? I didn’t really see this as catering to them – and still don’t – I view it as a way of enjoying the time we had together at the table. Instead of arguing or long, sullen silences, we had rousing talks about everything under the sun, jokes, and laughter, and joy. And everyone ate. I still make their favorites when we’re all together for a visit. But then, food has always been a big deal in our house, a way of bringing the family together. Meals are meant to be enjoyed, not fought over.

I figured – and rightly so – that they would branch out from hot dogs, mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and French fries prior to getting to college. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened. With the exception of very specific things like peas (go figure), mushrooms, onions, and sushi (can’t blame them there), they eat quite a variety of foodstuffs these days. Truth be told, they’re a lot more adventurous in trying new foods than me, I must say.

I suppose the idea presented in the article would work for some families…I mean hey, it worked for the writer, right? But if it were MY house? I would have had two children with amazingly high blood sugar from all the dessert they were stuffing themselves with and tons of uneaten leftovers cluttering up the fridge.