Monday, July 16, 2018

what a long, strange trip it's been...

What a strange feeling!  Instead of facing a bank of windows with a view of a tree-edged pond, I'm facing a blank tan wall as I sit at my computer desk.  Borga is chewing noisily in her crate at my right, instead of being on another floor.  Tall stacks of cardboard boxes clutter the room.  Still, I'm glad to be here.  We're finally in Indiana! 

I don't know how to do justice to the move itself, other than to say that nearly everything that could have possibly gone wrong, went wrong.  Movers called in sick, a major underestimation of the amount of stuff we had, a millipede invasion, mysterious power failures, terrible hot and humid weather, daily rain, injuries...ceaseless work, sleepless nights, sleeping on the floor, etc., etc.  After spending an entire week on the garage (where we kept a lot of our business merchandise), THIS is what it looked like...24 hours before the buyer walk-through, and 1.5 days before the actual closing.

But we were given a miraculous reprieve when, because of a bank error, our closing was delayed by 3 days, giving us enough time to finish up.  What a delight it was to see Todd carrying out the very last box!

I was too tired to take more than a cursory last look at our place.

Do you see Clotilde in the driveway? She stayed close to the Uhaul as we packed, sleeping in its shade or rubbing against our ankles.  I'm happy to report that several neighbors volunteered to take over the care and feeding of our little strays.  We'll miss them, though!

The long drive to Indiana!  We were completely exhausted and had to take at least one 30-minute nap, but didn't want to linger too long.  We wanted to make the trip in one day.

Because of road construction, it took about 13 hours to make it home.  But we made it! Todd had a helpful co-pilot...

...and we made sure to take a few silly pictures on the way.

For the first several days in Indiana, we were so exhausted that we spent a lot of time sleeping.  I don't ever remember being so tired after an experience!  But slowly, we're adjusting.  I joined the gym, Todd arranged his office space and made sure that all the trucks and Uhaul were unloaded into our storage units, and we're now looking for a house.   I think it will take a couple of weeks, at least, until we have some semblance of a normal schedule...but we're getting closer every day.  We took our first hike yesterday, too.  There's a nice trail about 5 minutes from the apartment.  What a great feeling to have a camera in hand again!

Looking forward to more hikes, kayaking, farmers markets, new experiences, and new friends!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Indiana wants me...

Moving is tough.  I'm not talking about regular moving, when you pack up your house, disassemble your furniture, and clean like a maniac once it's all done.  I'm talking about doing that, AND packing up a massive amount of business inventory.  We had three movers with combined 20 years experience yesterday, and they were all stunned.  They had never, ever seen so much stuff at a house.  They estimated that over 1,000 boxes were moved over the course of 12 hours.  And that doesn't take into account today's portion of the move, where they move out the furniture and empty out two completely filled storage units...filled with even more boxes.  Three ABF trucks have been ordered and they will likely be filled.

For someone who feels almost desperate to downsize...downsize the house, downsize clutter, downsize possessions...the sheer volume of stuff dragged out of closets and from shelves is overwhelming.  I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of cardboard.  I can't believe how exhausting it is.

It's not the work of packing it - it's the work of living with it!  Don't get me wrong...the packing was tough.  The sweatband came out after only a few minutes!

At our last two houses, Todd lined every available wall - closet, basement, garage - with shelving and added rows and rows of wheeled shelves for merchandise and personal stuff.  Here, he excavated huge portions of the crawl space, poured cement, and put up more shelving.  I would say that we have surely used over 2,000 square feet of this house for storage...and we still have additional storage units!  For someone who was able to fit all of her possessions in the back of a pick-up truck for a cross country move about 15 years ago, it feels a little overwhelming.  But we have big plans for our next move.  No longer will we co-exist with flaking cardboard, rows of shelves, and towers of plastic tubs.  We are going to build a massive pole barn (or expand an existing garage structure) for the merchandise.  Then our living space can be for, well, living.  I can't wait! 

But for now, we just have to get through the next few, electricians, buyer walk-throughs, movers, packing, cleaning, running endless truckloads of broken-down cardboard to recycling and donation boxes to Haven of Rest.  Friday, we'll be Indiana-bound!

Monday, June 25, 2018

it's like a heat wave...

Another 95 degree day, and with frequent cloudbursts, everything is growing like you wouldn't believe.  We have a vine on our outside deck railing that grows inches every day.  Inches!  I want everything to be caught up for the new homeowners, so I spent most of Saturday working in the yard, weeding.  With some good company.

It's exhausting to keep moving preparations going on within the house and also deal with a very needy yard, but I would be ashamed to leave a mess behind for new people.  I learned a painful and valuable lesson when we bought this house.  Under South Carolina law, water cannot be transferred into your name until you have the house deed...i.e. after closing.  Despite grudgingly agreeing to leave the water on for a day to give me time to make the transfer in person at the downtown office, the former homeowner called the water department first thing the next day and told them to shut off the water immediately.  I will never forget how that felt:  being in a new state and new house, surrounded by contractors and stacks of boxes, and NO WATER.  I felt so unwelcome and I couldn't believe the insensitivity and meanness behind it.  But it really brought home the value of the Golden Rule to me, and I'm determined to never be like that woman.

So, 95 degree yard work.

I did find some interesting insects while I worked.  This red-sided flat millipede was happy to pose for pictures, since he was long deceased.  These are also known as almond millipedes, since they secrete benzaldehye, which is a chemical note in the scent of cherries and almonds. 

I also saw one of my favorite leafhoppers.  They're all pretty, but this one has red eyes!  It's also one  of the larger leafhoppers.

The finch babies are growing quickly, but so is the cowbird.  It's hard to see from this photo, but the cowbird (on the right) is much larger than the other two.  I see that he has smothered the third finch.  I definitely detected an odor, which is unusual for these nests.  Or could they all be finches?? Only time will tell!

Here's the father, bringing a meal.  I love hearing them sing on the front porch!

Day in the yard aside, most work is being done indoors.  Moving prep is tough, especially since we have so much business inventory!  The good news is that a contractor was able to saw the wooden grids off of both the broken and unbroken doors...

...and the whole glass unit was able to be removed.  Our repair will be under $2000, instead of $8000 or so.  Huge relief! 

It's hard to believe that we're moving in 11 days.  It just doesn't feel real.  Still, I'm going through the motions of this move is really happening, even if it feels like each day will be much like the prior day, just like it has for the past six years.  Part of going through the motions is planning for things that we're excited about doing, and one thing we're both excited to do is to buy bicycles and start riding.  There are lots of bike shops and trails in Bloomington (home of the "Little 500" bike race), and I regularly ride 50 miles a a gym, anyway.  So I had to buy these shirts to commemorate our inaugural ride:

I found a dance studio and a gym.  Different knitting clubs that meet three or four days a week.  Book clubs. Quilting.  Gardening.  Bird watching. FOUR farmers markets. A massive continuing education program at Indiana University, just down the street from our temporary apartment.  Opportunities for all the hiking and kayaking we can handle, just minutes away, and of course we have lots of friends in the city.  Maybe it doesn't feel real is really I'm afraid this is too good to be true!  I believe in preparing for the worst while hoping for the best, so I suppose I won't give in to excitement until we're pulling in our new driveway.  I've definitely got plenty to keep me distracted until then! 

Have a great week!

Monday, June 18, 2018

a milkweed bug hug

"It is little wonder that Mrs. [John Quincy] Adams did not always see the point and was grateful for the ending, the more so because a quasi-pointless existence had been very draining to her husband, who had been worn down by his listless existence and by the climate, and who, as she put it to him, had sunk into a 'state of inanity.'"  

This is an excerpt from Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon by Michael O'Brien, and I thought it was incredibly apt for our current situation.  With multiple 95 degree days behind us and a string 96 - 98 degree days in front of us, Todd doesn't even like to go outside now.  Indiana Julys and Augusts are miserably hot, but then it's over.  Here the heat will just keep going.  I'm encouraged by the thought of cool September mornings, but I think he is having trouble remembering them, much like Frodo in Return of the King who can't remember the taste of strawberries (why stop at one literary reference? Ha!).  But I did convince him to go for one last hike at the Botanical Gardens. 

Much of the garden is shaded, which provided a nice respite from the heat.  Lots of shade plants were thriving.  I just love the vivid colors of their hydrangeas.

Even the white hydrangea have a little splash of green to help make an impact.  I love them!

Sometimes it's the shape, not the color, which provides the pop.

I loved seeing the flowers, but I was especially pleased to see some insects.  I thought these two milkweed bugs were fighting over territory...

...until I saw this!

Love was in the air!  On another plant, I saw another milkweed bug with her babies.

I saw lots of flies, of course.  This one let me get pretty close.  That amber drop?  Vomit!  Flies use their digestive enzymes externally instead of in their gut.  Pretty cool!

It felt good to stretch our legs, even though Borga was pretty tired after our walk!

At home, the usual suspects.  Clotilde is staring down chipmunks...

...or driving Tabitha crazy in the sun room.

Bosewichte is loving his new sleeping spaces.

The finch babies are growing, although I still can't tell which one is the cowbird.

I posted this picture on Facebook with the notation that Todd and I will likely feel like these two toads that I found in our carport when we move into our new apartment, since we're so used to having more space.

It's true...we've found a tiny temporary apartment to live in (approved, just need to sign the lease and pay the deposit).  We've also found warehouse storage space for the business that, ironically, is bigger than our apartment!  But today is the absolute most stressful day.  First the appraiser comes.  If we don't pass, the bank won't loan the money for the house.  The contractor comes to try to fix that broken door.  If he can't fix it, the whole wall unit will have to be torn out and replaced, and that repair could be as much as $5,000 (plus the original $1000 for the attempt).  The buyers will have our response to their home inspection requests today, too.  If they don't agree, the whole deal could fall through, which is too awful to even contemplate.  So I'm headed to the gym, and then will try to keep busy and NOT THINKING ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES until we get some news.  Stay tuned! 

Monday, June 11, 2018

the move groove

And...we have babies!!

Two of the eggs have hatched, one of which was the cowbird egg.  These babies look the same to me, though.  Maybe time will tell?  I'll check again later in the week. 

Lots of other activity, too.  Our goz are getting bigger and bigger.

It's now common to see anoles everywhere.

And...we have a toad hole!  A small hole in the blacktop behind the house.  There's always a toad sitting in it.  Always. 

If you come close, the toad retreats into the hole.  Sometimes you see the tip of his nose poking out...or just his hind legs!

Clotilde is back.

She's always around when I'm working outside...

...or tormenting Tabitha from the safety of her stairs perch (this is Tabitha in watchful, pre-attack mode):

I just hate to leave her behind.  But she's been a neighborhood outdoor cat for years, and our neighborhood is full of people who feed any stray that comes around.  I know I have to do it.

Other, less obvious activity in the yard...a spittlebug, leaving small evidence of its presence:


A beautiful venusta orchard spider, waiting for a meal...

Nice new growth on some ferns...

And, everywhere, mushrooms of all shapes and sizes popping up!

Todd and I have been working to get ready for the move...

It's a stressful time.  We packed what we could, but not our daily essentials (which are suspiciously numerous) or big furniture.  And, of course, not our business merchandise.  But for the purposes of upcoming inspections, the attic and crawl space had to be emptied, and so now the house is full of cardboard boxes. 

A little yard work...some future planning...a little business work (early summer is notoriously slow)...and a lot of empty time.  I'm averaging three days per 1000-piece puzzle, and I've just put together my last one.  I'm doing a lot of anxious room-to-room and distraction-to-distraction flitting.  Hopefully this will be the last truly stressful week.  We hope to pass the termite and housing inspection, nail down a contractor for our glass door fix (no pun intended!), secure movers/trucks, and sign a lease on temporary housing AND warehouse storage...all by this Friday.  Eek!  Todd reminds me to "just put one foot in front of the other..." I appreciate the sentiment, but I'll be glad for many reasons when these hurdles are passed.

Have a great week!