Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We're Bored

So life here has moved from a state of frenzied, desperate activity to one of bleak doldrums. Our house is just not a fun place to be anymore. Everything fun is packed away. My sewing supplies are packed, my cookbooks are packed (along with everything you need to actually cook), the TV is gone (sold, not packed, if you are a stickler for accuracy)... Heck, even all the comfortable places to sit are gone. We are reduced to folding chairs, and although we could try to watch a movie (which are all packed, of course) on the computer screen while sitting on a folding chair, it just doesn’t sound very appealing.

Exacerbating the disagreeableness is a turn to the cold and gray that the weather has taken. I packed up almost all my warm clothes, including all of my warm pajamas, mistakenly thinking that since it is practically May there is no need for sweaters and other cozy items. And in my defense it was quite warm when I did all the packing. Unfortunately, now the daily high temperatures are in the 50s and I shivered in my inadequate skirt while teaching yesterday and have been sleeping in my robe over my pajamas to try to stay warm.

I regret to report that I am feeling sorry for myself when really all we are dealing with is some temporary, minor discomfort. We will move to our sublease tomorrow, where (hallelujah!) there are couches and real beds and an equipped kitchen. And although the moving has slowed down, we still have plenty to do to deal with the rest of the stuff in the house and to give the house a nice cleaning. So onward we must push, or else we will be stuck here with the folding chairs FOREVER.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Yet More Moving

We are deep in the throes of moving these days. There are 5 moving containers sitting outside our house right now, 4 of which are packed to the gills with all our furniture and other assorted stuff. We were really happy to get our worldly goods into 4 because it saves us quite a chunk of change. It really could have gone either way on that 5th container, but we decided that we would just say goodbye to the last few things that didn't fit since the cost of replacing them was less than the $800 for the 5th container. It came down to a lengthy interlude of Sophie's Choice as we decided whether we were more fond of the grill or Rob's bowling balls, the lawnmower or the 2 extra dining room chairs. Those 4 moving containers are packed so full and so efficiently! After hours spent meticulously packing them with no wasted space, we noticed a sign on the doors that said there was a certain weight limit for the containers and we are honestly a little afraid we have gone over the limit for at least one of the containers. Perhaps they won't notice?

Our house, in contrast to the moving containers, is quite empty these days. The furniture is all gone and the house is now littered with all kinds of random junk. That is a particularly annoying stage of moving when you get down to the dregs of your belongings; there's not much of a sensible, organized attack you can make on that like on a kitchen or a bookcase.

Oh, and our house is so dirty! Why does moving make a house so dirty? No one who lives in our house is that terribly messy and we are quite regular with the cleaning, so I am not quite sure where all this dirt has come from. Grace protests when she walks around in bare feet. "Big mess! Big mess!" she cries as she feels the grit and grime stick to her feet. Every time we pulled a heavy piece of furniture away from its normal resting place, what a vision of dust greeted our eyes!

It will be just a few more days here, days filled with cleaning and freecycling and packing up our cars full of stuff to take to our sublease in New Haven. We are definitely feeling excited about moving on to the next stage, and of course about sleeping on something other than an inflatable mattress.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Things I Will Miss About Connecticut

Brunch in the country

  • The seasons
For starters, I am not a fan of hot weather at all, so the fact that the dominant season up here is a darn chilly one is fine by me. And then there’s spring and fall... They are such lovely, storybook seasons here. My Texas-bred self didn’t truly believe autumns like that existed outside of movies and books until I saw it for myself, and spring is so full of flowers and budding trees and barely warm sunny days. The seasons in Texas have much less charm for me, but in Texas’ favor is the ubiquity of air conditioning. Summer might not be long in Connecticut, but it’s long enough (and warm enough) to make you long for central AC.

  • Basements
Moving to our new house in Dallas sort of feels like down-sizing, even though the square footage is a bit bigger, because we are losing the joy that is a basement. It’s just such a convenient place to stash Christmas decorations, outgrown baby clothes (and some outgrown mama clothes, although I have purged most of those by now), tools, and a huge pile of Magic: the Gathering cards. (Not mine, I promise you.) Anyway, after having outed Rob for some geeky past, I must say I will really miss having such extensive space to store stuff.

  • Our church here
Being part of a church in the Northeast is a very different experience from being part of a church in Texas. The churches are much smaller and fewer in number, and the subset of churches where we would mostly agree with the teaching is even tinier. That being said, we really love our church home here and are going to miss it. It is such a unique group of people, dominated by super-smart, super-educated people associated with Yale in one way or another, but with a sizable presence from different racial and socioeconomic groups in New Haven. And it’s got to be the least Southern Baptist-y Southern Baptist church in the history of the SBC. I don’t think Rob and I would be likely to attend a Southern Baptist church in the South, but our church here is a whole different animal. Anyway, soon we will return to a city with more churches that you can shake a stick at, with plenty we know we would feel comfortable in.

It’s going to feel weird.

Oh, how I love you, Trader Joe’s, and how I will miss your affordable, tasty, healthy goodness... I really love to shop for groceries (what? why are you looking at me like that? doesn’t everyone?) and to cook, and it is such a fun and delightful place. Granted, I am moving to a city with Whole Foods and Central Market (which has to top my list of all-time favorite grocery store EVER) but neither of those are quite as affordable and practical for everyday living as Trader Joe’s. This map does not give me much hope for any change in the near future.

  • Friends we’ve made here
The hardest things to leave will, of course, be the relationships we’ve built over the past three years. For whatever reason, a lot of our friends here are also transplants from elsewhere in the country and a number of them are also moving away from New Haven this summer, so I don’t really feel like I’m leaving a little group who will stay here and have fun without me. However, there is a group of mom & baby friends that Grace & I have who are all native to the area and settled down here. I’ve really loved walking through the first stages of motherhood with them and will miss them a great deal. It is a group where I am fairly atypical as far as ideology and background, but they have been really open to me and to chatting about our ways of thinking. I have a feeling it will be a little harder to make mom friends who have such different beliefs from me in Dallas, so I will miss both the diversity they brought to my life and the individual women with all their quirks and strengths and laughs. Some things about moving are quite sad, aren’t they?

Monday, April 14, 2008

We Found a House!

We got back this weekend from our jaunt to Dallas having successfully found a house to buy and live in. Three cheers for not being homeless! I think the best thing is that Rob and I both are really excited about this particular house; the current owners have sensibilities really close to ours. It’s a little 1950s ranch close to White Rock Lake that has had a lot of updating and an addition. I was joking with Rob that this house was meant for us because we love it just the way it is and not everybody would. I think that this is the only house in either of our house hunts (either in Texas or our first one in Connecticut) that would honestly be “move-in ready” for us; there isn’t really anything I feel like I have to do to make it a pleasant place to live. I mean, look at that kitchen! And look at our master bathroom:

It’s probably illegal of me to steal the pictures from their MLS listing, isn’t it? Don’t tell the cops on me, OK?

It’s a good thing that there isn’t any work to do because it is at the top of our price range. We were a bit surprised at how few houses there were that were right for us. I went in thinking that because of the huge inventory of houses and lower prices in Texas, there would a plethora of houses for us to choose from. It really came down to only two, though, that were good options for us in terms of location and the balance of price and how much work was needed. We did end up going a little further away than we originally wanted from the medical center where Rob will work; his commute will be about 30 minutes when we were hoping for more like 15 minutes. And of course, if we had been willing to go out to the suburbs, we could have gotten a whole lot more house for our money with better schools to boot. Ah, the American suburban lifestyle...

Anyway, we negotiated with the sellers over the weekend (it’s kind of confusing to be both sellers and buyers right now) and came to an agreement on price yesterday. Our contract is being executed today (how official-sounding...) and now it is going to be all mortgage-getting and inspection-having and oh, yes, let’s not forget box-packing. AAARGH.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Boxes, Boxes Everywhere

Well, the moving extravaganza feels like it has kicked into high gear over here. We’ve got piles of boxes all around the house and our home is slowly being dismantled, one item at a time. Fewer of the boxes are actually packed full of stuff than one might hope, but we still have a few weeks. We ordered moving boxes from one of those places online that sends you a big “kit”, which was pretty nice. More expensive than trolling for free ones, but much less effort.

Moving always makes me reevaluate my materialistic tendencies. As I pack yet another book/shirt/tchotchke I think, “Do I really need all this stuff to be happy?” Why do I cart all this stuff from one home to another? How much of it do I really need, or even want or like? And honestly my life is pretty free from tchotchkes, as I abhor clutter and am not very sentimental about physical objects. Even so, it is so easy to accumulate belongings. One of my roommates in college grew up in Africa as the daughter of missionary doctors and, because of her background, had a really different relationship with stuff than me with my suburban American upbringing. When we moved in together, it really shocked me how little stuff she had. I aim to be more like her in that respect and live a simpler, less encumbered life. Time for more purging!

So we are now entering the phase of moving that I dislike the most. I think I am (overly?) sensitive to my physical environment and I hate hate HATE living amidst turmoil and disarray. Living in a shambles of my formerly tidy house stresses me out. It is unavoidable, however; the process of moving necessitates taking your house all apart and living in a mess in the meantime. We do have a bit of urgency in the packing as we have to be out of our house by May 1. We are going to be in Dallas most of this week house hunting, so that just leaves a bit more than two weeks after we get back to finish up everything we haven’t done yet. Doable? I sure hope so...

In contrast to living in a mess, our trip to Dallas is likely to be the most fun part of this whole process. Finding a new house! Hooray! Looking for a house can be stressful in its own way (contemplating spending that amount of money on one item would have to be, I think) but that kind of stress is infinitely preferable to worrying about selling a house, at least in today’s market. There appears to be lots of inventory in Dallas these days and we feel good about our realtor down there, and it is way fun to ponder a new neighborhood, a new stomping ground, a new personal geography, a new place to call home.