One Week In

We have been in our new home for one week now. The place is only partially a disaster. The garage is half filled with full boxes and the living room is half filled with empty boxes. So you could say I’m halfway there. We only have window coverings on the master bedroom patio door, the rest of the windows throughout the house are uncovered and bare it all. Needless to say, showering is a bit awkward. But we’re getting there, slowly but surely.

The neighbors that we’ve met are all very nice and friendly, Orso is trying to make friends with Gunner, the black lab across the street. Gunner is a little overwhelmed by this big goofy dog that just wants to be buds, something Orso hasn’t had for a long time. There is a series of trails at the end of the road by or house that is secluded so we can let Orso off leash to run around to his heart’s content.

The neighborhood is quiet and secluded, the road to our home is long and almost half a mile from the main road, plus it is a dead end so there is not much traffic coming or going. All in all a very quiet area, a complete opposite to apartment living. I walk Orso at four in the morning and all I hear is bull frogs in the pond across the road.

One week in and today I didn’t get arrested or shot, but for a minute it was touch and go. I like to consider myself fairly smart and savvy, I watch all the crime drama shows and I’m quite comfortable around guns and shooting. But today I was wearing my dumb hat. I took Orso for a walk this afternoon and as I walking down the road I saw a pickup truck stopped on the side of the road up ahead. He started backing up then stopped and just stayed there idling on the side of the road. It didn’t feel right so I decided to turn down a side road instead of walking past the truck.

About a third of the way down the side road, I heard all of these sirens coming toward me and thought it was a fire truck, but no I turned around and saw a car coming toward me with a light bar on top. The first car was a police car, the second one was a county sheriff’s car and at the end of the road was another sheriff’s car stopped. All had their lights flashing. Another sheriff’s car pulled up and turned into the neighborhood down the road from our neighborhood. I counted five cars, a mix of local police and county sheriff’s deputies and here I am walking a dog on a lonely road with no way to get out of the line of fire. Lucky me.

I walked passed the car that was parked on the side of the road and as soon as I got in front of the police car, the officer inside turned the car sideways to block the road. That made me feel much, better, (not) now we’re in between the two cars that were blocking the intersection and the midway point. Oh goody, now I’m going to get caught in the crossfire, if something happens. As I got closer to the sheriff’s car I got hit with a major hot flash and unzipped my jacket. Even as I was unzipping the zipper I had this inner thought that I was being very stupid, but couldn’t stop myself.

As I got to the intersection and turned the corner to head home, I see two men walking toward me with a dog. So what did I do but something extra special stupid. Right in front of the deputy sheriff I reached into my pocket to pull out a handful of dog treats to keep Orso’s attention on me. I caught myself at the last second and wisely pulled out the bag of kibble so that no one would see any threat and get myself shot.

I’m not sure what they were looking for, but I’m really glad they didn’t find it while I was out there with Orso. I wonder what’s up for my second week.

This is Good-Bye

So long, sayonara, see you later, hasta la vista baby! However you want to say it, it’s good bye apartment. After six long months, we finally found a house. Don’t get me wrong, the apartment is a very nice apartment, clean, large and the apartment management is super, I’m just not cut out for apartment living. I like my aloneness too much.

Soon I won’t have to listen to Big Foot clomping around one floor above me, hammering god knows what, slamming cabinet doors and playing video games with the volume all the way up until the wee hours of the morning. I won’t have neighbors that drag their dried up Christmas tree out and not sweep up the thick blanket of pine needles covering the hallway and stairs leading outside, so that we drag them into our apartment. Most of all I will have a place to walk Orso that is not along a busy street with bicyclists silently whizzing past you from behind startling both of us, causing Orso to bark and lunge at them. No more cars with drivers that don’t know their cars can really go twenty-five miles an hour, they just haven’t tried it.

You can tell when it’s time to go, things happen telling you that you’ve made the right decision. It’s time to move, when two days after you give your intent to vacate, you find a parking violation letter on the windshield of the truck, telling you that you have to move it. Never mind the fact that the truck has been sitting in the same spot for the last six months, but all of a sudden it has to be moved. Then it seems like every little thing is glaring at you, shouting at you, “Get out, run!”

Another clue came when while walking Orso that same day, a woman pulls her car out of the parking lot and stops to tell me that Orso’s urine will burn up the grass. I turned and laughed at her and the absurdity of the statement. I was so tempted to tell her yes I could understand how that could happen since we live in such an “arid” climate. I wanted to say, “Seriously, we are on track to be the wettest winter on record, we are getting rain every day. The damn worms are drowning coming out of the muddy soggy soil and you think my dog’s urine is going to burn up the grass?” Instead I just looked at her, shook my head and walked away.

Then the final hint that it is time to go came sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning when I saw that someone stole our doormat. Can you believe it, someone came and stole our black astro-turf doormat? It’s not like we are on the main floor where you walk right up to the door and out, there are stairs involved getting to our door. I think what bothers me more is that someone was outside our door while I was asleep.

We got a notice from the complex management notifying us that someone would come in and make a “pre-move out inspection” to see what would is needed to be fixed or repaired before the apartment could be rented to someone else. In order to make a good impression, I have washed walls, vacuumed the carpet almost daily, mopped the floors and cleaned the bathrooms. There has been no damage done to the apartment, we haven’t hung any pictures or painted any walls so we’re good there and the dogs are well behaved and don’t destroy or chew up stuff. I even had the warmer on all day to put out a nice red apple scent throughout. What could go wrong?

The notice said “between 9am to 5pm”, and I waited all day for someone to come by. Dinner time came and no one had come by yet so I figured that everyone was too busy and started dinner. In order to clean out the freezer as much as I can before we move, I thought I would cook a steak for dinner. Well we still don’t have a grill yet, so I turned on the broiler in the oven. The steak was broiling away just fine when all of a sudden the grease caught on fire and smoke started rolling out of the oven and when I pulled the pan out flames shot out and climbed over the oven. I blew the flames out, but there was a lot of smoke, which set off all of the fire alarms in the apartment, I did not realize there were three fire alarms in one two bedroom apartment. Of course the fire alarms are screeching that high pitched screech and as a bonus there was a female voice yelling at us “Fire get out” over and over.

I opened the doors and fanned the smoke alarms until one by one they quit screeching. Just as I was about to sit back down to our salads, there was a knock on the door. Fully expecting the fire department at the door, there was one of our maintenance men there to do the inspection. Great, just as I try to burn down the apartment complex someone shows up to inspect the apartment for damage.

Well there goes our damage deposit.

A Challenge

I have a challenge for you. This is a toughie even though it shouldn’t be. Go stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Really look at yourself, from top to bottom and bottom to top, give yourself a really close look. Look deeply at every body part then look at the whole package, all put together. Now find things you love about yourself.

I did that this morning as I was finishing up putting on my makeup. I looked at the whole package, from my curly unruly hair to my badly done self-pedicure and at first glance I wasn’t particularly pleased with what I saw. Curly hair that always looks like I just got out of a convertible on a cross country road trip. Reconstructed breasts from a bilateral mastectomy complete with tattooed nipples, and contrary to the common misconception, it’s not a boob job. A stomach that is no longer taut, legs that are too short and thighs that are too big. Nothing grotesque but no super model by any figment of the wildest imagination.

Then I looked again and really looked at myself. I decided that my curly unruly hair fits me quite nicely as I am unruly and brash. I looked at my eyes and the odd color of blue that they are is quite striking. My gaze traveled down to the rest of my anatomy and decided that I don’t care that my reconstructed breasts are not perfect but at least I’m alive and cancer free. My legs are short and heavier than I would like but I can walk and get around just fine.

Then I turned inward and looked at my soul and spirit. I found a person that doesn’t take life too seriously. I am as irreverent about life as how curly my hair is. I will almost always make a wisecrack about anything sad or happy. We’re not here long enough to get too serious. I am basically an honest person and will protect my family and friends to the death. I am passionate about living the rest of my life doing things that make me happy and whole. All in all not a bad person, fairly normal.

Now it’s your turn, what do you love about yourself? The list should be long, because there is so much more to a person that what looks back at you in the mirror. Your smile, the way you tilt your head to one side or the really tight hugs you give to the people you love, these are the wonderful beautiful parts of you and should never ever be dismissed. These things are what make you perfect