There is a Time to Code…And a Time to Watch the Ponies.

IMG_2730D3 and I have moved to “the country”. We have a house that we bought mostly because it was 1. three times bigger than the condo 2. by a lake 3. there were ponies.

To explain, D3 gets many packages from Amazon, and no matter what the size I will usually ask, “What’s in it?” and he says, “I dunno.” and I say,”Is it a pony?” and he says, “We should get it out if it is.” Also, in my skewed vision of good and bad, Ponies are VERY good.

We had decided that the city was not working for us (me) any more and so we began doing road trips on the weekends to explore other places around us. On the way to and from Vancouver we ended up in the place we are living now for breakfast. On the way back we drove through again. Then I started looking at places on Zillow and Redfin. I found some ridiculously low priced manufactured homes. They were in Senior Parks, so we would have to wait a year for me to be old enough. That was a year and a half away. But I kept looking. Between spying on houses of the rich and famous, I kept an eye on Zillow, sending the occasional links to D3. He usually would talk about it, if I reminded him, when he got home. Or if we talked during the day he would tell me what he liked or didn’t.  In general I was just trying to fill my days with the future, as I got ready to release my past.

I retired from my job of 15 years and my profession of 40 in September 2016. I had a month of frenzied activity, I visited everyone I knew, had coffee out with everyone, cleaned the the condo from top to bottom, wrote a novel for NANOWRIMO, and rode the busy bus for a month. Then I realized that I was not going back to work, and I slowed down.  I spent 14 hours a day waiting for an exhausted D3 to return from his 1 hour 15 minute (each way) commute and long day at work. I realized that everywhere I went in the city was different from how I remembered it. I had spent 15 years working hard and living in a small section of the city. When I went to visit the old neighborhoods, I was stunned by the change in them.

In 30 years in Seattle, I had seen it shift many times. But this was overwhelming to me. The street grids were the same, but all the things I loved were gone. I thought about how I lived in a huge city with all sorts of museums and culture and theaters. When D3 moved here two years ago, we “touristed” the entire place. We went to all the sites and explored the whole place again. I mostly said, “My favorite coffee shop was there.” Or I tried to explain how friends and I used to do Tai Chi in the place that is now a McDonalds.

The commute was killing me, if not D3. He was used to 2 hour commutes. Tis was one bus, and a short car ride, easy peasy. But I was alone with long days spread out in front of me, and my brand spanky new husband was gone all the time. I had been alone for 50 years, I was not wanting that any more.

The other thing is that I started just staying in our 800 square foot condo. I began not going anywhere. I would organize the videos, and boxed games, I would wander into the kitchen and promise I would clean it, then wander out. I began to take long naps and watch tv, and not get dressed. The only thing I did with any regularity was look at houses. I spent hours looking at houses, imagining new walls to paint and new ways to arrange the pictures. I dreamed of gardens and driveways. I imagined porches and hanging flower baskets and a Japanese Maple tree of my own. And I sank and sank and sank.

On one of our weekends we ended up back in the little town, and as we sat at the diner and soaked in the “not-city-ness” of the place, I said out loud, “I could very happily live here.” D3 looked at me over his pile of biscuits and gravy and said, “Me too.”

So I began to look in earnest. I spent hours with my best friend on long distance face time throwing address and ML#’s at each other as we went through all the websites. My sister came over and we huddled around my computer poured over my top 50 choices.

One day I saw a very ugly grayish beige house that had been on the market for 95 days. Not a good sign. I almost skimmed past it, but “book/cover”, so I opened the page.

It was stunning. Built in 1980 by an architect that was selling it for the first time since he had built it and lived in it. It was sleek and angular and had a wall of bookcases and a full basement. It was clean and bright and beautiful. It was big, and it was inexpensive, for what it was. I sent the link to D3 and he called me 5 minutes later and said, “Can we go look at it this weekend?”

After a few small hurdles,  I read a bad review of the real estate agency, which I called and asked them about, and they told me that was a different agency and a rental agency in the University area, and a delay because of the Wind Storm of the Century, which was no big, we got in the car and drove up to see it on a Sunday morning. D3 and I had a huge fight about him committing from there, it would add 15 minutes to his commute, but I was sure he would kill himself driving. Then he said, fine, I will quit and work somewhere else. Then we argued that we couldn’t live on working at McDonald’s and why don’t we just call and cancel the real estate guy. Then we cried, and argued more about how beautiful the drive was and how much easier it was to breathe. We pulled into town, went to the Whole Foods just off the highway, got coffee and food, cause of course we left without either one and so of course we were insane. I cried in the bathroom, then we got our blood sugars to normal, and called the agent to meet us.

We drove up the street that we had studied on Google Maps and looked at the lake with awe and wonder. We pulled onto the street and into the long driveway that hides our house behind another bigger house. We pulled in to face the house, turned off the car, took the first breath we had taken in days. We were home.

D3 got out and took tons of photos of the outside of the house, completely failing to conceal his excitement. The real estate agent drove up, he lives 5 blocks away. He let us in and then just stood back. As we explored our new house, we would say, “This is my office.” and, “The bed should go here.” We kept wandering through the house looking, touching, claiming, when
D3 practically yelled, “Zoe, come in here right now.” I ran into the kitchen  and he pointed to there house that lays to the north of us and somewhat below us. We both looked out the window in disbelief. There frolicking in the farm yard below us were two ponies.

We went through the motions of looking at two other houses, but the real estate agent and D3 and I stood on the porch of the last house and decided to put an offer on the pony place. There had been two other offers, but both fell through, and the one that fell through last was on the day I found the house on the web. Our real estate agent had handled the last one, so he   changed the names on the paper work and wrote in our offer. Monday it went, in Thursday we were accepted.

A month later we moved. D3 talked to his employers and said I was moving and he would like to go with me. They offered him working at home and coming down once a month, he goes down more than that.

We have been here 5 months and I watch the ponies every day. I know when they get fed and where they like to hang out. We met the ponies dad and he told us there are 7 in total, I just about lost my brain when he said this. I have watched them all winter. They stand in the rain, or lie on the ground in the sun. Then move, but you rarely catch it.

This morning D3 was working down in his office, I was making coffee and watching them like usual, when the two that were out suddenly began to run around. Their little tails blowing in the wind, they jumped up and down rearing, playing, “Pony-ing”. I screamed for D3 to come see. He came trudging up from the basement, “I’m coding”, he muttered. But then the ponies were to wonderful to watch.

Sometimes there is a time to code and sometimes there is a time to watch the ponies.

Time keeps on slipping into the future…..

We sign papers on the new house today. At 1pm.

The house is packed up completely. We each have a small box we are living out of. It is amazing what all you don’t need from day to day.

I wrote 51,794 words for NANOWRIMO. Finishing 4 days before the deadline.

I have a mechanic and a buyer coming on Wednesday for my sister’s green van. So hopefully that will be off my back by Thursday.

Movers come on Friday.

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future…….

(Thanks Steve Miller)

275 words to go…

Nanowrimo is coming to an end and I have 275 words left until I hit 50,000. I guess the saying, “write what you know,” is true. As I write, the   memories that flood up are strange and overwhelming. I also notice that I struggle around 400 words, then I slow down again around 2,000. Is this just because I am writing full time and not working?

I know that I feel better than I have in a very long time, even with the packing to move to Bellingham. Though I have meltdowns that D3 is super patient with, I know that this is all part of letting go of a very very very very long time doing and being the same.

Change is a bitch. Just sayin’.

Packing is f-ing hard.

img_3696

Killing me now would only prove to the “Gods of Moving” that they have won. (Box shown is the 5th or 6th Misc. Kitchen box. If you can’t read it, it says, “Don’t Judge ME! I am as worn out as this Marker”. Note to the reader, you know you are tired when you tape a box you packed 30 seconds before and cannot remember a single thing you put in it. )

Things I have learned from this move. Always use enough tape. Don’t be cheap. Get one of those professional tape guns from the get go, and extra tape. There is not a single thing in the world that will be as heart- wrenching as the sound of your beautifully packed box taking a dump in the hallway as you carry it to the stack. TAPE. I AM NOT KIDDING!

Also, use SMALLER BOXES. Your desire to fill the box up you will make boxes that will be too heavy for you to lift, and face it, even if you are hiring movers, you are going to move that mother-fucking box 800 times before you are done with it. Small boxes are big enough. AND Big boxes are not big enough for the things you need the big boxes for. So you end up wrapping all your special things in bubble wrap and push them into a box with the lid open and hope that it gets there safe.

Don’t wash your clothes for a week and then when the basket is full, PACK EVERYTHING ELSE. If you cannot live without it for the two sweaty, stinky, exhausting weeks before and after a move, you are living in a world I do not understand. I think that I have pitted out every t-shirt I own. And I am lazy and not even working that hard!

Keep you bed in tact with clean sheets up to the morning of the move. Then take the edges of the fitted sheet and flip it up and over the edges of your bed, pillows and all. Put it in that stupidly big box you had no idea what to use it for, and then when you arrive, pull your BED BURRITO out, set it on the bed, re-tuck the fitted corners and collapse.

Use your extra coats to make CLOTHING PEOPLE. Take a coat, take a hand full of clothes that are hangers in your closet, put the coat behind the clothes that are STILL on hangers. Then wrap the coat around the clothes, and zip or button the bundle up and the clothes stay on hangers as you either put them in the back of your car, like the dead bodies they are, or into the useful and not so useful wardrobe boxes. I’m fat so I get a lot of clothes into my coats. Which is great and slightly disappointing.

Do not pack at NIGHT. If you can help it, because if you are anything like me, you will spend the night packing and repacking that box you did last in your dreams. Last night I had a box like Mary Poppin’s carpet bag, and it just never got full and I kept thinking, this is not good. But I kept stuffing things into it and was resigned to let the movers deal with it.

And finally, do not try to do NANOWRIMO while you are packing, especially if you are writing a memoire about the 38 moves you have made in your life. It will just get you angry, and the next box you fill you will look at your most treasured thing and think,”If I just dropped this right now, I could save myself the trouble of finding it broken in the box when I got to our new house. ”

At least this is the Devil I Know.

 

Nanowrimo 2016

nanowrimocrestNational Novel Writing Month.

Working on Nanowrimo and packing for a move means runningdownhill.net is having to have a bit of a break. The good news is that I have people writing encouraging things on the blog, which makes me happy, but the other news is I also have weird spammers making my blogging experience just a little scary.

I did not know you had to mediate your comments section. Which I am finding hard to do when they are in other languages, and they ask me how did I set up my blog, and it is so pretty, just like one they had once, but would I like to update my interesting stories with a better design?

Yep, give me a compliment and then try to weasel a sale out of me. Bad on you using my insecurity and my need for validation to fill your pockets. But also, very clever. Ego, thy name is “easy pickin’s”.

So, I am off to catch up my Nanowrimo after loosing a day to Squeeky, and   two days to the election.

Wish me luck.

 

2016, you gotta end soon…

This year has been an amazing year. The amount of doors closing, people dying, ends of era’s, and changes that are mind-blowing, has me totally convinced that it’s the end of the world as we know it.

img_2168             But do I feel fine?

That is so hard to gage. This morning I am feeling especially ragged. We had to put our 16 year old kitty to sleep yesterday. Done very caringly by a terrific team of vets, and with such grace and kindness. And yet in my head all I can think is that I killed her. I promised to keep care of her for the rest of her life when I got her as a two year old from a place where she was being abused. In the 14 years I had her I tried to always be kind and loving. But yesterday watching her fight the sleeping injection before the final injection, was brutal.

As we waited for her to sleep and for the doctor to come with the final injection all I could think was what a terrible person I was. D3 kept reminding me she was in pain and that was not a good way to live. But all I could see were her little cobalt blue eyes looking at me with confusion and fear.

When can you ever know if you have done the right thing? This year there are so many important things I am having to make choices about. It’s not that I can’t do it. But this being a grown up is a bitch. And it makes me cry and loose sleep.

All I can do is hope I made the right choice and that she is happier now.

R.I.P. My little Squeeky girl.

Just when I feel like giving up…

I get a response from someone in the Maldives that enjoyed my post. Really. And in French. I think I am going to be buzzed on that for days.

Last night I got a late night phone call from a friend who is writing a book. She is going through the nuts and bolts stage of proof reading. She called and began with, “I have spent 10 years of my life on a stupid book that I should throw out.” And it went down hill from there.

I gave her a suggestion that I will take myself. I will do my proof on my Nanowrimo script starting from the last chapter. Then go to the second to last, etc. That way you don’t get all wrapped up in the story, it is out of order and so all you see are typos and commas. I notice that I am often so wrapped around the “start at the beginning”- axel, that the last few chapters, scenes, stories, suffer from “are we done yet?”-syndrome. I wonder if that is why books that are trilogies are sometimes better, because they actually have to keep the story going through the ending chapters.

Satisfying endings are a Bitch. Absolutely. I am struggling with finding a satisfying ending to 30 years in Seattle. I struggled and never found a satisfying ending to the job I just left. 16 years and I think I would have had more closure if I had just severed my leg and left it on the door step. Something final, so that I could move on. I just want to move on cleanly and with integrity. I want to have someone, somewhere give me a hardy bon voyage. And yet, I seem to shy away from it. We had a chance to go to parties this weekend, see people, say goodbye, and I couldn’t leave the house. As if I were being held by this incredible forcefield that was my shame and my failure and my judgement holding hands outside the door like some ridiculous game of Red Rover.

And like when I was a kid, I was so ashamed of being to fat and heavy, to slow, and to chicken, that I would try to wait until the game was over and never really run to try to break into the line. I was a turncoat, a coward. The is what it feels like right now. I am paralyzing myself in place in this 806 square foot condo, behind half packed boxes, shaking and crying and being useless. I have quit caffeine and need to take Xanax, a lot just to make my heart stop pounding out of my chest. If only I could find a way to move this fear into momentum. I don’t need to break through the arms of the other team, but loping up to them and then falling on the grass, a foot from where they are, and sobbing is not what I want either.

So a little love from the Maldives in French. A pretty picture of the new house on my desktop screen. All but one person saying that they love Bellingham. These are the bon mots I am going to hold on to.

Group of children (7-12) playing red rover in yard
That’s me, in the green shirt. Going for it. 

 

Fat

I was on a diet when I was 12 years old. I was going with my mom to WeightWatchers, Tops, and any other weight loss thing since I was born. I remember in Tops if you had gained the most weight over the week they sent you home with the piggy figure. I loved the piggy figure and was delighted when we got to take it home.

With the amount of dieting my mom did in the course of her life she could have been a dietician herself. She probably lost and gained herself 40 times. The times in her life when she was “thin” she was that way for only a short amount of time before something catastrophic happened. The last time was before she died. But even then she was still chubby to my standards and obese to anyone else’s.

I am thinking about what I want to write about for NANOWRIMO (nanowrimo.org) For the month of November you write a novel. 50,000 words in a month is 1700 or so a day. I did it the year I met D3. I wrote a book about my dating experiences. Sure enough as soon as I cleared all that energy and looked back and laughed at it, it seemed to clear the way for me to have a relationship with D3.

I wonder if I would be able to clear 50+ years of disordered eating if I were to do the same. This would be a brilliant time to do it too, since we are packing to move at the beginning of December. I could pack and NANOWRIMO as I moved out of the tiny condo and to a place where I will be able to walk and move more. I have noticed I can do almost everything in the condo’s kitchen in 3 steps. 2 if I plan it well. What will happen with stairs, and the ability to just step outside and walk in nature? Maybe hand in hand writing and moving would help. I don’t want to have to use a cane, or get rid of all my favorite clothes because I have had stress and made bad food choices and then laid in bed from shame.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a lot about my body, but I know that less weight will make me feel better. I am not looking at ever being skinny, that’s not me, and the maintenance would be impossible. But healthier, fitter, able to move and dance easily would be awesome. Also, I will need something that lets me feel creative while I wrangle contracts, and movers, and boxes, and all the detritus of a new start in a different city.

P.S. Let me know if you have any extra moving boxes.

 

This is the 38th time I have moved.

D3 and I just bought a house in Bellingham. We are moving to the first residence that he and I will own together as married people. We have been in our little 806 square foot condo in Seattle for two years. The Seattle Condo is perfect, 2 blocks from the new transit center, next to I-5, a mall and movie theaters in walking distance. Maple leaf is a perfect neighborhood. This is a dream place for anyone wanting to be in Seattle. It is the only place I would want to live in Seattle.

However, I have been in Seattle 30 years and I cannot get over how it has changed. All the neighborhoods I have at one point or another lived in, are now very different. I was up on Capitol Hill, where my first apartment was, and I cannot find a single place that is still there that was there when I lived there. It is like my memories have been washed away. I think The Deluxe Burger is still there. That was the first place we ate in Seattle when we first arrived. But is is very different.

For me, 30 years is a long time to be in one city. But things change. I know that is the way of things. I also know that at 54 I am getting to a place where change is harder and harder. Like my stiff morning knees, my ability to change is slow, and needs to warm up. I am ready to live somewhere that is slower, and gentler, and just a bit flatter (did I mention my stiff knees?)

So D3 and I are buying a house in a smaller city, near the Canadian Border,  that is a block from the water, and is 3 times as big as the place we are in now.

Last night D3 had a moving meltdown. I have seen them before. When I went to Scotland before we were married, I helped him get his stuff organized to move to Seattle. We joke that his move was just 6 boxes. But in reality it was 5 visits to and from Scotland with big empty bags, we even made the Best Man at our wedding carry some of D3’s stuff over. This last visit to Scotland we got the end of the stuff that he had left in Scotland. I have seen D3 hit the numb, overwhelmed, middle distance stare before. We packed about 8 boxes yesterday and he had to stop and nap between every 3.

This is where I am the best marriage partner ever. I have, in my life, moved 38 times. 38! Thirty Eight! Three- Eight! AND I have been in this condo for 6 years, and the house before this, 8 years. So if you do the math it is about once a year. A few times more than once a year (5 is the most), and I have been in 3 places for 2 years. This does not include the years of travel when my home was my backpack.

When I was a kid my dad would come home on Thursday night and say we were moving Saturday. I would spend that evening putting as much as I could into my dresser and the two boxes we were allotted to pack. I spent the next day at school packing my desk and saying goodbye. Then I got up Saturday to a quick breakfast and moving. Saturday night as soon as we were in the new place with out beds made, we stopped for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sunday was spent unpacking. Monday, new school.

This summer we put new floors in the condo, so we had to pack everything into a storage unit. (Oh, if I had only known, I never would have unpacked.) And now, between Thanksgiving and Christmas we are moving again.

It is the end of this world as we know it, and I feel fine.

packing-boxes   P.S. we need boxes.

Jet Lag is my friend.

Jet lag is a misnomer. It should be Jet Drag. As in, “the jet dragged you behind it for many hours and then left you and your luggage in a heap on a conveyor belt”.

When we got back from Scotland one of our bags had popped open. Well, actually, the entire zipper the length of the duffle was gone. Not open, not broken, GONE. D3 held up my make up bag, all alone and on the belt, over his head and looked at me like “Oh, this can’t be good.” It is a very classy Barbie lunch bag, so I did not fear being judged. The things missing from the bag are as follows: 1. An awesome Steampunk Coffee shop metal cup (very sad to not have a set.) 2. One blue and one green sock. I had doubled them up to keep my feet warm and then stuffed them into awesome steampunk coffee shop metal cup. So I now have a set of socks that are one green and one blue. 3. A box of Scottish shortbread. (Which is the tragedy of the whole thing.)

Inside my Barbie Makeup kit: 1. My extra pair of glasses, the cool blue cat- eye ones with the sparkles. 2. The Luckenbooth neckless that D3 had given me. 3. The pirate’s bootie of jewelry my mother-in-law had bestowed upon me. Yes, I even took a pair of earrings out of the woman ears! (Side note: She has a wooden box of rings that displays them all and when she showed it to me I had a serious moment of jittery lust and drool. I have never thought I liked gems, but shown together, they are delicious.)

So the Sleep part of the trip is really the biggest problem. I have a ridiculously strong internal clock. Up at 7:21 a.m. most mornings, 3:30p.m. eyes closed if only for 5 minutes, 7 p.m. hot-flash, 9:30p.m. reading in bed, 11:30 p.m. wake up to pee and turn off light and put book away, (twenty runs to the loo all night) then 4:30 a.m., my witching hour, when I wake up and debate getting up and getting a jump on the day or snooze until 7:21 a.m. The 7:21 a.m. part is interesting, since that is the exact time I was born.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Jet Drag. I lost all of the next day we came back to “just a little short nap” events. Then I started the 30 minutes every 6 hours pattern. Now I am staying up as late as possible (8:15 p.m.!), so I can sleep past 3:30 a.m.

I am looking forward to greeting the inventor of instantaneous travel. Be it by turning a ring, like in Beauty and the Beast (the book, not the movie) or the Transportation pod, like in The Fly (the second one, not the first) or some sort of beam-me-up contraption. I will grip their hand (or whatever, if they are aliens or robots) and thank them for easing the part of travel that kills me every time.

Then I will book my trip to the Maldives.

Really. I need to go there.
Really. I need to go there.