Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Life in the Slow Lane

12108756_10208073611423764_1885628941810349569_n (1)Four months ago today I arrived in Texas after a 1,658 mile drive from Connecticut. My sister-in-law flew up to share the drive and Tessie was good as gold on the trip. We stayed in pet-friendly hotels but didn’t make reservations except for the first day, since that gave us more flexibility depending on road and traffic conditions.

Our route took us through the Poconos and down through Scranton, PA and continuing down through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, just a short drive from my former home in Charlottesville. We skimmed through Tennessee and cut across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana into Texas, completing the drive in 3.5 days. My furniture arrived within 24 hours, much to my shock and delight.

The past months have been nesting time. Figuring out where things go and what things we don’t need. My pre-move cleanout made the move cheaper than estimated and also meant fewer items to find homes for in my new house. We ended up taking quite a lot of kitchen things and books to Goodwill, including my dad’s 40-year-old stereo system that took up way too many shelves in the bookcases. I replaced it with a new Bose system with CD-player. We’re loving our Amazon Echo in the kitchen and listen to NPR and music over meals.

Dad and I joined the local community church and I’m singing in the choir, which is like breathing for me.  I’ve also been taking Mah Jongg lessons and am starting to play regularly. It’s a strange game but an important social activity here so I’m meeting lots of people.  And the parties! I’ve been to more parties in the last 3 months than in the past 10 years!

It’s been a big adjustment to go from living solo (plus Tessie) to sharing a house, meals, errands, etc. with my dad. We’re figuring things out as we go and the space is large enough that we’re not falling over each other, especially now that we have a second TV in the den. He watches Fox News in one room and I watch anything else in the other!

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Thanksgiving 2015

 

 


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Weekend scrambling

Litchfield Fall StepsI love weekends and look forward to one of the two days as a chance to do nothing and be a vegetable, reading or watching TV or just being quiet. But in these pre-move days, there’s no time for being a vegetable; there’s always something else on the List of Things That Must Be Done.

What things, you ask? Grocery shopping, trip to Petsmart for food and treats, changing litterbox, washing giant comforter at the landromat, offering stuff on FreeCycle and arranging for pick up, filing papers, boxing books, doing 2 loads of laundry, making meat sauce and delivering it with crockpot to a colleague (she’s keeping the pot), replacing kitchen knobs, cleaning the oven and microwave, dumping trash and recycling.

And yesterday I went to the library before it opened to pick up my last box o’ stuff. I didn’t want to do that with people around, it just felt weird and I didn’t want anyone to talk to me while I did it. I emptied desk drawers of personal things, took down personal items from the bookshelves and bulletin board, and scooped up desk tchotchkes. Right now there are only two left: my LaFarge stained glass window poster that I got in Boston 25 years ago, and a pink flying pig clock. They’re both coming with me to Texas, unlike most of the stuff I brought home yesterday, but I really couldn’t bear to spend days at work with nothing in the office that looked like me.

So this is it, the final week. Two weeks from today I should be arriving in Texas, if all goes according to plan. Just saying that makes my tummy jump, as it seems there are still so many things to get done. But I want to be in the moment this week, to make it real.


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Mostly Lunch Dates Now

I’ve been booked solid for lunch every day for three weeks. Well, week days anyway, though I did have brunch on Sunday with my friend and catsitter. The other lunches, though, are with work friends and colleagues from the law school and main library. It’s funny learning lots of new things about them after knowing them for 8 years – one started her career in accounting before library school. Another was a professional singer before library school, and his library mentor and good friend of 30 years is someone I went to library school with 40 years ago in Texas. Things come full circle.

View from my new back porch

Above is the view from my Texas back porch, looking out at the golf course. Huge yard, lots of green, which someone else takes care of. It’s very peaceful and open and I’m looking forward to seeing it every day.

I ordered moving announcements from Vistaprint to make it easier to let folks know my new contact information. While I was at it, I also got new genealogy business cards. I still haven’t really thought about a business name or plan but I do need people I meet through genealogy circles to know how to reach me and what my credentials are. New cards are easy and inexpensive to get when I do decide on a name.

There are so many things to do when I get to Texas, getting started things. Car things to do – transfer insurance, inspection, registration, driver’s license. Find a new vet for Tessie. Figure out where to get her food. Investigate Texas medical insurance. Register to vote.

Some I can’t do until my stuff arrives, which could take up to 18 days because it’s such a small load. I want to completely reorganize the kitchen, taking out everything, cleaning the cabinets with wood cleaner and lining the shelves and drawers. Dad doesn’t care as long as he can find the basics, and those won’t be moving. But this will be my kitchen and I need to be completely comfortable working and finding things in it. Doing a little thinking now means final decisions on what I will take.

Doing things is easier than processing what’s happening. I’ll have time for that. For now, it keeps me focused to have lists of tasks with deadlines.


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Pity Party for One

Herons at Emerald BayMoving to Texas was my idea and I have no regrets about the decision. But I must confess that it’s hard to once again give up everything I know – even more than usual this time because there’s no new job at the other end. I found myself in tears yesterday, realizing that there’s no one coming with me who shares any memories of life and working days from Virginia to Connecticut with stops in Maine and Boston.

I’ve done this before. I’ve moved to places where I didn’t know anyone in the whole state. Certainly I’m not the only person who’s done this.

But I’m feeling vulnerable today, quiet and sad. And fat, but that’s not anything new. I have 10 work days left and three weeks from today we leave on the big road trip to Texas. Lots to do and think and plan – but I also need to give myself permission to feel and grieve and let go. I’ve been holding on by my fingernails in some ways and that’s not sustainable or healthy. Good thing I’m starting the day with a therapy appointment!


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Four weeks to go

Four weeks from yesterday is my last day at Yale and in five weeks, I will be on my way to Texas. It’s real now, after months of knowing and thinking and starting to do things only to realize/recognize/remember that many steps can’t be taken until the time grew closer. Well, now it’s closer.

As of Sept. 1, I no longer am in charge of anything except time cards at work. There’s a big spreadsheet of “Stuff Anne Did” with names next to each task. My position hasn’t even been posted yet, much less filled, so colleagues will be picking up additional responsibilities for a while. We’ve done lots of shadowing, training, and documenting – and now it’s their turn to actually do the work while I’m around to help answer questions, offer advice, and document further as needed. My office is starting to look empty.

Most of my furniture, and indeed, my stuff, isn’t going with me. I’m moving into my dad’s house which is already fully furnished. But I don’t want to give up everything because, well, this is MY stuff and I selected it and lived with it for years and I like it. So there’s been a long stretch here of sorting through clothes, weeding books, letting go of kitchen pots and doodads. Almost every weekend has had a trip to Goodwill with something.

There’s a table in the main entrance of my building that we call the “give away table.” People put out things they no longer want or need and others can just pick up and take. Since I live in a building with many people on fixed incomes, this can provide a way to add some pretty and/or useful new things, and I’ve taken advantage of the convenience to share my stuff with my neighbors.

Most of the “stuff” has been pared down but there’s still furniture. The bookcases are gone but there’s more. I maybe could have sold the couch, table and chairs, and dresser to students hitting town for the semester but couldn’t stand the idea of living in such bare-ness for weeks. So I’m going to donate everything to Habitat for Humanity and am hoping they can pick up two days before the movers come. That will keep things normal as long as possible which will be good for both me and Tessie.

Although moving is my idea, it’s stressful. I’m giving up my life, my career, my profession, my home, my normal. My IBS is flaring up and it’s still so hot that I’m having problems with edema in my feet – plus i have Achilles tendonitis in one foot, which slows me down. Tessie is picking up on my stress and having some of her own. She knows something is up and it’s unsettling. Little does she know that a 1600 mile road trip is in her future.

Today’s tasks include closing the safe deposit box at the bank, buying a Garmin, ordering new glasses (eye exam was Thursday), weeding out plastic containers and bowls in the kitchen, and mailing a box of stuff to myself at the new house. Tomorrow I’m making a trip to the office to pick up book boxes and some personal stuff. Monday I want to just be a vegetable for a day.

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m ready, I’m scared, and I’m tired.


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Life – the Next Stage

I am retiring in October and moving from New England to Texas to live with and care for my dad.  Yikes. It’s real now that I’ve announced it, and time for concrete plans instead of someday thoughts.  What I know for sure is that I will be settled there before we celebrate Thanksgiving, which will have extra meaning.

My Mom and DadMy dad is 87 years old and in good shape, but he needs someone there to help with small things that are small if you’re there but big if you’re 1600 miles away and can’t help. Medications. Cooking. Writing checks. Just being there for companionship and to share history and grandchildren and rainy days and escaping from baking heat. He’s deteriorated a lot since my mom died last summer and I want him to have the help he needs so we can enjoy the next years. Almost all the family will be within a few hours’ drive so I’ll get to see them regularly for the first time in forever.

My apartment is full of things I don’t need to bring with me. My dad’s house is comfortably sized and fully furnished so who needs the extra pots or bookshelves or bedroom set I’m not in love with anyway?  Much weeding and deciding to do over the next months, but I have time to make good choices of what to let go and what to keep.

After moving and getting settled, I plan to delve back into genealogy research for myself and for others. I have good credentials, experience, and will have the time to do on-site research and document retrieval for others. I’m excited to be able to be able to spend time in courthouses and documents centers during regular working hours after all these years of working around a full-time schedule.

The past few years have been stress-full and there’s so much to do before the moving stage is behind me. But what’s ahead?  looks pretty damned good.


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Healing Power of Doing Nothing

I have done almost nothing over this 10-day recess break period, and this year especially it’s been a blessing I needed more than I knew.  Having this break is a major perk of working in academia. Some years I fly to Texas to be with family, but honestly, I miss them for about 30 min on Christmas morning and the rest of the time I’m happy on my own without the stress of holidays and expectations.

I slept until I woke up most days until I finally feel rested and my eyes look less bruised from lack of sleep.  My time was my own.  I did limited shopping, got a pedicure, had my hair cut and colored, and took Tessie to the vet.  I drove out to a consignment shop an hour away that I’ve wanted to go to for months, and did genealogy research for my 95-year-old neighbor. I bought furniture.

I went through drawers, boxes, closets and shelves to weed out what I don’t need/want to take to my new apartment, lugging bags and boxes to Goodwill – and even more bags to the dumpster or recycling bins.

But mostly I spent the time alone with Tessie and it was just what I needed.  I enjoy being with people but it tires me out, especially in the chaotic bustle of the holiday season.  I brought some work home but kept it in my bag without opening it – which made me really happy.  More to do when I get back tomorrow, but emptying my head of work was necessary.

I hope I can remember all the codes I need to know tomorrow.  But at least I will go in rested and ready to take it on.