Category Archives: husband

Moving: The Definition of Why

We are back in the remote village of Hoonah, Alaska for 8 months. We did live in Juneau, across the water by 35 miles, for about 20 years before trying our luck in the “Outside.” Hands down, we are delighted to be back in a place where life moves slower and everyone knows you. (In fact, it moves so slow here the speed limit is 20mph and everyone waves when you pass them on the road.)

The Outside, as the lower 48 is known, was not all it was cracked up to be for either of us. Too hot, too loud, too many people, too much traffic. Just too much. When the call came with job offers to return to Alaska, we gave an enthusiastic, “on our way.”

Of course, when you’re going to live somewhere for 8 months out of the year, you have to figure out what to do with your stuff. Luckily, 6 years prior we had downsized when we moved out of Alaska, passing on quite a bit of our stuff. Now we had a smaller collection of stuff, but it’s still stuff to sort through. For two months our life consisted of various piles around the house:

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Occasionally I would throw something out….literally into the rubbish bin or put it into a donate pile only to discover it back in the cabinets/closet a few days later. I began announcing, “I’m throwing these socks out. They have holes. DO NOT remove them from the garbage.” It was time to put down the rule with my husband, “If you see something in the trash or donation pile, do not remove them. They’re there for a reason.”

For example, I tried to donate 3 little rectangular trays you’d use for breading items. You know the kind, one for wet, one for flour, one for crumbs. We never used it and I figured Goodwill could find it a new home. Three days later, it’s back in the cabinet. I had a little cooking pot I bought from IKEA that we never used. That also was in the donation pile yet somehow ended back up in the cabinet….

With moving, we had to think strategically and look towards the future.

Take.

Store.

Sell.

Donate.

Trash.

Since we were giving up our home on the east coast completely, we had to think, after 8 months where are we going to spend the remaining 4 months of the year before returning to Alaska? We decided on Arizona. Now we have to plan for two destinations.

So the packing began.

All photos with exception of a very small handful go into storage.

Pots and pans, they’re 20 years old. Donate.

Living room furniture. Sell or trash.

Christmas and halloween decorations. Storage. (Try not to buy more in the meanwhile.)

Books. Donate. Keep. Take.

Garden supplies. Donate.

Cat toys. Take.

Second car. Sell.

Spices. Take.

Soda Stream cartridges. Take.

Favorite hot sauce. Take.

Cat snacks. Take.

Brush lettering supplies. Take. Store.

King size bed. Leave as freebie at the community recycling center where everyone leaves their odd household items.

I know what you’re thinking….moving the king size mattress had to be a nightmare. Not really. We threw it off our balcony. (Yes, we checked there were no people or turkeys in the vicinity. Mostly worried about turkeys.) We were only on the 3rd floor, 4th if you count the basement, of our apartment building. The mattress itself didn’t fly, it dropped like a cinder block, but boy those two box springs got some distance. They floated down like leaves on an autumn breeze. It was like watching a flying carpet.

Luckily, we didn’t keep a bunch of furniture, however our storage unit is quite full. I have no idea what is actually in the storage unit. It’s just stuff. Keeping guard is my favorite halloween decoration, Stan the skeleton, sitting in the office chair. Don’t worry, Stan is backed up by his posse of badass homies….a metal goat and two cows…and a giant paper mache turkey vulture.

After awhile the boxes we mailed to Alaska began to show up and it was like Christmas. One box weighed in at a cool 69 pounds…..1 pound less than the USPS limit. When the boxes arrived, my husband was in Juneau, of course. Since our Post Office is small, I couldn’t leave them there. Trying to lift and carry boxes weighing between 50 – 69 pounds into a 15-passenger van, was like watching the Three Stooges, only I was two stooges short. I swear one of the boxes was as big as a washing machine. How am I going to get my arms around that?

First of all, there is no trunk space in a 15-passenger van. Luckily the van I had was missing the last row of seats. I was like a contortionist trying to heft those boxes from the post office loading dock into the back of the van. Not to mention the way things were positioned, it was impossible to slide them into the van, I had to lift them up into the vehicle. My arms were like silly putty.

Our house is up a hill. Although its March, we still have mountains of plowed snow on either side of the drive. Knowing there was no way I’d be able to carry these boxes the length of the van into the house, I set about doing a 42-point turn in the driveway. I’m sure the neighbors were delighted, the back up beeper kept going off for a good 20 minutes.

“Just back the hell up lady!”

Yeah, well I was working on it.

Obviously, I am not a professional weight lifter. If I was, I could have thrown these boxes on my shoulder and walked them into the house. No chance. Go to Plan B.

Back the van up as close as possible to the house.

Open the van’s back door.

Gently drop boxes to the ground.

Roll said boxes to the house like square tires.

What. The. Hell. Did. We. Send?

Cat beds, blender, food processor, cat toys, clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils, hand soap, shampoo, craft supplies, rice, coffee, hot sauce, coffee mugs, books, pillows, quinoa, chia seeds, yoga mat, blankets, cat snacks, Costco boxes for the cats. The list went on and on.

Now granted, where we live, there isn’t the ability to run to Target and pick up your hair gel, face cream, socks or favorite pasta sauce. We have one grocery, with 4 aisles and a hardware store. The motto goes, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” Which explains why I sent 3 bottles of body wash, 4 bottles of hair gel ,12 packs of cat treats and 3 Costco size boxes of snack bars among many other things.

If we don’t need it in Alaska, like the high speed blender, food processor or pasta maker, then we might need to take it to Arizona….which explains the warmer weather clothing, lighter shoes and more cat toys.

The funny thing about our spot in Alaska, is it’s only temporary for the season. We move all of our stuff into the little house only to pack it up and move it out again at the end of 8 months. As I was unpacking things, I started a new box for donations at the end of our stay….multiple water bottles and a tiny purse for starters. I’m not sure why I thought I needed to bring a crossbody purse. I currently travel with a daily bag that is big enough to not only carry my purse, but my reading material, notebook and all the other little odd ball items I don’t want to be without.

It’s not like I’m going to spend the day shopping or need a small purse to go to a concert or spend the night on the town. There’s none of that here.

Speaking of books, I sent two boxes. Downsizing from a big bookcase to a one-ish shelf is a feat. I’d have better luck putting my leg behind my ear like the cat does – than limit my books. Fiction, non-fiction, art and cookbooks. Have you ever experienced the anxiety and panic that sets in when you don’t have something lined up to read? My point exactly. For me, the feeling is about equal to when a cop car shows up behind you on the highway.

There’s only so many times you can read the back of packages. Some of the books will come with me to Arizona. About 12 boxes went into storage. One box, with my cookbooks is currently on tour with the USPS and I’m hopeful it will turn up. That box also has a smaller version of Rex, the dinosaur from Toy Story. Everyone can identify with a Toy Story character and he is mine. “Rooooooaaar. Were you scared? Tell me honestly.”

(Update since writing the blog. My box on tour did finally show up today. Not in it’s original box, with half of the items missing….including my talking Rex. The rest of the items are dirty and damaged. The good news is the Disney Store had a Rex….and he is currently on his way to me.)

However, no matter how much I planned and sorted….I still found things I regret not packing which we used on a regular basis. Our favorite salad dressing. Taco sauce. Cinnamon. Mixed nuts. While those were definite forehead slapping revelations, I also didn’t pack the hanging octopus drying rack! What was I thinking? Where was I planning on drying my delicates… over a tree branch? Amazon had a lovely blue octopus. I love it.

That’s the thing about moving. It’s all about the stuff. You sort through your life’s collection of stuff and wonder, is it worth keeping? Do I need this? Do I even like this? If I take it, will I use it? What was I thinking when I bought this? Didn’t even know I had this. I’ve been looking for this! Would someone want this? What in the world is this?

After you settle into your new location, regardless if you’re moving a household, office or dorm room, there’s three activities everyone gets to experience:

  1. Murphy’s Law shows up and reminds you, yes, you should have sent the octopus.
  2. Hide and Seek is a new game where you regularly ask yourself, “Where the hell did I put that?”
  3. Tetris skills are required to figure out where/how to store all of your stuff.

Moving is just like coming home from grocery shopping…the goal is to carry it all in at once.

Birthdays Aren’t for Whimps

Let’s be honest. Nobody likes birthdays. Seriously. You’re either dreading the birthday calls, hoping you don’t have to be the center of attention at the monthly birthday gathering at the office or crossing your fingers you don’t have to pretend to LOVE what your mate gives you. Wow, thanks. I’ve always wanted a Big Foot Chia-pet.

Truly, the only one who enjoys a birthday with authorized reckless abandon is a 1-year old. Cake in the hair. No problem. Take their clothes off. No problem. Scream and yell. No problem. Throw the gifts on the floor. No problem. If I did that on my birthday at the kitchen table, I’m pretty sure they’d consider it a break down. “Well you know, she’s not a spring chick anymore.”

I believe I missed the governmental memo on extended birthdays. When did it become the norm to celebrate your birthday for the whole month? I’m going to let you in on a secret, nobody is excited to celebrate your birthday for longer than a day. And that’s pushing it. It’s exhausting. Hip, hip, hooray…let’s do another toast to the birthday person who is turning 22, 34 or 42 and break out the next wave of mandatory gifts and festive attire. This stuff wears down one’s soul faster than an eraser on the SATs.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like birthdays when I was a little kid. Deciding who to invite, dressing up in my fancy dress, having cake and of course, the presents! But at some point, I realized I was just glad to make it through another year. Oh look, where did that body creak, age spot, facial hair come from? It’s par for the course as I successfully roll the stone one revolution up the hill each year.

Speaking of bodily changes, exactly at what age do your toenails start to resemble cat claws? My toenails are two things…thick and sharp. It’s gotten to the point where I’m considering using a Dremel for maintenance. If I’m not careful, I’m going to be like the cats and start snagging the carpet if I go too long between trimmings. A few weeks ago I changed the sheets on our bed and to my surprise there was a tear towards the bottom of the flat sheet.

On my side.

Well, how did that get there I wondered? Maybe the cats were burrowing. Did it happen last time in the wash and I didn’t notice? How old are these sheets? Then it dawned on me. My toe nails.

What is truly horrifying about birthdays are the restaurant celebrations. We have all been witness or unwilling victim to the restaurant fiasco. One of two things happens:

  • A troupe of overly enthusiastic singers arrive with your dessert. It’s obvious they love celebrating birthdays, evidenced by their harmony singing, wide smiles and wild clapping. If you’re lucky, the performance comes complete with confetti and colored lights at your table. It’s such an outstanding performance, you’re left wondering if you should tip them.
  • The other option is where the fearless leader, who has the undignified task of celebrating a birthday in their section, grabs unobservant servers as they cross the room with your cake. Heaven willing, they will NOT be the solo birthday singer today. (Servers who have an eye for avoiding awkward situations have already high-tailed it to the walk-in freezer.) By the time they reach your table, the group looks like they’ve been told to lick the underside of the dining table. Down comes your cake and a hurried “Happy Birthday” is shouted before they retreat.

My husband is not fazed by anything. I could walk in with a face tattoo and he’d simply say, “if that’s what you want.” I could tell a cashier that I would like my groceries wrapped individually in plastic bags so my cats can’t see what I bought….and he would add on to the storyline. “It’s only because we taught them to read and they’re currently the number one You Tube video”, would be one of his potentially added lines.

Awhile back for his birthday, my mother thought she’d get one over on him. We all went to a nice restaurant for dinner. (The kind with table linens.) Somewhere after salad but before entrees, a lady came in with a radio and made a bee-line for our table. I didn’t know what was coming and braced for impact.

A belly dancer.

Hired to dance for my husband.

At our table.

Ching -ching! Ching-ching!

Hip wiggle. Hip wiggle.

My husband didn’t blink. Instead, he moved his chair out so he could participate in the hand gestures. Ching-ching. Ching-ching.

I, on the other hand, didn’t know which way to look. I hate birthdays.

I always feel bad when someone knows it my birthday and asks what the plans are for the big day. It’s such a let down for them. Who knew people lived vicariously through other’s birthdays? My big plan is to go scoop poop at the farm sanctuary I volunteer at, make pesto for dinner and read my murder mystery novel before bed. Although this year I did splurge and picked up a tiramisu for dessert. When you tell someone that, you loose them the moment you say, “poop.” Meh, whatever, it makes me happy.

That’s what it’s all about. Be yourself and be happy. You don’t need the extravagant celebrations to appreciate and acknowledge your accomplishments or who you are as a person. Love yourself every day, not just on your birthday. Be proud of all your creaks, hair in unusual places, gray highlights (Now people pay money for gray hair!), stress lines and laugh lines. It means you’re a survivor and you’ve got this.

Oh yeah, after the belly dancer episode, The Mother and I signed up for belly dancing classes. We lasted 3 classes. Honestly, I only went so I could get a pair of the ching-chings.

The Drama of Sleeping

The last time I had a good nights sleep was in the womb.

While I love to sleep, I would not get a Girl Scout badge for being able to get a Good Night’s Sleep.   My sleep is disturbed on a nightly basis.

Many of us encounter sleep hindrances at night.  Like the boogie man of our younger years.  It’s like dangling your feet over the edge of the bed and taunting the monster who lives underneath, “Come and get me.”  Who will it be tonight?

I’m not even going to discuss the ancient old night time sleep suckers of:

  • Over active brain: computing the answer to mathematical coupon codes and grocery balances only Mrs. Brady would be proud to solve.
  • Night sweats: so horrendous you think you just went through Niagara Falls.
  • Wiggly Leg Syndrome: where you too, can pretend to run the marathon.  Any marathon.
  • Snoring: Your partner’s participation in the “1912 Overture” inserting their snoring as the cannons.

We could go on and on. Eating too late, drinking coffee too late, put down the iPhone for crying out loud!  Uncomfortable bed, too many blankets, exercised too late…maybe your counting sheep are on strike. (told you to buy the second cut hay.)

However, I’m finding my sleep is being interrupted by absurdities.  The ironic thing?

I’m not willing to give them up.

Case one:

Take this morning for example.  Literally.  5:15AM.

I woke up to a “gobble gobble gobble.”

“Gobble gobble gobble.”

“Gobble gobble gobble.”

“Gobble.”

“Gobble gobble.”

Sounds lovely doesn’t it?  Right below my window.

Nature’s alarm clock.

Not one.  Not two.  Not three turkeys.

Try 20.

All chatting. Gobbling.  Talking over one another.

Obviously, about how well they slept.

Imagine a gaggle of elderly ladies all shouting about how wonderful their grandchildren are…or better yet a group of people standing in line at Starbucks waiting in line and the machines go down…”Where’s MY COFFEE?!”  “MINE FIRST!”

Case Two:

Next up are the party animals.

At first you don’t notice them.  Just a bit of loud casual conversations. Next, the group gets going into a roar and then it’s a howler and everyone is in on the whooping and yelping.  Good grief I always think.  There’s only a few of you…amazing the noise.

I don’t keep late hours.  So when this gang gets going somewhere between 9:00PM and 3:00AM…they’re killing me.

Seriously, I love my coyotes though.

I have to laugh, if they start early enough and I’m up and doing something in the living room…..often I think… “that’s a really odd emergency alarm.”  Nope.  It’s the coyotes out back.

I post their voices regularly on my FB page through video….it’s something else.

***

Speaking of sleep habits, last week I woke up in a panic and was immediately annoyed with myself.  I realized I had overslept.

I woke up my better half and told him, “Oh my god!  I overslept! I missed my dentist appointment.”

His response was, “When was your appointment?”

I tell him it was at 10:00AM and it’s NOW 10:30AM!  I overslept!  I missed my appointment!

By this time, I was out of the bed.  I’m completely baffled how this could have happened as I set my alarm.  He gets up at a ridiculously early time every day, before the worms and birds are even up.  He would have made sure I was up. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?

My better half says, “Your appointment was on Thursday?”

I say “Yes! At 10:00AM!”

He looks at me and then says, “It’s 10:30PM.  It’s NIGHT TIME.  Go back to bed.”

I look at him.

I look at how BRIGHT it is in our bedroom.

I don’t believe him.

All the clocks (three of them) say 10:30.

He tells me again, “It’s 10:30 at NIGHT.”

Doubting him still, I go out to the living room and look out the window.

Well hell.  He’s right. It’s night time.

You see, we recently purchased a Himalayan Salt Lamp for the bedroom as several people have told us how wonderful they are for helping with various issues such as migraine headaches. They’re also, when they don’t have a dimmer switch, VERY BRIGHT.

Damn Himalayan Salt Lamp. Case Three

Last night, again, I woke up in a panic.

I thought our bedroom was on fire.

Nope, just the damn lamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OMG! There Is Something IN THE BED!

Scene: 1:30AM. The AC has just kicked on and everyone is sleeping peacefully in the house.

The gentle, tick, tick, tick of the ceiling fan going round and round eases through the hazy night like the register of a musician’s time keeper.

One small feline, known as Taku, is curled up in the middle of the king size bed, next to her momma’s hip. Snuggled in for the night as usual.

Without warning, it strikes.

Here….we go…..the story begins:

Taku erupts like she was spring loaded from a Jack in the Box.

In one swift move, Taku ejects herself from the middle of the king size bed, to the bottom of the bed, to the floor. Something had her and she was terrified. What was worse, it woke me up and I was gobsmacked as to WTF was going on at 1:30 in the morning.

One moment the homo-sapien feline momma was peacefully dreaming of roller-saking at Radnor Rolls and the next minute I’m shock-forced awakened to trauma kitty freaking out about the monster in the bed.

WTF is going on? Who is President? Who won best actor in the Golden Globes? Who married George Clooney? How many days till summer? What day is it? Can I wear pink striped pants and yellow shoes? I’m so confused? I love kitty cats.

What? Where am I?

Taku comes back up into the bed. And decides to…..STALK my better half’s side of the bed.

Taku, is only 9 months old and is generally full of piss and vinegar. For her to be afraid of something, is unusual. This is out of the ordinary. Not to mention…in the middle of the night.

She returns to our bed, and when she does, she is scared and decides to stalk “the prey” by crawling along side my legs as I lay on my back in bed. Belly crawling would be the name of the game at this point.

WTF?

The entire time, she is focused on something on the side of the bed my other half is sleeping on.

Well, thank goodness it’s not my half of the bed.

WHAT IS WRONG? TAKU? TAKU? WHAT IS IT?

Nothing. She is serious about whatever she is hunting.

She is shaking.

She is VERY intent on her kill target.

Shit, was she hoping for a part in Kill Bill?

Then she stops and the posturing beings.

Butt up.

Front leg out.

Whapp. Whapp.

WTF?

She is smacking things in the bed covers.

WTF! WTF!

WHAT THE HELL!

I sit up, look at her, look at what she’s smacking and advise her, like the good homo-sapien mother, “there is nothing here.”

She turns around and hurls herself off the bed.

I start to settle into a doze of a sleep and she is back again. Stalking her prey.

On.
The.
Other.
Side.
Of.
The.
Bed.

I look at her and tell her…..
Taku, there is nothing there.

She ignores me. And then proceeds to belly crawl up the bed towards my hip. Every third step she stops and looks.

Her neck extends like E.T.

I swear, her neck must go another 5 inches in length….ridiculous for such a small cat.

Next thing…..wack, wack, wack…..with her long front legs…..kill that bed cover.

Then she runs off the bed.

Again she comes back up to the bed….and here we go again….crawling along my legs.

Her neck is extending.

She is now got an eye on a new target.

Her head is swaying back and forth on the target……

Her right paw comes up….ready to deliver a grand swat in the dark.

I stop her just as she is about to strike an erie….green.….glow in the dark… a watch face.

For PETE’S SAKE!

This is the last thing I need…Taku Kitty smacking…. the Better Half in the middle of the night…..over a mysterious glowing green watch face! Are you f-ing kidding me? Oh for crying out loud! This is not a monster!

She leaps off the bed, literally throws up on the floor ….because she’s so frightened by what she’s seen. Mind you, by this point, I’ve been whispering to her and trying to calm her down.

All she knows is something nearly had her. All she can see is some ridiculously glowing green thing…..a watch face. Which of course, must die, at 1:45AM.

I’m thinking. Is there something more?
AWESOME.

After throwing up her entire dinner, she gets back up on the bed and proceeds to hunt the attacker.

This has to stop. I have to show her. There’s nothing there. It’s like reasoning with a child.

Right?

I debate. Do I turn on the bedside light or the cell phone light? You know they put those handy little lights in the cell phones now. How nice! The better half says he can sleep through anything. We’ve been together for ever – so I decide….if there truly is something “IN THE BED” then I want to see it clearly, so I’m turning on the bedside light. I put my glasses on and prepare myself.

I flip on the light.

The Mister wakes up immediately….of course and looks at me.

It’s not like I could say, “Our youngest was having a nightmare and thought there was something attacking her….which was YOUR WATCH!”

So I just blink twice at him and calmly say, “Sorry. I thought there was something in the bed. Sorry.” All the while, quickly shuffling the blankets around to ensure I didn’t see anything scurrying around underneath.

Then here comes the ALPHA kitty – Liggy comes up on the bed. She, is of course, foliowed by Taku.

Liggy is the Queen of All Things Cat. And I swear, although Liggy likes to snuggle, I think Taku was so scared, she went and told Liggy…….I can so see this happening and this is how it happened:

“There’s something green and glowing in there and it scared me…you go in there and look.”

So Liggy climbs up on the bed….gets a drink of water out of my water glass and then curls up by my pillow…no big deal. Done. She has done this for years. Get over it small fry…is what Liggy is thinking.

There could have been a Palmeto Bug (aka flying coach roach). There could have been a lizard. There could have been a roach. There could have been a who knows whatever. Liggy doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Liggy is 14 or 15 years old. Whatever. I’m here. Move over. Feed me. Love me. Snuggle me. Get over it, or eat it. Or leave the room. Meh. I’m too old for this shit.

Everyone calmed down or left the room until morning.

I woke up at 6:30, at which point…..we progressed to Chapter 6 of the story:

Taku was still terrified of the bed. She was still very busy hunting that half of the bed. I had to pull all the covers off the bed to show her, “THERE IS NOTHING THERE….STOP BEING SO JUMPY. STOP ATTACKING THE BLANKETS.”

She has since investigated the room numerous times on her own and has come to the conclusion, it was a bad dream that was transferred the the glow in the dark watch face.

I have ensured The Mister has removed the watch and placed it face down on the side table….so as to not cause a pandaemonium overnight. OMG and heaven help all of us if it truly was a Palmetto Bug, or anything else, in the bed….because then truly, you will have to pry me off the ceiling along with the Taku.