Tag Archives: moving

Don’t Let the Cobwebs Gather in Your Elbows

Juneau, Alaska. Check.

Miami, Florida. Check.

Boston, Massachusetts. Check.

Restart…

“We want you both to come work for us.” That’s how the story began.

Girls, pack your cat nip. We’re going back to Alaska. Someone hit the reset button.

Sometimes, it takes you six years to figure out what you prefer in life. Sometimes you take wrong exits off the highway before you figure out your GPS has given you faulty directions and you have to get back on the highway. And sometimes, you have to go out there and see other places so you can extend your family and have more experiences in life.

We’re Off…Like Cats Looking for the Open Can of Tuna!

Once we fired off the confetti cannon and made our decision to go, we quickly packed up our three furry kids, dropped off the two lizards to the nieces and selected some creature comforts to get us through a couple of months of Alaska living. We will be back to Boston in November to remote work and pack up our house, then go back to Alaska in March for the next summer season.

Packing for a second household is interesting. Which garlic crusher do you take? What about cutting boards, one or three? Are we going to need the blender? Better take the mini food processor. Do you think we should take the Learn Spanish DVDs so we have something to do? How many pairs of jeans are you taking? Don’t forget the favorite cat toys. And whatever happens, don’t forget the cat treats. Better pack a Keurig and a bubbler (Sodastream, as I love my bubbly water.)

One would think, if you forgot something, just go to the store when you get there. Right? That’s the thought of 99% of everyone who is traveling to new locations. Except where we’re going, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

We’ll be spending most of our year in Hoonah, Alaska. Population 750 give or take. About 3 miles of paved road and 150 miles of dirt logging roads. Ever see that show, “Alaska Bush People” back when they were in Alaska? Yeah, well, they lived in Hoonah. And no, they were not really living in the wilderness. Talk about fake news.

Hoonah is the largest Tlingit community in Alaska and is located on Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska. It’s about 40 miles west of Juneau or a 20 minute flight. It also has the largest concentration of coastal brown bears in the world, although I have yet to see one. Lots of bear poop on the road, lots of poop.

(What is a coastal brown bear? Apparently, those in the know, decided to make a different class from the typical grizzly bear and classify the coastal brown bear. As I understand it, the coastal brown bear found mainly on Chichagof and Admiralty Islands eat mainly salmon and are therefore bigger in nature, therefore you get a different type of bear. )

Back to the story…

Anyhow, there’s no mall, no Walmart, no Target, no Walgreens, no Kohl’s. There’s a hardware store and small grocery store, whose motto is, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” The other day I was desperate for a pair of plain old regular scissors for home. You know the kind with the orange handle? Went to the hardware store. Found them. $16.

I’ve ordered some things from Amazon, you know I’m a Prime member and all. An electric throw blanket. I thought I’d pick one up at Costco in Juneau, WHEN I FLEW OVER TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING, but they didn’t have them. Normally, Prime is next day delivery or two days, right? Here….it’s two weeks. My blanket should be here by September 27th.

Please Keep Your Claws Inside the Carrier at All Times.

Traveling with the cats is always an experience.

Liggy, our 20-22 year old is a pro. She’s been from Alaska to Miami to Boston. And now she’s gone back to Alaska.

Monkey and Taku, well…they’re a little unimpressed at the whole process. They joined us in Miami, so they’ve only done one journey with us. A flight to Boston. Needless to say, as soon as the carriers come out, all hell breaks loose.

Monkey sings the song of her people, which sounds more like someone who has just eaten a meal that hasn’t agreed with their system and their bowels are about to explode.

Taku silently glares at us. Placing what are undoubtedly triple strength, unorthodox feline hexes on our souls, cursing us into damnation. No snuggles for you.

We break up the flight, overnighting in Seattle as a cross country, to Alaska flight is too long to be stuck in a kennel. Going from Boston to Hoonah is a three flight journey, even with non-stop flights. The upside was once we got to the Seattle hotel and blocked access to behind the beds, the girls decided there was safety in numbers! STICK TOGETHER! Normally, they don’t hang out together….

Cats snuggled in at Seattle hotel, safety in numbers.

When we travel, the two youngest go underneath in the traveling pet cargo area. Which I told them was a disco for pets. I’m not sure they believed me entirely. I did tell them to go easy on ordering the Alaskan beer and mimosas on the flight as altitude can sometimes do crazy things with your alcohol consumption. Liggy travels as my carry on and goes under the seat, she’s a first class pet. Of course at her age, she should be.

However, when we got to Juneau and loaded up into our final plane, Liggy’s eyes were as big as golfballs as she was loaded into the back of our little plane. At least we were all together on this one, everyone was seated in the same compartment. I could turn around, look past the cargo net and see the three girls. Hang on everyone, here we go. One more flight. At least Monkey wasn’t serenading us. If only because Taku had her muttering out the unorthodox feline hex as well. Bonding at it’s finest.

Welcome to Hoonah-lulu

Ah, what a relief.

Not that we finally arrived after traveling for two days, with three cats and five pieces of luggage. One of which was the cat’s suitcase, I kid you not.

But we arrived back where we’re supposed to be.

A good friend greeted us with open arms at the airport, we dropped our stuff at the house, got the girls situated so they could find hiding spots inside the house, then we drove 2 miles of paved road to the grocery store.

It felt like a giant scratchy coat had been shed and cast aside.

I could finally breathe.

I was lighter.

I wasn’t stressed about having to drive down the Boston highway with 14,839 crazy drivers, making left hand turns from right hand lanes. Or taking 90 minutes to go 16 miles. Or swerving lanes as they text on their cell phones.

All of the frustrations of my previous job slid off like waves on a fine sand beach. No longer my issue. Not my problem.

The next day we went into work, doing what we know best…cruise tourism. People are excited about the future. Excited about the possibilities. Excited about the potential. There’s talking, laughing and sharing ideas. There’s big ideas, big plans and things are happening.

There’s no time to sit back. It’s time to jump in and see how we can help. What can we do? Where do we start? It may be the countdown to the end of the 2019 season, but the 2020 season is already in planning and new projects are unwrapping faster than birthday gifts.

It’s thrilling to be back.

Wait, did I mention the view from work?

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Go Faster! Hurry! Outta My Way!

I lived in Southeast Alaska for 20 years, where there isn’t a rush hour, there are rush minutes.  It doesn’t take an hour to go 15 miles.  In fact, there were only 40 miles of road before you ran out of road where I lived.  Of those 40 miles only 9 could be considered a true highway, meaning two lanes in each direction.

Every day now that I live in the suburbs of a big city and work in The City, I spend a ridiculous amount of time in my car going to and from work.  I spend a lifetime in my car.  It is the practice of patience.

Now, I love my car.  I brought my car with me from Alaska.  He’s been to Alaska.  He’s been to Florida.  Now he’s in Massachusetts.  He’s perfect for me.  I can see over the hood.  I can reach the pedals.  I can reach over and unlock the passenger door without effort. There’s not much to him.

In fact, he didn’t come with anything fancy…

No automatic door locks.

He has hand crank windows.

No radio (had to have one installed)

No beep beep to unlock him.

No rear window wiper.

No seat warmers, GPS or USB plugs.

What he does have is a great spunky attitude, cause his name is Norman and he is Absolutely Red.

How do I know he’s is a boy?

Stick shift.

Of course, when I take him into the doctor’s office for a check up, they always get a chuckle and laugh.  “Oh, you drive a unicorn.”  Well.  I guess you could say that too.  He is a rare, mythical being.

For a 3-door hatch back, that you could almost park in a 4 yard commercial dumpster, Norman gets around.  When we brought him up from Florida, he was packed with quite a lot of our household goodies.  Nobody could be believe all this fit in my Norman.

(Note: Cat not included, she arrived separately.)IMG_0312

The other thing great about Norman is winter driving.  Granted, he isn’t going to be climbing Mt. Washington any time soon, he’s not a Subaru…..let’s not get crazy.  But, weigh him down with 150 pounds of cat litter in the back and no problem!  Did I mention Norman is coming up on his 11th winter?  He’s the bomb at winter driving.  Small but mighty!

The one thing however, that is NOT Norman’s speciality is speed.  Well, it depends on where you live.  Speed for Alaska, Norman was a champion.  Speed for Miami we managed as it was mostly giant highways and we just had to stay out of the way.  Easy enough. Speed for Boston, there isn’t enough highway and way too many people.  Mostly angry, impatient people.

Norman can go 80mph.  In fact, he could go 90mph.  He doesn’t like it and will tell you all about it with a rattle and hum.  His comfortable maximum cruising speed is 70mph.

When Norman reaches 70mph, that’s when he has to call in the reinforcements.  The squirrels…. to back up the little chipmunks that normally power the car.  When you have to ring up the squirrels, it’s never a good thing cause they’re usually in the middle of their bocce ball game, taking bets on who is going to beat Marge and Harry.  Then you have to bribe them with extra peanuts, which they don’t take, they want walnuts and not just any walnuts…they want the good ones with the gold star from California.

Now here’s the thing driving in Boston.  It’s three to four lane highways.  It doesn’t matter if we’re going into The City for work, going home from work, going to the volunteer at the animal sanctuary on the weekends….Norman and I are smart enough to know.

Stay to the right.

We aren’t the fastest.  We’re not fooling anybody.   Can’t you see, I’m actually leaning forward in my seat a little to try and go faster?

I’ll be damned.

Without fail however.

It doesn’t matter.

I always get someone behind me.

A Lexus.

A Honda.

A (insert brand here) pick up truck.

A BMW.

A commercial van of sorts.

Who is insistent on riding my bumper.

Now this is what I alway say out loud.  “If you look to your left, there are three other lanes to choose from over there.  Look at all that space over there!  What makes you think by choosing to ride my ass, it’s going to make all of us go faster?  News flash….I’m in a Yaris.”

Then it dawned on me.  Apparently, Norman has magically powers.

Obviously these City people think Norman has The Power….maybe it’s because he’s a mythical Unicorn….but they think he has The Power….to control highway speed.

To date, my little Norman, the Absolutely Red Toyota Yaris, has yet to transform into a  Ferrari.  If he does, I’ll let you know.  Until then, we’ll continue to ride on the right….more power Marge and Harry!

 

 

 

 

Drama of Apartment Hunting

We thought we might want to move into a new apartment.  Save some more money, move into a location that has more green area and basically go see what’s out in the wide world of Massachusetts apartments .  We’ve been in our current location for 3 years, but our rent keeps going up and it’s a bit absurd….so we thought we’d go look.

In reality, we miss thunderstorms.  Where we live now, we’re a weather vortex.  No thunderstorms.  Very little snow.  Notta.  In three years, I can count on one hand how many thunderclaps we’ve had here.  Everyone else gets them, but not us.  After studying the weather patterns, it’s obvious we need to move north or west.

So there you have it….the search is on for a thunderstorm location.

I have been using an online app that allowed me to filter by every requirement imaginable:

Location, cost, allowable pets, travel time to work, a/c in unit, how many bedrooms… etc.

On the weekend, we set off with a list of 6 apartments, we visited 5.  Came home with one potential.  Out of the others, the 6th location’s office was closed due to a showing and we waited but they didn’t return.  I was okay with this as one set of homies were hanging out in the back of a pick up truck and the another set of homies were having a party in the commons.  The other three, as you may guess, provided blog material that I couldn’t make up.

Let me walk you through the contestants.  Mind you, on the app, these looked like winners!  And yes, the communities have had their names changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent…so it appeared.

Contestant #1: Castle in the Woods.  Going north of town…the online description was lovely.  You could even rent units that had a turret!  I want a turret.  We arrived and proceeded to do our customary drive through the development.

All the buildings were set within a wooded development.  It was a very cute tudor style concept.  We drove around and around.  Kids playing in the pool.  Several areas for grilling with picnic tables.  A few people of various nationalities walking around the development.

We go to the office, explain our requirement:

  1.  Washer and dryer in the unit
  2.   Access to outside via balcony for The Girls
  3.   Air conditioning

Everything else we can kinda work around, but these are must haves, without question.  Without these, we don’t move forward.

We are then taken on a tour of an available 2 bedroom apartment. Great, one is available, so this is perfect, as looking at the model is never ideal.  As we make our way over to the unit, the manager tells us, “All 2 bedrooms with w/d are on the first floor.” By first floor, I mean, subterrain.  Yes, as in underground.  This defeats our number 2 requirement of, “we have to have a porch or balcony for The Girls.”

Huh.  Okay.  We proceed into the building where you could have popped open the “security door” with a screw driver.  Inside the apartment, the laminate floors were bubbling up and the musty/mildew smell hit you like the odor of strong blue cheese.  Not to mention the rotting wood on the outside of the building.

We inquire when the buildings were constructed.  1971.  Oh, so these are retro original designs?  Great.

Upon the conclusion of the tour, we get back into the car and I’m trying to be somewhat positive about the whole experience.  “Well it had a lot of cabinet space.  We could make the stackable washer and dryer work.”  The Mister looks at me after awhile and says, “It was a shit hole.”

Whew, what a relief, cause I didn’t want to live there.

Contestant #2: Fields of Fancy.  We next drive to the location,  west of the city, as I had found a cute little development that had HUGE balconies.  Perfect for The Girls.   The website mentioned newly renovated interiors and the property is next to a big state park!  Sounds perfect.

We make the 45 minute drive, from the northern apartment hunting locations and drive through the development for first inspections.  Several red lights begin to flash in my mind:

  • Some units have curtains that are sheets or blankets – not usually a good sign.
  • There’s also some screens on the ground and some rain gutters as well.  Warning sign number two in my book.

However, we drove all the way over, so it’s worth stopping in to at least check it out so we can say we saw them.

After a few minutes, we find the leasing office, park the car and make our way inside.

  • Warning sign number 3 shot through the air like a flare,  when we saw the note posted on the door indicating that access to the pool was an additional charge.  What?

We go inside anyway.

The leasing agent currently has someone at her desk and the resident is very upset.  The Mister and I try to give them some privacy, which is hard to do, when you’re standing in an office area as big as an elevator car.  Luckily they had a coffee area off to the side, so we made our way over there to view the floor plans that were posted on the wall.  The Mister proceeds to make a coffee and the conversation begins unfolding like a movie.

His concerns went something like this:

“If you don’t do something.  If something happens to my wife.   If something happens to my dogs.  I will sue this entire company.  I am calling the police!  I will bring ICE in here and haul out the illegals by the truck load!”

At this point, I look at THE Mister, shake my head and tell him NO.  He says, “I’m not going until I get my coffee.”

The resident continues, “My wife’s right bumper of her car has already been pulled off and there is a scratch on her car!  She is a legal resident of the United States.  I am going to sue this place if anything happens to her or our dogs.  I even spoke to the woman who lives downstairs and she’s happy I’m doing something because those guys in the car are nothing but trouble.  I will bring ICE in here!”

I give The Mister the look again. This is getting awkward.  We need to go before we become part of something.

Without looking back, we make our way to the door and exit.  The Mister, with his coffee in hand, of course.

We get to the car, The Mister advises, the coffee is nothing but dark colored water….and he dumps it out.

Obviously,  Fields of Fancy is a big nope.

Contestant #3: Welcome to Paradise. Another western development, that looked gorgeous online and was advertised as spacious homes was Welcome to Paradise.  All two bedrooms faced a green belt, it’s near the commuter rail, has granite kitchens, theatre room on site etc.  I truly thought, this could be a good possibility.

However, when we pulled up, we should have taken our cue when an unattended car, left in reverse, rolled into one of the employees’ cars….which rolled into a resident’s car….and dented the shit out of it.  But you know, accidents happen.

We were off to a great start.  They have limited 2 bedrooms come open due to their popularity – a good sign.  But they may have something when we are looking to move.  The agent advises she does have one unit open for viewing, A9, the new tenants are due to move in next week, so it’s currently vacant.  It’s the exact floor plan we’re interested in so we can quickly go view it.

Fantastic!  She advises, “since the last tenant has just moved out and the new ones have not yet moved in, we haven’t turned it yet, so it will be a little messy.”  By turning it, she means they haven’t had the professional cleaner come into the apartment yet to prep for the new tenants.  Not to worry, we won’t care.

The three of us head over to the building next door and head up to the 9th floor to see the unit.  It’s like going to a fancy hotel.  Very she-she.  You walk into the main lobby and they have a big round reception table with flowers and then a bank of elevators behind that.  On the 9th floor, we get off and step on plush carpet and the walls are a beige and royal blue color – very nicely chosen.  I think, I could do this.  Very nice.

Once at A9, the agent knocks on the door, just to make sure and then inserts the key.  She opens the door and the first thing that catches our eye is a Whole Foods shopping bag.

?

She opens the door a bit more and yells out, “Hello?!  Welcome to Paradise management, is anyone here?”

She opens the door a bit further and we see several pairs of shoes and flip flops and an areas obviously set up for a baby.

?

Then a voice comes from the back of the apartment, “Yes?”

The agent says, “I’m with Welcome to Paradise management, is it okay if we enter?”

The voice and now person, who is a young man…with baby crying in a bedroom in the back somewhere says “Yes.”

I look at The Mister and think, “SQUATTERS!”   Then I take a step back and think, “We aren’t really going to go in are we?”

Next thing I know the agent it going in and apparently so are we.

OMG.

The previously tenants very obviously had NOT moved out at the end of their lease, 3 days ago.  This gentleman had apparently been sleeping, by the looks of it and was caught completely off guard.

Not to mention, so are we!

Here we were standing in his hallway as the agent explained the layout of the apartment.

All I could think was:

  1.  I’ve never seen so many pots and pans in my life piled up in a kitchen.
  2. I don’t know what to say.
  3. I don’t even know where to look.
  4. Could the earth open up and swallow me?

We get past the pot & pan collection center, to the living room area and all I could utter was, “it’s remarkable how spacious it appears.”  Then I wandered over to the sliding glass door to look outside.  Yep, there’s trees out there.

At that point, the agent advised we wouldn’t be seeing the bedrooms.  Heavens no, I thought.  This poor man is about to have a coronary right here on the spot.

We all thank him and go back to the hall.  She locks the door and then we all look at each other, “Well that was awkward.”

While I can’t say that our apartment hunting was a failure, it gave us some great stories and we found one possibility up north!  Most people would only be lucky enough to experience just ONE of these experiences on an apartment hunting mission.  Leave it to us…..we get multiples.

I’m almost afraid as to what will happen the next time we go in search of our next nest.  We are creating the next list, stand by.

 

 

 

 

New Gynecologist – One Way to Start Your Day.

When you move, you need lots of new things.

New house keys.
New way to get to work.
New utility company.
New curtains.
New stuff in general.

You also get the bonus, if moving far enough away from your current location,
a new cha-cha doctor.

I’m not talking about a dance instructor either.

First of all, the one thing I can’t get over in my mind, is
WHY?
WHY?
W H Y?
Would a man want to be a gynecologist?

It’s not like the female nether-region is a beautiful thing to look at.

Who wants to look at those?

All.
Day.
Long?

After his 50th one, would he not be bored?

No doubt, the next time his lover wants to strip down and have a passionate love making session……he is going to have one of several thoughts:

Eh, I’ve seen better.
Ugh, I don’t want to see another one.
Wow, if they were all as lovely as yours.

I don’t get it.
Which is why I always go with the female gyno.

Besides, she gets the whole concept of having a coochie.

Thank you.

So today I started my day with a visit to my new obgyn.
Excellent. Can’t wait.

First off, I tried to find someone close to my office.
Check. Under 6 miles away, however in Boston that could still be 30 minutes of travel time.

Second, had to be female.
Check.

Third, had to have a good reputation.
Check.

Fourth, I had to be able to pronounce their name.
Check.

There is nothing worse than someone saying, “What’s the name of your doctor?” And the only thing you can say is, “Well, it starts with a SK….”

I turn on my WAZE app – and The Terminator – directs me to the front door of the new doctor’s office. He avoids traffic congestion so I traveled this morning through some neighborhoods that were overflowing with mansions. Tiny, winding, two lanes, through the woods kind of area….and enormous….gargantuan homes. Big enough to hold a medium sized fortress of warriors if necessary. Beautiful.

The downside to this morning’s drive is that I had NO IDEA where I was going and I’m sure the people behind me were very much screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” I’m literally dazed and confused.

Sorry folks, keep calm, I’ll make up my mind in a moment. Okay, it may be two moments. Stand by….I’m waiting on The Terminator.

With fifteen minutes to spare, I arrive at the office.
I’m always late, so this fifteen minutes is obviously a mistake.
OR
I didn’t actually get lost on the way over!

Up to the office I go and check in.
They give me the standard clip board to respond to the various questions.

Do you smoke?
Do you take drugs?
Do you drink?
Do you wear a helmet?
Do you have any allergies?
Do you wear a seatbelt?
Do you drag race?

Yes, seriously, it asked if I wore a helmet.

When they asked me in person, I said, “well, not in daily life.”

Then into the health questionnaire I go….hang on to your hats.
There must have been 100 possible health issues.
At the top it said the usual: check mark if you have / had any of the following:

Acid Reflux
Acne
Aging
Aggravation
Arthritis
Anemia
Angina
Anxiety
Ass issues
Asthma
Athlete’s Foot
Avian Flu
.
.
.
.
.
.
Back Pain
Beetlejuice Complex
Binge Eating
Bird Flu
Blisters
Bloating
Bone Spurs
Bound feet
Bruising
Belly Dancing Fetish
Bulimia
.
.
.
.
.
Heart palipatations
Heart failure
Heart murmer
Heart weakness
Heart attack
Heart value complications
Heart disease
Heart worms
Broken heart
Hemorrhoids
Hearing loss
Hot single last-nerve complex

You get the picture. It was all you would think they’d ask and then everything else.

I didn’t even have a chance to complete my paperwork before they called my name. It was the helmet question that hung me up. I should have taken a photo.

Into the little room I go to verbally answer the questions that were on the paper. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me god.

What I’ve discovered is that I should have check marked, memory failure.

In the interview I was expected to remember things that happened 30 years ago. Seriously. Who remembers when they got their first period? What? No clue. When did I first have sex? What age did I learn to drive? What? When was my first obgyn exam? How old was I when I discovered the truth about Santa? I make them up and advise them of such by adding an “-ish” on the end.

How old was your father when he died?
No clue. Sad. But true.

My answer tactic, is……I turn my head to the left, look out of the corner of my eye to the right, squint and say, “65-ish.”

How old is your mother? I turn my head to the left, look out of the corner of my eye to the right, squint and say, “65-ish.” This, I know is a lie…

Because of the next question….

What age did your grandmother die? I know this one, cause my mother says it all the time, “You know Grandmom died at 65, I shouldn’t live this long.” She is obviously older than 65 – The Mother.

You see a pattern here? I also say out loud that I really need to put this stuff down on a piece of paper. I just don’t remember these things. I only have so much space in this walnut of grey matter. I can barely remember my own phone number let alone how old people are….and when I got my first period.

This concluded our historical overview of my life. I was then advised to get undressed and the doctor “will be in really quickly.”

Seriously?

What doctor ever arrives quickly?

Quickly according to whose watch?

Do you mean quick in patient time?

Quick in a doctor’s time who may or may not always be running late, so today they’re closer to on time?

Doesn’t matter…I do the one thing I can do:
I stripped faster than a dancer at a tits & ass club.

Then I sat.
And waited.

Then I realized I had to pee.

In Alaska, they take a pee sample. So I’ve been waiting to go. There was no mention of peeing in a cup.

I open the door and stick my head out into the hall.

Fear not, I have my gown, which opens in the front – wrapped tightly around my body.

I see a young doctor – MALE – down the hallway.

I don’t see my nurse.

So I wait inside the door. Not two minutes later she comes bounding in – scared the both of us. Apparently the young MALE doctor alerted. Good doctor! Good boy!

I explained the previous doctor always took a sample “What for?” was the response. Well, to test whatever it was they wanted to test.

Then she advised me the gown should go with the opening to the back.

REALLY? This is great news!

Down the hall I go, pee in a cup and turn my gown around.

I return to my little room and not two minutes later in walks my new doctor.

The first thing she tells me, while staring me straight in the eyes is she is an instructor at her hospital and she has a doctor in training.

A
MALE
DOCTOR.

Would I mind if he came in for the appointment?

She then said some more things but I couldn’t get past: MALE DOCTOR IN TRAINING.

I had flash backs to all those hospital shows where the esteemed doctor brings in the interns to see how it works. What?

A MALE DOCTOR IN TRAINING.

The interns gather around the bed. Ask crazy questions. Prolong the experience.

A MALE DOCTOR IN TRAINING.

Do I want not only another doctor looking at my YaZoo but a MALE DOCTOR IN TRAINING?

He’s learning. Not leering.

Meh. Blech. Seriously, is it rude to say no?

I finally snap back into reality and advise her, it’s fine but when it’s exam time – he needs to go.
OUTSIDE.

She waves Dr. Jordan into the room.

Oh My God. It’s the same doctor person I saw in the hallway 5 minutes ago.

He is so young. I don’t even think he shaves yet.

I immediately reach back to make sure my butt is covered in the gown.
Check.

He introduces himself and I shake his hand.

His hand could compete with a freshmen boy at a dance for the sweat factor.

He was more nervous than a short person in a room of giants.

More nervous than the chicken trying to get across the damn road.

Okay, I’m the naked one here.
Are you certain you want to work in this profession?
There’s nothing to be nervous about – seriously.

I mean, if I fall off this table and you see everything cause my gown will have exposed my entire being – then hell yes….we have an embarrassment factor. Overload in fact. But, no need to worry about it, cause I’m not going to fall off the table.

The doctor and I reviewed how I got here, why I moved, my health, the goal for the day etc. I spoke to both of them. They couldn’t believe my age. When I said, I was very dull, she insisted I was quite entertaining. Alright then. Then I literally thought, “oh if you only knew how entertaining….I have a blog.”

Eventually the young and impressionable and awkwardly placed Dr. Jordan was asked to leave the room.

Breast exam. Check.
Feet up. Check.
Poke. Poke. Poke. Check. Check. Check.

Done.

Really?

Okay. Really?
We’re done?

I didn’t have to sit and wait in the lobby.
No peeing in the cup on demand.
I wear the gown with the opening in the back.
I get nervous learning doctor with sweaty hands.
The exam is focused and no nonsense.
I’m in and out in an hour.

Really? We’re finished. Is this good or bad? No idea, but I’m delighted I don’t feel like someone should have bought me dinner after the whole thing.

Eureka.

Now I need to make a note to remind The Mother to send me a note with everyone’s death dates, causes of death and when they discovered the truth about the Toothy Fairy. Someone has to know these things – either than or its off to Ancestry.com.

Miss Me Yet?

I get it.

The dryer eats socks.

The refrigerator eats cat toys.

The couch eats change.

The bottom desk drawer eats crap I decided at some point was necessary for my life at work.

Fine.

It.

All.

Makes.

Sense.

What I don’t get are the things you see on the side of the road. Or better yet, along the sidewalk.

Forever lost to someone.

I’m not talking about wads of gum or cigarette butts. Nor am I talking about toothpicks, or more specifically those weird harp on a stick looking ones. Actually, they might be a little tiny guitar for a gnome. I didn’t think anyone actually used those. Boy, am I surprised!

Side note: I would also like to make mention, over the last two weeks, there has been an ungodly increase in the number of bandaids along my walking route to work. It doesn’t matter if I’m coming from my beloved ferry or the newly discovered train route. There are bandaids EVERYWHERE. All stuck to the sidewalk (as opposed to the lamp-posts).

They’re rubber slugs that have given up and collapsed.

Right there.

Between Congress and Seaport.

Done.

Expired.

Small ones, regular ones, circular ones and some that are large enough my cat could wear it as a bonnet. My lizards could use it as a hammock.

Johnson & Johnson must have seen an uptick in their bandaid sales in Boston.

What’s with the bandaids? There’s a hell of a lot of bloody blistered feet in town.

And don’t be telling me it’s from the Boston Marathon. That was April 20th and we’re now in June. (insert buzzer sound here)

But, if you were to look at some of the footwear….it makes sense. I was behind a girl today who was not so elegantly hobbling on 4 inch wedges. She had a swagger like Captain Jack Sparrow.

He, by the way, is adorable. Swagger…..Me Now….Meow.

She, swaggering like a squirrel, who just painted their toenails with silver glitter polish and can’t stop admiring them enough to take a step….not so adorable.

FOCUS! Christ, it’s exhausting to watch!

I’m just saying.

If you can’t walk in the shoes, don’t buy them. They make you look like you have no sense of balance and you’re trying to walk a tight rope with giant marshmallows strapped to your feet. You have no clue where your next step is going to land and you’re all over the sidewalk.

But, I digress.

Thank you for your patience.

What I can’t figure out is all the random shit left behind.

The other day. Route 3. A giant stuffed tiger was on the side of the road. I’m talking a kids toy, not a treasure hunter’s dream from Asia. It’s literally miles between exits. How did it end up out there? Then, of course, my mind begins to wander. Was some small child crying they lost their tiger?

I was sad.

Sad for the kid.

Sad for the tiger.

Will this tiger end up on the front of some trash truck? You know what I’m talking about. Will he be happy? I did once see mannequin heads on the side of a trash truck. I didn’t have a chance to snap a photo but damn…that was creepy yet surprising awesome.

Obviously, I’ve watched Toy Story too many times.

Walking you see all kinds of random things. Random enough that I have thought to myself, more times than I’d like to admit….”If I was homeless, this would be a score.”

I’ve seen baby bottles, blankets, shirts, socks, fleece pull overs and tarps. The tarp would be a score as would the fleece pull over.

But then there are the things I see where I scratch my head and just have to say….WTF?

Earlier this week…on my way to grab a sandwich for lunch I came across a shoe on the sidewalk. A perfectly decent loafer. A left one at that. IMG_1886
HOW DO YOU LOOSE A LOAFER?

I’ve seen shoes along the highway. The only thing I can think is someone gets pissed and throws the other person’s shoe out the window when they’re sleeping. Ha. Ha. Ha. So funny. Fucker. Wait till you go to sleep and I’m going to take a permanent marker to your face. Then we’ll see whose laughing.

I’ve seen a right sneaker and then a mile down the road the matching left sneaker. Okay, they obviously left them on the roof of the car and drove off.

Then there are the random flip-flops. Alright. Well, not a huge loss. It’s a flip and a flop. Meh.

But a brand new left foot loafer? You’re going to miss that. Especially if you are currently wearing the right one. Walking down the side walk. With a limp. Duh. Where’s my shoe?

What the hell is going on here? Aliens. Blame the aliens. Always blame the aliens.

The shoe didn’t even have time to get it’s white parts dirty! It makes no sense. Of course, I took a snap!

The other thing that baffles me are the people who move and randomly leave their belongings along the roadside. Are they leaving breadcrumbs to find their way back? If you don’t want to move, don’t. Shouldn’t be a newsflash.

I feel, one of two things could be happening with these cushions….

1. The owner of the couch wants a new couch. Easiest way to get a new couch. Loose a cushion.
2. It was an accident. In which case, sitting on a bunch of duct taped phone books is going to be unfortunate.

Just saying.

Today is Friday and on the way home, I stop at the grocery. I run in and then when I come out, something catches my eye. I look over one space to the left. IMG_1946

Are you kidding me?

Who looses their PILLOW?

This isn’t a fluffy, throw on the bed as decoration type of pillow vis a vis Marilyn Monroe. This isn’t a porn star’s, I need some lift and support, type of pillow. This is a regular, put your head down and go to sleep type of pillow.

First off, what are you doing with a pillow in the grocery parking lot?

Secondly, why is it in the shopping cart return?

Then I think…..ohhhhh, if I was homeless, that would be a score! (what is wrong with me?)
And next, I snap a picture.
Of course.

Beantown Observations #1

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I am approaching the 3.5 month mark of living in the Boston area.

Things I’ve learned.

1. I don’t believe they have any streets that go in a straight line. Whoever designed the road system must have been drunk or on the tilt-a-wheel ride. How many intersections have I come across where it’s not the typical four, perfectly 90 degree angled lanes, we all love. No, I’m talking 5 lanes…or 3 lanes… and every which way but straight ahead roadage. I get so confused, that I can’t figure out which stop light is my light. I pray to either get through the light or have someone in front of me who knows the area.

2. They LOVE roundabouts. Or traffic circles.
LOVE.
THEM.
Generally they have 3 or 4 exits off of them, as normal roundabouts would. But no, last night, I entered a roundabout where Elvis, on Waze, told me I had to get off at the “6th exit on the roundabout.” How in the hell am I supposed to know when I’ve reached the 6th exit? First off, I’m trying not to get killed in the two lane traffic. Secondly, it’s not like there’s any signage. Thirdly, the roundabouts are strange little NASCAR race tracks…no lines, it’s a free for all. Enter from the right and keep on going. Best to just keep your eyes shut.

Needless to say I went around this particular circle….TWICE.

3. If you come to an intersection, where you have a stop sign and the road in front of you has traffic going in both directions…you know from left to right….and right to left…..

Well, if you are waiting for traffic to clear and you don’t move fast enough, the residents here won’t honk at you. They just drive around you.

INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC.

And to think I thought Miami drivers were crazy!

The kicker is, as I learned today, when two cars went around me…… The oncoming traffic STOPS!

4. Cars here don’t have horns. Unlike Miami, now when I hear a horn, it scares the hell out of me. They are rarely, if ever, EVER used.

E V E R.

Forty thousand of us could be backed up on the main highway into downtown Boston. In fact, we are every morning, but you don’t hear a single honk. No beep. No WAAAAHHHHH. Nothing. We’re all in this together. Putting along at 7 mph.

5. Houses here are stinking cute. CUTE. CUTE. And historic. I saw one the other day, with a giant sign over the front door. It was “Ye Olde ______ House.” I can’t remember the name. I quickly scribbled it down on a piece of paper while I was sitting at the light. Researched it on Google. Yeah, it is a historic house, belonging to the wax maker that supplied the candle wax for Paul Revere’s candles. You know, the whole one by land and two by sea? Well this little house currently has 4 apartments. Oh and a guy was killed there last year. (I joke about the wax maker. Not the killing.)

6. There is history EVERYWHERE. I love it.

7. The check out folks at the two Whole Foods I’ve gone to are actually NICE! Genuinely nice. In fact, everyone here is nice. It’s odd. Strangers talk to each other. They let you into traffic. They hold doors for you. I thought Alaskans were friendly. Well, these folks here are Alaskan cousins. Of course, after this winter….I’m calling our area, “Little Alaska.” That was a whole other earlier blog…the winter. Some of these people I’ve met for the first time, I feel like I’ve known them FOREVER. Odd.

Of course, the fact that my new chiropractor said she can’t help it …..but I remind her of someone, she can’t put her finger on it. Then she said Anna from the show Downton Abby. Okay. I’ll take that.

8. They have a lot of wildlife. And I don’t mean just squirrels and birds. Right now there are hundreds of frogs outside singing in the night air. Could be thousands, but since I am not a fan of frogs (they’re so unpredictable) we’re going with hundreds. Coyotes roam in the woods behind my house and literally take down deer. Someone said to be happy it killed the deer…. as the deer has ticks. Yeah, well, I don’t think a deer is going to try and take me down on my way to take out the trash at night…..a coyote…could. And I’m small. And if I’ve just had a bath, I’m salty from the detox soak concoction I make. If anyone wants to know where the wild turkeys are hanging out ….they’re here! I hear them in the morning in the woods behind our place. Gobble, gobble, gobble. The cross the highway like they’re on the Thanksgiving Day Parade! They’re protected along with the squirrels, coyotes and Fisher Cats.

9. I see things I haven’t seen in ever time period….still operating Dairy Queens. Shoe repair shops. Nearly every gas station is full service. Of course, when I drive into the gas station, all I hear is, “Monna. Wachta servictico bolded whishtenfoul booperbump today?”

Did you catch that?
Me neither.
It’s the Boston accent.

Wicked Smarht.

Yeah, fill it up, unleaded. Fuck. Shut the door. No idea what that guy just said. Good thing Norman is only a 10 galloner.

10. The crowning glory, for the moment, which was a tie with the beauty of spring. Trees are just leafing out…whites, pinks, greens, yellows….just gorgeous. No, the crowning glory has to be the genius idea to offer a ferry from this side of the pond right into downtown Boston. Forget the driving. Buy a breakfast sandwich from the lunch truck out front of the ferry terminal, where the guy knows your name or jump on board and get a cuppa cuppa coffee. Relax and enjoy the ride. The best part of this ferry? The return trip. BAR SERVICE BABY! Oh yeah! 40 minutes….what can I get ya?

Standing Room Only.

I’m not going to lie.
When we left Alaska, it was exciting to be going to Miami.

Daily sunshine.
Palm trees.
The beach less than a mile away.
Warm weather.
Rocking thunderstorms.
Eating outside.
Not having to wear a winter coat 8 months out of the year.
Disney was a short drive away.
Fresh coconuts.

Delightful.

After about a year, the novelty wore off.

For us Alaskans, it was always hotter than Hades.
The humidity was so thick even the cats’ fur was frizzy.
Christmas wasn’t the same without snow.
We didn’t speak Spanish.
The insanity of the drivers on I95.
Honking is relentless.

Enough already. So we started to look north to New England.

We landed just south of Plymouth Rock this February and couldn’t be happier.

Of course, we arrived in the middle of winter. And for anyone who is familiar with the legends of the 2015 Boston winter….you can only imagine what we faced. Of course, we were likely the ONLY people in the Boston – New England area that was THRILLED to see snow.

Need someone to help shovel? We’re on it.
No, it’s not too cold to go out for a walk.
Forgot something at the store? We can go.

Laying in bed at night, we were like little kids, “do you think it’s snowing yet?”

With the first snow storm coming down, the schools quickly started to broadcast on the TV who was going to be closed. Okay, when I was a kid you had to listen to the radio (1060AM) the morning of school to know whether or not you were making the trek into school. Things have progressed in the school districts!

Image

At any rate, we went over the public transportation again and reviewed how I would get to work on my first day. (Actually, earlier in the week we did the entire route just to be certain I knew where I was going on my first day.) I was ready to go.

Buzz-buzz-guess what?

The recruiter who had been along with me for the entire hiring ride, emailed me on Sunday night… “Work is cancelled for tomorrow. It’s a snow day.”

Really?

Huh. Okay. Well, this is definitely different than Alaska.

The next morning we awoke to multiple feet of snow. So exciting!

That night, the Mayor of Boston was on tv and says, “Due to the blizzard, all non-essential employees should stay home tomorrow.”

Well.

Am I non-essential?

I feel pretty damn essential.

How do you know if you haven’t been told if you’re essential?

Excuse me, could you tell me if I am a non-essential worker?

You see, I now work for the city, so yes…I could be essential or non-essential.

Buzz-buzz-guess-who?

My recruiter emails and tells me officially, “Day two snow day. No work.”

Apparently, I am non-essential. (Well, they haven’t seen my tiara yet…so just wait! Think that is what makes one essential. It’s really good when I bring out the confetti cannon.)

Day two snow day! Whoop! Whoop! Of course, at the end of the blizzard, approaching Wednesday. I’m suddenly filled with, like a little kid, “but I don’t want to go to work tomorrow!”

I wait in front of the TV to watch school closings. Few come.
I check my email for a note from my recruiter. Silence.

Okay, I’m going in.

Image 8

Fast forward about two weeks. Boston has been hit again, again, again and again with snow. People’s cars are buried until Spring.

You can’t see around the corner at stop signs. Wild animals are being brought to animal shelters cause they can’t find food. Even birds!

It was my goal all along to take public transportation in to the office however, lucky for me and thousands of other commuters…the snow storms have wrecked havoc on the public transportation system.

Multiple lines of the “T” are closed cause the crews can’t clear the tracks. People are left stranded. It has become a disaster. I would arrive to the T-stop in the morning along with 50+ of my closest stranger friends and everyone would stand together – looking down the tracks – waiting for the train.

We were like a bunch of penguins out there. Hands in coat pockets. Breathing into our coat collars. All positioned looking due east….anticipating the train.

If we’re freezing out on the platform, it’s okay because due to the snow levels and route cancellations….the train has become:

Standing
Room
Only

Seriously.

Image 3
NOTE: These aren’t my arms. These aren’t my body!

We all know how I like to snuggle up next to strangers. I might prefer to have lunch with a leper.

But the roads are bad enough that I don’t want to drive the 16 miles – so commute I must.

Going into the city, I NEVER got a seat. Since some routes were cancelled, hundreds of additional people crowded on the available trains.

Image 2

(NOTE: This is just the stop before mine – hundreds got off.)

After a week of riding out of the city, I figured out a system and I GOT a seat. It was euphoria when I figured this out. At the main station, my train always came into the same track. Although it was to arrive at 5:40PM, with the weather, sometimes it didn’t show up until 6:15PM.

I would wait calmly, well bundled up, close to the area where my track was outside. As soon as I saw the headlight make the turn towards that track, I started walking.

Excuse me.
Pardon me.

Sneak around this guy and that woman.

By the time I got towards the front of the pack, a few people…usually men…would start to walk down to the track. (Technically you’re supposed to wait for the train to come all the way into the gate and stop…) Nope, not happening for a select few. I was in the front herd. Those that don’t listen to the directions. I joined them.

The result? When the train came to a complete stop, I was usually by one of the doors!

Yahoo! I beat the system!

Why wait for the pack of hundreds?

When you’re small and sharpen your elbows, you can get anywhere.

Now, I too could get a seat. Not just any seat. No. I had MY CHOICE of seat as I got on.

Yeah me!

No more bumping and grinding with strangers.

Image 4

Then someone told me about the ferry. I can take a ferry from close to my home, right into Boston.

REALLY!? I checked the schedule and sure enough….it was operating.

I took the ferry into work. It was delightful.

That night, I took the 5:40PM ferry home. It left on time. But we hit a small bump.

Multiple small bumps.

Actually, some weren’t so small.

The harbor had iced over. We were hitting sheets of ice. All I could think of was the Titanic.

Image 6

No, we didn’t spend the night on the ferry, we spent an extra hour on the ferry waiting for the US Coast Guard Ice Cutter to come and free us.

This is when I discovered….there’s two bars on this ferry.

Case closed, this is how I’m traveling henceforth.

(Note: I’ve been trying to figure out how to use the word, “henceforth” so there.)

Now, the ferry isn’t what you would imagine, or maybe it is. It’s a sightseeing boat in the summer time. Some times I get the GIANT vessel that seats several hundred. Sometimes I get the cute little one. Both offer a decent selection of beer and for me…a chardonnay please… $6.

Image 10

Now I leave the driving to someone else!
I catch up on some reading.
Enjoy a great boat ride.
Have myself a chardonnay and relax on the way home!

So much easier than bringing my airplane bottles of vodka on the train. In those ass bumping moments, sometimes you need to self-medicate and it’s pitiful when you run out and haven’t even left the station yet.

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