Wednesday, September 27, 2006

We didn't blow away

So, did you think I blew away? We didn't, but I was a little nervous at first.

Apparently, a storm came up from the south and formed pretty quickly, hence, the rushed tornado warning.

I've learned a few things along the way about "watches" and "warnings". A tornado watch means that the conditions are right where a tornado COULD form. I tornado warning means that funnel clouds have been spotted. This was a warning, but it was a radar warning which means that the radar showed some swirling clouds, but they may not have been spotted with the eye.

I guess by the time we learned about the warning and took shelter, the storm had passed us and was heading northeast. A tornado did touch down somewhere in KS, with no injuries, just property damage, but it was a ways from us.

All is well...I survived my first warning. I'm hoping that my life in Kansas follows that of some of my co-workers -- they've lived here for over 35 years and NEVER seen a tornado...maybe that's because they were hiding out in the basement while it passed overhead!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I'm in the tornado shelter at work because of the below...welcome to Kansas...

Tornado Warning

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Nothing major going on...just the same old hasn't sold, new house isn't organized, car is filthy and needs to be washed...kansas mosquitos are eating me alive...kansas something is driving dogs to lick themselves like maniacs...wind is blowing...for 6th day in a row...I'm told to get used to it...I'm getting sick - sore throat, congestion, headache.

My dad just left. He's been here for the last few days closing on the house they bought down the street. He also helped us get some things done around the house -- the cable is finally working the way it should, and the wireless router is now functional (which means I don't have to steal wireless from the neighbors anymore).

B is playing golf on Saturday with an old high school buddy...I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. There's a ton of stuff to do around the house, and I want it done, but I'm not very motivated to do it. I had suggested that after the golf thing we BBQ w/ the buddy and his gfriend, but I guess they have family coming into town. Maybe I'll go furniture shopping to replace my kitchen table that the movers dad doesn't think we should try to use's in too bad of shape.

So, this is a lame posting, but I hadn't updated it in a few days, so it's better than nothing, right?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Buddies

Here are my Buddies. We've called each other that since 1991, I think. I was in high senior year. I'm the oldest one (that's me in the middle w/ the blue top), and when I was a senior, we all started hanging out. We ranged in ages from freshman to senior, and we've stayed close ever since.

There have been times where we don't see each other for a while, and times were 1, 2, or 3 of us are closer to each other than other times...but we're all friends.

One person is missing from the picture because she lives in Indiana and couldn't come out for this event. This picture was taken the night we all went out to dinner right before I left California. There is one person in the picture who is a newer friend than high school. She fits right in with all of us, and I'm so glad we met last summer. Oh yeah! And with her around, I'm not the oldest...she's 4 months older than me!

Every year around Christmas we get together for the Buddy Weekend. We go out of town and spend the weekend acting like we're back in high school. We also started a tradition about 15 years ago (wow! that's a long time) where we do a gift exchange. We don't buy something for one person in particular...we just buy (or make -- some of these girls are WAY creative) something that most of us would like (that's not as easy as it sounds...even though we are close friends, we are all VERY different from each other), and then we draw numbers and the stealing begins. Someone opens a gift and then the next person can either open a new one or steal that one. And on we go until everyone has something.

Last year we went on a cruise for our Buddy Weekend. It was a blast! We chose last year for the big trip because no one had a nursing baby. Maybe that sounds weird, but between all 10 of us, there are 10 hubbies and 16 kids! We had so much fun that we decided every 5 years to do a big trip like that.

This year we're going up to Shaver Lake for a weekend...I'm flying out to CA for it, and I can't wait! I love you, Buddies!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

13 pages

I created a 13 page document describing and showing all the problems we had with our moving company as well as all the damage done to our belongings.

They use a separate company for their claims processing, which I'm hoping is good news because that means they should be impartial. Of course, I have about 5 different websites where I will publish my moving company's name if my claim isn't resolved to my satisfaction.

Just for your viewing pleasure, here are a few choice photos of my belongings (click on them to get the larger than life, I mean TRUE to life, perspective):

Monday, September 11, 2006

Don't ever forget...

I used to wonder at my parents who remember EXACTLY what they were doing when Kennedy was killed and when John Lennon was shot…how could they remember in that much detail??

I remember what I was doing when the Challenger blew up…for the most part. I was in 6th grade in Mr. Jarman’s class. But a lot of the memories have faded.

Not so with September 11, 2001. I remember it all. I always will.

The day started off with a little different routine than usual for us. We were living in Texas, I needed to take my car to the shop, and it was B’s normal day off, so the plan was for B to follow me to the shop and then take me to work. Everything went according to schedule, and I got to work about 7:45am. I was working in an assembly plant at the time, so I headed right to the floor when I got there.

A few minutes later B called my cell phone, and he told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I didn’t really understand at first what he was telling me, and then I didn’t really believe him. He said they thought it was a commercial airliner. The girls on the line where I was couldn’t leave the line, so they asked me to go get more information.

I headed back to my office and tried to get online, but the internet was jammed up. I kept trying and finally I found out that what B told me was true. I called him back and he told me a 2nd plane had just hit the other tower. We had a live feed for Fox News in our lobby, so I did what lots of others did and headed up front to see what was going on.

I called my parents, who were in California. They were awake but they didn’t know much about it yet. Dad is an Air Traffic Controller, and he had just gotten called in to work to assist with the grounding of all aircraft. It was really hard to be so far away from them right then. They felt like they were a world away, and at the time I was scared I might never see them again.

I didn’t cry…then…I was in too much shock. After the towers fell, there wasn’t a lot of new information, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the TV. I finally went back to the floor, told the girls what I’d found out, and then went back to my desk. I remember my boss was irritated with all of us for not working – we were all glued to the computer screens. I can’t believe he expected us to keep working. In my mind, the world was over as we knew it. I think if I would have had a car, I would have left work. I couldn’t see why we needed to keep working.

I have a girlfriend who works in Manhattan, and at the time I didn’t know how close she was to the towers. I sent her an email, not really expecting a reply, but I wanted to see how she was. She wrote back pretty quickly and told me she was a ways from the terror, and she was fine. It did take her a couple days to get back to her place in New Jersey.

Much to my boss’ dismay, I did not accomplish much that day. B picked me up after work, we picked up my car and we went home. We watched the news for a while, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. There was nothing new to report, and I couldn’t stand to see the footage from the towers, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. We finally took the dog and headed out for a walk. It was the first time we had ever done that. We held hands, tried to enjoy the outdoors, and we talked about what would happen now.

I really felt that the end of the world was upon us. I couldn’t see how I would EVER feel safe again. I realized how much my husband and my family meant to me, and I was sorry for all the time I’d wasted being angry or upset with them.

That Friday I went to a special prayer service at church. We sang songs and prayed silently and as a group. It helped me to realize that these terror attacks were not from God. They were from the Devil. They were orchestrated by evil people, and God was there to help us recover and to become a stronger nation in spite of what had happened to us.

I can’t believe it’s been 5 years. To me it really feels like it’s been much longer than that because we have settled back into our old ways. But...I cry every time I see footage on TV, or when Alan Jackson’s song plays, or when I read about it in a novel. I can’t bring myself to watch the movies that have come out. I don’t need that graphic of a reminder…I can see it inside my head often enough.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Won't you be my neighbor?

We have been in our house 6 days. Since our movers showed up on Tuesday, we have met 4 of our neighbors. I think that’s AMAZING. I have NEVER lived in a neighborhood where adults made an effort to meet people. Kids are a different story…they scope out the other kids and make friends instantly, and I think that’s usually how the adults get to know each other…so maybe that’s why we never meet anyone, we don’t have kids.

In all the neighborhoods I’ve lived in, I’ve always dreamed of welcoming newcomers to the hood, or being welcomed by others, but it’s never happened. In our last neighborhood, I debated about making cookies and taking it to the house across the street when they moved in. That was my intent. But, the couple times I tried to catch the eye of the newcomers to say hi, they looked the other way, so I never made the cookies. In fact, one night I came home and saw that their headlights were on in the car in the driveway. I went over to tell them, and the lady looked at me like I was crazy until she followed me out to the driveway.

That is why I’m so jazzed about where we are now. While we were outside with the movers on Tuesday, the people on either side of us came out and introduced themselves to us. And it wasn’t just a quick hello…they talked about themselves, asked us questions, and both of them said they wished they’d known we’d been there with no furniture because they would have made us dinner. They both also volunteered to loan us stuff until we got unpacked. Wow!

The next day a couple from down the street stopped by to introduce themselves, and they invited us to a luau this weekend. Then a while later, the lady across the street brought us some homemade goodies. And boy were they good!

Yesterday I had to go register my car. Every state is different, and Kansas requires you to have an inspection before you can apply for tags. Well, yesterday you could have the inspection and get the tags at the same location, so off I went. There was a lot of confusion about how to do this, so all of us in line started talking. The girl sitting next to me had just moved from Virginia. We started chatting, and before we were through the line we had exchanged phone numbers so we could meet up again. I love it!

I guess some of the stereotypes about the Midwest are true…people are much nicer here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


The truck finally showed up on Tuesday. I'm so exhausted from thinking about it and unpacking that I don't have the energy to be eloquent in my writing here's the down low:

  • mover yelled at me because I didn't have cash (he said a check from my credit union doesn't count as a "bank check")
  • mover charged me $300 more because he had to walk so far (never mind that B and I unloaded almost as much as he did)
  • boxes stacked upside down, on their sides, wedged in -- all visible when he opened the truck
  • lawnmover broken
  • ceramic table base broken
  • nightstand missing 3 feet
  • headboard missing finials
  • CD rack in MANY MANY pieces
  • dresser has gouges
  • entertainment center has gouges
  • drinking glass broken
  • MANY plates broken (including antique)
  • punch bowl broken
  • B's custom made valet broken
  • one box MISSING (full of drinking glasses)

And I'm only done unpacking HALF of our stuff! Somehow, I'm remaining relatively calm.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

"For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."

This is the third year I'm reading through the One Year Bible. This will be the FIRST year I start and finish it...on time. This year I bought the New Living Translation as it makes for easier reading. I use a more literal translation for studying, but I like the NLT for daily reading.

I'm a little behind on my reading...this move has my priorities all messed up. I caught up while we were driving from CA to KS, but now I'm behind again.

Today I started to try to catch up...the above scripture from 2 Corinthians is from the reading for Aug 31.

My instinct when I get stressed out is to take everything on my own shoulders, and everything regarding this move has followed this pattern. As I sat (on the floor) in my living room today, in tears, I realized that I hadn't read my daily reading in a while...hmm, could that have something to do with my stress?

So, I pulled out my One Year Bible and started reading. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 stood out to me...literally, as it's the recommended memory verse for Aug 31. How appropriate.

I've been so worried about "my" stuff getting here that I completely overlooked that it isn't MY stuff at all, it's HIS. He allowed me to have it, he gave me the skills and opportunities to achieve it. He can also take it all away (interestingly, I've been reading Job for the Old Testament portion of my readings lately).

I pray that I don't have to live without those things that are still on a truck somewhere, but my eyes certainly have been opened tonight. God - Thank you for pointing me back in the right direction. I already feel better. It's out of my hands now...directly into His.


It's my birthday. I slept on the floor last night. There is NO sign of the moving truck.

Happy 32nd year on this planet.

Last night we had dinner and cake and ice cream at my in-laws, and then we played my favorite domino game...chicken foot.

Then we came home to an empty house and bedded down on the floor again. My BIL loaned us an air mattress, so I thought I might actually get some good sleep last night. No luck...the mattress deflated in the middle of the night, so I was now laying on top of a cold plastic sheet, on the floor.

I woke B up to tell him I was going to pump it up again (it's pretty loud with the electric pump), and when I finished, Rerun wanted outside. Since we don't have the dog door in yet, I had to let him out myself. Well, he is still getting used to the yard, so he wanted to explore at...1:30am. I didn't have my glasses or my contacts on, and I thought he was throwing up, so I went to grab my shoes so I could check on him. When I got back outside, I saw him go tearing, full speed, across the yard after a rabbit! Full speed and headed right for the wrought iron fence...I yelled at him to stop, but he didn't listen, and then I heard the fence rattle...then silence.

I yelled at him again, but no response...I thought my dog was dead! I went running across the lawn and found him rigid staring into the darkness where the rabbit had gone. I don't know if he actually hit the fence or not, but he was going pretty fast. I grabbed him, both of our hearts were pounding, and I lugged him back inside.

I laid back down on my newly pumped up air mattress and tried to go back to sleep. Just as I was falling asleep, I started sinking to the floor again...I have NO idea what is wrong with this mattress. I gave up on it and rolled onto the floor.

I woke up this morning in a BAD mood.

I wanted to go to church, but B wouldn't go with me, so instead I asked him to take me to breakfast for my bday. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that many people eat breakfast in Wichita. We drove around and around looking for somewhere to eat. We found an IHOP and a Panera...both with lines out the door. We ended up at Village Inn, which ended up to be ok. I had chocolate crepes filled with strawberries and whipped cream...mmm...they were YUMMY!! I got my caffeine fix taken care of, and I started to get into a better mood.

When we got home from breakfast, I pulled my hair back, threw on a cap, and took off in my baby (aka Saab) with the top down and headed for the nail salon. After a manicure and pedicure and a short shopping trip to Target...I feel much better.

Still no sign of the moving truck, but there's not much I can do now. I just pray that our stuff shows up in one piece with no damage...before my 33rd birthday.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

not yet

Driver just called me. He is at the Arizona/NM border! That is where we ended up at the end of our first day of driving.

He got stopped at a DOT inspection and has to fix stuff on the truck - he wouldn't tell me what.

I asked him why he told me he would be here today...he says he told me he would call today to get directions. Liar!

May not get our stuff tomorrow. I'm pissed!

here I sit

It's Saturday, September 2. We have moved into our house...however, I use the term "moved in" loosely. We have unloaded and put away everything we brought in our cars.

The movers haven't showed up yet. We have no cable, no phone, and I'm stealing wireless internet from one of our neighbors to type this.

I got into a shouting match with the moving company on Thursday evening. Through this whole process, I've been assured that I will be COMPLETELY SATISFIED, that my things have a 95% chance of showing up on Friday, September 1.

Well, a week or so ago, I was told I had a 95% chance of my things showing up on Saturday, September 2 (TODAY!!).

Thursday I was told I have a 95% chance of them showing up on Sunday, September 3 (my birthday, BTW). Where the heck did they learn to calculate statistics???

I got a little irate at this news. I reminded them that they told me they are trying to rebuild a very tarnished reputation, and that this IS NOT the way to do it. I also told them if my things didn't arrive by Sept 2, I would be filing a complaint with the BBB. They gave me the driver's number and told me to call him directly.

They told me that the driver had left L.A. on Wednesday, Aug 30...Ok, it's AT MOST a 28 hour drive from LA to if he won't arrive until Sunday, and let's give him the benefit of the doubt that he will arrive EARLY on Sunday, then he's only driving 7 hours a day!! We drove 10-11 hours/day and made it in 2.5 days. DOT says he can drive 11 hours/day legally. What is going on???

So, I called the driver, Paul, and talked to him. I asked him what time on SATURDAY would he be arriving. He told me mid day, probably between 10am-12pm. I asked if he wanted directions, and he said he would call back when he got closer to get the directions.

Well, it's 11:30am on Saturday, and he hasn't called. I've tried to call him about 1o times and his phone goes right to voice mail (I've left 3 messages).

Buyer beware -- stay away from any company called CALIFORNIA COAST VAN LINES or HORIZON VAN LINES.

Friday, September 01, 2006

From sea to shining sea…er, I mean Kansas

What you will read below may sound like a big whopping lie – or at least some sort of exaggeration…unfortunately, every word will be true.

Our 1500 mile drive across the country started after 5 hours of sleep, at 6:45 AM on Monday morning.

The reason we only had 5 hours of sleep is we spent most of Sunday hanging out at my parents’ house because someone was supposed to be looking at our house. We got home at 8:30 pm on Sunday, only to find that NO ONE had shown up to see the house…big surprise.

We started loading the car as soon as we got home…it kind of reminded me of my country dancing days when I had to lay down on the bed to get my jeans zipped. There was NO way we were going to get everything into our H3 (which isn’t as big as you probably think). After pushing and pulling and yelling and sweating for 30 minutes, we started to look at all our junk…and decided what we would leave behind. The 200 pounds of extra tile was the first to go. We had planned on tiling our new basement bathroom, but there wasn’t room for our clothes with the tile in the car. Next was the $100 of cleaning supplies…I pared it down as much as I could. B wanted the new propane tank for the BBQ to go with us, but it was ousted, too. After that I sent B to the shower and then I put my engineering skills to work…make everything else fit. About 30 minutes later, I shut (forcefully) all the doors of the truck and headed in to clean the house.

As I walked around picking things up, cleaning sinks and throwing old food out, I realized I was doing all that through tears. We worked REALLY hard on our house…we designed it, we chose the lot, we worked with a builder for almost 2 years, and now we were leaving it. And it doesn’t help that all the feedback from the people who show up to see the house is that they DON’T like it. Whatever.

Anyway, back to 6:45 am…we left our house and headed over to Mom and Dad’s to say a final goodbye. I teared up again as we drove away…but, I dried up just in time to get to Mom and Dad’s…so I could start all over again.

We weren’t there long, just enough time for Dad to pray for us, Mom to give us homemade cookies, my cousin to make silly jokes and then we hugged and loaded up again. After filling up with gas, we hit the road. We had given the puppies small doses of a sedative (prescribed by their vet) to help them from being anxious in the car…not sure I should have cut the pill in half with my teeth as my tongue got numb pretty quickly…guess we know it works, on me at least. It didn’t do much for the pups until we were almost out of CA. It was a pretty painful ride up the mountains – think small child on a plane. This was the longest the dogs had ever been in the car, and we sure were glad that they were in their crate in the back seat.

We drove all the way to Gallup, NM, the first day…about 11 hours in the car. I think we stopped 6 times so the dogs could get out and we could get gas. Even with all those stops, we were never out of the car for more than 10 minutes at a time.

We weren’t sure how far we’d get that first day, so we hadn’t made a hotel reservation. When we got to Gallup, we had 2 choices – the good side of the tracks (there really were tracks) with expensive hotels that may or may not allow pets, or the bad side of the tracks with cheap and scary looking hotels (or is it motels). In the spirit of conserving funds, we chose the cheap side and checked into a Super 8.

The desk chick saw the dogs, so she tacked $10 on to our room rate, and gave us the keys. We were on the 2nd floor at the back of the hotel. We unloaded, dragged the dogs up, and found our room. There was no clock, the single lamp in the room didn’t work, and there was some weirdo hanging out in an ugly van in the parking lot by our vehicle. It was about 8pm, and I hadn’t eaten since lunch, and that “I haven’t had protein in too long” headache was starting to form (thank you, Mom). B told me to go take a shower and he would try to find something to order for dinner.

Well, in my altered state, I went into the bathroom, and somehow thought we had NO towels. B called the front desk, and they told us they had NO towels anywhere – which we didn’t get because the parking lot was empty and we thought that meant most of the rooms were also empty. The chick said she would call us right back. While we waited for that call, we decided to skip out, get our money back and suck it up and pay more for a place on the other side of the tracks. I called her back, said we wanted our money back and we’d be right down. I’m not sure she knew how to take that, but she said ok. As we were trying to drag everything out in one trip (it took 3 to get it up there), B noticed that there were, in fact, towels in the bathroom. Oops.

I forgot to mention that B’s golf clubs had been riding on top of the car the entire time. Since we were unsure of the area around the Super 8, he had taken them down and brought them into the room. So, before we can leave, he has to secure them back on top of the car. I was holding the dogs’ leashes, and B was standing on the running board, so I tried to reach the tie downs for B from the front seat. I guess he didn’t know I was there, and when he stepped down he almost stepped on the dogs, which made him lose his balance, and the golf clubs, in their hard plastic case, came tumbling down. I have NO idea how none of us got hit by them…or how they didn’t damage the car.

We were all ok, but that didn’t stop the stream of 4-letter words out of both of our mouths…the poor puppies were scared out of their minds. I was trying to help, but B didn’t want my help, and we were hungry, tired, hot, grouchy, you name it. We decided to put the dogs back in their crate so B could finish tying down the clubs while I went to get our money.

20 minutes later we were driving back to the RIGHT side of the tracks. We ended up at a MUCH nicer place for about $30 more and we dragged everything inside, AGAIN. I hit the shower while B got the dogs settled, and then we decided to order food from the restaurant next door. By the time B got back with the food, I couldn’t see straight, my head hurt so badly. I popped 3 Advil, downed my eggs and toast, and turned out the light.

I got much better sleep than B did, or the dogs for that matter. B was up at least 4 times with them during the night. It was the first night that the pups had spent away from home, and they weren’t sure what was going on. We didn’t know if they needed to go out or they just wanted out of our room, but we didn’t want to take a chance.

By the time we woke up the next morning, my head was back to normal, but B was still grouchy and tired. We loaded up and hit the road again. The pups did much better the 2nd day, and it seemed like it would be a better day…until…

I think we were still in New Mexico when we got the first phone call. My good friend Michele called to say that our friend was missing from a mountain bike ride (see the previous 2 posts). Not too long after that, we got a call from our loan officer saying she needed a bunch of paperwork (bank statements, W2’s, pay stubs, etc) in order to process our loan. Ok, remember how stuffed full our car is? Well, I do have ONE box of important papers that has some of this, but not all of it. And WHY oh WHY is she calling 24 hours before we’re supposed to close to tell me that she needs more info??? I tell her what I have and she says she’ll call me back in a few minutes.

While I’m talking to her a 2nd time, we’ve started driving through some road construction where it’s one lane in each direction. All of a sudden, we hear a huge THUNK! and what do you know…a rock in the windshield…that spreads immediately. What’s next?

I finish the conversation with the loan gal by promising to email and fax all the info I have from the hotel. Our plan was to make it to OKC, but about 70 miles west of the city, we decide to stop in a small town. We find a nice place to stay, but they don’t want pets, so we have to sneak the dogs in. Our room is close to the office, and it’s not dark yet, so we park a few blocks away and take the pups for a walk. It’s during this walk that I get the call about finding Guy’s body. Please God, what’s next now?

Once it’s dark, we head back to the hotel and sneak the dogs in. After many more broken phone calls, since the reception is horrible, and an hour of frustration at trying to connect to the internet, we turn off the light and get some sleep. At least the dogs handle the 2nd night much better, and B only has to get up one time.

Travel was much easier today (we chatted with a nice Texan couple at a rest stop in OK – people are MUCH nicer here than in CA), but I was a bundle of nerves by the time we drove into Wichita. We had to go to the bank to get money for closing on the house, do the walk-thru and sign all the papers. Before we did that, we talked to our realtor in CA, lowered the price on our house by $50k again, and tried (with no luck) to find out how much $$ we needed for close on our new home. About 3 minutes from the bank, the loan officer finally called back with a number (an estimate).

I was very impressed that the gal in the credit union remembered me and she chatted with me while I waited for my money. We got to the house for the walk-thru about 30 minutes early, so we took the dogs and walked around the lake down the street from our new house. We saw a family of ducks, beautiful landscaping, and some kind of crane. I love our new neighborhood.

I was nervous for the walk-thru because we’ve had a hard time with the sellers (actually I think it’s with their agent), but it went great. The sellers were home, so B sat on the front porch with the puppies while our agent and I walked the house. Everything looked great, and we found out that their movers will move them out tomorrow (not the 1st like they’d said before), so we should get possession at noon on Friday – B’s birthday.

We headed over to the title company to sign all the papers. There were more miscommunications between the title company, the agents, and the lender, so our 3pm close didn’t start until after 4pm. Of course, I found a couple mistakes but I remained pretty calm (for me anyway), and we finished all the papers by 5:05pm. Unfortunately, that was too late for our sellers to get their money. I felt bad for them…but I’m sure they can wait until tomorrow…after all they’re living in MY HOUSE from now until Friday.

As I write this, I’m sitting in yet another hotel – this one is not nearly as scary as that Super 8, we’re all clean (even the dogs), fed, and showered. Tomorrow will be yet another adventure.