Friday, March 30, 2007

When it rains it pours ...

And I don't just mean the weather! Remember how I was searching everywhere under the sun for a job? Well, I got three! The first starts on Tuesday and will only be a max of 9 hours a week at a local tutoring company. The second starts Wednesday and lasts for one month only. I get to grade tests for 40 hours a week! And the last is the zoo job. After turning it down, I got a better offer from them and accepted. Needless to say, I will no longer have days full of wondering what to do in this lonely apartment. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

This was the view from our balcony this morning. Minus the power lines, isn't it gorgeous? (That would be Mt. Raineer for you who are unfamiliar with Washington.)

Things are coming right along here. Yesterday we spent the entire day getting driver licenses and Joshua's car registered. It's funny to me how thing are so different from California.

1. There is no DMV. You have to go to one DOL (Department of Licensing) for your license and another DOL for your plates. They are two totally separate locations. Weird.
2. Your plates don't come in the mail, they hand them to you right there!
3. Every seven years you have to go and get new plates. I was wondering why Joshua had a stash of old plates!
4. Your drivers license has your last name first.

Some things are just the same however.

1. The DOL was just like the CA DMV in that there were only two employees and one was on the phone. Why don't they staff those places?
2. The picture on your DL makes you look tired or somehow unlike yourself.
3. You end up spending more money than you had anticipated because of the train tax or the licensing fee or whatever else they can think of.

We did have a wonderful evening with Joshua's parents. We ate at the Margarita Beach Cafe (the leftovers are making the fridge smell like tacos) and then played a few rounds of Canasta. I always seem to lose at that game, no matter who my partner is. I guess I am missing that competitive card playing streak all the Hardwicks seem to have. :)

Today Joshua is back at work and I am deep in job search. So far I have one offer, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay enough to make it worthwhile. Back to the drawing board. Does anyone want to buy a handmade scarf?

Monday, March 26, 2007

We Have Arrived!

Here's the House of Mystery from the last post. Sorry about that.

Our official welcome to Washington. Funny story. I told Joshua that I wanted to get a picture of the welcome sign for my scrapbook. He tells me it's really small and probably not worth it, but I insist. So, as we approach the state line he tells me to watch the bridge for a green sign. Sure enough, there's a freeway sign that simply states "Entering Washington". Boring! So I put the camera away and enjoy the scenery. Then, I see the REAL sign (pictured here) and rush to grab the camera, but alas, my reflexes are way too slow after doing nothing but sit in a car for two days in a row. Well, Joshua knew how important this picture was to me, so we exited the freeway, turned around, and did it again. This time I had the camera poised and ready, but just ahead of us was a beat up old car blowing smoke out the exhaust that filled the air and almost blocked my picture. Thankfully, I got the shot and we were able to move beyond this section of freeway.

We arrived to the apartment around 8:30 (after my bladder caused us to stop every half hour for the last couple hours). After surveying the place, I sat down and cried. I had left my home, my family, my church, my job, my state, and here I was in a musty, moldy, dirty apartment. The next day, with the help of about 10 magic erasers (I'm serious - I love these things!), 3 air fresheners, a grout cleaner and brush, oven cleaner, floor cleaner, 2 pair of rubber gloves, and one wonderful mother in law, it was beginning to feel more like home. Now that it's clean I can finally start to unpack those boxes. Maybe I'll just leave a few packed and tuck them away in the closet ...

We've been busy bees all week long with Joshua working, unpacking, hanging out with family, and trying to get a feel for the new neighborhood. We celebrated our niece Madison and our nephew Richie's birthdays Saturday night. I can successfully navigate myself to many important stores: Michael's, Artco, Ross, Tuesday Morning, Target, Safeway, Big Lots, Starbucks. The weather has been terrific. Sure, it rained most of the week, but the days that are sunny are simply amazing. We have been able to go for walks and drives and take in the scenery. We have a view from our apartment of the water and Mt. Raineer (when the clouds lift). The next time it's clear I'll have to snap a shot.

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Sacramento, Mount Shasta, and the Oregon Vortex

Well, we have arrived in our new home (I'll tell you all about it later). But first, here's a brief summary of our trip.

Our first stop was in Sacramento where we met up with the Muellers for lunch. It was a beautifully hot day and we took a quick tour of the old town section. We had fun meeting our new niece and vistiting with the fam.

Next stop: Mount Shasta. After Joshua's first drive up, he decided Mount SHasta would be a scenic place to spend the night. We had an amazing view of the mountain from our breakfast table! Don't I look thrilled to be going for another 9 hour drive?

What road trip would be complete without stopping at a toursit attraction you saw advertised on the highway? Not the Hardwicks I tell you! Somewhere in Oregon we stopped to tour the Vortex and House of Mystery. This is a place where poeple with motion sickness should never go! Thank goodness i was already drugged for the car ride. The vortex is a plce where magnetic fields cross in such a way that normal rules of science do not apply. Vision is distorted making people appear larger or smaller than they really are, balls roll uphill, and there is a general sense of dizziness everywhere you look.

Oops ... I just deleted the picture of the house. I'll put it with the next post.

If you've been to Knott's Berry Farm, you'll recongnize this place. The Knott's house was modeled after this one.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

The End of an Era

Well, today was officially my last day of teaching. I'm not as sad as I thought I would be. Maybe after a few months it will actually hit me .

Here are some things I will miss:

The children. Their smiles, hugs, and giggles. That look on their face when they finally get something that's been given them trouble. Their gifts from the heart. The trust and respect that they placed in me. The songs that they hum while hard at work. The silly dances they do every time they hear music. The goofy things they say. The pride they glow with when they realize that they can read a chapter book.

My colleagues. The stories that they have to share. Their wisdom. Their willingness to help. The amount of energy that they pull out of themselves every single day. The way they can find the positive in a situation. The rate at which they can empty a plate of food in the teacher's lounge.

And of course this list would not be complete without some of the things I will not miss:

Paperwork. Whoever thought of bubble in forms was not considerate of our fingers.
Recess duty.
Fighting for one of the two stalls in the restroom at 7:30, 9:00, and 11:00 each day.
Having a bell ring to keep me on schedule.

So there you have it! The end of an era.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I miss my boys!

Joshua and Six the cat have been in Washington state for three days nows. Meanwhile, I'm still in stinkin' hot California missing them! Why didn't I quit my job sooner? Oh yeah, it's parent conference week. It's the least I can do to stay and finish the week.
Speaking of school, I told my little ones that I would not be their teacher for the rest of the year. After about two seconds of "oohh!"s, we moved on with our day and not another word about it! Great. Glad to know I'll be missed.
Joshua and Six, I want you to know that you are greatly missed! I can't wait to join you on our new adventure.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Moving Out Day... The Day After Retrospect

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting here with an empty apartment. My wife is gone to be with her girlfriends one last time. My job is to clean up the mess created yesterday during the move, and try to sell or get rid of the remaining appliances and furniture pieces.

Let me begin by saying that one should never attempt to make a move on a weekday (Mistake #1). Nobody is able to help. I didn't realize how much stuff we had, and had left to pack. We had over a month to prepare and a pile of boxes was quickly adding up in the garage during that time. But one quick look around the house showed that there was still much work left to be done.

Jay's comment to our previous post was aptly put. At first we had a system for marking the boxes. Four pen colors: red, kitchen;  blue, bedroom; green, bathroom; black, living room and everything else. Our packing of the boxes was Tetris-style, you couldn't find an ounce of air in them at all. But yesterday the gloves were off and the clock was ticking. "Do you need this?" "No, throw it out." Unopened bottles of cleaner that we got with buy-one-get-one coupons named Zip, Pow, and Bang. (those didn't do so hot a job at cleaning. Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser, however, is worth its weight in salt. Or some other confused cliché)

We found that Uhaul is overly expensive for what you get and the risk involved. So we did what our friends the Sant'Agatas did who moved to North Carolina, we called ABF Trucking. For less than half the price we were given two 6x7x8 cubes to fill and then they will move them for us. They do have door-to-door service, but we took the cheap path and  save another $300 by moving the items to the cube at the terminal ourselves, which meant an in-town Uhaul rental for $30. That was mistake #2. With this setup we are packing our items into the truck, driving it to the ABF terminal, unloading, and packing a cube, and we'll have to duplicate the process on the other end. I quickly saw the error of my ways (because of Erin's pressing persuasion) and opted for the cubes to be delivered to the door of the new place.

We were done by 10:30pm and crashed into our bed. I slept like a rock, mostly because my body wouldn't move. I can feel every muscle in my body all the way down to my fingers. At 5:30am I awoke and took a shower, couldn't find my clothes, or a light, realized there were no curtains on the window, and put on my robe and got the paper. An hour later, when the sun came up, Erin came downstairs to find me and the cat laying on the couch reading the news. She noticed my clothes, or lack thereof and had a good laugh. I went upstairs to get dressed and realized that I had packed my socks.

So here I am, wearing yesterdays socks, and waiting for people to pick up our old stuff. Craig's List is a wonderful place to get rid of stuff. Most things I listed for free, and they're going like hotcakes. I called 1-800-GOT-JUNK and they were going to charge me upwards of $120 to take away my broken TV and BBQ. A free listing on Craig's List prompted a phone call from Kevin, my new best friend. He comes in to pick up a broken TV and notices all my Goodwill items in the garage. He starts going through the pile like an IRS auditor. In one bag he found an old Vans shoe of mine and put it on his foot he liked it so much that he took the other one and his shoe and put it in his car. He continued to walk around with mismatched (and one untied) shoes. He left with over half the items in the pile now in his car. Thank you, Kevin.

Next up... Unloading in Tacoma!