27 January 2011

The Final Week - Don't even ask me where I put my gloves...

So tomorrow marks the start of our last week in Southern California. Since last Friday, time has been going on hyper speed and I have to stop my mind from jumping around just to remind myself what fucking day it is. Andy keeps on asking me if our move feels real yet and I’m always disappointed to tell him, ‘no’. People also ask me consistently if I’m getting excited yet and I have to tell them ‘no’ too as my mind is too occupied on all the things we have to do that I can’t seem to spare a moment of thought on excitement.

Today I forgot where I put my passport. MY PASSPORT. The one with the shiny new visa in it ready to be stamped. I’m an incredibly organized person in the sense that I have small piles of disorder and I know pretty much exactly what is in those piles of disorder. Because my small piles of organized disorder got all sorts of re-ordered due to the Great Pond Move of 2011 – (KEEP ON PERSON, SHIP, or WHY THE FUCK DO YOU STILL HAVE THIS? THROW THIS OUT FFS!) my passport location slipped from my memory as I wondered why I still had a library card from Boulder, Colorado (a city where I have never actually lived) and why Andy was telling me why I had to put my tax returns from the last 5 years on my carryon luggage. Thankfully Andy reminded me that my passport is top of the dishwasher where we placed a bunch of ‘Don’t Let the Shippers Take This Stuff’ which only leads me to believe that my subconscious is entirely more intelligent than my functioning conscious and I really ought to buy it a beer once I’m able to drink beer again.

Speaking of the shippers, they came yesterday and took away all our things (except my passport). That was pretty awesome. As many times as I’ve moved, I’ve never used shippers before. My normal method of moving is the great collecting of cardboard boxes from all the local supermarkets and\or liquor stores, 3 copies of the Sunday newspaper, and at least a week spent neck high in packing tape and creative thinking of nesting items to utilize the least amount of space. This time it was simply letting 4 strange men into our apartment while Andy and I sat on the couch playing on the internet and eating cold pizza. To be fair, I felt horribly guilty sitting there eating cold pizza while these four men grunted and sweated around me packing up our things probably thinking to themselves, “Three garden gnomes? Me cago en todo lo que se menea!” Between the four of them, they managed to pack away our entire apartment and load it onto the truck in 3 hours. That’s pretty impressive. Also, because it is required to wrap or pack everything in either a box or in multiple layers of brown paper, it was pretty humorous to see an ironing board and step ladder shaped package leaving the house with such helpful references to said item with “Ironing Board” and “Step Ladder” written on it in black marker (like you couldn’t tell). I’m actually pretty grateful they put a lot of things in “MISC” type boxes as I’m sure I’d be mortified to see a box with “Holey Period Panties” and “She’s Not Fooling Anyone By Thinking She’s Going to Fit in These Pants Again” written on the side.

Once the shippers were finished and all our things were gone, our apartment…well, our apartment is fucking disgusting. Andy and I always cleaned on a regular basis but we certainly didn’t do a type of clean where we took pictures off the wall to get the spider webs or moved the couch around to get to the base boards or even detached the washer\dryer to get all the lint that gathers back there. Now that there aren’t any pictures or couches or appliances to hide all the filth it’s…it’s…I feel a bit ill thinking about it really. Let’s just say that once again I’m going against my norm and hiring a couple house cleaners to help us clean up the apartment on Saturday. I can handle dust bunnies but I really have an aversion to spider and fly carcasses.

We also moved into a hotel yesterday; our last place of residency before we leave next Friday. The hotel is OK – clean and they take pets – and it’s nice to have TV again to remind myself that’s there never anything good on. Chloe was fairly amused by the whole thing. She spent a good two hours sniffing every inch of the room out of curiosity, and then kept looking at us with this expression of, “OK, I’m done here. Let’s go home.” We actually had to give in to her wishes and dropped her off at the empty apartment when we left for work this morning as we didn’t want a Hotel Maid vs. Chloe Straight-Tail law suit.

Even though we are technically out of the apartment, we still have loads of things to do – doctor’s appointments, selling Andy’s car, picking up the rental, cleaning, apartment inspection…so on and so forth. Andy and I are both running into this frustration of people getting in touch with us trying to make plans to see us. It shouldn’t be frustrating, in fact, it’s quite endearing to know that here are all these people who love you and who will miss you that they really want to spend some time with you before you go. The problem is that it’s hard to make plans, or even want to make plans when your head is so full of Things That Must Be Done that by making plans it’s just another item to have to put on your list of things to remember to do that it kind of takes the enjoyment out of it. I’d rather just say, “we’ll be at the pub on this date and time” but that never seems to work out (these people are never free when you are or just don’t like going to said pub) so you either have to do half assed “we’ll see” plans or just tell the person that you’re too busy to see them and that just plain out sucks.

Driving into work today Andy asked me if now, after everything we’ve been through, if moving to another country is as exciting as it seemed to before we started. After a moment of reflection I said, “Ask me once we get there.”

24 January 2011

Even girls like me get baby showers...

So after reading Vegemite Wife’s recent picture post on a baby shower, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit smug coming home this past Saturday night from our baby shower (California edition) and going away party. First of all, our baby shower (CA edition) was at the pub. I think even the most heated Baby Shower Haters (read: Men) can appreciate a baby shower at the pub. Secondly, there were no stupid baby shower games like “Guess what that brown substance is that we smeared in a diaper!” or “What objects could successfully pass through a 4 inch dilated cervix?” – (having never been invited to a proper baby shower (for obvious reasons), I’m only guessing these are the games women play at them. I could be wrong. They could be playing ‘Spin the Bottle’ or ‘Let’s Get a Male Stripper to dress up in a bee costume while we hurl donuts and condoms at his “stinger”!’). What we did have at our baby shower was plenty of beer, a cornucopia of fried food and of course, cake. Who doesn’t like cake?

I want to give a huge thanks to Michele, Mari and Marilyn for throwing us this awesome party. Sadly, unbeknownst to them and me was that a good chunk of the invitees (including my sister) had already made plans (with tickets) to see the English Beat in LA that same night. When Andy and I first walked into the Harp there were balloons covering most sections of the pub. I went out to the girls on the patio and said, “I think we seriously overestimated how many people were actually coming tonight.” All in all, I think we had about 20 people (who probably all went into a cholesterol filled shock after all the fried food) and it was a great group and it turned out to be a really good time. I also got some awesome gifts.

Some pictures from the evening:

I'm so stoked that someone got baby Henry a PGA Tour video game.  How else is he going to learn his 8 iron from his 6 iron?

Andrea, Michele, myself and Mari.  Bunny ears supplied by Andrea's son, Oliver.  Sure, I could have cropped the ears out, by why?  Totally makes the photo.

Patrick, Brendon and Gunter letting me know exactly how they feel about attending traditional baby showers.

I totally commend Andrea for her attempt at photo bombing this picture.  It would have been better if she had one of those horrible orange tans or a random tassel, but this will have to do.

No, I'm not strangling the giraffe.  Sadly, this is how I hold most things - Homer Simpson style.

Andy, with beer, trying on Henry's new clothes. 

Spot the sober person!  I actually yelled at Andy for ruining this photo but on reflection, I think my obvious sobriety is what kills it.

I will say that as the sole pregnant lady at the pub, I was really jealous as I slowly watched all my friends get hammered. Then again, I also had a good time watching them get hammered as there is nothing quite like fucking with a drunk person, albeit kindly since they were, after all, my friends. I don’t reserve the same restraint for strangers.

In a couple weeks, we’ll be having another baby shower\going away party at my parents’ house in Wisconsin. I’m sure it will be more of the traditional type of shower where I won’t get to feel smug, or eat my weight in fried food or get to watch my relatives get smashed (well, not most of them anyhow). I probably won’t blog about that one either. I will, I assume, be blogging about watching our beloved Packers play in the Super Bowl from a stool at Champion’s - my old home pub.

17 January 2011


So last week I was suffering from a serious case of the WTFAID-ings. I will admit that I’m still sort of suffering from them but I’ve been so busy that they have kind of fallen to the wayside. WTFAID of course stands for “What the Fuck am I doing?” and I tend to suffer from them every time I do a major move like this. Beth, my very best friend in the whole world, can attest for me that I tend to move a lot and you would think that this shit would be old hat by now. But I get them every single time. About a month or two after I move I will get the very homesick WTFHID (What the Fuck have I done?) before I finally get used to things and enjoy where I am and where I worked so hard to get to. I wish my brain was different. I guess you could say I suffer a bit of bi-polar personality in this regard…I love moving, I love living in new places, I love meeting new people but on the other hand I love my predictable schedule, I love being places where people know me and I really don’t care for change. Truth be told, I probably would be one of those sad lots who never left their home town if I didn’t have this subversive trait of getting bored so easily.

The ‘getting bored easily’ is a trait Andy and I both share by the way, which is why we get along so well I think. He still doesn’t get my flip side (the not liking change side) though and I think it’s hard for him to understand why I get so emotional over the loss of my possessions. For example, this past Saturday I sold my car, Boring Boring Buster Brown. It wasn’t my most favorite car that I’ve ever owned but it held a lot of memories for me and it was hard to see him go. At the end of the day it’s just a fucking car but it was MY fucking car and I already miss him. I suppose it doesn’t help that I know that it will be years before I own a car again and I already miss that bit of my freedom (WTFAID!).

This past weekend we sold more than just my car. We sold a bunch of stuff to our friends as a pre-rummage sale bonanza. Now there are places in the apartment where things used to be and it really is a bit depressing passing by those empty spots and knowing in two weeks those empty spots aren’t even mine to call my own anymore (WTFAID!).

Are you thoroughly disgusted with me yet? Seriously, I’m pathetic. It’s like I do this thing where I’m all excited about moving but have to go through a mourning period the last few weeks to feel justified I ever chose to live in that particular place to begin with. Of course that leads into thoughts about how wonderful the place I’m living currently is and why I couldn’t appreciate it more when I was still firmly here (WTFAID!).

But I need to move. I only feel like I’m learning and growing if I step out of my comfort zone and experience something new. Living in another country has always been a dream of mine and now I’m finally doing it.

Ugh. This blog post is like my head at the moment. It’s all over the place and not very entertaining. I’m sorry. They say writing is therapeutic and that’s what I’m trying to do. Still doesn’t make for an interesting post though does it?

On an unrelated (or perhaps related) note, someone buy my damn refrigerator. It’s cheap and it makes things cold. I don’t know what more you can ask from it. I’ve personally asked it to sing me the Coconut Song every time I go in for some juice but all it’s done is whir at me and suggest that I keep the door closed if I want to keep my cheese solidified. I thought that was pretty considerate of my refrigerator and perhaps it’s embarrassed of its singing voice so I didn’t press the issue.

12 January 2011

Preparing to move apparently isn't funny

So the Great Pond Move of 2011 is highly underway. While I sincerely hope to continue updating on at least a weekly basis, I can’t make any promises until I’m sitting my pregnant ass on a settee in the north of England eating a biscuit sometime in the middle of next month. Obviously it’s been a bit hectic around here so I figure I’ll just give you a roundabout update on everything.

The boring things to mention (which makes me wonder why I’m bothering to mention them) is that we’ve put in the 30 day notice on our apartment, set the utilities to cancel at the end of the month, put in our notices to our jobs, and told the post office to start forwarding the mail on January 29th. All that was all fine and dandy until our postal carrier decided to start forwarding our mail immediately making me wonder what my dad is going to think when he gets a Netflix version of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in 2 weeks time. Of course, having to deal with correcting this error with the post office is a feat in itself but it’s all taken care of now even though I might have a few less hairs on my head because of it.

On the Chloe the cat front, things are also taken care of though it’s not exactly the route we wanted to take. The only person who was willing to watch Chloe for us was my mom, which is fine. What wasn’t fine is that my mom was severely concerned about what would happen to her furniture once a cat with claws moved in. To solve the problem, my mom was planning on constructing a chicken wire type cage in the basement with barely a window for light (and not one Chloe could see out of). I told my mother my concern about Chloe not eating if she didn’t get human contact which my mom responded, “that’s not a problem; Charles (her boyfriend) is down there smoking all the time.” Basically my mom was planning on storing Chloe in a chicken wire type dungeon with someone to torture her by blowing smoke in her general direction for 4 months. We decided to buck up and pay for her going into quarantine. I honestly don’t want to discuss the cost of this option as it pains me too much. All I know is that for 4 months Chloe will reside in Chester in a 4x5 foot enclosure attached to another enclosure that goes outside so she can sit around yelling at birds and we can go and visit her as often as we’d like. Chloe the EuroCat is what we’ve come to call her, by the way.

Please teach this poor cat how to construct a shiv.

I guess the biggest hurdle that we need to get through now is selling all of the things we aren’t taking without getting robbed in the process. We had our first yard sale this past weekend which was mostly clearing out the upstairs office of furniture, books, and clothes. Having a yard sale here is completely different than having a yard sale in the other states that I’ve lived in. First of all, this is Southern California which means that we have a plentiful population of Mexicans. Mexicans are nothing if not thrifty, clever, and have a willingness to do tasks the rest of us are just too damn lazy to take on. If you advertise that you are having a yard sale at 7 AM, by 6:30 AM there will be no less than 10 Hispanics waiting for you to put things out on your yard to sell. You won’t have even a fraction of things out and they will be there bargaining with you. Of course it’s Saturday morning and you’re probably a bit tired and a bit cranky that you have to move heavy things out to the wet grass that early and you’re defenses are down (clever Mexicans!) and suddenly you find yourself selling that brand new tennis racket for $2 even though you fiercely told yourself to sell it for $10. This continues for awhile and you suddenly realize that half your crap is sold and you’ve only made $27.35. Of course you reason with yourself that at least you don’t have to haul it all back in but you can’t help but feel you got cheated a little bit. These are your THINGS after all. The real kicker of it all is that those clever thrifty Mexicans do this every weekend – they go around to all the yard sales and get things dirt cheap – then a day later sell those same things at the weekly swap meet for 5x to 10 x higher than they bought it off of you. Hey! I don’t fault them and I’m certainly not mad about it. Hell, I’d do it too if could ever get my ass out of bed before 5 AM on a Saturday, drive around all morning bargaining with tired yard sale holders, then get my ass out of bed before 5 AM on Sunday only to sit around a hot asphalt parking lot selling other people’s crap all day. I’m too damn lazy to do that – hell, I’m too lazy to use that brand new tennis racket.

After the morning rush, it’s a lot of waiting around for all the people with hangovers to come and look at your things. These are the people that will look for a 20 minutes, talk to you for another 20 minutes, then try to get you to sell that 50 cent book for 25 cents – the only item they are wanting to buy by the way. My favorite guy was this skinny 50 year old white guy with a 70’s mustache who saunters up with a cigarette and a can of Red Bull. He tells us good morning and then states, “I’m so hung-over. Like REALLY hung-over. Do you have any candles?” and proceeds to buy every candle I had there. You just have to wonder what he has going on in his house on the weekends.

All in all, we sold over half our crap and made a little less than $200. We have yet another yard sale to do in two weeks to try to get rid of everything else. Then there are the big items (fridge, dishwasher, washer\dryer, cars) that we are posting on Craigslist. That means a lot of answering emails and scheduling times for people to come and look at your things and hope they actually bother to show up. Like I said, it’s a bit hectic around here and I’m already tired.

FYI - If you are interested in buying a brand new tennis rack for $30, I know a great one for sale at the Orange Country Fairgrounds.

06 January 2011

This makes me squeal like a little girl....

....while simultaneously scares the crap out of me.

Oh yes, those are badgers.  I believe they would call this a whole shitload of badgers (technical term).

On a related note, this should give some insight on how interesting my day has been thus far  - that I have just spent a half hour Googling "Funny Badgers".   

03 January 2011

Under $80, or how I wonderfully foolishly spent the day.

So I’d like to say that I am not one bit girlie and by extension of that, I hate shopping. Of course, to say that I hated shopping would be telling the lie of the century since shopping is on the top 10 list of things I really get a metaphorical hard on doing. The caveat to that is that I only like shopping alone – which if you were still dwelling on my metaphorical hard on quip might make me seem a bit disturbed.

I only really like shopping alone because I have a predisposed nature of worrying nonstop if a person I am with is having a good time while doing an activity that I suggested. Because of that I can’t really concentrate on the shopping experience and will instead try to rush through a shop not buying anything and suggesting instead that we just go for a beer. This goes double if I’m shopping with Andy. The way I actually shop when alone is to go through a store once to locate where everything is and if anything stands out to me, then double back and do it again paying more attention to items that I may have missed. I then have to do a walk around the store again with the items that I did pick up deciding to myself whether or not I actually want said item(s). You can probably see how irritating it is to shop with me, especially since I can spend a crazy amount of time looking at things in stores that aren’t that great to begin with – like a 7-11.

Today was one of those rare days that I had all to myself. My company decided to extend the New Years holiday to include Monday but Andy’s company did not. I had a few things to take care of today, one of which was to go to Barnes & Noble to pick up some half priced calendars – something that I’ve been religiously doing since the dawn of time even though after New Years the choice of calendars is really limited (unless you like pugs and ferrets dressed up in farm outfits). With much hemming and hawing I finally decided on these two calendars since I didn’t feel like looking at pugs or ferrets dressed in farm outfits for the rest of the year.

"Bad Cat" is a misnomer.   More accurately would be "Cats Normally".

After the calendar purchase – which also included 45 minutes of looking at other half priced items – the whole shopping thing kicked off in my brain. Since it was like, RIGHT THERE, I decided to pop into Old Navy too. I don’t know quite how it happened but I ended up in the baby clothes section. This is really Shopping Mistake 101. I happen to know that I’m not suppose to be buying many clothes for the baby since I’m going to be getting a shitload at my shower(s) and the baby will grow so fast that he’ll be lucky to get one wear out of the clothes that I do buy. But I also have a weakness for both clothes with stripes and clothes with cute animals on them which is all baby clothes are really. Thankfully it was Old Navy and I didn’t exactly break the bank with these. You seriously can’t tell me that the Superman one isn’t awesome because I know that it is.

This picture makes these outfits look huge.  I swear I'm not giving birth to an ogre.

After Old Navy I knew there was no turning back so I got in my car and headed to Matsuwa, the headquarters for all things imported Japanese, to pick up some Koala March. Coincidentally, I never did get Koala March (because they only had the mega Koala March serving size (more like Koala Army) and not the individual packets) but I walked away with plenty more. I managed not to spend a whole lot here either though. Check out the booty. And why yes, those are childrens learn how to use chopsticks Chopsticks. They were only $3! (Andy is going to give me a lecture on the cost of shipping cargo to the UK tonight, isn’t he?)

Sadly, I'm getting hungry again.

Being in Matsuwa made me hungry for Vietnamese pho so after I loaded yet another bag to my truck I headed down Harbor Blvd to get something to eat. I just happened to stumble upon the Pho Company driving along and even though the service was pretty crap, the food was excellent.

Not my actual pho, but damn close.

Because shopping couldn’t let me go quite yet, as I was walking out to my car after eating, I noticed that there was a Russian deli next door. A Russian deli! I didn’t even know we had that sort of thing in this town! I must go in to take a look! And it was great – a bunch of things I couldn’t identify labeled in a language I couldn’t read. My kind of store! I actually tried to be good and just get a couple of chocolates for $2 but I didn’t have any cash with me and there was a $10 credit card minimum so I ended up getting a couple of beers and what looks like a Russian equivalent to Jaffa Cakes in a sad effort to appease Andy when he reads this and realized how much money I spent today.

 The KGB made me do it, I swear!