June 27, 2009

It’s on like Ping Pong

All our boxes are packed…we’re ready to go.
We’re running quickly out the door.
It can’t come quick enough…

Within the next few hours the cavalcade of moving joy begins. Right now feels like that calm before the storm where we are up and drinking coffee, tripping over filled boxes everywhere but not acknowledging that there is anything going on just yet. The wind is just starting to pick up a little bit.

Matt and I have moved so many times it is almost not even worth mentioning anymore but I feel compelled to get excited about this one because we both feel really good about this move. This is the first time in almost seven years we are moving to a place for no other reason than we wanted to.

When we first got together I was living in a little studio apartment in Malden, Massachusetts and he was living in Columbus, Ohio in a similar sized place. If you haven’t read the story about how we met and all that squishy stuff you can do that now. I’ll wait.

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap.

OK ready? Good. Now where was I? Oh right, Malden.

So once we decided to move in together the studio was not going to cut it and we found a place a few blocks away, also in Malden. It was the second floor of a typical Boston two family -- three bedrooms, one bath, eat in kitchen, hardwoods, single pane windows, no insulation and a boiler from 1850 -- it was huge and we were getting a super deal on rent because Matt knew someone who knew someone. Then they told us they were selling and all of this moving for other people and other reasons began.

We bought the fixer in June of 2002 and by April of 2003 we actually started to work on the place. Just before that was when they sold the house in Malden we crashed for a while with a family member until the house in Springfield was almost ready to be inhabited, but not quite. We went to a motel for ten days while we put up walls in the bathroom and bedroom. Enough that the cat could be safe and we could shower. We lived in Springfield for three years too long but neither of us ever wanted to live there. We just went with the flow of circumstances so when a job opportunity opened up in New York, we figured it was worth looking into.

I was dying to give Manhattan a go. I have always loved The City and could not wait to get there!

So of course we ended up living in my cousin’s basement on Long Island. For over a year. With no windows.

We made the best of it because New York is freaking expensive and we were still paying bills on the Springfield house and trying to sell it. But East Meadow was not where either of us wanted to live. One morning after a particularly heavy rain storm the basement flooded. We had been discussing possibly moving so we would not turn into moles but had not entirely planned on doing it just yet. The house next door belonged to the man my cousin had been seeing and he had just moved into her slightly larger home.

Off we went to his place that day. Like within an hour of the flood.

That house was actually one of the best places we have lived even though we didn’t see the move coming. A cute little 900 square foot, single family, two bedroom ranch with a nice big living room and a kitchen with a dishwasher. We had a couple friends on the Island who would come over and we would hang out on the back deck and drink beers and laugh all night. It was actually not too bad.

Then the housing market imploded.

Our friends had worked together (at a substantial sized mortgage company) and were out of work on the same day. With approximately 5,000 other people. Six or so other small to mid sized companies also went down and Matt too ended up having to find something. There were about 10,000 people all fighting for the same fifteen jobs on the Island and our friends hauled ass out of there and headed for Texas. Matt’s boss at his former company loved him to death and got him into her new place per-diem but we both knew he was on borrowed time.

So we put on our rose colored blindfold and moved back to Massachusetts.

There is a whole lot involved with this move and a very lengthy story surrounding it all, which I may tell at some point but today is not that day. Let’s just say there are three sides to everything and that we moved back here so Matt could pursue a career change, which instead turned out to be a life changing experience for both of us, and we encountered some major financial hardship due to the culmination of everything up to this point. Yes, I think that sums it up rather nicely.

When we first moved back we were crashing at the beach cottage in Humarock. The day I become a wealthy woman I will own a home on both coasts -- a hip loft in downtown San Diego and a home in Humarock. That place is one of the most amazing places on the planet for me, something magical happens when I cross the river; I feel at home. But living in a family house that is opened up every summer means, again, living on borrowed time so this was never meant to be something we could treasure; it was transitional at best. Bringing in 75% of the pay we were making in New York also meant we were limited in where we could even look, not to mention the fact that saving a couple dimes was next to impossible.

I had started Chucka Stone Designs as soon as we arrived and was beginning to roll along with a few great jobs through 2008. That spring the family house in Damascus, Maryland needed to be freshened to be put on the market and I was hired to do so. That job was the most physically exhausting I have ever faced but one of the most rewarding in so many ways. And I came home with our moving money.

We had settled for an apartment in Arlington that was excessively overpriced for the size, but it was Arlington. Now I should explain, as much as Humarock feels like home, I have about as strong feelings to the opposite about Arlington.

The funny thing about Boston is that even the crappiest of areas are overpriced so we figured, why not at least move to a safe town. And so we landed here.

I grew up here from age seven to about nineteen and frankly I am not a fan. There is nothing inherently wrong with this town it is just that I am one of those people who 1. knows when something feels right or wrong and 2. enjoys leaving my past in the past. Even as a kid I never felt like I fit in here. Moving back here caused my past to come running right up to me to punch me square in the kisser; I knew it felt wrong. But when we were looking there was not much of an option and after three years in Springfield I refused to live in another crime ridden location simply because we could afford it.

I have shared some of the hilarity about this building -- the smell of dead cabbage cat, neighbors who sunbathe in the parking lot in a thong, the rabid animals that live in the dumpster, the claustrophobia upon entry -- but I really must admit, despite all of the crap, our landlord has been wonderful and Matt and I went through very distinct, positive transformations here.

This time, there was no pressure to move (even though we were both interested in doing so eventually). No major life changes were occurring which were forcing our hand, neither of us figured we would be going anywhere for at least a couple years. Then one night out of the blue we heard about what will now be our new place.

It is only one town away but it feels like the other side of the Universe to me. With so many positive things going on in our lives right now this new place kind of feels like the culmination of dragging ourselves back up from a very, very dark place that we lived in for a very, very long time. We don’t own it, it is not all that much bigger and who knows what the neighbors will be like but something inside both of us is saying that this time we were actually waiting at the right platform when the right train was pulling in and finally we are headed in the right direction.

I haven’t even set up an appointment for internet access to be hooked up yet. For the first few days I simply plan to unpack, make curtains, explore our new neighborhood, sit in the side yard and read the Kerouac novel I just took out of the library, set up our place and enjoy the surroundings. I don’t know when I’ll get back online to read, write and connect, but even though there is a lot of heavy lifting to come over the next few days, I somehow feel like I will be more refreshed than ever once I get back.


June 18, 2009

Expressing Thanks

Some of you know that I hand make bags from upcycled or recycled fabrics as a hobby and that I have a shop on Etsy under my company name of Chucka Stone Designs where I sell these little goodies. Well about a week ago, Jackie over at Etsy Item of the Day got in touch with me and asked if she could feature this

as today’s featured item of the day. As if I was going to say no! The funny thing is that I have been contemplating marking all of my Etsy shop items at 50% off as a moving sale next week so I can possibly unload some merchandise before I have to pack it and take it to the new place. I would much rather take it to the post office and send it to a fine, yet different, home.

This morning I was suggesting, over on one of the thousand or so social networking sites I now belong to, that perhaps I should get a couple huge posters made up that look like this

to mark the sale’s occasion. I guess pimping out my glorious feature (and the fact that I am thinking of having the sale at all) right here on my blog is going to have to be enough. Never mind the fact that there is no time to print up these babies, I am pretty sure my current landlord would not be expressing her thanks for my hanging them all over the building.

One of the people I recently started following on twitter, @EnlightenYurDay, posts these little excellent quotes a few times a day. They come from philosophers, musicians, writers, Saints and (who some might call) sinners alike. I don’t know where they find them but they never cease to inspire me and make me smile or chuckle too. My very favorite from today is:

If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.
- Anatole France

This goes right back to being thankful today. I could ask Jackie how she found me, wonder why suddenly my long ago deserted Etsy shop is suddenly being noticed again or how I have been so lucky to make such magnificent connections but instead I will just say a big rock on to the Universe at large and bask in the accolades being vibed my way right now.

June 16, 2009

Easily Translates into Five Thousand Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Instead of my usual incessant rambling, I’m going to let the photos do the talking for me today. Well, most of it anyway. OK, not much really but here it is anyway.

On June 8 my mom, her friend Eileen, Matt, and myself went down to Central Square to the bar All Asia to see a comedy show. The host and Comedienne of the evening was Janet Cormier, who my mom met because (as Mom pointed out just now) she was the leader of the Think Tank workshop at the Career Source. The show was great, we must have laughed our way through at least ten up and coming comedians. If you are in the area and want to check it out I think they are on the second Monday of every month and it was super inexpensive, just a $5 admission charge!

The Arlington Farmer’s Market opened on June 10th and although there was not too much yet there were some fantastic deals to be had! S got Hammer and Anvil bundled up in their best winter outfits (because this is late spring in New England people), she swung by to grab me and off we went! This is where I acquired the fifteen pounds of dill and yummy cacao nibs used on that fateful burnt sugar night.

I decided to pick up some last minute tickets to They Might Be Giants for Matt. Live music is never bad in my book so even though I had no familiarity with this band, he loves them so it seemed like the right thing to do. We had great seats, somewhere around the 10th row and the place was really tiny for a performance hall. These guys were awesome! What an incredibly fun band and come to find out they are originally from Massachusetts so it was like a big reunion show with their family in the audience too. They performed their album Flood in consecutive order, tossed in a few warm up songs and did two encores. I had only ever heard one song before that night but would definitely see them again. It was the perfect way to end the day after a fantastic time at a friend’s fortieth birthday party!

We helped my dad and Wicked Stepmother move this past Sunday and after literally half of a day of lugging boxes, emptying the water bed, sweeping water away from the house so it would stop seeping into the basement and driving back and forth to the mid-western part of the state to unload and unpack I was so physically worn out yesterday that I wanted to do nothing more than lie around and relax all day. I managed to do just that for a better part of the day but a good friend of mine, John, called to let me know he was in town for just a couple days from Florida so we had to do lunch.

My goal for today consists of nothing more than finding this product. During my down time yesterday I checked around locally and could not find it here in Arlington so today I must branch out to track it down. I need this lovely little item to complete the kitchen reorganization project I am working on right now so this, or the equivalent in a different brand, will need to magically appear today so I can heroically finish up tomorrow.

Talk about your whirlwind! So much to do, so little time.

Maybe this upcoming weekend will be a bit calmer? Nah, I doubt it

June 5, 2009

Broken Thought Process Thursday

Yup, it’s Friday. Hey, it’s my theme I do what I want!

There is a fine line between determination and insanity. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results; or something close to that. He was clearly onto something there. I wish he were alive and well, it would be nice to ask him to move on over here next door to one of my neighbors and share that pearl of wisdom because although they might not be insane just yet, they are quickly driving me there. Come to think of it, they are not driving much of anywhere.

For the past two weeks, every day, at multiple and various times throughout the twenty four hour period, my neighbor has gone out to their car and tried to start it. The car makes that cheg-cheg-cheg-cheg-cheg sound as if it is about to start but it never turns over. I almost feel bad for them, they must imagine that the car fairy comes at night and sprinkles magic motor oil all over the hood in a blessing for their success the next day. What would be the explanation for trying it every morning otherwise? Now, I am certainly no genius like Albie but it sounds to me like perhaps it is time to call a tow truck and go have a starter put in. I don’t know though, just a thought.

Hearing this occur every morning makes me want to quote the movie Mallrats:

“That kid, is back on the escalator again!”

OK well I am going to go take a nine hour break from typing so I can get out to my kitchen reorganization job out in Ayer. Today we are working on the two kitchen junk drawers and the “it used to be a broom closet but is now the toss it in there and hope it doesn’t fall out when the door gets opened” closet. Can not wait to get before and after shots of this job for all of you to check out. Its so liberating to toss stuff and get it into a more organized manner. Well at least for me, I hope it feels the same for the client!

Back now. Hope everyone had a fantastic Friday!

Yup, definitely all about pizza for dinner tonight. So now I have to decide if we are going to make the trek out to Revere beach to get our favorite from Bianchi’s or if we should just stick close to home and do a margharita from Nicola. Ooh choices are so fun, especially when it comes to good pizza.

Oh my, I am pretty sure that was just a really booming rumble of thunder. Perhaps we will stick close to home and forego the beach tonight after all. Decision made.

I don’t know if any of you are Lost fans but we started renting all of the episodes again from season 1 on and let me tell you, I have even more questions now than before going back to re-watch them! There was a whole lot of information, situations, circumstances or subtle nuances that I completely forgot all about. Plus some characters they got rid of that really bummed me out to see them go. We have three left until the end of the season, it is pretty likely that will be tonight’s activity of choice unless I can convince Matt to play a little Rock Band of course.

Speaking of, I think it is time to go tap the pads for a few before Matt gets home. This is about as broken a thought process blog as possible. I like this theme, think I’ll keep it up. Hope everyone enjoys their night!