Tag Archives: road-trip

2016: The High Points-Ranked

3 Jan

There was more bad times then good this year.  Or more accurately, a lot of the bad points overshadowed the good.  Or their were the normal good times, but the daily grind had a lot of negative.  But here, I have happily remembered many of the good.  From awesome to major thrill, here is my Top Moments Countdown:

Honorable mention:  The Trampled by Turtles concert with Lorn Huron as opener.  They put on a wonderful show (see review blog) but the venue totally ruined the whole thing.

trampled-by-turtles

11-Kelly Coffey circuit workouts/running on the trail in the summer

Cool has gained so much ground on this front, and it makes it fun, quality time instead of a chore.  It’s really nice to do it together.  And even though it was very hot (sometimes 104F) we both ran well AND had great attitudes about it.  I hope to continue our fitness stuff for a very long time.

10-Balloon Races/kayak

This went from the top spot last year to 10th!  But not because it was bad or anything.  I packed the car to the brim, but forgot one bag.  The one with all the cute outfits I had lovingly put together over the prior weeks and weeks.  It was a fun trip, as always, but even though there were technically more days IN the visit, we were way more rushed.  We didn’t even get to play yard games!  We have to plan better next time.  And some lady chastised my family when we sat down at Dawn Patrol.  Even though there’s no tickets and no seating arrangement.  She got ugly about it, saying “we’ve been here since 3AM.”  False.  They don’t open the gates until 4 AM, and shove it up your ass, lady.  I had fun, and I always love the balloon races, but we were kinda running around.  Plus, my mom was still recovering from her radiation/surgery.  And my dad was having trouble walking around so much.  We will do it better next visit!

lauurel-remax

9-Cool’s birthday in Park City

I bought Cool (and me) a massage package in Park City.  So we could try out being fancy (that’s not our life).  It was fun, but I just don’t think I’m a massage person.  Example:  They have a sign-in sheet and it asks what you don’t want in the massage.  I wrote “awkwardness.”  My gal was like, what do you mean you don’t want awkwardness?  Long pause.  What is awkwardness to you?”  Umm, THIS conversation.  And there was a hair treatment in the massage.  But that meant either you have to walk around with straight up oil in your wet hair–or shower.  So I had a weird semi-private shower, which I’m never a fan of.  So the massage was good, but I just am not going to submit myself to any more of that.  We did get to window shop in Park City and eat at High West, so that was nice.

boss-moose

8-getting the impossible raise

My worth ethic is unparalleled.  And my department under-pays so there is high turnover.  I ended up doing way more then my share (as I have always done) on a consistant basis.  The difference was, they keep track of checklists, so I saved them and wrote everything down.  Everyone in the company, everyone, everyone gets a standard 40 cent raise at their yearly review.  Everyone.  No exception.  But I worked more so I deserved more.  And I asked for it.  My supervisor said no no straight away.  I persisted that I worked very hard.  And they couldn’t deny that.  So the head of the department said he could try to ask for more, but it had only ever happened on very few rare occasions.  I said we could at least try, and he said he’d talk to his boss, but don’t get my hopes up.  I didn’t.  But the next week, he said I got it!  I got more than the standard 40 cent raise!!!  One of very few–nobody in recent memory.  But then, because he’s a douche and he doesn’t like me (because I caught him red-handed talking shit about me to another random employee AND went to HR about it)  he ruined the moment by saying, “You got lucky.”  No, you mother-fucker, I did not get lucky, I worked hard and earned it.  And Cool further ruined the occasion by picking one of our biggest fights ever.  So this should be higher on this list, but *sigh* other people. . .  I DID buy myself a really nice fitness tracker as a gift to me.  And it is hands free/cord free/phone free music.  Right on my wrist–with no other device necessary.

7-Zoo Brew

Best idea ever!  With or without alcohol.  The zoo put on a 21 and over event, which is genius.  I don’t always want to have kids pushing me, deal with screaming, and have little people running around scaring the animals and tapping on glass.  As long as you look at the zoo before the adults get out of the alcohol lines, you can see the animals before the adults start to exhibit (pun intended) this behavior.  It’s the first time we ever saw the palace cat out, because it was actually quiet.  Love!  And we went to the very first event, so nobody knew if it yet, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Subsequent events were fun too, but word had spread and it was more crowded.  That May event–perfect!

giraffes-are-tall

6-my birthday:

I went extravegent for my bithday.  Not because it was a milestone year (33) but more because I had a job where I can take (paid) time off.  So I used it to my advantage and did bunches of things all week.  I got my hair dyed special. mussel-shooters-with-quail-egg She took the color out, then did a rinse so it was subtle, purple highlights.  I loved it!  And as soon as I catch up on money, I’ll get that again.  On your birthday you get to eat whatever you want, even if the other person doesn’t like that kind of food.  Cool is a very picky eater, so I always have to go without a lot of foods.  So I chose sushi.  The restaurant was cute, and had a mural and live music too.  I got a whole platter, which I never do, but it was my birthday, and I had to load up from the prior year of no sushi and the next year of no sushi.  And I got mussel shooters, which are fun to eat!  My actual birthday we paid for Red Butte gardens ($13/person and a total rip-off) which is MUCH smaller than Spokane’s free Manito Garden.  I won’t go back lizlard-wave-up-frontunless there’s a free day.  We went to Red Robin’s for lunch, which I wouldn’t choose, but my blood sugar got low and we had no other recourse and Cool panicked and got irritable.  Then we went to an independent theater and saw one of the films that had been at Sundance Film Festival.  It was “Swiss Army Man” see my review.  I liked it, and figured it out, so felt cool.  Then we had a Grapefruit Ballist Point beer on a patio and it was wonderful.  We had planned to go to our library’s coffee and chocolate class but some obnoxious lady sat immediately next to me, wouldn’t stop engaging me, and when she belched in my face I called it quits and walked out early.  Then sent a long complain letter to the event’s organizer–who turned out to be really, really sweet.  Signed us up for the next month’s (super competitive) class, gave me coupons for free coffee at the library shop, and gave me a birthday gift of 4 artisan chocolate bars!  Like, really sweet and very apologetic (that’s not usually my life).  Anyway, so we went to an oyster restaurant instead.  I like oysters, but found the restaurant very over-priced.  The day after my birthday, Cool had paid for an experience at the aviary.  I got to go in a private room with a parrot and a bird trainer.  The bird painted me a picture.  Well,  actually she went dab-dab dab with the sponge then looked for her food treat.  Then saw she had to dab more to get more food, so quickly dab-dab-dabbed in order to get more treats.  I got to take pictures right up next to her and took my painting by her home.  It was really neat to get up close and personal and she was a cute stuff.

painting-with-picaso-birthday

5-Halloween Costumes

We loved the year we were trick-or-treating, and I’ve always loved Halloween.  But usually, one of us is stuck at work.  This year–neither of us were, so we wanted to do something really big.  A couple’s costume!  So on Sundays we brainstormed and brainstormed, and researched, and planned.  The best, easiest thing for us to do was “Lions Tigers and Bears–Oh my!”  We bought more then we wanted, and made some cool accessories.  Then, I face-paintedgracies-contest-004 gracies-contest-026my little heart out!  It took forever, but we looked good.  We had signed up for a fun-theme-run, so we dressed up for that.  And the zombies chased us.  Cool body-slammed a zombie, and outran the children.  At the end, they had voting for best costume.  Except, they forgot to call us up (they said if you think you’ll win just get up there anyway) so we had to push through the crowd–which Cool is never good at.  There was no raised stage or anything, we were just in a parking-lot, and as short people, we were probably obscured to anyone not in the front row.  And the dope-DJ who was running the thing didn’t say our name properly he called us “a lion and a tiger.”  The voting was by audience cheer.  We got second place, but after all the afore-mentioned factors, I think we were robbed!  And I think the first place winners had stacked the crowd.  So we felt we could do better.  When a local restaurant announced they were having a costume contest for cash prizes ($500 Sunday night, $500 Monday night–when it had been one night the year before for $1000) we had to try!  Even though it meant taking time off work.  So I requested a partial day off Sunday (working corporate and having not only paid vacation, but as-needed employees to cover shifts is so nice!) to gracies-contest-025get ready and go.  I did my very best face-painting work and we hung out at Gracie’s waiting for the voting.  And some ten foot tall tree man took our prize!  With some king and queen getting 2nd, and that Tim Burton wig head dude and his gal-friend taking 3rd.  Disagree and disagree.  We should have at least gotten 2nd!  So we tried one more time and dressed up for work on Monday.  Because their was a contest and a secret prize, and our boss encouraged everyone to dress up.  He didn’t encourage us for work-spirit or anything.  That douche is a nerd and his big hobby is making and dressing up in costumes–even though he’s like, 50.  He has a batman, that could legit-be used for one of the movies.  That’s how much time and money and effort he put into it.  That is an old costume of his.  This year, he was working on a Captain Sparrow costume.  Which I thought was only so-so.  How hard is it to get a mscl-halloween-contest-copydred-wig, a sash, and buy tall boots?!  So we thought we’d at least win the work contest and beat him–cause who doesn’t love a group costume?  But alas, our boss won the whole contest.  And some gal painted herself silver and wore deer antlers (big deal) and beat us for 2nd place.  We didn’t even place at all ūüė¶  So we had fun, and looked good, but this didn’t rank higher because nobody knows how to properly judge a contest, and we should have won, but didn’t.

haunted-5k-186

 

 

4-my thousand day in a row mile

I ran so many days-in-a-row that I made it to #1000 this summer!  To commemorate the occasion, I made flyers at work, inviting people.  Even though I knew those duds and douches wouldn’t show, I was excited and there was an off-chance someone might share in that excitement–plus, I could get acknowledgement of my huge accomplishment, and tie it to my resume that way.  As part of the work in-a-row-2event, I made it a coin drive fund-raiser so we could adopt a bird at the aviary.  The money goes towards feeding and care and they give you free aviary passes, a plush of your bird, and a certificate.  Only my supervisor came to my mile, but I really hadn’t expected anyone at all, so that was OK. I wore my running skirt and felt awesome.  And I used our concert window chalk and painted my accomplishment all over Rusty.  On the way from the fundraiser to work, I was stuck in traffic.  I don’t use my air conditioner–ever–in order to save money, so my windows were both down.  I heard a, “I promise I’m not hitting on you.”  Firstly, I didn’t expect it.  Secondly, I thought–that can’t be for ME.  Thirdly, I was like–do I really want to engage with this?  So after a long time, I turned my head, and some guy stuck in the traffic jam beside me, asked, “Did you really run so many days in a row???  That’s cool!”  So that was nice.  While I was at work that night, our Hispanic cleaning gal brought her whole family inside our lab.  They all looked really happy, and they asked if any of us spoke Spanish–none of us do, all of us randomly speak German, if any second language at all.  Her husband had his phone and somehow conveyed that they wanted to buy a car.  I heard “Isuzu” and realized what happened.  They saw all my window paint, but couldn’t read English.  So they assumed I was selling my beautiful Rusty for $1000, and they were ready to take it that night!  I was like, “No, no,no, not for sale.”  And they looked very disappointed.  And everyone in my lab teased me that I broke their hearts for the rest of that week.  Only like 3 people at work donated to the coin drive (I TOLD you I work with duds) but 2 of them donated $20s.  So we got to adopt a bird for $50.  I chose a black vulture 1) because vultures are important to our world and Andy N. Condor has enlightened me to their cuteness and cause. 2) Little Chewy and Vader of Tracy Aviary didn’t have any sponsors for 2016, and that made me sad for them.  3)  Our lab is SO vulture!   We are the clean-up crew of the medical industry as we have to sniff out mistakes and correct them.  We deal with icky samples.  And–we’re all anti-social and sort of put-down upon by the hoity-toity management and the super-social client services and phlebotomists.   I hung the flyer, the certificate/facts, and the vulture plush in the lab.  Everybody likes it and we named out vulture plush, Culture, which is appropriate for us.

1000th-mile-in-a-row-003

3-Brandi’s concert

Brandi always makes our list.  She always puts on an exciting show that you come away from amped up.  But the venue was awesome!  We were right in the middle of the Deer Valley bunny area, with mountains and trees all around.  And Park City is always fun–we of course snuck into their mini Arts-Fest (only for 2 min) and ate beer cheese pretzels and drank cocktails at our fave- High West.  It also made it the best time because we packed our own tailgate and pic-nic.  We had greek pitas, watermelon-rum slushees, salads and s’mores in (separate) mason jars.  It was delicious, and topped off the day nicely.  Oh, and we got the very best parking spot where we could exit the concert first, and easily, because one of the Deer Valley maintenance workers gave us a good tip.

brandi-date

2-Utah Arts Festival

It was bigger and better then I ever expected!  There were booths where we got to see SLC’s creative side.  The live music was cool, and we got to see Beats Antique–a legit band that made my countdown–at the end, right in the park.  The highlight of the day was getting a sampling of foods from there different food trucks.  And we came home with Rogue Bear and a beautiful pinned moth.

power-lunch

1.rodeo

We wanted to do something on our holiday weekend, but didn’t know what exactly.  At that time, we lived right pioneer-days-rodeowithin walking of downtown, but lots of things were closed, and nothing pioneer-days-rodeo-2016spectacular was going on.  But they do convert the whole arena each year for “Pioneer Days Rodeo.”  We thought we’d go check it out and kill some time.  We both wore our best cowgirl outfits and walked down.  Out front we stumbled on to a signing!  It was my dream at pretty much every event I’ve ever attended to have a meet and greet with the main person, but that’s not my life.  And here, we were standing in the middle of a meet & greet, but we didn’t know who any of the rodeo people were. . .  Still, the main guy invited us to get autographs, gave us a magazine to get signed, we had hats for them to sign.  They talked, and took pictures.  Everyone was really nice!  And inside the rodeo we had a lot of fun and excitement watching all the events.  We had no idea we would like the rodeo so much!  We had SO much fun that while we were sitting in the stands, we used my phone to buy tickets for the next evening as well.

 

So that’s the best of 2016, and I look forward to an very very much better 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When It Rains, It Pours: April [drive, err 2nd drive]

17 Jun

Yes, yes–another hiatus. ¬†And there will be another (for a week) because my parents are visiting and I won’t have time to do the important things either.

PS-this is my WordPress anniversary, which is cool, but not my blogging one. ¬†I started on Myspace–and yes, I liked it better.

anti-facebook

Anyway, let’s wrap up the moving story already. ¬†I think the posting may be actually taking longer then the move itself. . .

So I had to drive Rusty (unknown vehicle status) a SECOND time from Spokane to Salt Lake City.  And I started out all tired.  Also, my house-sitting job wrapped up on a Saturday night, so it was awkward timing.  Because 2 days prior the lease on my apartment was up.  So I technically had no place to stay in Washington.

My boss (the owner of the house-sitting house) offered my an extra night at their place.  But I thought it would be awkward when her and her husband were home.  So I declined.  And my aunt offered me her house, but then I would be obligated to chat Saturday night, use her dirty bathroom/shower, and they would probably make me late (and CRAZY) in the morning with more obligatory chatting.

I would have to start the drive Saturday evening. ¬†But I’ve learned trying to press on at all hours of the night, not only sucks, but is dangerous. ¬†So I just broke down and shelled out money for a hotel. ¬†But in Missoula–because I love that town!

pow wow and Missoula 031

So I’m driving up this steep, steep hill, pushing Rusty to do 65-70 MPH (normally 50 is my absolute max) not being sure how much Rusty could handle. ¬†Everything is going ok–I’m in between that Idaho and Montana part that’s up, up, up, but fast speeds. ¬†And suddenly, the hood of the car just catches my eye. ¬†I saw it move! ¬†While I was going 70mph! ¬†I abruptly put on my flashers and pulled over in the “emergency stopping only” to check the scene. ¬†Sure enough–the hood was OPEN! ¬†I was so scared. ¬†How long had it been open? ¬†What if I hadn’t noticed? ¬†What if it flew up while I was driving up hill with a lot of speedy traffic? ¬†I could have been killed. ¬†I imagine at that speed the hood would have broken the front window. ¬†Not to mention obscured my vision.

So I closed that and resumed my trip, drama-free, but shaken.

I stayed at the hotel and it was lovely and uneventful as well.  Then the next morning I got an early (I am now a night person, remember) start at 5:38AM.

That drive between Montana-Idaho-Utah is boring. ¬†Sure, the speeds are high, but there is really nothing out there. ¬†And of course my phone doesn’t get reception. ¬†Also making me nervous about potential car trouble.

Rusty is a 1992.  And back then, they apparently did not try to make it a quiet ride.  I could hear all the traffic loudly and the awful wind.  A random storm blackened the sky over me and caused severe wind that made it effortful to stay in my lane.  But it was so, so loud I kept thinking my doors must not be closed all the way.  So I was nervous one might open while I was driving and stuff (maybe me) would fall out in the highway.

The other thing that happened was while climbing a hill. ¬†I was using cruise-control–that did make it a better ride then when I took the Penske. ¬†Anyway, I’m going up hill at 75-80 MPH in a group of cars and suddenly Rusty just came out of cruise control. ¬†Just decelerated at an alarming rate. ¬†And because I was mid-hill I couldn’t get any speed manually either. ¬†I had to quickly pull off. ¬†And I didn’t know how alarmed to be. ¬†Was Rusty done for? ¬†Was this a sign of a bigger problem? ¬†Would I be stuck in Idaho without a car or phone reception? ¬†uh oh. . .

610

There was tons of wind and tons of bugs on the interstates of Montana and Idaho. ¬†I was having to clean the windshield every time I filled the tank, then it would quickly become buggy again. ¬†One time, about 5 hours into my journey, when I was tired, thirsty, had expired from car-slurr, I cleaned the windshield. ¬†It wasn’t 5 minutes and this huge group of bugs crashed into my windshield, covering it with their rust-colored bodies. ¬†It made me disproportionately upset and made the trip feel so loooooonnnnnnnggggg.

But I just used the bathroom, and cleaned off my windshield with vinegar–which boosted my morale substantially. ¬†Vinegar worked better then the gas station cleaners and it was the first time I could see well! ¬†And my car had no further issues.

The end of that trip sucks, because just when you’re the most greasy, tired, thirsty, and ready to arrive at the destination, the traffic becomes thick and the driving moronic. ¬†You have to pay super-close attention and constantly defensively-drive! ¬†So I’m worn out and crowded in speeding cars, having to pay acute attention.

Needless to say, when I pulled up at the apartment, I was DONE!  I was ready for a hug from Cool and a nap in a clean apartment.

But that’s not what happened. ¬†Cool, still being manic, had bought a used futon while I was away. ¬†Which was bigger then our living room. ¬†I was thinking it didn’t fit. ¬†That bed-bugs had probably been introduced. ¬†And how did she pay for it. ¬†Instead of the relaxation, nap, shower, and meal, I would have to fight with Cool, pack up a futon, clean the apartment (which of course she left a mess) and I might as well unpack Rusty while I was at it.

Not the best.

In the end, the futon got re-sold for a $5 profit, I cleaned the house, and Cool got a meds adjustment, and *knock on wood* has been a lot more stable.

captial-sky

And that’s the end of the moving story!!! ¬†Finally.

When It Rains, It Pours: April [house–sHit]

11 Jun

When I was cleaning the OLD apartment, I was dreaming so much of the relaxation of house-sitting for waelthy people.  This was going to be just the vacation I needed after a crazy month of stress and packing and stress and driving and stress and unpacking and stress and planning logistics and.  Stress.

last house-sitting 094This was going to be the restful break, complete with amenities that would rejuvenate me before I had to drive (again) Rusty to Utah.  Ten+ more hours, but by myself.  In a third-hand car with unknown history and not enough maintenance.

Sidenote–I knew I should get Rusty’s oil changed and a tune-up before a big trip. ¬†BUT every single time I took a trip in my Jetta, and went to a mechanic prior to that trip they would deliver some awful news of some sort. ¬†Something was terribly wrong, it costs a lot of money, it would push back my leaving date, and if I did pay an extraordinary amount of money (NOW!) my car would probably die on the way Jetta 1there, leaving me stranded. ¬†Every trip this happened. ¬†And every trip’s dates would be set in stone and strapping me for cash. ¬†So I would never be able to have time or money to fix whatever problem it was. ¬†But I would worry the entire time. ¬†Trips in my Jetta were always full of terror because I was always certain I was just about to break down–without a cell phone. ¬†Or any sort of recourse. ¬†And the problem was especially compounded when I traveled by myself (most of the trips) or worse–with pets.

The point is–NOT knowing was better then panicking the entire time, so I did not take Rusty to see anyone. ¬†This was a gamble. ¬†BUT this time I did have Triple A–just in case. ¬†So I was a little worried.

But the house-sitting was going to be a lovely, easy time.

house-sitting 011

Except I forgot that the animals don’t allow sleep. ¬†Dr. Fletcher makes anyone in the guest room (A.K.A. Dr. SLC-all moved in 004Fletcher’s room) miserable by doing power-muffins, licking, frolicking, opening then slamming the door, scratching with (previously done by another owner) declawed paws on anything, etc. . . ¬†There is no night-sleeping. ¬†The other 2 cats begin to meow and fuss and make a ruckus about 5AM when they usually get their breakfast. ¬†This with the stirring dogs and thought of starving horses mandates crack-of-dawn mornings. ¬†There is no napping, because the dogs run amok during the day, the phone rings all day, the answering machine¬†is long and loud, and packages are frequently delivered. ¬†There is too much going on during the day to sleep. ¬†In the evening the dogs are hyper and need fetching until their legs fall off, and the bulk of the chores must be completed.

In short–I was even MORE tired during and after house-sitting then when I started. ¬†I don’t think I ever slept more then 3-4 consecutive hours.

And then I had to drive from Washington to Utah.  Alone.  And for a second time in 2.5 weeks. . .

When It Rains, It Pours: April [moving-drive-1st leg]

28 May

Let’s see, driving long stretches is mostly boring. ¬†But a few key things are worth noting.

-Going on a Sunday was genius.  Traffic around cities was a lot less.  And bigger then that, the construction was on hold.  So we still lost time to slow speed limits, but we never had to stop in a line for workers or anything.  Any other day would have taken a LOT longer to get through those zones.

-Cool had fairly bad behavior for the entirety of the planning and execution of all of the move. ¬†She was the bad kind of manic: ¬†Unfocused, irritable, all over the place, no common sense or concentration. ¬†So mostly she provided stress upon the stress. ¬†BUT the one amazing thing that she thought of–and followed through to completeion–was walkie-talkies. ¬†I wasn’t all about them–I figured they’d be fun if we had them, but not having them wasn’t a deal-breaker. ¬†Let me tell you: ¬†Walkie talkies and 2 vehicles are THE way to go if you have to drive a moving truck. ¬†I drove the 16 foot Penske, and Cool (and the cats) followed along in her HHR. ¬†This was great, because she could monitor my blind spots. ¬†If I wanted to switch lanes, we could just beep each other quickly on the radios. ¬†No cost of cell phone minutes (though using Boost, we both have unlimited talk, text, and data anyway) and no one-handed stuff. ¬†We could also easily communicate which speed we wanted to go and when we had to stop for gas, bathroom, food, or rest. ¬†The walkie-talkies made driving the Penske EASY! ¬†Awesome job, Cool!!!

-We got started around 2PM, and drove 5.5(?) hours to Butte, which was about 2 hours past my point of fatigue. ¬†Having long-hauled many road trips before this, 2 hours isn’t all that bad–relatively speaking.

Big Sky Country

-The cats rode in the car well (I’m told). ¬†Usually Goose is good, quiet, and still during the car ride. ¬†Choco-Luv likes to scream and yell the entire trip. ¬†But sans drugs, they did pretty good–maybe Cool just tuned them out with loud music though.

-And the hotel seemed magical when we got to stop for a real shower and bed and TV.

-The cats fussed a little–they do the opposite thing at lodging that they do in the car: ¬†Goose¬†is¬†usually a horrible, terrible noise-maker and pacer in hotels. ¬†He kept us all awake the whole night in Boise, and when when my dad and I took him from Missouri to Nevada for the final time, Goose was so angry with me he peed on my hotel pillow. ¬†He yowled a little, but not incessantly and we could still sleep. ¬†I think it helped that we didn’t drug them at all this time.

-Splitting the trip into 2 days helped bunches, and the next day we just had to drive 7-ish(?) hours to Salt Lake City, instead of a whole 10.5 hours.  Which I think 10.5 is a low estimate from Google, it might have been more like 13 in real conditions.

-Montana and a nice high speed limit, and I always feel at home under it’s big-sky. ¬†Idaho is full of nothingness, but at least they also have an extreme speed limit. ¬†I just kept driving the Penske because it was going well. ¬†And I think switching off would have made everyone more nervous. ¬†Unlike Rusty, the Penske had cup holders, and you don’t realize how important and nice those are until you’ve lived without them. ¬†It was also nice having a clock, which Rusty does not have.

-The only thing about the Penske that was bothersome, was my accelerator-foot got tired.  The speed tops out at 70 mph, but with a speed limit of 80 mph, I wanted to push it as fast as it was willing to go.  But it made the truck roar and shake, and I had to mash the pedal all the way to the floor.

-Utah drivers are awful, and it made it a little difficult that we had to finish the drive like that. ¬†You’re at a point where you’re tired and just want to get there–it’s no time to have to employ a bunch of defensive-driving techniques. ¬†But we did. ¬†And all 4 of us made it in one piece and without very much fatigue or headache. ¬†Also–this is of course relative to past trips. ¬†We were all very tired of sitting in a car, sleepy, and wanting to be home.

-We got to the new apartment at 3:30PM. ¬†I needed a shower. ¬†I was fatigued. ¬†I was SO done with moving! ¬†I just wanted to shower and chill. ¬†But alas, the parking situation was tight, so in order to unload the Penske in the vicinity of our unit, I had to park in 3 neighbor’s spots. ¬†Needless to say, there would not be an afternoon/evening of rest. ¬†Not even a meal break. ¬†We had to immediately unload the Penske in order to move out out of the way before people got home from work and had no place to park.

welcome to utah- t-rex

Next episode:  Unpacking.

When It Rains, It Pours: April [pre-move]

8 May

Since I didn’t have time to update throughout April, I’ll save some time here by making a bulleted list. ¬†I’ll try to remember everything, but things got pretty hectic!

-At the end of March, we started looking for apartments.  In another state.  Real Estate agents are apparently flakes, hardly reading correspondence or answering/returning phone calls.  We also immediately saw that not many understood out-of-state moves = No, we cannot come view it tomorrow!  This was going to be more difficult then we anticipated.

-We also learned that securing an apartment before starting to pay rent wasn’t a thing. ¬†We wanted to have pro-rated rent mid-April, the agents wanted us to start a lease 4-1-15. ¬†Which wasn’t going to work since our Spokane lease wasn’t up until 4-30-15, and we couldn’t afford to pay rent on two places at once. ¬†How do people usually manage this?

-To further complicate the matter, I had committed to house-sitting until May 2nd. ¬†This meant we either HAD to sign a new lease that started May 1st in Salt Lake City (SLC from here on out) or pay month-to-month at our current apartment. ¬†Mo-Mo increased our current rent from from $480 to $610/mo. ¬†On top of moving expenses and deposits–that was not going to work.

-In addition, it seems SLC is anti-pets. ¬†We could hardly find ANYthing that accepted 2 cats. ¬†And those that would, were about $100 higher in rent (and mostly more then that), charged a minimum of $300 extra deposit (on top of $300 security deposit), AND charged monthly pet rent. ¬†This was going to be expensive–and I didn’t have a job so I didn’t know how much money I had to budget. . .

-Needless to say, we are scrambling around on the internet, looking for suitable places, e-mailing (to no avail), and calling–without a SINGLE return phone call. ¬†WTF?! ¬†Is this a real estate “thing” or just a SLC thing?! ¬†Either way, it was super-annoying, not to mention bad business practice.

-Cool gets legit-stressed, but then goes full-on manic. ¬†Not awesome timing. ¬†She decides she has to visit her family, 6 hours away, right when we’re trying to find housing. ¬†I was going to go, but I work on Saturday, and didn’t want to leave my co-worker friend alone to do everything. ¬†So Cool and I were initially going to visit Tacoma Sun-Tues. ¬†BUT Cool also realized she had NO time off work. ¬†None. ¬†And she only gets weekends off. ¬†So she planned to make¬†the visit without me.

-To compound the situation, the Friday Cool was going to leave (after her work shift was over at midnight) for the other side of the state, she calls me. ¬†It was 9PM. ¬†Good news: ¬†She was able to transfer within the company she’s been working for into a job in Salt Lake City! ¬†Cool got a job! ¬†Bad news: ¬†She had to start work April 23rd (in 14 days counting that night). ¬†Worse news: ¬†We had no housing, she still intended to leave for the weekend, and in order for me to give 2 weeks notice at my job, I’d have to turn in my letter of resignation tomorrow. ¬†STRESS!

-After we had a deadline looming, things got really insane. ¬†I had to turn in my notice at work, secure housing, start packing (and getting rid of things), and making reservations for moving trucks, hotels, flights, etc. . . ¬†Despite this being 2015, the internet wasn’t super helpful in finding an apartment OR changing my address. ¬†I had to make a zillion phone calls–and you know how I despise that. ¬†Forget about details like cleaning the old apartment or trying to get a job in SLC–that stuff would have to wait.

-We found 1 viable housing-option (above our price range). ¬†But the landlord was a doofus. ¬†We Cool (because this kind of crap makes me belligerent, and that would accomplish nothing, plus, I was doing EVERYthing else) had to call like 6 times before we got any response. ¬†Then we had to wait. ¬†Then, things didn’t work right. ¬†My full 2 weeks notice were closing at work, and we still had only the promise of housing–no lease, no deposit. . . ¬†This is terrifying to me. ¬†What would happen if it fell through?

-Meanwhile, I was frantically packing and trying to get rid of things. ¬†What to do with the huge, old treadmill? ¬†How were we going to get the 37″ TV down the stairs, and where would we put it? ¬†You never realize how much stuff you have until you have to put it in boxes and move it! ¬†Even though this is a small bullet point, this stuff really consumed the majority of my time. ¬†It was a lot of thinking, planning, lifting, and packing.

-Nothing was easy. ¬†What size rental truck should I get? ¬†I got a 10′ in Missouri and had to leave half my stuff at the storage unit. ¬†It sucked terribly, got rained on so it was unsalvageable, and the storage management were pissed so they took all the money I had paid ahead as a “cleaning/trash fee.” ¬†I did NOT want that scene again. ¬†So I fretted, measured, and deliberated, before deciding on a 16′. ¬†It was big, but they’re all bigger then what I’m used to. ¬†The 12′ and 16′ were the same price, gas efficiency, and width. ¬†The only difference was the 4′ of additional length–and after 12′ what’s an extra 4′?

-We also had to decide how we would logistically move 2 cars, 2 cats, a moving truck of stuff, and ourselves to 10.5 hours away.  While still getting Cool to work in SLC on April 23rd and me to my house-sitting job in Spokane April 27th-May 2nd.

-We decided to drive the Penske full of stuff and HHR with the cats to SLC.  Then, Cool would start work while I unpacked the stuff at the new apartment.  Then, I would fly back (rental car was only $20 cheaper and took 6 more hours) to Spokane.  While in Spokane, I would clean the entire old apartment by myself before the lease was up, then continue on to my house-sitting job, before driving (a 2nd 10.5 hours) my car back to SLC.  At least we had a plan.

I think I probably forgot some things, but you get the gist: ¬†April was busy, busy, busy, costly, and stressful. ¬†In the next installment I’ll talk about the actual moving process.

BAD Blogger!

7 May

I just moved.  Moving is crazy.  This is my excuse for such a long post-drought.  This is my timeline for past moves so I can tell the stories of this last month:

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And it’s not like I haven’t done it (moved) before, on the contrary I have moved so much it portrays a wanderlust or flakiness that doesn’t really fit my true personality.

Polson- enteranceWhen I was 4, my parents and I moved away from all of our extended family in Montana, to Nevada for job opportunities. ¬†Montana is beautiful, but you “can’t eat the scenery.”

I grew up in small-town Nevada, going to the same Kidron's NV pics 050school for 13 years.  Which is good and bad.  I have well-established roots, and I always knew everyone and all my teachers, and everything.  BUT everyone always knows you and your business too, so good luck trying to live down embarrassing moments, changing/growing, or keeping anything on the D.L.

RenoI went to the same college everyone goes to my first year, which required a short move to Reno (an hour away) but tried to branch out instead of staying with my same ‘ol click as most of my small-town counterparts did.

I wanted more opportunities and was chasing my veterinary dreams so I took a HUGE leap and transferred to mid-Missouri, site-unseen, my sophomore year. ¬†That move was big-time, but I was still somewhat protected by the insular world of college:Mizzou quad ¬†I moved right into dorms and worked for campus dining services. ¬†When housing, jobs, and school all line up–moves are substantially less stress. ¬†And emotionally, I had already been away from loved ones before (moving from MT at 4) so I wasn’t lost or lonely. ¬†Plus, school and work kept me so busy, who had time to miss anything?! ¬†The move from Nevada to Missouri required a 30 hour drive. ¬†I made that drive with my mom carrying a few dorm essentials. ¬†I made that 30 hour drive with Douche, in a U-Haul. ¬†I’ve made that 30 hour round trip by myself and a car-load of essentials and a dog. ¬†I made the return trip by myself and 2 cats. ¬†I HATE that drive.

265173_2208001644072_1368379309_32588356_2533618_nThen, my Saint George acceptance pulled me out of Missouri–which I really liked the 6 years I was there. ¬†I had to make that 30 hour drive once more, with my dad, in a U-Haul. ¬†Never again! ¬†I’m not sure anything else aside from vet school would have compelled me to ever leave the midwest. ¬†But veterinary school was calling, so I temporarily visited my parents and dropped off my cats that summer. ¬†Nevada was just a brief visit.

Except Saint George fell through a week before matriculation. ¬†Suddenly, I had nowhere to go, but obviously I wasn’t going to live with my parents–that was never the plan. ¬†I had to choose where to go–and not being based on any acceptance, it could be anywhere that had a vet school. ¬†I didn’t really know, and my parents dictated that I decide immediately.

I had been watching a lot of Frasier, wanted to try out a more liberal and city environment, and Frasier saturation increasedliked Washington’s veterinary program. ¬†So to Seattle I (blindly) went. ¬†Driving a car-load of essentials the 15 hours by myself. ¬†I lived with my great aunt, which I always saw as a temporary transitional set-up while I looked for my own place. ¬†I had previously gotten along famously with my college roommate, so I wasn’t discouraged Seattle housing prices negated living alone like I had in Missouri.

bedroom darkI moved to 12th Avenue, and soon saw what real-life roommates mean. ¬†I needed out of that place ASAP because it was ridiculous! ¬†Around this same time, I met Cool. ¬†We hit it off, and sometimes I stayed at her shared housing situation, which was WORSE then my 12th Ave scene. ¬†I don’t think I ever completed a full sleep cycle in Seattle. ¬†I was always tired, always grumpy. ¬†It made me HATE the city. ¬†I needed my own space, without crazy roommate scenarios. ¬†I needed a reasonable housing cost.

So we moved 6 hours across Washington to Spokane (with cats in Cool’s car and me driving a U-Haul). ¬†And it was so much better!Fremont Fest 114 ¬†We could afford our own apartment without roommates! ¬†Vet school didn’t happen for me, and the job market in Eastern Washington is horrible. ¬†There was nothing there for us–Spokane wasn’t home. ¬†We needed out, but Western Washington is out of our price range.

So I wanted to show you, I’ve moved. ¬†I have left those emotional connections and everyone I know. ¬†I’ve moved out of state. ¬†I’ve had to find housing from a distance. ¬†I’ve known the expenses. ¬†Which brings us to 2015 and my latest move.

The Long Journey Home [UU AuD Interview Part V]

23 Mar

This may be the most drawn-out series I’ve ever blogged. ¬†I anticipate a renewed enthusiasm and follow-through on posting once I resume a normal sleep schedule. ¬†I have just 5 more weeks of this swing-shift that kills my motivation and productivity. ¬†And though I’ll need a (summer) job, I would be very hesitant to accept a swing or night shift position. ¬†Especially for paltry minimum wage.

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Anyway, here is the story of our long, long travels back home. ¬†It started¬†Saturday around 7:30PM and doesn’t end until 3:30 PM Sunday. ¬†I may never take a Greyhound again:

-it snowed–more like a wintry mix and within a half hour, there were trucks sanding the interstate highway. ¬†I couldn’t believe it! ¬†Even after inches of accumulation, Spokompton is slow to plow, and may never clear/sand certain roads (ours). ¬†Leaving a snowy, muchy, icy, slick mess for weeks. ¬†What a treat timely snow removal procedures will be!

-We got the rental car to the airport without incident. ¬†Thank goodness. ¬†I was still very nervous because it was a rental, the weather wasn’t perfect, we were lost, and the people of Utah drive like F@#%ing idiots.

-At the airport, we found the rapid transit pick up point, and purchased a $2.50 (for 3 hours) ticket via kiosk. ¬†It was very simple. ¬†What was not simple was deciding which of the colored routes we needed to follow, where the transfers might be, and where we should get off the Trax. ¬†This is always a nerve-wracking experience when you’re unfamiliar with the city, and have never ridden their public systems. ¬†And like all anxious passengers we got off too soon. ¬†Then we walked in a kind of sketchy area back to a prior stop. ¬†Which I guess we could have waited for the next Trax going the opposite direction, but we were anxious and that’s what we did. ¬†But we calmed down at the prior stop, waited for the next Trax, and reentered. ¬†Then we got off 2 stops later.

-This took us to the stadium where the Jazz NBA team plays. ¬†And a game was getting out so loud fansarena dressed in Mardi Gras colors were everywhere. ¬†I would have loved to go to a game. ¬†BUT I had tried to purchase a single-ticket game for the Gonzaga men’s team–and they had season ticket-holders only–for more then $100. ¬†So I figured NBA would be worse, and maybe we could win tickets on the radio or something for a special occasion. . . ¬†We had to wait 20 minutes for a different colored line to take us to the bus station, because maybe people of Utah don’t know the rule, or maybe all the fans were drunk–but everyone pushed ON to our Trax line before we were allowed to disembark. ¬†And our next line was just leaving. ¬†Had they followed the rule of letting people unload first we would have made it without any wait at all. . .

-When we reached the bus station, we looked up the cost of Jazz tickets. ¬†They range from a hundredbear down to $3.00 (depending on the seats)!!! ¬†I was instantly disappointed, because we could have gone to Friday’s game or Saturday’s and that would have been awesome! ¬†As it was the next home games were before we move, then October. ¬†Damn! ¬†Lesson learned–don’t assume. ¬†And who does Gonzaga think they are?!

-Our dufus Cheesecake Factory waiter had not packed forks or napkins for our to-go cheesecakes.  Instead of eating them in the bus station at 10PM, we had to wait until we could get forks.  And so we did more waiting (on super-uncomfortable wood chairs) with other strange and trashy people.

-At one point, Cool had to go to the bathroom, so she left her backpack on her chair immediately next to me. ¬†And I put my suitcase on the floor immediately in front of her chair. ¬†This did not stop a hispanic family of¬†6(?) from crowding right on the rest of the row, standing in front of Cool’s chair (and me). ¬†So when Cool came back there was no room, and I physically moved one of their suitcases from in front of Cool’s chair. ¬†They totally tried to steal our chairs–while I was in one and obviously saving another. ¬†PS-sure, there weren’t an overabundance of chairs, but at that time, there were 3 different groupings that were totally empty. ¬†Why they didn’t sit in those, I can’t be sure. ¬†I was SUPER-annoyed about it though, and let it show all over my face. ¬†I mean Jesus–get out of our grill. ¬†Unnecessary!

Sunday

-The forks were procured at 4:30AM. ¬†It was slightly melty by that time, but still delicious. ¬†And why was our waiter so incompetent when the restaurant had been it’s emptiest of all the days we were there?!

-Then, more driving, more waiting, more stops occurred.  I actually slept because this time, every passenger was solo.  So it was fairly silent.  I was exhausted and bored.  So I was able to doze much of the time.

-Cool was trying to be saucy and tease me. ¬†She opened her mouth in a smile, then a huge stream of saliva (gleet/gleek) ¬†arched up and landed on her jacket sleeve surprising us both. ¬†Her eyes went from sassy to surprised and it was a large stream with rainbow trajectory. ¬†She looked like some cartoon sea creature purposely spitting–except she and I were both shocked. ¬†The bus was still nearly silent, but I fell into a fit of giggles that I couldn’t control. ¬†I just kept picturing her face and the spit-fountain! ¬†I got really giggly, and really had to fight to eventually pull myself together. ¬†I just kept picturing her accidently doing that.

-We finally got off the bus at 3PM, and boy did it feel good to be moving out in fresh air.

-Our sad, sad cats thought we had moved. ¬†Choco-Luv didn’t act ferrell as usual, just dramatically lovethankful we hadn’t left forever–poor thing. ¬†Goose gave us the cold-shoulder to punish our offense, but eventually became snuggly. ¬†We’ll never leave for 5 days again, as it was too long for the poor buddies.

Aftermath:

-I’m constantly hungry after overindulging to such an extent. ¬†It’s like terrible-bad, hunger that’s persistent and without reason. ¬†I must have stretched my stomach big-time, and the shrinking process is not fun at all.

-I also noticed WA is cloudy. ¬†Which is obvious, and I notice a grey, cloudy day almost every morning, but I forgot just how dark and depressing that is. ¬†I’ll be happy to move somewhere with more blue sky.

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-Coming back to Spokompton was a little depressing. ¬†I just know our standard of living and quality of life in Utah will be a little better. ¬†And I’ll get a new schedule, which seems really exciting. ¬†So being back here in a swing-shift job, cheap apartment, bad neighborhoods, was sad. ¬†And made me disappointed and impatient to leave again. ¬†But as of now (mid-March, OK end of March almost a month later) as I write this, it’s all soon coming to a close. ¬†The time for logistic concerns is fast-approaching so I’ll be distracted by that too. ¬†It’s good, we’re good. ¬†We are excited to move.

SLC: More Than Mormons [UU Interview Part II]

12 Mar

So remember it’s Thursday and we’ve just arrived at the Greyhound station (after an 18 hour ride) at 6AM. ¬†We are tired, we are carrying luggage.

Salt Lake City 1

-Hazel my 2008 GPS has never been updated. ¬†It’s worked out OK. ¬†But this trip, I guess she said enough is enough, and she would only do simulate–no directions at all. ¬†Rendering the GPS useless. ¬†This is most unfortunate and I’m going to have to do something about that before we move. ¬†BUT it looked the city was this way, so I started walking that direction¬†while Cool booted up directions on her phone. ¬†This wasn’t entirely arbitrary–I had previously looked, and looked at Google Maps, scouting where our bus went, location of our hotel, restaurants, and the school, so I felt confident we could ascertain where things were. ¬†The map had showed our hotel within easy walking distance of the Greyhound station. ¬†The phone said to turn 180 and walk in a way that looked abandoned, out-of-town, and sketchy. ¬†Her phone has never been good to me so I was sure it was shenanigans and she was taking us on a wild-goose chase. ¬†It was still dark outside, there was construction, and I had to drag my suitcase–I was very nervous. ¬†I like to know I can run away if someone messes with me. ¬†There would be no running away in this particular scenario. ¬†Also, it was cold. ¬†And the walk seemed long and random, under interstates, and through neighborhoods. ¬†I really hoped the GPS was taking us in the right direction!

-I saw the sign for the hotel and was relieved. ¬†I also had to call my mom for her birthday before she went to school. ¬†She cried and cried since she hadn’t expected me to call. ¬†I think she was very happy I called.

-We had called to confirm our reservation would be held til morning.  I KNEW it would be an issue, and did not want them to give away our room.  Sure enough the guy working the desk seemed very confused and asked if a smoking room was all right.  Had they not saved our room???  After an 18hr sleepless bus ride, you just need to put your stuff down, use a private bathroom, shower and nap.  And not in smoke!  So I was going to be very crabby with them if we had no room til 3PM.  After much struggle a gal finally came up and got us a room.

-I knew if I didn’t run then (right then) it wasn’t going to happen. ¬†And (very) unfortunately they did not have a treadmill. ¬†So I had to run outside in the parking lot. ¬†After a long bus ride and super-long walk carrying luggage, the run wasn’t so bad, actually. ¬†I was already warmed up from stress/pulling luggage a long way and pretty happy to be out of just the one sitting-position. ¬†This run¬†would get worse with each passing day.

UU interview 029

-We had to take advantage of the free hotel shuttle to the airport in order to pick up our rental car. ¬†It was a bummer that the shuttle left at 9:30AM, because that only left a half hour for a nap (by the time the check-in, run, and shower were completed) and we were exhausted. ¬†I had slept well for less then 2 minutes on the bus. ¬†I know this because it was less then one song on my ipod. ¬†And only drifted for maybe an hour. ¬†But we dragged ourselves to the lobby to catch the shuttle. ¬†And I was afraid because our driver was on his cell phone while driving us–even though it’s also illegal in Utah.

-We got the car and I drove back to the hotel.  I had been hoping that the religious influence in Utah would make the drivers polite.  It was not to be.  Utah has picked up the bad habits of multiple states:  The Texas last minute lane change, California stops and generally unsafe speediness, Seattle passing on the right, Idaho pushinessaggression, and Spokane tailgating.  The driving was awful!  And I was freaked about the rental car because even one scratch or ding would make my life a nightmare.

UU interview 017

-I thought we might want to nap, but mostly we were hungry. ¬†And I wanted to scope out the interview location and time how long it took, so we went straight to the University. ¬†Even though at this point my eyes were hanging out of my head. ¬†The instructions were written by the program director and turned out to be horrible. ¬†Here’s an example. ¬†She said to turn left at building 420 (on the right) then go back to the parking lot, and turn left before going up a hill, then walk up the stairs by the dumpster to the building on the left. ¬†Which translates to: ¬†Take the first right (ignore building 420 entirely, because it is passed our turn and on the opposite side of the street) and park in the 2nd parking lot. ¬†Walk up the stairs to the building behind the one directly in front of you. ¬†So we were lost and confused and making u-turns and driving around parking lots for more then 45 minutes. ¬†By the time we were finished I had no idea how long a direct route might take. ¬†Oh, and it was “snowing” more like a wintery slush, but that did not entice anyone to slow down. ¬†I was happy, however, to see the plows on campus came out almost immediately–and this wasn’t even true snow!

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-As you can see from the photo, I’m super-tired. ¬†But for Cheesecake Factory, you make it happen! ¬†I was grumpy, tired, and starving after¬†that debacle so we went to the Cheesecake Factory for meal #1 (of 3). ¬†It was situated in a lovely indoor/outdoor mall that had a stream. ¬†Very nice location! ¬†I got the blazin buffalo appetizer which was so big I could not finish it. ¬†And some coffee drink so I could function. ¬†We’re going on 27(?) hrs of no real sleep here. ¬†The place was pretty busy especially for lunch time. ¬†Our waiter never brought the bread he promised, never offered water, never refilled (or offered to) my coffee, and never asked how our food was. ¬†He did help the people on either side of us, which was off-putting. ¬†It was like¬†he was too busy, so he figured we wouldn’t tip well anyway and just ignored us. ¬†Finally, I had to track him down and ask for water, a coffee refill, and some more dip–it’s annoying to have to do that. ¬†We took cheesecake to go–mine was the upside-down pineapple. ¬†As a self-fulfilling prophecy, I did not tip well for the subpar service. ¬†But I hate that, because I totally would have if the service had been just adequate or better.

-We walked around the lovely, clean mall and really started to like this city. ¬†Which I was surprised about, because I anticipated being able to get used to it and live with it. ¬†The people didn’t have that desperate, dirty air about them, like Spokompton does. ¬†There were kids but they were with their parents not running amok and no one was screaming or cursing at them. ¬†The shops were expensive (Steve Madden, Coach, Solomon, AE), but it was fun to window shop.

UU interview 005

-I couldn’t go on at this point. ¬†I would have liked to explore or do something, but I was fatigued and I knew if I pushed it too hard I would get sick: ¬†Bus germs + chilly weather + tired = sick. ¬†So we just went back to our room for some television and cheesecake.

UU interview 010

-The TV at the hotel did not have cable. ¬†Which I didn’t anticipate or think was a thing anymore. ¬†I hadn’t thought to even ask about something so obvious. ¬†The 5 stations it did have were very staticy too–so we ended up watching stand-up on Netflix. ¬†Good ‘ol Netflix–how did we ever live without that? ¬†I say watched, but about a half hour in, I felt overwhelmingly tired and couldn’t keep my eyes open or my head from nodding. ¬†We went to bed at 5:30PM (which is 4:30 in our time zone).

UU interview 011

Next, it’s interview day!

GreyHELL [UU AuD Interview Part I]

10 Mar

I wrote notes about my trip, but was too tired to organize them into a decent post. ¬†So that’s why I’ve been back home for a week and a half and you’re just now hearing about the big trip. ¬†I have less then 2 months of this horrible swing-shift schedule left, and I can’t wait for my energy and motivation to return! ¬†Here’s part I of the series:

I had no experience with Greyhound buses. ¬†The only thing I really knew about them, is all of my high school sports teams wanted to charter one. ¬†Other, richer, teams got to charter a “real” bus and my small high school teams were very envious-we were stick on our big, yellow bus for even the longest trips. ¬†Even when we had to drive 8 hours to Las Vegas for the STATE track meet.

Laurel's pics 157

I had to get myself to Salt Lake City for an interview, which I thought was overkill. ¬†Most audiology programs don’t interview, and I feel they should have done Skype at most. ¬†It’s a lot to ask of poor college students to pay to go to Utah–in the middle of a semester. ¬†But I knew I should attend if invited, because if only unconsciously-it would go against me if they didn’t meet me in person.

I checked into the airlines, hoping the lower fuel prices would mean cheaper ticket prices. ¬†And of course that wasn’t the case. ¬†What would be a 10 hour drive, was going to be more then $400 for one person. ¬†And that isn’t feasible on my minimum wage when I’m saving for a move–and tuition.

Trains are few and far between, and surprisingly expensive as well. ¬†Driving through Montana or Idaho in the winter with my 1994 car was not super-stable either. ¬†I would be horrified if I had car trouble or got caught in terrible weather over a mountain pass. ¬†There was just no time to mess around with all the possible driving scenarios for an interview situation. ¬†So it looked like the Greyhound would be my cheapest option. ¬†$163 for a round trip. ¬†Which meant Cool could go too–and that’s a LOT better!

Spokompton

Wednesday

-We didn’t want to leave our cars anywhere in the vicinity of sketchy downtown. ¬†And I thought our bus was leaving at 11PM when my coworkers were in the busiest part of the work-day, and my Aunt would be asleep. ¬†It was only the day before we left that I realized it was 11AM. ¬†Twelve hours longer?! ¬†It was too short of notice by then, so we were going to cab it. ¬†But while I was checking prices I saw the Lyft app. ¬†Normal people (not licensed cabbies) drive in their (clean, less then decade old) cars with the punch of the app button. ¬†And it’s HALF the price! ¬†We tried it and it worked out fine–I recommend it.

-We got to the bus station around 9:30AM. ¬†It had an air of desperation and felt old, maybe dirty. ¬†It’s set up a little confusing and we started out standing by the train station til we realized it was closed all day and that wasn’t right. ¬†We wandered to the unmanned Greyhound counter next and since no one was there I grabbed some luggage ID tags and began filling them out. ¬†After 5 minutes, the gal came out from the back (what, was she on a smoke break?!) and did our paperwork.

-We went upstairs and sat on 2 of the 4 available chairs.  People started to arrive, coughing and sneezing (openly, no covering the mouth here) as they did.  Most were dressed in sweats, a few had pink or blue hair.  Some were obnoxiously rowdy already.

-After an hour or so, our bus began to load. ¬†I sat down and was instantly uncomfortable–uh oh. ¬†Bus #1 had incessant, loud-talker. ¬†The guy who knows everything, has done everything and goes on and on and on. ¬†And on. ¬†There would be no napping. ¬†And I had to utilize my ipod (at too loud of a volume level) early on to drown him out.

10

-We were scheduled to transfer in Pasco. ¬†Why our route didn’t go straight down to Walla Walla, I don’t know. ¬†I used every bathroom we stopped at during this entire journey, not wanting to use the Greyhound’s small, and sure to be dirty bathroom. ¬†The people at this station were very diverse: ¬†Lots of hispanics, some Asians, blacks, Middle-Eastern–I had no idea southern WA would have diversity. ¬†And of course one erratic white man talking to himself, pacing, flailing his arms, and throwing his lunch pail against walls. . .

-Bus #2 was comfortable. ¬†The driver did not announce when we were loading and barely indicated which (of 4) buses was ours. ¬†He also hardly talked during the 1.5 hr journey to random Standfield, OR. . . ¬†It was a weird, brief trip and I’m not sure why they did it that way. ¬†This would become the strongest theme of the Greyhound-weird routes, random stops, taking forever longer then it should.

-At the Oregon stop we got to a Pilot center with built-in McDonalds and lots of parking for semi-trucks. ¬†It looked like our driver pulled into the McDonald’s drive through. ¬†And all he said, was this was this bus’ last stop and all of us going to Denver had to get off. ¬†Everyone was confused. ¬†Where were we? ¬†Where was the bus stop? ¬†Would another bus be arriving? ¬†I wasn’t going to Denver–would MY bus be arriving? ¬†How long until the next (hopefully correct) bus take to get here? ¬†I noticed as we got off, that everyone else had the same shell-shocked, nervous demeanor that I did. ¬†This somehow calmed me, because I figured at least we were all in the same boat bus. ¬†And people were trying to ask driver #2 clarifications as he unloaded our checked luggage. ¬†He seemed impatient and just kept saying this was the last stop for this bus. . . ¬†Had our driver quit his job in the middle of his shift?? ¬†I did not know.

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-I hate McDonalds–but luckily we had packed snacks and Gatorade. ¬†We used the bathroom, then found a tiny platform with a semi-hidden Greyhound sign along the side¬†(as opposed to in front or beside) the wood. ¬†We sat atop and watched a gal scream at her male companion for awhile. ¬†Hopefully they would not be coming on our next bus. ¬†Then a bus came and unloaded. ¬†It was ours? ¬†Driver #3 was belligerently crabby. ¬†We started to load the bus, but he ordered us to line up and he took all of our tickets at once, while screaming at the smokers. ¬†Six people lit up–and this made me very unhappy–stupid Oregon. ¬†Once he took our tickets, we again tried to load the bus. ¬†Cranky driver yelled to stay in line while he loaded the luggage. ¬†Finally, after 40(?) minutes, we loaded without getting shouted at. ¬†I took the first available double seat, because I didn’t know how many available seats there would be. ¬†This bus was already full of tired, greasy-looking people. ¬†And it smelled of old grease from fast food. ¬†They talked loudly throughout the trip, and Cool became obsessed with her cell phone. ¬†I could not sleep at all. ¬†The driver gave a litany of rules in an angry voice and we drove another hour and a half before stopping for an hour dinner break. ¬†The tall dude (screaming recipient of earlier) kept coming to the front of the bus where his angry gal was. ¬†She would glare horribly, and even went to the back of the bus once to stay away from him. ¬†We stopped for a 20 minute bathroom break and some other dude from the back told the driver someone had a knife. ¬†I knew instantly it was the erratic tall guy. ¬†And that guy¬†kept coming up to the front to see her–I knew he’d eventually stab her or do something crazy. ¬†And the driver eventually yelled at them to stay seated and quit coming back and forth. ¬†Not 5 minutes later tall guy came up, lingered in the isle, went back, then came up to sit in a front seat. ¬†He had not listened at ALL. ¬†After that break we stopped for another hour at the Boise Greyhound station. ¬†Erratic tall guy got kicked off the bus, because apparently his knife had already been taken once previously. ¬†There was a lot of drama with the meth–heads (once we got a better look closer up we saw the facial sores and telltale thinness) getting kicked off the bus. ¬†She was “up” crying without tears, wailing to the ticket guy, and lolling on the floor. ¬†He was in a dazed state sort of wandering aimlessly. ¬†It took an hour for them to finish their calls and their drama and leave the station. ¬†And I guess our bus was waiting on them, because our 20 minute break turned into more like 80 minutes.

Thursday

-We finally got back on the bus after midnight (13 hours into the trip), but people still had screens flashing, and were talking. ¬†I finally slept lightly out of sheer exhaustion, but had a problem. ¬†Suddenly, my stomach was really hurting. ¬†And it had quieted on the bus except for some snoring. ¬†I woke up because I farted! ¬†This NEVER happened to me! ¬†Once in kindergarten I accidentally farted in school and was mortified. ¬†I tried to deny it, but Bryce Fuller called me out–which everyone knew anyway. ¬†To this day I’m embarrassed about it. ¬†Anyway, the leather seats amplified the sound. ¬†I tried to remain perfectly still so I didn’t tip off anyone paying attention that it was me. ¬†I was so embarrassed! ¬†But let’s be real, in this crowd, on this bus–farting wasn’t the worst thing going on. ¬†So I was embarrassed, but not as much as real life. ¬†I was also so, so tired. ¬†I hadn’t slept the whole day (16 hours) til then. ¬†I drifted back off, but the same gas occurred twice more. ¬†I audibly farted 3 times in my sleep! ¬†I have no idea if anyone heard or if they knew it was me. ¬†Some things are better never to know–I’ll tell myself they were sleeping and missed it. ¬†But even so, I couldn’t go to sleep at all for fear of more gas.

road to UU

-We arrived in Salt Lake City at 6AM.  18 hours of travel and sleeplessness.

I’ll tell you about the trip and the return trips in another post since this one has gotten quite long.

You Know How I Never Do Anything the Easy Way?

27 May

Well, this time maybe I’ll read the signs ahead of time and try things an easier way. ¬†Maybe it’s not my initial plan. ¬†Maybe it won’t be my optimal timeline. ¬†And maybe things won’t end up as perfectly as I imagined.

Welcom to CO sunflowerBut big changes are afoot. ¬†Since I looked into Colorado’s cost of living I’ve been in a state of shock and panic. ¬†We are already financially behind by thousands of dollars a year out. ¬†And I see no easy way to remedy that. ¬†Old me would buckle down, push harder and make it happen anyway. ¬†Because I have an ability to dedicate myself and persevere. ¬†But then I stopped for a second and thought–what’s the rush? ¬†There’s no reason we have to struggle around to make Colorado happen NOW. ¬†Why not wait and do it properly? ¬†After all, I was supposed to LOVE Seattle, but my financial situation precluded that and now I hate the thought of living there.

So without making any decisions either way Cool and I just opened our minds and broadened our search (I’m proud of us!). ¬†We looked at the school locations, housing costs, job pay and prospects, then I looked into the AuD programs.

Breck sky

Here’s what I like about CO: ¬†What don’t I like about it would be easier (distance from HERE and cost of housing). ¬†I love most everything else. ¬†It’s in the state we want to eventually live in. ¬†I love that the AuD program has educational and clinical internships in addition to the externship. ¬†Bears are a super-cool mascot (hey, it’s not right, but this stuff matters to me). ¬†I have been studying this program and application process for over a year and am comfortable with it. ¬†Again, it’s in Colorado.

 

import 6-17-10 085Seattle: ¬†We’ve been down that road, and even though Cool (and her mom) would be in heaven (Cool¬†thinks, she forgets about being poor and the crummy frat-house situation that necessitates) I would HATE it. ¬†Again.

Oregon: ¬†Very close move, but just as expensive housing as CO–so we might as well still go to CO.

parasailing 056Idaho: ¬†Also really close move (and beautiful area and cool mascot), but despite cheap housing paultry amount of low-paying jobs. ¬†Cool didn’t love that. ¬†And which we knew about Idaho already. ¬†Also a less than optimal situation where AuD students go from Pocatello 3.5 hours away to Boise after the 2nd year of school. ¬†That’s two moves, another apartment to find, and another job to secure. ¬†Even with the cheapest tuition of the bunch, and best grants/loans–that’s pretty rough.

CA:  expensive.  Obviously.

twisty

TX:  No.  Even though I like Austin, Cool vetoes crazy-Texas.

 

 

AZ:  Cool hates the politics and I would prefer not to be kidnapped.

 

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KS: ¬†We looked as far east as Kansas. ¬†And it’s a real possibility. ¬†For a day we had decided upon it. ¬†KS is cheap housing–AND I know the Kansas City area well. ¬†Because it’s by the city there are a lot of jobs that pay decently. ¬†We would have vet care (Noah’s Ark) and I could even still donate my eggs til I’m 35!!! ¬†Drawbacks–Can you say 22.5 hour drive with cats? ¬†Moving sucks no matter the distance, but this really started to sound sucky, and I said I would never make that drive again. ¬†Plus, we’re over-shooting our eventual goal of CO by 8 hours. ¬†And I would be a little sad inside to have to join my alma mater’s rival school and become *gasp* a Jayhawk. ¬†Oh, and no WICHE deal means paying spendy out-of-state tuition. ¬†Again.

Arches Natl Park

UT: ¬†Utah is only a 10 hour drive from HERE. ¬†That’s one long day or two really easy ones. ¬†It’s also in close proximity to Colorado (4-8 hours), WY, ID, and NV (8 easy hours from my parents and storage unit). ¬†The housing is the same or cheaper then here, and jobs were widely available and require NO commute. ¬†Salt Lake City is maybe the only place that housing, school, AND jobs were within the same place. ¬†The weather is similar to Nevada, and requires no 4×4, sowe wouldn’t have to worry about selling the HHR and buying a 4×4 while we’re planning everything else. ¬†There is still the recreation of CO (well almost as good). ¬†There is the added bonus of many professional sports teams. ¬†Oh, and randomly I guess Salt Lake City is a gay mecca? ¬†Not that we’re social butterflies, but it would be nice not to be murdered. ¬†. . ¬†I’m having a difficult time finding out much about my program, and think I’ll have to *shudder* make a phone call. ¬†But it appears to have a class size between 5-8. ¬†Oh and a really lame mascot–the Swoops? ¬†To mean a falcon. ¬†Which I wonder why they just didn’t go with falcons, because that’s much cooler than a shape. ¬†I saw feathers on the logo and suspected P.C. rebranding, then looked into it and saw UU used to be the Utes. ¬†Which is awesome, but only for the home school–you can’t have rival teams shouting “kill the Utes” and other such slander. ¬†And their color is red–which I hate and I think goes back to some redskins slur. ¬†But the mascot isn’t super-important. ¬†Right? ¬†That’s what I’m trying to convince myself. ¬†I need to find out more about my specific program and the application procedure, that’s what’s important now.Roy-Utah

So I think for financial reasons I’m going to be applying to University of Utah. ¬†Which means I have to start over in my program research, but also means we can stress out MUCH less about the move. ¬†And you know what? ¬†Thinking of other options and perhaps finding a better one didn’t hurt at all. ¬†As a matter of fact, I’m more excited, because I’m not about to have a nervous breakdown about money and logistics–just that phone call. . .

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