Tag Archives: Utah

Best of All the Places I’ve Lived

7 Apr

I’m taking all my favorite things from every place I’ve lived and making one great city with them:

 

Arizona

saguaros

red faced love birds

sunsets

Mercury WNBA games

Bitter & Twisted

Snooze AM

The Phoenix Zoo

no snow/ice in winter

Mill Street

Social Hall

the Hippy Store

Suns NBA games

 

Utah

the Jordan River Trail (especially the Rose Park leg) with all it’s birds & animals

ArtsFest

Tracy Aviary

walking from Wasatch to downtown

HS all-weather track (open 24/7)

all the different birds everywhere

Cheesecake Factory (w/in walking distance of our apartment)

Raw Bean (chiller = ice cream + espresso + flavor syrup)

Uptown Cheapskate

the Temple’s Christmas lights

Bourbon House

Squatters Brewery

Sundance Film Festival

Gracie’s patio (and Halloween costume contest)

kitty-rose

Jazz NBA games

Pride Parade

Wasatch mountains so close

the Temple’s spring garden (looks like Wonderland)

City Creek (especially at Christmas with the lights & fountains)

seasons

High West in Park City

Prohibition (restaurant)

 

Spokane

Green Bluff (you-pick farm conglomeration)

the community college all-weather track (open 24/7)

Grocery Outlet!

Steelhead

Flying Goat (goat cheese balls and D-street pizza made of curry and potatoes)

living next to a river

Riverfront Park

NoLi (patio by the river)

house sitting for the cousins

Julyamish powwow

my co-workers at the YMCA

proximity to Walla Walla & the Gorge (& CdL to a lessor extent)

 

Seattle

Freemont (especially the colored sidewalk art)

Melting Pot in Queen Anne

watching the Storm WNBA live

Basalu ham & cheese croissant (so good I literally dream of it)

The Ram (burgers & brews)

all the different coffee shops

Union Lake, Montlake cut, Gasworks Parks (all the good picture opportunities)

Theo Chocolate

Blue Moon Burgers

the troll under the freeway

Kerry Park

 

Missouri

all the concerts

cheapest gas prices in the country

cheap groceries

proximity to STL and KC (and Chicago)

Tropical Liquors (alcohol slushies you can drink there or take to-go)

Saki (Saturday)

Katy Trail (goes thru whole state)

PrideFest

Twilight Fest

9th Street video (indy DVD rental)

Shakespeares Pizza

proximity to other states

wineries

Flatbranch

 

Reno

Reno Balloon Races (& Dawn Patrol)

Wild Waters

the downtown ‘biggest little city’ arch & skyline

relatively easy freeways

outdoor shopping centers

 

Dayton

smell of sagebrush after rain

dark, dark nights

very quiet

less traffic

proximity to Lake Tahoe

 

Montana

beautiful sky

powwow in Arlee

huckleberries

Bison Range

Missoula

green scenery

Moments of 2015-Good

1 Jan

I usually like to post all my reflections by December 31st and all my aspirations on January 1st.  Because of a full-time work schedule, and a holiday visit–it didn’t happen this year.  I’m setting aside more time tomorrow to write, but I did want to get something up on the actual 1st.  Even though I really didn’t have time because I spent the day rearranging the whole living room, organizing all the books, textbooks, class notes, and scrapbook items, and cleaning.  And that was a huge project, which was worth it because it looks so much nicer in here, there is more space (somehow, even though we added a bunch), and it’s less cluttered.  Anyway, so you’ll see the most important items in the countdown are unfinished.  But the post has to be posted on this date, I’m hungry, and times a tickin.  So I’ll edit it after dinner and after Cool goes to sleep, but for now–bare with me.

15-the relief of staying at the Missoula hotel at a halfway point in our move.

We hadn’t planned on spending the money.  Plus, the cats are generally horrible in hotels, and no sleep is had anyway.  But we finished packing, and loaded the Pensky in record time–like it was noon or something equally early.  So we decided why stay in a dusty, empty apartment when we could just shave off some miles.  We made a spur-of-the-moment reservation at our lucky hotel (lucky because they had an opening WITHOUT a reservation on Independence Day and saved me from a major allergy attack.  And from camping at pow-wow in the dust (and allergens).  The cats even slept a little that night and it made it a more bearable two day trip rather than one long haul.

14-getting a full-time position with a schedule that still allowed me to see Cool

You never know when homophobia will rear it’s ugly head.  I wasn’t sure if any work or housing protections are in place for LGBT people.  Besides, this is Utah–known for Mormons more than tolerance.  Also, work has a policy against spouses working in the same department.  Even though we’re not legal or married or domestically partnered in any way, if they want to make a case against you, they can usually find a way.  In short, asking for an alternative schedule to SEE Cool was a touchy subject.  With driving time, her job keeps her away from home from 8:15AM to 3:30PM and mine was supposed to be 4:30PM to 1:30AM.  We would see each other for 1 hour each day–while getting undressed from work (Cool) ready for work (me), and eating dinner.  It just wasn’t going to be enough.  And especially with bipolar in the mix and needing to stay apprised of the situation, it was going to be a major hardship.  I got brave and negotiated a good schedule, then it was promptly reneged (see bad moments blog).  In the end, work couldn’t give that other bitch Sundays, because that left Saturdays empty.  I was still not trained enough to take that day, and the other kid who could take it (and didn’t want Saturday, of course) is a lead–so he MUST work M-F.  So because they couldn’t move the lead, I did end up getting my schedule.  But not because they were doing me any favors.  Still, I’ll take what I can get.  And now I LOVE my schedule.  It’s really ideal.

13-Temple Square at Christmas

temple square christmas

Who knew Mormon Christmas festivity would make my top-of-the-year list?!  No, I haven’t been drinking the Utah koolade, it’s just that spectacular.  Around the temple, every tree, bush, and pond is saturated with lights.  There’s music and wreaths, and a really nice atmosphere.  Both malls have decorations, and all of downtown is dressed up for Christmas.  We took pictures, Cool stood in the middle of someone else’s marriage proposal, and we saw a fountain/light show to Christmas songs.  The best part?  We live within walking distance.  We did not have to fight for parking or make our way through the heavy traffic to enjoy it.  It’s so nice, people come from all over the state to partake.

12-exploring SLC, especially walking around the city

green haze

We didn’t move into this apartment complex to be downtown.  It just so happened that the ONLY apartment in our price range that accepted pets, AND actually called us back was practilly downtown.  We can walk less than a mile and be at both malls, the planetarium, the sports/concert arena, farmer’s market, the rapid transit–all downtown has to offer.  We took full advantage on the warm days, and even some of the freezing ones, walking everywhere this year.  And we’ve explored and taken pictures, and genuinely enjoyed this new city.  I can’t wait to explore more areas while increasing our step counts.

11-getting true weekends off of work

My whole working life I worked weekends.  Kennel work, of course, requires cleaning and feeding the animals.  As an assistant, I had to medicate animals as well.  In janitorial, those are the off-hours available to deep-clean.  I’ve never had a true entire Saturday, entire Sunday off.  Every weekend.  So when I went to a corporate job it was a really nice treat being in sync with the rest of the world (and Cool).  This only lasted for 3 months, but it was MY choice to work Sundays, and I exchanged it for Friday and Saturdays off and a late-start on Wednesday, so I’m still winning.

10-having a larger, brighter, more functional kitchen

kitchen

I knew I didn’t love the galley kitchen in Spokompton.  It was dark and unventilated and there was very little storage.  But I didn’t really how much I hated it until I got a huge, bright, super-storage kitchen that was more open.  All the kitchen stuff fits in it, AND there’s counter space!

9-getting a job in another state, before we moved

Moving is horribly stressful.  And it’s expensive.  I feel like it’s 2015, you should be able to secure jobs and housing online–but we are not there yet.  You pretty much have to be IN the state you’re moving to in order to get the job and housing.  Which is a major problme when you’re not made of money.  Because where do you stay in the meantime?  And how do you pay deposit and rent if you are not working (and you don’t know when you will be)?  It’s very scary and logistically almost impossible.  But, luckily, Cool’s Spokane company had openings within different departments in Utah.  So she couldn’t tansfer, but she was pretty well guarenteed a position in the company.  So she got a job.  Then, they had another opening in her company, and since I have a medical background and a minor in chemistry (and knew Cool), I got a job.  It was one of the greatest moments of my life because I was hired over the phone!  And it was a big relief because it gave some answers to questions and a safety net.

8-the entire Christmas visit to my parents’ house–especially the owl painting.

our owls--mine, Cools, Dad, Mom

We saw my parents a third time–a record–over Christmas.  It was special, because I’ve rarely gotten time off of work to go anywhere.  Especially over a holiday.  And Cool could come again.  So it would be the biggest Christmas I’ve ever had.  When I was growing up, it was just my parents and I because extended family lives in Montana where winter weather makes travel dangerous.  And after I moved out, vet hospitals got busy because everyone else was on vacation so where either boarding pets or using that time to catch up on their appointments, or bringing them in for Christmas-related emergencies.  So I always had to work, and be by myself over the holidays.  So it was special just having the 4 of us together.  But my parents had got Cool and I a surprise.  And they were so excited about  it.  And really building up the anticipation.  We were really worked up into a frenzy about what it could be.  At the very end, I guessed it was a painting session, and I was right!  So we were excited to try it because my parents had a good time with it previously–and you get to keep what you paint.  And my dad especially was all weird when we got there, because he was actually excited to paint, and for us to paint.  It’s a big deal, because he’s usually stoic.  The painting process was fun, and seeing all of our creations was a pleasure that lasted and lasted.  We gazed upon them, commented on their different personalities and styles, and looked some more.  We rearranged them and rearranged them again.  The whole thing was really the best from start to finish!

7-running on the trail with Cool

Aquarium with parents 134

Historically Cool HATES running.  And she’s not fun to run with because she slacks off, complains, and just doesn’t want to be there.  But this summer the stars aligned, she was in generally better shape, the weather was nice, and the trail new and beautiful.  We ran almost every day together.  She (mostly) actually ran, mostly without complaint too.  It was a time we could work on our fitness, then we walked back to the car together.  It was a really good time, being out and nature and having no distractions or screens, so we just caught up and talked to each other.  It was really nice times and now that our schedules are opposite, I miss it terribly.

6-Getting to see Brandi Carlile in concert

brandi and twins onstage

Duh!  Brandi always puts on an outstanding show.  Even though I wasn’t in love with the new album, I loved the way she performed the songs live.  She makes the crowd feel like family.  She gets me jazzed up and also moves my heart.  We weren’t stressed about standing in line or getting a good seat, so I was just able to relax and enjoy myself–unheard of for me.

5-Hope:  Moving to a better, cleaner city with better job prospects and working a job that might offer future (non-veterinary) prospects for me.

Spokane only offered so much.  We had sort of burned through what few prospects it had and were reaching a dead-end.  We didn’t want to get a Spokompton mentality or get stuck and be unable to move out, and unable to move UP in life.  So coming to Utah was amazing.  It opened doors and gave us options again.  Plus it’s a really clean, safe, walkable city where Spokane is not.

4-getting a washer/dryer

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This was a long time coming!  I had been doing coin-op since I moved out of my parents house in 2003.  And it sucked pretty much the whole time.  Taking your laundry out of your house is a burdan.  No matter the sute dorm bags, you still have to haul it.  And not just out to the washer.  You then have to leave the comfort of your house to change it to the dryer.  That’s if you trusted enough to leave it unattended in the first place.  Then you have to make a third trip to collect it from the dryer.  And good luck getting it dry–it’s never dry!  That costs a boat-load of money and forget any special care instructions or color-sorting.  That’s just not practical.  Also, think about if the cat pees on something.  Or you spill something.  Or after camping when everything is all icky.  You can’t always go to the laundry facilities at 4AM or midnight, so you then have to store that ultra-dirty stuff.  And it’s ick.  So getting a washer/dryer was AMAZING!  Now we are real people, and I love it pretty much every time I throw something into the laundry basket.

3-when my parents visited over the summer-especially the aviary day

11667304_10207126634868756_7426331088971295069_n

It took my parents 5 years to visit me in Missouri.  And we hadn’t seen them since 2010.  So when they came to Salt Lake City almost immediately after we moved here, I was really excited.  Even better, I had a training schedule at work that was only 25 hours per week–so I actually had time to see them.  We visited the aquarium and went to Cheesecake Factory, and showed them a lot of the same sights we had just barely discovered.  Nobody fought the whole time, which was a record!  That hadn’t happened in forever–we had gone through such tumultuous times.  So it was all really special and really fun.  The best was when the 4 of us visited the Aviary.  We got to feed Sun Canards by hand, watch a show, and just look at all the bird exhibits.  I love going to animal places normally, and including my parents and Cool was optimal!

2-when Cool and I had the exact same schedule, and worked together

It seems like Cool and I are always ending up on opposite schedules.  In Spokompton, I worked days, weekends, went to school, and pretty much studied the rest of the time.  While she worked swing shift.  We barely saw each other.  Then, when we got here, we suddenly had the same job, in the same department, and we worked the exact same hours.  We had the same sleep schedule, got to hang out together all day, then worked in the same room.  I loved those few months!  We could do all the errands together instead of 1 person having to suffer through it alone.  We could both clean the apartment at the same time, so it was faster and equal responsibility.  Our runs could happen together.  We had time to talk and hang out. . .  Then at work, it’s independent, but we could take our breaks together.  But then, Cool got an job offer doing billing in a cubicle upstairs which is more tailored to her personality, so in July or August, she went to the day shift and a different part of the building.  But being together was sure nice while it lasted.

1-DMB/Hot air balloons

Reno Balloon Races 065

We visited Nevada and had a great time with my parents!  My mom and I went in some historic railroad cars and got lost in Tahoe.  We were both very scared (we’ve seen the helicopters searching for unprepared stupids on TV many times) and despite that, we never fought!  Which is unheard of for us.  Especially when there’s no buffer person with us.  And very especially when we’re stressed.  So that was a milestone.  We also, on that trip, got to see Dave Matthews Band in Tahoe.  Which our seats were in the perfect spot, and it was fun to have my mom along–since she hadn’t been to a real concert in forever.  And DMB is always one of the best times.  But, the very, very best time was the balloons.  My mom and I had gone in 1994.  And it was miserable.  3 AM is too early, especially when you’re 9 yaesr old.  Even though it’s September, Nevada is COLD at that time in the morning, and we hadn’t dressed for it.  Also, back then, they didn’t sell blankets or sweatshirts, or warm beverages.  We got starving, and they didn’t sell food back then either.  My mom and I didn’t have a blanket to sit on, let alone chairs.  So the whole time we were tired, cold, hungry, cold, uncomfortable, cold, dusty, and cold.  It’s difficult to enjoy even the best things when you’re so physically uncomfortable–and I did not.  So ever since then I wanted a do-over.  I’d be prepared THIS time!  But September and college in no way work together.  Every time the Great Reno Balloon Race came around I was just starting school.  Or in Missouri, and getting ready for the first round of exams.  Or working at vet hospitals and unable to take a busy weekend off.  This year, I was only working a training schedule–and they had screwed me over on that PRN deal, so I didn’t feel guilty at all taking a week off.  I wasn’t in any kind of school for the first time in TEN years.  We could stay with my parents so it didn’t cost a bunch of money to visit.  I packed winter layers knowing I would be cold.  We made our own snacks and took hot coffee in thermoses.  We didn’t have chairs or remember a blanket, but everything else fell into place.  I was ready to enjoy myself this time!  We got a good parking spot and walked to the event, then stood/sat in one of the only empty areas.  We got to see the dueling balloons in the dark, and dawn patrol as the sun was rising.  I got great pictures.  Then, the BEST part was mass ascention.  We had unknowingly sat right down in the middle of the field, so all the balloons were blown up all the way around us.  We were right in the middle of the action!  And I got more good pictures.  It was even greater because my parents and Cool were there and everyone was in good spirits having a good time.  I had anticipated the event so much, and had previously been so disappointed, that this was AMAZING!  Now, I can’t wait to do it again.

our DMB posters

 

Overall, 2015 was a time of doubt and uncertainty.  But it was a very family-focused year and that salvaged things a lot.

 

Moments of 2015-Bad

31 Dec

I see today (New Years Eve) as a day for reflection.  And I can’t say I’m sorry 2015 is over.  It wasn’t terrible, I’ve had much worse years.  But it wasn’t what I wanted either.  I like to know where I’m going, and in 2015 I never did.  I didn’t know if I would continue with school, and I didn’t know where my career would take me.  In the past, I’ve been severely disappointed when career objectives didn’t pan out, but this time I felt a calmness and grace about the situation.  Still, there is a dissatisfaction.  And now I’m left to really contemplate what I want in life.  But that’s a story for tomorrow, New Years Day, a day for goals and new beginnings.  Today I’ll post a few blogs about worst moments in 2015.  Which isn’t just picking the scabs of wounds, it’s thinking and it’s learning.  Seeing the worst times allows me to rearrange the circumstances to make next year better.

And again, I’m posting for the sake of time and forgoing a lot of re-writes.  I’ll edit later (maybe).

12TH WORST TIME OF 2015:  -Bob, at my new job, introducing himself as the janitor.  Trying to be funny, but offending me.  Insinuating of course he was much better than a crummy janitor.  He’s some client services administrator–big deal.  When he didn’t know that janitorial had been my very last job, and my father had been a custodian for 20 or 30 years.  What a D-bag.

11.  -Human drama at the YMCA.  Deb being all weird toward me because ???  and holding a grudge.  The churchy gal acting like a bitch and treating me like a lowly janitor.  Just coldness and unnecessary drama from people with nothing to keep their minds busy.  It was stupid, but even though I wasn’t invested in the drama, I noticed it, and had to DEAL with it.  Lame.

10.  -Rusty’s doors remaining half open in the winter.  Primarily because it rendered my remote start useless.  And obviously I NEED that.  I hate being cold.  So much so, that I had bought my own remote start and fought for them to put it in my manual–which is a liability for them and usually against the rules.  And I had always loved starting the car from inside the warm building.  But now it set off the alarm, because the doors were open just enough. . .

9.  -The unwelcoming, frosty environment at MSCL for my first 7 months working there.  NOBODY acknowledged me, talked to me, or anything.  I felt awkward and alone.  Those duds and douche-bags were the WORST!  Here’s an example:  I walk in as a brand new employee–and nobody (even my boss)  says hello.  Or I sneeze–and nobody says bless you or anything.  It was as if I was invisible.  I guess it’s because they have high turn-over, and they were change-averse.  And because it’s a lab, so people don’t have great any social skills.  But it still made me feel like it was ME.  And that brought back horrible memories of veterinary social problems that plagued my work life previously.  I had wanted new beginnings and to turn a corner in a new field–and this was not the start I’d hoped for.

8.  -Not getting into the UU AuD program, despite getting the 4.0, having extracurriculars, and working very hard on my application.  Was it the gay-themed activities I put on my application?  Bad interview answers?  Being from out-of-state?  I really don’t have any idea, and I feel like I should be in there.  Easily.  But this is toward the bottom of my disappointments (and the top of this list) because I’ve grown as a person, through my veterinary sagas.  I had to future plan, which wasn’t cool.  I still don’t know what I will do career-wise, which is scary and reeks of failure.  But I didn’t totally fall apart this time.  I took it in stride.  I do wonder how in the heck I didn’t get in that class, because I feel like I really deserved it and would have done an excellent job.  But I’m putting it on to them, not beating myself up over it.  And I’m not sure it’s what I want anyway.  I’m very disillusioned by the costs of school.  And I haven’t gotten ANY return on my undergrad investment.  And the forums scared me off of audiology a little, because they said Hearing Instrument Specialists can do almost exactly the same job, with NO school.  And they probably get paid equal or MORE than actual audiologists.  Also people talked about it being kind of a dead-end career, that’s highly redundant.  And I didn’t know if paying for 4 more years would even be worth it in the end.  But I’m still undecided, and haven’t closed the audiology door all the way.  Perhaps being 14th for a class of 12 was actually a favor to me. . .

7.  -When my parents insisted I call Dad’s chiropractor’s son about getting IN at Costco audiology–NOW, at the same time I frantically trying to complete a heavy-duty YWCA-UT job application and get ready for work at my current job.  They get overwrought and crazy and over-emotional, then there’s nothing for me to say or do to stop that crazy-train.  Unless I do what they say, when they say it, things fall apart quickly.  The whole thing just reminded me of every other time my parents tried to control me.  And how they were probably disappointed in me.  And that’s how the big horribleness of 2007 Cabin-Mansion had really kicked off the first time, so I was scared there would be a big blow up and subsequent melt-down of the relationship we had worked so hard to forge.

6.  -The meeting where work reneged on the full-time schedule, hours, and pay we had negotiated 3 days prior.  I had finagled the best schedule for my weekends, sleep, and time with Cool.  Everyone at work had left the meeting satisfied and happy.   They got coverage on a Sunday, which had been difficult to secure, I got Fridays and Saturdays off and a late-start Wednesday.  It was absolutely perfect and I commended myself for taking a chance and asking.  But 2 days later, they called me back in and told me I’d have to take the legit schedule I had applied for.  Because a girl (previously a bitch to me) who had more seniority, and was better at the job wanted to work Sunday.  And trying to please everyone, instead of defending me and the schedule they had promised me, they gave it to her.  So I felt betrayed (again) and like I had a much worse schedule.  But I also felt trapped.  What else would I do?  I needed this job, or it was back to veterinary assisting.  So I had to just accept it and deal with–while being really angry, frustrated, and un-trusting toward management–and that bitch.

5.  -When Cool picked a fight just 2 days after my good knows of getting a full-time job.  Cutting short my celebration.  Depression strikes this time.  Out of nowhere, Cool knocks the figurative wind out of me by acting like a major jerk.  It was awful, because I had just talked to my proud parents and had been super-ecstatic about my new job, and Cool knocked me down to a miserable level.  I was really sad about it, because I’m ALWAYS supporting Cool and she just didn’t have it in her to even pretend to return the favor–her depressive episode made it all about her.  Again.  I wished she could be supportive and celebrate with me, but instead her bipolar and selfishness ruined it all.  The memory of my new job is still tarnished.

4.  -Getting stuck with all the moving logistics, work, and most of the payments, because Cool went manic and in so doing abandoned me in a time of stress and need.  Which was the WORST because moving sucks anyway.  And there is so much to do and plan, and so much heavy physical work.  It wasn’t fair and I felt alone and unsupported.  Mental illness is the WORST sometimes.  It’s hard not to blame Cool, and that’s not really what I signed up for.  Cleaning the Spokompton apartment by myself was awful.  It was messy and there was so, so, so much left to do.  And it wasn’t fun, and I felt resentful that Cool had already started her job and couldn’t come do her share of the work.  Especially when I was cleaning things SHE had messed up.  Driving Rusty, alone, and wanting to come home and relax very badly, after such a tiring trip and no sleep.  Then walking into a messy house full of manic shenanigans, with a Craigslist ill-fitting futon we hadn’t talked about.  And dealing with having to clean and reconfigure everything, while dealing with a belligerent, unreasonable, manic person.  It was BAD.

3.  -Finding out I was just PRN (after they promised me something different in my interview).  I had interviewed over the phone for the job.  They said I was technically applying for a PRN job, but soon, they were posting a job with more regular hours.  That job was the same duties, but it was a year of guaranteed hours.  This PRN job, which had been posted was 25 hours a week for training, but then was substitute only.  Not stable, and not really what I wanted.  So they hired me during my phone interview, but told me they would call me when (slow) HR got around to posting the year-long job.  Then, I was to apply for that to make the paperwork legit, and that job would be mine.  I waited for the call to tell me that year-job had been posted and to complete that application.  And waited.  When I finally got the phone call from MSCL, they were wanting me to pick a start date for the as-needed job.  And pretended not to remember promising me the more stable-year long job.  I had written it down!  And the way my supervisor acted was callous–and I knew she remembered, but had just reneged.  But I had to take the lessor job, because what else was I going to do?  I needed an income after moving to a new state.  And sure enough on my first day of work, I found out they had hired a coworkers daughter for MY year-long job.  Nepotism had been at play, and as usual I got screwed at work.

2.  -The fear-phobia really, of being offered a job at a veterinary specialty hospital.  I had a sense of dread and sick feeling.  I should have never applied to veterinary hospitals, because my resume is just BUILT for them.  But I was feeling a little insecure and desperate about my guarenteed training 25 hours per week becoming true, as-needed.  I HAVE to work a minimum of 25 hours just to meet my bills, and that was soon to end.  And it’s my policy to ALWAYS interview for the practice if one is offered.  And while I know my veterinary experience is a major advantage in that field, I didn’t anticipate them loving me quite so much and being offered a full-time position on the spot.  The trouble was, it did seem like the best case scenario veterinary medicine could offer.  It was ONLY speciality referrals.  It was the BEST veterinarians in the state.  The hospital hirarchy was set up so there was a legitimate office manager and head vet tech to answer to–not the impulses of vets.  There was a true support system and everyone was on the same learning curve and truely didn’t leave you alone to fail.  And they seemed nice.  And said they didn’t yell–and I believed them.  And the technology was AWESOME.  They really had it all, not just the Idexx lab and digital x-ray.  Like ALL the toys, including MRI, and anything else spectacular.  But I had just such bad memories.  And I knew the schedules and the overwork, and the under-pay.  All the pit-falls, that really, I could no longer live with.  And it’s not what I want in life.  And the delimma was feeling like I HAD to take it, because I really had nothing else to fall back on, but feeling STRESS at the prospect of taking it.  In the end, I made the very, very difficult decision on not going backwards.  It was really hard (and brave) leaving veterinary assisting jobs in the first place, and I had done it for good reasons.  I had to keep up that bravery even when times got tough.  So I declined, but left the door open.  And they liked me so well, that they said to call any time I wanted a job.

  1.  VERY WORST 2015 MOMENT:  Thinking Goose might have thrown a clot to the leg, and worrying about his impending death, and worse, knowing there wasn’t a lot I could do to prevent it.  He randomly fell off the couch twice, and didn’t have use of his back leg.  It was too short to be a seizure (maybe) but didn’t have the pain of a thrombosis.  But my reference point was when the screaming cats had been brought to the vet.  Maybe there were precursor incidents at home that hadn’t been painful, and had gone ignored by owners–I didn’t know.  So of course, I thought the worst.  And I remembered the vets at Cats Meow preparing owners if there were any heart abnormalities.  Telling them to just make the decision to euthanize now, before emotions were involved, because once the clot was thrown, prognosis was grave.  And I remember the cats coming in-just screaming in horrible pain.  And owners saying it happened out of nowhere.  One day, the cat was fine, the next down in back and just SCREAMING.  It was awful to imagine that for my Goose.  And it’s still in the back of my mind, because he is a Maine Coon and they are notorious for heart issues.  But I’m hoping he was just being a clumsy dink, since it’s only happened twice, and the episodes were brief.

Why Don’t You Just Move?

18 Dec

Well, ask any Katrina victim–moving isn’t always an option–no matter how much you want/need to.

So yes, when a woman got stabbed to death less then 100 yards from where I had to park Rusty–it was unsettling.

BUT

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When we moved to Spokane from Seattle–it was sight-unseen.  Try finding an apartment when you’re living in another city (6 hours or more away) and see how impossible it is.  Real estate is apparently based on in-person visits.  The agents aren’t super interested in returning calls, and online information is surprisingly limited and antiquated.  Finding a prospective place isn’t that easy, then convincing the landlord to trust you over distance?  Also not that practical.

But because money and work schedules disallowed several visits across the state, that’s what we had to do.  The places that will accommodate that?  Hungry for business ie not very nice.   You have to do what you have to do.  And actually, it was still an upgrade from the frat-house roommate situation we had been living in.  As shabby and old as the apartment was, it was OURS.  And it was close to downtown and school.  And (mainly) we could afford it.

So when bad things happen there–you can’t just jump ship.  Even if you’d like to.

Moving costs money. First, last, and deposit is easily a thousand dollars. Plus any fees for the old place, and any U-Hauls for the big stuff.

Rent would be higher. And I can barely afford my half of the rent working part time (for school) now. I couldn’t pay any more.

And where would we move? IS there an affordable safe place in Spokompton? Seems like every place I go has at least one dilapidated building, strung out junkie, or graffittied wall. Where would we even go?

Moving also takes planning.

Also, when would we have the time to do the physical moving? I’m in the middle of a (difficult) semester where I needs all A’s. Also, Cool works nights and I have work/school during the day. WHEN could we move our stuff and clean up the old apartment?

There are a ton of logistical concerns too.

How about the Spokane police do their job and make it safe to stay here?!

Anyway, so that’s why we stayed in our same apartment in Spokane after terrible things were happening and it started to not be so great.  But it makes the move to Salt Lake City so much better.  We yearned for it, saved for it, planned it, and executed a move.  And now we are enjoying the rewards that much more.  All the moving difficulties and expensive?  Worth it!  But would we feel that way if we had hastily left Spokane?

I don’t think so.

Red Butte Gardens: Zoo-Tunes Reloaded [Brandi Carlile part 2]

24 Aug

I hated Zoo-Tunes.

I thought I would love it. I love the zoo, and am happy to support it. Seattle is a wonderful concert city. The weather is usually mild, and I enjoy the outdoors. And who doesn’t love a pic-nic? Especially AT a zoo, and with top-of-the-line musical entertainment.

And I knew what I was getting into.  I had researched the Zoo-Tunes ticket:  Members go for an outing, not the music.  People talk over the music.  People sneak in alcohol.  It’s lawn seating = crammed in.  But I had been ready for it.  I bought VIP tickets–I would not have to deal with pushy people, or taller chairs in front of me.  I paid my way out of the crowding, and probably the talkers too.  I was confident.

But that’s not how it went down.  Events in zoos are not for the music.  And even paying VIP prices didn’t buy me out of talkers.  People stood in front of me and weren’t told to sit.  It was fairly obnoxious, only being redeemed by the Indigo Girls’ showmanship–they know what they’re doing and can capture even an unruly audience’s attention.  By the end, even those who weren’t there for the music, and hadn’t heard of the Indigo Girls were captivated by the show.

Amy across the quad

Still, I’d never go back to Zoo-Tunes.  It’s annoying.

I knew Red Butte Gardens would be much the same.  And I was not going to camp in line.  I did not want to get there extremely early in hopes of securing a good seat.  I knew people would be drunk and talking.  I knew people would probably stand in front of me, blocking my view.

Thus, my expectations were low.

I drove to the venue several weeks ahead of time to find the route and scope out parking.  The lowest lot, farthest away from the venue, had an North exit.  everyone else would cram into the closer parking lots and leave by the Western exit.  I would rather trek up a hill in the beginning and walk back down, past all the slow drunk people blocking the roads on foot.  And past the snail-trail of drunk-drivers slowly leaving past police escorts.

Also, I was in no rush to get to that line.  I knew, even if we had gotten there at 8AM, and camped in the heat all day, that in the end the pushiest people will get the best seats.  And Cool and I are not those people.  I also knew from Zoo-Tunes experience, that even if you are lucky enough to make it to the front, the center, or an otherwise primo location–pushy people who come late will squeeze you out.  And you can’t belly-ache about it without looking like a super-douche.

Even though doors opened at 6PM, we strolled up to the line at 5:45PM.  Something old, pre-planning, overly-anxious me would never have done!

red butte gardens 4But as I expected, all the pushy people made it to the best lawn places.  I saw people coming in half hour after the opener started, when nearly everyone had their sport secured–making their way to the front center and squeezing in.  That’s just how it goes.  People will be late and pushy–there’s no fighting that.  And we got a good enough seat with a side view of the stage near the far right.  And it was fine.  And people weren’t severely crowding us.  And we were lucky not to be next to any really inconsiderate drunks.

We had our picnic, sitting on a Lion King blanket while enduring the opener.  Then, set-up for Brandi seemed to take forever, and I suspect they were intentionally waiting for dark to optimize their light show.  It seemed a long wait for the band to get up there.

But they opened with my favorite song from the new album, “Firewatcher’s Daughter.”

Brandi- Red Butte Gardens Aug 2015Brandi was sensitive to the crowd, as always, and really gave the feeling that she personally loved the venue and cared about each individual as fans.  She did the obligatory city-pandering saying she loves Salt Lake City, which I always find disingenuous (from ANY artist) but know is how you play the game.  Best of all, she was not tired or fatigued from the big show she WAS excited for-Red Rocks-just the night before.

I was happy they dug out some older tunes and didn’t just stick to the new album.  “The Story” is always amazing live and those Bear Creek selections are my personal favorites.

There were many references to “testify” “pray” “faith” and churcyy-themed stuff.  I’m not a big fan of that, and10857914_10153344619528936_124799587122048377_n I’m glad I’m not FROM Salt Lake City, because I guess that stuff comes with the territory here.  Literally.  You can’t escape the Mormon history or current LDS influence.

I had heard the live version of “Turpentine” on the symphony album, and she played it for us.  I have to say any talking on live albums is interesting for the first listen.  Maybe it’s funny for the first 3 listens through the CD.  After that it gets tedious and repetitive–you’ve heard that story before.  And even though I knew about the audience signing harmony–and was tired of hearing the set-up for it on the CD–in person it is spectacular.  You really feel a part of the band and the whole audience has this connected, magical feeling.  It was really cool to be a part of.  I’m glad she’s still trotting that out.

The night was nearly perfect.  Sure, the set-list had been done before.  Talk about gay marriage, talk about the darkness in the love song, all that hadn’t been the first run-through.  But though it was not fresh and innovative material, it still felt like the band’s truth.  And even rehearsed, that’s special to see played out.

I wish Brandi would play something more upbeat at the end and in the encore, but all 6(?) of her shows I attended would wind down.  I think it would be better if instead of starting on a high note and working her way downward to quiet songs, she did more like DMB and played one slow, and one fast encore song.  Because by the encore, I’m all jazzed up and wanting to end on an energetic one, not 3 slow sappy ones.

faces

But aside from those teeny observations, just the feeling of the night was as close to perfect as you could get.  It’s this intangible thing, separate from the seating, the setlist, or the talking.  I would go to a Brandi concert any time!

 

 

Brandi Carlile at Red Butte Garden [part 1]

17 Aug

I’ve seen her at the Knitting Factory in Spokane twice, and both times she was on the verge of outgrowing the venue. Overcrowding lessons my good time, but they did amazing at both shows. Also, the first year she started late and I had to leave early (I still loathe Forster-Friday for forcing that regretful choice on me) and the 2nd year the venue had to hand-write tickets, and drunk Spokomptonites nearly ruined the show with their debauchery.

I also saw Brandi and the twins play with the symphony at Benaroya (spelling?  IDK) Hall in Seattle. symphony dress Unfortunately, not the year I lived in Seattle.  I under much duress, I had to take vacation time from work, and drive the 6 hours over the pass one Thanksgiving break.  The show wasn’t until the end of the visit (Cool’s family) so we were tired, and I was very worried about missing an exam and work in the morning.  It had snowed uncharacteristically hard, and I didn’t want to get caught on the wrong side of the pass.  So by the time the show came around I was already tired, then worried.

Brandi with our sign 2

 

 

 

 

For my 4th and 5th Brandi shows, it was her opening for DMB at the Gorge.  So it was a great time, but not HER shows.  She played a bunch of covers, and it was windy as HEEEELLLL.  And apparently, all the greatest tricks were left for Saturday, when we had Friday and Sunday tickets.  And Cool was kinda of a pill that weekend.

But last night, in Salt Lake City, the band outdid themselves.  I was worried because our show was the day after Red Rocks, which Brandi was all jazzed up about (of course).  I thought our show–if it went on at all–would be like DMB post-Gorge.  Still good.  Still a concert.  But much less enthusiasm/energy after the peak of the tour.

Plus, Cool got her tickets from a 4th party, because the venue is very hard-core on scalping and makes ticket limits, and ID’s the ticket-holder to make sure the name matches the ticket purchaser name.  And we couldn’t hold the tickets until “an hour before the show.”  Naturally I figured we were getting scammed.  I knew we would never hold the tickets, and even if they were legit, we would not be let in.

I did not allow myself to get my hopes up, because I just knew our concert wouldn’t pan out.

But the day of the show, the tickets were e-mailed.  I was only slightly relieved.  We couldn’t print them.  Cool had to make an emergency run for ink.  Then, it wouldn’t print without BOTH color and black ink.  And still, our tickets probably weren’t legit–and we weren’t on the list as the original purchaser.

After 1.5 hours, Cool printed two tickets.

So I packed our bags and got dressed, and we went to the venue.  Next–the actual concert

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. . .

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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 [unpacking-round 1]

2 Jun

-We arrive so our new apartment in Salt Lake City!  We are tired of driving, tired of sitting, tired of being greasy and dirty.  I’m hungry and thirsty.  Cool is bored.  The cats are scared and in need of soothing.

crazy cat

-But that is not in the cards for us.  We have no time for even a short break, because we are in multiple parking spots and the neighbors will be getting home from work soon.  We get there and have to start unpacking right away.

-Our stuff didn’t fill the 16 foot Penske to the top, but don’t think we didn’t have a lot.  We have a LOT of stuff!  And on this leg, it was just up to Cool and me–we had no help for the heavy or awkward items.

-Our apartment is situated a little awkwardly.  It’s like a remodled motel or something and we are on the bottom floor.  Which should be easy.  But the bottom floor is down 5-6 stairs.  And the stairs are 2 units to the right or left of our door.  And the stairs aren’t just a straight drop down, there are 3 north-facing steps, then a landing, then 2-3 south-facing steps.  This 180 degree turn made any large item difficult to manuver.  The other access point was a ledge.  Most of the concrete edge in front of our lower floor has a gate.  But at one point just to the side of our door, is a 4.5-5 foot concrete ledge that meets the level of the parking lot.  I’ll try to post a picture, because this sounds confusing.

SLC-all moved in 031

 

-Anyway, so I was in charge of climbing into the back of the truck, lifting items to the edge, getting out of the truck, grabbing things (at chest-height) from the truck, walking across an aisle in the parking lot, and setting the item on this concrete ledge.

-Cool, stood down, on our apartment’s level and picked the items (at shoulder height) off the curb, took 3-4 steps into the apartment, and theoretically put them in some logical place to be unpacked later.

-I found out I had the more vigorous part of the job.

-OK, maybe this doesn’t sound super-unrqual to you, but here’s a little snippet of how the afternoon went.  I’m doing the physical labor.  Cool is on her phone.  She decides reception isn’t optimal inside of the apartment, so she goes in the concrete ailse-way.  I’m like, “What are you doing on your phone?!  Help me!!!”  Supremely irritated (at me and the perceived phone reception) she growls and walks up the steps.  Then, she trips over her own feet, fall down on the parking lot, like, rolls (all the neighbors are staring), and lies on the asphalt.  Making a real scene and being a doofus.  THAT’s the kind of “help” I got. . .

-I also found out later, Cool simpy stacked, threw, stuffed items as close to the door, in a mass in the living room, for me to sort later.

-But the unloading had to get done, so I pushed and sweated, and got more dusty and greasy and tired.  We finished by 5:30PM, which was past when people were getting home, but I think they could see us struggling so no one gave us a hard time.

-THEN, we had to find a place to put the Penske.  Because now it was in the middle of going-home traffic in a new city (of bad drivers) adn we weren’t about to return a 16 foot truck just then.  And don’t forget we haven’t had a break (or food) since our arrival.

-So we went to the corner lot next door, some studio, “by appointment” who had ample parking.  I wanted to ask, but no one was there.  So figuring no one would go through the trouble of towing a Penske, we just parked it on that property.  Oh well. . .

-Things had settled down enough after 9PM to think about driving the Penske again.  On the map, the turn-in location looked very close, and really easy.  Go all the way down our street, turn right, then turn left.  Done.  In practice, it was much different:  The right turn was over-crowded with tons of cars speeding onto the interstates.  How could it be so busy this late at night???  Why aren’t people cutting a 16 foot truck any slack???  I had to turn right, but then get over 4 lanes to the left to make my turn.  And of course, no one would let me over–even though I was substantially bigger.  And I couldn’t SEE them.  Unfortunately, also, if you missed the turn there was no place to go but the freeway, then way down to the next exit.  Ugh!  So the 2nd time around I literally stopped in the road prior to my turn–they would just have to wait so I could get into my lane.  I completed the left.  Only to find, the directions were to make a U-Turn backwards and into the dark, Penske lot.  As soon as I pulled into the parking spot, tired, all ramped up from the crazy drive, and stressed–I realized the tank was empty.  We had to do it again after finding a gas station!!!!  Nope.  I would not be driving that again in that horribly, pushy, speeding traffic.  I was lucky to make it in one piece the first time–there would be no next.  So I had to make the tough choice to either buckle-down and drive that again, or take the fees.  As returning the Penske was harrowing, I chose the latter, which would turn out very expensive.

-As all of this was going on, and we were at maximum stress level, some guy approached us in the Penske parking lot.  Attention boys and men:  If you see women (especially one woman, by herself) she NEVER feels comfortable about you engaging her.  Especially after dark or in a sketchy place–we were in both.  This guy comes up and asks if we speak English.  Then he asks for money for gas.  Which I was like–do you see this Penske we just got out of?  There’s where all our money went.  He persisted by saying a police officer had told him this was a bad area and he really needed to get home.  What, now he wants us to take him somewhere?!  Lame.  Walk your a$$ the 5 blocks to Tracks and use the more then ample public transportation.  I was over it and disengaged.

-We got home, and I was ready for shower, jammies, bed.  BUT We had no hot water.  The gas had not been turned on yet.  I had to go to bed that night without a shower.  Morale was low.  Surpringly low.  When I was all tired and greasy (from a long drive and unpakcing and lack of shower for now 16 hours) it was very depressing.  Our first night in Salt Lake City, and there was no excitement–just greasiness.

-The next day, I called at 7AM, right when they opened, to get gas to heat our water.  I was told it would be turned on tomorrow.  Oh no!  That could not occur, we would need it today!  Yes, I fussed.  OK, they would do it by 4PM.  Lesson:  I guess fussing is the way to go and people will bend rules for you.  Which sucks because I usually follow rules and therefore have to wait longer, pay more, and deal with more hassle.  But not this time.

-Except by 2PM, we hadn’t heard anything, and the business day was quickly coming to a close.  I did NOT want to miss my chance at hot water!  Finally after a 2nd phone call (squeaky wheel gets the grease) the gas was turned on.

-Or was it?  We still had no hot water.

Sutro Pool Party 005

-We called the gas company and they said the pilot light probably wasn’t lit.  We called our landlord to try to get someone to take a look.  We called the gas company who were extremely hesitant to talk me through lighting over the phone.  But I persisted, because by this time, I was not only expired, I was curdled.  My hair is always greasy when I wake up, so I need a shower daily.  Add in long drives, sweaty, vigorous unloading of a truck, nervousness of returning said-truck, then dusty unpacking–I was disgusting.  I tried to light the pilot light.  I tried and tried.  It clicked away, but I never saw a flame.

-After the 4-5th call to our landlord, and many hours, maintenance finally lit our pilot light.  It took him 2 tries and I’m sure we looked like helpless girls having to call in a man.  But I’m sure all my pressing, worked most of the air out of the line–it had been off for 3 months.  So it looked easy for him, but only because of my previous efforts.  And whatever–hot water was going to be on.

-Agh–a shower.  Finally!  Now we live here.

Next up:  Oh yes, there’s more!  The moving never ends!

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.