Wednesday, December 30, 2015

From My Vicarious Life to Reality

Since the day in 1981, when I packed the last box from my dorm room into my 1975 Gremlin and drove out of Charleston, I dreamed of moving back. Since 2004, I have lived, off and on, vicariously there, on the peninsula, paying rent for charming abodes on quaint streets for our daughters as they attended the College of Charleston. Unlike my college experience, when we lived in dorms for 4 years, CofC has grown  so much that only freshman are guaranteed on-campus housing.

There was the incredible large apartment on Society street, with its 12 foot ceilings, wide wood plank floors, floor to ceiling windows, and huge back porch that overlooked the brick court yard. Then the charming carriage house behind the southern mansion on Moultrie that had recently been redone with its granite kitchen counters, hardwood floors, and paladin windows. After that there were the 19th century homes on Queen and Logan Streets. Each of these were on the carriage tour routes. (A point that reminded me- if the carriage comes by the house, it is out of my price range).

So when I learned I was finally moving to Charleston and needed housing, my thoughts went to the quaint cobblestone streets, tight one way alleys among 18th and 19th century homes, carriage houses down hidden drives, apartments in one of the old homes - to name a few possible abodes. I wanted nothing fancy. 

In Charleston one realistically expects to deal with on the street parking which is a nightmare, old plumbing, uneven floors, and odd floor plans where bathrooms have been retrofitted into closets or at the end of halls. The paint is usually scarred, kitchen outdated, and bedrooms very small. However, you are living in the Holy City and this is a small price to pay for the experience.

Now that I have survived running the gauntlet of the housing market, I think I have a place to live. Finally I can turn to packing and preparing to move. But my new address will not be a quaint carriage house, or the floor of one of the ten's of thousands of the 18th, 19th, or even early 20th century homes. No, I am moving into the corner of an old iron foundry (the Miller and Kelley Foundry and Machine Shop) that dates back to the 1880's. Instead of paladin windows, piazzas, and fountains, I have exposed brick walls, open spaces, and an industrial facade. And most of all, I am not on a carriage tour. I am not close to their tour route. Being in an area of "gentrification", this is not exactly the part of the city the Chamber of Commerce wants to showcase. 

When I was in school, this was the part of town you avoided, and God forbid you have to drive through you did so fairly quickly making sure all the doors were locked and you had an able bodied male companion or two and were in a reliable vehicle that was not likely to break down any where in that area. It was an area of falling down, albeit Charleston homes, filled with bums and prostitutes. In fact I doubt some of my college friends even went through the area, or if they did would never admit to it.

So when I give my friends my new address, they pause and ask, "Isn't that part of upper Meeting Street, the East Side, that is down and out?"

Being the eternal optimist, and seeing what they have not seen in 25 -30 years, I can easily answer, "No, it is more of the up and coming."

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Better Off or Worse?

Finding housing in Charleston is not for the faint of heart. It is more like joining a professional parlor game as a mere amateur without the rules. 

I spent five or six days reaching out to all my Charleston contacts, sorority sisters, cousins, and even in one case, a relative's ex-husband. I scoured classified ads, all the rentals websites, Craigslist, and even joined neighborhood association Facebook pages. After a day or two I realized several things, taking Ellie (my pup) was going to narrow my options and staying in my price range was going to put me in some old maid's attic.

My first choice location was the area around the Citadel. Unfortunately, this is where everyone wants to live these days. If and when a place comes available, it is usually rented before anyone knows about it. Second choice was a place in the middle of the peninsula - safe but newly gentrified therefore affordable. My search continued.

After a myriad of emails and calls, most of which were never acknowledged, I adjusted my price range and made what appointments I could. So yesterday, armed with a camera, a notebook, patience, and optimism I headed to the Holy City. By the time I arrived, several of the properties I was interested in were already off the market. I stopped before I got to my first meeting and checked online to see if anything else had come open - no such luck.

My first stop was ideal. It was close to my orginal price range, in the ideal neighborhood around the The CItadel, and very large. This could be it. One stop, done. The young lady was very friendly. The apartment was huge, over 1100 square feet, hard wood floors throughout, great shape, large bedrooms, off street parking. Then it all came to a screaming halt. 

I asked the young lady why she was moving. She said she wanted a dog and the landlord did not allow any pets. In fact she had lived there for several years, loved the location, and was having to move to West Ashley (across the river and into commuting traffic hell) in order to find a place of equal size where she could have a dog. This did not bode well. If she could not find a suitable place and she lived in the neighborhood, my chances were like - nil. The perfect place was off my list.

The next "best" place was a circa 1900's single house on an oak lined street in the Eastside neighborhood. The house had a view (glimpse) of the Cooper River and the Ravenel Bridge. The upstairs apartment had the wonderful porch that ran along the side of the house. The front apartment was a 1 bedroom with a new kitchen and lots of light. The high ceilings, hard wood floors and old features of a traditional Charleston house made me feel warm and fuzzy. But it was one bedroom.

Then the young man showed me the two bedroom apartment on the back of the second story. It had the same old features, same nice kitchen. And it had two bedrooms, both the same size. That was the good news. The bad news - neither room had enough room in them to change your mind. Forget a king or queen bed, getting a double bed in there and being able to walk around it would be nearly impossible. But it was a beautiful place, on a pretty street, with a porch.

Next stop, an old iron foundry that had been restored into upscale apartments. This was located just one block from Meeting (and a nice grocery store) and just two blocks from King and all the new bars and restaurants. The unit I was looking at was two bedrooms and had never been lived in. It had exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and a kitchen. The bedrooms were not huge but they accommodated beds, additional furniture and had closets. And - Ellie could come.

So here was the quandary - the "perfect" place, large, less expensive, ideal location? No pets - deal killer. The Charleston single house, personal piazza, Charleston charm, interesting location, tree lined street, but bedrooms only bunk bedrooms would fit in. An industrial looking building, new unit, not huge, but decent sized bedrooms, located near shopping, bars, and restaurants?

After an hour or so of gnashing my teeth, wringing my hands, playing pros and cons until I was exhausted, the larger bedrooms trumped the Charleston charm. I called the landlord and told him I would take it.

He responded, "Great, let me call the couple who have a contract on it."

Seriously? What the  . .. . .?

He continued, "Oh, I don't think there will be an issue because they badly wanted a one bedroom and at the time I did not have one open, and since they signed their lease, a one bedroom has come open. I think they will be thrilled to change to the one bedroom."

I explained (very politely, as calmly as I could) that I was in a situation that I needed to know since time was the essence. If this was not going to fly, there were some other properties I was looking at that were going to be gone if I did not get back to them ASAP. He assured me he understood and would get back to me.

When I returned home, my DH asked, "Well did you make up your mind?"

I told him I had decided on the newer property.

Then he asked,"Did you sign a lease?"

"Not exactly."

"What? You mean, you went down, spent a day, finally found a place you liked, and did not sign a lease."

Then I explained the situation to him. He just shook his head, "So basically, you are the same place you were when you left this morning?"

Actually worse off, I thought.

Friday, December 25, 2015

My Christmas Letter - Grab That Brass Ring

We all have our holiday traditions. My father had his Christmas Eve Drugstore drop in for years. My brother and I had assigned wing chairs in the den where Santa deposited our gifts. Our family Christmas, as a child, was a four day whirlwind trip to visit both sets of grandparents starting mid-day on Christmas. Santa filled my stocking every year with oranges, whole walnuts, and fireworks - go figure. I was clueless then, as I still am. (That was one of the mysteries my mother took to her grave. But I digress.)

What ever the tradition, I have always been blessed with family and fond memories of the holidays. I realize now that I had what few in this world have - a safe and secure life, the love of generations of a family, and a life style I took for granted.  I was always told this growing up, but as a child I thought of this as toys and a warm home. After going through these past years with this wretched economy, the wars, famine, and world poverty, I realize that the material items were the least of my wealth - it was the security of a family who loved me and the holidays together with loved ones, who are no longer here.

If I could make one wish for everyone in my world, it would be to enjoy your friends and loved ones every day, especially over the holidays. Make memories. Take time to remember those special times of your youth. And, I am not being negative, I am being positive - Enjoy, revel, contribute, join in, attend, stay home with family and friends, go out with family and friends. Get 150% out of life. Grab that brass ring on the carousel of life and be thankful you have a ride. (And stay safe so the joy can continue!)

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Family Traditions

As I celebrate my 56th Christmas I think back on the past ones (I remember) and wonder how many more I will have.

Christmases when I was little, ages 2 or 3 until 13 or so, were always the same. Daddy had his Christmas Eve drop in (and fall out) at the drug store. Christmas morning, my brother and I would go down stairs and open our stockings by ourselves but we knew not to "touch" what Santa had brought us until Mama and Daddy joined us.

Our Santa practiced the unwrapped delivery method. My brother and I each had an assigned wing chair. And on Christmas morning all our loot would be distributed in the correct chair. We would stand and stare with wonder and joy at what the jolly ol' elf had left in those chairs. Finally, after what seemed 2 days, Mama and Daddy would descend.

Dad would have his fancy movie camera with its 2 foot long light bar mounted atop, ready to film. So we had to back up to the stairs and make another entrance, so he could film our "initial" surprise when we saw what Santa had brought.We were very good at showing total joy. Looking at the camera was impossible unless you had sunglasses on. The three flood lamp size bulbs would blind you. And should something go wrong, either technically or poor acting on our parts- the gifts would be returned to their places and we would have take two.

Opening our gifts under the tree was always a surprise - in many ways. It was not unusual for gifts not to be tagged, or worse yet, to have the incorrect name on them. This was in the years of Mama's proclivity for the bottle. I distinctly remember one year being a little puzzled when I opened a gift with my name on it only to find a pellet gun. Of course not so much as my brother when his gift was a Raggedy Ann doll. But such was life around our house.

But we had no time to dawdle. We had to get dressed, select one gift, and get in the car. We had our agenda. First stop was Aunt Kat and Granny's home (my father's family) in Wagram. NC (pop 418). It was a good 3 to 4 hour drive. We would arrive there just in time to help Aunt Kat put the finishing touches on her Christmas supper. My great aunt and uncle, Auntie and Make, would join us for supper then presents, which usually equaled or topped Santa.

We would spend the night and the next afternoon it was  back in the car off to Blenheim, SC (yes, where they make the world famous ginger ale). Actually Granddaddy's farm was somewhere between Blenheim and Bennettsville,  Here we would be at my Mama's home with my grandparents, Aunt J'Nelle, Uncle Jimmy, and his children.

Unlike our Christmas at Aunt Kat and Granny's where the two of us as the only grandchildren were fawned over and granted our every wish, at Grandmama's there were 5 grandchildren. But it was great fun to play with the cousins we usually only saw once a year. And Grandmother and Granddaddy did not mind the havoc we all created as we turned their home into a palace, a fort, or a set for some secret mission. Of course there was another Christmas supper and another round of gifts.

Three or four days after Christmas we would return home to find the gifts we originally received Christmas morning awaiting. I can remember those whirlwind trips like they were yesterday. The funny thing is I can remember so many details about Christmases at my Grandparents, but not so much about those at home. But then, we were only home on Christmas morning for a few hours.

In my early teens, my Grandparents were older and not up to the visits and we were spending more and more time at High Acres, the family farm in North Carolina. There would be the Christmas trips but often they were scheduled the week before Christmas because my aunt and uncle were working around their children's schedule as were my parents.

Our new "norm" was to get to High Acres as soon after Christmas as possible and stay through the New Year. That started a new tradition that was a 'hole new ball game.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

I'm Not Manic, I'm Your Mama

This is the time each year when the instead of the Christmas spirit descending upon me and filling me with joy and glee, I take on a "Bah Humbug" attitude. I am organized, have lists, and start planning (and executing - thank you very much) months in advance, yet still I get down to the final 24 hours and find that there is still more to do.

We always run out of tape. Even though I bought 3 rolls the Monday after Thanksgiving thinking I had that one checked off. My DH decided we would have steaks for our family Christmas dinner. That suited me, until he returned from Costco, sans steaks and on Christmas Eve I found myself knowing I would be on the way to the store with the hoards of "Merry Makers" full of "Cheer". I had my list, my shopping bags, and was out early. Not as early as I had hoped but early enough. I knew Aldi would not be too packed and I could get in and out - savings time, money, and aggravation. A glimmer of hope shown through the clouds of despair floating over me like Joe Btfsplk (out of Li'l Abner).

Suddenly I felt as if I was overwhelmed. I found three gifts that still had to be wrapped. And, naturally, we were out of tape. In the kitchen I was trying to clean off the counter and my DH was asking why I had changed my mind about going to Charleston this morning to look at apartments. (Did I need to remind him that women can change their minds and their hair color?) 

Our dear Airedale had managed to get water all around her water bowl, then walk in it with her dirty feet all on the clean white kitchen floor. As I turned to get a rag to clean that up. My DH asked what I had planned for meals while the kids were here.I went to the pantry to see if we had pancake mix, checked the 'fridge for sausage, and was looking in the crisper for salad makings when the phone rang. "Can you get it," I screamed.

It was my daughter and I could hear my DH say, "Your mother is manic."

Soon my DH came in the kitchen. "You realize you are being unpleasant."

"No, I'm not. I'm just trying to get things done. I thought I had it all done but I it never seems to end. And now I have to go to the grocery store." He just looked at me and walked out of the room.

So off to the dreaded Bi Lo I went. The store where all the procrastinators would be slowly parking, blocking the aisles as they tried to make decisions over the turkey that was on sale or the ham that Uncle Buddy always enjoyed, and never being to prepared to pay when the cashier told them the total amount of their groceries. Mother of God bless my because I have sinned with the ugly thoughts I have about these people.

I went straight to the meat counter, found that they had whole pieces of New York strip (there is a Santa after all Virginia). Then I figured, when in Rome (or Bi Lo as the case may be) I may as well finish my shopping. They had everything on my list with the acceptation of fresh french bread that I needed for paninies - they would not be out of the oven for an hour. Surprisingly, the lines were short, the total cash was astronomical, but I escaped with all but a few things on my list in less time than I feared. I loaded my bags in the car and headed to my second stop - Aldi.

I found everything I needed my list. Total relief as I loaded my car and pulled out of the lot. I sat at the light. The red and green stop light finally brought about a smile and some relief. I took a deep breath. Maybe I was being a little frantic, on edge. But, someone had to do it. Or did they? Deep breath. Why am I so uptight? This is not worth it. I need to remember my old mantra and get back to my roots. MWDH "Martha (Stewart) Would Die Here."

Scotch tape, jeez, I forgot about the tape. Deep breaths . . . 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I Am but He's Not

Along the route of my great job hunt when I made the decision that I would expand my reach far and wide. My DH and I talked and decided should the stars and moon align, the angels sing, and a job come through that was out of commuting range, I would relocate and my DH would stay home. He was not too cotton on moving and even if he were, preparing our house for the market may take a wee bit longer than the average American home. OK, it would be a massive undertaking.

The job came through and sure enough it is out of town. So the plan goes into place. 23 months has given me time to prepare. I have spreadsheets made up of various salaries and budgets a given salary would allow. Looking at different markets, what would apartments cost? Going to sleep at night, I no longer counted sleep, rather in my mind, I arranged my Mama's beautiful furniture in imagined rooms in my mind.

  • What I wasn't prepared for was the third question. The first being (after I told someone I now had a job) was, "Wonderful, doing what?". When I told them what and where, their second question was, "Are you going move?" Then comes the third question which is, "What about your DH?" I politely explain what we have planned. Then their countenance changes. I can see it in their eyes, going through their head is the obvious question, "Are you leaving him?" My answer to their unasked question depends on where I am, who it is, or how much time I have. Usually I quickly smile, and add to my last answer, "And yes, my DH and I are fine. This is the only way we can work this out. We are in and out Charleston every week or so as it is to shop, dine, or see a movie. This just gives him a place to stay."
  • Several times I have not been paying attention and have said something like, "We have just reached that time in life when we can do this." Then I spend the next several minutes trying to explain the inarticulate flippant statement that somehow lost any clear meaning as it tumbled from my mind to my mouth was - that since we were empty nesters and no longer had so many responsibilities with the children,  etc.  . . .
  • If it is a nosy someone I know I can play with their mind I don't comment.
Saturday night when I returned from celebrating Christmas at my Step Mother's, my DH's question (he opted out of the event) was, "Did you tell them about your new job?" I told him I did. Then he asked, "Did they think we were getting divorce?"  I just laughed and said, "Yes, they did." 

I hesitated for a while. Then added, "Of course I explained we weren't."  In my mind I thought, at the same time time, I am sure my explanation is totally juxtaposed with his absence that night.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Laws of Murphy, Yhprum, and Drucker

Murphy's law always applies. Who was Murphy after all and what made him so smart? Maybe if he had never been born our lives would have been much simpler. 

I have been job hunting for 23 months. During this time, I have been a lady of leisure. My time has been relatively free. I have sampled retirement (without the pension and benefits) and learned that retirement is not overrated. The Hell of it was knowing how the other side lives and then having to go back through the looking glass.

Finally I find myself with a job that will start next month. Suddenly I am trying to juggle the holidays (last minute cooking and baking, the 4 "Christmases" we have with the family (the in-laws, outlaws, and significant others), finding a place to live in Charleston (that I can afford), and packing (which I cannot do until I know where I am going to live and how much space I will have). 

Mathematician Augustus De Morgan wrote on June 23, 1866: "The first experiment already illustrates a truth of the theory, well confirmed by practice, what-ever can happen will happen if we make trials enough."  In later publications the phrases "whatever can happen will happen" and "whatever can go wrong, will", refer to De Mogan's statement was termed "Murphy's law". The irony here is that De Morgan's theory, given that "Murphy" is "De Morgan" misremembered.

But, on the glass half full side, there is always Yhprums law (Murphys spelled backwards) that states "anything that can go right, will go right" — the optimistic application of Murphy's law in reverse.

"Drucker's Law"  (named after Peter Drucker) in dealing with complexity of management: "If one thing goes wrong, everything else will, and at the same time."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Survey says - The Holy City

The envelope has been opened and I have been offered (and accepted) a position in Charleston - the Holy City. In four weeks I will be living in the city I dearly love, in the city I spent as an undergrad many many years ago. Unfortunately, the secret is out and everyone wants to live there, so finding a place to rent is almost impossible.

The job I have taken is going to be incredibly interesting. I will be at The Citadel as General Rosa's Executive Assistant. This will be a new chapter in an old girl's life. But, I shall eat my Wheaties and be prepared.

After 23 months of searching for a job, now I find myself in search of affordable housing. Knowing the Charleston traffic, I do not want to commute. It may take a while but I hope to find something in town. I have pulled out all stops, contacting everyone and their brother and third cousin if I think they may know someone who knows someone else who may be aware of a place that is possibly available.

There are plenty of opportunities to live with someone. Many people are looking for roommates or folks to shares houses with. But at my age, I want my own place. It doesn't have to be big or fancy. 

So the next phase begins - the realty phase, the search for housing and it is on. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

No Trouble with a Trifle

 One of the items I decided to make for Thanksgiving was a German Chocolate Pound cake. Since I was going to be at my daughter's, I packed up all my ingredients so I could make it there. A fresh pound cake is always better. One thing I forgot was my pan, but that was not an issue since my daughter has a well stocked kitchen. She produced a Teflon bunt cake pan for me to use. 

The recipe was rich with lots of butter and 5 eggs. The butter cream chocolate icing was going to be even richer. The cake went into the oven with great promise. After checking it several times - with the ever reliable toothpick - it was done and I took it out and left it on the cooling rack. The top was perfect  with the crispy part everyone wants to pick off. It was shame I wanted to ice it - but that was the plan.

When I went to take it out of the pan it would not budge. The sides had receded from the edge of the pan but the cake was firmly secured to the bottom. For an hour or so, I would try to remove it, attempt another method, let sit, then try again - to no avail. Finally I deemed it a disaster.

Then my daughter said, "You could always make a trifle, using the butter cream icing and whipped cream."

The only thing that made me mad about that was that I had not had that idea first. I carefully pulled the cake, chunk by chunk, from the pan, Then I made the icing and whipped the cream. I layered it all in a trifle bowl. Voila! A rich rather elegant looking dessert that looks as if I spent hours in the kitchen. The family was impressed.

So when I had to prepare a dessert for my garden club this week I pondered my old standbys - a cheesecake, iced Christmas cookies, pralines, sour cream apple pie, etc. Then it dawned me, you idiot, the trifle, the silk purse from the sow's ear.

So I gathered the ingredients and baked the cake. Naturally this time the cake came out perfectly from the pan, not a crumb missing. But I still tore it apart and assembled the trifle. Then the cloud of doubt came over me, What if the secret of my prior success was the way the cake stuck to the pan? What if the chemical reaction of the Teflon coating (which my pan at home does not have) together with my daughter's electric oven (I have a gas convection oven) created the special effect that bonded the cake to pan causing a molecular change in the cake that best suited it for a trifle? Where as my pan in my oven just produced a regular cake. Or maybe I am over thinking this.

Which ever the case it is a win win. If the cake comes out of the pan - I have a cake. If it sticks - then I have a trifle. Lemons you make into lemonade and an obstinate cake you make into a trifle.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Star Light Star Bright

Just when I thought the Christmas tree was done, finished, settled, complete, I came home from a trip to find a new addition. The over sized angel that dominated the top of tree had been replaced. Sitting atop the tree was a bright star. Not a pretty white star but a multi colored star that I'm sure the magi would have not have recognized. It is more like a relic from the Saturday Night Fever movie set.

The next morning I found my DH carefully placing his glass ice cicles on the tree branch by branch. This made me rethink my tree decorating skills. In previous years I had put lights on the tree, added the ornaments, and carefully placed the skirt underneath it, all in one day. At the time I was pretty proud of my work. By that evening the tree was up and the empty boxes of decorations were safely back in the attic.

I could sit and rest on my laurels. Of course the lights were not spaced exactly the same distance apart from one another making sure from no matter which side you viewed the tree the color pattern did not repeat. And, there were no icicles. I avoided those, unlike this year where my DH carefully placed each glass icicle, starting with the shorter ones at the top. He carefully added each to the end of a branch, giving it that perfect effect. Each glass crystal placed just so it will pick the colored lights behind it and prism the rainbow.

And, the star is placed atop the tree like some beacon to Santa that sends messages to the North Pole via that special SCGSO (Santa Claus Geo Synchronous Orbital) Satellite. Any time I sin or think some unkind thought, I swear that star blinks several times like it is transmitting data to the Naughty and Nice server up North.

For years my DH did not care whether or not the tree was turned on. This year is a different story. Just yesterday he came home early in the afternoon to find the tree dark. He commented he could not believe we would have the tree off that time of day. Maybe I am being paranoid and he is filled with the  Christmas Spirit. After 33 years of marriage, why should I question his volunteering to decorate the tree all by himself for the first time, taking 15 days to do so, and topping it with a disco star?  

I have no complaints. The tree is lovely. It is colorful - very, very colorful with the large colored lights and the "magic" star. It is sparkly with the many glass icicles that adorn it. It is festive as a Christmas tree should be. Most of all, for once, someone else did it and I get to sit back and enjoy it. 

Hopefully we have started a new family tradition, if only the SCGSOS will transmit that nugget of information to jolly old elf to make it be. I can always wish.

Monday, December 14, 2015

My Loyal Cappuccino Maker

Twenty two years ago my DH gave me a wonderful, state of the art (at the time) cappuccino maker. I so enjoyed my mugs of rich coffee with thick frothy milk. Then we moved, the cappuccino maker was put on the kitchen counter, and used, maybe, three or four times. Since then it was abandoned to gather dust and get moved further and further to the back of the counter behind bread boxes, canisters of pasta, and crocks of utensils.

Several weeks ago, I noticed the machine sitting there as I cleaned the counter. I moved it out of its corner, cleaned it up, filled it with water, and voila - it still worked. So I gathered coffee, chocolate, and milk and made a cup of cappuccino. How could I have I forgotten the joy I got from these cups of rich joy? How could I have abandoned such a dedicated machine? After several days, the steamer failed. I searched online and found that there were no replacement parts. Krups had quit making the model - years ago.

Since it still made a great cup of coffee and I had an emotional attachment (guilty conscience over total abandonment) to the machine, I realized I could get a small gizmo that would allow me to arriate heated milk to a rich froth. Voila! For $10 all was well.

I mentioned this to my DH. Naturally, the next thing I knew he was asking what I would replace it with. In total mindlessness, I name a machine I had seen that would meet my needs. Next thing I know he was on Amazon researching the perfect cappuccino maker. The jeanne was out of the bottle and was not going back in. Meanwhile, each morning, I enjoying my cups of joy.

Just last week a box arrived from Amazon, of a certain size - suspiciously that of a coffee maker addressed to my DH. Just saying, in time for Christmas no less. Although a shiny new model would be fun and easier to use, how could I explain to my older one that it is being replaced and sent to the island of unwanted appliances.  Yes, I am loyal to friends, to causes, and appliances.

Of course I'm not the only one with skin in this game. Several times I have found when I leave my cup of cappuccino on the coffee table  I return to find Ellie "innocently" sitting next to it. Looking at her I realize that perhaps she has been up to something. Her reaction is something akin to, "Why are you looking at me?"

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Light at the End of the Tunnel? Maybe . . .

The reason I have not been loyally posting as I have for many years is that my job hunt has suddenly picked up speed.

It only took twenty three months, tens of thousands of emails, false leads, a couple rabbit holes, and several bizarre interviews for my hunt to possibly bear fruit. Naturally two prospects have come at once. And, I have made the short list for both positions. One would put me in Charleston - my dream location, but with little pay - a pauper in paradise. The other would put me Richmond, a city I have spent much time in, close to many of my good friends, at a much more comfortable salary. 

Of course neither of these jobs have been offered to me. In the next few days I could find myself with a lump of coal and back to square one - still unemployed. The waiting is painful. The waiting is stressful. The kicker is that both jobs start January 2 and either would require relocation. And we have the holidays thrown in there. Do I get excited over a move to a new place of my own? Do I start dreaming of where in the my new living room do I place my mother's antiques that I never thought I would get to enjoy? Or, am I to be a kill joy and assume neither will be offered to me?

For once I will live in a dream world and enjoy the fantasy. If both fall through I will resort, as I always have, to drugs and therapy. As Dusty Springfield sang so well, "Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying, planning and dreaming . . ."

Meanwhile, I am sure you have the first question everyone else has, "Is your DH moving with you?" The answer is no. And the second question, "Is there a problem?" The answer is no, we decided a while back that since I could not find a suitable position close by and we desperately needed benefits, that I would expand my job search far and wide. Should something become available in another location, so be it, I would relocate. We would just have a long distance marriage. Who knows, distance may make the heart grow fonder.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree.

Yes, it is that time, the yuletide, time for the Christmas tree. As loyal readers of this blog know this is always a time of entertainment. After selecting the tree (day 1), it sat on the patio (days 2-3), came in the house (day 4), and lights went on (days 5 and 6). On the 7th day my DH rested. 

In the past I have put the lights on the tree. This year, however, my DH volunteered to put the lights on the tree. I should have known something was amiss. And, it was. The next thing I knew he was shopping for colored lights. Yes . . . we have gone back to the color/ white light debate. So, yes we have brand new colored LED lights for the tree the size of the lights I grew up with.

With the lights on the tree, I was left to finish the decorations. I spent a while putting as many glass balls, blown glass ornaments, and other baubles on it. Once it was laden, I stood back, admired my work, and rested on my laurels. My DH immediately came in and asked if I was finished. In his opinion the tree was not "full". I drew his attention to the remaining boxes of ornaments, smiled, and left the room. 

So we have a tree fully decorated and brightly lit with colored lights. We also have an attic with multiple boxes of strings of Christmas lights - regular white lights, LED white lights, old fashion colored lights (the kind that will heat your den or burn down your house), and now colored LED lights. I do not think my DH can add anything else.

Then my DH announced this morning, "The star comes today."

"What star?"

"The new one I ordered for the top of the tree."

Seriously? So in our attic we have an ancient blue angel we put on the top of our tree when we first were married, the gold angel we added next with feathered wings (that fit nicely on the top of tree), and also the oversized angel (with the porcelain face) my DH insisted on purchasing last year.  And now we will have a star.