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Thursday, January 29, 2009

150 down, 2350 to go

I'm in Illinois, about half way to St. Louis. I will pick up a car carrier to get all 4 wheels off the ground as I tow it, unlike the tow dolly I have now that only gets 2 of them off. St. Louis was the closest one that they would put my Jeep on. So far the trip has gone well. I'm glad I filled up with gas in Clarksville. Driving through Kentucky was very, very strange after the ice storm. We had so little other than rain in Nashville that I was only slightly prepared for what I found. It was like diving through a ghost country, very little traffic or evidence of actual people off the side of the interstate. No electricity, no people, no lights, no traffic. Lots and lots of ice, and trees all split and broken, branches pointing wrong directions. Huge evergreen trees with their branches all pointing down. Everything covered with coatings of ice. No fuel anywhere, no restaurants, no motels, nothing open. Very strange. And, I've heard rumors of a storm on the way again for them tomorrow. Oh, and no cell coverage in the entire length of the state. No way to check in with folks.

Nancye and Mom saw me off this afternoon. I'm a day and a half past my schedule. My boss sent word emphatically that I am not to kill myself getting out to Washington. He needs me alive. If I need to head south to avoid bad weather and take longer, I'm to do it. Paul, the HR guy who met me in Clarksville, is concerned that I don't have 'protection' with me. He got the Jeep secured to the dolly much more firmly than Nancye and I were able to. He saw me off with a worried look and more comments about being careful.

Nancye is probably more tired than I am at this point. She spent the better part of 3 days getting me packed up, helping me get loaded, cleaning up the house after me. I couldn't have gotten this far without her. I just am not thinking about the fact that the entire purpose of all this is for me to move to the other side of the country.

I'll update as I can. Neo and his fiance in St. Louis are pressing me to stop at her house and spend the night. Nancye is agreeing with them. So, guess I need to get back on the road.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cleanup 3 days left

An awesome amount of stuff got done yesterday Nancye, Bill, Bluebelle, Tree, Neo and his sons JackRabit and TaterTot worked their behinds off. Nancye's pizzas and carrot cake were a major hit.. At this point everything in the house is something that I can lift, other than the waterbed. The waterbed is draining. I am making piles of things ready to be loaded into the rental truck, a smaller pile of stuff to go into the storage unit, and a pile of stuff to go down to the shed here. If everything works out (and it has done so amazingly well) when Phil and Tim come to look at the house this afternoon I can get them to help take the waterbed frame down to the shed with me. It is still a mess here, but much less so in many ways. As I put stuff into the truck, it will finally start to clear out and not just move around to different piles.

I am awestruck at the willingness of my friends to help me. I have no words.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Pace Picks Up

Today is D day in many ways. In a few minutes my ride will show up to take me to pick up the Rental truck I'll pack a couple of different times, and will ultimately drive to Tacoma. I've been clearing out the furniture that goes to storage, the first load. Neo will arrive with his sons to load that furniture. That will be the main clearing out. Nancye and Bill will arrive before that and start helping me pack things, take the items they are taking. Then Bluebelle and Tree will arrive and load the things they are taking. When all of that is done, the only furniture here should be my recliner. Along with the storage items we'll take to Mom the things she wants and the things she sold for me.

At that point I'll have just 'stuff' laying around all over the floors. Nancye has offered to pack up my kitchen. I'm hoping that Bill or Phil can rebuild the antique clock that fell off the mantle, and pack up my two printers. I'll be sorting and packing the rest of the stuff.

And then I'll have my nervous breakdown.

Friday, January 23, 2009

More Updates

I have a truck reserved from Budget that I pick up Saturday morning. I pick up the car carrier Tuesday. Saturday Neo and his boys will come over and load up the furniture that I'll put in storage. Nancye will show up and load up the things she's taking and as much of the furniture I'm getting rid of as will fit. Bluebelle will show up and take her stuff. They will help pack up the stuff I've just got in piles that I'm taking with me or that I'll put down in the storage barn here. Maybe. Depends on their time and how things are going.

Also Saturday I hope to finalize who will be living here. I have a Plan C now for that, too. Lots of out of work contractors it seems. Free Rent for work is something they understand.

Sunday is doing whatever didn't get done Saturday. Monday is tie up any loose ends business wise like mail forwarding, paying last minute bills, and packing up anything that didn't get packed into the truck or storage barn. Tuesday I take my Toyota truck to Nancye and we bring her Surburban back here, take the truck and get the car carrier and put the Jeep on it and put it in the cul-de-sac since I can't turn the rig around back here at the house. She will spend the night here with me, sleeping on the floor in my now-empty house. She'll help me get the cats into the truck, take pics, hugs, and see me off.

Somewhere in there I need to get the items for the cats' travel, make hotel reservations out in WA, spend time with my parents this evening and Monday evening, and have a nervous breakdown. There is intentionally some slip time in this schedule, and additional offers of help on Monday if I need it.

I'm numb.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Counting Down

Time is telescoping, and the mass of things to do is growing, or so it seems. I am to the part where I am going through most everything individually. If it was already in a box, and I knew I wanted to keep it, it is already in storage. I move things and pile them into the room of the 'going with me' piles. Schedule is that I'll pack that all up nicely next week just before loading it.

I need to start shopping for a truck. I need it around here all weekend, then load it Monday and Tuesday. Then leave Wednesday. Moment of panic...

I just want to be out there at this point. Get this part over with. Or, keep this part going longer so I can enjoy more last minute times with friends. Tonight I'll meet up with folks at Fletcher's for pizza. And, I find out if my hiking buddy can help me move the furniture. If not, I'll be frantically calling around to hire a couple of strong backs.

Still unsure about who, if anyone, is going to work on the house while I'm gone. The guy looked at it and will let me know this weekend. I'll phone Plan B and see how serious that offer was. And, I got a plane ticket back for Memorial weekend, or the week around it. It was a quick decision, but I needed to know when I'd be back, just for myself and my sanity.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Progress

I made the decision to just rent a moving truck to take to Tacoma and tow my Jeep behind it. I just don't have time to learn all I need to learn to be safe driving an RV. Too much left to hoping nothing happens. That decision made.

Nancye, Bluebelle, and Cathy showed up right on time yesterday morning, and got to work loading the dressers and a couple of other items I set out. I was sorting and moving tings as we went. Housemate had cleared out one room for me of his stuff, so I started putting the things I know are going with me into that room. The rest of the house is starting to empty out. Well, 'empty' might be overstating it still, but there are gaps. There was ice when we first got to the unit, to the point that it was dangerous, but the management put down salt for us and it worked quickly. Mom fed us after we unloaded at the unit.

Today I start work here, starting training in the areas of this job that I didn't do before. I'll start asking more questions about life on the other end of this journey. I'm starting to look forward to it. I went to Google street view (which I have mixed feelings about...), and it is different out there. Flat in the areas I looked where there are RV parks. More like Florida from the pictures. Florida with snow?

LOTS of work still to do. I need to find motivation every evening when I get home from work to keep with the sorting and packing and such. I truly appreciated the women showing up yesterday. That was the push, emotionally as well as physical progress, that I very much needed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ongoing

Yesterday Mom helped me put the shelving together, 3 units of it. We put what boxes I've moved over to the unit on them. There is room for more. Thank goodness. I'm packing up the things in the dining room now. China cabinet is all packed except for the good china. That will happen this morning. The rest is what I want to take with me, the dishes I'm using now. I'm doing laundry, and as I can I'll start moving the clothes I plan to take into one area, the ones I'll keep here, and the ones I want to get rid of to their respective piles. Hopefully between Mom and Nancye, the things I want to disappear will do so tomorrow. Clothes and housewares and such that is difficult for me to part with. Plan B is for me to load them into the Jeep when I head to work Tuesday and drop them at the Goodwill trailer there.

Progress is being made. I just don't know if it's fast enough or not. It feels warp speed to me, but I've spent 3 years getting to this point in my downsizing. And I still have a houseful of stuff.

BlueBell has a line on an RV for me. Somewhere in the next week and a half I'll find time to look at it and maybe buy it. And load it. And then drive it to Washington State...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Update

I'm to the messy part of the project. I have things pulled out, piles made all over the place, and I haven't started much moving yet. This morning, first up, is to load the truck with the next load. That will clear some room in the living room. Then, I think I'll load the Jeep with recyclables to include some of the boxes I have the I won't be using. The recycle bins are just a mile away. Then to the (luckily, heated) unit to put together shelves and organize and such. Then home, and more sorting and loading. Repeat.

The living room is emptying out of what I'm taking with me. The dining room is too, except that I keep putting things I'm not ready to take yet in there. The part of the house I live in is a total mess. Even after all the times I've gone through my stuff I still have absolute trash that I'm coming across.

Had dinner with Phil last night. He had some good suggestions and options for me. And, offers of help back here while I'm out there. Friends are good. Friends are difficult to move away from. Friend bought me dinner that I scarfed down since I'm down to eating my own cooking lately.

Latest ideas for the trip are to rent either an SUV that is larger than the Jeep and tow the Jeep out there packed up. Or, rent an RV to be more comfortable and tow the Jeep. I have requests for quotes out at the point.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It Has Begun

On Wednesday I got the climate controlled 10X20 storage unit. At first I was going for the best rate, or the closest to where I am now. However, It ended up that I got one down the road from my parents' place. I think that in the long run that will be best. I took a token load of boxes over there when I rented it. On the way back to town I stopped at Sam's and got 2 more of the nice (expensive!) rolling stainless steel shelving. Then I met a friend at the Flying Saucer down in town. Dinner, a large dark draft beer, and lots of conversation. I got home late for me, around 9.

Yesterday morning I got up and started pulling out the still-packed boxes of stuff from when I moved into this place a couple of years ago. I got most of it on the porch by the time Nancye got here. We did lots of discussing and some loading. My plan to pull the Toyota behind the Jeep was not a hit with several people. Upon consideration, and since some of the folks who think it's a bad idea are ones who's opinion I really respect, I am ditching that plan. Ok, it also happens that the Toyota is starting to really not run well, and the suspension is creaking with even the small loads I'm putting in it. It needs A LOT of work done to make it run and ride well again. It has been an awesome truck. It's tired.

Nancye was relieve to hear that plan was gone. I have moved on to getting an RV here and driving it out. It makes it a lot easier to take the cats that way. The Jeep just doesn't have room for 2 cats, Nancye and I, their litter box (I'd have them in a large crate what would take up all of the back of the Jeep), and even pulling a U-Haul trailer I couldn't put the cats back there (that was my back up plan with the truck...) We loaded the boxes of stuff in Nancye's suburban and my truck and stopped by an RV place and looked at their used ones. The first one was a Class A, and I could live in it well. It was looooonnnnng. Nancye was now upset at the thought of us driving this long of an RV with the Jeep behind it. Now, don't get the idea that Nancye is a timid folk. She heads off on adventures and jumps behind the wheel of whatever is needed. I'm just pushing the envelope of both of our experience. We looked at Class C RV's which are smaller. I don't know that I could live in one of those long term. Not enough closet space, no place for the cat's litter box, etc. Something I'm kinda playing with, and need to run the numbers, is maybe getting a Class C to drive out there, and trade it in on a Class A once I'm there. I'm trying to think of all the possibilities.

Another issue is that I am not looking at new RV's. I'm looking at way old ones. In fact, I'm going to look at an '84 Class A today. It's the one that is calling me, from the first pictures. It is way cheap. I could put a fair amount of money (couple of thousand) and still come out ahead. But, it's a long trip out to WA. That's what Nancye, with a chorus of eveyone else behind her, keeps reminding me.

It was cold as we unloded. I'm glad I got the climate controlled unit, it was warm in there. It was late so we didn't put the shelving together. I'll go do that today, after looking at the RV. I call Mom and asked if she had food, and we headed over there for a quick supper. Nancye headed home one direction, me the other. In an group email to Bluebell sent out after we all got home it sounds like Nancye has decided to hang in with what I decide. Then again, the plan may change several more times in the next 2 weeks.

Today I slept in till 9. I don't want to put my back out this early in the process, so I'm taking it easy. I'll put a load into the truck, head to look at the RV, then head to the unit to put together the shelving and organize what's alread there. Then, I'll come home and start making decisions on the rest of the stuff. I have 3 days this weekend, due to the holiday, to make as much progress as I can.

And that is pretty much where I'm at. I see this situation kind of like a kite. I've got the wind of this move pushing me higher. I need the string to earth as much as the wind to actually make any movement. I see my friends here as that string. A kite without a tail to give it ballast and dampen it's sudden lurches in many directions doesn't go up, either. It needs that bit of downward pull to straighten it's path. I see Nancye as that ballast that keeps me from shooting off wildly. In return, the kite takes the tail up with it. So, I'm getting ready to fly.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm Moving

I just accepted a job in Washington state. I will be leaving Tennessee in a couple of weeks. I have A LOT of packing and moving to do before I can leave. I'll be excited about it when I can see it as more than how much I have to do to get ready.

I can't think about it too much or I get teary about leaving this area. I have friends here. My parents moved here to be near me, and are now beyond the age that they can leave to follow me again. They have repeatedly told me to go wherever I needed to in order to get a job. This part doesn't feel good, the leaving part.

...Turn The Page

I have started the next chapter of this life, again unemployed. Today I rewrite my resume. Again. And start cycling back through some of the sites where I've already submitted it. I'll also ping the HR folks back where I used to work who were going to try to find things for us at other locations in the company. And, I'll ping the unemployment office. I've already gotten the official mail notification that I am eligible to receive unemployment, just need to get in the process again.

Enough of that. With the stress of that job off I'm feeling creative again. I've gone back to cooking, obviously, because I'm home to do it and because I don't want to spend restaurant prices to eat now. Last Friday Oddball and Panya had me and Ian over for dinner. That was nice. Sunday I went to Mom And Dad's and Mom cooked a roast and vegetables and sides. Again, a good meal. Yesterday I made salmon patties. Turned out pretty good.

I'm knitting some. I don't like the 5 needles version. Too many needles to keep track of in something as small as the cuff of a sock. I've gone back to 4 until I get to where I start dividing up for the heel. I like working with yarn again.

I have started the process of going back through all my stuff and getting rid of, fixing, ironing, and generally taking care of stuff I've had just 'set aside' until I get a chance to whatever. I took a bag of clothes to Mom to distribute as she see fit on Sunday, and I've started another bag. There is a woman in the senior housing there that can wear my recently outgrown clothes, and if she doesn't want them those folks have grandkids and great grandkids who are my size. Or, the size I used to be. Eating my own cooking I"ll probably lose some of the weight I've put on this past year while traveling, but not all of it.

So, that's what has been going on. I just wasn't feeling chatty. I did learn that I need to be a bit more careful when slashing some of my costs. Sorry about deleting your domain, Dave. Sigh. Hopefully we can get the email issue worked out so we don't lose contact again.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It Happened

Today the hammer fell. I will be unemployed after Friday. They started calling people in one at a time around 9, by 11 all of us being let go had gone in for the 5 minute talk and were handed a folder with paperwork. The HR folks will be in to do our out processing later this week. My appointment is at 1:40 pm on Friday. Until then I go to work as usual, although no one is doing much of anything. I have to check my laptop in before leaving at night, and will get it back in the morning.

I have started the resume update. I have a couple of jobs to submit it to - although not much locally. I am allowed to be rehired if they ever get the new contract that they thought would be in place by now. I've already signed up for unemployment on-line. So, now I while away the time at work cruising websites looking for work.

I'm kinda numb. This isn't anything I didn't expect, but the actual transition is difficult. On Monday I'll sit and figure out what's next.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Day 2009

When I went to type the subject and put in the year, I automatically typed 1 first instead of 2. Old habits still die hard. I stayed home last night. I've stayed home the past few years for various reasons. It's not a hard and fast declaration. In fact, I had planned to go up to Springer Mountain to celebrate with the group that gathers there every year. In the end it just felt like I wanted to stay close to home. I did have a glass of wine, and stayed up till midnight. I was hoping to see the extra second tick off at time.gov. It didn't. Oh, well.

The possibility of needing to live off unemployment for some unknown period of time is weighing on me a lot. My fixed monthly expenses are more than unemployment pays. I have some ways to make up that difference if I am very careful. I have already cut some of the expenses, and have a couple of more that I can cut. I don't use the data on my phone much, and that is $40 a month. I probably will cash in my while life insurance policy that I've had forever. It won't be a lot, but with no dependents I am to the point that I don't really need it. I hopefully have enough in my 401(k)'s to pay my parents enough to bury me and pay off my debts. That's all I'm concerned about. I have my expense spreadsheet set up for 2009. I have spent maybe 5 or 6 years perfecting it. It shows me a snapshot of everything about my expenses at any given time. Of course, I have to actually put in the information. It's set up to track my expenses to the penny, and every January I start well in keeping up with it. I think about 6 weeks is as long as I've gone in the past couple of years. It does help with keeping spending down by putting it in my face, and that is depressing sometimes.

I have gotten all of my 'must do' running around done this vacation. The Toyota is now street legal for another year. That was expensive, close to $1300.00 all told. That is why money is tight now, just as I'm looking to maybe lose my job. The Toyota gets much better gas mileage though, and I do still really like it. I will probably drive it most of the time now instead of the Jeep, keeping the Jeep for trips and to drive when I want the 4WD. I can enjoy the Toyota now that I have a backup truck for when it dies. AT 335K miles, that was a real concern.

I went hiking for a couple of hours the other day. I hiked to the new 'Nature Center' that has been promised on the information board at the trail head for a year now. The hike to it is all uphill. I had expected a nice little cabin tucked into the woods, since it is billed as an environmental experiment, yada yada. When I got there, it had a parking lot, water tower, and was huge. I could have driven there had I come in from the other direction. It wasn't open, which is just as well since I was so disappointed. Then again, I have to remember this is a Metro Nashville park. When it is open I'll stop by and ask questions about the 'environmental' part of the plan.

I think I'll go back and hike today to celebrate the day. Then is the cleanup of the loose ends around here to get ready to go back to work after 2 weeks of vacation. I have no idea what I'll be heading into there, so I just need to get myself situated for whatever comes.