Saturday, December 29, 2007

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Christmas in NJ was wonderful. Our trip started out a little rough- Tess got loose as Gregg was loading up the car and took off, putting us about an hour behind schedule. I found her not too far away running around a neighbor's yard, completely oblivious to the fact that we had a four hour drive ahead of us. I called her over, knelt down and grabbed her by the collar, then waited for Gregg to drive by since he had gone looking for her.

Since she had also decided to go roll around in cow poo, Gregg had to give her a bath. He didn't bother drying her off because we were so late by that time, so we just threw her in the back of the car and started on our way. About an hour and a half into the trip, she then got car sick. That was fun. Barring that snafu, we proceeded to have a very nice holiday. It was really good to spend time with family, celebrating Christmas, stuffing our faces full of yummy goodies and exchanging presents, except I wasn't quite feeling like normal myself.

The night of the Christmas concert at church, I started feeling really weird. Like I was all hopped up on caffeine or something. I just brushed it off, thinking I was overtired. The next morning when I got in the shower, I felt really dizzy and just a tad nauseous so I decided to work from home that day. By the afternoon, I was feeling a lot better so I went into the office to meet with a couple clients I was scheduled to see. That night I had Bible study and that dizzy feeling came over me again, stronger than it had been in the morning. By this point, things were starting to add up: feeling dizzy, queasy, sore boobs, and AF was nowhere in sight.

The next day I mentioned to Gregg that I was five days late, which is really unusual for me. I asked if I should perhaps test and he said to wait a while. That evening, though, his curiosity got the better of him, and over dinner he told me to go ahead. We needed to go to Walmart for a few odds and ends anyway, so while we were there we bought a digital pregnancy test. When we got home, Gregg took the dog out and I went straight upstairs to the bathroom. I did the "procedure", laid the stick down on the counter and went into our bedroom to wait for the results, my heart pounding. A few minutes later, Gregg came upstairs with a questioning look on his face and I told him I hadn't looked yet. We went into the bathroom together, and I picked up the test. There was no mistaking it; it was positive! I couldn't believe it. Gregg smiled and said, "Cool. I knew you were." Still in somewhat of a daze, we decided to go online to calculate my due date.

First thing the next morning I called our primary care physician because I knew he'd see us right away and we wanted to be certain the test was indeed accurate before going ahead and telling our parents over Christmas. I was given an appointment for the following day. The nurse saw me right away, took my weight and blood pressure, then had me do the obligatory pee in a cup routine. I waited with Gregg in the exam room for her to come back with the results. My heart started pounding again as I heard the timer go off. The nurse walked towards us and simply smiled and nodded her head as she closed the door behind her.

About five minutes later, Dr. Peterson came in to congratulate us. He gave us an estimated due date, which is the same one we had calculated ourselves. He then talked with us about ways to have a healthy pregnancy and wrote out a prescription for prenatal vitamins. We went straight downstairs to the pharmacy to have it filled and also pick up a bottle of Omega-3 Fish Oil supplements he recommended. As we were heading out of the medical center, we ran into our friends, Ryan and Anita, who are due in January. Ryan looked suspiciously at the white bag in Gregg's hands and said, "Going to pick up some drugs this morning, are we?" We played it off, but the gig was pretty much up, so they were the first ones to know.

We told both sets of parents over Christmas by making up a phony backorder notice for a gift that hadn't arrived yet. The card read: "One precious package is still in processing. It is due for delivery approximately August 21, 2008. To track the status of this package, please visit the manufacturers' website", and we included a link to a webpage that we designed to fill them in on the details of the next eight months. They were ecstatic. My father, however, was just speechless. He was so choked up, he could barely get words out and wouldn't let me go! He is very much looking forward to being a grandpa.

So we are very excited! I'm six weeks and two days along today, and feel good for the most part. I get queasy at different times throughout the day, but no morning sickness yet. And boy, am I tired! I'm also hypersensitive to what goes into my body now. I've started reading up on foods to stay to away from and ones to eat more of. I've had to forgo my favorite Diet Dr. Pepper because of the caffeine & sugar substitutes, and replaced it with water and fruit juices. A small price to pay for a healthy, full term baby!

Our first OB appointment is on January 11, our anniversary! I'm hoping the doctor will do an ultrasound, but from what I've been reading it's likely it will only be an informational visit, plus a very invasive and oh so fun pelvic exam. I'm really looking forward to the next several months, seeing how this baby develops and how I change too. I can't wait to welcome our new son or daughter into the world this August!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

2 More Sleeps Until Christmas

So Christmas is just around the corner, and I've had my fill of baking, shopping and wrapping to last me until next year. The counter is loaded with plates of cookies, the gifts are wrapped and stashed in the closet, waiting to be taken with us to NJ.

It's been a good, but busy, week filled with Christmas festivities. I went and saw the church's musical on Sunday afternoon, which was pretty good. I stayed afterwards for the dinner that was provided for the cast and choir, then went home for a few hours. I came back around 10 to pick up Gregg. I was so glad the long week of rehearsals and lonely nights was finally over, and we could actually see each other for more than an hour each night.

Now I'm looking forward to spending time with family for a few days. I've got about five loads of laundry going so that we have clean clothes to go away with. Tomorrow I'm packing, attending the 8 o'clock Christmas Eve service, then we'll probably go out to eat at Denny's which will be the only place open at that time, and we're loading up the car the next morning with presents, cookies and Tess. I'm so ready to slow down and just enjoy Christmas.

Have a very Merry Christmas with your loved ones this season and a happy & healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Confessions of a Ministry Widow, Part II

Shortly after nine last night, Gregg called me to come pick him up. It had just started to pour down big, thick icy rain drops so it took me almost half an hour to get to the church when normally it takes under ten minutes. I had to wait for windshield to defrost and then I drove 20 miles an hour so as not to send the car into a tail spin. My wheels locked up a few times as I was making turns, but I made it safely. By the time I got to King Street, everyone had gone home and there was Gregg standing outside looking small and cold. I let him drive back home, of course. He said that the show was very successful, standing room only.

This morning at 7:00 when I went to walk the dog, there was a sheet of ice over everything. It looked as though the Ice Man had touched everything with his cold, bony fingers and turned the neighborhood into one giant ice skating rink. I decided to skip church. Gregg was not as fortunate. They didn't cancel services, so he still had to go in. As far as I know, the two productions of the Christmas play are still on for today. The weather is calling for a mix of rain and snow with wind gusts of up to 40 mph. Yay.

I've been thinking about just how much work goes into these stupid productions. Okay, so they're not stupid. But it's hard to fully appreciate them when you hardly get to see your hubby because he's working morning, noon and night for them. All those people who come to simply enjoy the musical for two hours, then get to go home afterwards, I kind of envy them. They have no idea all the time that goes into one of these things.

Sorry for the rant. I've been PMSing like crazy all week and Aunt Flo is taking her sweet time getting here. Like I said before, I can't wait for this weekend to be over!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Confessions of a Ministry Widow

'Tis the season when church sees more of my husband than I do. Gregg was setting up tech equipment and running sound at rehearsals for the Christmas musical/concert/play during most of last week. That meant a lot of nights of fast food and me sitting home alone with cable tv and the dog. The actual production is tonight and tomorrow. I'm planning on going to the 3 o'clock show Sunday. We both can't wait until this week is over.

It hasn't been all bad, though. We did get to spend some time together. Last Friday night, we went to dinner at TGIFriday's and stopped downtown afterwards to look at everything all lit up. There were carolers, a brass band and the stores were even open past 5! Chambersburg doesn't exactly have the most happening night life, if you couldn't tell. It was very festive and Christmas-y, but really really cold so after ducking into a store or two to get warm, we headed home.

Sunday we hung out with another couple from church, Ryan & Anita, at their house. I've nicknamed Gregg and Ryan the "tech twins". We watched the Steelers game and had chili and hamburgers. Then on Monday night, we rushed off to meet our small group for dinner at Ruby Tuesday's and went to Starbucks afterwards. Mmmm, a dreamy dish of parmesan chicken and pasta, topped off with a Peppermint Mocha. I'm seriously going to put on ten pounds by the end of this month.

Today after straigthening up the house and doing laundry, I entertained myself by elfing different members of my family. It was hysterical! The first one I did one of my sister Val and her fiance Bill was especially hilarious because Bill's head was way too big for the little elf hat. If you want a good laugh, go to http://www.elfyourself.com/.

This morning, we stopped at Walmart for a few things before Gregg went over to the church. It was a madhouse. Lines out the wazoo, crowded aisles, people playing bumper carts. Everyone was in the holiday spirit, too, of course. Yeah. There's nothing like last minute shopping the week before Christmas.

I'm happy to say that our tree is now complete. Yesterday, Gregg's parents stopped through on their way down to North Carolina to visit the grandkids and dropped off a small gift bag. He waited until I got home to open it- inside were our annual engraved ornaments. Tess even got her very own one too, an adorable little doggie with her name and the year on it.

So my big plans this evening pretty much include eating dinner alone and watching cheesy Christmas movies on ABC Family. One more day until I get my husband back. There was one day last week where I only saw him for about two hours. Two hours. I mean, I get that this is the holidays and all, but the madness needs to end!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Google Image Meme

I saw this on a few other people's blogs and just had to do it! Here's how it works- you type the answer to each question into a Google image search and then pick an image from the first page of results:

1. Age at next birthday






2. Place I'd like to travel





3. Favorite place





4. Favorite object






5. Favorite food






6. Favorite animal






7. Favorite color






8. My nickname






9. Town I was born in






10. Bad habit I have

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snow Day!

As I type, snow is swirling about, covering the ground, trees and rooftops with a blanket of white powder. It's been falling since sometime this morning, adding to the light dusting that had already fallen the previous day. Since Wednesday is Gregg's day off and I didn't have to be at the agency by any particular time, we stayed in bed until 8:30 and snuggled. I didn't make it into work until 10:00 and went home at 2:30. I cancelled the home visit I had this afternoon and rescheduled for tomorrow because the roads were bad. A lot of people chose not to come in, so the girls in my office and I played Christmas music obnoxiously loud.

Tess wasn't sure at first what to make of the snow. She didn't know if she was allowed to go potty on it or not. It was pretty funny as she took her first steps onto the white, powdery substance she never saw in Florida.

I love how peaceful it gets after it's been snowing all day and the night sky doesn't go completely dark. You feel like you're in a magical winter wonderland. It makes me want to wrap myself up in a fleece blanket with a steaming cup of hot cocoa.

In other news, we received a letter from the auto insurance company of the guy who hit me back in August. They have agreed to pay 90% of the repairs on the X-Terra, so now all we have to pay out of pocket is about $160 instead of our $500 deductible. We got an estimate from two different auto body centers a while ago that were pretty close to each other. We decided we may leave the car to be fixed during our trip to NJ for Christmas and take a rental. I was so surprised. I had resigned myself to the fact that we'd just have GEICO pay for the damages. Talk about an unexpected Christmas blessing!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Part 2

Everywhere I look, there are signs of Christmas. Lights and decorations adorning houses, crowded shopping malls, Christmas music 24-7 on radio stations. And oh yeah, it's now officially cold enough to freeze your winnebago here in PA. They're forecasting snow tomorrow (yay!) and Tuesday.

Yes, the Christmas season is in full swing. Yesterday at Sam's Club, Gregg and I loaded up on ingredients to make Christmas cookies. We're planning on baking three different kinds and sharing the wealth with family, friends and co-workers.

Christmas gifts are beginning to pile up in the coat closet. We're about 3/4 of the way done with our shopping. That's one of the best things about Christmas- scowering the stores (or internet) for just the right present for that special somebody and then giving it to them on December 25. Of course, receiving gifts is always nice too.

We attended our first Christmas party already this afternoon. My work threw a little shinding at a nearby church's fellowship hall. Management staff whipped up a sizeable feast for us clinicians and the foster parents, as well as the kids. I got to visit with a few of my clients (all teenage girls) and chat with co-workers outside of work which was fun. As we were driving home, Gregg told me "You work with some really nice people". It helps that a good number of them also go to King Street Church. I am very blessed to work where I do. I'm valued and I have a good time doing my job.

This is also the busiest time of year for Gregg professionally. Rehearsals have begun for the Christmas musical at church. It will be an off-beat production of the Christmas story. Think the Gospels meet Rent. There are three services on Christmas Eve which Gregg needs to work, a 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00. Fun. I am so glad we are both taking off the rest of that week. We're going to spend time visiting with family in NJ and enjoying a little R&R.

I love Christmastime- there's just nothing like it. The hauntingly beautiful hymns about Christ's birth and redeeming love, gatherings with family & friends, celebrating traditions, eating yummy foods, exchanging gifts. Yup, life is good.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Could it really have been more than a month since I've posted anything? Where did October go? The end of November is almost here now- only four more weeks until Christmas!!

Last month was exceptionally busy. Gregg worked three out of four weekends for various events taking place at the church, and I helped him out where I could. My sister and her fiance came to visit the last Saturday of October and the four of us went out for dinner. They brought their dog, Sophie, with them and she was introduced to Tess. The two "cousins" had a ball playing together and pinning each other down while us humans chatted and sipped hot chocolate back at our place. My sister's wedding plans are in full swing. Here is the dress I decided on wearing:

The actual color will be more blueish. Valerie is sending me a swatch of material so that the dress can be made in the exact shade of teal she wants. I've asked my mother-in-law to make it for me and she said she'll start "production" in January. She is a great seamstress. She made all of the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding five years ago, and only had three months to do it!

Work has gotten busier recently. Two more clients were added to my caseload, which puts me at a total of 8. A few weeks ago, I downloaded software (with Gregg's help!) to access my agency's metaframe server so that I can work from home when I want. It's so convenient. I can sit in my living room and type progress notes, schedule appointments and write emails.

I'm really enjoying my Ladies Bible Study every Monday night. We are almost at the end of a DVD/book series called Discovering God's Will by Andy Stanley, which is very thought provoking. I am blessed to have made some really good friends out of this group. It's great having women that pray for me and share my struggles each week. We are planning on getting together with our husbands one evening soon for coffee & dessert.

Between working, church and every day responsibilities life is hectic. I was so ready for a break this weekend. Gregg and I decided not to travel up to NJ for Thanksgiving. I'm glad we stayed home and spent the entire time by ourselves with nowhere to go and no plans, except buying a Christmas tree, which we did on Friday. On Thursday, we went to Cracker Barrel and got two turkey dinners, slices of pie and drinks for only $8.99 each. We came home with a box teaming with leftovers and spent the rest of the night looking for gifts online and relaxing in front of the tv.

On Friday morning I ran out to do a home visit for a kid that lives close to our house, and then Gregg & I went in search of the perfect tree. Lowe's yielded little possibilities. The trees were overpriced and didn't look... quite right. We looked at ones in a couple of lots and weren't impressed with those trees either. We spotted a nicely painted sign advertising Christmas Trees on a road half a mile off the highway, so we pulled off and checked them out. It was a small gathering of trees (maybe 100) but the prices were very reasonable and we found our tree right away. Gregg tied it to the roof racks of our X-Terra and we let it settle in its stand. We got lazy once we came home and decided to just decorate it on Saturday instead. The next day we drug the Christmas decorations and ornaments out of the closet. After Gregg strung the lights and we both hung ornaments, I put the tree skirt around the base and stepped back to admire our work. Tess decided it would be fun at that moment to run around the tree, shaking all of the ornaments and making pine needles fly in every direction. Oy. We don't need a train; we've got a dog!

I just love Christmastime. That warm fuzzy feeling you get during this season when it's chilly outside and you're bundled up inside, snuggling together under a blanket with the one you love. Our living room is so homey now with the tree by the window. I love to sit in the dark with it all lit up. I'm so happy we're only four hours away from our families, too, and can spend the Holidays with them this year. Christmas is coming soon, and then three weeks later will be our anniversary! It is the most wonderful time of the year. :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bobbing For Apples

Wow, these last few days have passed by in a blur! I'm so grateful to have some downtime right now. I *finally* started at Family Care Services this past Wednesday. It was weird after not going to work for two whole weeks. I think I got too used to the time off, because the job is kicking my butt! There is SO much to learn and honestly, I'm overwhelmed which everyone there keeps saying is perfectly normal and I'll get the hang of things eventually. The program director, who's my supervisor, is great and very patient with me.

I can't help feeling like an idiot though, because I don't even know yet where I can get a stinkin' pen to write with. It's been like my first few days at school or something; I have to learn how to do my job as well as learn the agency "etiquette" and where things like office supplies are. My co-workers have been very helpful with stuff like that, thankfully. I've already met four of the kids on my caseload along with their foster parents, and accompanied another social worker on a home visit to see how it's done. I feel pretty good so far about the job and can tell it will be so much better than my last one.

The one thing I'm not crazy about is all the paperwork involved. There's just no getting around it in social services though. The "bigwigs" in government handing down the money have gone to the extreme making sure we do our jobs correctly, we're doing everything we can do protect the well-being of the kids we're in charge of, blah blah blah. Of course, all that is very important but it's ridiculous when you're spending more time writing progress notes than actually meeting with clients!

I also learned that I have the potential to earn more money if I take on more cases. I'm considered full-time with a caseload of seven, but could take as much as 10-11 if I felt comfortable. The agency is also offering dental and vision coverage in addition to medical benefits and a 403(b) plan that they start contributing to after six months whether you put anything in or not. Since we only have the health benefits through Gregg's work and a flex spending plan for everything else, I'm taking advantage of Family Care's dental and vision insurance for both of us which they pay 100% of.

After a three busy days of trying to cram all this new knowledge into my head, I am so glad the weekend's here. Last night after dinner, Gregg and I went to the new Lifeway Christian bookstore to get the study guide we need for small group. They didn't have it, so we left and stopped at Bruster's on the way home for ice cream. We both ordered Apple Pie flavored cream in a waffle cone. Yummy!

Today we went to the Apple Harvest Festival out near Gettysburg which was really fun. There were like, a million people there, and the temperature was up in the eighties! Not the typical Autumn outdoor event I was looking forward to, but oh well. There were times the sun was so strong it made me dizzy and light headed. I felt better after chugging a sample of apple cider at one of the stands. In addition to all the apple-themed stuff, there were all kinds of arts and crafts booths, concession stands and a tractor pull.

Gregg especially liked the displays of the antique machines. They had several old car engines from the original model-T days, a steam powered apple corer/peeler and an old washing machine. A good time was had walking around, eating overpriced food and yes, even buying a homemade apple-y craft. My feet were hurting by the time we got to the car and I was ready for a nap!

I had an upsetting incident this morning before we left when I took Tess for a walk. This stray cat around our building that is really nasty just recently had kittens. The kids on our street thought it was a good idea to put out cat food and water for them just ten feet away from our door. When I went outside with the dog, I noticed the cats by the bush on the opposite side of the stairs leading up to our unit. As we were coming back from the walk, Tess started getting all worked up because the mother was sitting there staring at her making these creepy sounds.

Now, our dog goes nuts whenever she sees a cat. When we lived in Florida, she jumped right through the window in the living room, tearing out the screen, to go running after a cat that was across the street. I don't think she's out to harm them; she just thinks they're fun to chase.

She started pulling on the leash so I had her sit, knelt down and petted her to try and keep her calm. I made sure I got my keys ready, stood up and walked towards our door. Tess kept pulling towards the cat and her kittens though, and an altercation ensued. The cat hissed and lunged at her, stratching her on the nose. When I saw the blood, I freaked out which didn't help the situation. I started yelling at the cat to get away and yelled up to Gregg who was probably still in the shower and couldn't hear me anyway. I'm sure I must have looked like a complete raving lunatic to all the neighbors at 8am.

I tried to go around to the backyard, but the psycho cat followed us. After she was clawed, Tess backed down but the cat kept coming after her. I just froze where I was, afraid that if I moved anymore she would hurt Tess again. She sat down right in front of us and kept making those horrible banshee-like noises. We must have had a stand-off for at least five minutes there before finally I held the leash firmly in both hands, turned around and walked the other way. The cat went back to her kittens, and now I still couldn't get back in the house. Gregg saw me from the window kneeling with Tess in the parking lot and I motioned for him to come outside. I started crying and told him what happened. He told me to go inside and unlock the back door while he brought the dog around the side of the house.

This is not the first time this particular cat went postal on our dog. It happened about two weeks ago, again right outside our door. I was actually standing on our stoop, just about to turn the key in the lock. I was hoping Gregg would call Animal Control then, but he forgot about it. It's on now. That cat has got to go. Vent for a minute: How is it that by law I'm required to leash my dog in public but cats are just allowed to roam free? I understand the reasoning that some breeds are by nature unpredictable or vicious towards humans but in this case the cat attacked my dog. Not once but twice. If I had a tranquilizer, I'd shoot the thing myself and sell off the kittens. And not to the neighborhood kids who feed them!

It reminds me of the Mad About You episode when Jamie's sister adopted a cat from the shelter and it turned out to be a baby Puma or something. It went psycho on Paul and Murray, their dog, and had them trapped in the kitchen. They had to sit up on top of the refrigerator! Funny stuff, but not when it actually happens in real life.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tea and Sympathy

It seems God has been answering my prayer for female connection here in different ways lately. Gregg and I made a very last minute lunch date after church with Mike & Jodi, one of the couples who stayed behind to help us clean up after the Sound & Vision Dinner back in June. Mike and Gregg have already worked on a few "techie" projects together for King Street since then. It was great to get to know them better and we really hit it off.

Jodi invited me to a women's Bible study that was just starting up, which I went to last night. We are doing a study by Andy Stanley called Discovering God's Will. We watched a DVD segment on the first session, then discussed questions in the study guide. That's every Monday night from 6:30 to 8. Then our small group begins tonight and continues every Tuesday, which I'm very excited about. We're going to pick which study we'd like to do and spend some time introducing ourselves.

So we have a lot going on all of a sudden! Not to mention that I've signed up to be a helper twice a month on Sunday mornings in the first grade classroom. I'm also going to be reading through a book called "Healing Is A Choice" with one of the wives of the men in Gregg's Bible study. They're going through a really rough patch in their marriage, and yesterday this woman took me out for lunch and poured out her heart for an hour about all the stuff in her life she felt was going badly. I just let her talk, interjecting comments here and there.

She's been through a lot and it's not hard to see why her marriage isn't doing so great, but hopefully with God's wisdom and leading I can speak truth into her life when everyone else is saying "just do what feels right for you". God is providing me with friendships, while at the same time asking me to be a friend to someone in need.

I still have not started my new job yet. They've been waiting on the last of my references to get back to them, and their process is by mail rather than phone which I didn't find out until last week. So on Friday I called a reference in Florida and let him know that I couldn't start until he mailed the form in, which had been sitting on his desk for a few days!

It's been nice to have all this time off, though, since I'm able to get a lot of things done around the house like laundry which I never seem to get caught up on during the week. Gregg's been taking Wednesdays off recently, so last week we spent the whole day together. We went to Sam's Club to stock up for the month and ran some other errands. Friday afternoon I met him for lunch and spent the rest of the day helping him put together cd series of Sunday sermons. I almost wish I didn't have to go back to work!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Autumn Reflections

Brrrr! It's cold out there! I could actually see my breath when I went out to walk Tess this morning at quarter to 7. Until now it hasn't felt like fall. The leaves are gradually changing color, but it's stayed pretty much in the seventies and above so far.

This cool weather makes me want to pull on a comfy sweatshirt, light a pumpkin pie scented candle and get to makin' some homemade chicken soup. This time of year always reminds me of when I got engaged (September 28 was the actual date), and how much fun it was going to pick out the reception hall, flowers, photographer, etc. along with scanning items for our registry at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

It also reminds me of family. My step-dad sitting in his lounger cheering at the football games and my mom filling up the house with warm, inviting smells from whatever she was cooking. Playing in piles of freshly raked leaves with my sister, decorating pumpkins together, getting dressed up for Halloween and hounding the neighbors for candy. There's a reason they call it Awesome Autumn!

It's become almost my cure-all for when I miss Florida. I always thought it was so beautiful down there; the lush green grass year round, the clear blue-green ocean and how new everything was. But living here in the Cumberland Valley and seeing the landscape sometimes takes my breath away. The rolling hills and fields that stretch out for miles leading up to the mountain with the brilliant blue sky as its backdrop. It's almost like a painting.

I had a brief moment on Friday when I participated in my own pity party about having to leave FL but then I thought, "You know what? We're here for God's glory and He is already doing great things through us. It's not about me and what I had to give up". In all the places I've lived recently, there is good and bad. New Jersey was the state we grew up in, where we were no more than thirty minutes away from our parents and where I was a part of an amazing pro-life ministry, but it was too expensive to make a decent life. Florida was where we owned our first home and made many couplefriends, but there were no seasons and the church eventually took the form of something we could no longer be a part of. And PA has a thriving, vibrant ministry that we're excited about but it's been hard to put down roots and make friends. Sometimes I wish I could take all the good features and put them together so I'd have the perfect location.

Since that's obviously not going to happen, I have to accept that where we are at any given period is exactly where God wants us for reasons sometimes only He knows. He has allowed us to experience different places and we've gained invaluable memories and insight from each of them. I need to remember that this life is merely the dress rehearsal. Heaven is the only true perfect location.

I heard these lyrics by MercyMe on my way home from dropping Gregg off at King Street this morning: "Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that gives You glory. But I know there'll be times when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain". Is that my heart's response? Or do I just want a cushy, comfortable life where God has no say in where I go or what I do? It would have been easy and comfortable to stay in Florida, but it would have been wrong.

This world is not our home, as beautiful and wonderful as it is. We need to appreciate it, but not get so attached that we're not willing to leave someplace at any given moment if that's what God is calling us to do. Because He's moved us around so many times, I have a treasure chest full of memories, unique perspectives and people praying for me in three different states. Pretty cool. He never does anything for His glory at the expense of our good.

So for now I will relish being able to enjoy my favorite season again and take in all that Autumn has to offer. I'd forgotten how truly wonderful it is. Funny, now I'd take any day in the Northeast in fall over a hot sunny day in Florida!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blessed Beyond Belief

I’m happy to say that my cold is finally over. I feel so much better than I did last weekend. I literally spent all Saturday afternoon on the couch, except to get up to take the dog for a walk and make myself something to eat. On Sunday I skipped church since I still felt lousy and stayed in my pajamas until 11. About 12:30, Gregg called to say that his parents had just pulled off the highway and were meeting him in the church parking lot. He said they’d be at the house within 20 minutes and asked me to walk Tess before they got there so she wouldn’t get excited and pee everywhere.

Gregg’s parents took us to Rosalie’s, which has awesome Italian food, and thankfully I could actually taste my lunch! On the way back, we passed by Shatzer’s Fruit Market where Gregg & I bought a gallon of yummy Apple Cider and his parents got some apples and peaches. We said our good-byes there before they got back onto the highway and we headed off to Walmart to do our grocery shopping.

Wednesday was my last day at The Mental Health Center. I expected to feel a huge sense of relief when I left around 4, knowing that I wouldn’t have to ever come back, but instead I felt like I had unfinished business there. Did I say everything I needed to? Did I tie up all the loose ends? Did I leave the new person with enough idea of what he’s going to be doing? Why can I never make a clean break?

I was supposed to start my new job at Family Care Services on Thursday, but they need me to have a physical first and I couldn’t get in to see the doctor until Tuesday morning. So I’ve had a much needed few days off which has been really nice. I got laundry done (even folded!), cleaned the house and had time to make a decent supper for my husband before he came home from work. As a result of getting dinner on the table before six, we were able to go out afterwards on Thursday night and take a walk around downtown. We stopped at the Big Oak CafĂ© and I ordered that Chai Latte I’d been craving. It was truly “autumn in a cup”.

It was nice enough to sit out on their patio so we did and got around to talking about Covenant. My friend Monica from Florida wrote me an email the other day and said that CPC would be undergoing a 10-day revival with Life Action Ministries. It’s something the church can certainly benefit from after all the upheaval they went through at the end of ‘06/beginning of ’07. I imagine it’s still pretty unstable.

Talking about Covenant and us leaving made me wistful for our home back in Palm Bay. I still miss our house down there and the people we became close with. Sometimes I wish I could sail through life and not become so attached to people and places when I go from one phase to the next. See what I mean about never being able to make a clean break? I feel like I’ve left pieces of myself all over the East Coast!

I know that some people are meant to be in your life for either a reason, a season or a lifetime and that God doesn’t see it as little individual chapters or snippets but the whole story with each piece weaving the tapestry of your life. But it’s hard when all you see are the snippets and feel the pain of losing things when you move on. When we moved here to Pennsylvania, I felt like I had undergone so much change in a short period of time and left so much behind that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I still feel like that occasionally, but significantly less since we’ve been here for five months now and have settled into our own place. Things are a lot more stable, for which I am very grateful.

It’s helped too, that we’ve gotten to know people here that we want to become closer with. Gregg started attending a men’s Bible study every week with two guys from church to get deeper into God’s word, and we joined a small group that starts on October 2. Gregg and I are going to start a devotional of our own too. I’ve been feeling this desire to have deeper intimacy spiritually with my husband so I’m really glad we’ll be doing this. We'll be reading a book called Searching for God Knows What.

I was also invited to a ministry staff wives’ get together which was held last night at the senior pastor's home. It was great to get to know these amazing, godly women “behind the men” a little bit better. Women who know what it's like to experience a lot of change because their husbands answered the call to ministry. We're all in various stages of life, the oldest having just celebrated her 55th wedding anniversary with grown grandchildren and the youngest (me) looking forward to her fifth and starting a family.

We shared with each other pictures of our families, how we met our spouses and what we like to do in our spare time. I introduced the ladies to the wonderful world of blogging, since that's my favorite thing to do when I actually have spare time during the week. It was the natural progression of my extensive journaling throughout the years since I attended middle school. I still have all those old notebooks I wrote in from back then! Other women shared their scrapbooks and quilting and pottery as expressions of their creativity when they get alone time, and we enjoyed a delicious pumpkin-y pecan dish & coffee for dessert.

Angela, the wife of the junior high pastor, shared her vision for the get-together saying that she intended it to be a regular occurance where we could support each other and pray. She expressed that sometimes being the wife of a minister could be a lonely one and she would love for our group to be a safe place to share our feelings and concerns with women who are in a similiar boat. I felt like God right there and then had answered my prayer for female connection and friendship. This is what I wanted! Not just another thing to go to where you share a little piece of yourself and then everyone goes their separate ways, and hardly ever speaks to one another again. I left yesterday evening feeling incredibly blessed.

It is wonderful to know that God is meeting my needs for friendship here. He knows how hard it was to move from one place to another, but that we did it out of obedience to Him and He will take care of us.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Winds of Change

A hint of fall is in the air… Cooler days, trees bursting with brilliant colors, pumpkins set out on front stoops, scarecrows and cornucopia decorations hung on doors. The other night, the temperature dipped into the forties and the next morning I heard a spiced Chai Latte from Starbucks calling my name on my way to work. Yes, it won’t be long now before my favorite season arrives.

It's the season during which we got engaged and planned most of our wedding- I can't believe that was five years ago now! The season of big comfy sweaters, the premiere of new tv programs, Sunday afternoon football, freshly baked apple pies, Thanksgiving and… sickness! It never fails. Every year during that transition from summer to fall, I get struck down with that nasty little bug known as the common cold. I started feeling it coming on Thursday night with the sore throat and then all day Friday I felt like absolute crapola. The only thing I wanted to do was go home, put on my pajamas and crawl into bed.

After work I took some cold medicine, wrapped myself up in a blanket on the couch and flipped on the tv. My awesome husband ran to the store to get me some soup and half an hour later, brought me a piping hot bowl of chicken noodle, a piece of bread and a glass of soda. Then he brought me a pillow so I could lie down because I was starting to feel dizzy. I fell asleep shortly after 8, then woke up around 11 and dragged myself on upstairs. This morning I stayed in bed until almost 10! And my sweet husband again took care of me by making me breakfast and lunch. I really do appreciate all the pampering, don't get me wrong, but I'm one of those people that doesn't like to just sit on my behind and have someone wait on me when I'm sick. I feel like a lazy bum and guilty that someone else is doing all this work for me. I actually kept apologizing to Gregg for being sick!

He had to leave around 2:30 today to take care of sound & stuff for a mass choir event at church and he'll be gone until 9 or so. I hate that he has to work tonight, but I'm pretty much useless today anyway sitting here all stuffed up with Kleenex strewn all about me. Yes, I am so attractive right now. Ha, ha. Well, I'm resigned to watching bad tv for the next several hours and eating food I can't taste.

This past week at work, I spent training the new guy who's replacing me and transferring my cases over to him. It is weird having someone "shadow" me. I know he needs to learn the program, but it's like somebody's always reading over my shoulder. Oh well, just three more days before I start my new job and then I become the one who's reading over somebody's shoulder.

No real news to report on the car front. The insurance companies are still dead locked over the claim. Gregg's taking the X-Terra in for an inspection at a Geico-approved collision site to see how much the damages will cost on the 27th, which will be exactly one month since the accident happened. I couldn't bring it sooner because it would have necessitated taking the entire morning off from work, but now that I'll be working right here in Chambersburg Gregg can drop me off at my job and take the car. Geico said that they'd pay for the repairs minus our deductible and try to recoup the payment later from the other insurance company, but I don't want to take that chance especially when the accident was clearly not my fault. Thankfully, the X-Terra is driveable without the running board and while the car doesn't look very pretty it's not like stuff is hanging off of it or the bumper's missing.

Gregg's poison sumac cleared up completely last week and he looks like himself again! He was almost unrecognizable. He's still itchy in some spots, but it's a huge improvement from what it was. We've been avoiding the field behind our house since the incident.

Tomorrow Gregg's parents are stopping by on their way back from a wedding in Virginia and taking us out to dinner. It's always nice when they drop in for a visit. They'll probably have a ton of photos of our niece, Katelyn, to share. I'm really lucky that I got great in-laws and I actually enjoy spending time with them! Hopefully I'll be feeling better by then. I hate being sick. :(

Sunday, September 09, 2007

"The Time Has Come..."

Well, I must say that if I could have bottled up last weekend in a jar, I would have. Only I can't so encapuslating it here on my blog will have to do. I love weekends to begin with because it means I don't have to work, but this past one was an extra bonus since we had Monday off for Labor Day.

On Saturday, we went to the mall and looked around & had lunch there. Seriously the Chambersburg Mall leaves a lot to be desired, but it was still fun. The rest of the day we just spent relaxing at home, and I perused some websites to find styles of dresses I liked for my sister's wedding. She finally set the date- July 19, 2008 (a week before my 29th birthday)- and selected the church & reception site. She is letting the girls in her bridal party choose their own dress, as long as it's the same color and relatively the same length.

Sunday we were at church all morning, of course. In the afternoon after lunch, we took a drive to do some exploring of the area and ended up in the mountains. At one point we got out of the car to take in the view. I'd forgotten how much I missed the wooded outdoors living in Florida, where the highest point is the causeway that goes over the river! We must have spent nearly two hours driving through the mountain and came out on the other side nearly 20 miles away from Chambersburg. We made our way back to town and stopped for ice cream at C.R. Bucks, which in addition to being a short order restaurant and creamery, is also a mini-golf course, playground and white-tailed deer attraction. After we finished our ice cream, we took a walk around the back of the building to look at the deer who were enclosed in their natural habitat by a tall wire fence.

On Monday after stopping at Sheetz for bagels and coffee, we picked up charcoal for our picnic we were having later that day at Walmart. At home I packed up hamburgers, chicken, salad, rolls, drinks and utensils in our insulated Thermos backpack and Gregg put grilling tools and other stuff in another bag. We put Tess in the back of the SUV, along with jackets and our collapseable chairs, and headed off to Bear Valley State Park. It took a while to get a nice hot fire going in the BBQ pit, so in the meantime I spread out a blanket on our table and set it with plates, condiments and stuff . Gregg let Tess run around off the leash, which she loved, until she spotted a Boxer with its owner a hundred feet away and went tearing after it. The weather was just perfect and after eating, we sat in our comfy chairs by the fire with Doggie by our feet. We were reluctant to go, but it was getting late so we packed up all our stuff and headed home.

We had to give Tess a bath when we got back because she had been playing in the brook and in the dirt. Afterwards we took showers ourselves and snuggled on the couch together watching tv. The whole weekend I tried to put work out of my mind because I didn't want it to interfere with being able to relax and enjoy myself. I had been really struggling at my job, to the point where I didn't want to get up in the mornings and go. I was becoming sick and tired of driving 40 minutes to get there, being so far away from home and filling up my gas tank again nearly every other day, not to mention the clients and administration that were sucking the life out of me. I couldn't stand the constant cussing both from the clients and my employees either. Many nights I came home from work in tears, so stressed that I couldn't even make dinner. It was not a good situation, but I wanted to hold out and see if things got any better when the center hired a new clinical services director.

They, in fact, got worse. The first week he was there, he called me into his office to say that the rate they were paying me was too high for my position in a program that was losing money quickly since the state found itself in a financial crisis and placed a temprpoary freeze on our funding. They weren't going to lower my pay, but he suggested I consider moving into another position within the agency that they hadn't been able to fill. It required me to have my social work license, so I would need to study for the exam and shell out $275 to take it. It sounded up front like a much better job than the one I'm currently doing, but I soon found out that the girl who was in it before only lasted a month and I wasn't guaranteed a pay increase if I did happen to get my license.

A week ago Steve, the director, met me in the parking lot on my way back from a meeting and told me that the program was tanking big time and he had made the decision to move one of my staff to another position in the next three days, leaving me with all of her clients. I nearly sank into a puddle right then and there. I was having trouble with the ones I already had because a large amount of them are just are irresponsible and manipulative. And I was trying to run the program at the same time, too. That was the last straw. I turned in my resignation on Friday after accepting a position at another agency the previous day.

I'll be starting at Family Care Services on the 20th, which is a foster care and adoption agency literally three minutes from our house. To make things even better, my direct supervisor attends King Street Church and there are four other employees who go there as well. Within a month or so, I can even begin working from home because I get paid by the caseload I have and not by how many hours I'm at the office. I'll also be making more than I am right now at The Mental Health Center and we'll save about $3,000 a year in gas since I won't be traveling 20 miles back and forth to work 5 days a week. Gregg was very happy I got this other job because he sees how much the job I'm at now wears me down. It was definitely time to leave!

So I'll be spending the next week and a half transferring my cases and getting all my charts in order for the next person. I'm looking forward to working around the corner from my house and having more time to spend with my husband since I won't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn anymore and come home so late in the evening. Ironically, last week's sermon was on how to respond to difficult work situations. One of the points was that you can get out but only as God leads and in His timing. I sent in my cover letter and resume to Family Care on August 29 not even knowing if they had an opening. I had prayed "God, I don't think I have the experience that would qualify me for a job here", and I heard Him say back to me "You just send in your information, and I'll take care of the rest". And He did! God is awesome. :)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

August

Okay ew, I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post. You’ll have to forgive me because even though since we moved we don’t have snail-slow dialup anymore, we don’t have high-speed installed at our townhouse yet. We’ve been connecting to the internet using Gregg’s Verizon blackberry thing (yes, I am SO technologically hip!) And August was… well here’s a recap:

On the 1st, we moved from the Stouffer mansion into our townhouse. Actually, Gregg moved with the help of two men from church while I was at work all day. I left that morning from one house and arrived home to another. There was still a good amount of stuff left at the Stouffer's though, so we spent the next few nights bringing the rest over and took that Saturday to clean the part of the house we had stayed in. We unpacked here and there for the next two weeks I think, before all of the essentials were in their place.

Gregg also installed a new video projection system at King Street somewhere in there, both in the sanctuary and in the Baker Center (which is a multi-purpose facility used for the contemporary service on Sunday mornings). Several nights after work I would go to the church and hang out for a while, then go out with him and Brian, the head of maintenance who was helping him, for dinner. Gregg spent many late nights on the project, but we made the best of it and benefited Cracker Barrel, Pizza Hut and China Buffet in the process.

On the 13th, Gregg also turned his truck back in. The lease matured on the 10th so he drove it one last time to the Nissan dealership close to our house and had me come pick him up. We've been sharing the X-Terra since then, which means that we ride to work together in the mornings and I swing by the church on my way home to get him. We don't have the car payment anymore and our gas & insurance have gone down which is a huge cost savings every month. But, let's just say it's a good thing that King Street is right on my way to work.

In the middle of the month, we also got our furbaby back! Gregg's parents brought us Tess and she was estatic to see me and Gregg. I was afraid that she wouldn't remember us. She's adjusted pretty well to her new environment and routine, and she has also calmed down a lot from when my in-laws took her to New Jersey in April. We needed to get in the habit of walking her a few times a day, since we don't have a fenced-in backyard that we can just let her run around in like we did in Florida. We have a very nice neighborhood, though, to do that in and have met other people walking their dogs.

We finished out the month with two scenarios that were rather unpleasant. In one week, I got into a car accident on my way to work and Gregg contracted poison sumac. Last Monday morning, right after I had dropped Gregg off at the church, I made a left turn from King Street onto Main and was hit from the passenger side by a teenager on his way to his first day of school. He was making a right and swung wide into my lane. The good thing is that no one was injured and it happened right in front of the church office. Gregg came out and told me not to move my car, which later helped in proving to the police that the accident was not my fault. The car was driveable away from the scene, but I was shaken up pretty bad afterwards so I just took the day off from work. I spent the next several days talking to our insurance company and the other guy's, giving my statement of what happened.

Even though the officer who arrived after the accident deemed that it was the other person's fault, his insurance company is not accepting liability. They didn't even have an adjustor come out and look at my car to inspect the damage. They wanted to have this kid's father go out and take pictures to send them. He showed up at the church office one day to ask if he could do this, figuring that the car was in Chambersburg, and my husband informed him that it was parked at my workplace forty minutes away in Hagerstown, MD. While he was there, he said how his son is now claiming that I was somehow in the right hand lane which I never was and that I pushed his car!? So now our insurance co. is going to bat for us (thank you, Geico!) and we'll see what happens. I am beyond frustrated with the situation, but I'm praying some good will come of it.

On top of this, Gregg started developing a blotchy rash on his face and other parts of his body over Sunday night which became a little worse on Monday. The next day his face was pretty swollen and when I went to pick him from work on Tuesday, he could barely open his left eye. He figured he was having an allergic reaction to the new Vanilla scented trash bags we had gotten from Walmart the previous week since he is allergic to many dyes and fragrances (yes, my husband is allergic to clean!) I threw them out that night. In the morning, he woke up, went into the bathroom and came back saying "I need to go to the doctor". That's when I knew it was really bad because he never goes to the doctor. Even when he had the worst case of food poisoning two years ago, he wouldn't let me take him to the emergency room.

This time, his face had swelled so bad he couldn't open either one of his eyes. I took one look at him and said "That's no reaction from Vanilla!" We practically said at the same time "This has to be Poison Oak" because that's exactly what it looked like. I ended up taking another day off work. I called the church administrator to let him know that Gregg would not be in that day and to ask for a recommendation for a doctor. He ended up suggesting someone that actually goes to King Street, who, he said he would go to if he didn't already have a family physician. So we called as soon as their office opened and made an apppintment for 9:10. The doctor was great and diagnosed the problem right away- dermatitus from a poisonous plant. Whether that be oak or sumac we're not sure, but we are certain how he got it: on Sunday afternoon Gregg was out in the field some yards away from our unit throwing sticks for the dog to play with. There was a big pile of them laying there, and as soon as he touched his face after throwing one he was infected.

After leaving the doctor's, we went straight to the pharmacy to pick up the medication that was prescribed and I spent the rest of the day taking care of my husband. Fun week, I tell ya. I'm so glad it's a three day weekend, and we get tomorrow off for Labor Day! Gregg and I are planning on going to the lake on the PA/MD border with Tess and enjoying the afternoon. We need a day of R&R after this crazy week.

So that was August in review. I'm looking forward to the beginning of fall. Seeing the leaves change colors and feeling the cool, crisp Autumn air again- things I used to take for granted but missed so much while we were living in Florida. Suddenly I'm inspired to bake an apple or pumpkin pie, mmm.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Getting Back to Normal

A recap of this past weekend:

I had a great time with my sister, but I am SO glad that Gregg is home. It was really hard not having him around, tougher than every other time he's gone away. The conference that he went to kept him ridiculously busy every day, so that he barely had time to call me. When he called again later Wednesday night, he was still at one of the workshops or trainings and didn't know when it was going to be over. He had trouble hearing me over the noise going on in the background. On Thursday I came home from work, had a quick dinner, folded laundry and packed for my sister's, then went to watch tv around 8. I ended up falling asleep waiting for Gregg to call and was woken up by the sound of my cell phone ringing at 10:45. I was totally out of it, so we didn't really get to have much of a conversation which was a disappointment.

On Friday I left work a little bit after 1, and ended up getting to Valerie's at 2:30. We hung out for a while at her apartment while we waited for her fiance to get home from work so that we could go out to dinner. We played with her puppy and sat outside on the deck talking. She also showed me pictures from the engagement party Bill's family had for them last month. Shortly after Bill arrived home, we headed out to the Inner Harbor and stopped in Baltimore's Little Italy section to eat. We ordered an appetizer of calamari and two dishes to share (they treated me!)

Bill had free passes to this comedy club downtown, so we made our way there after dinner. I had never actually been to a comedy show before, but since I love watching Bananas and Last Comic Standing I was excited. I have to admit, though, that I was disappointed. The comics were funny but crass, dropping the f-bomb nearly every other word. The place was also really loud and crowded. After it was over, we had dessert at an Italian pastry shop on the way back to the parking garage. By this time it was after 11, and I still had not heard from Gregg all day. I started feeling anxious so I decided to call him when we got back to the car, almost an hour later.

He was still out with the people from King Street who were at the conference with him, but because of the time difference it was only 11pm there. They were having dessert somewhere after being at a praise and worship concert with freaking Avalon and Sonic Flood! Gregg said that he got to meet them personally after the concert. I was like no way, I am so jealous. But mostly, it just made me feel worse that he was so far away and that I missed out on this amazing time of worship with my husband. I missed him even more after we got off the phone.

I was exhausted when we got back to Val and Bill's apartment. It doesn't help that I'm not used to staying up past midnight. After showering and eating breakfast the next morning, I packed my stuff and got ready to leave. Before we headed downstairs Val gave me my birthday present, a really cute short sleeved sweater. They helped me bring my suitcase down to the car so that I could leave right after we took a quick tour of the high school where she works. I was anxious to get home and see Gregg, who called on our way back to say that his plane had landed. I said good-bye to my sister and Bill in the parking lot, jumped in the car and headed home.

I got back to the house a little less than two hours later, and it felt big and empty. I decided to unpack and get something to eat while I waited for Gregg to come home. At 2:30, I called him to ask where he was figuring he had to have been right behind me. He said that they had stopped for lunch somewhere and would be back within the hour. I hung up the phone and lost it. I sat at the kitchen table sobbing and couldn't stop. The stress of being apart from him for the past four days, barely getting to talk and having choppy conversations over our cell phones finally caught up to me.

I started feeling overwhelmed with life- the stress of my job, feeling like I have no friends here in Chambersburg, missing our house in Florida. I cried for the next hour before Gregg finally came home. When I heard the garage door closing, I greeted my husband in the hallway and fell into his arms. We both hugged each other tightly, not wanting to let go. I cried some more.

I told him what an emotionally taxing few days it had been with him away, and confessed some of what I was feeling. We spent the next hour talking it all out, and he told me more about the conference while I shared about the time I spent at my sister's. I told him I never wanted him to go away ever again, which I know is impractical. I just didn't expect it to hit me that hard, though. That time apart made me realize that, as glad as I am we moved here, this transition continues to be difficult for me. We had to literally interrupt the flow of our normal lives back in April to pack up and move. Then I had to adjust to living in a whole new area, get used to a new church, find a new job, make new friends, give up our dog. Those are things you don't just bounce back from right away, but I thought I was handling it pretty well. How many times can I start over in my life??

I look around and everything reminds me that I'm in transition. The myriad of boxes that beg to be unpacked, a house full of pictures of people who aren't in my family, the Florida license plate on my car. I just want to feel settled. I think it will really help once we move out of here into the townhouse, being able to completely unpack our stuff, having Tess back. Then we can start to return to some sense of normalcy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We're Mooving Again!

At least this time it will only be across town, not 900 miles away. On Monday Gregg called this guy, Rob, who's renting out the townhouse to ask him what the deal-io is. He basically said, "Oh you're the people from Frank's church, right? Yeah, you guys have the place." Apparently we had it from the moment we said we'd take it two weeks ago! Yay! So we can move in at the end of the month- no more living out of boxes, no more dial-up internet connection, no more broken water pipes or clogged drains (yes, this is the latest problem we've encountered; the bathtub won't drain and fills up quickly with water, causing the ceiling below it in the basement to leak. I think the owners are more convinced than ever that they just need to sell this place once and for all).

We're excited! We get to have our doggie back too. The townhouse is in a very nice residential area which will be great for taking her on walks. I'll finally be able to unpack everything and have stuff at my fingertips again instead of saying, "Oh where is that stupid thing? I guess I'll have to go dig around in a box for it." I have to say though, that even with all the mishaps we've had with this house for the past three months I am going to miss it. When we first "moved in" I was so homesick for our house in FL, but then I started feeling comfortable here. I guess if you're anywhere for a certain amount of time, you get used to it.

Gregg left at 5 o'clock this morning to catch his flight. It turns out that he was able to ride with one of the guys from church going to the conference, instead of renting a car to drive to the airport, so I won't be picking him up from BWI after all. His flight home on Saturday is scheduled to land at noon. He called me about an hour ago to tell me he had gotten there okay and would be heading off to the first event in the next few minutes. He promised he would call again later tonight. :)

It's always hard to have him so far away. Thank goodness he only does this about once a year. The first year we were married he went to Chicago for a week, and I remember missing him so much one night that I almost couldn't breathe. I appreciate him every day, but when he's gone for a while and then returns home I realize just how much he is a blessing to me- all the little (and not so little) things he does for me, snuggling beside him on the couch as we watch our favorite shows, having him sleep beside me. Okay, need to stop. I'm getting all teary eyed.

I'm going to go plant myself in front of the tv for a few hours and await his phone call...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another Update

So we might have finally found a place. We went to look at a townhouse a week and a half ago that will allow a dog. It's an end unit about five minutes from where we're staying now with new tile, new carpet, a brand new dishwasher and nice spacious backyard. The man who's renting it out is a friend of someone we know from church who basically lobbied for us, since this guy was reluctant to let us have a dog there. His friend was persistant, and Gregg got a call one day asking if we'd like to come see the rental. We both really liked it and sent back the application a few days later. We're still waiting to hear from the guy whether or not we've been approved, but we're hoping!

This week was really tough for me professionally. We found out that the state put a temporary freeze on funds allocated to our program, so I and my supervisor had to scramble to come up with a plan to reduce spending which included shifting a staff member over to another department. The executive director now also wants me to take on more clients in order to meet budget requirements and manage the program at the same time. I've found in the last few weeks that I'm doing so many administrative tasks that I barely have time to focus on the clients that I do have already, and they require a lot of time and energy. We serve a very difficult population with many different needs.

I'm starting to wonder, again, if I'm really made for social work. I took so many years off from it exactly because it stressed me out so much. I think I needed to know though, if I could go back; if I wasn't just selling out by not using my degree. I'm completely comfortable saying that this is something I am not cut out for and don't want to do long term. That doesn't mean that I'm going to quit tomorrow, but it has become clear to me that this really is not the career path I want to follow- which is a relief in some way.

This Wednesday Gregg is leaving for Nashville to attend a worship arts conference and will be away until Saturday. So I'll have this big house all to myself while he's gone. I hate when he goes away on business because I can't stand to be apart from him. I'm going to spend some time with my sister in the meantime though, which I'm looking forward to. Straight from work on Friday I'm driving down to her place and staying into Saturday. We plan on going into Baltimore that night to have dinner and see the sights. I'll also get to see her new puppy, Sophie, and talk about wedding details! Since Gregg will be flying out of BWI, I'm going to pick him up from the airport on my way back to Pennsylvania and we'll ride home together.

I'm hoping this week will go smoother and that we'll hear something soon about the townhome. It would be nice to move out by the end of the month!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Finding a Spot

The hunt for another place to live continues. We looked at an apartment last night that would've allowed us to have a dog. The rent was reasonable, cheaper than what we're paying now, and closer to the church. It was your basic, bottom of the line apartment. They had just repainted the walls and shampooed the carpet in the living room, but it was still... not a place either one of us would be very happy living in for the length of a one- year lease. The first floor was essentially just the kitchen, which barely fits our table, and the living room. The second floor was the bathroom (equally as small) and two bedrooms. And they would have charged us an extra security deposit to have the dog! Like Gregg said, "I don't want to commit to crap".

I'm really discouraged. It seems that every place we've found either charges up the wazoo in rent, is yucky, or doesn't allow a dog. We are gathering quite the pile of rental applications. I wondered aloud last night if we'd have to sacrifice one for the other- find someplace else for Tess to live, giving her up altogether, or keep her and live in a crusty place we don't really like. Our options seem bleak. Even though the water is working fine here now, 3/4 of our stuff is still sitting in boxes out in the hot garage and Tess can't stay at Gregg's parents forever, especially with his mom having knee surgery in the middle of July.

And well, the Stouffer's come and go a lot. They never come upstairs, but it's still weird having them downstairs in the basement when you can hear every little thing through the floor. One time they had some of their children and grandchildren over to watch home movies for several hours on a Sunday night. Uncomfortable. They were kind enough though, to invite us to a cookout they're having tomorrow- at this house! Now, I know that they still own it, but they do have another house that they're living in which I'm sure would be just fine for a barbeque. Why can't they have it over there?

Speaking of places to live, Gregg found this website that has a fun quiz you can take to see where your ideal "spot" is. After he had answered all the questions, it gave him a list of twenty different places based on his preferences. The very first spot was Glens Falls, NY which is a stone's throw away from Word of Life where he went to college. He also got matched to several places in Vermont and Alaska. Now when I took the quiz, the first place that came up for me was some town in Colorado. I also got lots of cities in Florida, one being Melbourne, which is right next to Palm Bay! I joked to Gregg, "You see, honey, the only way we'll ever be happy is if we live hundreds of miles apart."

So it looks like my ten year HS reunion is happening on September 15. I just got something in the mail today about it, from a company my alma mater hired to collect all the alumni info. The letter was sent to our house in Florida and forwarded here. I was wondering if they'd know where to send it, since I've now had four different addresses from the time of my high school graduation. Basically, they want to track all of us down so they're asking for our current address, phone number and email. I would put my address, but I don't know where we'll be living come September! Ha ha.

I'm toying with the idea of going. I think it would be fun to learn what all of my former classmates have been up to for the past ten years and see how everyone's changed. At the same time, I barely talk to anyone I went to high school with. But then I guess that's the point of a reunion. Wow, that makes me feel old. I can't believe I'll be turning 28 in four weeks.

Well, I guess it's back to apartment hunting. Yippppeee!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ten Years Later

It's hard to believe that it's been a whole decade since I walked across that platform in the hot June sun and graduated with 300 of my fellow classmates from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. 12 years of "blood, sweat and tears" was over. My friends and I parted ways to go off to different colleges and start new lives, meet new people, enjoy new experiences. We had our whole lives ahead of us. I wondered if in ten years we'd be as close as we were then, which career I would have, who I'd be married to, where I'd be living. The future was one giant question mark.

The past ten years have flown by. I've lost touch with most of those friends; started a career; got married; moved four times; made new friends, lost them, made other ones. As I reflect on where I am now, I'm pretty happy with the way things have turned out. It's not the life I would have or could have plotted out back when I graduated from high school. My hopes and dreams, my values and priorities were different in 1997 as opposed to right now. I could not have imagined that I'd be married to a man whose career goal was full time ministry, or that the relationship I had with my family would change so dramatically over time, or that life as an adult could be downright scary and confusing at times. As a starry eyed, naive 17 year old, I didn't think things would change that much from the small world I knew and grew up in.

A few weeks ago as I was looking for my masters diploma, which I needed for work, I came across a loose leaf paper journal filled with memories I had jotted down while still in high school. I thought I had thrown it away years ago. It mostly catalogued my senior year, the fun and crazy times I had with my best friends. The memories came flooding back. As I sat there reading the handwritten pages about younger, carefree days it was like ten years had never happened. I found myself laughing out loud at some entries and wanting to cry at others. I remembered warmly the friendships that I had and how we felt invincible at the time. These memories are encapsulated for all time in a tattered edge sheaf of paper held together with a rusted paper clip. Those were, in many ways, the time of my life.

As my ten year high school reunion approaches, I think back on all my experiences, good bad and ugly as a student: the boyfriends, the trends, notepassing, school trips, teachers, heartbreaks, all the angst that comes with being a teenager. While it's not my intention to live in the past, it can be fun to take a journey back to the nineties and relive a little of that high school nostalgia every now and then.

"All the memories of looking out the back door,
I have the photo album spread out on my bedroom floor.
It's time to say it, hard to say it: goodbye.
All the memories of walking out my front door,
I found the photo of the friend that I was looking for.
It's time to say it, so hard to say it: goodbye.
Goodbye."
- Nickelback

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We Have GOT To Move

Things with the house get more ridiculous every day. Yesterday morning around 5:30 I got up as usual, went potty, flushed and realized... there was no water again. So back to the bedroom I went to wake Gregg up and tell him the situation. He groggily arose and went down in the basement to investigate. In the meantime, I got out the container of water we still had stashed under the sink just in case the water didn't come back on. I washed my face and brushed my teeth as Gregg came back upstairs and told me what I already knew- that I would have to forgo my shower. I resorted to using what little water was left in the container to wash my hair, not getting all the shampoo out. Fabulous, just fabulous.


So here we are without water to bathe, cook or do laundry with and the Stouffer's are... on vacation. And Gregg doesn't have Bob's cell phone number! Well, he did but he misplaced it. When he got to work he called the Stouffer's daughter, Brenda, in her office downstairs and left a message. She didn't call back all day, which is strange because she always gets here soon after we both leave for work and checks her messages. When I arrived at the house around 4:30 and opened the door, I instantly realized we had another problem- no air, since the water controls the air conditioning. And yesterday was in the high 80s with very little breeze.



After Gregg got home shortly after me we decide together that we need to find Bob's cell phone number or someone who can give it to us, because there's no way we're staying in this house with no A/C and no water. We rummaged around downstairs in the basement and found Brenda's home phone number in a rolodex. I volunteered to make the call. The line was busy but after the fourth attempt, I got through. Her husband answered and I explained our situation to him. He said he would call Brenda on her cell phone and see if she could get back over to the house to check things out.

Within half an hour she showed up and after checking the water pressure and the circuit breaker, called her dad and told him what was going on. He said that if we needed to, we could stay the night at their other house. He also said, "Doesn't Gregg have my cell number?" Ugh. She found a bill from the guy who serviced the well pump last time and called him next. He told her about a reset button which she pushed and then cranked the lever nearly fifty times before finally, the water came back on again. She called him again and he graciously offered to come over to take a look at things. After about twenty minutes, he figured out by accident that one of the tanks wasn't working anymore. He hadn't thought to check it last time. He concluded that that was the problem and he would need to replace it. Brenda called her father back and he said "Do whatever it takes". So the well guy came this morning and was still here working when I got home from work. Everything seems fine... for now. I hope this is the permanent fix we keep getting promised.

I really don't mean to crap all over the Stouffer's good nature with them letting us stay here, but this is the third time in less than two months that the water has stopped working. You pretty much expect as you go through your day, to have this basic necessity. Gregg and I were so frustrated that we just wanted to take the first available rental we could find and be done with it. Ironically, just the night before this all happened, I was actually thinking "Hey it wouldn't be so bad if we stayed here a few more months! I'm kinda getting used to this place."

Famous last words.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Update on the House and Other Stuff

What an original title I came up with! That's all the creativity my mind can muster up at 7:30 in the morning. So the water has been fixed (yay), but the pressure is still not quite right. You turn on a faucet and the water sprays everywhere for a while before calming down. It's especially bad in the kitchen for some reason. And the air conditioning doesn't work on one end of the house now. A fine time for that to happen as the temperature reaches about 90 degrees. We're 0 for 2, folks.

On Friday night, Gregg hosted his first Sound & Vision Dinner at the church. He had it catered by the Carousel, which is also an ice cream shop and gift store. They made hot dogs and hamburgers, pulled pork, baked mac & cheese and cherry cobbler for dessert that Gregg just had to pick up and bring to the fellowship room. I showed up around 5:45 after getting off work and helped him set up. More people came than expected, which was great. They all had good questions and input afterwards.

There was enough food left over for a soup kitchen! I wanted to give it to a homeless shelter, but we couldn't reach any of the centers in town to see if they would take it. We ended up bringing most of it home with us because King Street (unlike Covenant) doesn't want you to leave food behind in the refrigerator. Two couples stayed until 9:30 to help us clean up. While we were packaging up food and washing trays & utensils, I got to chat with the women who were very nice. It was the first time since we started going to King Street that I felt like I had made a real connection with people. We were invited to dinner by one woman and the other invited me to go shopping with her one day. Gregg and I were very happy that the dinner had gone so well and we ended up making some new friends.

Yesterday was a rather lazy day. I slept in until 9:15 while Gregg worked on power point slides for service. We finally made it out of the house at 1, and stopped by the church so he could make sure things were set up correctly for an event going on that night. That didn't take too long and then we were off to Walmart for a few things. On the way home, we stopped for ice cream in downtown Chambersburg since it was so stinkin' hot. There was absolutely nothing on tv that afternoon with the whole three channels that we get out here, so we decided to watch one of our dvd's. That, of course, required us to dig through a box in the hot & humid garage. We had to take out the speakers and VCR to get to the DVD collection down at the bottom. Did I mention I hate living out of boxes? After a few minutes, I selected Remember the Titans and we trapsed back into the house to watch it.

Twenty minutes before the movie ended, Gregg got a call from Pastor Ford asking him to do something with Song Show Plus for today's service. We knew there was a possibility he might have to go back to the church that night so it wasn't a big deal. He left at 7:15, and I heated up one of the leftover burgers for dinner and finished watching the movie. I was nearly falling asleep around ten when he called to say he was on his way home.

Well, I better start getting ready for church! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. :)

PS- Angelarae, do you have a blog?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Hodge Podge From the Last 2 Weeks

Okay since I haven't written in like, forever, this is my attempt to catch up on the goings-on of my life over the past couple of weeks. So what's new and exciting? Well, I started my new job last Tuesday. I'm still not sure what to make of it. There's a ton of stuff to learn and I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. But the people I work with are pretty nice and have been very helpful so far. My supervisor is great, too.

I get the impression though, that things in our department/program aren't all that organized and there is miscommunication & bad feelings between them and administration. Definitely things I need to work on while I'm essentially the middle man (woman) there. My commute in the mornings is about 40 minutes and almost an hour going home. Could be worse, I suppose. I'm grateful to have a job which pays me fairly. Hopefully I'll be good at it.

Gregg and I are still looking here and there for another place to rent. We've discovered some strange things about the house we're currently living in, which are also pretty amusing. The light switches in most of the rooms seem to be placed illogically- like the one for the kitchen is out in the hallway and the one for the master bathroom is in the bedroom. There is also carpet in all of the bathrooms. Ew, I don't even want to think about what kind of grossities are just hiding and breeding between the fibers. And then there's the air conditioning- the master bedroom has ten vents in it alone, freezing us out every time we go in there, while the rest of the house cooks from the massive amount of floor to ceiling windows. None of the features have been updated since the house was built in 1985, so it is literally like being trapped in time. We have traveled in the Delorean from Back to the Future and are eternally stuck in the 80's. Mauve colored carpet sprawls out in every direction and brass plated fixtures adorn every bathroom.

And the piece de resistance: Monday night as I was getting ready for bed, I turned on the bathroom faucet and no water came out. I checked the faucets in the other bathrooms and kitchen- no water. I told Gregg and he went down into the basement to investigate. Our landlord had "fixed" this problem before we moved in (apparently it is a recurring problem that the water stops flowing to the house) by doing something with the water pressure, but it didn't work. Gregg concluded that it was a clogged pipe, but didn't want to fix it himself since this isn't our house to "mess around with", and said he'd call Mr. Stouffer in the morning. So with no running water to brush our teeth or take showers with, we had to improvise. Gregg went out to his truck and brought in one of the gallon containers of water he used for Tess on our trip up here from Florida. There was still 3/4 left, so I used it the next morning to wash my face and hair in the sink. Forget the 80's- we were now back in the 1800's! Oy.

We are getting an incredible deal though, by staying here. It would be nice to actually unpack, oh I don't know, one entire box and really get settled in our own place. There are still several boxes with our stuff sitting in the garage, some opened, some not. We have a few good leads that we're pursuing and hopefully they'll allow a dog.

On May 21 our niece, Katelyn Elizabeth, was born to Gregg's brother and his wife. She arrived a day early by C-section. So that makes a grand total of 6 family members now, between the two of us, who have birthdays within two weeks of each other. They couldn't spread them out more?

Last weekend, we had a very nice visit with my mom and sister. The last time I saw Valerie was Christmas of 2005. Gregg and I took them on a tour of Chambersburg and showed them around the massive house, we took turns looking at each other's pictures, then went out for dinner at Cracker Barrel. Val left that night to go back home and my mom stayed over and went to church with me the next morning. I made a pot roast in the afternoon for an early dinner and for dessert, we got ice cream. Memorial Day wasn't all that spectacular. In the morning, I did laundry and ironed. That afternoon on their way back from North Carolina, Gregg's parents met us right off of 81 for a late lunch at Red Robin. We caught up and his mom showed off pictures of the new baby. It was a nice time.

So hopefully it won't be another 2+ weeks until I post again. Before I know it another month has just flown by.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Yes, I am still alive

We made it! I can't believe we've been here for over two weeks already, and I'm just now getting around to blogging. I have a million and one things to write about, too. So I'll just start at the beginning...

The movers showed up at 8:30 am Monday, the 23rd. We still hadn't packed everything, having called it quits around 10 the night before. We thought we would have plenty of time to get that all wrapped up in the morning before the movers came. But as it turned out, we didn't get up until after 7! So while Gregg was out at Dunkin' Donuts getting donuts and coffee for us & the guys, I frantically threw the last minute stuff in boxes. The movers were done loading the truck by about noon and we hung around for another hour cleaning up and doing a final walk through to make sure we didn't leave anything behind. With all of our furniture gone, the house looked completely different and well, weird. We also packed up our cars pretty good with whatever didn't go in the moving truck.

Before we could actually hit the highway, we had to run to the church and pick up Gregg's final paycheck, then go to the bank and the post office. We squeezed lunch in there somewhere, then came back to the house to get my car and swung by Doggie Daycare to get Tess who was there all morning. Finally, by 4:00 we made it onto I-95. Not even fifteen minutes into driving, I was like "are we there yet??", knowing that we still had another fifteen hours to go. We had barely made it out of the county when I had to stop for my first potty break. We were not making good time at all, and our goal was to make it out of Florida by bedtime. The trip was more difficult because we had Tess with us and needed to stop more often so she could be fed and walked.

Once we crossed the state line into Georgia, we stopped for the night at this rather sketchy looking motel- again because we had the dog. After breakfast at-where else?-Waffle House the next morning, we started driving again. Somehow we made really good time that day, even stopping for an extended break in South Carolina. On our way through NC, we stopped at Gregg's sister Lori's for dinner. We had a good time seeing our nieces and nephews, and Tess got to meet & play with her cousin, Rosie. They wanted us to stay over, but we felt we needed to get back on the road so we could make it to Pennsylvania by early evening the next day, figuring the moving truck would show up sometime on Thursday that week. We stopped at a much better, much cleaner Motel 6 for the night and actually got an inside room this time since all the outside ones were already taken.

After a restful sleep, we decided to have another artery clogging breakfast at Waffle House (really, are we gluttons for punishment?) and hit the road once again. The longest stretch of our trip by far was our drive through Virginia, once we got out of NC. It seemed to go on forever. Halfway through I thought I would have a psychotic break. I was just so ready to get to our destination, I nearly forgot to take in the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains which were breathtaking. When I thought I could go on no more, suddenly there appeared signs for West Virginia and we stopped shortly after the state line to gas up one last time. WV and Maryland flew by after the nearly four hour drive through VA, and it was only another 25 minutes after that to get to Chambersburg. We ended up arriving about 5:30.

We had decided before leaving Florida not to take the townhouse after all. Because we were not familiar with the area, we had no idea where it was located and it was a stretch for our budget. We didn't want to be tied down for a year with something we were not completely comfortable with, but that also left us without a place to live. We were just trusting that God would provide us with housing. The night before we left, Gregg got an email from the church administrator with the name and number of a couple who wanted to rent out their 5,000 square foot estate on a farm to us for whatever we could afford. It used to be their primary residence, but they moved out when the farm land was sold. It's still completely furnished though, and the wife and one of their daughters run a business out of the basement. So here was this jaw dropping offer that just literally fell into our laps hours before we moved. God is truly amazing.

When we got to Chambersburg, Gregg called the woman, Nancy, to let her know we were here and even though she had just gotten home from grocery shopping, she said she'd meet us at the house. You couldn't even see the house from the road, it's set that far back. We drove down another half mile driveway and as we neared a turn, we could finally catch a glimpse. Nancy greeted us warmly and gave us a full tour of the house, insisting that we stay there for the night instead of going to a motel. Then she took us out for dinner at one of the local fares. I felt like such a slob in her presence after having driven all day, wearing a t-shirt and ratty jeans that were really too light for the surprising 50 degree weather we were suddenly encountering. She didn't seem to mind at all, and regaled us with questions about ourselves over dinner.

Once we got back to the house, we sort of stumbled around dumbfounded at its largeness. We joke that we need to call each other on our cell phones in order to find one another now. It really is a nice house with an amazing view of farmland and the mountains, but it has a few drawbacks: there is no cable connection anywhere inside so we have to use dial-up which can be painfully slow and one of the reasons I haven't posted until just now. We were shocked that they run a business downstairs and don't have high-speed internet. With no cable, being this far out in the country, we also only get about three channels on our tv using rabbit ears. Oh well, the price we have to pay for living in a mansion with our own private jacuzzi and master suite!

The other downside: we had to give Tess up. Gregg's parents came the first weekend we were in PA to get her so she could live with them. It's a temporary arrangement, until we find a permanent place to live that will accept pets. We both miss her. After my in-laws left, I cried. We are happy she is being taken care of by his parents and grandpa though. I didn't know I could get that attached to a dog, but she became part of our family. Once she was gone, it really hit home even more that we had moved and left our life in Florida behind.

Alright, so Thursday comes and almost goes with no word from the movers and I start to get anxious. I prodded Gregg to call the company and ask when they are expected to arrive. The lady on the phone tells him "tomorrow or the next day". Um, okay. While I'm out at a job interview Friday afternoon, Gregg gets a call from the movers saying they're about an hour away somewhere in Virginia. He thinks he hears them incorrectly because there's no way you can be anywhere in VA and only be an hour away from Chambersburg. He tacks on about another three hours to that time frame, and sits tight. I get home around 4:30 and we get to talking to Bob and Nancy, the owners of the house. After they leave, I put a pot pie in the oven for dinner and we go for a short walk around the property. By this time it's after 7 and still no movers. We clean up from dinner and rest for a while in the sitting area.

8:30. I'm nearly falling asleep on the couch, wondering if these guys will ever show up with our stuff. Around 9:15, Gregg makes the executive decision that they aren't arriving that night because it's so late and will just come the next day so he says we should go in the hot tub. Ten after ten, he gets a call on his cell phone. It's the movers. They have finally arrived and are wondering where the house is. I'm like, are you freaking kidding me?? So we have to get out, dry off, throw on some clothes and go meet them outside. I was NOT a happy camper.

One of the guys gets out of the truck and asks me how I'm doing. I have matted, wet hair and I look sunburned from the hot water I had just been in. I gave him a tight smile and said "fine". All the while, I still can't believe this is actually happening, that it's 10:15 at night and the movers have just shown up. We let him through the garage to the kitchen so we can give him the check from the church for their final payment and to sign some paperwork. He opens the envelope and says "I can't take this. It's not a certified check." Gregg says, "Your company told me cash or check." He insists that my husband heard incorrectly because they never accept anything other than a check issued by the bank. Gregg tells him that the check was written by King Street, the same people who put down the deposit, and if he needs a certified check they'll have to wait until the next day and come back then to unload our stuff. He's informed that we'll be charged some crazy sum of money for having to hold our things for an additional day.

Now here's where it got ridiculous. Gregg tries to keep his cool, but I can see him coming unglued at this point. He says to the guy that it isn't his fault they didn't show up until after ten, four hours after they were scheduled to arrive, and that Saturday shouldn't count as an additional day because they didn't get here on time. He asks to speak to the guy's supervisor so he gets her on the phone for him. She isn't the most friendly or understanding person to deal with either, unfortunately. Gregg tries to work something out with her, explaining that these guys only just showed up at our house and have been rude to us. He understands he misunderstood the thing about the check, but there's nothing he can do about it at that late hour. She suggests he put it on a credit card because they can't release any of our stuff until they get paid somehow. The only credit card that we have just for emergencies won't hold the amount, plus the extra 5% the moving company is charging us to use one.

It's almost 11 o'clock by this time and none of our things have been unloaded. Either way, it looks like someone is going to be charged up the wazoo in order for us to be able to get our furniture. The lady just is not sympathetic to the situation we find ourselves in and unwilling to compromise. So Gregg is left with no other option but to call and wake up Jonathan Ford, the pastor of worship arts. He happens to still be awake and tells Gregg he'll call the church administrator about the situation. When he calls back he says that both he and Ken Adams, the administrator, are on their way over to resolve things. I was so relieved and blown away by the fact that they were willing to come here so late at night to help us.

It still takes about another half an hour for them to get everything straightened out. Ken tells the guys that the contract he has says that they have thirty days from the time they unload to pay them. The guy that was giving us problems tells him that that was through a broker and has nothing to do with his company's policy. Rather than arguing the point, Ken just gives the movers his company credit card so that we can finally just get our stuff. It's freaking midnight already and we're still looking at another two hours, at least, for them to unload everything off the truck. And Gregg's parents and grandpa are coming later that same morning. Craptastic.

We had them unload most of the stuff into the three car garage since we really only needed our kitchen table, beds, the tv, and the boxes full of our clothes. Ken and Jonathan hung around to make sure all our things got off the truck and nothing was damaged. They didn't end up leaving until 2:30 am. I was so tired and annoyed at the stupid movers. We only got about four hours of sleep before we were up again to get ready for my in-laws' visit. What a nightmare. I don't think I can ever trust a moving company again.

But, all of our belongings made it here and we have settled in as much as we can in a place that's not really ours. Gregg started his new job on May 1 and loves it. I was offered a job just yesterday, which I'm starting on the 21st. I'll be running a supported employment program at a large social services agency, supervising three other social workers. It sounds very interesting and challenging, as I've never supervised people before. My caseload will be relatively small, made up of 7 or 8 clients who I'll be helping obtain employment in the community. While I'm there, I'm going to go for my social work license, which they strongly encouraged me to get and will also offer me higher pay for.

Things are falling into place little by little. I always take transitions hard, and this is no exception. It's hard to move to whole other place completely unfamiliar, to give up our dog, to live out of boxes, to find a new job, to fit into a church where I don't know anybody. I still struggle with the changes that have to take place in order for us to make our way here.

I think it's safe to say I never, ever want to move again... with the exception of moving into a more permanent house just across town someday. I'm finding it weird that with any move you lose certain things and yet gain others at the same time. Trying to reconcile those things and make sense of it is a complicated, head spinning process. I want to rush right through the awkward beginning stage and just feel settled. Is that too much to ask for?

It's comforting, however, that we are in close proximity to our families. And actually seeing spring again is pretty wonderful- trees budding with apple blossoms and a cool breeze blowing through the windows. I am so looking forward to fall here.

If you're still reading, I congratulate you. I had to write this post over several days and am finally getting around to finishing it today. Did I mention dial-up is painful?