Has it been a month, already?

Time flies when you’re fixing one thing after another – or when you’re interrupted when fixing one thing in order to hurriedly fix another… As I’m writing this, Tim is in the guest bathroom fixing the tub faucet (the first time he turned it on, before I even got here, it shot out water across the tub and wouldn’t turn off). He’s had to go to the store five or six times to get the right parts, and since it wasn’t the only bathroom it became less and less of a priority as things that were priorities reared their ugly heads and spat at us.

There was the whole no-phone/no-TV/no-Internet thing in the beginning… I can live without the TV and the phone, but when you run a business online, not having Internet makes it kind of hard to run your business. I was petrified that I had just shot HaldeCraft in the foot; that I was going to go out of business while moving to the place that was supposed to save and improve my business. I also flashed back to when I was 15, and my parents first bought Tree Frog Farm. It was summer, so they would get up in the morning and go to work… I was 15, didn’t have a car, so would be stuck out there all day. We had TV with an antenna, so I could get PBS and ABC from Gainesville, but that was it. We didn’t have a phone right off (and it’s not like I had so many friends in town anyway, that I could just call) and that was way, way before Internet. I was stuck out there, and for the first week out here, with almost the same scenario (Tim was taking my car to work that first week, as the truck was in the shop, so that he could fill up the RAV with things at the house and bring them out here). So from the time he left in the morning to when he got back from work, it was just me talking to the dogs. And texting my best friend that I had monumentally fucked up my life and that buying this place was the worst decision I’d ever made in my life (don’t worry, she talked me off the ledge).

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Show of hands – who thought my new post office might be wackier than my old one?

I knew the post office close to my house was small. I mean, it’s a tiny building serving primarily the Lake Geneva area, and unless it’s a TARDIS, it’s the smallest post office I’ve ever seen. I would say, at most, it’s about a 30×30 foot building. One story. I’ve lived in apartments larger than this post office! I was betting there would be stories, eventually, about it. I mean, post office in a small town? How can there not be a story? But I was sort of excited about how convenient this post office is, as in, unlike my other post office, I don’t have to make a left against oncoming traffic without a light. The building is off 100, and it’s right before the turnoff to 214. So I can exit my road making a right onto 100, make a right into the post office, then when leaving I can make a right back onto 100, make a right onto 214, and make a right onto my road (which runs between 100 and 214). Easy peasy lemon squeezy! No left turns without a light! You have no idea how much I hate making lefts without a light, and the lengths to which I will go to, to avoid having to make one.

So, anyway, I pulled into the parking lot and was immediately confounded because there were only three parking spaces and two of them were taken (one was the handicapped spot, so I wasn’t going to park there). There was a driveway that looked like it went around the building, and I could see a red car parked back there, but as I got halfway down the driveway it looked like it just sort of … ended, in some trees. So I backed out, and sat in the parking lot for a minute, looking around. Past the mail dropbox and the flagpole, it looked like there might have been another, sketchier parking lot on the other side. It had about five spaces, none of them really marked, and all of the bumper things were kind of askew, and broken. So of course I parked there, because it’s not like anything else was opening up! Oh, except for the guy who came out while I was walking up and got in his car and drove off… immediately followed by the other car, the driver of which I guess had been sitting in the car reading her mail?

Anyway, I went inside, reading the big sign on the door that indicated that there were NEW HOURS! M-F 11-3! … eleven to three? Good thing I like to go to the post office around lunchtime, I thought. I walked in and saw… it’s the anti-TARDIS, it’s totally smaller on the inside! There are walls of post office boxes, and it looked like that was it. Er?

But just to my left – I didn’t see it at first because I was blinded by ALL THE PO BOXES, there was a small glass door with another “NEW HOURS!” sign on it. I could see post-officey things through the door so I went in. It was a little, teensy, itsy-bitsy room. There wasn’t really room for more than two people to stand, so I’d imagine a line would literally be out the door. There was a small ledge with all the paperwork/forms you’d need, and across from it was the register area. Where no one was standing. I could see a little sign that said “today you are being served by Pat” (not the real name) and I could hear someone in what must be the back of the office, but… judging from what I’d already seen of the building that office had to be about 10×10.

So, Pat came out, and it just about really was Pat from that Saturday Night Live skit! I handed her (or him) my two packages, and she (or he) just sort of … looked at me. I smiled. My packages were picked up, looked at, turned over, and the fine print read. Then I was just stared at. I smiled again, thinking, “hello? Anything? Bueller?”

“Ayup. I’ll take care of these.” Pat turned to go, taking my packages to “the back”.

“oooooooookay,” I said. “Thanks?”… and I left.

The next day I drove a little bit farther, about another two miles, to the somewhat larger Keystone Heights office. I think the Keystone Heights office will be seeing more of my business (even though I’ll have to make a left; at least it’s on a back street with not a lot of traffic). There was something… not CREEPY, exactly, about the Lake Geneva office, but just something… insular. As if interrupting Pat for work that didn’t involve the post office boxes was… somehow rude of me. I was telling Tim I don’t know what would even happen if I went in there with an international package. So. Keystone Heights office it is, then!

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This post brought to you by my phone, acting as a mobile hotspot! I went to a Verizon office and see what they could do for me, and was able to change two plans with one gig of data each to a single shared plan with ten gigs of data – as long as Tim doesn’t watch too many videos on how to repair a truck, I should be fine for using this for half an hour or so every day or other day… I’m going to time myself online, checking before and after to see how much data I used, and see how I can parse it out throughout the month. And hopefully soon we’ll have another alternative, even if we have to go to satellite internet instead of hard line.

First kill on the property goes to Lindy – Tim was walking her the other day and she dived head-first into a pile of leaves, thrashed around a bit, and then Tim heard a surprised squeak, followed by Lindy triumphantly tossing around her new squeak toy. It didn’t play with her for very long, sadly. Also, now she dives into every leaf pile she sees, hoping there’s another surprise inside.

We are walking the dogs – multiple times a day – since we haven’t had time to finish the fence yet. Walking the dogs isn’t the hard drama you might think, after a lifetime of just letting them out into the back yard. They’ve been learning the new routine quickly. They get a walk with Tim and I before he leaves for work. They get another walk about an hour after he leaves, and I walk them about every two or three hours after that, even if it’s just from the house to the studio and back. Then they might get a walk with both of us when he gets home, they definitely get a walk after their dinner (that’s their “business” walk), and they get one more walk after we eat dinner. Then I can take my shoes off! That’s the only “hard” part, although it’s not “hard” as much as “challenging to remember not to take my shoes off”… In my normal routine, I’m usually out of shoes and into pajamas by about the time we feed the dogs dinner.

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So far, it’s like living in a hotel, with vaguely familiar furniture and nothing 100% completed.

Next time I move*, I don’t think I’m going to buy a bunch of new furniture for the new house at the same time. I do love the new bed, don’t get me wrong — both of us have been having back pains that have pretty much disappeared since sleeping on the new mattress, and I love these new reclining couches with big hearty hearts; but since about half our furniture is still at the Gainesville house, and the half that’s at the new house is new, it just doesn’t feel like home yet.

It’s not bad, mind you; new things are good! We needed new things! I love the new couches, the cats already understand that recliners mean more lap space without me having to contort myself on the old couch in order to make as much lap space as I can without also throwing out my back. We definitely needed new mattresses, proven by our already-improved backs. But they just don’t feel like OURS yet. We’ve only had them a couple of weeks. And most everything that’s not new, is still in boxes, because the furniture we need for unpacking those things is still at the Gainesville house. So being in your home that doesn’t feel like you’re home  yet.. it’s… disconcerting. It’s like staying in a hotel, with some of your stuff, but not all of it, and your pets are there (at least, they’re all there NOW; they weren’t all there until yesterday). And most of everything around you isn’t completed, so there’s no turndown or room service. And you have to cook your own food. (Speaking of which, Tim bought a new grill while the stove was out, and damn but can that man do a steak on a grill! I’d eat that every night… except he probably can’t do his macaroni and cheese on the grill, and I’d miss that. He does appear to have gotten the stove fixed, though, as of an hour ago, so, HURRAH!)

I realize it sounds like I’m saying I’m not happy, and that’s not true; I’m in a much better headspace than I was the day I moved out there and thought I’d made the biggest, most fucked-up mistake of my life (I think 99% of THAT particular stress was coming from Comcast, in retrospect.). Overall this is just stressful, in little ways. The stove not working. Nothing feeling familiar yet. Not having all the cats out there until yesterday. Until this morning we didn’t even have a towel rack to hang towels on after a shower! The back deck had to take a back seat (HAH!) to finishing the dye bar, and there’s still not a fenced-in area so we’re walking the dogs four or five (or six) times a day. Routine is out the window, and I have to admit that in spite of my dream of being foot-loose and fancy-free, I am at heart a creature of habit. I can handle little changes, and there have been – I’ve been loosening the grip on my routine steadily since the beginning of April. But I think at this point the only routine I have left is that when I get up, I have coffee, and then I do stuff…. and eventually I get tired and I fall asleep. Was it just a couple of months ago I was bored out of my mind? I must have been crazy. I’d pay good money for an evening spent sitting on the couch, knitting, watching The Blacklist and having cats argue over who gets my lap.

But, as I’ve been saying, eyes on the prize. There’s a goal we have, and we’re getting there, we’re just fighting for it every step of the way. It’s a hard fight, and this place will be amazing when the fight for getting things right is over. And most importantly, we’re still looking in the same direction.

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*Holy mother of Gawd, let there not be a “next time”. Unless we hire Strapping Young Things and the shit all gets done in one day.

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