New Digs and New Routines

My blogging mojo flew the coop for awhile. In the days leading up to the move, I didn’t really have anything to write about. We were laying low and heading home after work. Even our weekends were fairly mellow. Plus, there was stress. Since I don’t like to use this space for venting, I didn’t want to come to the keyboard feeling out of sorts.

So I took a break and let things simmer. I think I’m ready to get back in the routine, but bear with me. I need to find my blogging feet again.

The good news? We’re in our new apartment! We stretched the move itself over a full week. Because of the way things worked out, we got the keys to the new apartment on July 7 but didn’t have to give the keys to the old one back until July 12. Jon and I spent every evening after work unloading the car in Manhattan, unpacking boxes, then loading the car back up again in Wamego. It was an exhausting process.

On Friday, I took the day off to finish emptying and cleaning the old apartment. This meant a total of twelve trips up and down three flights of stairs. I was in pain the rest of the weekend, but honestly? It was worth it to be able to say that I could do it. Our last move was horrible for me, so I was happy that this time around I could actually be of use.

We had some helpers that evening, and even though we’d planned to continue the move on Saturday, we didn’t need to do much. All of our boxes and furniture were moved before 9pm Friday night, and the only thing we did on Saturday was send Jon and two of our helpers back to finish cleaning and to grab our last few storage items.

I tried resting up on Saturday since I was doing the Relay for Life that night, but those stair trips took their toll, and the pain was a little more than I was prepared for. I did make it to the event for a few hours though, but I ended up leaving early. Between the pain and the heat and the exhaustion, I wasn’t feeling well.

Sunday was dedicated to unpacking the rest of what we could and having our new neighbors (but old friends) down to visit for a little while. Since we’d done so much throughout the week, unpacking was pretty easy. Everything found a “home” except for some books and wall hangings, and that’s only because we need a bookshelf and some command strips, both of which are waiting until they fit into the budget.

So much cabinet space...and this is just one small corner of our kitchen.
So much cabinet space…and this is just one small corner of our kitchen.

I love our new place. When we saw it the first time, we took into account the fact that it was smaller than our old place, so we figured that once the furniture was in, things would be a little cramped. Not the case at all. In fact, we have way more room than we’d originally thought we had, as well as more storage space than we’d anticipated.

It’s comfortable and cozy. The shower water doesn’t run different temperatures, we have a ton of stuff within walking distance, and coming home for lunch is pretty great…other than the fact that I don’t necessarily want to leave once I’m here. For the first time in a long time, I’m looking forward to having people over, and I can’t wait to bake in our nice, big kitchen.

Now that the move is over, it’s time to try to get back into my routine and get going on projects that I’ve been procrastinating. I’m still settling in and work has been busy, so it’s been somewhat of a challenge, but I think in a few weeks things should feel more settled on the homefront. Which is really good, because the rest of the summer is going to be busy with travel and social times.



Packing Procrastination

A few weeks ago, we were really gung ho about packing and purging the apartment. You know what we haven’t done much of? Packing and purging the apartment.

I don’t know if it’s because the whole thing feels overwhelming or what, but after we squared away the back bedroom and pulled some stuff off the walls in the living room, our evenings have reverted back to complete laziness and lack of any progress. There are no good excuses. We have plenty of boxes and storage tubs.

At some point, we actually have to go through those storage tubs and do some repacking. Maybe that’s part of our problem. That alone feels like a big task.

We also have several things to list for sale, and I’m not sure which route I want to go. I’m part of a local Buy/Trade/Sell Facebook group, but I haven’t been super active. I’ve had decent luck with Craigslist in the past, so I may try that first. We don’t have a lot to sell, but enough that we should get rolling if we don’t want to haul those things.

I also have the fear that we’re going to pack something we’ll need later. I also don’t think I’m ready for bare walls. The decor gives me that sense of comfort at the end of the day. I’m worried that the lack of “stuff” will be unsettling. Then again, I think I need to decide which is more important: bare walls, or running around at the last minute trying to get things done.

We haven’t completely gone off track. We have several boxes packed and we’ve “staged” the back room to make the process easier. I’ve been through one of the totes to see if there’s anything to purge. That brought about a whole new question: do I throw away my old journals or not? I have a ton of them and they’re heavy. That’s probably a subject in itself.

In my head, I have the perfect scene of how this move will go. Everything will be packed and ready. We’ll have enough people to assemble a moving line and enough trucks to haul everything in one trip. We’ll finish clearing the apartment in record time, and we’ll use the same amount of time to take everything into the new apartment. We’ll celebrate with pizza, then we’ll dance under a shower of glitter and rainbows.

I’m sure none of that is actually going to happen. Except the pizza. We’re definitely thanking our helpers with pizza (hint hint, MHK friends…).

Question: What tips do you have for a smooth, drama-free move?

Bonus question: How do you counter procrastination?


Apartment Evolution

I failed at getting back to blogging every night, but things have been busy and I’ve been tired. I had a doctor’s appointment a couple days ago. My lab results came back, and even though most things checked out okay, it seems as if I’m “fairly anemic.” I knew I had low iron due to the fact that I’m usually turned away from giving blood, but I thought I was on the low end of okay for general health purposes. Apparently that’s not the case, so I’m going to be popping iron for awhile to get back up to par. If the drop in iron is a recent thing, that would account for the constant tiredness. Hopefully the pills will help.

Besides the doctor, there’s been other excitement. We signed the lease for a new apartment! This venture wasn’t without its stresses, and for a quick second, we didn’t think we were going to get it. But things fell into place and everything is working out.

I love the apartment. It’s a one-bedroom in one of the newest apartment buildings in town. We have friends who live there, so we knew a long time ago that if we stayed in the area, that’s where we wanted to live. It’s centrally located. Jon can walk to work. We can walk to the store and several restaurants. It has a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, and a garbage disposal. There’s an onsite fitness room, lots of closet and cabinet space, and it’s the kind of place where the doors lock after a certain time and guests have to be buzzed in.

All of the places I’ve lived in since college have been chosen based on what was cheap. Sure, I’ve still lived in places I’ve loved. My two bedroom in the Soo was a great place to live. Unfortunately, I lived there at a less than great time in my life. The apartment I had after the ex and I called it quits was super tiny, but I loved that one too, possibly even more than the bigger one because it represented freedom, independence, and a new start. There’s been some okay places and some really bad places, but since moving to Kansas, I’ve never been in a position to get a nicer, newer apartment.

So for me, this is pretty exciting.

We move in July, which gives us a few months to pack and save some money for some new furniture and appliances. We’ll be selling some things, donating some other things, and trying to find a storage solution for our totes and Christmas items.

Waiting is going to be tough, but it will also be beneficial. We have plenty of time to organize and make this move as easy as possible. Of course, we’re also great at procrastinating, so let’s hope we stick to the plan and not wait until the week before we move to start the ball rolling.

Other excitement: I got Employee of the Month at work, Jon starts his new job on Monday, and there’s a good chance I’m actually going to walk a 5k in April.

That’s all I got for tonight. Time for sleep.


Anxiety and Accomplishments

I’ve talked about dealing with depression and how this winter has been rough on the psyche. Recently, I’ve started experiencing anxiety again. Yesterday, I woke up feeling sick, so I took a sick day from work. Instead of my body resting and using the time to heal, it went into full on panic attack mode thinking of all the things I needed to get done that weren’t getting done.

I finally simmered down and talked myself off the anxiety ledge, but I’m considering seeing a counselor until things settle down and even getting back on some medication.  I’ve avoided medication due to the side effects I had when I took Zoloft a few years ago, and I’ve been lucky enough to stave off most depression and anxiety with regular exercise. But if things continue as they are, I’m going to have to go back on something, at least temporarily Side note: the side effects of Zoloft aren’t something I think everyone gets, and I had other health issues at the time.  I’m a huge advocate for doing what you have to do to stay as mentally healthy as possible…within legal limits of course.

I’m likely to try some talk therapy first. Besides seasonal depression, I also suffer from situation depression, and right now, there are a lot of situations that are weighing on me, the main one being Jon’s work status and not having a full income. Then there’s my own job and the reorganization that is testing me in many ways, not to mention the staffing changes and friends moving away. Being in limbo about where we’re going and what we’re doing is starting to chip away at my optimism. I can’t plan for things, can’t buy tickets to future events, can’t do much of anything, not only because of the tightened budget, but also because we don’t even know if we’re going to be geographically located to be able to go to these events.

It’s all kind of hitting at once, and I’m hoping that maybe venting to an uninvolved third party might help.

Between the sickness and the anxiety, I spent most of yesterday trying to accomplish small things and sleeping. I probably slept too much, but I did wake up this morning feeling much better, so I guess it helped.

Today was a busy one. We were up early to drive to Fort Riley to help some fellow geocachers move to a new house. I overestimated my physical capabilities and my recovery from yesterday’s illness. After a few trips up the stairs, I thought I was going to throw up or pass out. I was still able to help by picking up trash and moving small things, but I felt kind of useless for the most part. Jon did a ton of work, going up and down the stairs and moving heavy stuff.  Still, when it comes to moving, I know every little bit helps, so even though I feel bad…I also still feel like I contributed. If that makes sense.

Also, with as tired and sick as I got, I still did way more than I could do when we moved into our apartment, so the opportunity to once again see how far I’ve come was good. And even though we were tired and sore afterwards, I’m not completely out of commission. It was also a chance to pay forward some of the good things that have come our way, which was one of the things I wanted to aim for in 2014.

We had to leave after a few hours to head back to Wamego to get our car fixed. One of our friends is mechanically inclined and was able to help fix the crunchy sounds our steering system has been making (not giving him name credit ONLY because I’m not sure if he wants the world to know about his mad skills with automotives).  It was nice to drive and not have the car sound like it was going to implode at every turn. Awesome friends are another reason we’re trying to pay things forward and back…even when I’m super down and life seems difficult, I realize how truly lucky/blessed/fortunate we are to have such great people in our life (yeah…getting sappy for a moment…just roll with it).

I finished the third Iron Druid book while the car was being worked on, and after we got home I finished the first week’s videos, assignment, and quiz for my current Coursera class. No clue what tomorrow will bring. I don’t think it’s been one hundred percent decided if gaming is happening. I do know that with the car being fixed, Jon and I would like to go out and get some geocaches and enjoy the day. It’s supposed to be another warm Sunday, and I want to soak up some natural Vitamin D before starting the week again.

Off for some more reading and more sleep.


Apartment Update

Things have finally settled down for the most part, which means that they’ve also become really boring. I still have stuff to do, but I have no exciting blog topics. Which hasn’t stopped me before, so that’s no excuse for avoiding it.  While I have no pictures at press time, I thought I should give an update on the new apartment.

The Commute – While I made an issue about the commute being a huge adjustment, it really hasn’t been that bad. In hindsight, it’s about the same as it was in OKC but with less traffic. Though neither J. Felbs nor I are a huge fan of getting up early, we’ve managed to make it part of our routine and I manage to get to work on time.*  

The Finances – The new place has brought about some new expenses. After three years of having utilities be part of the rent, we now have to pay them separately. Because of the commute, we’re also spending more in gas, and my car insurance went up a little bit (though we went ahead and paid for the full six months, so that’s saving us some in the long run). Our internet is also more expensive, and this is probably the thing that irritates me the most because it’s not very good. We were paying less in MHK for faster and more reliable internet. But gripe as I may, I knew there was that possibility. It was, in fact, one of the things we thought about before the move. So while we reserve our right to complain, I wholeheartedy realize that we did make the choice and knew what we were getting into. 

We’re saving money in other areas, so it seems to be working out. We’re cooking at home most nights of the week and taking our lunches most days. I’ve been meal planning and grocery listing again, and we’re getting our money’s worth out of our shopping trips, especially with Aldi and the Sara Lee bread outlet as our main grocery stores. We’re also not required to have renter’s insurance in this place, and while it’s something we’re going to look at for the future, right now it’s not an expense we have to worry about.

The Not-So-Great Stuff – Beside the internet, there are a few other things that are a little harder to get used to. Being social has been a little challenging because it’s harder to wait around in town for things to start. Likewise, J likes to game a couple nights a week, and since it’s not fair for him to give up the things he likes to do, I’ve had to be creative in what I do with my free time. This really isn’t all that bad. It gives me the chance to get in an extra gym session or some reading time at Hastings. But it does take extra planning and we often don’t get home until late on these “social” nights.

As far as things in the apartment, one of my biggest personal challenges is the shower. The first time I used the shower in the new place I thought I was going to need medical attention. The water went hot and I almost slipped in the super slick bottom of the tub. We’ve since bought bath mats and I’ve learned how to handle the water changes, but it’s still annoying when the shower randomly goes scalding hot or ice cold. I also haven’t been able to set the water at a comfortable temperature, so most of my showers end up being kind of cool, which is good in the summer, but when winter hits I’m going to have to make a deal with the warm water spirits or something.

Finally, the Good Stuff – All the negatives and challenges don’t counter the fact that I really do love our new place. It’s quiet and comfortable. I like being on the second floor and being able to actually see the sun or the rain or the thunderstorms. I have a real kitchen and a real bathroom (one in which the toilet is not stuffed into a cubby hole). I have space to move around. Putting things on the walls and making it “homey” probably helped too. It also makes me think of my grandparents’ vacation home in Michigan where I’d spend time during the summer when I was a little girl. I couldn’t tell you what that house looked like, but this apartment makes me feel like I’m there again.

While I condensed the good stuff to one paragraph and stretched the other stuff into three, I still think the good stuff outweighs the bad, and I’m happy with our decision to move.

*There was one instance where my alarm didn’t go off, but that may have happened no matter what my proximity to work is. In fact, it has. Several times.

Let’s Do Some Catching Up

I’m finally to a point where I feel I can start getting back into my normal routine, both online and offline.  The past few weeks have been insane, some good insanity, some bad insanity. Either way, I’m ready for things to settle down.

1. The move is mostly done. We are completely out of the old place, and the only things left to do in the new place are unpack the trunk and put some last minute things away. I even put stuff on the walls this time to make it feel “homey,” a fact that will make my mom proud. Thank goodness for a four day weekend to give me time to do stuff. So far, I’m loving the new place. Walking up the stairs at the end of the day kind of sucks, but even that at least makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

2. One of my work’s field staff and a great friend of mine came to town a few weeks ago, so we got to have our Girls Night In. This time, however, we also had a couple of the guys from one of our foreign offices in town for training, so we invited them along too. Even though this happened in the midst of moving, I was still able to take a night to hang out with them. Seeing old friends and making new ones is always a good time.

3. My brother in law graduated high school, so J. Felbs and I headed to Wichita for the weekend. This gave us a much needed break from moving and cleaning, so I was able to catch up on some reading since Junior Felbs didn’t graduate until that Sunday.

Look at his robe…his robe is amazing…

As happy as I am for him, I realized just how tedious graduation ceremonies can be if you’re not the one graduating. I was able to tune out the discomfort of the bleachers and the noises of the crowd to think back on my own high school graduation. It made me nostalgic. Otherwise,  I was glad when the whole thing ended.

4. In the downtime, I’ve watched a bunch of movies and TV shows. SV and I went and saw Chernobyl Diaries.   For a horror flick, it was a huge disappointment. We actually found more to laugh at than we found to be scared of.  I watched the first season of Sherlock on Netflix. It took me a couple episodes to realize how much I liked it, but it’s a really good show! There were others, but those were the highlights. I also watched the first twenty minutes of something called “The Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver.”  I think this movie…if I ever actually watch the rest of it…will get its own post.

Now it’s all about finding the routine again. With a short commute, we’re having to get up earlier, but that’s not all bad. Yesterday we made it to the gym after work, a habit we definitely want to get into. We slacked off for a couple weeks there, but considering we were making many trips up many stairs, I didn’t feel guilty. We’re also having to watch our electricity and water usage, and because I’m a little nervous about the new budget stuff, we’re trying to be good about packing lunches and buying groceries. So far, so good.

I have a bunch of little thoughts in my head to get into blog form in the coming days, so here’s to hoping I’m settled enough to do so.


The Lows and Lows of Moving

The Felbster and I are currently in the process of moving. It’s a process I hate. This doesn’t make me a special snowflake since I assume most people hate to move, even if they’re moving somewhere better.

We’ve been “preparing” for months, but we’re still feeling rushed towards the end. Many boxes are packed and some already moved to the new place. Internet and renter’s insurance have been canceled. We’ve lined up help from family and friends. Still, it feels like this big ball of relocation is just rolling right over me.

The sad part is, I don’t do nearly as much as everyone else. Sure, I take a few bags up the stairs. But I go at the pace of a turtle and make about one trip to everyone else’s three. Our current place is a basement apartment, so we contend with one set of stairs when taking stuff to the car. Our new place is a second floor apartment so we contend with 2 flights of stairs getting everything into the apartment.

Stairs and I are starting to be okay with each other, but we’re a long way from being BFFs.  Luckily, J is okay with doing the bulk of the unloading as long as I do most of the unpacking.

Besides the physical, there’s also a mental exhaustion. There are things to update: address, bills, driver’s license, etc. At this point, I haven’t even completed my mail forwarding form because I can’t find the address of our new place because I’m pretty sure I accidentally packed the lease document.

I currently have a stack of mail that needs to be handled, but with everything kind of a mess, I don’t have the energy to get them all together and go through them.

Because most of our kitchen stuff is packed up, cooking feels way too hard, so we’re trying to cheaply eat out until we get settled. This is probably not a good idea for so many reasons, but it is what it is, and dollar menus are everywhere these days.

Ever since we signed the new lease, I’ve also had bouts of anxiety where I wonder if we’re making the right move (we will now have a short commute to school and work), if we’re going to be able to afford everything (we’ll be spending more in gas and will have utilities to contend with), and how I’m going to decorate and organize (the space is bigger than what we have now, but it’s still considered small).

Even with all that, underneath the nerves and the work and the stress, I still think we’re making the right move. I’m ready for some small town living again, ready for some quiet, ready for a new space even with it’s challenges.

I’ll just be glad when the transition is made.