Monday, July 30, 2007


It's been a series of 'lasts' for the past few weeks. My family is all about food. We plan our vacations and days around where we want to eat our meals. So the most important lasts have been making it to our favorite restaurants. So in Orlando I made sure to fit in Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ, the Mellow Mushroom, Pei Wei, and the Orlando Ale House. Here in Largo, I've been doing the same. A couple of weeks ago we went to Frenchy's Rockaways. (If you ever make it Clearwater, you must go to my favorite beach restaurant and try the she-crab soup and grouper.) My uncle even got me a Rockaway's t-shirt so I can wear it with pride in Washington. Today we went to Tampa Bay Cuban for lunch. Of course most people get the Cuban sandwich, I get the turkey. This evening my parents took me to the Bonefish Grill; while there is a Bonefish Grill in Seattle, we made sure to choose the local fish to eat tonight. The pictures with my Dad and Mom above are after dinner tonight.

And a couple of days ago we also went to lay on the beach one last time. There are beaches in Washington, but I just have this funny feeling that the water won't be 80+ degrees and the weather won't be warm enough to lay out and sun. We spotted a dolphin, which was nice.

And family. I saw my Dad's side of the family on Saturday. We gathered to celebrate my Granny's 79th birthday. And I saw my Mom's side of the family on Sunday and played a rousing game of pool volleyball. Living in Florida the past two years it has become easy to take for granted being able to see the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my parents fairly often. Saying good-bye to family, and friends was a little tougher than I expected. I hope that serious consideration is given to planning a visit to the Seattle area, as most of my family and friends have never been out that way.

One day left until departure! A lot of chores need to be taken care of tomorrow. I need to check my tire pressure and oil, stop by the bank, visit AAA for some maps, etc. It's going to be a long day of preparations. But I'm almost there! I'm counting the days until I see Robb again.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Orlando Is Now A Memory

I'm very happy to report that I have successfully left Orlando and am now spending the next few days with my parents in Largo, FL before I hit the road. My Dad and I are scheduled to leave here on Wednesday, August 1st. The next few days will be spent saying good-byes to extended family and preparing for our trip.

The past few days have been exhausting. I've been packing for days. And then the movers came on Wednesday. Of course they gave me a hard time about fitting their very long semi-truck into my apartment complex. For those that are unfamiliar with the professional moving process, a very long semi-truck is used to transport multiple family's belongings. So even though we don't have a lot of furniture, they still had to fit a gigantic moving truck into our apartment complex. Of course it fit, they just had to work a little harder at it. It took two movers about five hours to move all my stuff from the second story apartment to the truck. I was also told that I pack my books in too large of boxes. Again, for those unfamiliar with the moving process, you should pack books in small boxes because they are heavy and you need to lift the boxes. Even though the boxes were a little large, my thought was that these were professional movers and they should be able to handle it. I think for professional movers, these people whined a little too much. I was told that our household goods would arrive on Friday or Saturday of next week. The nice thing about that is Dad and I won't arrive in Washington until Sunday night, so Robb will be in charge of the move in. I think that's fair. I'm in charge of move out, he's in charge of move in.

After the movers left, I didn't have much time to relax. I began cleaning the apartment right away. First I had to vacuum the inches of cat hair that had accumulated under the bed and throughout the apartment. Then I began on the deep cleaning: patching holes, dusting all surfaces, cleaning the blinds, scrubbing the fridge and stove, etc. This cleaning process has convinced me to create a more regular cleaning schedule at our new place, so that I won't have to work so hard at our next move out. I am so grateful that my good friend Kelly came over and offered to help clean. So she dusted the blinds, slat by slat, and we had good wine and conversation. The next night she came over and helped me move a futon from the apartment to my dumpster. I must say that she was really excited about throwing the mattress over the edge of the balcony. It's really wonderful to have a friend great enough to help with the dirty work! (In the pictures I'm cleaning the blinds and Kelly is throwing a mattress pad over the balcony.)

I was able to finish up cleaning Friday morning and gave back my keys, loaded the cats in the car, and drove 2 hours to the Tampa Bay area to stay with my parents. For the record, Jack is a very good traveler and just relaxes in the car. Malibu is NOT as content and insisted on meowing and panting the entire way. The vet told me to consider giving the cats benodryl to relax them. That option is being seriously considered.

Monday, July 23, 2007

It Smells Like Cardboard Here

My apartment is now packed into probably 100 boxes. Tomorrow I have to pack about two more boxes of loose odds and ends. That means that my packing will be complete Tuesday and the movers will be here Wednesday. No frantic late-night packing for me! My Mom and Grandma came to Orlando this past weekend and were an incredible help. In the picture, Mom is on the left, Grandma on the right; it was the exhausting second day of packing. My Mom packed the entire kitchen by herself. She's pretty amazing. I guess after years of watching the Army movers pack up our household goods, she has a pretty good idea of what she's doing. But I guess we'll determine her true packing abilities once we unpack and see what is (or hopefully, is not) broken! Of course, the hard work doesn't end when the packing is complete; after the movers leave Wednesday I will start the heavy-duty cleaning. That will take awhile! The most time-consuming aspect will be wiping off all the surfaces that don't often get dusted (top of the fridge, cabinets, blinds, etc.). We don't really dust as much as we should and we have cats who shed so much that we could make several children cat-hair coats if necessary. I'm sure that the deep cleaning will convince me to do more monthly cleaning maintenance once I move into my new place. Only a few days left!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Federal Way: Here We Come

At least we won't be homeless. Robb signed a lease yesterday for a great apartment in Federal Way. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, a balcony with a storage room, full size washer and dryer, and a remodeled kitchen with brand new appliances and countertops. It's over 1,000 square feet, has a heated pool at the complex, as well as a really big gym. It's definitely an upgrade from our current apartment. The only negative about it is the city's location. Federal Way is probably about a 30-40 minute drive from Seattle, NOT during rush hour. And it is about 20-30 minutes from Tacoma. While we would have preferred living closer to Seattle, we couldn't pass up this place. It's possible that one of us might even work in Tacoma, so living between the two metropolitan areas might work out well. Yay, we have a place to live!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Move Causing Gray Hair?

At the age of 24 I discovered my first gray hair this morning. I wonder if this gray hair has any correlation with the fact that I'm making a stressful move across the country in two weeks with, as of now, no job, no apartment, and no friends. Who's idea was it for us to move again?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Finding a Place to Live

There's nothing very exciting to report in my life. I spend the days packing boxes and watching daytime television (Family Feud, Cosby Show repeats, etc.) I also spend a lot of time online looking for jobs and apartments. The job search is slow. The apartment search is faster. When I find a good apartment/house listing I send it to Robb and he makes an appointment to see it. He's able to fit in 3-6 showings a day. While there have been a couple of good leads, we still don't have a place to live. We started out with higher expectations (washer and dryer in unit, an apartment that isn't on the 1st floor, etc.), the only requirements now include cats being allowed and availability by August 1st.

I think the apartment searching process is stressing Robb out. He thought it would be a little easier to find an appropriate place. And it doesn't help that he's doing it all by himself in an unfamiliar area. He has a lot of showings in the next couple of days. We hope that we have enough options that we can make a decision by Monday. If we have a place to live then we can focus on the other stress factor in our lives, finding a job.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Robb Discovers Seattle

After many long days of driving, averaging about 8-10 hours a day, Robb made it to Seattle yesterday. He is sharing a house, until the end of July, with a woman we got in touch with through CraigsList. He will spend the next couple of weeks looking for a job and trying to secure us a place to live starting in August. Today he explored the city a little bit; he drank coffee, walked through Pike's Market, and strolled along the waterfront. He says it's cold at night. While the heatwave in the West does reach to Washington, it doesn't reach as far as Seattle. He says that I'll love it there. It's comforting to know that in his first 24 hours, Robb doesn't hate the place. I'm a little jealous that he gets to explore a new city without me, but I also know it will be nice to get there and have someone already familiar with everything.

As for me, I packed the entire bathroom yesterday (that's two whole boxes)! A small victory, but the 'baby steps' makes me feel like I can do this. I think my plan of attack this upcoming week will be to pack up the office and most of the bedroom. I think I should look at a calendar and make a packing/cleaning schedule. It'd be nice to finish packing a couple of days before the moving truck gets here so I don't have to go into panic mode.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Ramblings: Twine, Golf, CDs

Robb's trip is going well. He toured the Jack Daniels distillery in Tennessee and spent an extra day in Topeka to spend time with his Mom and his Godfather. He took the back roads out of Kansas so that he could see the World's Largest Ball of Twine and also the geographic center of the 48 States. He spent last night in Cheyenne, Wyoming and tells me that the state has breath-taking scenery. Today the plan is for him to make it to Boise, Idaho and tomorrow he will arrive in Seattle. It worries me when I don't hear from him throughout the day. I know that he is driving in some pretty rural places and cell phone reception isn't the most reliable, so I shouldn't panic, but I always sigh with relief when my phone finally rings and I see his name pop up.

I spent the 4th of July holiday with my parents. My Dad's side of the family came over for a rain-soaked barbecue. Today, while Mom was at work, Dad and I spent the day together. He took me to the driving range and taught me how to hit a golf ball. Although they don't go very far, I hit straight! We also went to the library to scout out the books on CD available for our cross-country trip in a few short weeks. We were sorely disappointed in the selection. Hopefully when we're finally ready to check out the CDs, the Michael Crighton ones will still be available. Tomorrow I head home to start the heavy-duty packing.

It's hard to believe that I'm slated to arrive in Seattle in exactly one month. This week I just kind of realized, "Wow, I'm going to live in Seattle." It seems like I'm preparing for an extended vacation rather than a permanent move. It might seem more real if at least one of us had a job lined up. If we had been there before. If we knew what to expect. But we're going blind. I can't wait until Robb gets there, looks around, calls me and tells me that we're making the right decision.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Robb's Departure

Robb and I have been in many different situations where we have spent weeks or months apart. In high school we even spent years apart when my family moved to Germany. And in college we each went abroad at separate times for a few weeks. And because my Dad was in the Army and often gone, I know that long absences aren't something to really lose sleep over. Being away from each other, while hard, isn't the end of the world for Robb and me. But it's always hard to say good-bye.

Robb loaded up his car and started his week-long trek to Seattle this morning. Today he plans on driving by the world's largest peanut in Georgia and then stopping tonight near Lynchburg, TN. Of course, he has to stop by the Jack Daniels' distillery tomorrow. He plans on arriving in Topeka, KS Monday night and stay there all day Tuesday to spend time with family. After Topeka his route may change depending on if he visits his godmother in Wyoming, but he will end up in Seattle on July 6 or 7. He's been in contact with a girl in Seattle who might let him sublet a room for the rest of the month. If that works, he'll spend the rest of July checking out apartments and applying for jobs. If the sublet falls through, he'll probably stay in a cheap hotel for a few days and try to rent us an apartment starting mid-month.

As for me, my last day of work was on Friday. So I have an entire month to pack up the apartment and take care of last minute details, like taking the cats to the vet and deep cleaning the kitchen. I'll go to see my parents and family a couple of times this month. My other to-do on my list this month is to spend plenty of time by the pool to get sun. Once I live in Seattle, I'm sure I'll get back to my regular pale self!