the hyphens that define my life

Oregon! June 21, 2013

We have officially left California after what was truly the longest day of the year.  There is nothing like driving with a 7-year-old (and his whole package of emotions, nonsense and hilarity) at 60 mph (who knew I could drive so slow?) looking at the back of a trailer for roughly 600 miles.  The tire issue with the trailer offset our schedule along with stopping for a sit down Mexican food lunch in Williows, and an ice cream break and gas fill up in Redding.

Though this wasn’t our first trip to Lake Shasta/Mount Shasta area, the natural beauty never ceases to amaze.  Andre, our 7-year-old, had to call his friend to tell him about all the beautiful trees and lakes and the otherwise “totally long and boring” all day car ride. If Andre is inspired to discuss anything than video games, pay attention.

We missed the chance to take a photo of Weed, next 3 exits and at the Oregon border.  At those points it wasn’t about the journey, it was about covering as much ground in daylight as possible.

Oregon is beautiful.  We drove the 97 from Weed, CA to Bend, OR.  Nothing but trees, lakes, rivers, truckers, campers and us on the road. We had another slight glitch last night.  The gas gauge on the suburban broke.  One minute it read 1/2 tank, the next it was screaming E.  It wouldn’t have been any big deal if we were anywhere near civilization, or near anywhere that stayed open past 8 PM.  It also wouldn’t have been a big deal if my darling husband remembered, or wrote down, his mileage when he filled up last. With none of these boxes checked, Vince did the next best thing.  He pulled into the first mom & pop RV campground/general store/gas station we saw and knocked on the door of their residence and asked them to open up so he could get some gas.  Are you surprised?  Me, just another day in the life . The best part was that the wife had to come out, open up and pump the gas.  Vince didn’t know that in Oregon there is no self-service at the gas pump, only full service, after hours included.  The suburban, it turned out, had plenty of gas to get us to Bend, but we felt much better knowing.  Be proud of me, I did not once say any unkind, are you freaking kidding me, what the hell comments to Vince like…hello…we’re on a road trip…monitoring gas levels is essential. Nor did I call him a dumbass (out loud).

We woke to 50 degrees and rain in the forecast from here to Spokane.  A perfect welcome to the Inland Northwest.  We are definitely not in Southern California anymore.  I wish I would have packed shoes other than my flip-flops.  All is fair in love and war…dumbasses unite.  Yes, Vince and I are a pair.

Today is the day we arrive at our new home.  We can’t wait.  In fact, the others are yelling at me to think and type faster so we can get on the road. Gotta roll…


Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ June 20, 2013

A road trip or moving isn’t complete without a flat tire. Check that requirement off our list, the rubber off one of the four trailer tires shredded right off. A 10 mile detour to Les Schwab Tires in Los Banos, conveniently located next to a Starbucks serving La Boulange pastries, provides a deliciously fantastic opportunity to post my daily blog update.

The first leg of our journey moving to Spokane was tough after an emotional departure. Thank you to our friends for a few final hours of play at the park. Los Angeles traffic was kind to us and we made it through the city easily. I had our youngest in the car with me along with the dog, 2 small corn snakes and a crested gecko. Plenty of 7 year old chatter going on. After one stop in Buttonwillow, we arrived at the Best Western Apricot Inn just before midnight. Exhausted. A bed, any bed has never felt so good.

Now, through the orchards and aqueduct crossings, we sit in Los Banos replacing all 4 trailer tires that were supposed to be “new” when we bought it. You never can tell and we’re not going to take our chances (again).

The boys would rather hang with dad in a tire shop than drinking coffee and watching me type. Yes, in the midst of chaos, there is a zen moment of peace and quiet for me in Los Banos.

Today is our last day in California as we head to Oregon. Happy trails to you, we’re rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…..


Coundown to our move to Spokane T-1: She Ain’t What She Used To Be June 18, 2013

Do you know this children’s song?

Oh, the old gray mare
She ain’t what she used to be
Ain’t what she used to be
The old gray mare
She ain’t what she used to be
Many long years ago.

Right here, right now, this is the story of my life.  I am the old gray mare.  I ain’t what I used to be, ain’t what I used to be, many long years ago.

Don’t say, “you’re only as old as you feel.”  That phrase doesn’t help me at all.  If this phrase is true, I feel about 90 years old right now.  I’m sore, I’m tired, and my back is going to snap in half.

In case you’re wondering, moving sucks.  Moving has always sucked.  It hasn’t gotten better with age.  Clearly I haven’t either.

I asked my husband last night, “why do we have to be cheap ass DIY-ers? Why are we doing all this work?” Ok, ok, frugal would have been a better word choice but it doesn’t convey the heartfelt message. I’ll work on my word choices AFTER I stop hobbling along like an old woman.

This could be my last move.  I don’t think I have another one in me just for the energy required to make the shift.

Then again, you know with my track record I can’t honestly say that.  Let’s look at what I would do differently with my next move…

  • Hire movers
  • Have the kids around to help – work and social outings should not be allowed during crunch time.
  • Be in top physical condition, focusing on biceps, core and quads
  • Schedule daily massage and chiropractic visits
  • Get physical clearance from my doctor
  • Get more sleep
  • Ease up on the drinking and partying the weekend prior to the move.
  • Eat healthy (the whole not cooking thing backfired on me this week.  Restaurant food, whether gourmet or fast food, makes me feel bloated and stodgy.
  • Don’t sell your washer and dryer earlier than planned.  I’m typing this post from the laundromat.  I’m bringing my closet full of skeletons with me to Spokane, but I will not travel with dirty laundry.

A good list but it would be easier to just stay put than to do all this just to move.  Then again….

We’ve covered old, gray, nag – oh no, I’m the mare in this song, not a nag, I’m the nag at home I forgot.

Here’s the real bummer.  We’re just getting started.  I’m whining about loading boxes into a truck.  137 boxes.  That’s it.  We sold our furniture.  I’m not even doing any heavy big furniture moving.  We drop the boxes at Amtrak today to be shipped to Spokane.  I did say we’re cheap right?  My husband researched and discovered that shipping our boxes with Amtrak was far less expensive than any other shipping method.  fascinating.  We are driving 30 miles to Union Station to drop off the boxes, 30 miles home and then….we’re going to Disneyland!

My husband and I agree that we should rent wheelchairs and make the kids push us around all day.  This old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.


My Daily Blog T-11 The Love of Friends and Cake June 8, 2013

“A heart is not judged by how much it is loved, but by how much it is loved by others.”  
The Wizard said to the Tin Man, The Wizard of Oz

Our hearts are full of love for my friends that hosted our going away party last night as well as for those in attendance. Over 100 people ate, drank, went swimming, played water polo/soccer and hung out in support of us, our children and our decision to move from Placentia, California – the OC – to Spokane, Washington. Nothing makes a party better than street tacos, beer, sangria, sodas, salads, dips and, my favorite part, cake.  Thank you my dear friends, my six senoras, that hosted the party.  I love you for your thoughtfulness, kindness, generosity and, most of all, your friendship.

I have to give a shout out to my friend made this Fiesta Cake for the occasion:


The bottom layer is an inside-out german chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.  The second tier is sour cream almond with strawberry filling with buttercream frosting.  The third tier is ooey-gooey chocolate with chocolate buttercream frosting.  All wrapped in fondant and decorated to match our fiesta theme.  Was it any good?  I made the ultimate sacrifice and ate (not tried, ate) a slice of each.  Which flavor was best?  That is a tough, if not impossible call.  I had to have a second slice of the sour cream almond just to confirm that all flavors are fabulous!  How lucky am I to have leftovers in the fridge!! A huge thank you to my friend that made the cake.

As party favors, I gave each family a jar of homemade strawberry jam.  For the kids, we gave addressed and stamped California postcards to send California love to the boys.  Hopefully this will create a fun summer pen pal program and help keep everyone in touch.

Thank you my friends.  You are not easy to leave.