multi-hyphenated-me

the hyphens that define my life

Honestly July 8, 2013

When we moved, we sold all of our furniture because our furniture was over 10 years old and kid thrashed.  We also sold our furniture because our new home was built circa 1940’s and has mid-century style that doesn’t suit our old furniture.  And, we sold our furniture because we didn’t love it enough to move it.

Now that we’re here in Spokane, we are without furniture, though not entirely. The house came with a beautiful dining room table with two leaves, chairs and matching buffet.  The guest room is completely outfitted with a queen bed, and dresser.  We sold the bunk beds and other bed sets, but we moved the mattresses.  We also kept our office chairs, camp chairs and beach chairs.  The house also has many built-ins, bookshelves, banquette, dressers and shelves.  Plenty of furniture to call our house a home, for now.

If you have bought furniture,  ever, you know that purchasing furniture is no cheap process.  If you add the words “mid-century modern” or “MCM”, the price tag is increased to meet popular demand.  We have a budget, we have a plan and we’re making good progress.

We have identified a new couch, accent chairs, a chaise, an area rug and some accessories.  Mr. Frugal is holding the purse strings tight before purchasing until he’s certain that I’m 100% certain I won’t have buyer’s remorse.  I see it as a stall tactic but that’s for another blog post.  We are shopping at consignment stores, vintage stores, thrift shops and, of course, Craigslist.  So far, we have bought vintage bed sets for the boys, a credenza for my office and a lateral file cabinet for Vince’s office.  This weekend we purchased a 71″ early 1950’s coffee table from Craigslist. The coffee table is an awesome, DIY refinishing and staining project I can’t wait to get started on.  I’ll post the before and after photos once it is complete, or will blog about any disasters or replacement purchases later.

When we, the entire family, arrived at the coffee table seller’s home, the boys tumbled out of the car into a wrestling match on the front lawn.  Why?  I have no idea, must be a boy thing, they wrestle everywhere. Vince and I entered the home, leaving the boys to fend for themselves, checked out the table, agreed on the price and I paid the man.  What really transpired is that I handed the cash to Vince who handed the money to the seller.  Everyone was happy, we went home with a new coffee table and a new project for me.

Last night, around 10 PM, the coffee table seller sent me a text saying he is either miscounting or he misplaced $20 of the total cash we gave him.  He apologized and asked if I could confirm that we did pay him the $20 in question.  Before we arrived at the house, we stopped at the ATM to withdraw cash for the purchase.  I didn’t spend any other money after buying the coffee table.  I counted the cash in my wallet and, sure enough, I short paid him $20!    I texted back that I had shorted the sale and I would be in the area Monday night for soccer practice and would drop off the $20.  I felt terrible.  I was surprised that both Vince and the seller didn’t double-check my counting at the time of sale.  Word to the wise, always double-check my math, even at base level counting.  The seller texted back that he appreciated my honesty.  Sure thing homie, that’s how I roll.

I passed this perfect sign on my honorable mission tonight to pay my debt in full.

golden rule brake

This is the end of today’s blog post. Please ignore the ads WordPress is posting on my site, holding me hostage for payment to stop the ads.

 

 

 

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’…..

 

Blast off! June 19, 2013

My husband had to run to Home Depot for who-knows-what so I’m taking a break, enjoying my coffee and posting this blog.  Thank you for the opportunity to sit down.

Here we are.  The countdown is done.  Today is the day.  3-2-1-Blast Off.  If only moving was as simple as the countdown.  Today is cleaning day.  The final push to get everything that wasn’t shipped yesterday loaded onto the trailer and get the house cleaned.  The carpet cleaner arrives at 1 PM, the landlord will do his final inspection at 2 PM, then we’re hitting the road just in time for LA traffic.

C’mon we’re smarter (just) than that!  Instead of sitting in traffic we’ve organized one last final hurrah, a BYO-Picnic a the park for some playtime and fun before we hit the road.  I’m going to lie down and take a nap.

Did I mention I was feeling 90 years old yesterday?  Today I’m 110.  I ache, I’m bruised and I think I have inhaled too much 409 while cleaning.  Can you get a contact high off of 409?  What about lung cancer?  I have never looked so forward to sitting in a car, or anywhere, for 20 hours.  We haven’t moved yet and you have all been replaced, Advil is my new best friend.

All jokes and exaggerations aside, no real complaints (not out loud, just publicly broadcasted through my blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts, just like a secret). Our move is going smoothly. Shipping our boxes with Amtrak was truly a genius find by my husband.  The story of how he discovered this option was the result of taking the train from Fullerton, CA to downtown LA for his project at LA Trade Tech.  He spoke with the shipping managers at the Fullerton CA station and LA Union Station.  He really connected with the LA Union Station manager (remember, my husband isn’t socially motivated).  When I met her yesterday I understood why.  Marissia is personable, thorough, efficient and interacted well with her peers and staff.  Turns out that Marissia recently celebrated her 30 year anniversary with Amtrak and is a 4th generation railroad employee.  What started as a summer job thanks to her dad, she found her niche career.  You know I love a good human interest story.  I hope Amtrak appreciates her as much as her customers!  Though we did a test run and sent 3 boxes from Fullerton to Spokane in May (giving me the opportunity to connect with the Spokane shipping manager), we felt good leaving our boxes with Marissia yesterday.  Our boxes are on their way.  Plus we saved $1500 from the U-Haul quote received, not including gas and having to tow or ship our second vehicle.  I highly recommend using Amtrak for shipping if there are any long distance moves in your future.  I’ll follow-up with this once our boxes arrive.

After the BYO-Picnic party at the park this afternoon we will drive 4 hours north on I-5 to get us out of LA.  We’ll end up somewhere between Fresno and Stockton.  Tomorrow we’ll continue northward leaving California and the I-5 for the 97 toward sunny skies in Bend, Oregon.  On Friday we’ll arrive in the rain to our new home in Spokane.

Goodbyes have never been easy for me. This afternoon will be tearful but I can not wait to get on the road.

 

My Daily Blog: T-2 Family Ties June 17, 2013

My husband’s family is from Bellingham Washington.  I don’t know all of the details, forgive me if I unintentionally misrepresent the family, this is the story I’ve been told, or at least what I can remember this morning:

Back in…, I don’t know when, long ago in a land far, far away, two Ivecivic-Bakulic brothers left Croatia for America, one was my husband’s great-grandfather. They landed in Bellingham Washington.  Croatians are natural fisherman as the Dalmatian Islands in the Adriatic Sea off the Croatian coast provide stunning scenery and incredible fishing. Bellingham Washington is at the very tippy top of the U.S. providing access to bountiful fishing in U.S. and Canadian waters.

After the two brothers land in Bellingham, one stayed, and shortened and Americanized the last name to Bakulich.  The other brother takes the Ivecivic last name, then and changes it to Ivich and moves to Ciudad Obregon Mexico. Eventually parts of the Washington contingent moved to San Pedro California, for the temperate climate, great fishing and similar landscape to Croatia.  The Bakulich family now extends from Washington to Mexico.

My husband grew up in San Pedro and always wanted a fishing boat.  My husband remembers his father pulling him aside and telling him, ‘I have a surprise’.  My husband responded, ‘You bought a fishing boat?’ ‘No,’ his father replied, ‘I bought a bowling alley.’  What?  Needless to say my husband is a really good bowler!

Now the third and fourth Bakulich generation moves to Washington.  Not moving to Bellingham, though we did visit there once and considered moving there years ago, the timing and the vibe weren’t right for us.  Fishing is on our to-do list in Spokane.

My husband grew up fishing on the Pacific Ocean. My childhood summers were spent fishing in lakes in Ohio and Michigan. Between the two of us, we will – well, we should – be able to teach our kids something about fishing.  We have taken then kids fishing in California with no luck, except for that one time at the trout farm but that doesn’t really count.

One definite rule once they actually do catch some fish,  they have to clean what they catch. Nothing like chopping of fish heads, managing fish guts and scraping scales to appreciate fishing.   Eating what they catch will be fun too. The older boys will eat what they are given, our youngest is very picky…yet he ate a raw oyster not long ago…so there is hope.  We have hope there is fish to catch, clean and eat in Washington.

In addition to my husband’s family history, my family has migrated to Seattle in recent years.  My mom and stepdad transplanted from California almost 10 years ago.  My  sister moved from Michigan to Seattle 2-3 years ago.  Though Seattle is a 4.5 hour drive from Spokane (or a 50 minute flight my husband likes to point out), Seattle is a closer commute than what we currently have in California.

Washington knows our families that have come before us.  Washington has treated them well.  Though Spokane is new to us, we have Washington in our blood, like family.

Editor’s note:  I’m no longer aloud to go out drinking then write a blog post.  I forgot to hashtag!  I love hashtags and thought about my missing hashtags all day. 

 

My Daily Blog: T-5 H.A.G.S. June 14, 2013

Schools Out for Summer.

HAGS!! is the new acronym to hit elementary school yearbooks.  I couldn’t decipher it on my own, I had to enlist the help of my 9-year-old to guide me through the elementary school vernacular.  My thought was that HAGS!! was similar to WHAS UP?!?!  Instead of saying HUGS!! you say HAGS!! Oh no.  HAGS is simply Have A Great Summer.  Of course.

Urbandictionary.com has some entertaining definitions and examples using HAGS in a sentence.  I won’t go into great detail here and highly recommend you check it out yourself, but I will tell you that my favorite defined HAGS as an STD (yes, you read that correctly, sexually transmitted disease).  HAGS could also stand for Herpes, AIDS, Ghonorrea and Syphilis.  Now read your elementary kid’s yearbook and interpret all 37 HAGS references with the STD message.  Fun to frightening in seconds flat.

No more pencils.  No more books.  No more teachers dirty looks.  These are all things worth celebrating, but school out for summer for me should be celebrated for not having to wake sleeping children, pack lunches and no homework!  Woo!  My life just got easier.  Except, now  I have to entertain 3 kids so they don’t fry their brains playing video games all summer, fight like mad dogs or push me further into the well of insanity.

What are your summer plans?  Here’s a newsflash in case you haven’t been paying attention – we’re moving to Spokane.  Though moving is a big project, it isn’t all-consuming right now, nor will it be once we arrive.  We’ll take it one box at a time.

We’re billing this summer as the “Summer of Adventure”.  It could equally be named “Spokane, You Got It, We’re Doing It”.  “Summer of Adventure” actually begins on Tuesday, before we leave, with our final trip to Disneyland.  As annual pass holders, we have our fill of Disney often, but Tuesday, with the help of our adult daughter, the boys will be at Disney all day long.  We’ll show up for dinner and take over for the rest of the night.  (Smart).

Nothing says summer like a good road trip!  We will be on the road and we will cover 1,237 miles but that is the beginning and end of “trip”.  We’re moving, no sightseeing or time-consuming tourist attractions on the way up.  Not much of an adventure?  Yeah.  Right.  If that’s what you think, you’ve never travelled 20 hours, in a car, with children, not to mention our menagerie.  Door to door in less than the 20 prescribed hours it takes to get there without losing our minds.  Safety first, of course.

The Adventure picks back up when we arrive in Spokane at the start of Hoopfest, “the largest  3-on-3 street basketball tournament on the planet”.  Check it out www.spokanehoopfest.com Spokane utilizes 42 city blocks for 456 courts on day one of this weekend extravaganza.  We are definitely going to check out this action.  The boys are already talking about forming teams next year.

That’s as far as we have planned.  Knowing what we’re doing next weekend hardly qualifies a dramatic action-packed title like “Summer of Adventure”.  Buying furniture doesn’t qualify either, yet it counts for me..  If you’re one of the kids, your biggest concern is when will the internet be connected?  If you’re my husband, his plans include buying a boat which certainly lends credibility to “Summer of Adventure”.  Buying a boat will be great for all of the lakes and summer fun in Spokane.  I cringe at the thought.  This will be our fourth boat since we’ve been together.  Boats are a lot of fun, but they are a lot of work.  There is no work sitting on the beach with a book where I am perfectly content.  Just the thought of the beach and a book takes me to a happy place on a lake, at the ocean, or next to a mud puddle.  With adventurous boys and a water-skiing husband that also loves to sail, we’re definitely boating this summer if not sailing too.

Bicycling, checking out the sites, entertaining friends and family, trying new restaurants and just absorbing our new surroundings will be adventure in itself.  Our summer will be full of fun.

HAGS!  Whether this is a wish for fun or catching an STD, I hope you have a great time doing whatever you have planned this summer!  Make it count.

 

 

My Daily Blog: T-7 Survival Mode June 12, 2013

My friend said ‘We’re still on for Tuesday, right?’ Wait.  What’s Tuesday?  ‘We’re having lunch.’ Oh yeah, right, lunch Tuesday.  Definitely.  What a flake I’ve become.  Maybe I’ve always been flakey but the mysterious blank spaces in my mind are becoming more and more apparent as our move draws near.  Our family calendar is so crammed full of activities, even with written and electronic calendars which help tremendously, I can’t keep everything committed to memory.  I was supposed to walk with a friend last night during our son’s soccer practice.  Nope, didn’t remember and committed to packing with my husband.  I’m not even focusing on and selecting the fun stuff.  I chose work over fun.  Something is seriously wrong with me.

Perfect timing.  Just what I need for this move is a mental breakdown.  No joking around, I’m concerned.  Yet I question it too.  Why am I forgetting the fun stuff?  Why am I not forgetting the work stuff? Why am I not shirking my move responsibilities?  Why am I meeting my family’s needs?  Why is the laundry getting done?

Oh. Dear. God.  I’ve crossed the line.  I’ve reached the point where I’m so focused on the move and on work that both have totally consumed me. There is no room left in my brain for fun.  EEK!  I should run away. Fast.

Don’t get me wrong, I am having fun, too much fun, and I’m having fun having fun.  In fact, I am having more fun on a daily basis in the past few weeks than I have had in many months, if not years.  Almost every day includes a social event. On a regular basis, I’m social.  I socialize.  But I don’t socialize daily. Let’s remember who I am – I’m on a first name basis with the local librarian!  I’m a bibliophile!  I sew.  I cook.  I garden.  I like getting massages and pedicures.  My hair needs to be cut! Fun is taxing and I miss my projects.  My projects kept me organized and on task.  Without my projects, I am lost.

My mind is not lost.  My life is lost.  Don’t misread my writing.  I love going out with my friends.  We have had good times, great laughs and I will miss them dearly.  With my life packed into 122 boxes and counting, I can not go on much longer sorting, pitching, donating, keeping, wrapping, packing, taping, boxing and stacking my life.  The good, yet sad news is that I don’t have too much longer.  Only 7 days remain.  One week.

I’m in survival mode now.  What would Bear Grills do in a time like this?  He’d probably eat our pets and make clothing, furniture and shelter out of the packing materials so I won’t follow his lead.  What I need is my friends.  What I need, to paraphrase Bill Withers “Lean On Me” lyrics,  is to let me lean on you, because I’m not strong. I need you to be my friend and help me carry on.

This isn’t a cry for help.  It is a plea to my friends for understanding and compassion for my flakiness and general brain meltdown as we are in the final stretch.

 

My Daily Blog T-8 My Life in 40 Moves June 11, 2013

Several of my “friends” have called me their transient friend since the news of our pending move. Hearing this from those who have lived within a 20 mile radius their entire lives, doesn’t surprise me.  Hearing this comment from a globetrotting friend made me take pause and  question what was actually being said.  I had to look up “transient” to confirm the definition as my initial response to the word is derogatory as a drifter, or homeless.

Transient:

1
a: passing especially quickly into and out of existence : transitory <transient beauty>

b: passing through or by a place with only a brief stay or sojourn <transient visitors>

2
: affecting something or producing results beyond itself
“Brief stay” is what dubbing me transient.  “Brief” is subjective.  For me, brief is a day, a week, or a month.  For others, our six years in this community is brief.  What does brief mean to you?
Transient may not be the best word choice, but I have moved quite a bit.  The move to Spokane will be my 40th move.  My 45th birthday is in September.  No, I haven’t moved nearly every year of my life. I have had the pleasure of moving multiple times in a single year to rack up the count.  My moves define my life.  I have lived in 6 states, Washington will be the 7th. Fifteen of my moves were beyond my control while I was dependent on my mom. Four moves during the college years. Eight moves before I realized I was in a really bad relationship before I, well, moved out.  Four moves as a single mom. And eleven moves in the 16 years my husband and I have been together. Some of my moves were transient, to be sure.  In 2001, while our house was in escrow in Parks, AZ, we moved to the apartment my husband’s company provided in Tusayan, AZ, at the gates of the Grand Canyon.  Sixty days we lived at the Grand Canyon.  Our daughter became a Junior Ranger and we hiked and explored every day. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.  In fact, I wouldn’t change most of my moves as they, for the most part, have all been for the better. There are some moves that I’m not so thrilled with, but they have shaped my character and made me who I am. Transient or not.
Here is a list of the places I’ve lived:
1. Monroe, MI
2. Sandusky, OH
3. Castalia, OH
4. Sandusky, OH
5. Norwalk, OH
6. Driggs, ID (Teton Valley)
7. Santa Monica, CA (1)
8. Santa Monica, CA (2)
9. Torrance, CA (1)
10. Torrance, CA (2)
11. Playa del Rey, CA (1)
12. Playa del Rey, CA (2)
13. San Diego, CA
14. Playa del Rey, CA (3)
15. Santa Monica, CA (3)
16. Long Beach, CA
17. Playa del Rey, CA (4)
18. Westchester, CA
19. Hermosa Beach, CA (1)
20. Redondo Beach, CA (1)
21. San Pedro, CA
22. Venice, CA
23. Hawthorne, CA
24. Redondo Beach (2)
25. Manhattan Beach, CA
26. Hermosa Beach, CA (2)
27. Oceanside, CA (1)
28. Westchester, CA (2)
29. Redondo Beach, CA (3)
30. Redondo Beach, CA (4)
31. Placentia, CA (1)
32. Tusayan, AZ  (The Grand Canyon)
33. Parks, AZ (1)
34. Las Vegas, NV
35. Laguna Beach, CA
36. Oceanside, CA (2)
37. Parks, AZ (2)
38. Placentia, CA (2)
39. Placentia, CA (3)
40. Spokane, WA
What is most interesting to us about our Spokane move is that Spokane has been selected by us, for us.  Most of my other moves have been dictated by employment, the economy, or current situation.  Spokane is a grown-up move.  We have researched and selected Spokane based on everything it offers us as a family and each of us individually.
Is Spokane our end all?  Who am I to say?  Home is where my heart is, wherever that may be.
 

My Daily Blog T-12 And So It Begins June 7, 2013

It’s starting.

Yesterday, my 6th grader had to read a speech he had written about his elementary school experience in front of his class, as did all of his classmates, to select a student to read their commencement speech at 6th grade promotion next week.  I read the speech he had written, it was simple yet emotionally strong enough to make my eyes well up with tears.  No wonder then, that while he was standing in front of the class reading his speech, he stumbled when he read he would miss his friends.  He cried and couldn’t continue so his teacher finished reading his speech. We know this move is not easy on him but to have to publicly display his 12-year-old emotions is rough.

Today at a our son’s third grade class Reader’s Theatre production of Charlotte’s Web, I felt a wave of emotional finality at the elementary school.  I said my first “goodbye in case I don’t see you next week”. Goodbyes are going to happen, the countdown is getting close to single digits, goodbyes are inevitable.  I just wasn’t ready at 9 AM.  I need time to prepare.  I need time to brace myself.  I need to bring tissues!

We have been at our elementary school for 6 years.   We have made many great friends. Five families are  hosting a going away party for us tonight.  Their thoughtfulness, kindness, and generosity humble me completely.  Everyone’s excited except no one wants the party to happen to have to say goodbye…except our youngest who just wants to go swimming and eat tacos.  He’s ready to party.  This is our last big event, our last get-together.

In our virtual world, goodbyes aren’t as forever and final as they once were due to limitations with high-priced long distance calls and the chore of writing a letter.  Goodbyes are not any easier though.  My son may play virtual FIFA Soccer video games with his OC friends, but won’t play on the same real soccer team.  I can email and text my friends but I won’t volunteer with them, see them regularly or just hang out.  Virtual and real living are not the same.  Living in Spokane will not be the same as living in OC, nor do we want it to be.  We want change and the price tag for change is that our lives won’t be the same. With friends, that’s difficult and emotional.

Don’t forget the tissues, there will be plenty of tears.

 

T-16 Persevere June 3, 2013

No ink on my skin, just so you know.   Tattoos are interesting and have a great history. Tattoos fascinate me. Tweety Bird or other Looney Tune characters always make me look at the person twice. Personally, the importance or connection to one specific character is odd.  Why not the entire cast or a funny scene depicted instead? Why people choose the tats they do could be an endless research project for someone other than me.  For me, there isn’t a picture or symbol that is meaningful enough that stand the test of time, forever. Words, however, are more powerful to me.  Though not enough to brand into my skin.  The Inspector Gadget digital display hat band is more my style.  Or if rotating tattoos were possible, my forehead would be the location of choice.  Today’s digital display would read:  Persevere.

My youngest said when he started kindergarten, “Why do we go to school 5 days but only have 2 days off?  That’s not fair”.  No son, it isn’t fair, welcome to the world.  If sports have Hell Week, this is our Butt Dragging Week. Coming off a busy weekend and late nights, we are definitely in prime butt dragging mode.  My house, me included, did not want to get out of bed this morning. There are 10 days left until school is out, this is the last week of “work”. Sixth grade has final tests all week (as if they have any brain power left), second and third grade have tests and plays to perform. Homework all week as well. The kids are mentally checked out.

Then there is the other part of life.  For me, we have the pending move which is motivating me to get stuff done.  For the kids, who are struggling with their emotions with the move, each day closer to the actual move is more and more difficult.  “We must persevere” is not what they want to hear, nor what anyone wants to hear, in times of struggle.  For me, compassionately parenting the woeful is my challenge.

What we need is a rally cry.  Where is William Wallace when you need him?  Maybe we just need face paint and kilts?  (Armor, battle axes, shields, or other battle gear intentionally excluded). That would definitely change things up around here.  Oh wait, that’s a battle cry.  No battles against tyranny allowed in my house where we could mistakenly (in our opinion) be viewed as tyrannical parents. You must move, you must go to school, you must take tests, you must do homework.  Yep, that us.

We need a cheer!  And cheerleaders!  Go Team Go! Give me a P.E.S.E.V.E.R.E. Yeah!  Persevere!  Woo!

Or maybe something in between.  Taking each day as it comes, each obstacle/hurdle/emotion along with it, and doing our best to persevere.

 

 

 

 

T-19 No Bounty May 31, 2013

We have yet to move, but I already miss – my garden.  In order to move, we had to rip out the garden and plant grass to make the area look more (boring, like wasted space, and failing are words that come to mind) …cohesive.

I have cousins reaping 30+ pounds of asparagus in Michigan!  Friends are spending time at the nurseries to pick just the right plants, planting and watering ready to reap what they sow! Oh how I long to dig in the dirt, plot and plan and watch it grow. Flowers, vegetables and fruit, I miss it all.

That’s not entirely true.  I don’t miss pulling weeds or having to get up early to work in the garden before the temperatures rise.  Or figuring out what is wrong with a plant or what bug or rodent is chowing down on whatever is growing. There are definite parts of gardening that I don’t miss.

Spokane has a shorter growing season than Southern California and I’ll have to adapt.  The first year we will be without a true garden, maybe I’ll be able to manage to get something planted if I act soon.  Next spring, though, I have big plans.

Share your gardening adventures with me!  What have you planted?  What do you plan to grow?  Let me live through you.