Saturday, July 11, 2009

'Bama Update

Hey friends! We're getting settled here in Birmingham finally.

Well, I should say that I am getting settled, as Jason is still in Greenville waiting (for the 3rd week now), to hear about whether he is going to get the job with Verizon here. Ugh! Every few days they find someone else he needs to interview with, then it's a holiday, then someone's out of town, then it's Yom Kippur or some craziness.

Anyway, we (me and Chloe the Super Chihuahua) are here and gettin' our learn on... Who knew there was this much stuff to know?? Yikes! Thankfully, I am in "fellow kindergarten" this month, just doing some clinic, looking at slides (Ummm, is that a white blood cell? It is? Yay me!), getting some lectures, and trying to figure out where things are. First off, UAB is... um, GINORMOUS - compared to Greenville. Thankfully the medicine is pretty similar, just a lot more of it. But I'm diggin' the blood stuff and the faculty here is wonderful.

My mom came and visited for 2 1/2 weeks right after we moved, which was wonderful because she helped unpack, cook, clean, put stuff away... It was AWESOME. We're talking about warm banana bread waiting for me after I came home from work. Clean bathrooms. Folded and ironed clothes. She even scraped, refinished and painted an old bedside table that we've been hauling around for years. I do not remember her doing all this stuff when I was a kid. Why did I ever leave home?? Well, she went back to Idaho yesterday, so I'm on my own again. It's probably best though, because now I can just focus on studying and reading as much as I can before I start on the BMT and inpatient services in August. And after all the craziness with the move, it's wonderful to have some (relative) downtime.

For those who didn't hear, the move to Birmingham was atrocious.

  • First off, it was hot. Seriously hot. Like a sauna on the surface of the Sun.

  • The air conditioning went out in my car the day before the move. So we were stuck driving Jason's beater around, complete with the ear-piercing-fan-belt-squeal and convenient, overheat-at-every-stoplight features.

  • The movers couldn't fit everything in the Uhaul, so ~ 1/4 of our stuff is still in our garage in Greenville.

  • By the grace of God, we finally got the truck loaded, and then... Jason's car wouldn't start. But somehow it did, and off we went.

  • After getting to Birmingham, the A/C in the house was on the fritz and it was 80 degrees inside, but only in the master bedroom and bath, then only two rooms not filled to the brim with stuff.

  • The movers (not sure if it was loaders or unloaders) demolished my bookshelves and wounded every piece of my new grown-up bedroom furniture.

  • Two days after arriving, I got to spend my birthday in Orientation, only to arrive back at our house to hear that Jason's grandmother had just died.

  • Before we left Greenville, we weren't able to get my car fixed because of time constraints. It was also going to cost $900. We found a mechanic here, who was recommended by one of the doctors at the hospital. The mechanic apparently thought that $1700 was a better asking price for an A/C compressor. But they were conveniently located next to Enterprise, where we rented a car for the next 5 days. But at least we had air conditioning. And a tin of cookies from the mechanic afterwards. Seriously. They had them shipped to the house. I've never seen cookies that cost roughly $200 each. They were good.

  • The installer for DirecTV blatantly lied to us when he came to do the install, saying that he didn't have all the parts he needed, and he didn't have the right ladder, and on and on... I guess satellite installation is a hot commodity, because they couldn't reschedule it for 5 days. So no TV for 5 days. Already without it for 3 days because our TV was in the box. I was starting to twitch from withdrawl. Then had to reschedule installation again because of the funeral, which pushed it back to the next week (!), which was completely unacceptable. Pitched a fit and they came the next morning.

  • Verizon has continued to string Jason along throughout all of this, so he's spent the last two weeks in Zack and Jessica's guest room in Greenville.

All that aside, things are looking up. We have started visiting a church that we really like so far. All our neighbors are little old ladies, ranging from ages 50-something to 70-something, which I love because everything is quiet and they take care of their stuff. Our townhouse is close to everything, and now thanks to Mom it looks more like a house and less like a storage unit.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Kill from the Great House Hunt

Hey all! We just got back last night from our most recent trip to Birmingham for the final round of the Great House Hunt. We emerged victorious and are now the proud new renters of a fabulous townhouse in Hoover, AL. With no yard! Yay at no yard work. We did a solid 3 days of searching, and finally decided on one of the first ones that we saw. I really tried to change our crazy ways with the number of places that we actually looked at, because really, how many do you have to see? In the past, we have looked at dozens of apartments in a single weekend, only to end up with one that we had picked out online anyway. I was just not in the mood for that. We ended up looking at 6 or 7 houses/townhouses, and had it narrowed to 2 pretty quickly. One was a 3 bedroom spacious brick townhouse that has been redone inside, and the other was a 2 bedroom on a lake that must have beed designed by the Golden Girls. Complete with pastel flowered wallpaper and gold/brass fixtures. Nothing against the Golden Girls. I just don't want to live in their house. In the end, the 2 bedroom was just not quite big enough, and more space won the day. I guess we can live on a lake later. Boo. :-( I'd rather live there now. But I'd rather have plenty of room.

So today I hit the packing hard and heavy. So far, I have done NOTHING. For those that know me, this is a huge departure. For each of our last moves, I think I started packing at least 2 or 3 months ahead of time, had my moving timeline printed out, complete with extensive Dewey-Decimal-style labeling system for easy reference to box contents. I just haven't really been into it this time... I'm not sure if it's because I'm tired from the end of residency, or not looking forward to this and procrastinating (probably that one), or what, but I haven't done anything at all. I guess on some level I thought I had to know where we were going first, and didn't feel like it was time to do anything else until that was done. I am certain I will pay the price for this. However, today I did get the dining room, closet and part of the office packed in just a couple of hours. So maybe all is not lost...

I cannot believe that in just under 3 weeks I will be finishing residency, leaving South Carolina and starting over again. There is just SO much to finish before we leave, so even though I'm not over the edge yet, I can see it from here. I wonder what it is like for people that never leave their hometown. That must be nice. I think they have the right idea.

BTW, we have a LOVELY home for sale in Greenville. Seriously, someone please come buy my house. And give my husband a job. That would be awesome. (Jason actually does have an interview on Thursday for a store manager job with Verizon, which are incredibly hard to come by, so please keep praying for us and for him this week!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Start of a Fabulous Vacation

So I have not fallen off the edge of the earth, didn't end up in a padded cell after my crazy call month. It has been a crazy winter, and I've gotten away from blogging (obviously). But I'm back, and with far less pressure on myself, and much happier now because we are starting our vacation this weekend!
We have not taken a planned, away-from-family, go-do-something-touristy vacation in years. Needless to say, I have pretty high hopes for this week.

The goal was to slowly make our way to Washington DC to see friends after spending a day or so in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, all the while trying to be free and pretend to not have a plan. But you know what God says about plans. He has laughed in our face this weekend. Our plans were thwarted by a crazy big rain/snow storm that pummelled the south with inches of snow in ludicrous places like Birmingham and Atlanta.

This was what Day 1 looked like.
We started out on Saturday morning headed towards Charlotte and Greensboro, then skipped over to Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and then over to the coast. I was SO excited to get to the ocean that I didn't really care how bad it was raining. I don't know what it is about the water that fills me with absolute unspeakable joy. The smell of saltwater, the sand on the side of the road, palm trees and sand dunes and beach houses up on stilts. I could live on the beach for the rest of my life and be completely content.
We found a place to stay, and a very good place to eat, and then chilled out in the hot tub. Ahhh... I went out on the patio of the hotel, unfortunately under construction, which limited our view, but the sound was what was impressive. I have never appreciated the actual roar to the ocean before, this underlying tenor like a Siren-song, constant and unwavering, hypnotizing. Only today it is accompanied by stormy rain and fierce winds, which added a certain defensivenss and aggression that demanded respect. Although I was standing on the safety of the hotel's patio deck, I was captivated by the power of the water. It felt a little like if you suddenly found yourself in the bear cage at the zoo, logically thinking they probably wouldn't hurt you, but the capacity was certainly there...
After breakfast (and 2 hours worth of weather reports), we checked out and decided to limit the excursions around the Outer Banks to just driving north towards VA. One stop we did make was to the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk, NC. I would recommend it if you are out that way, but do not try it in the wind and rain. Some of the coolest parts are outside and this was not the best day to try to see all of it. I'll post some other pictures from there if I can figure out this Picasa thing. From there, we drove through Norfolk, taking the interstate past the Naval Base in the hopes of seeing some cool ships and stuff, but alas, thwarted by fog and rain again. We finally made it to Williamsburg but the weather was still wet, windy, and increasingly cold, with snow likely coming soon. We decided to call it quits on any more tourist-ing for now, and to head on to DC tonight to at least get ahead of the worst of the weather. I'm really glad that we did.
I'm so thankful that I've grown enough to not have a complete come-apart when things don't go the way I intended. It was frustrating to not spend more time at the beach, to not see the boats at Norfolk, to change plans for Colonial Williamsburg. But I think my greatest expression of malcontent for the trip so far was, "Rats." I don't know what has come over me. Maybe I'm just so grateful to be unshackled from the rigors of a schedule. Or so grateful to get to see these places that I've always wondered about that I just don't care.
So plans are funny. What is funnier is how we react when plans don't go according to plan. Actually, it's not funny at all when it's happening to us. Right then it sucks. A lot. Now, I am speaking for those of us who cannot buy gas or make a sandwich without a plan. Why do we get so wrapped up in making the path lie down in front of us? Can we not go forth and make out our own path, hap-hazard and crooked and fraught with untimeliness? Gasp! How would anything ever get done the right way?