On boxes and bureaucracies…

22 Aug

Been negotiating all the muddied waters of a move — where is the ..?  What is this, and why did we pack it..?  Where can we keep this?

Everything gets lost, because nothing has a Place yet.  But slowly the boxes are dwindling.  I have a small card with a bad photo and a Virginia address on it.  Curtins are up in many of the windows.  First bills for services here have begun to arrive.  Art is being hung on the walls.

Kevin has added the extra work of navigating school to his load.  Orientations, rehearsals, social meetings, and scheduling all of the above are beginning to demand his time.

Moon still has weeks to go, and we hope to find out her teacher’s name next week.  For now, she reads through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as her bedtime story, plays with her brothers, and sleeps on a mat on the floor (a bed arrives next week).  We work our way slowly through the generic school supply list provided by her new school (four eight ounce bottles of glue, un-labled.  24 crayons, each with name), knowing more lists will come when classroom specifics are nailed down.  I find myself wishing I could linger on the time with her, knowing it will be gone soon.  But then one of the boys gets into something he shouldn’t, and the moment for any wistful anything is gone.

Pollux is standing on his own now, doing deep knee bends and applauding his own performance.  He is so very pleased with himself.  And also so very frustrated by what he cannot do — tantrums are starting to rear their ugly head, complete with fists and feet hitting the floor.

Castor remains more even keel, general smiling and happy but less exhuberant than his brother (and has yet to tantrum).  He plays happily on his own or with others, and is speaking more and more clearly.  Less vocabulary, more easily understood when he does speak.  He can climb to the back of our couch, onto chairs, beds, etc on his own.  If things are quiet, someone is into something they shouldn’t be.

Words in the general vocabulary now are: “Kitty!” (both) “Hi!” (Castor), “Dog!” (Pollux), “Look!” (Pollux), “Duck!” (Pollux).

I have a library card here now, which seems a strange combination of badge of honor and guilty betrayal.  Will most likely try and take the kids to “Book Babies” and “Preschool Storytime” at our local branch this next week while Kevin is busy with school obligations.  More on our new locale later, when things are less tired.


POD-People No More!

11 Aug

The POD was picked up this morning, bright and early.  That must be where all these boxes came from.  Why do we have so much stuff?

Good morning, moving day!

4 Aug

It’s moving day! Hooray! We’ll just park the POD…

… Damn it.

In-suite cinema

2 Aug

Ah, the things you do when you’re stuck in a hotel room or friend’s couch/basement for the 60th day, and need to find something to do with the five year old besides arguing about vegetable ingestion…

Shot and edited on one of our new iPhones.  Have to say, I’m not impressed with the App version of iMovie- can’t clip clips, can’t add music without it completely replacing the existing audio track, can’t adjust audio levels, etc etc, but it’s just a phone, so I shouldn’t expect too much.

Today was a bucket of fail for the most part; folks short on sleep and cranky, arguments about food at two instead of the usual one meal per day, several hours at the DMV before they told us they couldn’t process our new plates yet because the system in WA used to confirm VIN numbers is down for some reason, but they’d call (they haven’t).  Tried to pull it out of that with a nap for Mrs. Damn, some quality playtime (if not quality movie-making) with Moon, cooking dinner, cleaning up, reading story, doing laundry, etc, but overall it’s still at best a wash.

Which reminds me- time to go transfer laundry…

Plant seeds, add fertilizer

30 Jul

So we’re here now, but our arrival is being dragged out like a William Shatner death scene… which I suppose might be helping keep it from overwhelming us, so I probably shouldn’t complain.  I hear gift horses have halitosis.

Chandra’s WA plates expire next week, so some of the stuff you might usually try to deal with in the tail-end of your moving-in process is instead the prelude for us (no, not Honda Prelude, that was my first car).  Here in VA I’ve noticed they like to do things in person, and require lots of runaround, forms, etc.  Cases in point: they won’t let you do things online, as when they gracefully acknowledge the complete lack of any online listing of state-approved inspection locations for the multiple required inspections, for example.  Instead they show a picture of what the sign looks like, so when you’re driving around your town you know what to look for in the window of the car shop.  Works great if you already live here and know where to check… otherwise, not so much.  The parking permit we needed for the PODs delivery couldn’t be done online or over the phone either, and required a couple hours in city hall, multiple signatures from different departments, and would normally then be mailed to you in a couple weeks.  Please explain to me how this is supposed to be the standard procedure for people moving here; you have to be here to get the permit, which is then mailed to… where, exactly?  When?  Even the Kindergarten registration had to be done in person.

Their in-state tuition rules suck too, which I’m having to pay for big-time; actual time in state residence doesn’t matter, you also have to prove that you did not move to the state with the intent to go to school and get in-state tuition.  Guilty until proven innocent, and having been accepted almost two years before I came, that’d be a hard case to fight.  In many states, I’d be getting in-state tuition my second year, just for having been living there a year.

So here, in order to get new plates, you need to do inspections, fill out forms, prove residency, and get in-state Drivers licenses first- those in turn requiring Passports, Social Security cards, copy of Lease or other proof of in-state residence, etc.  We got the drivers licenses taken care of today, although the real cards won’t be ready for a while.

Does VA really not want more people?  They do seem to make it more of a pain to move here than I remember WA ever being.

We’re staying at an extended-stay hotel suite, which is both cheaper and nicer than most of the straight-out hotels we’ve been in this trip.  No pool or free breakfast, both of which Moon mourns, but having at least one door you can close is great, as is the kitchenette and free laundry.  Even with the suite setup I still sometimes have to take someone outside, so as to not wake the 5yo we’re trying to get to sleep on the fold-out couch in one room, or the other twin who’s starting to fall asleep in the other.

Cruising the hallways

Our free time, as such, is about setting up utilities installations (which can be just as difficult and bureaucratic as the government agencies, which makes me suspect cultural rather than official causes), trying to remember what all to change the addresses and phone numbers for online (and just beginning to memorize the new info after repeated entries on forms), trying to keep up with existing accounts (our between the POD shipment, hotels, gas, etc the AmEx bill this month makes me want to cry) figuring out registration and schedule for my courses (still working on that, thanks to some apparent conflicts in what I was told to do), and otherwise tying up the loose ends of a string we don’t even really have fully in hand, yet.

Best laid plans of mice and men…

30 Jul

And sometimes, even the shoddy plans we make go awry. No Montauk, just South to North Carolina where it was inexplicably cooler than Virginia (Where the temp hovered around 104).  That heat and humidity we were forgetting back in Colorado is here with a vengeance.

Here are some photos of time with Grandpa in the triangle area:

In a strange limbo now, a time of bureaucracies and city permits while we wait for our lease to start, prepping for the move.  Feels so close and yet so far.

Not all who wander have somewhere to go home to…

26 Jul

So what was meant to be a travel blog may be coming to its end, shortly.  What was meant to be a cross-country adventure with many interesting and educational stops, the longest being in Colorado and New York, changed.  What was meant to be well documented, wasn’t.  Apologies all around.

The latter half of our mileage ended up being a mad dash through scorching heat, unable to stop for more than five minutes without fear of the cats dying in a hot car, until the end-of-day stop at a pet-friendly (or at least tolerant, for varying extra fees) hotel, the ritual unloading of two cars, the finding of fast food, the arguments about food, Moon being up later than she should, and then a mad dash to get everything back in the car to do it again in the morning.  Any hope of interesting sight-seeing stops got splattered on the windshield somewhere back in Utah, I think.

We did get the check engine light fixed under warranty, and the laptop fixed under Applecare, both for free, so some of the trials have had happy endings.  Likewise the brand-new, top-of-the-line iPhone that Mrs. Damn’s been wanting forever and that we finally got was stolen two days later, but also recovered within an hour or two due to Mobile-Me tracking and the assistance of the Chapel Hill Police Department.  Things could be much worse, but they haven’t been the most photogenic, or made for the best stories.

It’s also been an anticlimactic series of re-runs, as well.  First I flew to PA, then flew back so we could drive to PA.  Then we felt the need to go take care of some chores in Richmond (Moon’s school registration, securing a parking permit for the POD, etc), and at that point between the driving and the decreased time left and the setup that would need to happen in the currently unoccupied residence at Montaulk, Mrs. Damn decided to forgo that leg of the journey.  The hotel we were in while in VA was overpriced and mediocre, though, having been chosen for being on the North end of Richmond (as I thought we were just coming from and going back to the North shortly).   We ended up invading Grandpa Damn down in North Carolina, where we’re currently camped out in his living room.  Still not sure exactly when we’re heading up to Richmond, although it will have to be prior to our move-in date if only so we can find a way to block off the parking spaces (30 feet worth of street parking) we bought that permit for.

I’m not sure what Mrs. Damn, whose I consider this blog’s creator and owner, will opt to do from here.  Continuing to chronicle our adventures here would turn a travel blog in to a cabin-fever-due-to-heatwave, no-home, fighting over food with the 5yo, trying-to-stop-babies-from-killing-themselves, tired-of-eating-out, frustrated-with-not-being-able-to-get-anything-done, wish-we-had-our-own-space blog, which really isn’t something worth re-living or imposing on others I would think.

At any rate, this blog may well do more wandering than we do for a little while, and like the rest of us I’m not entirely sure what it will become when it gets wherever it’s going.  Still, feel free to come along for the ride.  There’s always room for one more… as long as you don’t mind cramped quarters, crying, and the smell of a warm litter box in the back.

Experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by

17 Jul

Unfortunetaly technology is conspiring against us. I type this on a hotel computer in a WordPress box that isn’t displaying the type, so I’m flying blind as it were- pardon any typos. Mrs. Damn’s laptop died, and we’re still without phones that will do anythingother than text-only email. Add to that a check engine light in the new Mazda and I’m feeling a bit let down by our devices, but such is life. Twitpics will continue in the sidebar, as we’re able.

We’ve had various changes of plans… I flew out of Denver to visit my grandmother in Penswood Villlage, where she’s planning as graceful an exit as possible despite increasing discomfort. Had a couple days there with my father as well, then flew back to Denver, and drove with the family back through Kansas, Missouri, Indiana (with a stop at our alma matter, Earlham College), Ohio, W. VA, Western PA, and today’s drive through PA with diversions through MD when I forgot we’d levft on a feature in the GPS to avoid toll roads.  It’s been a pretty hellish week, overall, and everyone’s been at the end of their ropes.  Did make it in time to have dinner in Pennswood though, and for my grandmother to finally meet the twins.

From here, we’ll have tomorrow morning again with my grandmother and the Uncle who’s been with her for the last couple weeks, then head to Richmond VA to tackle some initial logisttics (school registration for Moon, parekingpoermit for the moving pod and the cars, check on the laptop and car problems, etcf.then back up here to PA then on to Montaulk NY, then back.

At any rate, wish us luck, and I hope we’re able to be more connected in the near future… ideally without having to spend too many more hundreds of dollars this trip…

Things Left Un-Blogged

15 Jul
  • The Flat Tire.  On a related note, Tomichi Tires in Gunnison, CO is awesome.
  • The Tornado.  Spotted out the window while driving to Denver, CO.
  • Being on my own with the kids for a day and a half in Denver, CO.  Funny how there is no time for blogging when that happens.
  • The change in route that has us going through:
  • Kansas.  Flat.  108 degrees.  Evil.  Enough said.
  • No functional internet in Kansas hotel.  Enough said.

Enough for now, hope to see you next in Indiana!

Where We’ve Been: Kansas

14 Jul

Kansas is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe’s name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean “people of the wind” or “people of the south wind,” although this was probably not the term’s original meaning. Residents of Kansas are called “Kansans.”
Historically, the area was home to large numbers of nomadic Native Americans who hunted bison. It was first settled by European Americans in the 1830s, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue. When officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine if Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. After the Civil War, the population of Kansas grew exponentially, when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into productive farmland. Today, Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states, producing many crops, and leading the nation in wheat, sorghum and sunflower production most years.

Kansas is also home to the cries of “Are we there yet?”,  “My bottom hurts!”,  “How much longer?”.  Good riddance, Kansas.  Dorothy can keep you.