Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hiding out in northwest San Antonio...

Bill has gone to supervise the movers as they put all our stuff on the truck.  I have a feeling this move is going to be a bit half-assed.  But it's easier for me to stay here with the dogs, so they don't run amok while people are coming in and out of the truck.  There's a lot to get done today, but at least just about everything was moved to the downstairs area or the garage.  That should speed things up.

The packers didn't quite finish packing, though, and I have a feeling this last piece could take longer for that reason.  I swear, this last month in that house has been a nightmare and this move is very painful.  I don't want to say it's as bad as last year's move was, but it's coming pretty close so far.  That poor packer that got food poisoning did the lion's share of the work all by herself yesterday.  She did not look well when she left.

Yesterday, Bill took the dogs to the military vets to get our Germany paperwork.  He said they were very impressed by how fit Zane and Arran are.  It's true, I'm not good at keeping myself svelte, but I am pretty good at keeping our hounds at their optimal weights.  I think Arran just has a very fast metabolism, but I did see an old photo of him when he was almost fat.  I recently started giving him more food because he was a little too thin.  He's gained a couple of pounds and looks better now.  Zane is looking great.  He's very finicky for a beagle, though.  In fact, though he's been guarding it from Arran, there's a bowl of food on the floor waiting for when Zane is ready to eat it.

I hate sitting in hotels with dogs.  It's hard to keep them quiet when they react to noises or want to play.  It'll be somewhat worse in Germany, although they are pretty nice about letting you take them in public.  Fortunately, the dogs we have now aren't as troublesome as the ones we had last time we moved to Germany.  They are friendlier and not as noisy.

I still have too much stuff.  Both the bag I want to check and my carry on are stuffed with stuff.  I need to get rid of some of it before Saturday.  This really has been the month from hell.  I hope it doesn't continue into August.

  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I made my mom very happy...

After I visited my dad in the hospital on July 6, I told my mom I'd make her a CD of some of my songs.  I sent it to her the other day.  She got it and listened to it.  Today, she left me a message on my phone, telling me how much she loved the CD.  She said it made her cry and it was the first time she'd cried since my dad died.  She said she really needed to cry, so she thanked me for that.  How many times in a lifetime does your mom thank you for making her cry?  My mom must have really loved the CD.  If something sucks, she says so.

That's one thing nice that's happened today.  So far, the rest of the day has rather sucked.  The storage movers only sent two people and they aren't even close to being done.  It's 3:00 and we have to get packed up and loaded out tomorrow.  They still need to do the garage and pack up the kitchen.  They ran out of dish packs and can't finish until they get more.  Bill and I have had to cart stuff downstairs because we need the upstairs empty so the carpets can be cleaned.

ETA: One of the packers left early and the other one ate Chinese food from a gas station and got food poisoning.  She really didn't look well when we finally finished around 7:00.

Last year, we had a shitload of people show up and make a mess of things.  This year, we have two people moving too slowly and without enough supplies.  The guys who were here last week were really great.  I wish they could have done our whole move.

I'm going to stay at the hotel tomorrow and look after the dogs.  That way, the movers can get in and out without having to worry about them getting loose and I don't have to worry about losing my wits.

When I get to Germany, I will make my mom another CD with hymns as she requested.  Hopefully, we'll find a house that is free standing.  I wouldn't want to disturb the neighbors.

I'm just glad I don't have to go back to that house ever again.
  

In a hotel...

Yesterday, less than two hours before the prospective appointment, the real estate idiots called again for another showing.  My house looks like a tornado hit it.  There is stuff strewn all over the place.  No matter.  We gotta show the shitty house, despite the fact that I'm tired, sweaty, and in dire need of a shower and a cold beer.

So these folks made an appointment from 6:00 to 7:00.  Because we no longer have a bed in the house, we had plans to go to a hotel last night.  But we had to wait for the real estate idiots because Bill needed to deadbolt the door.  It's not unheard of for real estate idiots not to lock up after they leave.

So we waited...  and they showed up at 6:57, just as Bill was taking all the trash out (there was a lot). The real estate dick was all "Didn't they tell you we were coming?"

Bill looked at his watch and said, "From 6 to 7."

So then the guy asks if we're the homeowners and how we like the neighborhood.  Bill was honest.  He showed the cute pregnant lady who was with her husband the blood spots on the driveway.  They are mostly washed away now.  Their tour lasted less than five minutes; then they were out.  I think they could tell we were irritated, although Bill was his usually super nice self and welcomed them.   When they were finished looking, the lady said to me, "Thanks for letting us see the house.  Mine will soon look like this too."  They seemed like a nice couple... too nice for that neighborhood. I know I looked pissy, but then that's how I usually feel when I'm moving... especially when I also have to deal with prospective tenants.

I get that the house needs to be shown, but I think forcing us to deal with these folks when we're in the midst of packing and cleaning is a huge waste of time.  It pisses us off and makes us less inclined to be positive about the property or the property managers.  Also,  who wants to lease a house that looks like shit?  It'll be cleaned up on Thursday afternoon and much more presentable.  And we won't be there to send out bad vibes.  I have to say, this particular property management group has been especially aggravating to deal with.  I look forward to writing a complete review once we're safely out of our lease.

I think our landlord needs to drop the rent a bit.  It's too high for the area and that house.  He got lucky with us because of the situation we were in last year.  I will never make that mistake again.

We loaded up our pimpmobile rental car and drove to a La Quinta way on the other side of San Antonio, because it's close to where Bill's mom lives and she's driving us to the airport in Houston on Saturday.  It takes about 40 minutes to get to our soon to be former home from this property.

The good news is that the storage folks are coming today to pack up the rest of our stuff.  Hopefully, they will be able to load it.  Tomorrow, the carpet guy is coming.  I don't intend to be there for that.  Friday, we will rest up, relax, take care of any unfinished business, and Saturday, we're out of here.

The dogs are being pretty good so far.  Zane only barked once last night when I was eating my dinner.  Hopefully, they will continue to be good hotel guests when we're in Germany.  Germans love dogs, but only when they are well-behaved.  We booked for nine days at a gasthaus near where Bill will be working.  I doubt that will be enough time, but at least we have somewhere to go when we arrive jet lagged as hell on Sunday.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another part of the move is done... or bye bye yucky furniture from the 70s!

I called USAA yesterday to ask why they declined my credit card.  Turns out there was a discrepancy in addresses.  My card, which I have been using as seldom as possible since we moved last year, was still associated with our North Carolina address.  Bill naturally input our Texas address into the shipping service's Web site.  The lady at USAA who helped me was pretty awesome and is a credit to the company.  With that straightened out, I made a big charge so our cars will ship.

Today, we're going to get rid of some ugly 70s era bedroom furniture I inherited from my parents.  We have a full sized bed that used to be used by one of my sisters.  Two dressers, a vanity, a bench and two big mirrors are also going.  I'm glad to see them go.  We never use the second guest room and even if we did, I'd prefer to update it with some decent furniture.  We're donating the stuff...  hopefully they can use it.  Wish they could take the yucky mattress, too.  We were going to have a junk dealer take it, but I think we'll just put it in storage and dispose of it when we get back to the States.


Tomorrow, the rest of our stuff will be packed up and moved into storage.  Bill brought me a bottle of champagne yesterday because I was in a foul mood.  Then he took me out to lunch.  We had a very handsome waiter at Macaroni Grill.  I had a good time with some "art therapy"...


If I had curly hair, this would look like me.

We hung out and talked last night...  My mood was vastly improved by the time we went to bed.  Bill is excited about going to work again.  I'm excited that he's going to work, too. 

I called my mom last night to discuss some business with her.  I asked if she'd mind if Bill spoke at my dad's memorial in November.  Bill understood my dad on a level most couldn't.  Mom was fine with it.  Then she asked me what songs I would be singing.  I hope I can pull it off without losing it.  I sent my mom a CD with some of my recordings.  One of the songs I want to do is not on the CD because I haven't been able to make a recording I've been satisfied with yet.  Bill requested that I sing it, though, so I'll try to.

I invited my mom to Germany, too.  Told her we were even bringing an extra bed.  Maybe this time, she'll make it.  I don't think she's ever been to Germany, though she's been to a lot of other places.

Slowly, but surely, this is working out.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Why can't I have a normal life?

This has been the month from hell.  This morning, Bill tried to pay for shipping our cars with my credit card, which has a huge limit and plenty of room left on it.  It should have been a simple transaction, but the damn card was declined.  I'm sure it's a simple issue that will be rectified with relative ease.  Still, it annoys me that we have to deal with it.  It annoys me that we have to spend so much money we don't have to get to the one place that seemed interested in giving Bill a job... a place that is thousands of miles away.  I love Germany; I really do... I'm just sick of this process and we're not even halfway through it.  Why couldn't we find a place in Texas?  I mean, we'd be moving anyway... but we wouldn't be dealing with all this logistical shit.


Musical interlude.  This song sums up my feelings right now.

Why can't I be a normal person living in a normal place with a normal job?  I know... I would get bored doing that.  I like living abroad.  I don't like the logistics of moving abroad.  It's bad enough when the Army pays for it and arranges everything.  It really sucks when you have to do it yourself.

I think Zane senses the tension.  This morning, I was talking to Bill and I know I sounded irritated.  Part of the reason we have to use my credit card is because Bill let his ex wife ruin his finances.  He has recovered from that, except for the fact that he doesn't have as much credit as I do.  Ridiculous, isn't it?  He makes the money, but I have more credit.  So big purchases usually fall to me and then we pay them off.  This time, my credit card needs to handle moving our cars.  I was bitching about that and no doubt sounding upset.

Zane started whining, acting like he was hungry or something.  Turns out he just wanted to play.  I think he sensed us arguing and decided to distract us with a play session.  He doesn't like it when I get upset.  He's very sensitive.  It's possible that he was just bored, but I think he wanted to get us to lighten up.  


This is what I should do, right?  Turn it off...

We'll get through this.  I just wish it would end already.  In a month, I may be less tense.  I may be living in a new house or a hotel room.  But we'll be in Germany... probably still driving a rental car as we try to keep the dogs from annoying people.  Moving to Germany sucks.  Being there is awesome, though... and it's probably worth all this grief.  At the very least, Bill has a job and it will pay enough... at least for the first year, right?

In a few days, we'll get retirement pay for the first time, which is a nice thing.  It would have been nice if we'd gotten it July 15th.  Maybe I wouldn't be so fucking tense right now if that had happened.  

July 2014 in review...

1.  My dad goes into the hospital for emergency gallbladder surgery.  It fucks up what's left of his health and we have to race to Virginia to see him one last time.  It's not a bad trip, though it is a bit stressful because of how weird death makes people.

2.  My dad dies.

3.  Property managers threaten us with $50 charges because we dare to ask for a couple of days without showings.  We get bombarded with showings because this house is overpriced and sucks.    

4.  Bill doesn't get his official hire letter until a couple of weeks into July, at which point we realize that the move is going to be partly funded on our dime... which we don't have, because we didn't get Bill's retirement check.  Fortunately, we have my CD, which I started saving a couple of years ago and doesn't quite cover the cost of sending our cars to Germany, but we have to live on it because Bill hasn't been paid yet.

5.  Moving just flat out sucks, regardless of where you're moving to.  I haven't been feeling well this month, either.

6.  These are all first world problems, but they still stress me out.


Perspective...  I need it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I think I turned off another tenant... ;)

Now that we only have a few days left, I've noticed my attitude is becoming more DILLIGAF.  Yesterday, the real estate fuckers called about a 2:00 appointment to show the house.  I was annoyed, because I typically spend the day in my nightie on Saturdays and Sundays if I don't have something else going on.  Anyway, I got dressed.  At about a quarter to two, we got another phone call telling us that the appointment was postponed an hour.

Then at just before 2:00, the doorbell rang.  An Army guy and his wife were standing at our front door.  They said they were there to meet the real estate agent.  Bill laughed and said, "I guess she didn't tell you the appointment was postponed?"

The guy said she hadn't, so we availed ourselves to their questions.  I told them I wasn't wild about the neighborhood or the house.  I didn't get too much into specifics, but we left them with a distinct impression that this house sucks and so do the property managers.  Bill was very friendly and gave the guy the scoop on the commute to Fort Sam.  Then we said we'd be here if they wanted to check it out later.

I told Bill, "I bet they cancel."  Sure enough, about a half an hour later, the service called to cancel the appointment.

I celebrated by swimming nude while drinking copious amounts of beer.

Went to bed before 9:00 and slept like a baby.

Maybe I shouldn't be so hostile, but if someone asks me about this house, I'm going to be honest.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A non moving related post... God wants you to help her become a lawyer!

Kudos to my Facebook friend, Scooter, who posted this article about Julianna Battenfield, a pretty, Christian, Furman University graduate who wants to be a lawyer.  She has applied and been accepted to Pat Robertson's Regent University in Virginia.  Having grown up near Pat Robertson's Christian empire, I know about Regent.  Battenfield has a long and expensive road ahead of her.  How does she plan to pay for law school?

Well... according to her blog, Ms. Battenfield has declined all student loans because God told her to.  But she needs $55,000 for her first year of school.  She needs $12,500 by August 14.  Since her last blog post was in May of this year, I'm not sure how she's doing, raising the money.  Apparently, she's  using crowd funding to raise funds for her tuition.  She thinks God will make it happen for her... or at least that's what she's telling everyone who visits her multiple pages on the Internet.

I have to say, it takes brass balls to do something like this.  I never would have had the nerve, nor would it ever have occurred to me, to ask for cash from strangers when I was pondering going to grad school.  Moreover, it boggles my mind paying $55,000 for a single year of school, even as I understand that it costs a lot of money to go to law school or med school.  I still owe about $40,000 for my three degrees that I don't use...  I mean, I had full intentions of using them when I was in school, but life didn't turn out that way for me.  I really hope Ms. Battenfield is sure about her goals and is willing to pursue them with dogged determination.  If not, she could be on the receiving end of a lot of heat.  What if she turns out to be like Catherine, the lawyer turned illustrator (although I think that was actually a brilliant career move for Catherine)?

I took a moment to watch Julianna's movie trailer about her pitch to crowd fund her law school ambitions.  She appears to be a high achiever.  She graduated from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.  Furman is a good school, historically affiliated with the Baptist church, though I don't think the campus is particularly religious anymore.  According to CollegeData.com, it cost about $57,000 annually to go to Furman during the 2012-13 school year.  If that's true, then Julianna is probably accustomed to paying a lot to go to school.  I can see by her movie that she was involved with dance and she must be a decent student.  She probably got some scholarships to knock the price tag down a bit.



But...  I look at this "movie trailer" and I don't see someone who appears to be particularly Christian.  She obviously did some missionary work in Africa-- Mozambique, I think.  I'm sure she had to raise funds to do that... or maybe she didn't.  She appears to be very well loved by her friends and family.  It looks like she was either homecoming queen or in the homecoming court in high school.  She is pictured wearing a princess crown while blowing out candles in her tank top.  She wears a rather revealing uniform for what looks like a dance team at Furman.  Don't get me wrong-- I have nothing against those things... I just don't think they make her look like a devout Christian.

What cracks me up even more is that she seems to think the world needs another lawyer...  especially a lawyer that went to a religious school founded by a wacko wing nut like Pat Robertson.  Behold...

Exhibit A


Exhibit B


Exhibit C


Really?

Pat Robertson may have built a communications empire with his Christian Broadcasting Network, but I wouldn't call him a paragon of Christlike behavior.  There are other Christian schools out there that I think would be much better and more admirable choices than Regent University.  And if she does happen to get that law degree, she will be competing with a whole lot of other people who went to better schools that don't tie them to a particular belief system.  A lot of people think Pat Robertson is nuts.  If he's nuts, how great can his law school be?

Finally, I wonder what kind of law Julianna thinks she's going to practice that will make her a good Christian?  Will she be the type of lawyer who puts criminals in prison?  Or will she be the type of lawyer that defends the accused?  Or will she be a corporate lawyer who pushes papers?  It's an important question and one she should think long and hard about because her choice will be judged by Christians who opt to give her money.  A lot of Christians are conservative politically, which means that they believe in being tough on crime.  And when someone is actually guilty of a crime and commits an egregious offense, they need to be punished, right?  But doesn't the Bible also advocate against judging?  Aren't Christians encouraged to show mercy and kindness to those who are in trouble?


Rhonda Vincent sang it best... "You Don't Love God If You Don't Love Your Neighbor"...

So I have to wonder what Julianna's goals are.  Is she going to be hellbent on prosecuting accused rapists, murderers, and pedophiles?  Or is she going to be the type of lawyer who defends those people?  Is she going to be the type of lawyer who shows mercy toward someone who claims that they are innocent and are wrongly imprisoned?  Will she serve them pro bono?  I think any lawyer who competently defends those who can't otherwise afford legal help is very Christlike.  But giving that kind of help isn't so easy for people who have a lot of bills to pay.  It's also not that easy to give that kind of help if your benefactors expect you to defend their ideals regardless of whether or not they're really humane or fair, or just to simply put so-called "undesirables" away, whether or not they actually belong in prison.  

If Julianna gets her wish and anonymous donors do pay for her to go to school, I would hope she would be a truly Christlike lawyer.  But somehow, looking at her movie trailer, I doubt that's the kind of Christian she is.  It looks like Christianity is more of a club thing for her.  She appears to be the type of Christian who uses religion as a status symbol.  I could be wrong, of course.  I don't know her.  I'm basing my comments on what I can see in her posts so far.  

To be honest, most extremely devout Christians annoy me.  I find many of them to be closed-minded, legalistic, stupid and judgmental about a lot of things.  However, I was raised Christian and I see the value of some of the teachings that come from Christianity.  I don't know Julianna, so I really don't know what kind of a Christian she is.  However, I can say that her video doesn't make me want to reach into my purse for a donation.  She looks like she's led a very charmed life and I have doubts that law school will change that reality for her.  When she appears to be doing something that appears to be truly Christlike and altruistic, maybe then I'll be impressed enough to give her cash.

        

Friday, July 25, 2014

Eight days to go...

Recently, I installed a new app on my iPhone called Time Hop.  It shows you what your Facebook statuses were for the past five years.  Last year on July 24th, 2014, I posted "It's time to start packing."  In other words, one year ago, I was doing the same damn thing I did yesterday.  This year, we won't be doing a multi-state road trip.  Instead, we'll be doing a multi-country air trip... and I'm praying that our airplane neither gets shot down by a missile nor disappears from the sky.

So far, today is shaping up to be less busy than yesterday was.  We don't have any movers coming and so far, no showings are scheduled.  I won't be surprised if someone asks for a showing at some point today, but since there aren't movers here, I guess it won't bother me that much-- especially since I don't plan to be here at all on July 31st.  Bill will come here and deal with the carpet cleaning guy while I babysit the dogs in whatever La Quinta we end up in.

I actually pulled off a pretty cool trick yesterday and it's housewife related, so I'll share it here with you.  A few months ago, Bill was sitting in the room that served as my office.  He was drinking red wine and had set it on a small table positioned under a lamp near the wall.  Bill is chronically exhausted in the evenings, so he really shouldn't be trusted with any liquids...  but sure enough, he started to drop off to sleep and knocked the wine over on the wall.  Naturally, the wine stained the wall and the carpet.

Wine Away was pretty good for getting rid of the red wine stains on the carpet, but I didn't have anything for the stained wall.  I found a trick involving mixing hydrogen peroxide and dishwasher detergent, which I used.  It took most of the stain away so it wasn't that noticeable.  Yesterday, when most of the stuff was removed from my office, I noticed that the stain was visible, so I tried the hydrogen peroxide and dishwasher detergent trick again.  Sure enough, it worked like magic.  I don't know if the stain will reappear at a later date or not.  At this point, I don't care... as long as it's not there when we hand the keys over to the property managers.

The carpets in this house are disgusting.  Part of it's from our filth, but they were filthy when we moved in.  I was totally grossed out yesterday when I vacuumed the master bedroom.  Way too much dog hair going on in there.  Next house needs to have no carpet.  Shouldn't be a problem in Germany.

Guess I'll cut the grass today.  Need to burn off gas in the lawnmower.  Also need to burn the gas in  my car so we can send the cars.  Shit is really getting real now.