28,666 miles on the car now.
I quit my job, sold my home, and drove around the country in the summer and fall of 2006, training BJJ, finding myself, and landing in LA. I still travel a lot and get to train in amazing places. Some of my friends are irritated that I "prance" around the world and think I "suck" for doing so.
Leave it to me to buy the one laptop that isn't compatible with a cellular wireless card. When I bought the thing I didn't know what I was looking for, so I assumed that the people I was buying from would know. They didn't. Anyway, the short of it is that the only wireless card available (apparently) does not fit into the slot on my computer (it's a new model and they just recently changed it).
I have to remember to note the mileage on my car before I leave tomorrow. At high noon.
I'm in a coffee shop and I'm pretty sure I see my gynecologist sitting across the room. The obvious joke is that I almost didn't recognize him with my clothes on. I don't think I'm gonna say hello.
The close on my condo is tomorrow, which means I get to take off tomorrow! I am sooooo ready to get on the road. My first stop will be to see my family, which is obviously nothing new, but it will mean I'm under way! Plus, I'll get to play with my nieces, the human one and the canine one.
Squatting in my empty apartment, somewhat literally (the squatting, I mean). I got ALL the furniture out today, which means there's no place to sit except the hardwood floor. Or the toilet, I guess. That's another reason I want wall-to-wall carpeting in my next place; when I move out of it, I want a more comfortable place to squat.
Just realizing how fortunate I've been with all the packing and moving. Until today, the weather has been extremely cooperative: cool, no rain, no plagues of locusts. Today's a slightly different story; there's thunder and lightning, and a little while ago there was HAIL. Now it's pouring down rain, but I won't be ready to leave the house with the next load of stuff for a couple hours yet, so maybe it will finish up by then. And then the mover comes to help me with my big stuff, and I'll be done.
You know you're either moving in or moving out when your home echoes when you talk in it. That's where I am with my place; tomorrow I move out the last of my stuff, including the big things (couch, mattress/box spring, etc). I don't leave the city until Fri but will stay with my friend Andy until then; he's got a nice spare room and I have bottles of wine that I'll give him b/c I don't want to take them with me. Should be a good exchange.
Okay, now I'm not playing catch-up with my posts anymore. Today's Tues, and I leave on Fri. Between now and then I have to get some stuff notarized, move a couch, mattress/box spring and what STILL seems like a crapload of boxes, train when possible, say goodbye to various people, clean out of my place, and keep my car one step ahead of the parking regulations (had to move it this morning, then will have to move it again this afternoon).
I forgot to mention that yesterday was my niece’s birthday. She turned 2. She had a visit to the doctor earlier in the week, and she is very healthy, fortunately. Her stats are: 25th percentile for weight, 75th for height, and 85th for head circumference. So she’s a tall, skinny potato head. And she’s beautiful. I started calling her Lolly for a bit (short for lollipop), but it didn’t stick, though my sister laughed.
Turns out I don’t like Gay Pride Weekend very much. But not for the reasons you are probably thinking. This is the second year in a row I’ve had a crappy Weekend, so I’m not looking forward to next year. Admittedly, I haven’t been wearing a T-shirt that says, “Taste My Rainbow” or “Give Mama Some Ass Candy,” like two of the people who seemed to be having a crapload of fun at the parade today. And I am having a boring evening, which according to another T-shirt I saw, is NOT preferable to an awkward morning.
Didn’t train. I couldn’t get to sleep till about 3:30am, and when I woke up, I just wanted to get stuff out of the house. We had a big load of things to take over to the storage place in the car, and the wrench in the works is that the Gay Pride Parade is tomorrow, so there are tons of people in town. Particularly my part: I live in Boys Town, which is Ground Zero for Gay Pride, and that means that parking, which is scarce on any normal day, is virtually impossible today. We did find a spot, and then spent the rest of the day cleaning and throwing crap out. It’s amazing how much stuff one person can accumulate, even one person like me who has spent the last 18 months getting rid of things.
It’s about 2am; can’t sleep. Ugh. So I’m importing songs to iTunes and putting together the toys from 4 Kinder Surprise eggs I found in the back of my fridge. Not eating the chocolate; it isn’t the best part anyway, but also these are close to two years old. I got them in Ontario when I went on vacation with my family. I don’t think they are available in the States. Actually, the first time I ever had one was in Germany about 20 years ago, so I was happy to see them more recently. They are the same premise as Cracker Jacks: you get a little edible treat and a toy to go along with it. The difference is that these toys are pretty cool; they take some construction and are kind of elaborate. I’ve seen them for sale on eBay and the rarer ones are actually kind of valuable. Go figure.
It’s official: my haircut is really awful. If your parents think it’s bad, it’s bad. And they do. So it is. Fortunately I found a baseball cap in the back of my closet. I’m not usually a baseball cap person, but I have become one.
Evening: My car is here! I mean, my parents are here! And so is my car! I'm starting to fall in love with the car. What is it about a car that inspires such strong feelings?
Haircut still blows. If anything, it sucks worse. And I know this is true because just now some dude randomly stopped me on the street and offered me a free spa day at his new salon, complete with a free haircut. He of course assured me that I look fabulous already, but I saw myself in a store window and since it's been a windy day, I look like a mad scientist/Yahoo Serious. I'd take him up on it but 1) I doubt I'll make time to schedule an appointment before I go and 2) I really really really like complaining.
The spendfest continues. I bought a laptop last week, and today I got a digital camera. I'm also planning to visit a friend in Juneau, AK, and to go from there to Anchorage, where there's a BJJ school, and to get there, I'll need a round trip ticket from Seattle to Juneau, and one from Juneau to Anchorage. Each of those is probably about $500. So I'm acting like I'm made of money. You'd think it would be fun to just spend, spend spend. It takes some getting used to, though, honestly. I'm definitely up for the challenge; it's just funny that I have to work at enjoying spending. I guess it took me some time to get used to not working, too, and now I'm really friggin' good at that. I just need to have faith in myself!
Talked to Darin today, my friend from training who is a brown belt. When he lived in Chicago, we trained together with the Carlsons. He and his wife Linh took a trip last year that's similar to the one I'm taking: they drove around the country, mostly out west, and Darin trained BJJ everywhere he could. When they were done, they moved back to their native Kentucky and he started his own academy, called The Submit Pit. I love this name! He and Linh are the first stop on my trip, so I called him to touch base and make sure he was expecting me. Here is how the first part of the conversation went:
Okay, it's starting to sink in that life is good. Was talking with my friend Viktorija today about sleep, and I said, "If I had my druthers," and then I remembered that I DO. Have them. My druthers. About when I sleep and when I wake up, among many other things. At least for now. So that's really awesome.
My haircut blows. A couple days ago I went to a salon school on the recommendation of a friend who is far more particular about her haircuts than I am about mine. I figured if SHE liked this place, which she claims to, I would be fine. The deal is, you pay $14 to get your hair cut by a stylist in training, under the supervision of his/her "professor." Yes, it's obnoxious to put "professor" in quotes, but it's also obnoxious to call yourself a "professor of hair." The girl who cut my hair was very cute and sweet, with a Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That thing going on, and after her professor cleaned up some unevenness and she styled it, the cut looked great and I really liked it.
Here's a handy tip for the day: Do NOT rent The Family Stone for your mother to watch if she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. My parents went to Tampa today to meet with the surgeon who is going to perform a lumpectomy for my mother. The trip is about 2 hours each way, and they were there to get some heavy duty news, so needless to say, they were tired when they got back. I suggested that we just hunker down and watch a movie at home that evening, and my mom liked that idea, asking me to choose something funny and mindless.
Been sorting through old books, trying to decide what else to store, what else to donate to the library, and what to take with me. I already have about 10 shopping bagsful for the library, 5 boxes full for storage, and about 15 books for the trip. The rest, maybe 100, are unknowns. I'm reading as many of them as I can; most of them are paperbacks, and if I read them again, I can pass them on. In the past couple weeks, I've read
I went to a storage facility today to get a sense of how big a space I'm gonna need for my stuff. Remarkably, it should all fit into a 5'x10' space, which is the area you'd get if you made a rectangle using one of my friend Leigh for the short sides and two of her for the long sides. When I stand next to Leigh, she doesn't seem to take up very much space (although she makes her presence known in other ways). And a space the size of not very many of her will accommodate all of my worldly possessions, for about $100 bucks a month. I wonder if Hiro Protagonist and Vitaly Chernobyl will be my neighbors.
This has been a surreal week and a half. On May 26th I found out that my dear friend Chris' dad died of a heart attack in his early 60s. He hadn't been feeling well, so they took him to the ER, and after 8 hours of surgery, he died. Needless to say, Chris is pretty broken up about it, not to mention stressed. In addition to the usual funeral arrangements and worries about his mom (he's an only child), there's paperwork. Apparently Bob was a pretty big pack rat. But Chris is also his usual hilarious self, which is what makes things surreal. After I got a phone message from him in which he was having difficulty speaking because he was so upset, I spoke with him and we laughed for about 10 min about the kind of stuff he's likely to put in the memorial service "schwag bags." Maybe laminated copies of the receipts from Bob's last trip to Walgreen's. Or, as Chris mentioned, "How about a 'My friend went to the Robert Walker memorial service and all I got was this lousy t-shirt' t-shirt?" I'm going to try to make it to the memorial service. And not just for the schwag.
Every day I seem to get a little more excited about my trip. Today I realized how grateful I am that my home sold so quickly. Without the money from the sale, and the freedom from the mortgage, I would not be able to go. The real estate market in Chicago is apparently flattening out, and prospective buyers can make desperate sellers thow all kinds of concessions into the bargain: home repair allowances, lower prices, transplantable organs. Fortunately, I wasn't desperate, both because my buyer came along when my place had only been on the market for about 2 weeks, and also because I was too clueless to know I SHOULD be feeling desperate.