Wednesday, March 28, 2007

take or toss

My room--the spare room in my parents' house--which has been my home for almost a year now needs to be packed up and somehow shoved into my tiny car for a four-day drive. Since the physics of this don't work out, I'm forced to do some streamlining. I moved down here with only what I could fit inside my car and still leave room for Murphy and me. I'd like to streamline even more and let Murphy actually have the entire backseat this time, rather than just half of it (a box of books and my violin were on the other half, along with bags of clothes accross the floor on both sides). And of course, as I've explained before, most of my larger belongings are in storage in St. Louis. They're staying there for now.

Today was my last off day at Starbucks. Starting tomorrow, I work straight through to Friday the 6th, which is my last day there. I don't leave town til the following Monday, which means I have that weekend to also get ready, but I'm pretty sure I'll also be doing a lot of running around saying goodbye to people that weekend. would think I was smart enough to spend today wisely, to get at least half the shit in my room here organized, sorted into piles of "keep" versus piles of "toss."

What did I really do?

I slept late. Took a nap on the couch with the dogs. Watched an hour of 101 Favorite Stars Way Back When, on E (and learned that Morgan Freeman used to be on The Electric Company). Had a sandwich for lunch. Walked the dogs. Talked to Kathy on the phone as she drove frantically through rush hour traffic to arrive late for a haircut. That's about it.

So here I sit in my room, which is still overflowing with the small collection of belongings I moved here with, plus all the stuff I've accumulated over the past year. When I do get around to sorting and packing, I'm going to employ the 'If-I-haven't-used-it-in-the-past-two-weeks-then-I-don't-need-it' approach and be merciless in getting rid of stuff. I tend to be a packrat as it is, so this type of cleansing is good for me on occasion; it forces me to let go of useless crap that in my mind has been built up as sentimental or potentially reusable. Instead all my crap just takes up a lot of room and creates clutter, something I hate. Strangely, I'm both a packrat and one who hates clutter. And my room is messy. None of this adds up, and I think it's the packrat part of my personality that must change its ways.

I've had a headache for about a week now, and I can only imagine it's a combination of changing weather and stress. As excited as I am about this move, it's a major decision and a huge task, and because of this every moment of my life right now is consumed by the various details. When I'm at work, I'm actually just thinking about my new job. When I'm at home, I'm going over my route and double checking my hotel reservations along the way...again and again. And again. And when I'm asleep, I'm dreaming that something is wrong with my car or that I'm missing some other detail to the move itself. Or worse yet, that I'll get there and be miserable, which I know won't happen, but fear of the unknown still haunts me. I'm so tired right now, just from making these plans. Part of me is nervous about getting on the road, but for the most part, I can't wait to get on the highway and just get going on this move.

I always have a copy of Rand McNally's road atlas, though I'm partial to a particular one. It's the notebook-sized spiral-bound that is revised each year. Because of my own obsessive-compulsive ways, it has to be this specific atlas, and when it gets too old and used up to read anymore, I replace it with the latest edition of the same atlas. This is for two reasons: 1) I'm a geek who loves maps. I've been known to stare at a map for hours. 2) I love to travel and I especially like road trips, so a good atlas is always necessary. This atlas is the perfect size for flipping through in the car, and it fits into my backpack. Various editions of this atlas have accompanied me since college, and of course while planning this move, my current copy has been next to me the whole time. While staring at my route for the millionth time the other night, my eyes traced the highway up through Oklahoma City, which is one of my overnight stops and which is also where the spiral of the book is located. The spine of this atlas cuts the state of Oklahoma--as well as Kansas, Texas, and a few others--right in half. So I folded the book back and flipped it over so I was only seeing the western half of the country. That's when I realized that for the first time ever, I'd be living west of the spiral, the left side of the country's two-page spread in my atlas.

Obviously, I knew before then that I was moving west, but seeing it in terms of my little atlas for some reason jolted me a bit. At once, I smiled and felt giddy, while my headache tightened a little more. This dichotomy of emotions right now is exhausting and yet propels me forward with this move; the excitement inspires me and my nerves keep me alert.

In the meantime, I can't go anywhere until I get this room organized and packed, which is what I should be doing now, instead of rambling here.

Monday, March 26, 2007

just a few miles to go

I swear, I will be a better blogger again soon. So much is happening right now, and any spare time I have is spent on preparing to move. But for now, here is what's going on:

The move is still happening. In fact, I have a roommate and place to live all lined up. I'm renting from a cool lady who owns a home in Santa Fe and already has one roommate. I'll be number three in the house, with my own bedroom and bathroom. Murphy is welcome there, and I'm certain we'll love it.

After four phone interviews over the course of three weeks, I was officially offered the job as merchandising supervisor at Borders in downtown Santa Fe. I'm super excited about this because I'm sure it'll be interesting and will let me meet lots of people. Also, I'm ecstatic about the various discounts, perks, and benefits. Now, as I said earlier, my long-term goal is to get back into teaching, but that isn't something that can happen overnight. Hopefully, I might be able to pick up class or two as an adjunct at the community college in the fall, in addition to my job at Borders. But a full-time college teaching job is hard to score and requires time and patience. In the meantime, I'm excited about my new job.

I tried to give my two weeks at Starbucks the other day, though it was over a month ago when I first mentioned I'd be going sometime in early April. However, the current manager, who is really only a substitute manager from another district while the real one (who is a good friend of mine) is on maternity leave, has also just found out she is pregnant---and it wasn't planned. At all. Plus, she is finally learning that this store is a monster and that the problems there aren't because the current and previous staff were incapable but rather because the customers and volume are unpredictable, relentless, and unpleasant. And also our DM won't get off his ass and do his job to help out. So the current/sub/now-pregnant manager really doesn't have her heart in her job right now, and just before I tried to give her my official notice the other day, she said she was sick and took off early, leaving the store before I could talk to her. This is the way it normally goes around there lately: absentee manager. All I could do at the time was go back to the scheduling calendar and write, "Heather's Last Day" on Friday, April 6. I told my co-assistant manager yesterday so that someone else in charge knows what's happening, but I still haven't been able to get a couple minutes with the manager herself.

Also, on the planning front, I've mapped my drive west and it's going to be a long one. Four 7ish-hour days, three nights. I could have done three longer days, but I wanted to space it out some more, for the sake of enjoyment and safety. My hotels along the way are booked, and I'll get to Santa Fe early evening on Thursday the 12th. Just three weeks shy of one year after I arrived down here.

Can't wait!!!!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Finally, a decision

Yes, I have been away from my blog for a long long time. I think my last update was posted while on vacation in New Mexico, though I've been back for two weeks now.

Well, my trip was fantastic. Take all the postitive adjectives one could use to describe a trip, combine them into one long, overly descriptive word...and that might begin to characterize my time out there.

It was so good, in fact, that I've decided to move there.

Yes. That's what I said.

I tossed around the idea while I was there, and then on the plane home I made it official. Since my return, I've been investigating job and housing possibilities. I talked to my manager at work the other day, so they now know I'll be leaving soon. While I don't have a definite date set, I'm shooting for the first week of April. Ultimately, I want to teach again, since it's the one occupation I've ever truly loved and which I know I'm great at. However, it's highly unlikely I'll be able to teach anything, even as an adjunct, before next fall. So in the meantime, I am checking out possible transfers within Starbucks and if that doesn't work out, I also had a very promising phone interview today with Borders for a supervisor position.

As I've told people, Santa Fe feels like a city of misfits, and that is probably why I feel just right there. The only person I know in Santa Fe is a former undergraduate professor who retired out there about ten years ago, and I've contacted her so we can meet up sometime after I arrive. But for the most part, I'll be starting from scratch.

It's exciting and nervewracking and while it might seem spur-of-the-moment and a sort of random, I can't think of a valid reason to not do this. I've been sitting on my ass for a year now not making one damned viable decision about my life, so it's time to just do something. Yes, I've tossed around ideas of moving overseas or this plan or that plan, but up until now, none of those plans ever really motivated me to make them happen. This decision, however, clicked into place the second it entered my mind, and I've spent just about every moment outside of work planning and working out the logistics to make this a reality.

Who knows how long I'll be there. A year. Five years. But that's not the point right now.

I'm so excited about this move. I'm excited about the move itself, the drive west with my dog. I'm delighted about my decision to live there, to experience on a long-term basis a place I love, a place so completely different from anywhere else I've ever lived. But I'm also happy to have come to a decision about something, to know what I'm going to do next and to be actively preparing for it.

Next up for the blog, some pics from my trip...later tonight if I have the energy. If not tonight then tomorrow, my first day completely off in about two weeks. Tomorrow is the first day in almost two weeks that I haven't had to go into the store for either a full shift or a meeting of some sort. I'm completely exhausted and love tomorrow because it is all mine.