It’s definitely going to suck

About 18 months ago, Mr. D. got an interview for a job he was very excited about. The interview went well, his candidacy progressed, and at some point we discussed the strong likelihood that he’d have to move for this awesome job before I could come with him. And we both agreed that the tradeoffs were worth it — after all, a few months apart is not such a big deal when you’re talking about a career-making job.

Back then, we were thinking we could be living apart for as many as six or eight months — quite a long time! That hypothetical separation didn’t seem undoable at all — a blip, really, one that would be over before we even realized it.

But now the hypothetical has become real and it’s rapidly approaching. We won’t be apart for anywhere near as long as we feared — nine weeks at the outside — but I’ll admit that I am not doing well with it. Somehow nine weeks apart seems like an eternity. We’ve spent up to two weeks apart in the past — though even the two-week trip I’m thinking of preceded our wedding — but nine weeks? That’s, like, forever! And my birthday is during those nine weeks!

I keep telling myself that the specter of time apart seems worse than it actually will be because I’ll also be doing all the packing and move preparation on this end by myself. That actually has a lot of truth to it: I hate moving a lot, and I hate it even more when I have to do all the packing myself, and when I actually have to pack because we’re going across the country and not across town.

But no matter what I tell myself (It’s only nine weeks! and The move makes it seem worse! and You’ll talk every day on Skype so it’ll be just like you’re both in the same room!) what I know is that it is actually going to suck. It will be nine long weeks, and the move will make it worse, and Skype is not going to make me think Mr. D. is in the room with me at all. I honestly don’t know how military families do this, with recurring year-plus deployments spent apart. All we’re looking at is nine weeks and I’m about to fall apart.

Advertisements

Everybody do the limboooo…..

Despite knowing when Mr. D. starts his new job (3 1/2 weeks) and when I start mine (3 months, give or take), and despite knowing when our lease here is up (2 months), I feel like we’re stuck in a bit of limbo. Mr. D. and I are both waiting on official offer letters — I don’t really need mine except for peace of mind because my employer is private, but his employer is government, so the letter means something — and without at least his offer letter, we’re hesitant to dive into our housing search.

And that’s stressing me out. Because here is how our housing situation is going to have to unfold:

  • Mr. D. leaves — driving — for our new city in 3 or so weeks, with a car full of clothes and a few boxes of stuff that he might as well take with him now.
  • He stays…somewhere. Extended stay hotel? Sublet? Short-term rental? We’re not sure. Wherever he stays, it probably has to be furnished and it needs to be somewhat cheap because we’ll still be paying the full rent on our current apartment.
  • Once there, he looks for a long-term place for us, with a lease starting…August 1? August 15? Probably no later than mid-August. We pay double rent for a portion of August and possibly triple rent if he’s had to get a short-term rental (current apartment, short-term rental, new place). Egads.
  • Once new place is rented, we get movers to take our stuff from our current apartment to the new place. I stay in the current apartment, with —and then without — stuff until the end of August. Unless our landlord sells the place before then and wants me out (with pro-rated rent, of course). That scenario seems unlikely.
  • I take our dog 5 hours away to my in-laws so he doesn’t get neurotic and weird living in an empty apartment and so I don’t have to find a sublet that takes a dog.  Oh, right…
  • Once I move out of our current apartment at the end of August, I move into a sublet (or extended stay hotel or short-term rental) until mid-to-late September (still not totally sure what my last day of work will be).
  • On my last day of work, I pack up a rent car with whatever clothes and other necessities I’ve kept with me, drive to the in-laws for the dog, and drive from there to our new city. Mr. D. maybe flies out to meet me and drive with me.

I’m not wrong that that looks crazy, am I? And I’m not wrong that this looks super stressful, right? There are just too many unknowns — where does Mr. D. stay for the first few weeks he’s out there? Will we be able to find the kind of place we want on a short schedule? Is our budget realistic?

So we’re waiting. Hopefully Mr. D. gets his offer letter today and we can contact a housing agent soon. I’d feel better about all of this if someone who knows the housing market out there told me it’s not the most insane thing they’ve ever seen.

Prep work

Since Mr. D is off to parts east in four short weeks, we’re starting the process of getting all packed up. (We needed to start doing this anyway, since our landlord is putting our apartment on the market and asked us to “declutter” as much as possible. Never mind that she didn’t offer to pay for a storage unit or anything so we could do that, she just asked us to stage it for her. Huh?) I ran by Home Depot yesterday for moving boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper, and tape.

Anyway, now that we’re getting started, I realize how much we have to do. We’ve been in this apartment for three years and we’ve collected a lot of stuff in that time. I realized a few months ago that I’ve personally lived in this apartment longer than I’ve lived anywhere else since I graduated from college. Actually, since I left home for college. I’ve lived in 8 apartments in the last 11 years, folks — and if I’ve lived here for THREE of those years, that tells you something about how long I lived in the other 7 places. Anyway, given that this place has been my home longer than any other place in my adult life, and given that I inherited my maternal grandfather’s propensity to be a packrat…well, there’s just a lot of accumulated crap around here.

Frankly, it’s a little daunting. But we’re facing a deadline, and deadlines always help me get stuff done. I want to clean out the office closet today and into this week, and then pack up the lion’s share of books, movies, CD and other assorted clutter (knicknacks, pictures, doodads, the like) by the end of next weekend. Along the way, we’ll do a nice deep clean on the place — run the self-cleaning function on the oven, do another round of ammonia cleaning on the burner grates, wipe down the walls, heavy-mop the floors, and deep clean the rugs. Honestly, once it gets clean, it’s easy enough to keep it tidy. It’s just getting it there that seems overwhelming.

…and there’s no way around it.

Doing a cross-country move — and attendant housing search — is really not fun. Especially when you have some fairly specific preferences.

Dinner

Also, tonight’s celebratory dinner:

Caprese: heirloom tomatoes, farmer’s market mozzarella, basil
Spears: asparagus, butter, olive oil, sea salt
Pasta: whole wheat penne, basil, sweet cream butter
Beef: petite sirloin, olive oil, salt, pepper
Sweet: shortbread, farmer’s market strawberries, balsamic, ice cream

What’s the opposite of “when it rains, it pours”?

So after months and months and months of back and forth and waiting and pestering and more waiting, Mr. D. has his dream job. A final offer for same. (OK, a verbal final offer for same, with the paperwork to arrive sometime early next week.)

Though I have known we were moving since I accepted my dream job last month, it suddenly just got real. Mr. D. starts his new job in four weeks. FOUR WEEKS.  In ANOTHER CITY. Suddenly all the planning and preparing and presenting of hypotheticals about how we would manage living apart for some period of time, what our housing arrangements would look like, and how we’d get our stuff from one city to another in two separate stages — well, suddenly all of that has to happen, like, NOW.

It’s a little stressful.

The good news (I guess?) is that Mr. D. will be between jobs for about two weeks, so he’ll have that time to pack up his stuff — the stuff he’ll be taking with him when he leaves, when he’ll be (probably) subletting or living in temp housing for a few weeks or a month. And he’ll pack up books, pictures, movies, other heavy stuff he can drive out there with him. And that’ll help me get our current place tidied up, since our landlord is putting it on the market.

But the bad news is that he’ll be leaving two months before I will be. And I’ll be on my own dealing with movers and the dog and finding my own short-term sublet (because our lease ends three weeks before my job ends) — and did I mention that I’ll be on my own for all that?

No, really, in the grand scheme of things, this is all very good.  Mr. D. has been waiting for this for so long and he deserves it so much. And he’s getting it right when his current gig ends (his contract is up at the end of the month). And did I mention it’s his dream job? For all my complaining, I’m actually pretty happy right now.

Back

Vacation with just your spouse or significant other is lovely, but vacation with your friends is even better.  Seriously.

We just got back from five-days-four-nights in Mexico, where we celebrated with two of our friends as they got married and blended a family, and it was fantastic.  We also watched as two more friends got engaged, and we’re all so happy for them.  We spent hours at the pool, in the ocean, at dinner — all with drinks, of course.  We stayed up until the wee hours the night of the wedding, DJing our own dance party on a pier in the Caribbean (with the aid of a portable iPod dock which has to be the best invention ever). We snorkeled with schools of hundreds of fish and swam through the most amazing reef. We made new friends. We enjoyed old friends. We are tan, rested, relaxed, and ready to go back to work.

Of course, the first thing I did this morning was move my arm in such a way as to (mysteriously) cause me copious amounts of pain. Welcome back.