Saturday, August 29, 2015

Those big steps

This is my minute by minute mantra these days.  Big steps are hard, but sometimes, they are necessary.  My co-workers got me an awesome deck of inspirational quotes for my birthday last year, and as I was flipping through it a couple of weeks ago, I happened on this one, and it struck me in that profound way that quotes often do.  We are taking big steps these days.  We re-rented our house, we are moving to California, and we are starting new careers.  Ammon's is defined, and mine is TBD.  To some people, all of this may be no big deal.  But to us, this is massive change, especially since it came about when we least expected change to come into our lives.  But I'm going to step with it, and hope for the best, because we will never be able to get there if we don't try.  At least if we step, there is the chance that we will land safely on the other side.

Friday, August 21, 2015

I will always choose him

I was thinking today about how much I love my husband.  How knowing that I get to see him at the end of the workday, and that I get to wake up next to him each morning fills me with so much joy.  How even though he's a picky eater, he tries really hard to ensure that I get to eat food that I really like.  How he gets so excited about things that he has to explain to you every single last detail of whatever it is he's so stoked about.  How he lets me give him the stupidest nicknames in the world.  Presently, it's Moopus.  Don't ask me why, but that's what it's been for a while now, and it works.

That's a headband that he made all by himself, because he's so crafty and into up-cycling.  If you can't tell, it's the bottom of a pant leg from a pair of sweatpants.

If we're telling the truth, I don't think I come anywhere near deserving this man of mine.  But I try every day.  He's the one I chose over another boy when we first started dating.  I chose to let him move in with me.  I chose to marry him.

Oh heyyyyy wedding photo.  I know you all are shocked that there are yet wedding photos you haven't seen.  Don't worry, lots more where this one is coming from (my computer).

And now I'm choosing, willingly I might add, to move across the country with him, and build a new life together.  New friends, different family close by, new experiences, same us.  Because I can't imagine that there will ever come a day when I won't choose him.  Even when choosing him feels so hard, the thought of not choosing him never crosses my mind.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Yesterday, I came to a realization that really startled me.  I realized that I am starting to have a degree of acceptance regarding our big move.

**Gasp**  Could it really be?  Can I be starting to come to terms with everything, and be able to see some of the good in this change?  It's probably too soon to tell with any surety, but so far, survey says yes.  For the last two days, I have felt little flutters in m stomach when I think about our move.  I'm not so bold as to call them excited flutters, that would be too much.  But the lead weight that had taken up residence in my belly has been replaced by something much lighter, and much more active.  It kind of feels good.

What made everything change?  I started looking at jobs.  Not seriously, and not with the level of intensity I think a proper job hunt deserves.  But I put my toes in the water, and applied for a couple of jobs.  And people, there has already been responses!  I sent out 2 resumes on Tuesday, and yesterday I got a call on one of them.  The HR rep seemed to like me, so we'll see about that.  And then this morning, I saw that the management company we will be renting through had a job opening.  It was written specifically for me.  They might as well have written "We need you, Kristen.  Come be with us" in the job description, it's just that darn perfect.  And that's what I told our property manager, who encouraged me to apply, and promised to put in a good word for me.

Did I mention that I am set on making this property manager my new friend?  Because from the moment I met her, I decided she's my newest best friend.  I told her that today, and she laughed.  I'm not sure if she laughed because she wants to be friends too, or if she thought I was joking, or both.  Clearly, my social awkwardness knows no bounds.  But for the record, I was not joking.

Even if none of these job opportunities pans out, I think I just needed the reassurance that people out there see me as a contender for jobs.  I have worked really hard over the last several years to get to a good place professionally, and it's nice to see that recognized.

Just don't go around telling people I'm happy about this move yet... I'm getting there - slowly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How we are organizing our move

I was looking through some old blog posts a little bit ago, and stumbled upon this gem from last summer.  It's about moving, and what our experience was like.  And it's kind of funny, but I feel less stressed about this move, a much bigger, higher stakes move, than I did about that one.  Why?  Most likely it's because we are so much better prepared for this move.  We learned a lot about what does and doesn't work for us when it comes to moving last year, and we are banking on that experience to help ensure that this move goes far more smoothly.  Since I'm so nice and all (haha), I figured I would share with you how we are organizing this move.

1) It's not really organizing, but it needs to be said.  There is no shame in drinking wine, beer, or whatever alcohol floats your boat during this time.  Also, eat the carbs.  They are wonderful.  Moving sucks, and is stressful.  If your glassware is packed, solo cups are just fine.  No shame, people.  None whatsoever.

My wine glasses are still out, but not for long.  The solo cups are ready and waiting.

2)  Get on the same page with your roomie.  Hopefully, your roomie loves you, and you're married or in an equally committed relationship, because then they can't call Mulligan and ditch your sorry self once things get a little crazy.  Lucky for me, my mom made sure to tell Ammon that there were "no exchanges, no returns, no refunds..." on our wedding day, so he is a captive audience.

Oh heyyyy, wedding photo =).

3)  Honestly, those first two were ridiculous, and simply shouldn't count.  So first thing's third:  Make yourself a few spreadsheets in Excel.  You need one for your expenses, and one for your inventory of boxes.  You can put them in the same workbook, if you like having everything in one place.  If you're like me, you put your husband in charge of the spreadsheets, because nothing is as wonderful as delegation, am I right?  ...You're right, wine and cupcakes are up there too.

4) Now that you have your spreadsheets, print out a copy of your box inventory, so that you can write down the boxes as you go.  We have columns for the room/area, the box number, a basic description, and specific contents.  We hand-write things in as we pack the boxes, and then update the Excel document every 10-15 boxes.  It keeps the list tidy, and makes sure that we have back-up of all of our hard work.

Clipboards also make the process so much better.

5)  Go through EVERYTHING you own and be intentional about what you are keeping.  Why waste the energy moving something that is junk, or even worse, trash?  We have gotten rid of a prodigious amount of stuff in preparation for the move... maybe as much as a quarter of the stuff we owned?  I'm not sure, but it was enough that we have paid for extra trash pick-ups, and made special donation runs to multiple thrift stores.  While your husband you are making spreadsheets, consider making one to track what you donate to charity.  Tax benefits are real and important, peeps.  

6)  Speaking of tax benefits, if you are making a job-related move, you really need to track all of your moving-related expenses, because you might be eligible for a pretty sweet tax deduction come the spring.  You should check the criteria here to see if you qualify.  We do qualify, and so instead of worrying about saving receipts that we have to total up later, we are just entering them into our spreadsheet.  Boxes, tape, bubble wrap, packing paper, moving services, gas to your new location, hotels... it's all totally deductible.  Take full advantage.  And if you need some help figuring out if you can deduct moving expenses, or what qualifies as a moving expense, email me, and we can have a super geeky conversation about the nitty, gritty details.  The way I love taxes is disturbing.

7)  It goes with 6, but buy your supplies.  We buy them a little at a time, because we are a bad judge of what exactly we will need.  If you are hiring a moving service, they should be able to help you determine what supplies you need, as well as how much.  In addition to your standard moving supplies, you may want some little extra that helps you immediately see what room a box goes to, like printed duct tape, or several colors of Sharpies.  We have a 30-pack of Sharpies, and so we picked a different color for each area of our house. 

8)  Start boxing things up!  Start as early as you can, so that you aren't packing up until the last possible second.  You will probably still be packing up until the last possible second anyway, but hopefully it will be less frantic.  Our goal is to live like college students who have NOTHING for the last week before we move.  If you bought an extra item for coding your house, here is where they come into play.  We use the correct color of Sharpie to label each box with the following:  The inventory item number (which goes on the top, and 2 sides of the box), the description of the box, and the contents of the box.

See?  Box #33 is linen closet (description), and contains our blankets and beach towels.  It's all written in brown, which is our "miscellaneous area" color.  I was too lazy to give the linen closet, coat closet, and laundry areas their own separate areas, and lumped them all together instead.

9)  If you're moving your pantry goods, transfer the items that come in bags or flimsy boxes into more solid containers that won't easily leak.  We got a huge Tupperware kitchen organizer set from our wedding (my cousin can help you get the same set if you are super jealous and want to organize your foods too), and I'm utilizing it for a lot of those dry goods that we want to take with us.  I'm also using our everyday food storage containers and Mason jars for our pantry goods.

Not shown here is that I'm labeling the storage containers with Washi tape and (suprise!) a sharpie.  But really, I know what oats look like, so I don't waste my time labeling them.  A few days before we move, I will put all of these cute containers into bigger boxes and seal them up.  Easy peasy.

10)  Stack up all of your boxes in an area where they are out of the way.  For us, that's the garage.

Reorganize as often as needed.  Ammon just re-did ours, because we were having some cave-ins, and it was getting cluttered.  Isn't it pretty?

There's so many more things, but there just isn't enough time to get to everything.  But please, tell me:  What are your favorite moving tips and tricks?  What makes moving easier for you?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

This little house

Part of our process of wrapping things up for our big move has been helping to get our house re-leased.  Unfortunately, back in April we signed a new lease that started August 1, and so we are in a situation of having to break our lease.  Our landlord has been pretty cool about the whole thing, and has even let us take the reins on advertising and showing the house.  But it's the showings themselves where I find myself having a hard time.  You see, even though we've only lived here a year, we REALLY LOVE this little crappy house.  It's very much been our home, and a place that we look forward to coming to at the end of each day.

So walking other people through my home and seeing them scrutinize every detail... it's tough.  From the outside, this little old house isn't much at all.  It desperately needs to be repainted, and the lawn needs to be ripped out and professionally re-done, much to the landlord's chagrin - he keeps telling me that if I'm adequately watering and fertilizing, there's no reason that the grass won't be lush and thick.  Yet we do these things, and it's still sparse and dead.  Boo.  And there are even little details on the inside that aren't the best.  There's a few problems with the flooring, and it needs to be repainted.  Despite all of its flaws, though, it's my beloved, charming little house.  I love our living room and its gobs of space.

Not shown:  A million cardboard boxes, storage totes, and our current donation pile.  Accounting may require full disclosure, but blogging does not.

I wouldn't ever say that I love our office, but I do sure love the view I have of our backyard from my computer.  Also, Ammon always has a million computer cords going every direction possible.  It's like a modern day medusa.  I'm also finding that now that we have packed up most of the stuff that was in this room and taken it out, there is so much room for activities.  We have become huge proponents of de-cluttering recently.

Our bedroom... This I might miss the most.  It's huge.  We can walk around the bed easily.  I have space on my side of the bed (the far side), which is a luxury I didn't have in our last home.  Our bed faces the window, which looks directly out onto our beloved apple tree.  Just thinking about walking away from the apple tree, it devastates me.  So does saying goodbye to my walk-in closet.

For the record, this closet isn't as great as the one that we had in our last apartment, but it's still pretty darn massive, especially since I'm now being downgraded to standard closets.  I think Ammon is doing a happy dance that I had to pare don my clothes so much, and is hoping that a smaller closet will mean that I buy less stuff.  Yeah, we'll see about that...

Then there's the dining/kitchen area.  Most of the time, the kitchen table is covered in crap and utterly useless.  It's been kind of fun having it look so cute and functional.  Also, who doesn't love it when your husband brings you home flowers on a random Monday?  I'm not normally a carnation girl, but these just really worked for me this week, and they really brightened up our space for showings.

Another thing I'll miss is this incredible stemware storage that Ammon installed over the sink.  The big gaping hole over the sink drove me nuts when we first moved in... it's sort of a sight line, but not at all?  Having the glasses there really makes it feel more intentional.

So that's it... a little house tour for you, a year later than expected, and just weeks before we move out.  We're only planning on being in our apartment 6 months, so we'll see if I get around to documenting that space before we've moved on...

Friday, August 14, 2015

The best part of this post is the babies

I ran out of things to say, which is why there hasn't been word from me in almost a week.  Oops.  But really, life has been a little wacky lately, what with wrapping up school for the summer, moving, and trying to get my job wrapped up.  I am taking quite a bit of PTO, which is super nice.  We only get paid out 240 hours of PTO when we leave my agency, and I have been at 300+ hours for quite a while now, so it's pretty much free time off to me right now, and I'm doing my best to take it without feeling guilty (It's a serious struggle for me, because I have to let other people cover my duties).

Wednesday of this week I took off, and it was made amazing by Alyx and her cute as heck kids.

I mean... could you have a bad day if these 3 came to visit you?  I say no way.  We had lunch together, and Elsie and I "raced" in the sculpture garden near the restaurant for a while until Alyx declared that they needed to hit the road again.

After that, I had beer with another girlfriend.  I should have been doing homework all day and packing, but I think I needed the girl time.  Also, Alyx helped talk though the moving and starting over in a new place feelings and thoughts I've been having, which was so helpful and important, so I am declaring the day a success all around.

Also, other people's babies are the best anti-depressants in the world, especially when they smile at you.  So, so good.

Other than that, we've been trying to get our house out here in Colorado re-rented, so that we can stop showing the darn place and tear it to shreds in a packing extravaganza.  Who needs running when you have packing and moving as your cardio?

True statement:  I haven't worked out in weeks, and I'm not even a little sad about it.  Except that I got trail shoes last weekend (I had a gift card for a local running shop that I needed to use before we moved), and I would love to give those a go.  But that's just a longing, not actual pain that I can't do it.  Soon enough, my friends.  I hope you're excited for those sweaty trail-running selfies...

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Before turning 30 and moving cross-country decided to rock my world in tandem, I managed to finish my first-ever triathlon, one of the few bucket list items that was there unfailingly for almost 15 years.  I wish I would have written about it sooner, when every little detail was fresh, but I wasn't ready yet.  I wasn't ready because I knew that the words I will try to write can never capture how much that whole experience meant to me, and how special that day was.  So I waited to write my "race report" if we even want to call it that.  I wasn't out there for time, I was out there for the fun of it, and the experience.  And now that I have nothing to talk about other than moving, yet am desperate to avoid that topic under every circumstance, I figured now was as good of a time as any to talk about the race that fulfilled a long-time dream.

As with any good race, it didn't start on race day:  It started long before that with weeks of consistent training.  I followed this training plan leading up to my race.  I knew that between school and work that there would not be a lot of spare time for training, and that a lot of the plans seemed to jump in too fast.  For me, if I don't ease into something new, I get injured, so the totally-beginner nature of this plan really worked well for me.  I would say that on average, I got in 4-5 workouts a week.  It was really hard for me to keep up with all of it, so I tried to focus on what I knew would be the hardest for me - the running.  I have been swimming and cycling for the majority of my life now, and so completing the needed distances came pretty easily to me.  This triathlon was long for a sprint, especially on the run, which was 4.3 miles.  Much longer than a standard 5k run leg for a sprint tri!  I decided to run primarily on my lunch breaks, a strategy that served me really well in marathon training last year.  It's the perfect way to break up my day, and I have to take a lunch break anyway.  I prefer to keep it productive if I can.

I did do something pretty different with my run training, though.  I tinkered a bit with heart rate training, particularly the MAF method of training.  For me, this meant that when I "ran", my heart rate shouldn't exceed 150.  Which, by the way, is extremely tough to do.  My pace slowed dramatically using this approach, and I'm not sure I saw the greatest results from it.  At the same time, I am a slow responder to training, and was only running a couple of days a week.  The more you do this training, the faster you improve (it's ridiculously gentle, you could run 6 days a week at your MAF heart rate and not be killing yourself).  I want to try it again while training for a running event, and see how I do with it.

As for cycling and swimming, it was fit in where I got it.  I was lucky enough to live on the bike course, so  I was able to train on the course a lot.  I swam mostly in the pool until the last few weeks when I switched exclusively to open water swimming.  I had several panic attacks during open water swimming practice, which was pretty terrible.  Figured out later that the water temperature and the restrictiveness of wearing a wetsuit was what was causing the panic attacks.

Anyway, enough about training.  It happened, and it tended to be run-focused.  The day before the tri, I skipped work (because I'm a rebel... or, because I have a glut of PTO.  You decide).  There was a race meeting, and I knew that I had a bunch of errands that I wanted to run.  The race meeting was actually super helpful, as the Race Director and the Emcee gave a ton of good advice for first-time triathletes about things that would help make any race successful.  Even though I have spent a lot of time trying to learn about triathlon, I had not heard many of these tips before, and I really think that they made a world of difference in my race.  I picked up my packet at the race meeting, and headed off to finish all of my other little errands,  among them getting a new running hat.  I had misplaced my running hat, and really wanted to be able to wear one.  I managed to find one that matched my tri-top, which I was pretty thrilled about.

On race morning, I was up at 4:30am.  Yeesh.  Race mornings are always so darn early.  I've learned that the earlier I get up, the better that I race, because I have more time for drinking coffee and letting some food digest. There's also a ridiculous amount of gear required for a triathlon, and I wanted to leave plenty of time for loading everything in the car and for setting up my transition area.

Setting up transition.  It was PACKED!  You can't see it yet, but one girl had to move her bike so that our handlebars were almost overlapping... it was pretty darn chaotic.  Once everything was set up, Ammon and I walked down to the water to watch the olympic distance race start, which was about 30 minutes ahead of the sprint distance.  Let me be the first to say, a 1500 yard swim seems short in a pool, but when you see it in its full stretched out glory, it is a humbling sight.  Watching people plow through it like it was nothing as so cool.  However, I only got to watch about 10 minutes before I needed to get in the lake for my own warm-up.  One of the tips they gave at the pre-race meeting was to get in the water early and let your core temperature come down closer to the water temp.  We were super lucky that the lake was 78 degrees (about the same temperature as a standard lap pool), and so I made the last-minute decision to not wear a wetsuit, even though I had trained with one.  Instead, I just wore my tri-shorts and tri-top, which was the perfect strategy for me.

I had the most awesome race number.

The swim start was pretty casual.  The men started 3 minutes ahead of us ladies, so we just stood there at knee deep, waiting for the bullhorn to sound.  In addition to not wearing the wetsuit, I also made the somewhat controversial choice to swim primarily breaststroke, and only sprinkle in freestyle here and there.  I'm not super comfortable with open water swimming, and I knew that this strategy would give me easier sighting capabilities. 

Overall, the strategy worked really well:  my total swim time, along with 1/4 mile run uphill to transition ended up being about 21 minutes, a middle of the pack time for the swim leg.  I spent about 2 minutes in transition before heading out on the bike course.  It's a weird feeling getting on the bike soaking wet, and I was thankful that it was something I practiced.  I had told Ammon, Shae, and her husband that I was guessing that my bike time would be somewhere between 55 minutes and an hour and five minutes, based on training rides.  However, I definitely underestimated how good I was feeling!  Practicing on the course so much had me riding much faster than anticipated, so fast in fact, that Ammon, Shae, and Eric almost missed my arrival back at transition!  I ended up having a bike time of 52 minutes, which was the 3rd fastest bike time for my age group.  Woot woot!

The ONLY picture of me from the bike section that Ammon got!  Next time, I'll tell them to to look for me much earlier on :-).
After another 2-3 minutes in transition, it was run time!  Shae was originally going to do the triathlon too, but bowed out due to an illness halfway through the training cycle.  When it came time to run, she asked if she could tag along, and of course I said yes!  It was nice to have a friend there to motivate me through the hardest part of the course for me.  At the end, I was just so ready to be done, and she wouldn't let me quit.  She just kept telling me to run faster!

At this point, she was literally yelling at Ammon that he should tell me to run faster too.  We were super close to the finish line, but in my haze, it still felt really far away.  All I wanted to do at that point was walk.

Thankfully, I didn't walk, but ran across the finish line to a total time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 43 seconds.  My goal going in was to come in under 2:30:00, and I am really proud that I crushed that goal.

Not only did I crush it, but I had so much fun doing this triathlon!  At about mile 2 of the run, I looked at Shae and told her, "this is so much fun!"  Which is something I never say when running, but when the run has a swimming and cycling warm-up, I guess I feel differently.  I will definitely be doing more tris in the future:  I was supposed to be doing one at the end of this month, but deferred to a race in VEGAS in April.  Let the good times roll, right?

And at the end of the day, I had done what I had always wanted to do:  I became a triathlete.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

All I need is pie and Netflix

If it's true that you are what you et, then I'm about to turn into a carb any second now.  I wouldn't even be sad about it, because carbs are delicious, and they make people happy.  Except, that I was listening to a triathlon/endurance sports podcast today, and they were talking about how carbs and sugar should be treated as drugs, they are so addictive, and can have bad effects on the body.  But that's a serious downer, don't you think?

Says the girl who just ate a giant slice of apple pie from Costco.  It was amazing, in case you were wondering.  We had a coupon for a free pie at one point, and knew we could never finish it off just the two of us.  And since I have very few friends, we decided it would be smarter to cut the pie up and freeze it in "shareable" portions, since Ammon can never eat an entire dessert, and I need to be held back from going all cookie monster on all of the sugar.

Except, Ammon was in the shower, and had no idea that I was demolishing a slice of pie while watching Netflix, and trying to pretend that my whole life is not going sideways right now.  Netflix and carbs are definitely my main coping mechanisms for this impending move, and I think they will be crucial to Ammon's continued survival.  Because really, it's just easier to take care of the problem at the source, and if he is incapacitated, there is no reason for me to have to go anywhere, or go through anymore crap, deal with another awful person, or pack just one more damn box.

Needless to say, I'm really glad I decided to hold out, and save Orange in the New Black for a special occasion.  A move across the country with no job sounds like it might fit the bill nicely.  I have missed the heck out of Crazy Eyes.

Except, I would never throw my pie for anyone.  She is so much more giving of herself than I am.

Instead, I watched the entire "Numbers" series from start to finish, and I convinced Ammon to start NCIS with me.  There's 11 seasons, so we may be at it for a while.  Nothing keeps the romance alive quite like a show that glorifies autopsies and forensic science, am I right?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hoarder's paradise

It seems like at least once a year, something happens, and at least one room in my house ends up looking kind of like this:

We're living in a hoarder's paradise, y'all.  We needed to clear out our stage unit, because we're getting a quote on moving services from a company, and they need to see it ALL.  I like to live in this state of denial where I'm convinced that we don't have too much crap until I'm forced to face reality.  Because the reality is, this was after we gave away half of what was in our storage, and with part of what we had going straight into our garage because it was already packed correctly.

Clearly, we have some emotional attachments to stuff that we might want to consider working through.

Also, neither one of us had any idea just how much camping gear we actually have.  We couldn't outfit a boy scout troop or anything, but we could probably take a small group of friends out no problem.  Which is funny, since the last time we camped was 3 years ago.

So if you don't hear from me again for a while, you might want to consider sending a search party to make sure we didn't get trapped under piles of our own creation.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Life convulsed

When Ammon and I moved into this house, one year ago today (because it's technically still August 1st as I write this), we had hoped to stay here a while.  To convince our aging, well-meaning but terrible landlord buy this rough little dilapidated house in a fantastic neighborhood, and turn it into something extra special.

We love this little crappy house so much that I spent an entire weekend ripping rotted railroad ties out of the front yard and acquiring fill dirt to re-grade the slope.  That is true love, right there.

But then, life giggled a little bit, and hiccuped.  Well, maybe not a hiccup... more like it went into straight up convulsions...

You see, in late June, Ammon came home from work, and mentioned that there was a position opening up with HP out in northern California that he was well-qualified for, and that one of his colleagues was going to check into if Ammon would be eligible to apply, since he is technically only a contracted employee right now.  As soon as he brought up this position, I had a FEELING.  That feeling that you get when you know immediately that something is going to happen.  I started researching the market in the area, and decided I needed to learn as much as I could, in the event that this feeling came true.

A few days before my 30th birthday, Ammon applied for the job.

On my 30th birthday, he had his first phone interview for the position.

By July 6th, we knew that an offer would be coming, but had to wait on the formalities of it all.  9 days later, it was done:  We were offered an incredible opportunity that will change our lives forever.  As of September 14th, Ammon will be an employee of HP in California. We will be establishing residency in my home state, just 45 minutes away from my mom's hometown.

I gave my notice at work, and I'm leaping without a safety net.  This is quite possibly the most risky move that I have ever made.  You could argue it isn't risky, because we are guaranteed Ammon's income.  But as those of you who have been around for long might remember, I've always been the primary financial provider in our relationship.  Now I'm going to be provided for, and it's almost nauseating.

What if I can't find a job?

How are we going to afford everything on his salary if I don't find work?

I think I'm good at Accounting, but will hiring managers in California feel the same?

And even more than the professional aspects, there's the personal aspects.  We're leaving behind our close friends.  His mom, and my parents and brother.  I do have some [distant] family in the area, most of whom I've never met, or only a couple of times.  We are starting practically at ground zero with everything.  
Where will I buy my running gear?  
For that matter, where do I run?  
Where are the grocery stores?  
How am I going to get used to the fact that you must use hands-free options when talking on the phone in your car?

Will we make friends right away, or will it be the long, slow, painful process that it has been over the last several years?

I feel very fortunate for this opportunity, I do.  It's unbelievable, and it's special.  We are getting so much, and I am working really hard to have a heart full of gratitude.  Except that there's all of this sadness and fear.  It happened so fast, we didn't have time to emotionally prepare to separate from our support network.  We have to find someone who will take over the lease on our crappy but cute Colorado home.  We have to sort through the things we have amassed, and make some tough decisions about what will stay, and what will go.  All of these things make it so hard for me to truly experience the full measure of the gratitude in my heart.  I should be full to overflowing right now, I know this.

I'm just not there yet.