Monday, March 31, 2008

Morning! or Evening!....Afternoon?

Hello world!

I'm awake. I'm even functioning.

The night shifts aren't as bad as I thought they'd be. Actually, they've turned out to be a good thing. Nights are slower and the techs that I am working with have time to train me on the machines that will eventually be 'mine'. They call me their engineer - which I think is funny - but it is exactly what I am. I will be (after they finish stuffing my brain with stuff) their engineer.

The worst part about the night shift is not feeling like there is a break between the times that I have to go back to work. I work 12 hours, go home and go directly to bed, then I get up with just enough time to eat dinner, shower, dress and get out the door for another shift. The upside, 3 or 4 days off (depending on the week) in a row. Which is why I'm in Florida, dethawing, right now.

I shouldn't complain so much about Virginia. I know, without a doubt, that this was the right decision and we will adjust to the differences between the two states. I'm just so home sick. It would be so much easier if Matt was able to come up with me, but again, him staying here was also the right decision. Actually, it was the only decision - this is the way it has to be right now. I promise, once I and we get settled, I won't be so fussy.

Actually, I'm going to do my very best to be more positive about this whole thing from this moment on. Not only for your sakes, but for my peace of mind - and for Matt. Poor thing - he has to put up with me more than you guys do!

And did I tell you? We get married in 3 weeks. 3! Three! Tres!
It seems like just yesterday we were talking about cakes and such.

Lately, a lot of people are asking both of us if we're getting nervous and no, we're not. We feel the same about this now as we did 9 months ago. It's time and it's right. If we were nervous about this, we wouldn't be doing it. We've been together for so long - I can't imagine any real change. And yes, I know, everyone says it's SO different. I'll let you know what I think about the differences when we get there!

That's it for now. I'm going out to enjoy the warm, sunny Florida weather while I'm here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight

Tonight, I will do my best to stay up as late as I possibly can. Tomorrow evening I start my first 12 hour night shift. I'm looking forward to it and a bit hesitant at the same time. I'm finally going to start learning my job and getting my "hands dirty", but HOLY! 12 hours over night. I start my shift at 6:30pm and get off at 7am - hopefully I won't fall asleep on the job.

On the upside, I leave Saturday morning (immediately after my 12 hour shift) for HOME! Warm, toasty, humid, air not so thin home. I'm so looking forward to being warm again. I have never hurt so bad for so long in all my life. My hands stay cold and blue and just barely bending my knuckles is extremely painful - stupid Raynauds. And my lower back is stiff and cranky. Sigh. I really hope I like this job, I'm not digging the weather so far.

Of course, I can't wait to see Matt. I miss him so much - and the Critter Crew. I never realized how much I'd miss just having him around to pester, pick on and giggle with. The plan is to pick up my dress from the cleaners on Saturday afternoon and drive straight to Ft. Myers so my Mother can finish working on it (just minor touch ups). We will stay overnight and leave Sunday afternoon for an evening meeting with the wedding coordinator and owner of the wedding site. We will have dinner with Matts parents on Monday and I will be back on a plan Tuesday evening. Yes, it will be a very busy few days, but I'll be home and warm.

Virginia isn't all bad, I've enjoyed my early evening walks through the parks here. It's a change of scenary and a bit more challenging with the hills. I've learned to bundle up with gloves and a hat, especially when the wind is whipping around (with the sole intention of making me miserable) and I'm even becoming accustomed to the strange looks I get from the natives. Apparently, they think this is Spring-time and are out running the trails in shorts and short-sleeve shirts. Nutcases! This morning, the weather man said 30 degrees - that does NOT feel very Springy to me.

Anyway, I have no idea when I'll be coherent again, so if you don't hear from me for a while, I'll either be sleeping or wandering around in a zombie like state. Just prop me in a corner if you find me fallen over someplace.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter Everybody!

Yup, it's a hay bale Easter Bunny.

I was driving around today, exploring again when I came upon this. This is definately something I'd never see in Florida - and I'm not quite sure how I feel about seeing it here. Although, it is kind of cute, isn't it?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Letter from a Florida Girl

Dear Mr. Weatherman,
If the temperature outside is actually XX degrees, but it feels like "something much colder" degrees, lets just call it what it feels like. Here's why:
  1. That’s what I'm going to be feeling and whining about anyway
  2. It makes it much easier for me to work up a good whine before I leave the house when I know what it actually FEELS LIKE out there.
  3. It helps me to not step outside without a proper coat, which in turn
  4. helps me not to offend the neighbors when I loudly curse you for telling me the actual and not the feels like temperature.

Let us just call a spade, a spade – shall we?

You could also throw in that the wind is whipping around with the sole intention of making me miserable.

Thank you!
(A very cold) Florida Girl

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Feelin' the Love

You guys should go visit Sarah's post here and see some really funny pictures of us through the years, including some high school photos. It verifies that we are really this old. Although, I'll never admit it and I will always refuse to act my age - whatever "acting my age" is supposed to be!

As for the job, everything is moving right along. Nothing really exciting to report. The first three days are orientation and seem to last forever - as every orientation does. I have a lot of training classes to take and a lot of catching up and learning to do. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Or maybe this is over excitment. I'm not sure.

The first month, beginning next Wednesday, I will be pulling 12 hour shifts over night with a senior team in order to help me get up to speed as soon as possible. I'm not sure how I'll do on an over night shift, but I'll do whatever it takes to get where I need to be for this job. With any luck, I will learn quickly and be able to start my normal 8 hour "1st shift" (8a-5p) when I come back from our honeymoon.

Don't laugh too hard at the pictures - we were only whipper-snappers!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Just checking in with a few tid-bits for everyone.

I arrived in Northern Virginia at 8:30am Saturday morning. The train ride up was uneventful and it didn't take long to get my car off the train and be on my way. I settled into my new apartment, found a place for breakfast and set off exploring, staying fairly close to the area between work and my apartment. Today I ventured much farther out and had a good time discovering new little towns and sites. (between the state road map I bought and my GPS unit, I never felt lost or worried). I found a few beautiful parks with breathtaking views and as I walked around, I had a feeling come over me that I couldn't ignore.

"This is right. As hard as it was to leave, this is where we are supposed to be right now and we will be happy here."

I know Matt will love it here. He's been talking about moving out of Florida for quite a while now. He's been ready for this change. I will be much happier when he finally makes the journey up so we can start settling in and planting roots.

On with the tid-bits:

1. I start work tomorrow at 7:30am. What? I have to get up to an alarm clock? Who says? Why?
2. I must really want this job, I ironed my pants. (remind to hire a presonal ironer when I get rich and yes, that is a word, I checked.)
3. Road names are hysterical here; Frying Pan, Pohick, Popes Head.... tee hehehehehehe
4. There are at least 3 other people from Florida living in my apartment building according to their license plates. Weird.
5. You thought I was joking when I said I was "buying 6 gallons of Publix diet Sweet Tea" didn't you? Silly internets, you don't know me very well, do you? Never under-estimate an addict. (I only bought 4 because that's all they had. I will be bringing up more when I come back from my visit).

6. I woke up at 6am last night freezing and very upset that I didn't have my toe warmer with me (aka: Matt). Thank goodness he talked me into bringing "Boyfriend" along.

(Matt bought me this space heater a couple of years ago for Christmas because I am perpetually cold. I told Matt that I didn't need him any longer since I had a new boyfriend that would keep me warm, hence the name, "Boyfriend.")

7. The mall here has a Target and a Wal-mart IN it. The mall has just become my favorite place.
8. I am SPOILED! I miss my big TV and Tivo/DVR. I had to watch TV on this itty-bitty thing that is the size of my (home) microwave and I couldn't rewind or fast-forward through commercials. My head almost exploded last night.

That's it for now. I'll try to remember to bring my camera the next time I go exploring and put up some pretty pictures (as pretty as they can get with my point and shoot). Wish me luck tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes. I'll probably be all squirrelly in the head seeing as I haven't had to be up at that hour in a very long time. I see some adjusting in my future. You think?

Friday, March 14, 2008

And Away I Go

I leave in the morning for Orlando where my car and I will board a train bound for Northern Virginia. I will be arriving Saturday morning, bright and early. I start my new job on Monday. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit apprehensive.

No. That statement is a complete lie. I'm scared out of my wits.

I'm moving away from everyone I know, the place I grew up in and I'm doing it without my soon-to-be husband. It's just kind of depressing. This would be much more exciting if Matt was coming with me.

There is one person who is waaaay too excited about this move. Sarah. From the email she sent me today, she's been house hunting for me. She found a very very nice house for us and yet, it seems she's forgotten one thing - we need to find Matt employment first.

So, Sarah, if you're bored, (HA!) I suggest starting with possible job opportunities for my man. Then we'll talk houses.

I'll update everyone as soon as I get situated. In the meantime, could everyone work on sending some warmer air to Virginia? Please. Don't make me beg!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Home is Where the Heart Is

It was 4am.
It was still raining.
Matt was asleep and I was awake, crying.
I was wondering when this would happen, when the realization of leaving would really hit. I knew it was close. I’ve been tearing up periodically since we made the decision to move. It just wouldn’t break lose. It’s has now.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so excited! I’m about to embark on a grand adventure. There will be new roads to get to know and new towns to explore. There will be new festivals, museums and venues to enjoy; new restaurants, pubs and dives to discover. New weather patterns, fall colors, and snow to see and learn about. We will find a new home, start a new life, make new friends and get to know all these new things together. This is the right thing for us to do at this point in our lives.

Yet, I still can’t ignore the tug at my heart. I’ve become acutely aware of how I know and love this city, this state. I drive around knowing my time here is limited. I grew up here. My childhood, my memories, friends and family all exist in this place. I know its smells, its seasons, its people, and its vibes. I know where to go to have a good time without getting caught up in the tourist traps. I know how to avoid a traffic jam and many a good place to have dinner. I know the festivals and parades, such as Guavaween, Gasparilla, The Crawfish Festival and Taste of Pinellas. I know that I’m spoiled by living 20 minutes (if that) from some of the highest rated beaches in the country and I can’t tell you the last time I went.

I know many of the things about this city that I look forward to learning about in the next and yet, I’m already beginning to deeply miss the things I love. I love being so close to the water, driving over bridges, the vibes, the smells, and the warmth. I love the storms, the lightning and thunder, the wind that comes through when one of the hurricane bands swings over us. I love the fantastic sunsets I can see just going for a walk or a quick drive. I love living so close to the stadium and spending so much time there. I love living minutes from three separate cities with all sorts of fun things to do in each. I love my friends and hanging out at our favorite bars. (Favorite meaning where we ‘landed’ that evening and it has cold beer and good food) I love living close, but not too close, to my family.

There are worries and questions too. Will we like it there? What if we don’t? What about the new job? Matt’s new job? Can we afford to live there? Is it the right place for us? What if the winters make me unbearably depressed? (I hate just plain old gray days, ICK!) I could go on – I’m trying not to think about it.

I will be leaving behind part of myself, the part that I must shed in order to move forward. I think of it as being suddenly and unexpectedly naked. It feels good, frightening, exciting, sad for the loss of comfort, somewhat chilly,and exhilaratingly free; and although I’m looking forward to the future, the change, and the excitement of it all, I can not deny this is, and may always be, home.

I will miss it. It is where my heart is.

Monday, March 3, 2008

OOoooo, That Smell...

...that wonderful new car smell.
I did a wonderfully naughty thing today.

I am visiting my parents in south Florida for a few days before I go off to Virginia. Just hanging out, causing trouble and working on the wedding dress. Since I'm here, I took my car into the dealership my Dad works at (where I bought my car) and had them run a complete diagnostic on it before I hit the road. Just to be sure.

Here's where the SQUEEEEK comes in - I bought Matt a new car while I was there. Yup. Apparently, you can't leave me alone on a car lot with knowledge of the deals I can get because of my Dad. Granted, this isn't an unexpected purchase. We had planned on getting him a new car before he moves up to Virginia in July and had even made a trip down last month so he could sit in all the cars and pick out what he wanted.

Anyway, while at lunch, I asked my Dad when would be a good time to get serious about buying and he told me the deals I could get now versus the deals he knows are coming in the next few months. When we got back from lunch, we looked around the lot for the color/option package Matt wanted. He didn't have anything on the lot, but we found it at another dealership. My Dad worked the numbers and I gave him the thumbs up! Obviously, now is a much better time for me to buy.

Matt and I will be driving down this coming weekend to pick up his new car.

A Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, all pretty, shiny and new. I'm just a touch jealous I think. I LOVE new cars and mine is so 2 years ago. I'm going to have to get me a new one too.

(Kidding, kidding, kidding - kind of.)

Oh, and the coolest part - we are considering giving John, my 16 year old brother, Matt's current car. We don't think we'd get much for it as a trade-in and it would be perfect for a young man to tool around town in. We're going to let the dealership look it over first and see if we can get anything reasonable for it. If not, then it's going to John - after the shop checks it out to make sure it doesn't need any major work. He's going to fall over himself - I can't wait.