One Last Milestone: Graduation

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I've been trying to write this post for days...

Okay, so maybe not the last milestone ever, but certainly the last one in Stephenville. Matt graduated today with his MS in Management and Leadership. I could not be more proud of him!

Poor guy was so nervous that he couldn't sleep last night, so he graduated today on one hour of sleep. He was a total wreck, which made no sense to me. He's already done the hard work. This is the reward. This is the moment to celebrate that victory. And, as victory celebrations go, it was really nice.

I did warm him, though, that I was going to take a lot of pictures. Which I totally did. I got pics of him pre-grad...

And post-grad...

He looks so awesome in his regalia. It was raining, so his stole is all messy. I actually love this picture so much!!! He looks great! What am I saying? He always looks great!

He never lets me take his picture of him, so I took total advantage of this opportunity. I got pics of us together...

 Of him with his parents...

Of the stadium...

We had a pretty good vantage point, so we could see everything going on down there. The ceremony was only doctoral and master's candidates, so the ceremony wasn't too terribly long. Just about one hour exactly. Truly and honestly, I could not be more proud of him.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I feel like I'm saying goodbye a lot lately. With only three weeks left before we leave Texas, I have a lot of goodbyes to say. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any easier to say them. It doesn't make it any less painful, either.

I'm having lunch with my best friend, Melanie, tomorrow--and we'll see one another a few more times before it's time to go. Next week, I'm having lunch with my friend Marsha. Today, Matt and I had coffee with my favorite professor.

We went to Waco to see Amanda & Karen one more time. We've had food with my father-in-law, and will again this weekend when Matt graduates with his MS in Management and Leadership from the college we've been attending since 2004. The college where I worked for several years.

We're packing everything away so that we might soon say goodbye to the little house where we've lived for the last 11 years. And though I cannot say with any sincerity that I'll miss this place, I will certainly miss the memories we made here.

We've graduated from college almost four times since we moved here. I've written a thesis and more than one as-yet-unpublished book here. Our precious cat, Chummer, died here. This is where we lived when we adopted both Anakin & Chewbacca. We've gotten jobs, made careers, and lived most of our married lives together here.

Leaving this how, this town, this state, means saying goodbye to almost every memory we have ever made together. It means saying goodbye to the possibility that we will someday live in Waco again--or that we'll even visit there again as easily as we do now. We may never go again to Lover's Leap, where Matt asked me to marry him. Or to Miss Nelly's Pretty Place in Cameron Park, where we stayed up all night just talking. Or to any number of places where we've made lasting memories. It means saying goodbye to all we've known in favor of saying hello to the unknown.

To say we're looking forward to the move would be an understatement. We're so ready for a new adventure, but that doesn't make saying goodbye to our lives in Texas any less difficult.

WIP Fail...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Soooo... According to Bradbury, I fail. Okay, maybe I hunted that quote down to support how I'm feeling about myself lately. I have a lot of excuses, namely that I'm moving and that means cleaning. And, cleaning means a LOT of work because my house is a disaster. Not an understatement. Almost a literal disaster. Seriously. Yuck

But, I've already gone on and on about that. This is about writing. Or lack there of. No progress this month, which is really hard for me because I really wanted to get this damn book done. A lot. But, that isn't going to happen for a while. Since we're moving at the end of May, it's going to be a while before we're settled again. And, once we get where we're going, I'm going to have to look for a "real job." So yeah, where writing is concerned. Bradbury got it right, at least for the time being.

Horror Hailstorm, April 2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When it rain it pours. That's the old expression. Well, it apparently also hails. A lot. Because we had two hailstorms in two days. On Friday (4/24), it hailed and poured torrential rain for about 10 minutes. We'll call that HS#1. On Sunday (4/26), it hailed for more than a half an hour. This is HS#2. It's an important distinction.

During HS#1, because of the direction of the wind and hail, a tree beside where I parked my Veloster caught most of the weather and my car came away from the storm with only one little dent in the hood. Amen! Matt's car, however, was  covered in dents and had cracked glass. The tree's protection didn't extend quite far enough to protect both cars. Okay, so we filed a claim with Geico for his car. Fine.

Then HS#2 came and it made HS#1 look like a pleasant spring shower. Don't get me wrong, the first hailstorm was bad. Almost all of our neighbors lost at least one window (thankfully, we didn't). But the second hailstorm was just gross. Our little town was plagued by a series of tornadoes and with them came hail and rain. It hailed for more than a half an hour straight, huge chunks of ice the size of golf balls and larger. Blessedly, we're on the side of town where we are, because the other side of town was hit by baseball-sized hail.

Since our roof is metal, the noise was remarkable. We couldn't hear one another talk. We couldn't even hear that obnoxious buzzing sound our iPhone's were making when there was an emergency alert. It was intense and terrifying, and didn't let up for a long time. It only got worse. When the hail and rain finally stopped I had the opportunity to go out and check our cars... I was devastated by the mess.

While Matt's car weathered HS#2 okay, mine was destroyed. My brand new (8 month old) car was wrecked. The glass on the top of the back window was broken out, the windshield was badly cracked, the hood and roof are covered in dents, and the pain is chipped away or breaking off in places where the hail struck it at a bad angle. It looks like someone took a bat to my beloved Veloster.

I am heartbroken. I love this car like it were my own child.

The window breaking out on top like that made for an especial mess. The leather seats are soaking wet. Even as I type this, though I've covered that window with plastic as best I could, all of my windows are fogged up from the wet trapped inside.

To see it like this breaks my heart. I can hardly think about it without crying. And seeing it makes me lose it, almost every time. I literally cried myself to sleep the night this happened. Thankfully, the dog hammock I just installed caught a lot of the glass and, likely, soaked up some of the water, too.

We go today to see the GEICO adjuster. I'm hoping this will go smoothly so I can get my car into the shop immediately. Since we're moving in 4 weeks, it really needs to get done.

My biggest concerns now are whether the insurance adjuster will give me an estimate that will cover all of the damages and whether or not the body-shop can get the parts in quickly enough to get it done before we move. Oh, and also whether or not my rental car coverage will be enough to cover my car's entire stay with the body-shop. It seems to me, at $35/day my coverage will only cover 30 days before it stops paying and I have to pick up the slack.

Fingers crossed we can get this taken care quickly and with as little heartache as is possible.

Alcohol is Serious Business...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's becoming apparent to me that moving to another state is an ordeal. There's a lot to take into account when you're picking up your whole life and transplanting it 1,315 miles north and west. You'd think I would know that, seeing how I once did it. I picked up and moved 1,380 miles east. But that was different. That was something less intense than this. I was 20 years old and didn't have anything, or had next to nothing anyway, and I had someone who offered an already established place to be. This isn't that.

This is more than that. This time, we have to think about things we didn't before. We have to think about two cars to re-register and plate. Animals to license with the city. All the stuff people do every day, all over the world, when they relocate. It's pretty commonplace, in fact, for a lot of people. For me, it's a big deal and, as it turns out, is requiring some extra steps. Steps like the procedure for moving with liquor to a control state, like Utah.

A control state has some pretty steep regulations about liquor--they control the sale of spirits inside their borders. In Utah, transporting liquor into the state under almost any circumstances is against the law. One of the only exceptions in Utah is the relocation of a permanent residence and even then you have to fill out a form, give them an itemized list of all of the bottles you're bring in, and pay them a handling fee.

In Texas you'll encounter dry counties, where you can transport liquor in in small quantities without being a bootlegger. Something I have some small experience with since, until a few years ago, the county where we live was a dry county. Even now, you can't buy hard liquor here, but you can bring it in. In Utah, bringing it in in any quantity is a no no. So, we're jumping through their hoops as laid out for me by a very nice man at Utah's DABC.

Right now, I'm just thankful that there is a procedure at all. Matt is pretty fond of his Scotch and he would be heart broken if he had to give it up. Not to mention the expense involved in leaving it. But, there's a silver lining (I'm trying to find a lot of those these days). The very nice man at the DABC told me that you can definitely buy liquor in Utah... including Scotch. So, at least there's that.

Ultimately, I'm just thankful my diligent husband did the research because I wouldn't have thought of it. Had we gotten to the border without permission, with fifteen bottles of booze in tow, we could have had it confiscated and/or gone to jail. Compounding an already pretty hectic move with, you know, a felony. And, while that would make the move more memorable, it would also kind of suck.
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