avanta7: (Liberal Jesus)
This morning I went to church. And it didn't fall down.

To the best of my recollection, the last time I attended a church service was last Easter, shortly after we moved to Gadsden. No, I didn't attend any Christmas services, and I did actually feel a little guilt about that at the time, but not enough to motivate me off the couch and into clothing suitable for a church service on a cold and snowy Christmas Eve or Christmas Sunday.

Anyway. I've been reluctant to start attending any church here because of preconceived notions about their close-mindedness and legalism simply due to our location deep in the Bible Belt. (Contempt prior to investigation -- I haz it.) Legalism will drive me out of a church faster than the dreaded "Hand of Friendship" AKA "Passing of the Peace" moment. Of course, the hypocrisy of my own close-mindedness (i.e. those preconceived notions) has not escaped me...

And so. This morning I decided I would start the church-shopping process, and went to the 10:45 service at First United Methodist Church of Gadsden. Beautiful building, gorgeous stained glass -- the aesthetics are important. If I hate the building, I won't go. Decent choir, female associate pastor, male senior pastor. Lots of blue-haired ladies in furs in the congregation, which tells me this is the church the "upscale" Methodists attend. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but an older more affluent congregation tends to be more conservative in its theology and approach to social justice issues, and my own theology/social justice leanings are definitely NOT conservative.

The sermon, therefore, left me pleasantly surprised. The text was from Matthew 4, the calling of Simon, Andrew, James, and John. Reverend Thompson's point [vastly simplified and restated here] was Jesus' simplicity in calling these men: "Follow me," He said. And that's it. That's all He asked of us. Reverend Thompson specifically mentioned that Jesus DIDN'T say: "Believe these ten [or 12, or 47] specific things." Jesus doesn't want legalism; he wants us to follow his lead. As in the childhood game, when we follow the leader, we do what the leader does. In other words, to follow Jesus, we should literally ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" And so, it's not about the doctrine, it's not about the "rules", it's about following Christ and being the best Jesus we can be.

Okay. Theology-wise, so far so good. Haven't got a clue of this congregation's position on certain social issues, but I'm willing to go on a second date.
avanta7: (Umbrella Girl)
The time before spouse awakes is the best time to write. Once he's up, any chance for a bit of reflection is out the window. God love him, but he's a chaotic soul.

So. We've been here a month. Mom asked me yesterday if I was glad we moved. Oh yes, indeed. I am.

The measure of relief I feel is a measure of the toxicity of the environment I left. I haven't had a stress headache once since arriving in Alabama: not during the rush rush rush to close on the house; not during the multitude of "discussions" (read: disagreements) over decor (I keep telling him, "Just trust me, it will look great!"); not even last week, when the plumbing in the kitchen decided to show its age, resulting in a back up that somehow ruined the dishwasher, necessitating yet another trip to Big Box Home Improvement Store to buy a new one. (Which was perfectly all right with me, to tell the truth, because I didn't like the old dishwasher. Actually, I don't like any of the kitchen appliances. But I can live with them.) I am so much more relaxed: I don't feel sick to my stomach; I'm not as nervous or jumpy or irritable or defensive. And I haven't come home from work in tears once.

I love being across town from my parents and in the same county as my sister. Last weekend, Sis and I went to an estate sale together. She and her husband and my parents came over for movie night to inaugurate the ginormous new television. We've all been to dinner together once or twice. Mom and I have gone shopping together several times. I drop by Mom's house on my way home from work a couple times a week to say hello. When all the lifting and carrying after the moving van delivered our stuff aggravated that old back injury and I could barely move for three days, they all came over to help finish the unpacking and put away the kitchen, with shelf paper and everything. It's heaven.

And the office! Omigosh. Professional dress and professional attitudes! A fairly even ratio of men to women, and so far I've detected none of the petty backbiting BS that was so pervasive in Yuba City. Oh, there's small drama, of course: we are human, after all. But I don't feel like I have to watch my back here, and I'm not micromanaged, and I'm actually treated like a mature adult with critical thinking skills who is allowed, nay, encouraged, nay, EXPECTED to use them.

The only negative thing thus far -- and it's a positive negative, depending on one's perspective -- is my inadequate wardrobe. I've spent the last 4 years buying clothes to wear in an office that was extremely casual. Blue jeans, even old faded blue jeans, were common apparel. Here? Not so much. Jeans are expressly forbidden, and my "dressy for Yuba City" clothes need to be relegated to the weekend wear they are. I still have a few skirts, but virtually no office-suitable tops for those skirts, and certainly no dresses or suits. A major shopping spree is in order, and shortly. Oh, the horror. ;-) I can hardly wait! As soon as our tax refund is deposited, I'm heading to Birmingham or Anniston. Or maybe Atlanta? Hmmm. Must discuss with potential shopping partner (Mom or Sis).

I know the honeymoon phase will soon wear off, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. And, unless I've totally misread the atmosphere in this office, after it does, I will still feel good about getting up and going to work instead of approaching each work day with dread and trepidation.
avanta7: (Peachtree)
And I have a house, too.

Happenings since we last spoke:

On Wednesday Jan 27, our lending agent called and wanted to schedule closing on the house for Friday Jan 29. "Well, I can do that, I guess, but does my husband have to be here?" I asked. Yes, she said. "Then we can't do it Friday, because he just got on the road to drive out here today."

"Can't he get here by Friday at 4?"

Obviously this woman has never driven across country. But I called and asked spouse anyway, if he thought there was any possible way he could drive some 2600 miles in less than three days. Divide by three, carry the one, uh, that would be a no. Then she wanted to know if he could get here by noon on Saturday the 30th? Couldn't guarantee that, so, uh, no. Monday the 1st was the earliest we could guarantee he'd be here. So we scheduled for Monday at 4:00 PM.

As it turns out, spouse encountered the Great Southwestern Snowstorm and spent the majority of Thursday and a good portion of Friday in New Mexico, waiting for I-40 to reopen. About noon Friday, he decided this waiting around business was crap, and so replotted his course. He detoured south to Roswell and got on I-20, and then drove like the proverbial bat, arriving at my mother's house Saturday night around 9:30 or 10 PM.

Sunday the 31st he got to see the house in person for the first time.

Monday the 1st I reported to my new office for a grand total of 5 hours, then left to go close on the house. Closing itself went without a hitch, but I had a bit of an adventure myself: I had to go to Georgia to get the money.

See, I arrived at Mom's late Wednesday afternoon. First thing Thursday, we went to a local bank where I opened a new account. I told cute young new account guy that we were scheduled to close on our house on Monday, and I would need a cashier's check for the down payment. The money was in the account in California, and if we send a wire transfer request now, will the money be available the next day so we can have the cashier's check issued? Uh. No. Apparently, wire transfers have to be initiated by the funding bank. Okay. So while we're sitting there in cute young new account guy's office, I call my bank's telephone service center. Sure, they can do a wire transfer but I need to go to a local branch in person to have it done. Um, lady, I'm in Alabama, and there are no local branches. If there were a local branch, we wouldn't be having this conversation. After much back and forth, the woman finally tells me I can add the outside account as an authorized transfer account online, and do the transaction myself. We left cute young new account guy's office and went home, where I promptly got online, added the outside account, and scheduled the transfer.

Which came up with a posting date of February 1. The day we were scheduled to close. Cutting it just a bit too close for my taste. So I called the Chase branch in Marysville itself, where I knew I could talk to someone who knew me and wasn't speaking from scripted answers and whose primary language was English. Donna said these transfers generally posted overnight and would probably be in the new account the next day, but she couldn't guarantee it. So she looked for Chase branch closest to me. Douglasville, Georgia.

On Friday the 29th, Phoebe and I drove to Douglasville, Georgia -- a suburb of Atlanta -- and got a cashier's check for the down payment and our portion of the closing costs. It's a relatively short drive, about 90 minutes each way, all interstate. The Chase branch was literally two blocks off the highway. I went in, got the check, hit the McDonald's drive through for lunch and drove home. If I'd had [livejournal.com profile] explodingalice's phone number, I could have met her for lunch. Next time, I will. Of course, I don't expect there will be a next time exactly like this time, but sooner or later I'll be in Atlanta again. (Stitches South is in April. I'm just sayin'....)

Anyway, closing the following Monday went without a hitch. The movers arrived with our stuff on Tuesday the 2nd. We spent our first night in the house that night, and have been unpacking ever since.

We bought a ginormous plasma TV and a new washer and dryer; they'll be delivered this coming Wednesday the 17th. We bought a new dining room suite: table, six chairs, china hutch/buffet, serving table; they should be delivered in about two weeks. We bought a couple of rugs: one for the living room, one for the dining room; we've chosen paint colors for those two rooms; we've discovered all the windows have been painted shut; we've also discovered a tremendous stench in one of the heating vents that needs investigating -- probably a dead rodent; it's been either raining or snowing ever since we got here, and we've had to make use of the sump pump in the basement. (Spouse isn't too pleased about that.)

Our project list grows with each passing day: add insulation; replace the ancient furnace; replace all the windows with dual pane energy efficient units; strip every wooden surface of its gazillion layers of paint so it can be sanded and repainted correctly; repair some of the plaster walls and repaint every room in the house; fix the doorbell; fix the outside lights; find out if the nifty old-fashioned lamppost on the walk in front of the house actually works, and if not, how to make it work; repair/replace the sagging brick patio in front of the house; buy/build a gazebo or portico for the backyard patio; move the two giant camellias from the sunny western side of the house to the shaded eastern side or the shaded portion of the southern-facing back yard; and on and on and on....

We couldn't be happier.
avanta7: (Exhausted Kitty)
We made it to Little Rock, and the traveling troupe is safely ensconced at my friend Cynthia's house. Bless her heart, Cynthia has taken pity on us, and graciously opened her home to the entire menagerie...the kitties are locked in her laundry room, Phoebe is exploring the grounds, and I'm so glad we don't have to spend the night in a motel. Maybe I'll actually get some sleep tonight.

Spouse says the carpet cleaners did an excellent job; he's almost got the glass shower in the master bath semi-presentable (damn hard water -- in the new house, we're either ripping out the glass shower stalls and replacing them with tile and/or shower over tubs with a curtain, or installing a water softener...I have a suspicion the water softener is less expensive). The movers loaded up all the furniture yesterday, so he spent the night on the floor last night. I told him to go get a motel room tonight. He'll be on the road tomorrow, just in time to hit all the storms I missed.

Cynthia's gone off to the store and to pick up her kids. I need to clean the trash out of the car and make a few phone calls.

Tomorrow is our last leg. Woo!

August 2013

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