Saturday, January 29, 2011

Surprise Ending!

In the few days I have been here, I have made several big shopping trips.

It takes a lot to restock a house! Cleaning supplies, groceries ... you never think about having to buy all your condiments. You just know that when you open the fridge there will be mayo and ketchup and dressing and mustard and sun dried tomatoes ... until you move ... and there is nothing! And if you forget to buy baking soda, well then, you can't make muffins!

But anyhow, I have been to a lot of stores lately. And and each store I have come home to discover that one (or more!) of the items I purchased had a broken safety seal, or no seal at all... or that the bag had been cut open on the back and taped with masking tape!

I'm not sure what to do about this phenomenon.

Is it a southwest thing?

I suppose I have taken it for granted that if I toss a bag of basmati rice into my shopping cart that the package will be intact. Or that if I bring home a jar of peanut butter it will be sealed for freshness (I have had three faulty jars of peanut butter in the last week - different stores, different brands). Perhaps I have expected too much. Perhaps it is time that I carefully analyze each product I place in my cart before I make it to the checkout line. Perhaps I will start writing polite, but straightforward letters to the stores and distribution companies and receive hundreds of dollars of free products to make up for the inconvenience of having to return or repurchase staple items. Perhaps I don't have enough time or energy for that and I will just start praying over each poorly packaged item I discover and hope that my family is not poisoned.

In addition to this disturbing trend, I have also discovered that Fry's is most definitely not Fred Meyer.




I was just about to post a side note and discovered that I no longer can find the right-justified button on my blog options! How I am supposed to give you a side note in the center of my blog?? How? Someone, please tell me how to fix this problem!

Side Note: Please imagine it on the actual SIDE of the post.
I know that you remember when my Everett CrossFit trainer commented on the perviously linked Fred Meyer post. You will be horrified (and probably delighted by the awkwardness of it all) to know that throughout my time working out there he referred to that post (and several other embarrassing ones, including giving Andy the nickname "huge") on a regular basis.

I must now tell you, this is the end of the side note, as I don't have the clear signal of the text returning to its regular position.

Side note. End. Now.


So Fry's. It is not Fred Meyer.

Our landlords were describing the best places for groceries and likened Fry's to Fred Meyer. It is part of the whole Kroger conglomerate. But people, it is a pitiful substitution for my beloved FM.

How can it be so bad you ask? Let me tell you:

Strike one: the aisles aren't wide enough for two carts to comfortably pass each other. Strike two: the first jar of peanut butter I grabbed was leaking all over and gave me greasy hands. Strike three: they do not carry prosciutto or pancetta, or any other cured meat that is better than bacon and delicious when wrapped around almost any vegetable and roasted. Strike four (okay, I know there are only three strikes in a "strike" series, but I couldn't come up with anything better at this exact moment - forgive me): the checkout boy made a comment about my huge order and I said that I had just moved and instead of being nice he said, "I'm sorry." Lame checkout boy. Then he made it worse by saying, "Where did you come from?" "Seattle." "You should have stayed there." Doubly lame checkout boy.

See. Not Fred Meyer.

And now, for the final news of the day, which has nothing to do with groceries or Fred Meyer or my underwear, and which I was not anticipating having to write about, but now must because I hear hobbling upstairs, Andy has come home injured.

I wasn't blogging when Andy was ultimate fighting, but if I had been, I would have told you about his unnatural ability and willingness to continue life-as-normal with a major injury. One of our dear friends and mentors once described Andy by saying, "He's the kind of guy that would go hunting and get shot and forget to tell Emily about it until two weeks later."

A truer word was never spoken.

So when he comes home and nonchalantly says, "I think I hurt my ankle." That means something serious.

He went out tonight to play football with some of the guys from our neighborhood and came home happy. In the same sentence when he was smugly telling me about his interceptions and catches he removed his shoes and said, "that is not normal."

Me: No honey!

Me: Please tell me you didn't just go out and damage yourself!

Me: Really?

Me: Aw man!

Me: Honey!

Me: Is it broken?

Andy - unconvincingly: Nah.

Me: Honey!

Me: Honey!

Me: Oh man.

It looks awful. And if it even registers as annoying to Andy, then it is pretty bad. I wasn't able to convince him that it was worth a trip to the walk-in-clinic tonight, but tomorrow might be a different story. So, you may be hearing from me soon about navigating new hospitals and doctors in Arizona. Let's just hope they are more careful with their patients than the grocery stores are with their merchandise!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Impressions

I am having trouble believing that it has been only a little more than a week since I loaded up my minivan with books and a lamp and boys that I love, and drove ... and drove and drove and drove ... to a new home.

The drive actually went about as marvelously as it could have. Jack and Joey did so well. I am continually amazed at how resilient and able my children are. Children in general actually. I find that I often underestimate what my boys are capable of.

So far, Tucson is much more lovely than I was imagining. It has its own special look - that just happens to be so-not-Northwest. It is prickly and angular and very, very bright. Currently, it is also surprisingly cold. I am charmed by the giant shifts in temperature throughout the day. Yesterday I could see my breath when I walked out in the morning and by the middle of the afternoon I was ready to shed all my layers and lounge around in just my tee-shirt.

We found a lovely house to rent from a fun young couple who just happened to be making a quick out-of-state move at the same time we were. It is a little bit out of the city which means we will commute to all of our activities and I'll have to be efficient and thoughtful in my grocery and meal planning - but there are serious perks that made it work the drive for us. We are situated in a new community that is full of parks and the coolest pool you have ever seen! There are walking trails throughout the development and an elementary school right in the neighborhood.

We have only been in the house for a day, and that was spent unloading our moving truck and unpacking boxes, but so far I've seen small children run out from most of our neighbors' houses. I am looking forward to baking a big batch of something and introducing my family to the neighbors.

After a couple of interviews, we found a new CrossFit gym. There were two we were interested in. One was close to us and one was a little further away, but we picked the further one because the people there were significantly more friendly than the close one. They also have a beautiful gym that is situated in the artsy-est street I have discovered in Tucson yet. The doors on all the neighboring buildings are bright red or turquoise. There is a set of stairs painted a brilliant orange with teal tiles and one of the windows has some beautiful deep blue scrollwork on its screens. The gym also has a backyard set up for kids and when we were there last week, Jack didn't want to leave!

When I walked into the gym last week they were sharing their space with an art class. Very fun! I am looking forward to hunting out more colorful parts of the city. It seems that there are VERY distinct districts within Tucson. The "don't drive past that line" streets and the streets that attract artists and foodies. Because we have been getting our house squared away, we haven't even had time to wander through the city. We have just been finding the necessities.

I noticed that my list of "necessities" includes mostly things that fit into how I did life at home. Trader Joe's, Costco, Target, Starbucks ... and as I was checking off my list of need-to-know-locations, I decided something. I decided that the point of this whole Arizona Adventure isn't to just recreate my Washington-life in a new state. I want to be open to new ways of structuring my days and leave space for new attitudes and relationships to grow.

I feel so privileged to have this chance to adventure with my family. I don't want to forget that this truly is a gift. I want to be sure to be grateful and humble and open, not just waiting for good to happen to us - but seeking it out and being the one to plant goodness when we see needs and opportunities.

So even as I unpack, and try desperately to keep my family hydrated, and navigate new roads, I am praying for a heart that loves Tucson and sees God's hand, and hears his heart while we are here.

I'm off to moisturize my hands and continue wading through our boxes of life.

Enjoy your day friends!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beyond the Basics

As a follow up to the big announcement, I want to give a little bit of context.

In the course of a weekend, Andy and I decided to move our whole family to another state. A state that in my mind is about as different from my Pacific Northwest home as you can get. Well, maybe somewhere in the mid-west would be more different, but in my imagining Arizona is about the complete opposite of Washington.

How did we do that?

Why did we do that?

I can tell you one thing, this is not a giant act of obedience or a "God told us to go" sort of situation. It was more like the opportunity opened up and God said, "Here are two good choices. Either one will be fine."

Not cosmic, I know.

But I recently read something that said that God doesn't speak to everyone in the same way, but how he speaks to one person tends to be consistent. I love that idea. It means that I am not responsible to hear God in the same way that my friend or pastor or dad does, but I am responsible to recognize how God consistently speaks to me.

And I am pretty sure he gives me choices.

This last year of our lives has been long and full of strain. Andy and I have both been worn down, but have tried hard to continue in the things we have felt are important.

The problem is, neither of us have had enough in reserve to feel successful in the areas we want to be significant in our lives. For each of us, things that are very important to us have suffered, simply because our capacity has been too small for our vision.

Once Arizona (Tucson) was on the discussion board, we suddenly were dreaming of what it would be like to rest, to dedicate some time to knowing our boys and knowing each other and knowing ourselves better.

The way we have been living didn't leave much space for going slow or much energy for laughing and playing and trying new things. Do you know that feeling when small changes no longer are enough to keep you healthy? And something in your life needs a serious overhaul? That is what we felt like.

Only we didn't really see it until the legitimate possibility of a move entered into the conversation.

We saw where we were in a new light and decided that we would take an opportunity to make some extra space in our lives.

A significant part of the decision to move has also included Andy taking time off of school. Full time work and full time school have been a huge draw on the time and energy of our family. So for the next year, we have committed to Andy being out of school.

His heart is still turned toward teaching and finishing his education, but our hope is that we will all be better able to make it through the last season of his program when we are rested and recharged.

But besides giving ourselves some space we just really feel like, "Why not?"

We have always said we want to be people who are adventurous, and willing to live in a way that isn't quite traditional and here is a great big chance to do it.

So Arizona, here we come!

We are packing our boxes and looking for houses and building up our iTunes account with new music and podcasts and books on tape because, man, is it going to be a long drive!

In the midst of all the details to get us there we are excited and so looking forward to what might happen as we give our family room to grow deep roots and bear sweet fruit.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just the Basics

"It could be a disaster, it could be a golden-year, but most likely it will be a little bit of both and something in-between."

That is what I told my grandma when I let her know that Andy and are moving to Arizona.

In two weeks.

That's right folks.

Andy and I have officially given into a dream and are following the yellow brick road.

Whether the path leads us to the Emerald City or to the lair of the evil flying monkeys has yet to be determined.

Let's back up a mite, shall we?

Several months ago Andy used his joking voice to let me know of a job opening in his company's Tucson shop. For the same position he holds here, just in a sunnier state.

Several days ago, after living in total chaos for a week, I used my joking voice to say, "Hey, how about that job in Arizona?!"

Then, all of a sudden, without even meaning to, we were both using our serious voices to discuss what it could and would mean and if we would really be interested in a major shift of lifestyle.

Turns out we both WERE interested. So Andy talked to his boss and wouldn't you know it, the job was still open, but just, and so Andy signed his name on a few sheets of paper and ta da! We are packing our things and driving to Arizona in about 13 days.

The first week after the decision was made was pretty thrilling.

The last two days, as goodbyes have started, have been pretty heart-wrenching.

In a little while, when I'm not feeling so emotionally taxed, I will explain more about what we hope to accomplish with the move and some of the most motivating factors - but today, I think I can only manage the basics.

There is still a sense that this isn't really happening and I have a small hope, married to a small fear, that seeing it written, in my own words, on my own blog, will settle some of the flutter in my brain and heart.

Let it be known, that I am VERY excited about the possibilities before me and my family.

And let it also be known, that I am mourning the life we have loved in Washington and the fact that it will stay and we are going.

It occurred to me that this is the very first time I have had to deal with significant loss. It feels very strange to know that my own choices are causing such sadness, and that behind and next to and in front of and all around that sadness are other emotions: expectation, hope, fear, enthusiasm, love and joy and peace.

I feel compelled to DO something with all of these emotions. I feel a need to reign them in and tame them. But I'm not sure that is really the point. They are part of this adventure, and part of this life and I think I don't want to miss this part.

I'm in-between again.

So, prepare for a peppering of thoughts on moving, both poetic and practical. You will probably hear more about Washington vs. Arizona for a while than CrossFit (gasp!), so just be ready.

And, by the way, the first thing we did after putting the move on the table as a legitimate possibility was to look up the available CrossFit gyms in the area. There are four. We will be in CrossFit heaven.

True Story.