pain of the righteous

I cannot move one of my arms above shoulder height, and sitting now involves me falling into the chair once by knees hit about a 150 degree angle.  Sixty degrees is a long way to fall down, and I have scared CSD at least four times today.

But I still feel smug.  Why?  Because I successfully moved about 95% of our kitchen and good chunks of the storage closet and garage from our apartment to the new house this weekend.

Our third floor apartment.  Sans elevator, but complete with 36 steps.  Yes, I know how many, because I counted them at least 45 times this weekend.  Those are the steps of pain, but also the steps of righteousness.

Does this make up for entire weekends spent watching Six Feet Under in my PJs?  I like to think probably not yes.

Despite this fact, the awesome sauce award for the weekend goes to Michelle, for cleaning large swaths of the house single-handedly.  Why single-handedly?  Because she does not trust my cleaning skills.  More than does not trust – she in fact knows that I failed this course in being a good Southern wife.

It is at this point that my natural instinct is to protest, kind of like those dolphins stuck in tuna nets they show in the crazy animal emergency Animal Planet shows.  But like the dolphins, fighting is futile – and it is better for everyone if we just lie limp and go with the flow.

So the house is getting clean.  This is amazing given its prior state of filth, which Michelle would have me believe was somewhere between “previously undiscovered forms of bacteria growing on the counter” and CSD’s litterbox.

I wish I had a photo of the piles upon piles of empty antibacterial wipe containers that now fill (literally) our 25 gallon trash bin.

But I don’t.  Because I can’t lift my arm high enough to take a picture.


pack it up pack it in, let me begin …

I came to leave, that don’t make me a skeeve.

(so my lyrical stylings need some work)

I cannot be the only one who feels that the absolute worst part of any move is packing.  It is not in our nature as human beings to pack things.  I am pretty sure that this is a scientific fact that I saw on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

Regardless, it sucks.  Full stop.

But having moved five times in the past six years (not even counting this upcoming move … yup, I am a masochist), I have learned at least a few things not to do.

So here are my nifty 7 tips (and one bonus!) to packing your stuff in boxes:

Rule 1.  Cut a hole in the box.  Sorry, it was a freebie.

make her open the box

make her open the box

Rule 2.  Label boxes by rooms.  Look, we all know it is a pain in the ass.  You will say “I don’t have enough time.”  You will say “But this toaster fits perfectly into this box of bedroom items.”  You will say “But I need to save my permanent marker ink for creating play castles for my cat.”  But you should ignore these evil voices.  The worst thing is getting to a new place and finding that you now have to run items across multiple rooms – it makes the unpacking process slow and makes your pillows smell like burnt toast.

one of these things is not like the others.

one of these things is not like the others.

Rule 3.  Get more boxes than you think you need.  You can get them free from liquor stores.  If you frequent liquor stores anyway, good for you – you are halfway there.  If you do not, make the extra trip.  You might make some new friends.   And you will at least get some good boxes for nada.

Also if you think you will need 25 boxes, you will actually need 80.  I have this down to a science and in fact am in the process of patenting an online calculator that tells you how many boxes you need based on your guess and how many times you have moved in the past 10 years.  #getrichquickscheme

it looks so lonely in that box alone ...

it looks so lonely in that box alone …

Rule 4.  Think about how you will carry those boxes from Point A to Point B.  Sounds obvious, right?  True story – when we moved to Tacoma the first time, I conveniently had taken into consideration that I would need to move my stuff down an elevator in my DC apartment and up a ramp into a moving van.  I neglected to think that I would also need to move it up two flights of steep stairs and one narrow hallway in our new house.  It involved a lot of packing and unpacking in the house … and cursing.  A lot of cursing.

you want to fit WHAT up these stairs?

you want to fit WHAT up these stairs?

Rule 5.  Think about how you will transport those boxes in a vehicular fashion.  Just like 5 pounds of shit ain’t fitting into a 1 pound bag, your pool table ain’t fitting into the trunk of your Toyota Camry.  Do the math, stop fooling yourself, and get a U-Haul.

say what you will, eddie bauer mitten, but that futon is not fitting in that sexy buick.

say what you will, eddie bauer mitten, but that futon is not fitting in that sexy buick.

Rule 6.  Pay your friends if they are crazy enough to help you move.  A friend who helps you move is the greatest gift of all.  That is why our friend Sara is the best person in the world.

(for those keeping count, a tie for close second place goes to my mom and Michelle’s brother for their respective drives across the country in the name of supporting our transient tendencies.  third place is up for grabs – we accept bribes.)

Sara is so awesome that she was chosen to be the reverend/officiant for our blessed nuptuals.  This was not only because of her moving awesomeness, but seriously, she has helped us pack during like three moves.  So it played a role in the decision.  There is a special place in heaven for Sara and people like her.

Look, your friends do not want to help you move.  Actually, why they are doing so is beyond me.  So pay them … be it in food, drinks, all expense paid vacations, or X-rated activities.

Do not pay them in hugs.  Hugs do not count.  And do not trust someone who pays you in hugs to help them move.  That shit is shady and insulting.  For serious.

one of our favorites.  and not just because she made us coffee and cobbler the morning of cross-country move #1.

one of our favorites. and not just because she made us coffee and cobbler the morning of cross-country move #1.

Rule 7.  Don’t pack the animal in a box.  She will whine and jump in the boxes and make your packing life impossible – all this while also making you think that all she wants is to see the world from the inside of an old Absolut Vodka box (you always thought she liked the sauce).  But don’t do it.  It might make for cute pictures in Washington state, but those pictures will not be cute when she arrives in Virginia.

don't let those sad eyes fool you.

don’t let those sad eyes fool you.

Bonus Rule.  Go to Africa while your loved ones do everything.  If you can pull it off, it. is. awesome.

Until you get home and it is no longer awesome.  If marriage is a scoreboard, you will be at a bone-crushing deficit after this move.

leaving on a jet plane.

leaving on a jet plane.

This worked for me one time, during the Battle of 4512 Rat Street in 2011 (also known as Ratgate).  The plan is simple – (1) go to Uganda for business, (2) have your partner uncover rats in the home while you are gone,  (3)have partner email you to say “I am moving and will be living in a different house when you get back.”

Smoothest move I ever had.  Until I got off the airplane and realized that Michelle had not given me the new address (at this point, is it “our new address” or “her new address?).  I like to think that this is because she had so much else on her mind that she forgot to let me know.

Michelle has a different version of the story.

Happy Packing, Kiddos!

pal-e-ish … and wine of the week

If I were a dinosaur, I would be a Courtneysaurus.  And I would be ridiculed by all of the other dinosaurs because of my love of frozen yogurt.  And cheese.  Hmmm … cheese.  And thus evolution would deal me a rough hand and knock me into extinction due to my unfortunate eating preferences.

(I would get the last laugh when the rest of those bastards died out only a few centuries later.  Assuming there is a dino heaven from which I could observe the unexpected turn of events.)

But enough about me.

Despite suffering from an inability to accept cheese, dinosaurs had a generally good thing going.  Paleo food is yummy and seems to cure all sorts of GI and other aches and pains.  At least, that has been my experience.

(Sorry, we are back on me again.  Try to keep up.)

So while I would define our household as Pale-ish (pronounced Pale-ee-ish) rather than Paleo, we work on keeping dino-friendly food in our regular diets.  I like to think of this half-ass approach to a lifestyle as being more legitimate than being a little pregnant, but the hardcores might disagree.

So this week I am doing a 7 day real food challenge.  Which basically means I am noshing my way through one week’s worth of awesomely unprocessed foods.  And taking Michelle semi-willingly along for the ride.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone.  With three caveats:

  1. Probably not the easiest to do while you are in the process of packing up all your stuff including kitchen wares …
  2. And when you are too busy to pee never mind call the necessary contractors, movers, while also cooking scrumptious meals …
  3. Oh yeah, and no alcohol.

Not to sound like I have a problem, but the no wine thing is tough.  Especially in the middle of a stressful week.

Despite its best efforts to make this forbidden love work, the delicious wine's love for the paleo almond flour muffin remains unrequited.  #yesIplaywithmyfood

Despite its best efforts to make this forbidden love work, the delicious wine’s love for the paleo almond flour muffin remains unrequited. #yesIplaywithmyfood

So I have decided to torture myself by dedicating this first non-house post to Paleo and Wine … promptly defying the “ne’er the two shall meet” strategy that I should be following.  So here you go, all you non-dino-dining folks …

Amador Cellars – Rocky Point Zinfandel

Aw, yeah.

Aw, yeah.

I don’t know what to say about this other then yowza.  You gotta love big juicy kick-yo-butt wines to like this one … but in the interest of Going Big or Going Home, you should give it a try.

I taste a lot of blackberry jam and caramel … you may taste something different.  Doesn’t really matter, as long as you like it.

The Bad News – it is only available at the winery (in Amador California) or online (or possibly in other non-Virginia locations).  Or at our apartment in mass quantities.  At least until I start drinking again … after that, I make no promises.  In the meantime – come by, grab a glass.  While you are here, could you drive this box of books to our new house?

I will try to avoid calling out these delicious but not-easily-attainable wines in the future, but I have to give it a shout out because of its instant conversion ability.  We gave our realtor a bottle as a thank you for helping us find our awesome house (and generally being a barracuda in the face of all sorts of messy homebuying obstacles) – and she immediately joined the wine club on tasting it.  Yup, it is that good.



Thank you France for recognizing that a marriage is between two people that love each other, no matter who those people may be.


merci! (yes, the champagne is French – boom)

whoomp there it is

Perhaps we should have been preparing for the storm this weekend, packing and painting and cleaning the new house.

We did not do this.  Instead, we did this:

Sipping on gin and juice.  And by gin, I mean vodka.  And my juice, I mean limoncello.  Good times in the Northern Neck.

Sipping on gin and juice. And by gin, I mean vodka. And my juice, I mean limoncello. Good times in the Northern Neck.

People have honeymoons and “babymoons” to relax before those big, exhausting, expensive life changes sink in.  Yeah, we had a “housemoon.”  And it was awesome.

Then we came home … to our new home.  So here it is.  In all of its empty, blank slate glory …

Front of the house.  Okay, so I did not remember to take a picture of the front of the house.  This may be because we had a big old storm this weekend, and Michelle and I were too busy scanning the overgrown grass and piles of small and not-quite-small tree limbs all over the yard to remember to actually take a picture.

This whole “our house has storm damage” thing would have been more stress-inducing if we did not drive by a neighbor’s house three doors down that had a giant pine tree through the roof of the house.

And quicker than you can say “Quick! Call the landlord to deal with this mess!” the reality of homeownership sunk in.

Pictures of the house front and (for now) intact roof forthcoming …

And a disclaimer on the photos.  They are not good quality, and I may have gotten overzealous with my PicFrame app.  I promise to try to learn more about how to photograph rooms in such a way that you can actually see what is going on in them.  I cannot promise to do so without instagram (aka beer goggles for photography).

Living Room.  Three fabulous things about this room.  Fireplace.  Plantation shutters.  Big old room.  We will ignore for a moment that I have no idea how to turn on the fireplace (did I mention that power tools may be a stretch for me?).

One fireplace.  And one display of poor photography skills.  Boom.

One fireplace. And one display of poor photography skills. Boom.

Dining Room.  Gotta be honest, it is nice to have one room that feels like we won’t have to do much to it.  This is it.

Instant dining room.  Just remove cable box.

Instant dining room. Just remove cable box.

My Office.  Enjoy your first and I hope last look at the red bookshelves.  They will soon be not-red and likely CSD’s equivalent of a MacDonald’s Playland.  Old school Playland … think fewer ball pits and more Hamburglar jailhouses.

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Kitchen.  So.  Much.  Storage.  I cannot wrap my head around it.  Michelle does not care about the storage so much as the fact that she knocks her head on the lights over the island every time we are in the kitchen.  #tallgirlproblems

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Basement.  Taking it down a level to the basement (which is not actually a basement … split levels confuse me).  One big room with ugly ceramic tiles that will be the future site of lots of beautiful wine.  You win some, you lose some.

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And there is a laundry room with aqua walls.  Eek.

It is as weird in person as it is in pictures.

It is as weird in person as it is in pictures.

Bedrooms.  Okay, and then back up two levels (half levels?  WTF split level), we have three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The Bathrooms … tiny sinks, tiny toilets, and a big old powder blue tub.  Yeah, we don’t understand them either.

What is this?  A sink for ANTS?!?

What is this? A sink for ANTS?!?

How can they learn how to use the bathroom if they can't even fit on the toilet?

How can they learn how to use the bathroom if they can’t even fit on the toilet?

The Pink Bedroom.  Which you may notice is not pink.  Michelle convinced herself that it was, and now it will forever be known as the Pink Room.

Please tell me where the hot pink is in this room.

Please tell me where the hot pink is in this room.

The Navy Bedroom.  Truth in advertising, it is navy.  That is about all there is to say about this one.

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And The Downstairs Master.

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Which is neither downstairs nor probably in the long run a Master (discuss).  And this is because …

The Real Upstairs (if you don’t count the attic).  There is this fabulous massive room upstairs that we want to be the master bedroom.  It is huge, with big closets and general awesomeness.  It is also sans AC, which Michelle seems to think is a problem.  And when I put on my big girl pants and stop whining about how cool (not literally) it would be to have the bedroom upstairs, I also realize this is a problem.  So until we decide to bite the bullet and get some air conditioning put upstairs, we have an upstairs space that is both beautiful and untouchable.  

The levels - like the temperature - keep on rising.

The levels – like the temperature – keep on rising.

There is also this random little room that is kind of like a bedroom and a closet met and had a baby.  A cute baby, but full of the awkwardness that one would expect from this sort of forbidden love child.  Michelle wants it to be a meditation room.  CSD wants it to be a food storage area.  I just want it to grow up to be happy.  Let the identity crisis ensue …

So there she is.  She is old, kind of confused, and all ours.

Next up on the agenda … we figure out what the hell we want to do with all this space.  Oh, and we will try to get up some pics of the front of the house and the backyard (aka The Jungle … in all of its Axel Rose glory).

We could not leave however without starting one demolition project:

Pink wooden tulips are no match for me.

Pink wooden tulips are no match for me.

Spreading death and destruction wherever we go …