Weekend Coffee Share: Long Time, No See

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I hope the last couple of weeks have been good for you. They’ve been (mostly) good for me, but this has been the most crazy, hectic month I’ve had since I started blogging in 2013.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

I moved into a new house recently, and it’s great. Three bedrooms, two baths, a nice yard, covered front and back porches, a garage, a separate laundry room, and outdoor storage. It even has a tool shed! It’s shaded by oak trees for most of the day. My landlord lives next door and treats us like neighbors. My in-laws (who I get on with VERY well) live two miles away.

This is a fabulous situation. Vicki and I have been working on finding the right place and getting it done for awhile now. The small, overcrowded apartment in the bad neighborhood was a major source of stress for us for a long time, and well. That problem is solved.

But, as with any big change, no matter how necessary and positive the change is, there are unanticipated consequences. It took us a LOT longer to move than we’d expected, in part because our moving truck broke down with all our belongings packed inside it.

The house hadn’t been lived in for awhile when we moved in, and never by a family of four. So the first night we were here, we all took showers and discovered a plumbing issue that had to be sorted out. That’s fixed now, and it wasn’t a big deal, but it still meant a few days with no showers or toilets.

The yard isn’t that big, and eventually it’ll be beautiful and easy to maintain. But at the moment there’s grass to be gotten into shape — it was overgrown when we moved in, and the grandson and I spent two days raking after it was cut the first time. There are hedges to be dealt with. At the moment, I have an entire pickup load of hedge clippings piled up in the front yard waiting to be hauled off. The outside of the house needs to be washed with bleach (that’s at least a 4-hour job).

Featured Image -- 3218These aren’t complaints. I know how to maintain a house, it’s just been 10 years or so since I’ve done it. I’d forgotten how much time and effort it takes to get the outside of a house into proper shape. I’ve not been on the internet for the past few weeks because I’ve mostly been in the yard.


Then there’s the commute. I don’t live 5 minutes from my office any more. I live about 30 miles away. So, even thought the commute isn’t excessive, I’m spending an hour of every day on the road now, and I haven’t done that in almost 15 years. It’s not so bad right now, but from mid-August to mid-May, it means I’ll leave my house at 9 am every day (7:15 on days when I have 8 am appointments), and I won’t make it home most nights until 7:30 pm. That’s a major adjustment.

But all this is totally worth it. There are lots of benefits that come with all this extra work and time.

When I walk out my front door, I don’t end up in a busy parking lot. This is the greatest benefit. The grandson is old enough now to play in the yard without an adult standing over him 100 percent of the time. At the apartment, if he wanted to ride his bike or skateboard, we had to either drive to a park, or someone had to sit in the (unshaded) parking lot and keep eyes on him at all times. Now, he just has to ask to go outside. He’s barely picked up an inside toy since we moved the first boxes in, and his tv time is way down.

Storage is more-than-adequate. No more sharing a closet with Vicki. No washer and dryer in a closet off the kitchen. Outside toys are kept in an outdoor storage room and locked up at night. I don’t have a bike stored two feet from my workspace, and we’re NEVER tempted to play with soccer balls in the house, because the soccer balls are not actually in the house. The dining table is no longer overflow storage. It’s kept clean at all times, and we eat at the table. No more eating at the coffee table.

I don’t have to pay money or drive anywhere to wash my cars. I just have to pay my water bill and buy some soap. And just in general, there are lots of things to do for free because we have a yard and have family nearby. When you live in a tiny apartment in the middle of a medium-sized town, practically every diversion you can come up with costs money.

The kitchen, living, and dining areas are a semi-open square. I stepped this square off a few days after we moved in and discovered just that part of the house is the size of our old apartment. Everyone has a room they can go to an shut the door when they need space or quiet. And very few personal belongings — only things like books and board games — are stored in the public areas of the house.

I can do a lot of simple automotive work in my driveway instead of paying a mechanic to do it.

Once we get some adequate patio furniture, I’ll be able to blog outdoors!!!

So, I’m pleased, but I’m exhausted. I’ve got no idea what’s been going on on the Internet for most of the last month. I’ve missed two Weekend Coffee Shares, two Blog Blitzes, and a blogathon I really wanted to write for. I haven’t stopped by Sci-Fi, Transmedia, and Fandom to see how the Feminist Friday discussion went this week.

And once I publish this, I have to haul off a bunch of tree limbs, finish cleaning out a storage unit that Vicki and I stashed some things in 10 years ago when we vacated our last house and moved to an apartment, and replace the bumper of my truck because I was involved in a minor accident this week. Fortunately, the truck has a six-inch wide chrome bumper, and it totally saved my radiator (thanks, people of Dodge City, Warren, Michigan!). Which is to say, I’m still not actually back on the Internet for any serious length of time. Maybe this evening, or tomorrow.Emanuel_Wynne

I’ve put an awful lot of time, thought, and work into building these blogs. I’ve certainly got no plans to shut them down or let them go quiet for any great length of time. I just haven’t figured out how to fit the Internet time into this new lifestyle. Seems like there’s always one more thing to do before I turn on the computer.

Always only a couple of hours of daylight left to get that stuff done. Then, once it’s dark, I am sweaty and exhausted and thinking about what time I have to wake up the next day. I’m assuming things will level out and I’ll find the new balance eventually. I just don’t know when, nor what the new balance will look like.

The grandson is loving all this, though. Any time I go out the door, unless I’m going to work, he’s in the truck with me. He loves, loves, loves to do yard work and wash things with the hose. I have to make him take breaks to keep him from giving himself a heatstroke. He’s lost weight these last three weeks. So have I. I’ve doubled my caloric intake since we started this move, and my waist is two inches slimmer than it was a month ago. Also: I’ve shaved off my beard.

Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

If We Were Having Coffee . . . (Monday Edition)

If we were having coffee, I’d order myself two coffees before I even sat down to chat.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

I’d tell you how much I hate waking up on Monday morning and not having my Monday posts scheduled. That happened to me today — has been happening to me a lot lately, and there’s been absolutely nothing I could do about it. I have my fingers crossed that things might actually level off for me this week and I can get back to blogging more consistently. I was able to post so much through the spring and summer because I have a knack for time management and I was, for the most part, able to stay ahead of the posting schedule. My problem lately is that I just haven’t had any time to manage, and when I have had a little time, my energy level has mostly been so low that I’ve spent it zoning out or sleeping.

My life has been so strange and hectic since mid-July that I’ve had to change my lifestyle a bit just to keep up. I’m sleeping more, drinking less alcohol and caffeine, and eating more sensibly than I have in ten years just to get through the day right now. Hopefully some of this stuff will turn into good habits over the long term, but I didn’t do it out of concern for my health. I did it because I had no choice. It was find some extra energy or drown.

On Saturday, I took my grandson to his first college football game. It was Boy Scout day, so he got to walk around the field and see himself on the Jumbotron before the game. It was a very memorable experience for him, I’m sure, and I was happy to take him, but the walkaround meant showing up to the game two hours early and standing around in the 4 p.m. heat for a couple of hours. By the time the kickoff rolled around at 6:30, I was already exhausted. He loved it, though, and I was happy to be able to share that first stadium experience with him. Once the sun went down, it was a perfect night to be in an outdoor arena, and I got some nice photos.

I’d thought I’d spend the day yesterday writing this post and a Doctor Who review for Part Time Monster, then catching up with some folks on the social media. Silly me. I slept until noon and spent the entire rest of the day binge-reading on the couch. Since I started blogging about 10 months ago, I’ve not read more than 20 pages of an actual book in a day, and rarely more than 5. It took me part of the spring and most of the summer to read a 1,000 page history of the Medici. I knocked out a 750-page Stephen King novel  in two days over the weekend. And I don’t feel guilty about that at all. For the first time in more two months, I feel refreshed. Really refreshed. The only thing I did this weekend that I haven’t been doing for most of those two months is read a book.

So I suppose along with eating better and sleeping more regularly, I need to pay more attention to my reading habits.

And I need a Saturday all to myself soon. I need to spend it writing blog posts and tweeting. That’s the only way I’m ever going to get back ahead of the schedule.