July 10, 2015

Southern Livin'

Living in the South is so charming. It has a very U.P. feel to it, which is a blast from the past for Mr. Go and I, and makes us feel very much at home. The humidity sure is spot on--you step out your door and nearly drown in the air--and the bugs, too. Ah yes, the creepy feeling of insects crawling all over you, feels like home.

These lovely whiteboard houses with wrap around porches and rocking chairs--makes me want a lemonade and an old coon hound. (Flotsam will have to do. He snores like one, anyway.)

Babs is a big hit in the South. Southerners seem to love talking to/about babies. There's nothing more adorable than a large, bearded Southern trucker hunching down and giving a tiny wave to a shy little baby. She's been called a Little Darlin' with Cheeks for Days a couple times. She's a great conversation starter, and she's always getting waves from people across the room or as they pass by. 

Mostly, we've found folks to be very nice and honest, if a bit heavy handed with the religion. There's churches here like there are Starbucks in Denver. And some alarming billboards.

Found at Home Depot on July 4
It's very patriotic too. July 4 was a huge deal. Enormous fireworks tents every 500 feet (which were shot off from both of our neighbors' backyards until 10:30pm much to Flotsam and Jetsam's dismay) and the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem sung on the radio every morning. There's something about that feeling of community and pride that brings people together.

For early risers like us, it's tough if we want to go do anything since most places don't open until 8 or 9, and if you want to do something on Sunday, good luck.

Overall, it's a much slower pace, which was expected from a smaller town, and it's a nice change. It's good to be reminded to just slow it down. You don't have to do everything at once. If you need to put it off for a while, that's alright too. Just sit down in your rocking chair and watch your baby playing, or pet your dog. The work will keep; stop, be present in the now and be together.

July 7, 2015

Craigslist Pros & Cons

Craigslist can be a great tool to find what you need on the cheap. Someone's moving and everything has to go by the weekend--you get a bedroom set and a fridge, and they'll deliver! Unfortunately, it's also easy to get scammed.

We needed:
a lawnmower
a fridge

For some reason, finding a used lawnmower in the South is impossible, but we eventually found a really crappy one at a pawn shop for $35. Mr. Go has already had issues with the carburetor after just the first mow and it makes our garage smell like the Exxon Valdez. But a coworker found us a "better" one and we're going to make a trade. The importance of personal connections and word of mouth is becoming more and more evident. (This is a good opportunity for me to work on my people skills.)

As previously mentioned, we could not get anyone to sell us their fridge, so we bit the bullet and bought a new one before we drowned in grease from take out.

We found a really nice microwave for $50. Could've gotten a cheap one new for that much, but this Panasonic is like nuclear powered. Or maybe I'm just used to my old crappy microwave at home. In any case, I was happy with the deal. The people were having a sale and we got a cool end table from them for $10 too.

As far as a washer and dryer...there were lots of options on Craigslist, but we were being thrifty. Let me tell you, You Get What You Pay For. We found some people who were moving and were willing to deliver a Magic Chef dryer and Whirlpool washer to us for $125. What a great deal! What could go wrong?

Babs was napping when they dropped it off, so we didn't hook it up to test it. Mistake #1. Always test everything before you buy it on Craigslist. Yes, even if you have to wake the baby. For the price of a crabby baby for a few hours we could've avoided the fiasco.

After spending a good couple hours cleaning the groty things (how can a WASHER get so dirty??), and buying the necessary equipment to hook them up to our hookups, the drum on the washer leaked all over our floor and the dryer just plain ole didn't work.

Contacting this guy has proven fruitless so far, but we're still trying. I'm not hopeful. Mr. Go is in a Righteous Fury and calling the dirtbag 75 times every day.

But, we found another --very nice-- man to bring us an old (but working!) washer & dryer and haul away the duds for $260, which puts our grand total for the ordeal at $385. Still a decent price for a washer and dryer, but we could've done without the headaches.

Update: the washer is only sort of working, so our new pal Marvin is going to come out and take a look at it for us, since we're going to be selling them back to him when we leave here. Again, personal connections.

So you win some you lose some, but we'll chalk it up to a learning experience. Always best to be extra cautious.

July 4, 2015

993 Miles Later

Driving through the night is rough. We planned on switching halfway through but Mr. Go, in classic Mr. Go fashion, decided to do it all himself. I slept a few unrestful hours, but Babs woke up every time we stopped for gas and cried for a while. Being crammed in the car with a dog on each side probably wasn't very comfortable for a girl who likes to do acrobatics in her crib as she sleeps.

As much as I hate moving, and as stressful as it was trying to pack everything we'd need for 6 months into a car, I really enjoyed unpacking into our house in just a few hours. No boxes, no messy packing materials, just toss our duffels in our bedroom, set up the Pack N Play and we were in. I look forward to going even lighter on our next move.


Going from a 2,000 sq foot bi-level to a 1,200 sq foot single level home has been fantastic. I loved my CO home, but this little square house is easy to clean and keep track of things in. And Mr. Go wants to go even smaller next time.

ProTip: If you have less space, you will (theoretically) accumulate less stuff.

this is pretty much it
After getting some sleep, the first priority was getting a refrigerator. Eating out for every meal was hard on a family that went out to eat probably twice a year. (I'll be sweating vegetable oil for days yet.) Craigslisting a fridge proved impossible, so we splurged on the cheapest fridge Home Depot could sell us. A $298 Vissani top freezer that was actually a pretty good deal (and it fit in our Subaru!).

awww it's so cute
I'm about to sound really pretentious, but I've been living with side-by-side fridge/freezers for the past 5 years and this little thing looks like a Hobbit fridge. But it keeps our food cold and really, that's all we need it to do. The slimming down of our possessions continues.

We've now been in our new home for a week and a day and we're coming to realize some of our packing mistakes.

We should have brought more toys for Babs. (Or we need to get better at thrifting working toys for her.) Had to go to Target and buy her something that made obnoxious noises and flashy lights to keep her occupied. The girl who could enjoy a whisk and a tupperware for an hour is suddenly quite demanding. She seemed to be doing so well with all this change--I'd never seen her take such long naps as she did the first 4 days here--but it might just be catching up with her.

We should've been traveling with emergency tools. Like a hammer, saw and wrench. These things come in handy. We've needed them since we got here and had to pick them up at garage sales and pawn shops.

On the bright side, I haven't wished I had packed something else from my closet yet. Maybe more underwear, since we just this morning got a washer that we're hopeful will work. (More on the dangers of Craigslist later.)

The big win of this week was that we didn't have to Facetime with Mr. Go at night and catch up on our days. We got to have dinner together and he got to kiss Babs' fat little cheeks goodnight. So whatever else we go through, it'll be worth it and we'll make the best of it because honestly, our goal for this venture is already achieved:

Be Together.

Mobile Family Unit Day 1

Of course, the Mobile Family really began a few months ago, when Mr. Go finally got through to me when talking about this idea. “He has good ideas sometimes, and I should really listen to him.

Here’s the plan: Rent out our CO home on Airbnb and buy a home in AR, where Mr. Go is working for the next 6-12 months. Live light—camping style—so that moving back home (or wherever the wind takes us next) will be a breeze.

Step one was to quit my job. I told my friends, “I’m off work until June 25th we should hang out!” HA! I had no idea how much startup work this would be. And I wouldn’t realize it until the week of the move. Luckily Mr. Go was able to work from home that last week and help me out. And thank goodness we kept our nanny on for the last month to help me out while I was working on getting the house ready for renting. (I have so much to say about it that Airbnb will be a whole separate post.)

I think Mr. Go may have overestimated the space we had in our Subaru Impreza, because while packing I heard a lot of “if we have space, we’ll bring that.” I started out packing so conservatively. Two jeans, a couple tank tops, a T-shirt, shorts, some underwear, socks and a bra. Bam. Done. Then, while packing away the rest of my closet (how did I get so much stuff??) I kept throwing things in my duffle. “I’ll need that!” Even Mr. Go asked a few times, “Don’t you want to bring that?” To which I always said of course.

So Subey is packed to the gills. I have a diaper bag and a cooler under my feet and a purse on my lap. It probably won’t be the most comfortable drive but I’ve been dead on my feet for the past two days so I don’t think falling asleep will be a problem.

Doing something so vastly different from your norm is always so exciting. Why don’t we do it all the time? I never was good at pushing my own boundaries, that’s why I keep Mr. Go, even if I resist him at times. Maybe I should set an alarm on my phone for every six months so I'll be reminded to Do Something Different.

The whole point of this exercise is to spend more time together. Being away from Babs every week was killing him. But, in the process of trying to all be together again, we’ve also learned a lot about the nature of possessions and the American Way of “More is Better.” All of my clothes barely fit into our not-insubstantial crawlspace. Do I really need that many clothes? Do I really need that many shoes? No. But it’s hard to break the mentality of “Having more means you are doing better.” We’re working toward valuing experience and time rather than possessions and have already realized it’s easier as a concept than it is in practice. Being addicted to things is as real as being addicted to sugar or like, meth or whatever.

But the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step—or something like that.

So here we go!