Tag Archives: moving

A Decade in Review

In early 2010 I made the decision that I was tired of/done with living in Louisville (and also sick of the cold weather) and was ready for a change.  At first I thought the smartest option for me was to move to Ohio to be closer to my friends and to the guy I was madly in love with (who didn’t feel the same – but who also didn’t have the decency to tell me that). 

It wasn’t until after a trip to Tampa for Spring Break in 2010 (and the realization that things in Ohio probably weren’t going to go as smoothly as I thought) that I began seriously looking southward as an option for relocation.  The only city where I knew anyone at all was Tampa (even if the only person I knew was my ex-husband who I, conveniently, get along with very well) and, since I am not independently wealthy and because it was in the middle of a recession when finding work was next to near impossible unless you lived in the location, Tampa was where I set my sights.

So I started saving every spare penny in Louisville – I didn’t do much except work and save (and play World of Warcraft), started researching what I could DO there (I decided I’d try to get a teaching certificate), and figuring out how much money I’d need.  By September, I was ready.  I put in two weeks notice at the job I was working at in Kentucky, weathered the storm of dissenters – one, in particular, who asked, “Well… what happens if you don’t like it there but you get stuck?”  (My reply: “I can think of worse places to be stuck.”)  And on October 6, I boarded THE plane that would change my life.

Oh, I won’t lie and say I didn’t have second thoughts when I was sitting in the Birmingham airport on a layover – especially when I ran into a client from the place I’d just stopped working for back in Kentucky.  It was as if Louisville was making one, last, desperate attempt to keep me there. 

But I kept going, I boarded the second plane, and when I finally flew over Tampa at night, saw the city scape and the bridge lights that were accented by the twinkling dots of boats in the water, I got excited.  I’d sat near the front so I could be one of the first people off the plane (which worked), walked to the little train things that take you from the concourse to the common areas of the airport, and called my parents to tell them I’d made it (and to wish my dad a happy birthday – admittedly, leaving Kentucky on his birthday was probably not the best thing I could’ve done). 

I hit the ground running… found a job in a month, then another job a couple of weeks later that was a better fit for me than the job I’d found (and it had benefits too – the first one didn’t).   That was a huge deal, see, because in Louisville – in the interim between my last semester of grad school and the job I’d gotten, it had taken eight months to find anything.  To even get one job offer.  In Florida I found two in a very short period of time. 

Anyway, I started that job on December 1… as a receptionist for a small software company.  I figured it’d be a good holdover until I could take the test for the certification and then get a classroom.  Florida had other plans.  Within a week of working there, their Technical Trainer quit and I was offered her job at a higher pay than what I was getting as the receptionist.  I took it, again figuring it would only be temporary, but discovered that it was something I enjoyed and was good at.  I am not (or at least wasn’t then) very adept at software and computers – but it turned out that my layman knowledge served me well when I started to train other people.  I didn’t use technical terms, I could talk to them as one novice to another.  It worked… and I was very successful.

My coworkers, too, became close friends – and drinking buddies, since we were allowed to drink in the office.  The owners gave us wine and beer, and introduced us to Cake vodka (Three Olives, please, not the rip off other stuff).  We started a WoW guild, spent afternoons and evenings (and weekends) shooting the shit, and I’d never been happier (and sometimes drunker) in my life.  In 2012, a little piece of software that our developers coded got picked up by a much larger company and 11 of us were transferred with that software to the company.  I got the biggest bonus of my life, severance pay, and a 40% salary boost.  And I still got to work with my best friends – who were now, at this point, more like family.

I built a big network for modeling – and did a ton of it here.  My best work came from photographers I found (or who found me) in Tampa.  Work I helped produce here has been award winning, and one of the photos has even been internationally published. 

Dating-wise?  Well… it was entertaining.  Most of that is documented here.  I won’t reiterate it all… you can read it if you’re so inclined.  But let’s just say I never found “Prince Charming” – or if I did he was more of a “Prince Charming/Florida Man” combination, which I guess is expected – I got a lot of stories out of it anyway.

When I left Florida (for a very short time) in 2014, I can only claim that I was out of my mind.  I thought that what I’d built here could be rebuilt somewhere else.  I’m not going to talk about what did (and didn’t) happen there, except to say that no matter how much I tried to uproot it, my heart stayed in Florida.  My success did, too, because I did not find anything anywhere close to as awesome as what I had built in Tampa.  Within two years, I had to come home.  (And this is why I don’t really count the time that I spent in Louisville again as separate from the ten years I’m claiming in this post – home is where your heart is, and my heart was never there.)

So I came back, hoping to get it all back.  To see if the magic could work a second time.  It did.  I didn’t exactly get to go “home” again, but I found a job I liked and got several promotions and raises, got the lead in a play (a two-person play, no less, that dealt with some very complicated subjects) and my photo was in the Tampa Bay Times.  

And when the job I got that brought me home went to shit, I found something even better with the same sense of community I had at the place I worked when I first got here in 2010…  and I’m doing Tech Training again (and a lot of writing – I can actually say I write professionally now). It’s my niche. It combines writing with performance, it’s something I like, and I am really, REALLY good at it. 

And so now, here I sit.  “Stuck” in Florida, thanks to the pandemic (and I still stand by my original statement that there are worse places to be stuck), in an apartment that sits above (I like to say on top of) a tree – so I finally have accomplished my dream of having a treehouse.  Working my pretty sweet job with a promotion on the cusp (whenever HR gets their shit together – also delayed due to the pandemic).  Sitting in my home office, surrounded by my ever-expanding Star Wars toy collection.  Modeling on weekends when I want to, but because I am no longer broke, accepting only the jobs I want (rather than the jobs I have to take).  A master of improvisation, working on novels, ever-honing my writing (and gaming) abilities.  Just generally enjoying life (even though most of life, at least what life looked like back in December and before, doesn’t look the same anymore). 

It’s been a good decade.  Moving here was a risk, but one that has paid off in very high dividends, and I have no regrets (except maybe that I ever left it to begin with – temporarily or not).  I’m happy here.  I’m satisfied with my decision.  And while I may leave sometimes to go visit other people and places, I feel more at home here than I have ever felt anywhere else.

Circa 1978. Best find I’ve gotten at a toy show so far – their joints are still tight and uncracked, and R2 still has his Death Star plans.

The Picture Frame

I got married to Mr. Ex nine years ago.  And on our first (and only) anniversary, in 2007, my parents gave us a 16×20 print of one of our wedding pictures.  It came in a very expensive frame that was, truth be told, worth more than the print itself.  I hung it on one of the walls in our house.

The same year, I won tickets to meet JK Rowling in New York City at Carnegie Hall.  We made a vacation out of it and stayed in New York for about a week.  I bought a lot of souvenirs over that week, one of which was a large print that I got from a street vendor.

The marriage itself was bad.  Mr. Ex was abusive, I was unhappy, and probably never should have married the guy to begin with.  The reasons why I did make for a very long story and I’m not going to go into that here (that’s a topic for another post).  But I bring it up only because when I moved out, I took the wedding print, and its frame, with me.  Not because I wanted to keep the print, mind you, but because the frame was worth a lot of money and I figured Mr. Ex would just destroy it.  I also took the New York print with me, but kept it in storage since I didn’t know for certain where or how I wanted to hang it.

Since the divorce in 2008, I have changed residences six times.  With each move, I have taken that frame (and both the wedding and the New York print) with me in to each home or storage unit I have rented.  I didn’t even think to separate the wedding print from the frame until just before my second to last relocation attempt.  Mostly because the print and frame stayed well out of sight, but also because I wasn’t sure that I knew how.  But, when I was preparing to move from Florida to Kentucky, I finally managed to separate the two so that they could be transported separately.  My original thought was to trash the print and keep the frame, but then thought that I might be better off to spray paint the print (so that I didn’t have to look at it) and use it as backing for something new that I’d purchase to put in the old frame.

Now, almost eight years since my divorce, I have moved into a house with someone else.  Last night, while Lord Ormsby went to our old apartment and prepared it for turnover to the former landlord, I stayed in the house and continued with the unpacking process.  As I was moving things around, I came across that New York print again and had a brainstorm… what if that print would go in the frame?  Surely I had tried that before… to no avail… right?

But I couldn’t remember, one way or another.  So I decided to try it again.

So, carefully, delicately, I added the print to the frame and secured it.  Then I flipped it over.  It was like the print was made for the frame… the scheme is nearly perfect.  In fact, the frame looks better with this print in there than it ever did with the wedding photo.

When Ormsby came home, I showed it to him and I told him I was either very stupid (for carrying both of those things around for seven years and never realizing that they went together) or brilliant for finally figuring it out.  Ormsby compared it, instead, to what happened between us: that after years of not realizing it, we finally got together, and we just… well… work.  Somehow that analogy is very appropriate… because he’s right.  The pieces were there ten years ago, and then seven years ago (after my divorce) and we didn’t see it…(okay maybe not quite “there” in the same sense of this frame and the print…it’s not like we talked for all of that time, and I certainly didn’t pack him up and move him to six different locations before I finally slept with him).  But for whatever it’s worth, we’re here, and together, now… and we work.  Just the way they we believe we were supposed to all along.

And in both situations, ultimately, the point of this isn’t whether I was stupid for not seeing it or brilliant for finally thinking of it… the point is that, regardless of how long it took, I eventually did get there.

print.jpg

A New Home

Well, after weeks of looking (and looking… and looking… and looking…) we finally found a house.  We put a deposit down on it and move in two weeks.

I am excited about this for several reasons, not least of which is the realization that I will be able to get all of my stuff (furniture, antiques, books, etc.) out of storage and have them accessible for me again.  But the place is also obscenely close to work and I’ll be able to get home every afternoon before it gets dark out, no matter what the season will be.

This whole moving into a new place together thing, though, is also really quite terrifying.

You see, I have only ever done this one other time in my life… and it ended in an abusive marriage followed by a rather surprisingly civil divorce. The other attempts at this have failed before they ever even got off the ground.  But this time, with the deposit paid, rooms selected, new furniture purchased, lease signed, there is absolutely no chance that it will fall through. I still cannot help but be terrified, paranoid, that this may not go as well as I hope that it will.

Of course, I also tell myself (when I feel this way) that I am being foolish, because the Ormsby situation is nothing like what any of the other situations have been.  I have what is, essentially, the healthiest relationship I have ever had.  We have been sharing a ridiculously small one bedroom apartment ever since I moved back up here, and aside from one or two spats here and there, we have done very well.  I tell myself, too, that the ability to spread out will make the situation improve beyond what it is already.  And it’s pretty good already.

Still, we are moving in two weeks, the holidays are almost here, and it feels like we have a million things to do.  On top of work and the move, there are finals to contend with.  I guess it feels like we have a million things to do because there ARE a million things to do.

Once finals are over, though, and once the move is finished, I’ll have a room to myself again – where I can read and write in perfect silence and solitude, where I can read my Tarot cards and burn my candles and incense again (a practice I have not done in over a year… and I miss it terribly).  I’m going to set up the guest bedroom so that it looks like the bedroom I had in Tampa… both to give my cat something familiar in her old age, and also to give myself something familiar to look at on the days when I get homesick.  But we’ll have so much more than that – a working fireplace.  A bigger kitchen (bigger than any other kitchen I’ve had since my divorce).  A deck for cookouts in the summer.  Possibly a porch swing on the front porch.  And plans… so many plans for the future that I cannot help but feel optimistic for the first time in a long time.

I can see nothing but hard work in my immediate future, but that’s expected when you move.  Once it is complete, though, life will get significantly easier.  And less frustrating.  And I can’t wait.

June-November: The Highlights

After the May trip, Ormsby told me he was emotionally unavailable.  And also that, even if he were not, he had respect for Botboy and his situation and didn’t want to do anything with me – at least nothing any further than what we’d done already – until I wasn’t waiting for him anymore.  And of course there was the long distance thing, which was a major dealbreaker for both of us.

I conceded.  I was waiting.  I’d said I was going to wait, I don’t break my word, I was going to wait until Botboy either came home and back to me, or until he came home and didn’t come back to me (which was, admittedly, the more probable of the two).

Time passed.  Ormsby and I talked (or texted) quite a bit – not daily at first, but it soon became so.  We made plans to meet up in Savannah.

But they didn’t happen.  Because Ormsby’s shit hit the fan in July.  And Ormsby needed me.  And I had a choice to make.

His shit hit the fan, in other words, at the same time (thereabouts) that Botboy was due back home.

And so I could either choose to go to Ormsby, leaving Tampa knowing that Botboy could return at any moment.  Or I could stay, wait, and keep watching the way I had been – the way I’d done despite the lack of contact from Botboy (and despite the fact that Botboy had not one but TWO blogs he’d been posting to while he was away (yes, Botboy, I’m good at what I do)).

It wasn’t really a question anyway.  Ormsby needed me.  I go where I am needed.  I used my emergency fund to buy some tickets, a hotel, a car, and I went.  Not because I was trying to make him change his mind… that was, honestly, the furthest thing from my mind.  But because I felt called, compelled, whatever you want to call it, to be there.

And I’m glad I went.

Together, Ormsby and I fixed his shit.

We started dating (but unofficially so, since he was still adamant about the long distance thing).

I started considering a move.  Not for Ormsby specifically, but because a lot of my own family shit hit the fan, and I felt like I needed to be closer.

I flew up a bunch.

And finally I came to the conclusion that I was going to do it.

So, about two months ago, I gave notice at my Tampa apartment complex.  I hired movers.

About a month ago, I gave two weeks’ notice at my job.

About two weeks ago, I had my last day at work.

About a week and a half ago, Ormsby flew into Tampa to help me pack and to drive the truck that was full of my belongings back to Louisville.

I turned thirty-two.  This blog turned two years old.  And my, how its contents have evolved.

About a week ago, as we crossed the Florida/Georgia state line, we made it Facebook official.  Yes, I now have a boyfriend.

And now, I’m sitting in his apartment, where I am currently living, typing this (very belated) entry.

I have unpacked my things (at least, the stuff I didn’t put in storage).  I have changed my number back to one with a 502 area code.

For the first time in a million years, I brought someone home for Thanksgiving. I no longer sleep alone.  We go grocery shopping together.  We cook together (unless he’s working on photos, in which case, I do the cooking).  We veg out on the couch together.

I may have been out of my mind to leave a perfectly good, well-paying job and spectacular weather for snow and unemployment, but I am happy.  Happier than I’d been in Tampa in a very long time.

Tampa was okay.  The weather was great, but the traffic sucked, and the dating scene left much to be desired.

But that era is over.

Louisville 2.0 begins now.

The Hanged Man

It’s been a month since I had that monumental chat with Botboy.  In the physical part of my realm, not much has changed.  I said I’d wait.  I’m waiting.  Some days I’m waiting more cheerfully than others, but still, I made a promise, I don’t go back on my promises, and anyway, there’s no one else I want except for the man I’m waiting for.  Where else is there to go?

Things haven’t been all that great at work, though.  I know I don’t write about my job often, but I’ve not been happy with it for awhile, and even less-so lately.  I keep telling myself that I got that job three years ago.  My mentality was different.  I’d just moved here.  I was trying to settle in.  It was a receptionist thing that wasn’t supposed to be permanent, but then I got promoted.  And then the part of the company I started working for got bought by an even bigger company and I got a huge pay raise.  I stayed.  It made sense to stay.  But the older I’ve gotten, the more I don’t like the atmosphere… it’s childish in many ways.  It’s often like going to work in a fraternity house.  That was fine in my twenties, but I’m getting a little sick of the constant ball throwing (and I mean literal ball throwing), the alcoholic mentality and, ultimately, the cutthroat atmosphere that has taken hold since the beginning of that.  I’m staying, for the time being, because I’m waiting and because I am due for a large bonus in September.  This is to be the last of the bonuses that we were going to be given for signing on two years ago with the takeover.  It’s a considerable amount of money.  I can hang on for seven more months for that amount of money.

But after that, I’m realizing, things are going to have to change.  Somehow.  I told Botboy before he left that I needed the “time off” not only because I wanted him and no one else, but because I needed to think.  And I did.  I’ve thought a lot.  About a lot of things.  In the middle of all of the “what-ifs”, there are two certainties here.  1:  I am getting a large bonus in September.  2:  There are many facets of my life that I am not happy with at the moment, which demand a change, all of which can be funded by said bonus.

First, I am not happy with my drive to work.  They are rebuilding roads, people are taking the way I usually take to work.  It is taking me increasingly longer, daily, to get there and even longer to get home.  I have tried every alternate possibility.  The results are either the same, or they are worse than they were before.  So, that said, I can either wait out the construction or I can move when my lease is up in November.  Road construction takes forever.  The obvious choice is to move.  The question is to where.  Acknowledging the fact that I need more living space because my one bedroom apartment isn’t cutting it for me anymore, the obvious answer is to a place with more space.  I’ve been looking at houses to rent in South Tampa, as that is closer to work and the drive won’t be so nightmarish.  I’ve found some options.  But there is nothing that I can do until I get that bonus as I cannot currently afford to buy out my lease.  Or to make the deposits necessary on another place, finance the movers, packers, etc. and move.

Second, I am not happy at my job.  Reasons are listed above.  I can either find a new job, potentially making less money.  Or I can stick around and hope that with the upcoming transitions, things are going to improve.  As I want that bonus, and as I need that bonus to facilitate the other changes, I’m staying put for now.  What happens after I get that bonus will be dependent on how I feel about the job when that time rolls around.

Third, I am lonely.  My social circle has diminished drastically since I’ve stopped drinking and no longer care to really be around the alcohol, and because none of my friends (at least right now) seem to be capable of doing anything BUT drink if they’re out doing something.  I read somewhere a long time ago that if you stop drinking, people stop talking to you.  I didn’t believe it until now, but now I know it’s true.  Building new friendships is a lot of work. It’s doable, but would be easier if there were a pre-screening process (ie. Can you hang out without having to binge drink; Can you carry on a conversation without bringing every single topic back around to self pity; Are you capable of getting through the day without throwing bitch-fits about inconsequential bullshit… that kind of thing.) And that’s harder to find than you realize.

Also, I would like nothing more than to be in a stable, committed relationship with Botboy.  He is the only person on this earth that has ever truly felt like home to me.   I love him, and I do not want anyone else.  But also, he is not here.  At least not right now.  And I’m not even really sure, at the end of the day, that that’s what he’s looking for with me anyway once he is BACK here.  I’d like to believe that it is.  And ultimately I’m waiting to see if that is, in fact, even a possibility with him.  If I find that it is not, honestly, then I don’t know if I even want to stay in Tampa.  Not because I think it would be better anywhere else… but because I don’t know if I can look at this place knowing that he’s in it and that I can’t be a part of him.

So, all those things said, I’ve come up with several plans.  Written flow charts for various scenarios.  Jesus says I think too much.  I probably do.  But it’s better to have a plan than to have nothing at the end of the day.  And anyway, they make me feel better.

Scenario 1:  It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is okay.  Botboy and I are progressing satisfactorily.  I still need more space.  Solution:  I get a bigger place in South Tampa, with a garage, a yard, a couple of extra bedrooms for painting and spell casting.  I use the funds to pay the deposit, and I move.

Scenario 2: It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is NOT okay.  Botboy and I are progressing satisfactorily.  I still need more space.  Solution:  I get the bigger place in South Tampa with the bonus, but I also start looking for another, similar, job in the area.  I may also go back to school to study what I REALLY want to study.  But that is a subject for another blog.

Scenario 3:  It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is okay.  Botboy situation leaves much to be desired and no clarification the fronts that need to be clarified.  I still need more space.  Solution:  I consider whether or not I can stay in Tampa with those things considered.  Likely, I cannot.  So I file for a transfer in the company, I move elsewhere, I cut ties with Botboy, and probably with Tampa completely.

Scenario 4:  It is September.  I have gotten my bonus.  Job is NOT okay.  Botboy situation leaves much to be desired.  I still need more space.  Solution:  There is nothing left to stay for.  Game over.  I find somewhere else to go, and I move on.

It all seems so simple.  And when I write it out like this, it really is.  The problem is that the simple solutions on paper don’t take into account the emotional bullshit that goes along with them.

I’ve been reading my cards a lot lately.  Just in general, and also based on more specific things.  The Hanged Man keeps coming up in the “key card” position.  The “Key Card” in the layout I use is the card that gives the overall feel for the reading – not just advice, but also the actions that are being taken and the actions that should be taken to see the eventual, overall outcome manifest itself.  The Hanged Man, in the Rider-Waite deck that I prefer, features a man hanging upside down from a limb, his hands behind his back, his foot tied to the limb while the other leg is crossed behind it.  He is calm.  Nothing is out of order except his hair which hangs downward.  What you have to understand about tarot is that the cards mean different things to different readers.  But to me, and to the majority of other readers I’ve talked to, the Hanged Man symbolizes the need to “Let go or to surrender.”  That’s the hardest thing for me to do… because I like for things to be signed, sealed, delivered, and solved right-the-fuck-now.  The Hanged Man means that, in this regard, that I need to wait.  To let some things materialize before I do anything rash, essentially, and that I need to relax as best that I can.  One might ask how does a person relax when they are hanging upside down by their foot while tied to a tree.  The answer is not clear.  But, what we do know is that his hands are behind his back.  They are not necessarily tied there.  And there may be something in them that we can’t see yet.  Something he uses to manipulate the situation to his favor.  An “Ace” up the sleeve, if you will.

I am, right now, the Hanged Man.  I am the Hanged Man, because not only am I in a state of suspension (because there is nothing that I can do right now until the other factors become clear, and not least of which, until I get the bonus), but also because I chose to put myself into this state.  I chose to sign the lease for another year last November.  It was my choice to stay in my job as long as I have – partially due to comfort, partially due to the fact that I didn’t think there was anywhere else to go.  And finally, I chose to wait for Botboy, despite the fact that I did not have the balls to echo his question about love or that I did not have the balls to ask if there was a chance in hell that we’d actually try to pursue something when he got back.  I put myself into this state of suspension.

At least there’s one thing… The common factor in all of the above scenarios is that bonus.  If I can hang on for seven months, I’ll have that.  And the seven months really does give time for things to sort themselves out which, sometimes, they do on their own better than they ever would had I forced them to.  My mom was right that way.

So, I’ll try to make myself a little bit more comfortable on this limb.

And I’ll keep waiting.

Maybe one day I’ll find out what kind of “Ace” really is up my sleeve.

hanged man