Another first

Well, today I experienced another first, though this one wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the beach. On my way home from work today, I was rear-ended, and I dislocated and sprained my shoulder. To be safe, I was transported to the ER by ambulance, and now have prescription pain meds. Everything I've been told says that tomorrow is going to be miserable, especially when I first wake up, so I'm taking a day off. Also, I can't drive while I'm on the meds, and my right arm is in a sling for the next couple days.

I guess I'll get really good at typing with my left hand.

First day at the beach

I went to the beach today for the first time since I've moved here. We were only there a couple hours, starting at 3pm, but I still got the start of a nice tan. This is the part of living in this area that I think I'm going to like.

Nathan, however, did not enjoy the beach so much. Though this might be because early in our afternoon, a wave knocked him flat on his back and water flowed over his face.

We had fun, though. :-)

Still here

I'm still here.

Nick and Heather were on vacation this past week, so I had the house to myself for a few days. On Wednesday, Heather's parents came to take care of Nathan, which was a little odd, since I don't know them too well, but not too bad.

Wednesday I met with a kitchen designer at Lowe's and designed my kitchen, and got a cabinet and countertop estimate for what I want to do. I'm going to see if Home Depot has something similar, just so I have something to compare. I also started looking at appliances - it's a bit overwhelming. I'm hoping to find open-box items to drive the cost down a bit, if I can.

Last night I saw X-Men 3, which was pretty good (and of course, left open the opportunity for a sequel). I think the first one was probably my favorite, though.

Settlement for my house in Frederick was Friday, and everything went well (Melissa said - I wasn't there). And, all the contigencies for the new settlement have been taken care of, so we should be good to go on the 15th.

Not in there

One more thing...

Mom called me yesterday while she was outside with Jake, and Jake and I talked on the phone for a little while. It's a lot easier to talk to him on speaker phone, because I don't have to rely on him keeping the phone in the right position. At one point, I was waiting for him to answer my question, which I guess he didn't realize, and I could hear him say to Mom, "she's not in there."

Low-key weekend

It's been a good, low-key weekend. I spent a lot of Saturday researching kitchen remodel information - different types of cabinets, price estimates for different types of appliances, etc. Wow, there's a lot to that. At least I'm keeping the same layout! But, I do have a better idea now of what I want, in terms of different materials, and also the look I'm going for.

My house inspection is tomorrow, and I'll take a ton of measurements, inside and out, and I have an appointment Wednesday evening with a kitchen designer at Lowe's. After that, I should have some more specific numbers to work with in terms of an estimate, especially for counters, floors, and cabinets (the big unknowns right now because I need actual measurements), so I can start making some more concrete decisions.

I've also decided that though I will most likely want to join the launch team for the church Nick & Heather are planting, I need another place to get plugged in to in the meantime. BJ and I visited a church in Chesapeake this morning, and I'm going to keep looking over the next few weeks.

(In case anyone from Mountain View's praise team is reading this, I actually saw the pastor jumping during one of the songs, and thought of you guys. Acoustics are going to be so much better in the new building.)

Phone adventures

I called UPS today to track a letter being overnighted to me from Dad at home, because it hadn't arrived by the time it was supposed to. I looked up the tracking information online, but called the number because I needed more information and wanted to actually talk to someone.

UPS has one of the automated phone systems where you say what you want, based on their menu options, and they redirect and answer you accordingly. After spending time trying to figure out a way to talk to a person, when that isn't one of the menu options, the automated voice said, "What would you like to do?" And I said, quite sarcastically, actually, "How about, talk to a real live person?" Auto-voice said, "One moment, please, I'll connect you." And after waiting on a hold, I did get to talk to an actual person.

How funny is that?

First day at work

I've finished my first official working day in Virginia. :-)

I spent most of today on administrative stuff - filling out paperwork, figuring out how to submit my timesheet, being re-introduced to many of the people that I met two weeks ago. Tomorrow will be more of the same, as I have to complete a pretty length security form to kick off a security investigation (not even for a secret clearance, that comes later). Then, I can get the accounts and cards I need to actually get started with the work.

Tomorrow night I'll experience Life Group for the first time (the weekly meeting for Nick & Heather's church - The Bridge Church of Suffolk). I've actually met most of the people who come each week, so it won't be totally foreign. I'm excited, though, to start experiencing more of the work they're doing here.

I think the person I miss most is Jacob, although there's a part of me that misses Dakota, too. Is that weird? I talked to Jake on the phone tonight for a little while - he held a block up to the phone, and Dad had to tell me what color it was. I asked him to color a picture for me so Mom & Dad could send it to me. Leaving him might be the hardest part of moving.


Well, its finally done - I've moved to Virginia.

Okay, strictly speaking, it's not done. I haven't unloaded my car or even started unpacking stuff here, not to mention the tons of stuff sitting in storage in Maryland waiting for a house. But I'm exhausted, and for a moment, I need to delude myself into thinking I'm done, ok?

Seriously, though, for a while at least, the insanity that has been the last few weeks is over. And I'm glad about that. Actually, glad isn't the right word. Relieved, grateful, more than a little exhausted - that's more accurate.

Oh, and today is my 28th birthday. I kept forgetting that, in the midst of everything else I was doing. Maybe it's not that big a deal, or maybe it will just hit me later. Occasionally, though, I just kept thinking, two years from today, I'll be 30.

Hmm, that might evolve into a longer, more introspective post later.


I went to the Maryland MVA today to get the title for my car settled before moving to Virginia and needing to get my car titled and registered there. Initially, I was planning to write about how long it takes to do something fairly simple at the MVA, and how they really should have more than one station open given the number of people waiting. However, while there, I discovered something else to write about, something that makes the MVA's inefficiency pale in comparison.

When I first moved to Frederick, I opened a bank account with Chessie Federal Credit Union, because it was easy and because I didn't need direct deposit or a minimum balance (good since I was basically unemployed and poor). There are a couple of people who work in their Frederick branch who seem okay, although many of its employees are slow and quite obviously find absolutely no joy in their jobs. That's okay, though, I can deal with that - I use ATMs and online banking and rarely have to deal with someone face to face.

However, when I needed to refinance my car loan, I decided to go through them. Big mistake. First, they lost my title. Even though I turned it in to them as soon as it was sent to me (and they had record of this), they kept sending me letters, strongly worded ones, telling me I needed to send them the title. I would call, they would say that they knew I didn't have it but had no control over the content of the letter, and that it was lost somewhere in transit to the MVA. This went on for several months, until finally, the car loan was paid off.

At that point, I got another letter from them, asking again if I had the title, accompanied by a letter releasing the lien on my car. I called to explain that, no, I didn't have the title, and that I had been through this repeatedly with them, at which point they told me that I needed to go to the MVA and request another copy of the title, and at the point use the letter they sent to have the lien information removed from the title.

First question - I know they charged me $20 to get the new title with their name on it as lien holder. Since they didn't manage to accomplish this, and I have to pay the money again, shouldn't I get this money back?

So, here I am today at the MVA, trying to take care of this (yes, at the last moment, I realize this), and whenI get there, I find that not only is there one recorded lien on my car, but two. So not only did they manage to lose the title, but they managed to get their name added without removing the other company!

I called the other company, GMAC, this afternoon to ask them to send me a letter indicating that they had no security interest in my car and that then lien had been satisfied. The problem is, they need to send it to Chessie, since they're the ones who paid it off technically, not me. In my mind, this is not a good solution, because if Chessie can lose the title, they can certainly lose a letter. The guy from GMAC was understanding and tried to be helpful, and suggested calling Chessie and asking them to call GMAC and request the letter be sent directly to me. So, that's what I'll be doing tomorrow.

And hopefully, when all this is done, I can take the Maryland title with the GMAC lien on it, and the GMAC lien release letter, to the Virginia DMV, and use that to get my car titled in Virginia free and clear and in my name only. Otherwise, I'll be granting my dad power of attorney and sending everything to him (including the $20 fee), so he can fix the title in Maryland, before titling in Virginia.

What a mess. There's another reason to pay cash for cars - no need to deal with liens.

Can you tell I'm frustrated? Inefficiency is annoying, but incompetence really ticks me off.

House photos

Here is a photo of the outside of the house I'm buying. If you click the photo, you can see more pictures. I've added descriptions of some of my plans for the house - feel free to take a look!

Offer accepted

My offer was accepted, with no negotiating. So, I'm dreaming of remodeling and renovations, instead of packing, as I should be.

House hunting

After spending Friday looking at houses around Portsmouth, and doing a bit more looking and lots of thinking today (Saturday), I made an offer on a house. It's in a great neighborhood, and while some parts of it are absolutely adorable (including arched doorways!), there's plenty that needs some work, or just my own taste in decorating, so it's perfect for me. When I'm done, it will definitely be my house.

Hopefully, we'll get the contract ratified on Monday, and then I'll post photos. I'm excited!

Random thoughts

Sometimes I think about the most random things. I wonder if I'm the only person who thinks about these things, or if I'm just the only one who talks about them.

Tonight, I was at a bathroom in the mall, and noticed that the toilet paper wasn't the standard width - it was more narrow. This strikes me as weird, because there is certainly room for a full size roll. And having to buy speciality narrow toilet paper has to be more expensive. So why do it?

Still so much to do

I alternate between being happy with how much I've gotten done so far, and overwhelmed at how much more there is to do. I'm also finding it difficult to not think about the things that really don't need to be done now. For example, a friend from college is getting married in early June, and I need to keep reminding myself that I don't need to buy her wedding gift now - I can do that after I move. It's just interesting the way my brain works. Last night, I was making lists of things to do after I move, like getting my car titled and registered in Virginia and getting a Virginia license. I don't know why I'm worried about that stuff now.

Tomorrow night after work, I drive down to Norfolk. I'll be there until Saturday, and spend a couple of those days looking for a house. I'm excited about that - I can't wait. Tonight, though, I need to finish laundry and pack for the trip tomorrow, and then continue packing up boxes as I can.