Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We've Created a Monster!

Laddie is 9 years old and hasn't been in a crate since she was two. So crate training her has been... interesting. Let's just say that our methods will likely not work with children!

We started her training with the top off the crate, a convertible so to say, and a blanket in the bottom. We put her food in the back of the crate expecting her to walk in and eat it. Not so much- she stood with her front paws in and back paws out, stretching her head to reach the bowl. Odd, but we weren't deterred. We started putting treats in the back and giving her another one when she went all the way in to eat it. Within a day she was getting in and staying in- making us think, "What's so hard about this?" Ha!

We wanted her to get used to it for nighttime so I decided to sleep next to her, in front of the crate 'door' (keep in mind there is still no top on her crate) so she can't get out. To be fair, this idea came to us after getting home from a bar. So Laddie falls asleep in the crate, I fall asleep outside the crate. Again- yea! I wake up three hours later to her jump over the side of the crate and right into my spot in bed. Boo. Needless to say we ignore the crate for the next two weeks.

We put the top on the crate yesterday and have been using treats for EVERYTHING. A treat when she goes in, a treat when she lays down, a treat when she stays in. Now, every time we head upstairs, she rushes past us to get in her crate and claim her treat. We are moving tomorrow, do you have any idea how many times we are up and down the stairs?!

We may have created a monster begging for treats every 3 minutes but at least she learned! She may not fit IN the crate by the time we leave though....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ever Try Fitting the Next Year of Your Life in 2 Bags and a Carry On?

Seriously, everything I need for the next year has to be packed in two checked bags (not overweight, of course) and a carry on. Ever tried that? I doubt it, but if you have- please give me advice! One of my friends, Brendan, said it's kind of like packing for an extended vacation and I totally agree. Except (1) I don't get to come back and get anything I forgot and (2) anything I have to replace needs to be bought at K-Mart. Granted, Tim gets 2 bags and a carry on too... maybe I can encrouch on his space? Oh- and not to mention we have to fit Laddie's stuff in ours. She travels light but still, every inch counts!

I've managed to get all my clothes in with just having to give up a few pairs of shoes to the STL boxes. I'll tell you though, when I got bag one done and looked in the closet at what I had left, I thought there was no way. Somehow, it fit! My carry on, right now, has all my clothes for the next 2 weeks in Chicago/St. Louis. Luckily I can leave most of those at my parents when we are there and transer some of my summer clothes into it so I have room for liquids in the checked bags! All in theory of course, I may end up losing some shirts to an express shipped box to St. Louis before we leave on the 7th!

The movers come in less than a week and, as I look around, I think we are going to be okay. Although we have yet to tackle the garage, storage closet or entire 3rd floor. Sigh... maybe we'll win enough money at the casino tonight for Beno's birthday to buy all new stuff!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmm....

So we officially have our condo rented- lease and deposit check are in hand with our management company! The new renters are in a building that does not allow them to move on Sundays which means they want to move in on the 31st. No biggie- what's one more day? Well, in order for the management company to get things in order (patch holes, paint, clean carpets, etc.) we need to turn it over to them on the 29th. What?!?! That's just DAYS away! Time to turn this thing into overdrive. Where to start? Hmm....

Last night I began packing. For three straight hours I wrapped and boxed up the bar, our china, DVD's and such. I was exhausted and still looks like I haven't touched a thing! I did discover while packing our wedding china that, somehow, I have 10 water glasses and 14 wine glasses when I thought I had 12 of each. How did that happen?? Hmm....

I'm extremely confused on how to pack my clothes. We are leaving on the 7th but moving out of the condo the 29th. We will be in St. Louis the 2nd - 5th and living with friends for the other days we are in Chicago (thanks Hardwicks!). So that means I need 10 days or so of Chicago/St. Louis that will NOT be packed for St. Thomas. Oh, did I mention we are going to the Bears game on the 1st? Please, please let the 15-day out forecast be SOMEWHAT right! Hmm....

On a bright note, our fantastic new roommate, Kate, got us our PO Box so you can send us mail if you want. Address is:

9715 Estate Thomas
PMB #127
St. Thomas, V.I. 00802

Okay, it's off to pack many, many more boxes and wait for moving companies to come tell me how much we get to pay them!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Official Move Date: November 7th!

Not that the move wasn't official, but we booked our tickets today! Prices skyrocketed from less than $200 a week ago to more than $600 for the target date of November 5th/6th. That's one way people, one way! I found a decent deal on United for the 7th and the biggest plus is that it is a direct flight. No layovers, no connections, nothing. This puts my mind at ease when it comes to Laddie, whose 'ticket' was only $15 less than ours to ride in the cargo area of the plane!

Now it's on to pick up boxes and start packing. Not that we can set a move out date yet- we haven't heard anything from Nate about our condo and that makes me sad :( Keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be fine on that end and just plugging on down the to do list in the meantime!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Place There: Check! Condo Rented Here: Partial Check!

It's amazing how much can happen in 24 hours! Yesterday we got confirmation that we have a home in St. Thomas! We are going to be living with our new friend Kate who is old friends and roommates with our friend Bill (thanks again Billy C.!). It is such a huge relief to (a) have a home and (b) be living with someone who knows much more than we do about the island. Laddie is even going to have some playmates- 2 kittens and a Retriever that live upstairs. Check out our pictures- they are the ones that have 2BR under them (the 3BR is the other unit). They are on Facebook though so I don't know if you can see them if you don't have an account.

It does occur to me that I have NO idea what our address is nor how to get to the house!

Secondly, we've shown the condo twice. The couple that came through today gave a verbal definite to their leasing agent for a 2 year lease! One catch- it begins November 1st! Can't decide if I should be jumping for joy or curled up in the fetal position with panic. If they can give us just a few more days- say November 3rd- we'd be in great shape. That way we can move out of here November 2nd and head to St. Louis for a few days before we fly out of Chicago at the end of that week. Granted, nothing is a done deal until the paperwork is signed!

It's actually all coming together!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do...

So I've kind of come to the realization that moving is like breaking up. Instead of a specific person I feel like we are breaking up with our condo, Chicago and, most importantly, our friends. It sucks we can't just take it all with us. Knowing that we are never coming back to Chicago to live, rather moving directly to St. Louis at the end of this adventure, makes it that much harder to go. Whomever said a clean break is easier is a big, fat liar.

I love, love, love our condo. I always have and I always will- even when it's no longer ours. It's a great place to hang out with friends- especially in the summer. Such a unique layout for a place in Chicago. Tall and wider vs. the standard long and narrow. So many memories here- too many to even begin to name and I promised no ridiculously long posts!

There is so much that I have not done in Chicago in my 8 years here that I need to fit in over the next 3 weeks! I've never ridden the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, been to Brookfield Zoo, Chinatown, Greektown and so much more. Tim and I never biked down to the lakefront and took a picture of us with the city as a backdrop. We've done the ride and a picture but never them combined, not sure why! And why did I wait until it's 50 degrees to start doing these things?!?

And friends. Wow, not sure where to even start. I have the bestest group of friends- several groups actually! It's hanging out with them, doing things like we did today (Pumpking Farm/Apple Picking followed by making chilli, apple pie and carving a pumpkin) that make me realize how lucky we are to have such great people in our lives. I'm so bummed that I won't be to another Blood Thanksgiving or "First Friday of the NCAA Tourney" party again. No more Fernando's on Friday or McGee's on Football Sundays. It's weird to think about all the traditions we have been a part of up here!

I know, before I get too sappy, I have to think about this amazing opportunity we have. And whenever one door closes a window opens. So maybe I'll close the windows on Chicago so I always have a door to walk back through!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Condo, Meet Rental Market

One very long to-do list has been made and I was able to check a few things off already!

1) Yesterday we met Nate with TriView Property Management. He's hopeful he can have this place rented by December 1st which makes us very excited. At the same time we have friends that may want to move in AND have us leave some of our furniture! Either way, the place hit the rental market officially this morning. Check it out:

2) Laddie got to go to the vet (I know, like it's a privilege) and get shots that city dogs don't need to get plus flea/tick medication. We learned they highly discourage her being sedated (damn) during a flight and guess we'll resort to Benedryl to at least make her groggy. Now to find her a crate and get her used to spending time in it. I have a feeling that's going to be a lot easier typed than done...

3) We MIGHT have a lead on a place to live. No details, don't want to jinx anything!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Decision Made: Now What Do We Do??

It's more like what do we NOT do? Where do we even begin? We have to get a storage unit but how big? We won't know how big until we find out if we can rent our place fully furnished or not. We have to get movers to move our stuff to the storage unit but can't do that until we know what we are moving. We can't schedule movers until we know what date we are moving but can't move without a place to live in St. Thomas. We can't schedule a trip to St. Louis to hang out with the fam and leave our cars until we have a move date. I feel like I'm running in circles!

Okay- deep breaths. What CAN I do? I can make to-do lists, I'm very good at those.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You're moving WHERE?!

So this is blogging, huh? We figured this was the best way for everyone to be able to follow us if they wanted to know how we were doing. Many of you are probably wondering how we got here and that's what I'm going to tell you! Bear with me- I promise I won't ever do a blog this long again but I have a lot to explain!

When this whole economic crisis thing happened, we felt very fortunate to have not been affected. We both had great jobs and nothing had changed in our lifestyle. Little did we know that over the next 4 months our lives were about to be very, very affected.

Late in March, my husband, Tim, lost his job. We decided to wait on the job search until we got back from a wedding in Cabo the second week of April. I mean, why bother to apply to jobs when no one can call you back because you're on the beach celebrating with the best of friends? We get back and I'm crazy busy with a program for work that is taking place in Dallas the last week of April so we push back any decisions until after I get back.

So here I am in Dallas, having a good time working (I LOVED my job) and get the startling news that my department is going to be evaluated and outsourced by the end of June. What?!? Seriously, my deparment was CREATED for the sole purpose of avoiding outsourcing. Guess some people will do anything to climb that corporate ladder. Anyways, I'm getting off track. Once again, we decide to wait until June when I find out for sure whether or not I will have a job.

During those 60 days, one of my friends at work and I begin joking that we should move to the islands and become bartenders. Her husband, a pilot, can fly puddle jumpers while Tim can work on the golf course. It made sense- it's a US territory, I had a good friend who did it and timing was perfect. I mean- why not take off for 6 months or a year? Eventually I sold Tim on this idea and, when the axe came down June 24th, we said we'd do it. But saying and doing are two very different things....

We enjoyed our summer of unemployment together- lots of pool time, golf and road trips. It takes us over three months to get down to St. Thomas to visit but we finally go for a 5-year anniversary/exploratory trip at the end of September. Armed with information and many people to talk to (thanks Billy C.!) we go visit the island for 4 days. I come back dazed, confused and unsure of whether or not I want to leave my security blanket that is Chicago. On the flip side, Tim was gung ho and ready to go! It took a few days, a few fights and a few promises before we were on the same page but on Tuesday, October 6th, we made our decision: we are moving to St. Thomas in 4 weeks.

Let the adventure begin!