Monday, March 30, 2009

Quick Update

I only have a minute but wanted you to know that we all arrived home safely to our respective locations from our Florida weekend. Upon our arrival, Hamp and I discovered that all of our Comcast services were not working. Yep, no internet at all, no television, and no telephone. Fortunately, we have cell phones so we're not totally isolated from the outside world. Comcast returns Tuesday to hopefully remedy the situation. If not, we will be finding other providers. The ironic thing about all of this is that I'm actually using a wireless connection with my computer to type this at another location.

For those of you who would like to do so, we'd appreciate any prayers on our behalf. We've had an offer on our house, which is good news, especially in today's world, so we're waiting to see how that develops. While that's what we've worked toward, the reality and finality of that possibility has created a new level of emotional stress, mostly for me.

I've gotta run for now and head to the store and back to the apartment. Hopefully sometime tomorrow afternoon I'll be reconnected with the world and can share some pictures from our weekend in Florida. I would like to publicly state that Tiger Woods began his amazing comeback at Bay Hill this past Thursday when Hamp, Michael, and I started following his play at the 11th hole where he scored the first of his 4 consecutive birdies that day. Yes, I know he still had to play 3 more days and the leader had to choke, but I'm just saying.....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael!

I'm sitting in a quiet hotel room in Orlando while Michael and Hamp are back at Bay Hill Country Club following Tiger Woods as he plays his second round of the tournament going on this weekend. Poor Mickey Mouse lost out to Tiger for the chance to celebrate with Michael when one of is friends offered VIP passes for today's round. We'll link back up early this afternoon and see what else the birthday boy wants to do, but relaxing by the pool was a serious consideration as we talked about it yesterday.

I had a couple of cool pictures from yesterday that I downloaded onto my computer, but I can't get it to work with the hotel connection. (I'm using Michael's who got to the outlet first when we checked in.) I don't know if it's because only one computer can be logged in to the internet access or what.

Speaking of home, I also wanted to pass along the news that we have an offer on our house in Kennesaw. It's still in the negotiating stages and may not pan out, but I suppose it's good news to be at this stage. I have found myself a little sad as I think about the reality of truly not having a "home" there anymore. My head knows that's the case for now, but the rest of me still has issues in accepting it all.

Time to head outside in this warm, but cloudy day. We see that most of those we know and love are considering ark plans these days. We're so sorry for you but we're not complaining that the rain so far has stayed north of Orlando. If I get the picture problem figured out, I'll try to get some posted, but tomorrow is the Braves game and we'll be out early. Stay safe and dry!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Had A Moment

I have no pictures for today, but I did want to take a minute and share something with you that enlightened me for a moment this afternoon.....

After a long afternoon with yet another great Comcast technician, I had to go to Petsmart to get Kit some food so she wouldn't starve while we were gone this week. (For the morbidly curious, no, he was not successful either.) It was approaching rush hour and I had to go about 10 miles from where we live. I actually knew the way so I didn't even have to turn on the GPS. The road I was on is being repaved in places and it winds through lots of neighborhood areas. People dart back and forth across the street all the time and I feel like I'm in a video game trying to dodge the humans. But I digress....

I successfully completed my errand and was returning home, again without the aid of the GPS. (Can you tell I'm quite proud of myself??) When I got to the street I needed to turn left on, I realized I couldn't because it was one way going the opposite way I needed to go. I didn't panic and knew if I went a couple of streets further, I would find one I could turn left on and that's what I did. I came to a red light and realized I didn't really know where I was exactly, but recognized enough that I knew where I was going. And that's when it happened - it was one of those Holy Spirit moments as I sensed Him repeating my thoughts back to me, "I don't know where I am exactly, but I know where I'm going". It was a moment of clarity.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I have realized once again that for the most part, life is all about perspective. It was a beautiful day in Baltimore today, except it was about 20 degrees colder than I would have liked. Yet this morning found me walking to the Gallery Church office location about 6 blocks away grateful for the sun that helped warm the day. While living in Georgia, I would have thought 40 degrees was too cold to even think about going outside for a walk. When living in the city, however, you walk when you can because there's either nowhere to park or it's too expensive.

I don't think I've told you that on Wednesday afternoon, Hamp and I link up with Michael's flight and we all head to Orlando to celebrate his birthday. (Can you tell my Massachusetts children have needed a break from the cold??) The guys are playing golf on Thursday, then later in the day we've been invited to watch part of a big tournament going on and we're hoping to get a glimpse of Tiger as he plays. Friday is Michael's actual birthday and since Disney has free birthday admission this year, we're going to the Magic Kingdom and then on Saturday, we're catching the Braves vs. Yankees spring training game. The best part is that the forecast is for lots of sun and highs in the mid 80's. Yes, that's the number "8"!! We relocated southerners are probably more excited about that than any of the activities we have planned.

I wanted to show you some of the pictures from when Karen and Bob were here, but I realized that the ones with the people in them are still on his camera which is now back in GA. We did get some of his earlier shots downloaded to my computer and here are a few of my favorite from one foggy morning.

Speaking of computers, we can now add the IT guy from Hamp's company to the list of exasperated professionals who have no idea why we can't get a wireless connection in our apartment. Since he has to do work while at home sometimes, Hamp brought him to the apartment at lunch to see if he could help. Comcast is returning tomorrow for another visit with a request by me for their lead technician and all new equipment. I now know why the Berry College computer department had a fund raiser that let you take a sledge hammer to a computer for $1.00 a swing.

I mentioned I was walking to the Gallery Church office this morning. As life begins to settle down a bit here, I'm going to help out as I can. The church plant is still small in numbers but has a lot of activity going on and in need of volunteers. If anybody is looking for a place to give of some time while visiting a beautiful historic city, let us know!

Time for bed and hopefully a good night's sleep. That seems to be the last thing to improve as my body is slowly adjusting to all things new. Going to bed before midnight might help too...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Busy Week

It's a quiet Saturday morning with the sun shining over the harbor outside our window. Hamp is on his laptop with a wireless connection thanks to yet another router change while mine still has to be hard wired to access the internet. This remains one of the more intriguing issues we have yet to solve.

Our first visitors, Karen and Bob, left on Thursday morning and Tiffany arrived last night for a quick weekend visit. The girls in the family (including Kit) seem to be the ones having the most adjustment issues with life these days and we decided a face to face visit would be helpful for us all.

We finally have the apartment mostly settled and as promised, here are a few pictures of how things look. As you come in the front door, here's the first thing you see.

This was made for me by a dear friend in 1985 and has followed us from house to house since then. There's nothing to add except to say, "Amen"!!

The apartment opens up once you pass the strangely shaped column in the middle of the entry way (the apartment building used to be a canning company) and you see the dining table and living room area. Our furniture is still in the house trying to sell it, so this is the rental stuff. We did bring our recliner which gave us some arranging challenges, but we're glad it's here.

To the right of the dining area is where we set up our Ikea desk that really hasn't been very helpful yet since the wireless connection doesn't work for my computer. If we can't resolve the problem, then we'll be running a very long cord around the perimeter of the room.

The kitchen is behind the dining area and has two openings into it. The washer and dryer are located at the end of the stove. When Hamp first moved in, the washer died and when they replaced it, the new one was too big for the space. He took the door off that couldn't close anymore and we added the curtain (another Ikea purchase) to hide it a little. There is a tiny area that was designed for a table, so we turned it into the pantry thanks to shelves from Home Depot. The light there is in the way but the apartment manager said they would replace it, so we just bought one that will hopefully save my head! We were able to bring our small freezer which fit perfectly in this spot too. The work station with very helpful shelves was also bought at Ikea and it gave us the rest of the room needed to store kitchen stuff and added additional working space.

There's a hall from the kitchen/livng area that passes the tiny bathroom on the left and goes straight into the extra bedroom. Our bedroom is on the right at the end of the hall. We brought the furniture for our room which did fit with some very creative arranging. The other room still has the rental bed in it until we figure out the best way to maximize the space while providing room for visitors to sleep.

I have some pictures from when Karen and Bob were here, but those will have to wait until the next entry which I'll post later this weekend. Most of the settling has been done as far as moving goes, but our calendar presents some interesting challenges in the weeks ahead including a birthday trip to Braves spring training with Michael next week and 3 weddings in GA from mid-April to mid-May. And yes, we're still trying to sell the house with someone coming to look at it today. I don't think boredom will be an issue for quite some time. :) Enjoy the sunshine today wherever you are!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The End of The First Week

It's Saturday night, we're home from church, and I'm trying to figure out what to say to give you a glimpse into our first week here. It has been much harder than I thought it would be and the adjustments are many. The dryer in the apartment isn't drying, the wireless connection for the internet isn't wirelessing (a new word I just invented), and we've confused three field technicians and two phone technicians from Comcast who can't figure out why. Yes, I realize these things are not necessities in the grand scheme of life, but for an emotionally fragile menopausal middle-aged female who has lived in the same county since she was 5 years old until last week, they feel very important.

Of course, it's been awesome for Hamp and I to be under the same roof for longer than a couple of days again. I've been wanting to downsize for a while and this move gave us a reason to do so. I'll get some pictures up soon for you to see the apartment and some of the creative storing solutions we've come up with. I try not to think about the fact that we have an entire basement full of stuff still in the house since there is no more room here.

Kit has done very well, with her only complaint being that she can no longer go outside. She protests loudly at times about that, but for the most part, she's been content to look out the window and catch up on her lost sleep.

We live at the end of a section of downtown Baltimore called Fells Point. I feel completely safe walking around the area and that has been good for not only my soul, but also my legs! God was very meciful to me and provided warmer weather the first few days I was here and so I was able to explore the harbor area where we live a little.

This is our apartment building looking from a bench that is on the other side of the inlet near our parking lot.

When the wind is blowing, the ropes for the sails crash up against the masts of the boats and they sound like giant wind chimes. It's a really cool sound and you can hear it inside our apartment. I happened to be walking and heard it and tried to take a picture of the cause of the chiming.

One night as we were coming home, the moon was full and it was shining over the water near our building.

It's beautiful here in a lot of ways, yet a very different way of living life for us. We've had dinner in the Irish pub down the street at a table that overlooked the harbor, we walked to our small group on Tuesday evening and watched a rat run down the street on our way home, and went to church tonight in a different Irish pub that lets us use their upper room to meet. I've checked out some of the shops in Fells Point that are right down the street, gone to the grocery store by myself and to the mall area with the help of the GPS. I've unpacked, sorted, stored, thrown away, given away, laughed a little, cried more than a little, and even cooked dinner three nights! If what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger, then I will have some amazing stories to tell!

For now, we're taking it about half a day at a time and getting ready for our first visitors. Karen and Bob arrive tomorrow evening for a short visit. While it's not ideal because Hamp has to work, it was the only time they had between our two schedules before Nathan gets married. I personally think God knew I needed a hug from home. More to come soon and while you wait, keep praying for us. There is still much more ahead in this tale we've fallen into and we can't do it alone! We love and miss you all!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Quick Hello

I realize many days have gone by with not much coming from us. It's been very busy trying to get unpacked and settled, and we're still not completely finished. It has required lots of trips to various stores, but I think we're finally seeing what home here will look like. It's fascinating to be faced with the reality that most Americans have such a love affair with their "stuff". I'm not really a pack rat and yet have had to still scale down things we brought due to lack of space. Everything has a place and it must go there or it will not fit anywhere else! We have lots of clear storage bins of various sizes to organize everthing from hats and scarves to hair dryer and brushes to medicines and art supplies.

As you can imagine, the emotional adjusting has had its ups and downs as well. The last couple of days I've spent more time at home and I think that has helped reduce my stress which has made my stomach very happy.

I should have things mostly settled by tomorrow after Hamp gets home with the last couple of things to hopefully get our wireless connection working better. It did for a short while, but we don't think the router is strong enough, so we bought our own and decided to try it instead. Comcast says they can't support it if it's not their product, but no support versus not working at all doesn't seem like much of a risk to us.

I promise pictures will be coming soon. I have taken time to take a few but just haven't been able to stop long enough to get them posted. Before I forget, I want to thank each of you that have been praying for us (especially me) in this time of transition. I can honestly say I wouldn't have made it without the support I feel from each one of your prayers. We've seen glimpses of some of the things we anticipate God stretching us in and it will be interesting to see how things flesh out in day to day living.

As I'm typing this, Kit is asleep in her bed that I put on top of her perch that we've moved about 5 times today. She's doing well and is quite ready for the rearranging to stop so she can figure out where she can stake her claim. I'm hoping for a stroke of genius that will keep her off the furniture. I guess we'll see how that goes. For now, however, it's time for bed so I can start again tomorrow. Check back soon for pictures!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Week In Review

Good Friday evening to you! As I'm typing this, we're watching Harry Potter on television and letting the big dryers downstairs in the laundry room dry some clothes. The one in our apartment isn't working well and we won't be able to get it checked until Monday. After being with Tiffany as she does laundry, however, you'll get no complaining from me. I don't have to go outside and I have an elevator instead of 3 flights of stairs

There's no way I can revisit this past week in detail because it's been so full. As I was thinking about it some today, I realized that in my attempt to document Kit's travel adventures in pictures, I actually captured a good summary of our trip.

Before we left, she got curious and got in her crate to check things out. I was glad to see this and hopeful she would do OK once we got going.

It seems hard to believe with the temperatures we're having now, but the weather kept us wondering if we could even head northeast on Monday as planned because of all the snow that had fallen. We finally left around 4:30 and ended up only making it to Greenville before we stopped for the night.

We left early on Tuesday morning and ended up driving the rest of the way to Baltimore. It was a very long day and we all got tired of the ride. Kit felt safe in her crate and stayed in it most of the time, but every once in a while, she would venture out and ride in the seat.

There was snow on the sides of the road making it a beautiful drive. Kit and I led the way and Hamp followed in the U-Haul in case I had to make a quick exit with her.

We got to Baltimore around 7:00 but weren't able to unload the truck until the next day. Of course, the apartment was (and still is) a mess and the chaos pushed Kit to her limit. I found her several times attempting to get above it all and out of the madness.

She would occasionally relax enough to rest some, but still hasn't fully recovered. Once we got her bed set up, she was able to finally get some much needed sound sleep.

We have taken time to explore a bit, run some errands, and even made a few purchases such as Kit's new perch so she can see out the window. I think she would tell you (and I agree) that while life can sometimes be stressful and unpredictable, if we survive the changes, new adventures await and they just might be fun!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Good Night, Baltimore!

It's the end of a very long day and this is first chance (and computer) I've had to catch you up. The laptop I bought in Kennesaw before I left hasn't worked right yet, so unless Hamp's is around, I don't have computer access. Today was OK because we unloaded the truck and spent some time getting things settled in the apartment. Hamp needed to make a few work calls for a while this afternoon, so I made my first solo trip (aided by the GPS I swore I'd never have!) and went to Best Buy to get the computer issue resolved. They were very friendly and helpful, swapped it out for a new one for me, and it will be ready tomorrow. So hopefully I'll have more personal and pictoral posts soon.

As you can imagine, there is lots to tell you about. I'm way too tired tonight to tell you anymore than I already have. But Kit has some great visuals to go with her story, so we'll probably let her be the narrator and astound you with her perspective.

On a random, closing thought...why would you be singing if you live in an apartment building at 11:30 at night when you have neighbors next door or below you? We haven't figured the exact location out, but based on what I'm hearing, she should just speak...quietly!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We've Arrived!

It's official - we are now living in Baltimore. It's very surreal to even be typing those words. I know I'm too tired to process what that means, but I did want you to know that we arrived safely. The roads were great, the sun was out, and there was snow on the sides of the road and in the trees the entire way from Greenville. It really was a beautiful drive. And I can't go any further without publicly giving Kit the props she needs for being such a brave kitty!! I have a few pictures, but they'll have to wait for now.

Tomorrow morning at 10:00, the chaos will continue as the U-Haul will be unloaded and the apartment will be filled to the brim. There is a lot in front of us all as Hamp has things at work that need to be dealt with as well. To top it off, my new laptop is not working right and I'm not sure where to even start with that. Because of that, my entries may be limited for a little while since Hamp's computer will be at work with him during the day. Life in the 21st century, right??

Thanks to all of you who have loved on us, encouraged us, and prayed for us on this journey so far. Please don't stop now - I think the hardest part is still to be lived. God was so good to have Ellis and Ginger, their sweet kids, and a couple of others from church take a few minutes and come welcome us to Baltimore and pray over us. It was a much needed reminder that God not only went before us, but He's here now and also with all of those we love and left behind. I'm sure there are more tears to fall, but my prayer is that they will keep my heart soft and open to whatever God has for both me and Hamp and the rest of our family.

Kit would like you to know that she's supervising this entry being typed and that she has usurped Ellie as the wondercat of the family!! But Ellie has a chance to dethrone her when she travels from Boston to Orlando later this summer. We'll see if she's up to it.

On The Road

Well, we made it as far as Greenville, SC last night and all of us were ready to stop. Kit indicated so by hiding under the passenger seat of the car when we stopped to eat and for a heart-stopping moment, I thought she had slipped out of the car when I did. It was dark, the roads had damp places on them, and we decided the world might look a little better in the daylight.

We slept OK and as soon as we eat breakfast, we'll get underway. The interstates seem to be OK with potential slippery places here and there, but we'll take it carefully. We have a long way to go and are willing to stop again tonight if we see we can't get there and get unloaded at a good hour. There are helping hands in Baltimore and a freight elevator operator in our apartment complex to consider, so we'll see.

I have no pictures for now, but I would like to publicly give credit to Kit. She's done amazing so far and has been a real trooper. :) Who says you can't teach an old cat new tricks? (Yes, I know that's a revised version of the saying, but it's what fits!)

Off to breakfast and hopefully and profitable day of driving!

Monday, March 2, 2009

We're Really Leaving!!

It's now 4:30 in the afternoon and we're actually about to drive away. We may sit in traffic and we may only make it to the GA/SC state line for the night, but we must leave. It's been a very emotional day and I'm sure it's not over yet. Kit is not happy and hopefully will not meow at me the whole trip. :) We'll let you know when we can where we end up. Thanks again for all the prayers and well wishes. We love and miss you all!

It's a Sign!!

Good Monday morning to all!! In all my scurrying about to keep getting ready, I just walked through the living room and saw this cute sight.

Kit apparently couldn't resist the snuggly fleece inside her crate and has decided to nap there this morning. I figure if the cat has willingly gone into the dreaded crate and is happy, then we need to leave today. :)

The goal is to leave early afternoon and we'll head up I-85 toward Charlotte. From there we'll head more west to avoid the madness that is the eastern coast right now. We'll stay somewhere overnight, hopefully getting a good six hours behind us before we stop. The road conditions further north on Tuesday morning will determine when/if/what time we'll leave.

We'll check in tonight with you and let you know how it's going. It looks to be a very emotional day just getting out of town, so keep praying for us all!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Short Update

It's Sunday night and I'm heading to bed wondering where I will lay my head tomorrow night. Will it be here again? Will it be in a hotel somewhere between here and Baltimore? We don't know the answer to that question yet and probably won't know until around lunchtime tomorrow. The direction we need to go has been preceded by a zippy little winter storm and we don't know what the wind will be like for the taller moving truck, the conditions of the roads, etc. We'll let you know when we do.

For now, I'll leave you with a few pictures from our weekend. It has been very sweet, very busy, very emotional, and very stressful. Kind of like life, huh? These flowers that have been progressing along nicely all week in the blooming process were discovered faceplanted after the rain came that led to the snow. I think they were trying to warn me......

We had great friends come and help us get things moved into the truck and as always, they managed to make it fun. Many thanks to Bob, Richard, and Barry...and Johnny who was with them in spirit.

We got together for a yummy dinner at Richard and Janet's later that afternoon and just enjoyed visiting. It got a little teary at times and we also laughed over some crazy memories. Right now it's hard for those staying behind to imagine more will be made, but we're confident that will be the case. Here are the girls, the guys, and then the obligatory timed shot so everyone could be in it. I think we acually did a pretty good job!!

Today brought us some beautiful snow, although I did have to laugh at the timing of it.

Even as we wondered how we would be affected in trying to leave town tomorrow, we couldn't help but enjoy the beauty of the snow that we get so little of anymore.

As always, it seems, Kit probably responded the most appropriately to the confusion and mess in the house as the day progressed. I discovered her hiding and it just made me smile. May I always be that transparent in my response to life's stresses!

I brought in her crate so she could get used to seeing it again since this is how she'll travel.

After putting her little fleece in it, she actually went in it for a minute to check things out. I'll leave the door open when we're in the car with a big, snuggly fleece in the seat beside her in hopes that she'll come out. I'm don't really think she will and am not quite sure how well she'll travel. That will be a distraction I'll be glad to have to think about as I drive away from all that is familiar and I'm sure it will make for some funny pictures and good stories!

Once we know tomorrow what we're doing, I'll put a quick blog up and let you know. For now, it's off to bed!!