1.30.2015

A few thoughts on packing and unpacking

I am surrounded by boxes! Mountains of them. And it is getting me down. So down that staying in bed under covers all day would be awesome. With a good book and maybe some hot tea. Lots of blankets.

We've moved from a cozy post-WWII cottage with three bedrooms and one bath into an apartment with two bedrooms and a kitchen half the size. Truly the best part is the two bathrooms (TWO!) and a huge playground practically outside our door. It's just a temporary stop while we sell the house in Birmingham.

You thought I was joking?

So if this situation isn't forever, why exactly are the boxes getting me down?

Because I'll open a box only to find stuff that is

1. really cool but don't have the space to display, like my pretty pottery
2. nice to have but don't really need at the moment, like the springform or tart pans or
3. just stuff that it's time to let go, like VHS tapes. Who keeps VHS tapes these days?!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is still. stuff. in Birmingham. Lots of it I'm afraid. Where are we going to put it all when the house sells??!!!!!

It all shows how privileged we are compared to some parts of the world. Boo-hoo I can't fit all our pots and pans in the one kitchen cabinet, there are people who don't have a kitchen with stove, fridge and microwave let alone indoor plumbing. Perspective!

As we loaded the moving truck in Birmingham, Chris and I decided together we need to make de-cluttering a priority. Which is great! Awesome! Excellent goal! Except, since I'm the main person opening boxes, I'm the main decision maker about what to keep, what to toss and hey, let's be honest we have all this crap because over many years we've shoved stuff in boxes instead of making those decisions (Some of us in the household do this more than others, ahem!). It makes my head hurt.

There IS progress being made. As a friend wisely reminded me as I was trying to get the house ready to sell, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." I've already taken three boxes to Goodwill and what can't be donated or recycled is out the door in trash bags, about a bag a day. To borrow a phrase from Japan's organizing superstar Marie Kondo, does it bring joy? If not, out it goes. Such a simple question but it's been working for me.

Almost finished with the kitchen and dining room areas. Closets, bathrooms and the boys' room were also considered essential. The rest of that mountain will just have to stay where it is. I keep repeating, It's only temporary, It's only temporary, It's only temporary! Besides, we'll have fun rediscovering treasures when we do finally get where we are going.

Now, back to unpacking.

1.13.2015

Chattanooga Day 1-14

A regular feature where I document our first year in our new city …


We loaded a huge moving truck — by "we" I mean dear family and friends who earned lots of good karma points — the last Monday of 2014. Not surprised that not everything in the house fits in our temporary apartment so Chris and I have made a pledge to get rid of junk in the new year. At the moment, wall to wall boxes. But hey, we have two bathrooms now. Woo-hoo!

I was really happy we got to Chattanooga in time to celebrate New Year's Eve. How fitting! We started a new adventure and new year together. New Year's Day we had a traditional serving of black-eyed peas for luck. The boys are not big fans but they had to eat at least one! Tradition!

Since arriving we've found the closest frozen yogurt, the closest Mexican restaurant with yummy white salsa (Joseph nows calls it cheese dip but, to me, it will always be white salsa!), the closest Pizza Hut —one day the kitchen will be open again. Finally found the silverware on Day 12! Still looking for the can opener.


On Day 3, we found the library and have already been back four times. We loved our library and our library people in Birmingham. There were a few tears as we said goodbye. So it was really nice to walk onto the 2nd floor of the downtown Chattanooga library and feel at home. The entire floor is dedicated to children and tweens/teens. Will loves it because there's a Pokemon club on Saturdays. (Oh yes, Pokemon is back in a big way). It is truly a space for creating and sharing and hanging out. Yes there were teens, tons of teens hanging out at the library on Saturday afternoon. And the 4th floor is full of toys for "big" people — vinyl cutter, laser cutter, 3-D printers. Chris and I plan to go play soon!


Day 5 we took dinner to daddy at work. He's back in the newsroom, working nights to get the paper out. Got to see the presses. And got our hands covered in ink. It's nice for the boys to see Chris' desk and work space so they can visualize where daddy is when he says I'm going to work. I so want to work there too. I miss the smell of ink and the hustle and bustle. Maybe a job on the day side will open up soon! Chris and I both can't work nights. Exploring other job opportunities while I wait. 

12.02.2014

Sending holiday cheer

It's December and I'm ready for all the Christmas cards to start appearing in my mailbox. If you have sent me a card in the last 10 years, I have it. Heck, if you have EVER written me anything, I have it. That includes notes passed in 7th grade and the first ever e-mails I received in college. With us moving, I am slowly trying to get rid of such things because no one wants to see my high school angst in print. But looking through past Christmas cards, I just can't toss them. And I really don't want my friends and family to toss mine. I want my card to get Oooos and Ahhhhs.

Lucky for me I work at Night Owl Paper Goods, a local stationery studio which means I am surrounded by pretty. Now, by local I mean we are a small business hidden away in an industrial part of town but we ship worldwide and can count Paper Source and Papyrus as clients. And by pretty I mean I want everything we make. We make a lot too — cards for every occasion, calendars, journals, bookmarks, custom wedding invitations and more.

Note cards and journals featuring the art of Dolan Geiman.

These critters are so cute! I've already got one.

I am biased* but here the best reasons you should order your Christmas cards, like me, from Night Owl Paper Goods:

1. COMPLIMENTS. Last year, I had several folks go out of their way to tell me how much they liked our Christmas card. That had never happened to me before. If it's a competition to send the best card, I won. I plan to win again this year.

2. SERVICE. Our custom card team of Megan and Josh are crazy quick. I work with these folks and was amazed how fast they got me a proof and then worked with me to get the best resolution on my photos. They are working hard right now to make every customer happy.

3. CHOICES. Close to 180 designs to personalize. Flip your card over, 12 choices of backgrounds. Choose your envelope color. You can design it to look exactly how you want.

4. QUALITY. Once your card is printed — either on pretty wood or nice, thick paper  — we check for any errors/blemishes and then check again. I can tell you, we only let the best ship out. I don't think it will surprise my friends that as a perfectionist, quality control is an area I really shine. All our products are made in the USA using eco-friendly processes. And you should see how much we recycle.

The only problem I have with ordering my Christmas cards from Night Owl is choosing which card. I have a tough time deciding. Below are some of the contenders … friends and family will just have to check their mailboxes soon to see what I decided.







* Just like last year, I receive an employee discount. Opinions expressed are my own. Oh, you want a discount too? Use Merry2014 to get 15% off!