Settling In (last update 06-10-13)

(Updates are towards the bottom of post…)

Well, this post brings us to one month that we’ve been in our new home state, Colorado.  Like my new flag? 🙂

Flag of Colorado

Nice and colorful, huh?

For those of you who have been on this journey with me, it’s been a long one.  Thank you for helping me through it.  For those who are just joining me for the story, I’ll explain.  My husband had worked in North Dakota last Fall.  The plan was for him to work for three weeks, and then come home for a week.  That would be our life.  I honestly thought it would be great for the marriage.  Money coming in, he’d be home once in a while – it would be like meeting each other all over again.  My plan didn’t work.  Who knew I would get all depressed over it?!  I was thinking pre-menopause at first.  I even called my gynecologists nurse and talked to her about getting a blood test.  She thought it sounded more like depression.  She had it too.  I called my medical doctors nurse and spoke to her.  She also takes medicine for depression.  They both had their pill of choice (which of course are different).  What is this world coming too?  Not that it’s something to be embarrassed about, but it’s amazing the number of people in the world that suffer from depression.  People need to lean on others to get them through it.  In fact, I wasn’t embarrassed at all.  When I actually opened my mouth and had conversations with people on my good days, I talked all about it.  I’m a talker.  There was even a counselor I met with a few times.  I’ll tell my inner most secrets to a stranger.  See?  I’m telling YOU about them!

Wanna know how I got better?  At least for a short time?  In December 2011, I approached one of my old managers and cried on her shoulder.  She asked me if I’d ever considered moving to be with my husband.  Honestly, I hadn’t.  I just thought my life was doomed to be lonely.  I said thanks for the ear, and left her office.  I thought about it for literally 30 seconds to a minute.  Then I called my husband and suggested it to him.  He was all for it!  He said that he never mentioned it because he didn’t think I’d leave my mom, sister, brother, and their families behind.  We had all moved to Florida together 20 years earlier, and I’m all about family  (I am 1/3 Clark W. Griswold after all!).  He got all giddy!

Like I said, I can’t keep things to myself – not saying I can’t keep secrets – I just can’t keep them about myself.  I told my husband that I wanted to tell my new managers about the move, so that they wouldn’t be left in the dark.  I see so many times employees, out of the blue, giving their notice.  After working there for 15 years, I just wanted to lay all my cards on the table.  Doing so would explain me gathering boxes to pack, shifts in emotions, etc.  My senior manager actually wanted to post for my position right then and there so that I could train my replacement!  Our director advised her against that until I gave a specific date.  That was a good idea!  Our actual move date was further out than we thought.

After being in North Dakota for two months, my husband left that no-where job and came home.  We still were all steam forward to find him a job out-of-state where he could have a better chance at a decent job.  We ‘planned’ that we’d move right after Christmas.  Then it was February.  Then it just made sense to wait until our younger son finished his school year out.  Our oldest son was going to move with us.  Then in the meantime, since we took so long to finally do it, he met a girl.  He said he wouldn’t leave Florida without her.  We ALL spent several months trying to talk her into moving with us.

Then my husband started looking for jobs in North Dakota and Texas.  Personally, I’m glad it was neither.  North Dakota is only amber waves of grain, PLUS I am a woosie (sp?) in cold weather.  I’d have had to hibernate like a bear all Winter.   Texas would be no better than Florida – same climate.  I suggested Colorado.  I PUSHED for Colorado, desperate not to move to the other two states.  (Which if you live in either, I’m sure they are very nice and pretty.  I just wanted a change – just not such a drastic one.)

So now that we knew the state we wanted to go to, we start looking for a place to rent for a while.  Since we didn’t really know the area, it would have been foolish to buy a house right away.  My husband flew out here for a week to apply to several different places.  There was one job that he really wanted.  It was the hardest company to get in to, but he’s not one to give up.  After putting his applications in, he came back home for just a week.  He wanted to go back right away to show the company that he was willing to relocate the family for the job.   The plan was for him to stay in one of those hotels, that you can rent by the month, until he could move into the house we found.  This is why I was glad I hadn’t gotten off the meds.  The longest I’d been away from him was a month.  This would end up being a month and a half.

Yes there were tears.  I was so fortunate to have my husband home as long as I did to help with the packing.  It appeared that he did most of it.  I even started eating out of dog bowls because he packed our dishes!  But when it came down to it, with ALL the little things, I had an uphill battle.  I gave my employer notice so that I would have a month to pack, run errands, etc.  To tie up loose ends.  Before my last day of work, I shed many tears.  I would be leaving a place that I considered to be home – the people to be my family – that I’d worked at for 15 years.  I’d be hugging people in the halls (it was a hospital with 4,000+ employees) in case it was the last time I’d see them.  One day, I literally stood near some elevators and as people walked by, they all stopped to hug me and say goodbye.  My eyes were a waterfall at that point!  Luckily for the meds.  It wasn’t a depressed cry.  It was a sad cry, that I could still laugh and smile through.  And it wasn’t going to be easy leaving my mom.  She just kept tearing up every time we’d see each other.  And my brother just had his first CHILDREN – triplets.  They’d be one month old when I move.

When I ‘terminated’ (God I hate that word), I was busy from dawn until dusk.  While I was packing, the puppies were unpacking!  Every time I came home, they’d have another box torn up – and those boxes had been packed already!  And yes, even though I call all dogs ‘puppies’, these two really are/were.  We’re talking a 7 month old Saint Bernard and a 6 month old Siberian Husky.

Thank God for my older son and his friends.  They helped load the moving truck.  After two days of loading in the rain, we headed to the airport to pick up my husband.  He was lucky enough to be able to fly back to help us with the cross-country drive – after only being on the job for a little over a month.  Our older son and his girlfriend also helped us drive.  They stayed with us for a week and a half after we arrived.  They are both in love with Colorado and SWEAR they will move.  My son even moved most of his possessions here.  The only things he kept in Florida was his TV, dresser, and some clothes.

Here is our humongous house:

Our house that we owned for 10 years was 2,000+ sq ft.  This one is just a tad larger, but we have a basement and an upstairs – and a THREE car   garage!  We could only fit one car in our two car garage in Florida (we have cleared all the crap out that you see in the picture and we can now fit all three vehicles in it).  We also have 3 1/2 bathrooms!  We only had two before for four people and for the moment, we have 3 1/2 for three people!  And I thought we’d down-size for less cleaning!  But hey, my husband promised me that I would not have to go out and get a ‘job’, that I could concentrate on growing my photography business.  Yea!

Not working Monday through Friday like I had been, and having to get used to my husband working only four days on and then two days off (so never the same), I’m a little out of sorts.  Still not used to it.  Our younger son and I are still getting to knowing our way around the area.  We’re making a LOT of u-turns, but finally getting a little better feel for it.  He’s still bummed about having to move at the beginning of the summer and having to leave his friends.  I try to make up for it by finding things to do, but I know that’s not the same thing.  I think it’s harder with all the technology nowadays.  He’s able to ‘see’ what his friends are doing for fun thanks to Facebook, etc.  He’s tried to Skype a few times, but we’ve got a CRAPPY internet service and lose the connection ALL the time – and it’s not dial-up!  I found another company and their modem should be delivered to us tomorrow.  I pray that this one is better.  Right now I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall trying to do business online.  I’m constantly having to wait for it to get connected.  I’m having issues uploading my images to my blog and website.  It’s not very productive.  I’m hoping that it’s the internet problem and it will get straightened out by tomorrow.  If not, it’s a photography software issue (Lightroom), and I’ll need to give them a call.

Last Monday I got my new business cards in the mail, with all my new info on them.  I’ve been researching cool portrait locations and spoke to the state to register my business name.  I’m ready to go!  I’ll end this with the pro’s and con’s of our new house/location – these are either things that I’m used to having and don’t have now, or things that I haven’t had, but do now:

Pro’s – a huge garage, nice layout, nice deck (plastic planks for flooring – but railings are falling apart because they’re wood), a front porch, brown baseboard/doors/trim (sick of white getting dirty), we use the air conditioning less, I have an office, huge master closet, a front hall closet, comfortable sized bathrooms, solid shower floors (not tile thank God), love having a window over the kitchen sink, a flat top electric stove (we had one in FL, but I don’t think many rentals have them), a fridge with an ice maker.  Our dishwasher is so ingenious and has a cleaner thing (for lack of a better term) on not only the bottom, but the TOP!  While cleaning the bathroom floors on hands and knees, I discovered that they have no seam in the vinyl behind the toilet.  They were actually smart and cut a hole out for the toilet.  That’s a plus!  There is a vent under the kitchen sink which keeps me cook in Summer and warm in Winter when it kicks on.  The problem with it is, where is the vent?  Did the builder forget to cut it out?  What I CAN feel is a slit about 12″ long and about 1″ high cut into the cabinet bottom.  This is where I should see a vent:

Many of the streets have a merge lane when you turn onto a busy road, that way you don’t have to sit in the median waiting for traffic to clear.

Con’s – no pantry, no medicine cabinets, washer/dryer is in the 1/2 bath (I’m used to it now, but it was strange!), the master bedroom is so small that my dresser actually had to go into the office, we have vertical patio blinds (I swore we’d never have them again after FL), the backyard is  much smaller and we can literally see over all of our neighbors fences and vice versa, the next door neighbors dogs bark INCESSANTLY.  Anytime they see someone or our dogs outside, they bark (now, when our dogs go outside, our two older ones bark back).  They don’t stop.  And sometimes they bark throughout the night!  WHY don’t their owners shut them up?  WHY hasn’t anyone complained about them.  Because of them, our dogs can’t run around like they’re used to.  I have to bring them in most times just so the barking will stop.  The driveways/curbs have a HUGE bump – you have to take it really slow, but not too slow or you burn rubber – to get on to your driveway.  When wanting to register your tags, they can’t give you a ball park figure unless you actually go there and stand in line so that they can look at all of your paperwork.  Many of the shopping centers (i.e. like where you would find Target) have only one entrance – one way in.  Also, you can’t always get out that way unless you go a certain way.  They don’t allow u-turns.  I’m a visual person, so here you go:

And I’m a bit of a perfectionist!  The map started out as being a free-hand drawing, but it looked really sloppy, so I erased each part – not started over as a normal person would do – and took it a step further to make straight lines! 🙂

Colorado is a beautiful state, and as you may have already seen, I’m getting some great images here.  We are trying to explore it as often as we can.  I am soooo looking forward to Fall.  As a photographer, I have never had the opportunity to photograph changes in season!

So now you are all up-to-date on “how we’re doing”.  We are settling in, yet I still feel like I’m on vacation.  I’m like in limbo.  It feels surreal.

Sorry this post didn’t have that many pictures to break it up, and that this post was so long!

UPDATE (8/29/12):

Our son has started school and even has gotten a job.  I guess I don’t feel like I’m on vacation any longer, but it stinks because I stay up REALLY late working in the office, and then I have to get up REALLY early for the dogs.  We found a great dog park right near us – EVERYTHING is right near us.  It’s really is a great location.  Too bad we’re looking to rent farm property and/or get a place out by itself.

UPDATE (10/14/12)

Our 22 yr old has split up with his girlfriend, which means he’s moving here sooner.  Sorry, but soooo happy he’ll finally be with us again!  He’ll be leaving FL for the drive to CO on 10/21/12!!!!

I’m trying to get my sleep patterns back to normal.  Have finally started setting up and having doctor appts to get established.  It still amazes me every time I drive West and see the mountains.  It’s still surreal.  We still don’t feel like this is home, although I was thinking last night that the house is starting to feel like it some what.  Not the backyard though.  Never the back yard since we have to monitor our dogs 24/7 because of the neighbors dogs.

I had my first real photo shoot in my new state last week and have my next one in two weeks.  Very excited about that!  I have also won a HUGE re-branding package ($1,600+!)  through an online company that I get my continuing education for photography through.  Stay tuned for our new look!

About the neighbors and their dogs – a neighbor did go to their house and since then, they have been much quieter.  They still bark, but not as much!

When you buy a vehicle in FL, they license/register/tag it for you.  When you do it in CO, you need to do that yourself.  It was a big shock!

In FL, they issue you your driver’s license while you’re there.  In CO, you get it through the mail in 5-10 business days.  I should be a real CO resident sometime this week!

AND….the smoke detectors work.  And they sound a little different compared to the ones we had. lol  My son was just making a pizza in the oven, which I wasn’t aware of, and I heard a loud piercing BEEP and a female voice saying “THERE IS A FIRE”!

UPDATE (11/18/12)

Our (now) 23 yr old is home with us.  He hit a lucky break while in one state.  He got pulled over when he was almost home – his license was expired, his tags were expired, and he had an old and not current insurance card with him!  I almost died. We really thought we’d be taking a road trip to bail him out and tow his jeep.  Thank God the cop was nice.  He transferred with his job and loves his new bosses.  Says they really care about the employees vs his last location.  He’s going to be stopping by a fire station in the near future to start volunteering, taking classes, and then become a f/t fireman.

I’m not sure what my problem is.  I have all the time in the world to get out there, meet people, and get my name out there.  I haven’t done much of that yet, although  I have met a few local business owners and have had a meeting with our local museum curator.  They had called me about being their photographer after seeing some images I took at one of their functions.  I am seriously looking for a p/t position to just get out there and meet people.  I miss my co-workers from my last employer.  I still don’t feel like this is home.  The boys and I finally got our drivers licenses.  I thought that would make the difference.  Nope.  Maybe that’s why it’s ‘hard’ for me to get out there.  Stay tuned.

UPDATE (12/3/12)

There is no vent in my closet.  I don’t mind it in the Summer, but in the Winter it sucks!  Brrrrrr!!!!!

UPDATE (6/10/13)

One year.  It’s been one whole year (today) since we arrived in Colorado.  What a journey!  So many updates to the above.

My youngest son’s been through quite the time.  He started out the school year, Day 2, with a girlfriend!  I knew he’d be like fresh meat to the girls!  He’s since broken up with that one and has been pretty steady with another girl (who’s really sweet) for most of the time that we’ve been here.  He attended one school that was pretty apples to apples to his old school in Florida.  He hated it.  Moving was really rough on him.  He ended up on medication for a short time (weaning himself off) due to depression.  He made many friends at that school, but still hated it.  He will be transferring to a public school for his Senior year next year.  Neither of my boys has ever really attended a public school, except for early elementary years.  At this point, I just want him to graduate.  And he’s finally using the community pool.  Last year we could have, but none of us did.

Our oldest son has finally set-up an appointment with one of the local fire departments.  He’s been pumping up these last months by weight lifting, jogging, and eating really healthy.  He hasn’t had soda in MONTHS.  His beverage of choice has been lemonade.  He says it’s much better for you.  Is it really?  All that sugar??  And lo and behold.  We had a visitor a couple of weeks ago.  That girlfriend that he broke up with.  It appears that they are back together and she’ll be moving here after all – sometime in the Winter.

My husband has the best job in the world.  We really are fortunate.  And he’s gotten himself on a few meds too.  He was diagnosed with ADD since we’ve been here.  Go figure!  So glad he’s leveling out a bit. lol

The dogs loved the Winter.  Even our Great Dane.  I was kinda worried about him.  I was thinking of getting him some booties and a sweater.  He proved he didn’t need them.  He had fun with the rest of them!  There were many days that I’d catch them all laying in the snow just chillin’.

As for me?  I’m finally having my last specialist appointment (1st appt with them since I’ve been here) in a couple of weeks.  I’ve survived the Winter.  From what I heard, it was a mild Winter, even though they’re never that bad.  We’ve decided to rent this house one more year.  Who likes to move that often?  Yuck!

Remember how I mentioned (above) that I couldn’t wait to photograph Fall leaves?  Never happened!  I sat in my office all those months.  I’ve ended up ‘shooting’ several great people.  I’ve even done three (3) photo shoots for our city’s history museum.  I ended up with a per diem job (as needed) at our local hospital.  It’s pretty much the same size as the one I worked for in Florida.  What’s great about it – I can choose to work or not to work.  The shifts are a bit to get used to, but luckily I have a choice to work 1/2 a shift if I’d like.  Is it home yet?  Upon returning from my trip to Florida this past April, I sat and pondered that very question.  The answer?  Yes.  Thank God, yes!  I wasn’t sure that I’d ever feel like this was home.  Limbo is not a good feeling.

Our goal for the rest of 2013 is to get out there, and to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery that Colorado has to offer.  Stay tuned for more posts from our adventures!

p.s.  I have it on my calendar to call the street department tomorrow.  Why?  To tell them that they’ve got to raise the speed limits.  They’re nuts!  A 30 mph zone here is like a 45 mph zone in Florida.  I still speed.  I catch myself all the time.  It’s just not right to have to ‘crawl’ on a busy street.  And they need to change, or implement a timing system for their street lights.  You can sit at a red light with no other cars in the vicinity.  Crazy!  Wish me luck.  🙂

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13 thoughts on “Settling In (last update 06-10-13)

  1. Reblogged this on Keeping Up With Carol and commented:

    This is it. The last post about our move from Florida to Colorado. We arrived in Colorado exactly one year ago from yesterday. This post is about the pros and cons of our rental home, the area we moved to, etc. It’s much longer than the other ones about our move. Grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and enjoy!

  2. Welcome to Colorado. Boy, sounds like quite the ordeal…..I can totally relate from someone who has moved and had a traveling hubby. I’m in southern CO, Pueblo West now and Colorado Springs previously. Daughter lived in Fort Collins for 4 years (CSU) and just moved to Westminster (graduated). Check out Horsetooth Res. and Lory State Park for photo ops (don’t recall what northern town you’re in) Thanks for following my blog, I’m now following yours and looking forward to more tales of your Colorado life 🙂

    • I’ll hopefully have more tales to tell once I hammer down my photography business plan. Been working on it all week – that’s another thing I hate – #’s!

      We’re in Greeley. Just renting because we didn’t know the area. I was in Fort Collins yesterday and found TONS of portrait photography locations. I will check out those places – thanks!

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