New life day 5. At least I think this is day 5. It's Friday, yes? I've discovered the day and date are not very significant when you aren't on a regular work schedule.
In case you hadn't heard about my big life changes here's a brief recap to catch you up. While on vacation in Colorado with Allie Standifer, I landed a new job. The point of the vacation had been to let Allie get a feel for the area and decide if she wanted to relocate with me whenever I got all my ducks in a row and made it happen. I was hoping to make it happen during summer or fall of 2013. That all changed when my perfect job was listed a few days before our trip and I knew I had to check it out. Next thing I knew, I was swept up in a whirlwind, quit my job of 12 years and 3 weeks after returning home, hit the road to come back to Colorado for good.
I headed out on this 1900 mile road trip before the buttcrack of dawn Monday morning, driving 750 miles through Florida, Georgia and all the way to Clarksville Tennessee. Notice that little orange sign next to the Welcome to Georgia one. That little orange sign is a lie! I75 through southern Georgia is nothing but road work. Always has been and likely always will be. I don't think they will ever finish.
Uh, sorry. Got distracted. The first day of driving went very smoothly. No major traffic or delays and I made great time. No signs of Brad Pitt hitch hiking either, dang it. Treated myself to a steak dinner before crashing for the night, praying that my car, overflowing with everything I need to survive until the movers bring the rest of my stuff, would be okay in the parking lot.
Day two started out rather gloomy for my brief gaunt through Kentucky farmland and my surprise visit to Illinois. Say what? Seeing signs for Chicago had me doing a double take. Was my GPS lost? While I had checked out the route before hand, I had not realized my course would take me into southern Illinois. For some reason I'd thought that I'd be going from Kentucky into Missouri. Surprise. LOL! Southern Illinois for the most part was winter brown and icky except for this one area where I snapped this pretty picture on the right. Vastly different from northern Illinois where I once spent a year at Fort Sheridan Army base.
My apologies in advance to those who live in St. Louis but man, that is one butt ugly town. Traffic was crazy even at 10:30 am. I was ready for a break but pressed on until I got past the city before stopping for an early lunch at a Steak N' Shake where a very nice, tall, dark and handsome stranger picked up my lunch tab. Talk about making a girls day. He was working to install new lighting and performing other upgrades to the women's rest room and graciously stopped working to spare me from having to use the men's room. Then to my surprise when it came time to pay the server informed me the workman had paid for my lunch. I wore a goofy grin for the next several boring hours of my drive.
The rest of Missouri was mind-numbing but then I hit Kansas and things got worse. There is nothing but brown hills in Kansas. Nada. Zip. Zilch! At one point, I exited the interstate for gas and had to drive 8 miles off course to reach the gas station listed on the exit sign. When I reached Topeka, it was still early and I wasn't ready to stop for the night so I kept going. Big mistake! Between Topeka and Slina Kansas there isn't squat. A few scattered hotels here and there but way off the interstate and nothing around them. Ended up driving longer than I wanted to before finally finding a home for the night.
Day three was more of the same, although thankfully a much shorter drive since I only had 430 miles left to go. I spotted the Starbucks billboard, one of the only things to look at, around 100 miles prior to the exit and started salivating. A crack den. Civilization ahead. Yay!
Civilization turned out to be an interstate town and Starbucks was part of a gas station, Quiznos complex but I wasn't complaining when they put an iced caramel macchiato in my hand. Ah! Gena Showalter audiobooks and my crack of choice.
Had to stop when I rolled into Colorado and snap a picture of the sign. Another traveler offered to take my picture next to the sign but he set off internal alarms so I snapped my picture and beat feet out of there.
"Colorful Colorado," uh, not so much. At least not in the eastern half during winter. Only many more miles of dead brown grass and nothingness. The only true signs of civilization arrived when I hit Denver. Due to my early arrival, I couldn't check into my extended stay hotel so I went roaming to check out some of the rental houses on my list, very quickly crossing off the first few. No yard, too close to neighbors and no privacy, and various other reasons. When I was finally able to get checked into my room, I crashed and burned. A three day road trip used to be a breeze. Heck I made the trip from Tampa Florida to Portland Oregon by car, easy peasy. This trip did me in. No, that doesn't mean I'm getting old. I just have less patience for hours of tedium. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I already had an appointment set up to get snow tires first thing Thursday morning but was beginning to think I wouldn't need them. Day time highs were in the 50's and the only snow I saw while checking out houses was on top of the mountains in the distance. Went to bed thinking I'd have some extra cash in the budget until next winter. Woot! Yeah, not so much.
Woke up Thursday morning, looked out the hotel room window and discovered my poor tropical muscle car covered in snow. Poor Roxie. Thank goodness I planned ahead and purchased winter car gear from Amazon, including an ice scraper/brush. Even the doors were difficult to get open as they'd frozen shut. Snow tires were back on the schedule. But then I was hit with a dilemma. Snow tires don't stay on the car all year and my trunk/back seat were crammed full of stuff. So once the tires were on I headed back to the hotel to unpack the car then returned to pick up my tires. Four tires do not fit in my spacious trunk so now I am driving around with two in the back seat. Lovely! Need to get in a rental house STAT.
Went and checked out one of the houses on my list Thursday afternoon. A 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage (on Roxie's must have list), 2000 sq ft home. From the outside and neighborhood I was excited. This is a great house, newer, built in 2004. Sweet! First floor, still loving it. Spacious living room with hardwood floor and bay window breakfast nook, fresh paint, very clean. Kitchen with tile floor, granite counters and brand new appliances. Up the stairs to the landing with room for a seating area. Master bedroom a decent size with an amazing bathroom and huge walk in closet. Either new or just cleaned carpets. Still loving it. The one downfall, the 3 other bedrooms are miniscule. Crap! I don't remember seeing the fireplace but the website says there is one. Still, those small bedrooms puts the house lower down on my list. I have 3 more viewings scheduled, one each day. Hopefully I will find a place to suit my needs in one of those because I am anxious to get settled and have an address.
Today is day 5 and on the schedule are a trip to my new employer for a health screening/check up along with viewing another house this afternoon. Might go catch a movie in between the two events. During the drive the solitude didn't bother me. I had audiobooks and love any chance to drive Roxie. Right now I am missing my kids something fierce and counting down the days until Allie Standifer rolls into town.
My adventure has just begun. I definitely feel a book to come out of this once I get settled in. An erotic romance author alone on the road for 3 days... Yeah, my mind had lots of opportunities to conjure up naughty scenarios. *grin* Hmm...perhaps there will be more than one resulting book.
For now, I will leave you with a few words of wisdom gained from this whole experience. Staying in your comfort zone is great but stifling. When the opportunity to make a change comes along, even if the timing isn't great, grab on with both hands and don't let go. Take a risk. Roll the dice. Life is a limited time journey, live every moment! If you wait for everything to be optimal and all the ducks to line up in a row you will never break free of your safety net and try something new. Sure, you may stumble or fall but then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.