Saturday, July 19, 2014

Table for One in Chicago

As the wife of a commercial pilot, I am well-acquainted with doing things solo. I have attended parties, weddings, holiday gatherings, “couples” nights, and everything else possible as a party of one. However, until recently I had never traveled solo.

I met a friend of mine in Portland, OR a year ago for a girl’s weekend. She arrive the day before me and just hung out in Portland. She explored, ate in restaurants, talked to people and shopped solo and had a great time. I felt a little jealous! I never before thought of traveling like this. In the back of my mind I always wanted to do a trip alone, but figured I wouldn’t because between my hubby and friends, someone was always down for a trip.

Such a beautiful, fun and friendly city
Then we moved to the Midwest and I needed to fend for myself in a strange place (with shitty weather) and after not seeing hubby for more than two days out of 30, by April I decided we needed some time together. I decided we should visit Chicago. Hubby is based there so I could easily take a short flight to the Windy City and meet up with him for a romantic weekend.

I flew in a on a Saturday and he had to work until Sunday. So off I went, from O’Hare to my downtown hotel, on public transportation, meeting new people along the way. I loved my hotel and the neighborhood. I needed to go do stuff on my own; but what?

After a cocktail and salad in my hotel restaurant (which were amazing), I silently made fun of myself for not leaving my hotel. Why was it so hard to walk out the door and explore? I read a great review about the best Mexican hot chocolate in the city (America) so I decided to walk a few miles on a Saturday night while everyone around me was walking to a late dinner with friends or waiting to get into a club for a bachelorette party (seriously, I walked past like five parties doing this!).

That’s when it got weird—but not for me. I surprisingly didn’t care that the server/host/floor manager at this adorable little casual dining establishment was visibly confused by my “nope, just a party of one. Yes, I want to eat here” (followed by me saying internally ‘because eating outside on the curb like a party-of-oner should, just wouldn’t do, pal’). He sat me at a counter space with my amazing glass of Mexican hot chocolate while I waited for my order of three churros. Yes, three. Don’t judge me.

Best meal ever---EVER!
When my churros arrived, I immediately drifted off into a lovely deep-fried, chocolate- and pistachio-coated heaven.  I no longer noticed the way-too-drunk tables, who really were entertaining to watch. And the two girls next to me who kept staring at me, I reasoned they were just jealous of my fabulous food and shoe choice and smiled.

The next morning I walked around again to a new part of the neighborhood. I found that no stores, not even in Chicago, stock gloves during late-April despite the fact it was freezing. Then I found out that the Chicago Magnolia Bakery is good, but New York’s is better, and that enjoying a city—or any new place—solo is fun! You can see and do what you want, relax and talk to new people, and it’s a great experience. But then I saw my hubby walk up to the hotel and I remembered that I also really, REALLY miss him when he is working and I still love seeing him in uniform, and despite the fact I now have another opinion to take into account for shopping, eating and destinations, I have a lot of fun with my pilot.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

5 things I learned from moving across the country

I was bound to learn a thing or two during a cross-country move at age 30. I learned a few things when I did the move the first time at age 22, so it was only logical that I would take away a few nuggets from my journey home to make me a wiser individual.

It is also extremely hard to list just five takeaways from this monstrous adventure. Moving sucks regardless of whether you are moving a block away, or across the country, or like friends of ours, across the world (I can’t even imagine that and they had two kids!). What I learned during my adventure, though, assures me that I am stronger, a better juggler and more organized than even I imagined.

Without further ado, my top five list!

5. Dogs take up a lot of valuable vehicle space. At first, I thought I would have a decent amount of space in my car to bring certain things with me. Movers were packing and hauling the majority of our belongings, but hubby and I would take the rest in our respective vehicles, on our individual trips. But two dogs (50 and 60-pound dogs) need at least a little space, water bowls, food bowl and food, a maybe a chew toy since the drive is really, really dull for them. I love about 30% of the space in my car to my dogs. And how did they thank me? By releasing some of their worst silent but deadlies ever while we were in a small space.

4. You truly find out who your friends are. I expected to spend time saying goodbye to people but some friends really surprised me; in a good way. There were those that didn't really have time to say goodbye, and though it was sad, it was OK. Then there were those friends that wanted to say goodbye a few times and check in and make sure you were OK, and stop by and help pack your TV. Those are the friends that made me happy and sad at the same time. It was hard to leave these special friends, but felt so good to know we had built those relationships.

This beautiful view is Northern Arizona and the beautiful
vistas were over shortly after this
3. Highways are built in the most boring areas! Why can’t I find a quick, safe, efficient route from Arizona to Ohio that takes me through the most scenic parts of the country?  To top it off, we drove out during the third and final installment of “Polar Vortex 2014” so everything was dead, frozen and miserable. Yes, even the street signs were miserable with that nasty cold weather! It’s boring, it’s flat, it’s brown and I don’t remember most of it because I kind of blacked it out! New Mexico was beautiful, but after that…not so much.

2.  It is possible to become exhausted doing nothing. Sitting in a car for 12 hours can be exhausting. It isn't because my dad (a.k.a. my copilot on this adventure) wasn't great company. It is just exhausting seeing signs that say you are still 300 miles away from St. Louis. The radio in my 2001 CRV worked, but the tape deck (YES – TAPE DECK) wasn't used. That meant we had to listen to radio stations in the abyss of I-40. Oh, and I know what you are thinking, “Why didn't you use one of those iPhone adapters?” I didn't use one because the charger/cigarette lighter didn't work and the last thing I want is to have a dead phone while I’m driving across the country. Surprisingly, there are a lot of Country (good for me), Classic Rock (good for dad) and NPR (good for both of us) stations everywhere!

1. It never really “sunk in” what was happening. People asked me every day if it had “sunk in yet” that I was moving that far away, or that I was leaving my Arizona life behind. To be honest, I was so busy during January packing and preparing for the move to really have time to stop and reflect. I tried to give myself the opportunity to freak out or to allow the enormity of everything to “sink in” with multiple solo hikes and even on that 28 hour drive. It never did, and it really hasn't. We've lived in Ohio for three months and I never had that “Oh my gosh, I moved across the country!” moment. Life just keeps moving and you have to move with it. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

We F-ing moved across the country!

It still doesn't seem real. I can't believe that we sold our house, packed up our life in Arizona and moved to Ohio!

I waited 8 years to take this pic!
Thanks Hobby Lobby ...
It all happened kind of fast. We had been talking about moving back to the Midwest...well...since I met my hubby about eight years ago. We knew we wouldn't live in Arizona forever, but hadn't figured out our next step. Then, something clicked and we both knew we had to move on. Arizona had given us so much: we found each other, we added our fur babies to our lives, we bought and did work on our first home, we started careers, we built networks and made lifelong friends.

Finally, though, we made the decision that it was time to make a move. Fortunately, being married to a commercial pilot meant he had a job wherever we moved. Unfortunately, he was transitioning to a new aircraft at the SAME TIME we had to move for my new job. I had to be at my new job by February 2nd and hubby was in ground school from Jan. 2 - Feb. 21, which meant I had a lot to do solo. Don't get me wrong, hubs was great from afar and did a lot when he was home (when he could come home, for like an hour and then go back), but I had a lot to figure out and quickly.

One week in Ohio - this happened
But we made it! We - the dogs and I - arrived in Ohio as did our stuff, all in time to start my job on February 2nd. The hubby arrived about a month later. We both drove, we both had to shovel our first snow in years (might have been hubby's first snow-shoveling experience ever), and we are starting to figure out our new life in Ohio!

So far, it has been pretty good! I have seen my family a few times and the weather is finally starting to be more tolerable in Ohio the same time it is about to hit 100 in Phoenix. Making friends is harder the older you get, but we are getting there.

Oh, and we found a house already! Ha! We sure do move fast when we make up our minds!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Willing the phone to ring

This is me when the phone rings! "WOAH!"

When we were younger (or from age 14 until I met my husband) some of us girls would will the phone to ring. We would just stare at it, loathe it for not ringing, and jump like a frightened kitten when it would finally ring!

But then we meet our Prince Charming and exhale a wonderful sigh of relief that we will never have to stare at our phones praying it would ring. That guy gave us a ring! No need to worry.



I realized during this past week that there is actually a grown-up equivalent to this. It happens when you decide to sell your house. We feel judged like our younger selves when someone doesn't want our house. And I promise you, the anxiety I feel is pretty close to that of my teenage self, except now I have to hold it together. Nobody will empathize with a grown woman who is breaking down because her house didn't sell it's first week on the market. Nope, nobody wants to hear that b*ll$hit!

But alas, here I am....with my phone next to me 24/7 willing my Realtor to call/text with some good news. And here I wait...

Wait, did you want to know WHY we are selling our house? Oh man, I will have to write that story next! Chronological order is for the birds!