Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted;
State a proposal, but it will not stand,
For God is with us.
So man, with NaNoWriMo this month, I’ve not written a word about the most hectic and newsworthy month I’ve had in years. I’m going to give a little update on Everything Not NaNo in this post, so here goes.
The beginning of the month started out pretty nuts, with driving across the country and then finding a storage unit and dealing with all our junk and getting settled in at my parents’ house for the long haul. During that time, I learned that just because you have a 10-foot U-Haul doesn’t mean a 5’x10’ storage space will accommodate all your stuff. Now, I admit that neither Dad nor I are the greatest at those spatial relationship puzzle things, so we may not have squeezed every last possible box in. We did our best, though, and I’m pretty sure that even a better packer than us would have had some stuff left over. That stuff now lives on the back porch under a huge tarp, in the hallway upstairs, and in my increasingly tiny-feeling bedroom.
In addition to U-Haul shenanigans – and let me say, I felt incredibly relieved when I turned that U-Haul back in, undamaged and with exactly 3/4 of a tank of gas – I have also had the opportunity to catch up with a few Seattle-area friends, which has been fun. I am in the uncomfortable position of having to start all over with local friendships, and I’m not good about reaching out to get to know people. I know it’s up to me to get out and establish relationships, but my baseline state is to stay at home hunkered down in my own little world, and then respond to invitations as they come up.
Over the course of the last week, I started doing experimental rides to the Bike Alliance. Last Monday I rode to Bellevue, picked up Mom from BCS, and we rode in to Seattle on the I-90 trail and then back through Seattle. Then last Thursday I met up with a gal from a bike forum I frequent, and she showed me routes south from Kenmore through Seattle on back roads and to the I-90 trail. I rode home by myself through Bellevue and got lost on Mercer Island, where the I-90 trail has all these confusing unmarked turn-offs and turns into a sidewalk for a while. Then I got lost in Bellevue in the Enatai area and rode up a bunch of extra hills for no reason, which was disappointing. Eventually I made it home. It has rained nearly every day since I got here, which is even more rain than I remembered, but that’s OK. I don’t mind getting wet on my bike if I can dry off at the end, although cleaning the chain is a hassle.
Riding has been another fairly major feature of the last three weeks: Riding and not commuting. Just going for a ride. It’s good in terms of getting to know streets a bit, but it’s bad because that relies on my own motivation, which fluctuates dramatically day to day. I was actually really excited to ride to the Bike Alliance yesterday for my first unofficial part-day there. A month off of commuting and working has made me realize that it could be really easy to get away from that whole life entirely and then never go back. Something about wearing your pajamas at noon is just so seductive.
Yesterday, as I mentioned, I visited the Bike Alliance for my first day “volunteering.” This actually just entailed me riding across the I-90 bridge in heavy winds and rain, spending about 3 hours chatting with Every Day, my liaison there, and then riding home through Seattle. I will be working on writing SOPs for them starting later this week when I get a computer; I’ll create descriptions of tasks people do and how to do them when those people are away. I’m looking forward to getting to do something productive (besides NaNoWriMo, which doesn’t count since it doesn’t benefit anybody) again, and this will give me a good opportunity to get to know each of the people at the Bike Alliance before I start in January. They all seem excited I’m there and have high hopes for what I’ll achieve during my tenure with them. That makes me somewhat apprehensive, but I trust I won’t fail them.
Unrelated to biking, I also visited EastLake Church in Bothell as part of our quest to find a new church home in the Seattle area. I think I will visit Mars Hill Church, just to see what everybody’s going on about, and also Bethany Community Church. Ultimately, though, any real decision on that will be based on where we end up living for good, which will be based on where Ian finds a job. It’s interesting visiting a variety of churches, and although I tend to be a little resistant to big churches because it’s so easy to just get lost in the crowd, I’m ruling nothing out yet. For now we’ll just investigate and keep an open mind, and make the decision when other things are more settled. It seems like we’re saying that about oh-so-many things in our life right now. I can hardly wait to be more settled.
In the meantime, I’ve been writing my novel, of course; reading an extremely poorly-written but well-researched book called Seduced By Hitler: The Choices of a Nation and the Ethics of Survival; taking the dog for walks; doing a puzzle; and spending as much time in front of the fireplace as possible. Today the big event in my life is the call I’m expecting from the guy at Fidelity who is responsible for my 401k. Money confuses me and I get all anxious dealing with it because I know so little about it I don’t really feel like I’m making that good of decisions for long-term investing. I sure hope this goes OK. After that, I’m thinking a nice long dog walk, maybe all the way to downtown Kirkland.
Update: Vignette from the Dog Walk. Warning: It’s Really All About Poop.
The other day, Carmel pooped twice on one walk. She never does this on walks with Dad, as far as I know, so I had only brought one bag and was caught unprepared (this is where I’m avoiding all sorts of bad idioms for that sentiment. I hope you appreciate my self-restraint). In that instance she had pooped on the landscaped, beauty-barked portion of a church’s grassy verge, and I really felt I could not leave her poop at a church, especially right out where everybody would see it as they walked by. I checked all my pockets: No extra baggies miraculously appeared. I looked around: No baggies lying around from evil litter bugs. This left me with one option, and so I did what any resourceful person would do: I grabbed a huge handful of fallen leaves, scooped up the poop, and hurried straight over to the church dumpster, where I deposited the noisome load. Then I went straight home and washed my hands thoroughly at least three times.
Having learned from that disgusting experience, I started carrying two baggies with me on later walks. I had not used both until today, when Carmel pooped within sight of our house, and then again about a quarter mile down the road. I was somewhat astonished, but had come prepared, so it was no big deal. Also, happily it was garbage day, so I disposed of the two loads in handy full garbage cans and we went on our way. Carmel had a fun time romping around at Edith Moulton park, dashing ahead of me
on the trail and generally getting wet and muddy in the stream (she later cleaned herself off by swimming through the stream right before we left – handy).
After having about as much fun as a girl and a dog can have at a small park, we set off home. As I watched the dog sniffing around, I thought “Huh, seems like Carmel is looking for a place to poop. But she already pooped twice, so I must be wrong.” Unfortunately, I was not wrong, and that is when Carmel laid her THIRD load of the walk. Of course, I was once again caught unbaggied, and this time there were no handy leaves and dumpsters. I spent a good portion of the walk thereafter whining to the dog for pooping three times in a single 1.5-mile long walk, until we happened upon a clean baggie somebody had left lying on the ground. I immediately appropriated it, returned to the poop, and removed it from the hapless owner’s yard. We left that one in the garbage at Safeway, by which time Carmel was looking pretty – pun intended – pooped out.