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Packing is Hard.

Like actually hard. My hiney is sore from umpteen trips up and down the root cellar steps.

Y’all, my brain is full. You know how it is, when you’re laying awake at three in the morning thinking about everything you need to get done? That’s how it feels alll the time right now. Not bad, just full of to-do lists and calendars and prayers and should-we’s and the like.

We’re knee-deep in the packing over here, and truly, I’m already heartily sick of it and we’re not even close to being done. We have, however, loaded up the dumpster twice, sent a load to Goodwill, set aside yet more for Goodwill, and emptied and consolidated what feels like a thousand totes, so we’re actually doing pretty great, right? #motivationalspeakerintraining.

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Fun fact: when you ranch, you’re probably moving with a stock trailer because #freetrailer and #uhaulisexpensive, so you invest in many of these because weather.

Things That Suck About Packing:
1. Everything.
2. Having to sort through every single thing you own and either pack, donate, or throw away.
2b. Being embarrassed by the sheer amount of junk and waste. It’s so depressing, and I am putting a major curb on our junk accumulation because never again. We consume too much. TOO MUCH. To be fair, a lot of it was stuff from college or from our parents’ houses that hasn’t seen the light of day in years, but still. Why did we keep it? Why did it come to this house with us? Like, why do I hold on to any of my heels? We live on a ranch for Pete’s sake, and I don’t even like heels when we’re not on a ranch. Ugh. I’m not a minimalist, but curating our belongings is the name of the game from now on.  PS I wear a size 9 so if you want free shoes…
2c. Having to sort and pack at the same time is horrendous, I will be sorting/purging/donating on a regular basis from now on.
3. Hauling everything everywhere. To the truck, to the dumpster, to the trailer, to the Goodwill. In July.
4. Trying to be sort of quiet about it because the boys are sleeping and nothing wakes a sleeping baby faster than packing tape, but also wanting to get a hustle on.
5. Sweating. See #3
6. Maybe hantavirus, because ranch root cellars=mouse town. Soooo much handsoap and wash happening around here. Also bleach. Need some more.
7. The pre-organization explosion. It’s like living in a Forever 21–so many things everywhere, constant sensory overload, and being so overwhelmed that you don’t even know where to start. But, finding some really cute things in the mess.

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But, even thought I hate packing, and all of the junk with moving to a new state (the healthcare marketplace UGH, changing cell and internet carriers, changing insurance agents, etc.) can be exhausting and annoying, don’t you just love a fresh start? I do. Bert doesn’t crave fresh starts the way I do, but I think he’s really looking forward to this one, too. We’ve learned so many things out of this hard season–and I’m sure we’ll continue to learn more–and so we’re trying to be super intentional with our packing and our donating/trashing so that when we get there, we aren’t weighed down by college notebooks and fourteen pairs of pajama pants.

There’s also the element of trying not to be a) super emotional and b) super overwhelmed. There’s something strange about bare walls and putting your whole life into boxes, and something overwhelming about seeing all the boxes and thinking about loading them into trailers and then unpacking them into an entirely new place.

We’re running on prayers and caffeine, tape and tag pens, but we’ll make it through!

 

Home · Personal

House Hunters Non-International

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Happy Monday! We had such a great weekend of fellowship and friends. Although leave-takings are hard, we’re so blessed to have friends that are like family all over the place!

Today’s post is about something fairly unique to the agriculture (or maybe ranching specifically, I don’t know)–the housing. On a ranch, housing is part of a cowboy’s salary. This is the kicker with ranch jobs–when you move jobs, you move, and you don’t get to pick your house. And on ranches, you’re just not sure what you’re getting into with the housing situation, and a house can be a deal-killer or a deal-maker.

So, the interview process for cowboys is a little different than for jobs in town. Often, the spouse/partner goes, too, even if they will not be working for the ranch. The interview rarely involves sitting in an office and hardly ever involves a suit. Most of the interview will be conducted in a pickup, and maybe over lunch at the local diner. The wife will go to meet the boss and maybe his wife, ask questions the husband may not think of (where are the schools and the churches? Is there any kind of grocery shopping nearby? How close is the nearest hospital/doctor’s office/decent-sized town/Starbucks/Costco?), get a feel for the area, quite importantly, check out the house.

You can bet while the men are talking shop and feeling each other out, the wife will be eagle-eyeing their potential future home and making notes about what it needs to feel like home (paint? Contact paper everywhere? 47 boxes of Brillo and a prayer? Maybe just a light scrub with something floral? Demolished? Absolutely nothing, sign us up right now?) This is especially true if the ranch is out in the sticks, which is pretty much the definition of a ranch. It’s no fun to be ready to move into a place and realize there are things you need before you move in and town is two hours away and waiting for the ole Amazon Prime box to show up isn’t an option.

I’ve called five different ranch houses “home”, ranging from a glorified actual homestead cabin with not a single kitchen cabinet for food storage and a bathroom wall that didn’t reach the ceiling thus making for some really interesting interactions with guests to a double-wide modular with ancient blue carpet to our current (wonderful) house.  It’s also the scariest part (for me) about job-hunting other than the actual job part, because a job could sound great–starting colts! No farming! A nice truck and trailer! Annual bonuses! Kids welcome! Angels singing on high! But then you might get there, and the house is (at best) a womp-womp of aged linoleum, sketchy kitchen appliances, outdated everything, and tiny closets, or (at worst) a haven for moldy carpet and water damage that’s basically a horrible case of hantavirus waiting to happen.

I’ve lived in both of those situations. While instilling much character and perspective and gratitude for better things, my overwhelming feeling about those (very) humble abodes is: no mas, por favor.

I might be exaggerating a little. Actually, retract that–I’m not. I haven’t had to live in anything truly awful, but I’ve known people that have (like rooms above the processing barn in a feedlot where you get to share your washer, or a trailer that was condemn-able when Nixon was president).

And because housing is part of a cowboy’s salary and most ranches aren’t rolling in money, what you see is probably what you get unless you want to put in money or have Junk Gypsy-level skills with various saws and spray paint (#lifegoals). Sure, they might be able to have the carpets cleaned and most places will allow you (or encourage you!) to paint (enter the Revere Pewter vs. Gray Owl conundrum). But if you don’t like the appliances, or the bathroom gives you the heebie-jeebies, you’re probably going to have to live with it.

I lived in a house once where the oven grossed me out so bad that I cooked everything in a little convection toaster oven. It actually worked out fine because I lived alone and practically lived on baked chicken breasts and homemade pizza, but for a family that just won’t do. Unless it’s a family of mice, which you can bet lived there too.

Again, no whining here, especially because I’m far enough removed from those houses that those times are character-building and funny. We have a lot of funny stories about birds flying in through the woodstove and then out through a broken window after much excitement, or the owner lighting a water heater with a lighter instead of the “use this to avoid explosion” starter, or a washing machine full of dog food brought there piece by piece by particularly doomsday-afeared mice, or finding various personalized wedding gifts heaped in a box in the kitchen that were left there after the previous occupants’ not-so-amicable divorce. In those situations all you can do is laugh and maybe do a little bemoaning of the fact that you didn’t share the same initials as the not-so-happy couple because some of those gifts were actually pretty cool.

Our new house, though, has none of those things, hallelujah! It’s definitely the newest home we’ve lived in, and looks the least likely to be secretly infested by mice (or rattlesnakes!) of any of our previous residences. I’m excited to share our transition from our big, old, sprawling house we currently live in to the much-smaller-but-super-functional house we’re moving to. I’m a little nervous but also excited about the challenge of purging and streamlining our belongings to fit in an entirely new space.

And also for dog kennels that aren’t right underneath the bedroom window because we got a puppy. His name is Scooter. And he bark-howls allllllllll the time.

 

 

Personal

Inauspicious Auspicious Beginnings

evening light

Am I the only one who puts way too much weight on auspicious beginnings? Like try and foresee and plan for all contingencies and bring extra changes of clothes and lots of snacks and leave like four hours early so that when the moment of the beginning arrives you’re there, on time, unruffled, and preferably not sweaty and with great hair.

I might re-think that method because I think it might be erroneous.

Let me expound.

(Did you think I was going to do anything else? Expounding is like, one of my favorite things. P.S. why is impound not the opposite of expound? Filing away for further consideration.)

We were in the car on the way to our New Mexico/West Texas interview extravaganza and I was a tiny bit of a wreck. We’d never left the boys overnight much less for four nights, and I left literally five single-spaced pages behind of the boys’ schedules, a glossary so that the grandparents could decode some of Wacey’s words (because “fwuh” means “movie” and “ash” means “snack”), directions to the nearest Urgent Care and instructions (with pictures!) about how to put the infant carrier into the double stroller (hi, my name is Cassidy and I’m a Type-A Over Planner, nice to meet you). I wasn’t worried about their care (we’re blessed with two great sets of grandparents!) but I was worried that something would happen and we’d be out of cell range like a llama would come flying out of the sky or there would be a power outage and they’d run out of cold milk or some other such nonsense.

So, you can imagine how I felt when Bert’s dad called while we were driving through rural New Mexico to tell us the horses had gotten out and Bert’s grey horse had cut himself pretty badly. Every time my husband leaves the state of Colorado for New Mexico, the horses get out. What does this mean for our future? I don’t know. Maybe they’ll just..stay in? In New Mexico?

But, in true cowboy fashion, Bert got on the phone and arranged for some help to get the fence fixed, the  horse to headquarters where he could receive good care, and the other horses put back to where they needed to be.

Long story short, I almost made Bert turn the car around when I found out the formula that was supposed to arrive that afternoon to, you know, sustain the life of my infant, was going to take three more days to arrive even though it was less than two hours away. Someone please explain how that works because the gentleman from UPS customer service was flummoxed. My lovely neighbor came to the rescue to save the day, and somewhere around Carrizozo I decided I needed a drink (I drink, like, twice a year so I was real serious about this) since my husband wouldn’t listen to my desperate pleas to turn the car around because my nerves were shot and God was obviously trying to tell us something.

(He was, ps. He was telling us that no matter what happens, we have friends and family who love us and support us and will help us whenever we are in a bind.)

I was pretty certain that all that inauspiciousness was going to lead to a disaster of a trip but you know what? It didn’t.

We went in with an idea of how we’d come out. We were pretty certain that Bert was going to take the job in West Texas and that we’d be packing up and moving twelve hours south.

You guys, we couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s actually super funny now to think back to just two weeks ago when we thought we knew. Oh, what children we were! We’re older and wiser now. Two week will do that. It took about five minutes for us to know that New Mexico felt more like home than we could have ever thought, and it took about, oh, four seconds for us to know that the ranch in West Texas was the very last place we needed to be. We were shocked at how everything lined up perfectly for New Mexico to work and hilariously wrong for us the other job was.

(We likened it to this one time when we had to deliver a bull to the most isolated, strange ranch in Washington state. Not creepy–aside from the house that looked exactly like the Amityville Horror house–but it gave us the most indescribable case of the willies. It felt like being in the Twilight Zone and everything felt…faded. It was weird. Not home. Not good.)

So, I’m pretty sure we just got nicely but boldly told, “Quit trying to make your own damn plans. I got you.” Amen.

But really, can someone explain to me how UPS works?!

 

 

Celebrate · Family · Home · Personal

Big News

capitanphoto cred because I failed to take a single picture during our interview *facepalm*

Big new’s y’all! Sorry for the radio silence but the last few months have been full of real life and some hard things, and I needed to take a break. But, I’m missing blogging and some big changes are happening around these here parts and I’m excited to document this new chapter the boys and I (and the dogs, and the horses, and maybe an errant barn cat or two) are about to start.

We’re moving! Bert got a job working for a ranch in Capitan, New Mexico, so we’re packin’ up and movin’ out. We jumped some of the major hurdles this week (navigating the health insurance marketplace…#woof) and it’s starting to feel a lot more real and exciting. It wasn’t an easy choice, and I have a lot to visit with y’all about, but it’s new, and it’s fresh, and sometimes we really need that. This is the path that God has put us on, so I have faith that it’s a good one. Stay tuned!