Zoo Crew Thursday Rundown

Happy Thursday to one and all! I hope you have had a great week thus far. Other than that, I don’t have much small talk tonight so let’s get right to the Thursday Rundown.

Jacksonville Zoo – How do you follow up a day at Disney World? You go to the zoo, of course. Last Saturday, the three of us went to the Jacksonville Zoo. We had a fun time looking at a wide variety of animals, many I had never even seen/heard of before. I specifically enjoyed viewing the monkeys/apes, tigers, and elephants. However, nothing could beat the giraffes. Seeing one of these animals in-person really puts into perspective how tall they really are. The exhibit had seven different giraffes and they would walk right over to you. In fact, if you really wanted, you could feed them. Props to the Jacksonville Zoo for giving all Hurricane Florence evacuees a major discount on admission.

We had a good time at the Jacksonville Zoo.

Happy Half Birthday, Sloan – On Monday, Sloan turned a year and a half. In my opinion, it is probably the most significant “half birthday” that we as humans celebrate. At 18 months, Sloan is happier than ever and is talking really well. She is persistent yet sweet, and loves her mommy and daddy. The below photo was taken on our way back to Myrtle Beach after we evacuated. We left a pack of cookies a little too close to her car seat and she managed to reach them and help herself. By the time we pulled over and realized what she had done, her face was a chocolatey mess.

Sloan celebrated her half birthday with cookies.

President Trump Visits Conway – Yesterday, the President of the United States was in our area ahead of the massive flooding we are supposed to experience. President Trump visited Conway, the small town that sits right next to Myrtle Beach and that is actually home to Coastal Carolina University. While I worked in my office, the Commander In Chief was walking the streets of Conway just a couple miles from where I sat. Although I wasn’t there, my future brother-in-law was. He was helping move the belongings from a house that was expected to flood when all of a sudden the President arrived. Not only was John Henry able to take the below photo, he also shook Trump’s hand. All in all, it was nice to know that the President is looking out for us.

My soon-to-be brother-in-law took this photo of President Trump yesterday.

Waiting Game – After being out of the office since last Tuesday (Sept. 11), Coastal Carolina University allowed its employees to report back to work yesterday. Although I had such a nice time with Sid and Sloan, it never feels right to me when I am out of the office unexpectedly. My wife, however, is still on standby. With roads impacted by current flooding, and with the situation expected to get even worse, Horry County Schools is shut down for at least the rest of the week. Sid will know on Sunday if she will be back to teaching on Monday. As for our CCU students? We announced today that classes will be canceled all next week as well. With the flooding threat, it is just too dangerous to have all our students return to campus.

Classes for #CCU students will be canceled through next week.

Wearing That Ring – Two years ago, I wrote about the adjustment I faced with wearing a wedding ring. No, the adjustment didn’t have to do with no longer being a bachelor! Rather, it was because I had never worn any jewelry my entire life up until I married Sid. Thankfully, it turned out to be a non-issue. Wearing the ring grew on me very quickly and I embraced the opportunity to sport a little bling. Nowadays, the ring is even more a part of me. I take it off when I exercise and when I shower, but that is it. I feel naked without it and I will immediately panic if I do my constant subconscious ring check and notice that it is not there. I love my wedding ring!

Sorry, my hand is not “model worthy.” However, I wanted to show off my wedding ring.

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Happy early birthday to my brother. His big day is this Sunday. Live it up, Glen. Have a great weekend, everyone. Don’t Blink.

Our Impromptu Trip to Disney World

It didn’t take long after we left Myrtle Beach for the “suggestions” to start. As Sid, Sloan, and I started our evacuation to Jacksonville, my wife started to pitch me an idea.

Before we had even entered Georgia, Sidney had made her case that visiting Disney World while we escaped Hurricane Florence would make perfect sense. With mid-September a relative tame time by Disney standards and with Jacksonville only 2.5 hours away from Orlando, she had a point. With time to spare and a Disney-obessed wife along with a Mickey Mouse-loving daughter, I really couldn’t say no. By the time we rolled into Jacksonville on Wednesday night, I told Sid we could go. By Friday morning, we were walking through the Disney World gates.

This is a photo I snapped as we drove through the Disney World arch.

That left us with a short amount of time to prepare. On Thursday, we hatched our plan. We would make it a day trip and only visit Magic Kingdom. Sidney did research all afternoon and we purchased tickets that night. If someone told us a week prior that we would be going to Disney World in the near future, we would have laughed.

We left early Friday and made it to the Disney World parking lot by 10 a.m. We had to take a shuttle from the parking lot followed by a ferry boat ride to actually get inside the park. Once inside, the three of us found ourselves on Main Street USA right in front of Cinderella’s Castle. It was a surreal feeling.

Last week at this time, I had no idea we would be going to Disney World. A couple days later, we were right in front of Cinderella’s Castle.

The “how crazy is this moment?” soon passed as I realized something: It was hot! Like really, really hot. But the heat discomfort soon became an afterthought as I realized something else. Sloan was laughing and clapping her hands wildly as she watched a bunch of Disney characters and other cast members perform a dance number right in front of the castle. With a giddy Sidney crouched by Sloan pointing out everything that was going on, I knew at that point that we had made the right decision to go.

This picture, taken shortly after we entered the Disney World gates, says it all. I knew we had made the right decision.

With the impromptu Disney trip already off on a great note, we started to explore. We visited a couple of the different lands and rode Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and It’s A Small World After All. Except for a couple antsy moments when Haunted Mansion stalled midway through, Sloan loved the rides! She sat between us and enjoyed every minute of the classic Disney attractions.

Sloan enjoyed the rides we went on during the morning.

Wait times for all the rides were 25 minutes or less. However, time flew by. After riding those three attractions and walking around, it was already lunch time. We ate at a Pinocchio-themed, air-conditioned restaurant.

Sloan enjoying her chicken nuggets and juice box at the Pinocchio-themed restaurant.

After lunch, we went back to Cinderella’s Castle and enjoyed probably the best part of the day. We had front row seats to the daily parade that showcased both classic Disney characters (Mickey, Donald, Goofy, etc.) and the movie Disney characters (Aladin, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, etc.). As the big floats passed by and the characters engaged with Sloan, I truly felt the Disney magic.

The Disney parade was special. It was enjoyed thoroughly by the three of us.

On a high from the parade, we went on more rides – Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction. With the heat starting to take its toll, we decided to seek out shelter.

Can you spot Sid?

We entered a structure made to resemble a large circus tent. Once inside, Sloan had the opportunity to meet Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse. Although happy to see them at first, she would retreat to Sid as they crept closer. It didn’t take long for Sloan to eventually embrace them, following the lead of her mommy who hugged each one to show her that it was okay.

Sid and Sloan with Daisy and Minnie.

Did you think we would do Disney World without eating ice cream? Sidney got a Mickey ice cream sandwich and I got something called a Dole Whip, which is ice cream and pineapple fused together, a Disney World specialty I am told. Of course Sloan enjoyed generous portions of each.

Sidney with her Mickey ice cream sandwich.

Time continued to go by at a rapid pace. Because of a Halloween event that night, Magic Kingdom closed at 6 p.m. With only about 60 minutes left, we headed back to Mainstreet USA to pick out a souvenir. Sloan chose a baby Dumbo stuffed animal. Around this time, another parade was taking place. This particular one had an international flavor but still included all of the classic Disney characters. As the parade concluded, we watched as military guests retired the American flag and performed the Star Spangled Banner.

Sid barely beat me in the Lightyear Space Ranger Spin ride.

It was time for the grand finale! With just a few minutes to spare, we stood in line for our personal visit with Mickey Mouse. We were extrememly hot and looked absolutely miserable but I assure you that we were happy inside. Sloan constantly says “Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse,” so it was a big deal that she could meet him in the flesh (or perhaps I should say in the furry costume?).

After a long and HOT day, we took this photo with Mickey (don’t judge).

After changing Sloan’s diaper it was back on the ferry boat and the shuttle. We got in the car and our daughter dozed off. The whole drive back to Jacksonville, Sid and I talked Disney non-stop, looking up various Disney-related Wikipedia articles along the way.

By the time we left the park, Sloan was one tired girl!

That night, before we went to bed, Sidney whispered to me, “Thanks for making my wish come true.” I am not the biggest Disney fan, but to hear my wife say that along with the joy I saw on Sloan’s face the entire day made me really happy that we visited the happiest place on Earth. We will hold these memories tight forever. Don’t Blink.

Our Return From Evacuation

We are back, safe and sound.

After a seven-hour drive that consumed most of our Sunday, the three of us arrived in Myrtle Beach yesterday evening. As we traveled back, we weren’t on pins and needles about what we would find once we pulled into our driveway. Thanks to the kindness of family and friends, we had multiple people check on our house over the weekend. Each report indicated that except for debris in the backyard, our home escaped Hurricane Florence unscathed.

We had a nice time at our evacuation location, Jacksonville.

However, although I wasn’t really sweating it, I did experience a satisfying sense of relief when I walked through our door and saw our perfectly intact house for myself. God is good and the power of prayer is real.

In the end, it was obvious: If we had stayed in Myrtle Beach instead of evacuating, we would have been fine. Hurricane Florence didn’t impact the area as anticipated. With that said, what choice did we have when confronted with the trusted information from meteorologists and emergency management personnel? If the storm had changed its track slightly, we would have been in trouble. In my mind, the only viable decision was to evacuate.

Regardless of whether leaving was the right call in hindsight, our little family made the most out of our time in Jacksonville. Instead of dealing with dark skies, heavy winds, and pouring rain, we enjoyed the sunny and blue skies of Florida. Although I did have to work remotely, we still managed to do a lot during the time we spent “down south.” While driving in a car for nine hours (Wednesday) and seven hours (Sunday) might seem like a drag, the three of us enjoyed the time we got to spend together in close quarters. However, I would be lying if I said we didn’t prefer the three full days we spent together out of the car at our evacuation destination.

Like I mentioned, we stayed busy. We made trips to Disney World (future blog post coming) and the Jacksonville Zoo. We explored the neighborhood community we stayed at and sampled some of the local cuisine. Between the activities and my CCU duties, we also managed to relax a little bit as well; something we surely would not have been able to do if we stayed home.

As we settle back in at our house, a new threat is looming over our heads: flooding. The street in front of our house is already underwater. However, I much rather face this than a massive hurricane. We will be just fine.

The street in front of our house is flooded.


What a story we will have to tell Sloan years from now! With enthusiasm we will fill her in on how we escaped Hurricane Florence by evacuating to Jacksonville. We will then show her the photos and video of how an unfortunate weather event allowed us to take an unexpected trip to Disney World. Talk about an adventure! Don’t Blink.

Hurricane Florence Thursday Rundown

Greetings from Jacksonville, our home until further notice. Hurricane Florence might make us leave our home but it won’t stop me from writing a Thursday Rundown. Let’s get right to it…

Evacuating – Yesterday at noon, we set off for Jacksonville. What is normally a six-hour drive took us almost nine. We pulled up to Sid’s aunt’s house a little past 8:30 p.m. As I alluded to in yesterday’s blog post, it was the evacuation traffic that delayed us. The congestion was heaviest around Savannah. Although she had a rough final 45 minutes, Sloan did extremely well for most of the drive, smiling and laughing as we escaped Hurricane Florence. As we traveled away from the hurricane zone, we counted (yes, literally counted) over 300 linemen vehicles going the opposite way, right from where we were coming from.

Sid and I at a random rest stop during our evacuation to Jacksonville yesterday.

Current Outlook – The latest Hurricane Florence outlook isn’t as dire as it was yesterday. The storm has weakened a bit and the Myrtle Beach area can now expect less severe winds. Nonetheless, a HURRICANE is still going to hit the Grand Strand. What is supposed to really send our area into a frenzy of disarray is flooding. Massive rain totals and storm surge will combine to flood the South Carolina coast to a degree of biblical proportions. The wet conditions will soften soil, leading to further problems. Although the wind speed has decreased, gusts will still be strong and they will be sustained, lasting for at least 24 hours. Persistent, strong winds will wreak havoc on trees that are planted in the softened soil, leading to widespread vegetative damage.

This flooding business is not going to be good.

First Day in Jacksonville – It has been a relaxing, low-key first day in Florida. We are technically staying in a place called Fleming Island, a suburb of Jacksonville. After I finished my work this morning, the three of us took a drive around our new surroundings, scoping out the sights. We picked up some groceries and enjoyed lunch. A little later we went out on this long, skinny dock that overlooks a body of water called Doctors Lake. After enjoying the scenic view, we went to the playground in the community we are staying and let Sloan run wild. We are excited to see what the evening will hold!

It has been a good first day in Jacksonville.

Non-Hurricane Florence Topic – This week, the 35th season of “Jeopardy” debuted. It started off with quite the surprise as Alex Trebek trotted onto the stage with a beard! Although famous for the mustache he has sported over the course of numerous seasons, the beard was an entirely new thing. You know what? I like it!!

I am a fan of Alex Trebek’s beard!

Tomorrow’s Surprise – Well, well, well, Sloan is in for a big surprise tomorrow. In order to give her a special experience and to take our minds off Hurricane Florence, we will be taking our little girl to a place that is quite popular in Florida. I can’t say much more than that, but if you don’t know what I am alluding to you must consider somewhere else the happiest place on earth.

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We are safe and sound, so don’t worry about us. However, please pray for the millions of people who are still in the path of Hurricane Florence. We can only hope that the storm will continue to weaken and that it will have mercy on the great East Coast. Don’t Blink.

Evacuating

The time has come. We are activating our family evacuation plan.

We are on our way to Jacksonville to stay at Sidney’s aunt’s house. Going to Florida will get us far away from Hurricane Florence. Words can’t describe how awful this storm is supposed to be. State leaders have called it “a monster” and “a beast” while meteorologists have forecasted the impact to be “catastrophic” and “devastating.”

In addition to God, we are praying to St. Medard, the patron saint of storms, to help weaken Hurricane Florence.

Unfortunately, the hurricane shifted southwest last night, putting the Myrtle Beach area in line for a direct hit. As we watched the gloomy news in bed last night, I told Sid we had no choice. We were getting the hell out.

This is a tough situation. We are leaving loved ones and friends behind. We have to say goodbye to our beautiful new home, completely clueless about what will happen to it while we are gone. The timetable for how long we will be out of state is anyone’s guess. This hurricane is supposed to pound our area for the entire weekend. Once the punishment is done there is no telling how much recovery work will have to be completed before we can even enter the city again. Things look bleak.

We are praying to God that our house is protected.

But with Myrtle Beach now in the rearview mirror, I am starting to feel more positive. We are off to a secure place and we got Sloan riding comfortably in the backseat. Evacuating can be tough and scary, but it is a no-brainer when the well-being of your daughter is at stake.

We appreciate all the prayers and support. Please pray for us as we make the six-hour drive to Jacksonville. With evacuation traffic, it could be a lot longer. If need be, we will cut the trip in half and stay in Savannah overnight before completing the trek to Jacksonville on Thursday. Most importantly, please pray for everyone who will be severely impacted by Hurricane Florence. It is going to get ugly. Don’t Blink.

Putting Hurricane Florence In Perspective

Yesterday evening, I was in my office building bagging up my computers and packing my belongings in preparation for a Hurricane Florence hit. It was announced a couple hours earlier that Coastal Carolina University would be closed until further notice. The next time I would set foot in my workspace would be well after the storm hit. What would I come back to?

In the office next door our photographer and my friend, Judy, was packing up her office. I poked my head in her door and we started talking about how quickly things change. Just a few days prior we were stressing over a couple university events that would be happening this week. With a massive hurricane now on the horizon, we remarked at how insignificant those events (obviously canceled) now seemed. Talk about perspective.

But today, my perspective is completely reversed. We are one day closer to the arrival of Hurricane Florence but I am not as deflated today as I was yesterday. Why? Today is 9/11.

Hurricane Florence is awful, but it could be worse. Just take a moment to reflect on 9/11.

You see, this major weather event, which has the potential to obliterate the coast of the Carolinas, pales in comparison to the unjust tragedy that occurred 17 years ago today.

By the grace of God, the art of meteorology has advanced to an incredible and high-tech level over the past several generations. We know well in advance of when these natural disasters will hit. In fact, in most instances, we know the exact hour of reckoning. We are forewarned and free to make our own decisions based on the information that is freely given.

The passengers on those planes and the people inside those buildings didn’t have a clue about what was about to happen that morning on September 11. They had no Weather Channel or no Ed Piotrowski to tip them off two weeks ahead of time about what was to come. Sadly, they weren’t even given an alert on their phones 10 minutes before the ultimate act of evil was about to take place.

I will take nature-induced hell over manmade-induced hell any day. Being tipped off about Mother Nature destruction is better than being sucker-punched by brainwashed scum of the earth destruction.

Many of us Carolinians find ourselves in an awful situation this week. However, things could be much worse. To understand this, all we need to do is remember our fellow Americans who perished on this date in 2001. Don’t Blink.

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Past 9/11 blog posts:
2017

2016
2011

Nervous About Florence

I am used to it by now. Having lived in South Carolina for well over four years, we all know what September means: Start of college football!

No, you idiot. It means hurricane season.

Hard to believe, but this is the fifth September I have spent in Myrtle Beach. Each one has brought with it some type of hurricane threat. I survived the first four Septembers so why should I be concerned about this one? The hurricane that is lingering off the coast right now is just like all the others, right?

Not so fast.

I never allowed myself to get too worked up about past hurricanes that flirted with–or even impacted–our area. However, Hurricane Florence is a little different. My stress level for this one is more elevated than the others.

I wish it would stay away, but our area will be impacted by Hurricane Florence in some way.

Two years ago, I experienced Hurricane Matthew. It impacted our area quite a bit. Our doors flew open, our fence posts toppled, and our power went out. It wasn’t too enjoyable. But here is the thing: When Hurricane Matthew met Myrtle Beach, it was a Category 1 hurricane.

If Hurricane Florence hits us, it is supposed to be a Category 4.

Now I am sure most of you out there can guess what that means. If not, let me give you a hint: hurricane intensity doesn’t lessen as the category climbs higher.

A Category 4 hurricane brings devastating 133-155 MPH winds and a storm surge 13-18 feet above normal. To say the least, it can be devastating. But don’t feel as if we are on a collision course with doomsday just yet. According to the forecast, there is a 50% chance that Hurricane Florence will hit our area with that intensity. Are you an optimist or pessimist?

Other factors besides the sheer strength of Florence get me nervous too. We are in a new house. We have Sloan. We have a large lawn that is prone to flooding. But all that doesn’t even cover the aftermath headache that we will face once the hurricane rips through the area and the recovery process begins. As you can see, my focus is divided in a few different directions, especially since I am in charge of the Coastal Carolina University social media response to the hurricane (there are thousands of students and parents depending on us for accurate and updated information).

Bottom line, there is no escaping the fact that Hurricane Florence will impact the Grand Strand in some way. The question is just how severe her punishment will be. Don’t worry about us because we will be fine — we have an evacuation plan in place and our little family will stick together. Don’t let my nerves about our personal situation concern you. Instead, let’s turn our attention to those who have nowhere to go nor the means to prepare. A lot of people will be in the dark (literally and figuratively) when Hurricane Florence hits. Let’s pray for them.

I will keep everyone updated on the track of Hurricane Florence.  It isn’t a particularly fun time but we will make the best of it. Let’s hope that it is less severe than what we are preparing for. Don’t Blink.

Thursday Rundown Let’s Go!

The Labor Day weekend has got my days mixed up so it almost doesn’t feel like a Thursday. However, now that I am writing tonight’s Thursday Rundown, it all feels right again. Here we go with the topics…

Fun at Darlington – At the end of last week, I had the opportunity to go to Darlington Raceway to cover Brandon Brown, our CCU student who is also a NASCAR Xfinity driver. Just that alone was pretty cool but making the trip even better was that I got to go with some of my favorite co-workers. Geoff, one of our video production managers, and Judy, our head photographer, both joined me. Leading the trip and doing whatever he could to help us was Bill, our University Communication vice president. It was extremely hot (think the last day in August in the South inside a concrete stadium) but we sure had fun working together. It was also a pleasure covering Brandon and his team. Side Note: I have now been on the infield at three major racetracks.

I had a great time with my University Communication team in Darlington.

“We’re Here” – With Tuesday’s blog post centering on an advice column, I felt it was appropriate to extend the theme to today. I recently was reading a “Social Q&A” column and one of the letters was from a woman who was put off by a texting habit of her husband. When meeting friends for dinner, the husband will usually send a “we’re here” text to the people they are meeting. The wife explained she feels it is rude and puts pressure on the people they are meeting to arrive at the restaurant. In my opinion, I don’t think it is rude. Rather, I think the text conveys a message more along the lines of “look for us when you get here” as opposed to “we are looking at our watches and waiting for you.” I was convinced even more of this notion when I thought about my own dad sending the “we’re here” text. Yes, it would be something he would do, but it wouldn’t have any ill-intent at all – it would just be a nice gesture to let his friends know that they made it safely and were excited to soon be in their company.

This is the question and response to the “We’re Here” controversy.

Happy Birthday, Mik – I wanted to wish a happy birthday to one very special little girl. Mikayla, my niece, turned 4 years old yesterday. It blows my mind because it seems like just yesterday I was sitting on my couch in my apartment typing out this blog post about her birth. Time really does fly. Although I don’t get to see her as often as I would like, I still love her very much. I am also so thankful for the special bond that Mik and Sloan have – which was so evident when we were in Spokane this past summer – even if there is an age difference and a major geographic barrier. Mikayla’s birthday was yesterday but she will be the center of attention on Sunday as her parents throw her a birthday bash.

Happy birthday to my niece, Mikayla.

First Time in the South – Six years ago on this date, I ventured to the true South for the first time in my life (I had been to Florida before). While working for the University of Montana, I traveled to Boone, NC, for a much-anticipated football game between the Grizzlies and Appalachian State. I had so much fun experiencing this unique region of the country for the first time. Little did I know that I would be living in it just a couple years later. The people, food, and sights were unforgettable – but the game result was. The Griz lost to App State on a humid night in Kidd-Brewer Stadium.

This is me in Kidd Brewer Stadium six years ago.

Oreo Cherry Cheesecake – As most of my readers know, every now and then I like to devote one of my Thursday Rundown topics to the @ItsFoodPorn Twitter account. Sometimes it’s for better, sometimes it’s for worse. Today it is for worse. I have a hard time supporting Oreos and cherries mixed together. I like Oreo cheesecake and I can deal with cheery cheesecake, but Oreo/cherry cheesecake is a big no-no for me. What you see below is not something I would want to see on a dessert tray. Am I crazy?

No, this is not for me.

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Thank you again for reading Don’t Blink. I hope your week has not only been short, but sweet, as well. Catch up with you soon. Don’t Blink.

What I Learned About Moving

This past Labor Day weekend, we spent majority of the time settling into our new house. It capped off a crazy month of preparing for and executing a move. Although stressful and overwhelming at times, the end result was worth it.

I have moved before. However, it has always been from an apartment to an apartment or from an apartment to a house. This was my first time moving from a house to a different house. Totally different ball game. I learned a lot throughout the whole process and tonight I wanted to briefly share 10 takeaways.

Thanks in large part to Sloan’s help, moving went very smoothly.

Amazed at what we accumulated – We are a family of three that lived in our small house for just two years. But holy cow we sure had a lot of stuff! It quickly became apparent that we would need a big truck to get it all out. Sidney and I kept thinking what the moving process must be like for a middle aged couple living in a large house with a few kids.

Organization is Key – Throughout the whole process – pre-move, move, and unpacking – we learned that an organized system would be the only way to be successful. We labeled boxes, spread our packing out over a couple weeks, made the lives of our movers easy, and had a game plan for unpacking. We didn’t just “wing it” and drown ourselves in an unimaginable mess. Visualization prior to doing anything is crucial.

Boxes Boxes Boxes – We became very proficient at taping up new boxes and then breaking them down. We also went through way more than what we thought. Luckily, we got a bunch for free. Sid’s teacher friends brought box after box to her classroom, each one proving to be helpful. We don’t usually recycle but we did properly dispose of all the cardboard we found ourselves with at the end of the weekend.

Expenses – Investing in new real estate isn’t the only cost you will incur when moving. Everything from movers to installation fees to new appliances to different bills will cost you. Moving is definitely not something you want to do on a whim. Plan at least six months in advance and save specifically for the move itself.

About Those Movers – Sidney and I hired a moving company to transport our stuff from the old house to the new house. Although it is pricey, the convenience and peace of mind of having professionals carefully and skillfully move your possessions is nice. You might not know this, but moving companies are usually booked weeks in advance. As mentioned above, plan as early as possible for your move and reserve movers well in advance – especially if you want their services on a weekend.

Embrace Help – Although we opted for a moving company, we probably could have moved our stuff just fine with the generous offers we received from family members, co-workers, and friends. Sid and I know a lot of kind, humble people who reached out to us. From both of us, THANK YOU. With that said, I am 100% glad we went with professionals for the reasons I previously mentioned. But we did accept help with other aspects of the move. Sidney’s parents helped us SO MUCH this past weekend and we are incredibly grateful. They cleaned, unpacked, put things together, and so much more. We likely could not have done it without them.

Cha-Ching – It is inevitable – you will find coins during the moving process. You can do one of two things: 1. Throw them out OR 2. Put them in your pocket. Sometimes coins are more trouble than they are worth but if you are diligent in keeping all the loose change you find, you will have enough money to reward yourself with a milkshake or maybe even a cold beer after a long day of packing or moving. If you are really lucky, you might find some forgotten bills tucked around the house.

Neighbors – Prepare yourself for leaving your neighbors. We made some great friends on our little cul-de-sac and we will miss them. Luckily we got to say goodbye to most of them in meaningful ways. We didn’t let the depression of leaving our old friends detract from meeting new ones. Tonight, our family went and met our new neighbors. We introduced ourselves to the people living next door to us on both sides and the people living across the street from us. We can’t wait to get to know them better.

Paperwork – With a move, the paperwork you will have to fill out and the notices you have to make start to stack up. We tried to be as proactive as possible when it came to forwarding our mail, transferring services, and notifying government offices about our address change. But we definitely aren’t done yet following up with everyone that we need to. Next step for us is to get our driver’s licenses changed to reflect our new address.

Things will temporarily be tough to find – The first couple nights in our new house, we still had numerous unpacked boxes. Although we did a great job of labeling everything, there would be times within those 48 hours when I couldn’t find a toothbrush, piece of equipment, or a document I needed. These cases usually happened late at night when I was tired. I probably could have done a better job at not getting frustrated over such silly things but I will make sure to improve the next time we move.

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What else do you want to know? The above list is definitely not comprehensive but hopefully it will give you a little bit of guidance if you are planning a move. When working through the stress of a move, just tell yourself that in the end it will all be worth it. There is no better feeling than relaxing in your upgraded new digs without a care in the world. Don’t Blink.

An Afterthought to Alleviate Boredom

Today, my mom started her 17th year as a special education paraeducator at Mead High School. Her summer break has come to an end and she has my sympathies. However, my mom “going back to school” has also left me feeling a little down in the dumps.

My mom started her 17th year at Mead High School today.

You see, during the summer I am able to call my mom during my commute home from work. Now that school is back in session, I am unable to do this because she is still on the job when I am clocking out. As someone who doesn’t call home as much as I should, I am going to miss our summer afternoon phone chats. Worst of all, I recently found out that I was taking our calls for granted.

It would work like this: After I called Sidney and checked in with her, I would then call my mom a few minutes later. We would usually chat right up until I turned onto our street (about 10 minutes), at which point I would start to wrap the conversation up. By the time I was parking in the driveway, we were saying our goodbyes. Little did I know how rude I was being.

In a Dear Abby column over the weekend, a reader complained about people who call her only to pass time while driving. She noted that friends will phone her while in their vehicles, only to end the conversation once their destination is reached. In a damning rebuke, she writes “It’s as if the recipient of the call is merely an afterthought to alleviate boredom while driving.” See below for the entire letter.

This opened my eyes to something that I was doing.

Ouch.

Truth be told, the reader has a point…and the advice columnist thought so too. Abby called the act “insensitive” and mentioned that her own late mom would complain about callers doing the same thing.

To put my lack of sensitivity in perspective, I admit that I had never even thought about the rudness of ending a call when I arrived home. My first priority was always to get inside as quickly as possible so I could see Sloan and Sid. But I never took a moment to consider the disrespect I was showing when I told my mom “Well okay, I guess I should probably let you go…” once our house came into view.

In life, just because you didn’t have the intention of being rude doesn’t mean you weren’t rude. I need to own up with this one.

Mom, I hope you had a great first day. Please accept my apology and know from now on that I will let all phone conversations between us end naturally, even if it means sitting in the driveway for several extra minutes.

We can be oblivious to our actions. However, I do believe in the old adage of better late than never. I plan to never make someone an “afterthought to alleviate boredom” again. Don’t Blink.