Happy tears

Today has been an exceptional day, one that seems to improve as the day continues.

This move to Tennessee continues to show me on a daily basis that dreams come true. That our vision of what we wanted for ourselves is obtainable. All you have to do is set a plan, put it into action and continue to execute it until everything falls into place.

I told a high school friend tonight that it’s an incredible feeling to watch the plan unravel in front of your eyes, in a good way.

Each obstacle has been just that an obstacle . . . we keep pushing forward, so we can witness the dream we had before leaving Fort Myers unfold before us.

With that said . . .

I won’t lie, our move has been difficult, at times a little too stressful . . . . yep a few tears of frustration have fallen. The contributing factor of  course was and is money.

Through that stress I had and have a wonderful man by my side. We always seem to find a way to keep our eye on the light at the end of the tunnel, to keep chugging along until it became a little brighter.

The brightness is shinning a little more . . .

Jason and I were used to a certain pay scale living in Florida, one that left us somewhat comfortable. We knew things were going to be different in Tennessee because the cost of living was much lower than Fort Myers. Well, I was pretty stunned to hear what kind of pay cut Jason was receiving working in the restaurants as a chef.

Me on the other hand, as a freelance writer I get paid pretty well. Well, that is if I can manage my time . . . my pay per article is a good sum of money. The only battle with freelance work is waiting for your paycheck in the mail . . . that’s half of my frustration. After working for a newspaper for so many years, I was used to money in my account every other week.

Things are finally looking up! The stress lifts a little more every day . . . especially now with some promising work in Jason’s future.

He seems to have found a job that he is happy with . . . and just received word today that a second job may be in his very near future. I’m very excited for him, I cannot wait to see what kind of opportunities come out of these job opportunities.

And the good news continues . . .

I seem to have more work than I know what to do with at times. That statement alone brings a huge smile to my face.

What we have worked so hard for, our vision of creating a new life in another state, is blossoming, and it could not have happened at a better time.

Never ever give up . . . keep going until the satisfaction you are striving for becomes a realty. The best part is I would never ever change a thing. What has happened since we moved to Kingsport in May has only made us stronger. It has made me appreciate Jason even more.

Happiness . . . is a measurement of our success.

Now those happy tears . . .

First they came when text messages began flowing back and forth through my phone with a friend I have known since middle school. The words that were shared were words we both needed to hear, words that brough tears to both of our eyes.

“It made my heart smile.”

The second happy tears of the day came from a message I received from a friend I met in high school.

“I look forward to reading your blogs and posts; you have really been an inspiration and a force that has helped motivate me to pursue my dreams of moving to Washington. Thank you so much for that!!”

Wow, simply wow! Like I have always said, I hope I touch someone with my writing. Not a day goes by that I learn just how much it does. To be someone’s inspiration and motivation, what an incredible feeling.

Today was another fantastic day. Another day that showed me just how fortunate I am. I have a good life and I am sharing that with my best friend and love of my life.

Our new home

Yesterday began early, as we started loading our cars full of boxes, clothes and little things that filled our first apartment in Kingsport.

There is something about moving that always adds stress. I don’t know if it’s the packing, which I dread doing, or the unpacking, which can be time consuming.

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Although our cats, Leo and Kimber, become a little tense during the trasition, they always make the most of the boxes we bring home. It’s a new adventure for them … What boxes can they fit into? What boxes won’t fall when they climb to the top? They are such curious animals, always seeking out the newest place revealed.

Or what cabinets they can finally climb into once we clean them out …

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Jason always assures me that everything will fall into place, that there is no need to stress out. We have moved enough together that those intense emotions should not come into play.

Although we started off kind of slow, once the afternoon came around, our new townhouse was becoming full with all of our things.

We eventually got to the point where we only had large furniture/items left, so we carried the cats to my car, ready to introduce them to our new place. The catcher was, Jason had to stay behind, so he could meet up with his buddy who was bringing his truck to help us with the rest. So I carried Leo and Jason carried Kimber to my car. Now that was an adventure.

Leo climbed to the back and sat between the seats and Kimber sat on the front seat. Kimber cried the entire time, a very loud, scared cry, and well Leo took on hissing if she became a little to close for his liking. Thank goodness it was a short drive just down the road.

When we arrived, I went and unlocked the front door, so I wouldn’t have to fuss with a key and lock holding one of them. Since Kimber was a nervous wreak, she was the first to be introduced to her new home. As quickly as I opened the door and let her inside I was back out the door to retrieve Leo. Leo, my little buddy, was waiting patiently on the back seat.

After the adventure we had traveling from Florida to Tennessee, I can’t tell you how proud I am of him. He was so mellow, exactly what we both needed.

Our lovely Kimber was very talkative yesterday, nonstop meowing. She’s definitely our nervous kitty.

As soon as they were both in our new home, the exploring began.

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And new places were found …

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They both instantly fell in love with the space above our cabinets in the kitchen.

They eventually found the stairs to the second floor, which was so sweet to see. I of course had my phone in hand videotaping their adventure.

As I unpacked the boxes we were able to load in our cars, Jason and his friend did all the hard work. Jason is so good to me, he makes moving day extremely easy for me, always has. So why I stress, I have no idea!

We put the living room together, a small comfy space with all of our furniture. The kitchen, well, let’s say it’s getting there.

As the day turned into night, the events of the day caught up to us. So we enjoyed a simple, easy dinner and watched the baseball game.

We climbed the stairs and crawled into bed … we still had more to do today, more moving, unpacking and sorting.

This morning we woke early and I instantly began working on the second bedroom, my office. It felt good to put all my books on the bookshelves, organizing the space for when my desk and chair arrive today.

Today we hope to finish everything and get situated before another crazy work week begins. We still have to finish all the rooms and my favorite part, hang the many pictures I have accumulated.

Found the one

Real life situations speak volumes about an individual … about a couple.

The stress that comes with moving to a new area and making a name for yourself, so funds can begin trickling in  to make ends meet, can be overwhelming and trying.

Yesterday, although hard and extremely stressful, made Jason and I stronger once again. We continue to build upon the foundation we laid almost four years ago, an amazing relationship.

The events of the last few days finally caught up with us, which eventually led to an emotional breakdown.

The embrace I received after the tears started flowing calmed me down instantly. I felt every ounce of love that flowed through Jason’s body and therefore his arms, every bit of positive energy I needed to get my barrings once again. 

When two people have the same goals and dreams for the future, it is easy to stay positive through the dark times. It is easy to feed off of one another’s energy.

Although the stress is high, the nerves are calm because I have a wonderful man by my side. We make a fantastic team, which shines through every obstacle thrown our way.

I honestly have not loved someone this much before. It flows through my blood and the love fills every part of me making my heart smile.

A move can either break you or make you because of the new obstacles that surface. This move has made us stronger, it has shown what we are capable of as a couple.

Because we have each other, anything and everything is positive. Because we have the same dreams things will happen.

I love Jason dearly and am shown every day that I found the man for me. I found the man that brings out the best in me, the man who will do anything for me.

I am happy, my heart and soul are happy. The stresses will subside because of our dedication.

Finally arrived

The day before we departed Fort Myers, Jason, John and Dave filled a U-haul U-box pod with all of our belongings to be shipped to a nearby U-haul location.

We decided that would be the cheapest, easiest way to move our stuff from Florida to Tennessee. Although it was easier to put our stuff in a pod and just worry about driving our own cars with some of our belongings, dealing with U-haul has been an extreme headache. That headache has led us to the decision of never using their company again.

Although many calls were made within the last few weeks, it was not until yesterday that Jason finally received some answers to questions that he has been after for 13 days. We were completely shocked of how poorly this business runs, how incompetent they were and how many people it took to get to one answer.

The good news is after sleeping on a blowup bed for 13 days, a bed that the cats have managed to puncture tiny holes in; our pod finally arrived at its destination today! Even better, Jason’s cousin and husband have agreed to help us transport the pod trailer to our complex, making it even easier for us to empty the pod and fill our apartment.

It has been quite the adventure living in an apartment that really does not have any of our belongings.

I’m grateful that the apartment complex clubhouse has a washer and dryer facility, so we could do our laundry. I have spent a great deal of time here as I wait for the machines to finish. The nice thing is I can do two or three loads all at once, depending on the amount of quarters I have, speeding up the process.

You really do not realize how spoiled you are until things are taken away, like the comfort of a couch, the warmth of your own bed and the convenience of having all your pots and pans for the kitchen.

Although it has been quite the experience, Jason and I managed and made the best of our situation. Last night, for example, it felt like we were camping in our living room with the fire burning in the fireplace and the blow up bed close by. Or when we wanted comfort we took a drive to a beautiful park or to the store and enjoyed the comfortable seats of our cars!

It will be nice to move all of our furniture into our apartment, finally making it feel like home – a place of comfort and relaxation.

The arrival

After a long and stressful journey on the road Tuesday, April 30 … Wednesday,May 1 was almost perfect.

My stress level was completely depleted once we hit the road early that morning all because one my favorite songs made it’s way through the shuffle list on my iPod. What a great way to kick off a morning, a song that means the world to me, a song that reminds me why I love and care for Jason so much.

As the miles passed us by, the thinking began as the iPod continued to go through my playlist. It’s amazing what consumes your thoughts when you’re alone. Tears, happy tears, often filled my eyes as I thought about the journey Jason and I have had, as well as the steps we took to get to where we are now. Anything is possible when you put your mind, heart and soul into something you want to happen.

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We made the choice two years ago, took the chance almost a week ago and so far we are enjoying every moment of the change we put into action.

Although it’s definitely good therapy to be alone, I couldn’t wait for the bathroom breaks or scenery stops, so conversations could be had with others instead of myself and Leo, our cat.

Every stop we lingered a little longer due to all of us – Jason, myself and our friend Lisa – craving a little human interaction.

The rest stop in North Carolina was one of my favorite stops. Since it was so pretty, it led us for a little walk around the grounds to stretch our legs.

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The scenery from this point on was breathtaking, Interstate 26 provide such a beautiful view.

The first time we made it up the first hill, I called Jason to share my excitement … no more flat lands for us.

Unfortunately as our trip went on poor Leo became upset again and went to the bathroom all over the floorboard of the car, which was right next to the litter box. By this point I had enough of driving and wanted out of the car just as much as he.

As we entered Tennessee and continued driving, signs of cities we have grown to know by looking at the map appeared, which only increased the excitement of what was happening.

I remember seeing the sign for Kingsport and saying out load “Yeah” with a huge smile, almost laughing, which consumed the entire car. At that moment I wish Jason and I were in the same car, so he could feel and see how much excitement was felt at that very moment.

When we finally made it to our apartment I got out of the car and went straight to Jason and threw my arms around his neck.

“We made it,” was all I could say, all I could think. Jason’s incredibly long hours, my long days, our tight budget and determination to make it happen came true that day.

I went inside the office, met the sweet lady who had helped us secure a place, and got the keys for our apartment to finally get the cats out of the car. I instantly fell in love with the cute apartment, our stepping stone to bigger and better things.

What a rush, I made the drive from Florida to Tennessee …the longest drive by myself with a cat in the car.

Since arriving we have gone exploring, which included two additional states. In less than a week’s time we drove through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, wow!

One of the adventures we took was one Jason has been excited about for quite some time, two years to be precise.

Highway 421, “The Snake,” has 469 curves, three mountains and two valleys. Jason enjoyed every moment of that drive, while I became green during a few of the incredibly steep curves up and down the mountain.

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I have to say even though I was a little car sick, it was a rush to be so high up. It felt like you could reach up and touch the clouds. Definitely an experience I will always remember.

We also drove to Kentucky, a 90-minute drive, which took us through Virginia, to visit his cousin, which left us saying wow as we drove up the highway.

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Everything is so green, lush and beautiful looking in Virginia.

I am very glad I climbed on board and decided to make this move. I’m looking forward to see what else unfolds as we start to make a living in this beautiful place.

A number of goodbyes

The last few days have been wonderful and of course emotional, as we fill the moments of our days with friends and family before we move.

Last night was a perfect example of spending time with friends and family, as we all gathered at Jason’s parent’s house for our going away party.

It was an incredible night full of laughter and many unexpected presents, as well as a few surprise guests.

I’m grateful that Jen and Ed opened up their home, so we could all gather in one place. Everything was perfect, the food was good, the company was excellent and the thoughtfulness was heartwarming.

At one point of the night, Jason walked up to me and put his arm around me. The squeeze and look said it all … we really have some special friends. The farewell party really was a great way to bring some of those people who have impacted our lives together.

One of the highlights of the night was of course the time I got to spend with Dorene. What a truly great friendship, one that has only grown since I moved back to Fort Myers from Arizona. This beautiful individual has been so instrumental in helping me through the stresses of our move. Every and anytime I needed her she was a phone call, text or visit away. A friendship I will always be grateful for. The best part of our goodbye, was it wasn’t our last one. Dorene is coming by tomorrow to help me clean, wow, what an incredible friend.

As the night went on, more individuals stopped by and spent a few minutes or hours with us as they shared our excitement for the move. So many good wishes filled this already warm house, which only left me with so much joy.

Jason and I have so many wonderful friends, so many thoughtful friends who are truly excited for us. The gifts, which of course was a surprise, blew us away, again how thoughtful.

Last night left me feeling loved …

Today of course that feeling only intensified …

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Dave and Judy treated Jason and I to a day out on the water … fishing and enjoying one another’s company.

As Jason and I left the house, my emotions and nerves were sky high. As soon as we stepped on the boat and got comfortable, those feelings started to subside as Judy and I instantly began a conversation.

As the afternoon went on, I felt like a new person. All the worries about the move disappeared as the boat gently rocked back and forth from time to time, all while breathing in the fresh air. There is something about being outside that calms any and every nerve. What great therapy. It was extremely relaxing to be on the water with three very important people in my life.

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The best part was I caught the first fish and two out of the three that were caught. Although they were only catfish, it was still a great feeling for me!

After some time out on the water, we went back in and began our goodbyes. Although I knew this goodbye was going to be difficult, I didn’t anticipate the tears to flow as much as they did when I finally sat down in the car and reflected on everything that took place this afternoon. 

All the sweet words that Judy whispered as we hugged filled my eyes with tears, while warming my heart. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and feel a friendship grow. This woman has been my other go to person as we planned our move. So many wonderful conversations, so many incredible memories and so many helpful words as things became to overwhelming.

Dave and Judy, you gave us a wonderful gift, a day of relaxation before we pack everything into the U-Haul pod and head to Tennessee.

This past week has filled me with so many emotions, so many memories, so many sweet words that will stay with me forever.

The best part of this past week is the closeness I feel with my boyfriend. I love how we are growing together as we finalize everything to put this move into motion on Tuesday. I love this man with all of my heart … oh my goodness how do I love this man. I know this move is the right thing for us … 

Tomorrow is our last day in Fort Myers. One more day of goodbyes before our next adventure begins, a day of goodbyes that I know will leave me an emotional mess. 

One more day … the countdown is finally coming to an end.

A week away

I cannot believe tomorrow marks one week until we pack the cars and leave Fort Myers for our new home!

The goodbyes are in full swing …

Today while I was at work, residents of Pine Island started calling and stopping in to make sure they gave me a hug, as well as send me off with good wishes. I was so excited to see one particular resident stop in this afternoon, especially since she recently went through surgery. She said she couldn’t let me leave without saying goodbye. Again, another person who left an everlasting imprint on me.

I can only imagine what my remaining four days at the Pine Island Eagle will contain.

My editor, who puts my paper together every Monday, faxed me a copy, so I can look it over before it’s sent off to the printing press. Tomorrow’s paper includes an invitation for the entire community to come and say goodbye between specific hours at the deli down the boardwalk. Wednesday is going to be overwhelming, very overwhelming if a crowd makes an appearance.

With our days counting down, I am trying to make time for as many friends as possible before we depart.

Tonight I had dinner with a childhood friend, a friend who I spent every waking hour with once upon a time. Our dinner was such a fantastic way to kick off our last week in Florida. Erin showed so much excitement for our move and was so incredibly supportive and encouraging. When we left the restaurant I was on such a natural high from sharing our plans.

I didn’t think it was possible to become anymore excited about our move than I already am.

Crunch time is here, the packing begins and the phone calls to turn off services and begin services is in full swing … which reminds me I should probably stop writing and start filling boxes.

Wow next Tuesday Jason and I will be driving away from Fort Myers. Our adventure is almost ready to begin …