I Will Learn To Take Video In Landscape Mode. One Day.

On our first weekend here, we found a big Farmer’s Market to attend because that’s an activity we all enjoy. This one is right downtown and is a really nice mix of produce and souvenirs. I was pleased to see that we had any number of options for Aguas Fresca that day, and I’ve been pleased to see them available nearly everywhere since. It’s kind of like how I can get green chile added to just about anything anywhere. I love that. In fact, before the market we grabbed breakfast at The Kolache Factory, and mine was green chile brisket. Yum.

Albuquerque has an unexpectedly excellent botanical garden. I figured it would be nice enough, but I was really blown away by how much it actually had going on. We initially bought the combined ticket for the garden and the aquarium, but the garden took so long that we left the aquarium for another day. This was an easy decision because we decided to get a season pass for the whole BioPark (also includes the zoo), and they were nice enough to apply our daily fee to the season pass total, both of which are totally affordable anyway. Here is a little picture collage from our day at the garden. I found the over-sized garden for kids and the preserved (working) farm in the middle to be especially charming. Rosalind was also a big fan of the colorful and friendly koi.

NOW! Here is a video from the Bug-arium. The ant exhibit is one of the craziest, coolest, and most effective animal displays I’ve ever experienced. It’s up there with how the Prague Zoo just lets bats fly freely all over your head. The video doesn’t show the best part which is that the ants have an overhead branch that takes them throughout the whole exhibit, and you can just follow the busy little guys the whole way. You will definitely feel itchy while in the Bug-arium. It’s not an extensive place, but there is plenty to make you squirm and squeal. I doubt that many people go to the unassuming bathroom at the back of the Bug-arium, but let me give you the tip that if you do go to that bathroom, and wash your hands afterward because you aren’t gross, then you will get a fairly unwelcome (but kind of ingenious) surprise. I won’t ruin it for you, but just know that I left the bathroom going, “NOPE, that is UNNECESSARY!” But then I also took Rolo back in to show her what happens.

We highly recommend the botanical garden. There’s plenty of shade even for a hot ABQ day, but we happened to be fighting a cool drizzle most of our day.

The next cool thing we did with Rosalind in mind was take her to the single unlikeliest event I could think of happening during an Albuquerque June. An outdoor Ice Cream Festival. It actually serves as a fundraiser, and while there was a foam party (as evidenced below), and a few bouncy houses, the real draw is the fact that you can eat up to 21 different Blue Bell Ice Cream flavors. We didn’t really know how it functioned and bought ten tokens and an additional ten samples. It turns out that what we bought was TEN FULL ICE CREAM CONES on top of ten samples. We had to give most of our tokens away at the end. It was super fun before it was kind of nauseating and hot. I will definitely go back next year, but I will be smart and take more sunscreen, a hat, and probably even a parasol. We will also be smarter about how we purchase our tokens and tickets, but since it was a fundraiser, there is really no harm in realizing that anything more than 1 1/2 ice cream cones per person is way more than enough.

You can check out video of Rosalind throwing herself 100% into the foam party below.

She learned quickly that foam parties are far better in theory than in practice, and I think we might have headed off her need to try out a boozy foam party in the future. Good.

 

Postlet

I started a real post the other day, but I haven’t been able to get Sergio’s computer back home since then. I’m still stubbornly refusing to post real updates from my phone, so here we are again with a non-entry.

I amend my former statement about Albuquerque heat. There is a point of “too hot to enjoy outside” here as well. This last week has taught me that anything between 98 and 102 degrees starts to feel like you are baking in a dry oven. I still stand by the fact that if you can find shade, a breeze, or be outside before 8 am or after 6 pm, it’s not just manageable but actually really nice.

We’ve eaten outside WITH SERGIO more than once! And he enjoyed himself!

Anyway, Rolo has been in a morning art camp at the Albuquerque museum all this week. I have spent most of my time dropping people off and picking them up again throughout the day. She has very much enjoyed her time in this camp. She has pulled me out of my comfort zone by making instant friends and requiring me to engage with their parents and make play date plans. Dear Future Rosalind, when you one day question my love for you because I’ve done something awful like ask you to clean your bathroom, always remember that I talked to other humans just for you and against my will. Love, Your Introvert Mom

The Least Detailed Catch Up Ever

I didn’t intentionally lie to you guys the other day when I said that Sergio would bring me his computer and I would try for a longer post. Sergio did bring me his computer, but it turns out that I don’t know any passwords to anything in my life because my old work computer stored everything for me. I ended up locking myself out of WordPress for a short time, but it was a long enough time that I was too lazy to go back in and try again that night.

So here we are now.

Well, let’s see. What all has happened? Rolo and I left Fairbanks. It was a bittersweet goodbye. Alaska was very good to us and the people we knew there will be missed. I may or may not have shed a few sloppy tears in the car after we left Rolo’s daycare for the last time. On the other hand, we were happy to be on our way to see Sergio, Eliot, and the extended family that we had not seen for a WHOLE YEAR.

First things first – I reunited with this little fella. I couldn’t stop taking his picture. I’ve been on a crusade to get his weight up since he is so darn bony, and I think I finally landed on the magic ingredient. Soft-boiled eggs. It softens up his hard food just enough and masks the awful smelling glucosamine tablets that he hates. He is so happy and spry again. If eggs are bad for him, keep it to yourself. He’s eating and happy.

Later in the week, Sergio flew into town for a special event. My little baby niece, whom I swear was just a baby yesterday, graduated high school and later jetted off to Costa Rica for a month long language immersion program. Little turd grew up on us. Otherwise we had a nice visit with family in which I managed three trips to white cheese dip. These pictures are her at my graduation, and then us at hers.

Sergio, Rolo, and I then road-tripped it to Albuquerque together over the course of a couple of days. As much as I wanted to see everyone, it was also so nice to finally have the four of us back together as a unit again. We have since enjoyed a few things specific to Albuquerque (post of their own coming later), and we’ve also enjoyed some things that are simply available in slightly more cosmopolitan towns. You know, Target, Homegoods, Jimmy Johns, Whole Foods. I’m not proud, but I am pretty happy.

I’ll be back when I am less sick (I know! Again! What the heck!) to talk about Albuquerque as a place to live. I just want to know if all of you out there know that there are places you can live that are warm without being damp? Because I feel like you don’t know? Because if you knew, you wouldn’t be living where you are? I seriously cannot seem to soak up enough warmth and vitamin D. I’m not dumb enough to sit in the strong sun with my complexion, but I am outside ALL. THE. TIME. It’s so nice.

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A Little Displaced

I am currently sitting in my stripped classroom at a desk that is not my desk (I had a legit wooden desk). Teachers are an interesting breed of people that can be very sad that you are leaving, and lament that fact with you as you help them carry all of your good materials to their classrooms. We’re vultures. I feel okay saying that about my coworkers because it’s also true of me.

I am sitting here because I also have no house to be in anymore. The movers came on Friday morning, and after two days of cleaning miles of white tiles, the landlords came for the final walkthrough on Sunday. We’ve been in a hotel since Friday night and I even checked out of that this morning.

Frankly, I can sit here in the comfort of my empty classroom and relish this last bit of time with my computer, or I can drive around Fairbanks aimlessly until 3:30 when it is time to be at the airport. I choose here.

I’m pretty tired, but I’m very amped to be on my way this evening. It feels like the longest moving process of my life. I’m not saying I’m dying to leave Alaska. In fact, there is a post about how great Alaska has been for us brewing in my brain as we speak. I just think dwelling on that kind of content might not be the best idea today. It’s just that Sergio and Eliot have been living away from us since March, and I am SO done with that.

I WILL say that it seems like we did a decent job with the moving process. It felt overly tedious at times, but I never felt overwhelmed in this last week. I definitely worried that I would procrastinate myself into a corner and end up either in tears or being a mean mom, but none of that happened. Look at me, growing as a human.

The only thing left on my to do list is the car. I need to have it cleaned today. This task is made more difficult by the fact that the back is loaded down with winter tires and the rest of the seats are covered in our luggage. This was a real oversight on my part. My brain knew we needed to have the car washed but entirely missed the whole “empty the inside, vacuum, wipe down stuff” part of the equation. Luckily, it’s not very messy at all. It’s mostly the vacuuming that has me a little troubled.

Sorry if I seem a little scattered. I am basically just a walking list of chores right now. I just chant items off in my head all day long and have been for at least three weeks. I don’t seem to have mental room for the small stuff right now, like coherent sentences or following the correct directions to get to places I go every single day. I know I’ll be relieved once I pass the car off to our buyer friends and pass over my gigantic luggage to be checked.

I think I’ll take a deep breath then…and follow it with a cocktail of some kind.

Oh, hey! This moose came by on Saturday while we were cleaning the house. What a nice little gift.

Happy Mother’s Day

Rosalind was insistent that we celebrate Mother’s Day as much as we could despite all the reasons that is difficult to do this year. Our house is a complete disaster, Sergio is in New Mexico, I didn’t want her to get me any gift that I had to move, and we don’t have enough dishes or groceries left for her to cook me much of anything.

I finally gave in and told her we could attempt to make a cake with what items we had left around. We accomplished that, and she really did the majority of this herself despite the fact that all we had to stir with was a fork!

She also got very secretive yesterday making me something. It turned out that she made me hair ties (and bracelets) by cutting up the tops of her old socks! So clever. They really work!

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Instead of breakfast in bed, I spent this morning before Rolo came home from a sleepover driving around our small town looking for the transfer site for the dump. My map continually took me directly to the Refinery Lounge and Bar. The Refinery had a city sign nearby that stated there was a public dumpster there. And, indeed, there was a normal dumpster in the parking lot. My fifth time through the parking lot, I finally decided that this could not be right. My understanding of transfer sites is that they are made up of MANY dumpsters. I called. I was about a half mile from the right place. It was, in fact, about 30 dumpsters or so. I successfully got rid of my old truck tires and bulky pillows.

So nothing says Mother’s Day like a trip to the dump! I have actually accomplished a lot this weekend for the move (packed additional boxes and suitcases, donated more stuff, paid to have someone else switch my way-overdue-to-be-changed winter tires over to summer tires, etc.). The movers come on Friday morning. It’s starting to happen, you guys!

Sergio and Rolo took good care of me today despite all the barriers in our way. I had a very nice day. I hope everyone else also got a special trip to the dumpster playground, or the Walmart tire center, or to see the Value Village donation man for their special day! Or, you know, whatever floats your boat. Happy Mother’s Day to our moms, other moms, and all mom-like people.

 

Milestone

Something exciting happened for Rolo yesterday

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Obligatory Before and After.

She is as excited as she looks. We went straight to the store after school yesterday and bought Hi-Chew, Saltwater taffy, Fruit by the Foot, Skittles, Sour Patch Kids, and Jolly Ranchers. Our Sticky Candy Party was usurped when the neighbor invited Rosalind out to McDonald’s and the park with her family, but we’ve still had a few celebratory pieces of candy snuck in here and there.

Related to nothing: Rolo is tall. Also, I had no idea this skate park even existed until her scout troop went to clean it up. I’m learning so much about my town right before I leave it.

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Brain Vomit

I know that it is time for a post, but my mind seems too chaotic to settle down to any one story or topic. My mind feels like the ball in a pinball machine. It can’t settle in one spot before it pings in twenty different directions. It’s weird because I also feel very dull. It’s a place my brain goes from time to time that feels pretty much just like when an awkward silence falls over the table on a date. The more I scramble for a topic, the duller my brain feels.

Despite how the previous paragraph sounds, I feel totally fine. A little stressed that I am not getting everything done that I should be but really quite okay overall. Just like, ugghhhh, come on 16 days from now. I think I might even be getting everything done that I am supposed to? I keep trying to pack boxes only to realize that I can’t pack anything else right now. I took down as much of my classroom as I can at this point and brought stuff home. I donated an entire carload of stuff last weekend and can’t donate again until I’m done using stuff two weekends from now. I’ve thrown out trash every Friday for weeks so that I can avoid going to the dump. I just…want to be done…and I can’t quite be done just yet.

Everyday my students and I stare at each other knowing that we have to keep plugging forward but silently acknowledging that none of us actually want to be doing anything at this point. It’s a real question of who wants to do their thing less. Do they want to work less, or do I want to grade less? Who will crack first? Time will tell. Just kidding, it’s them. They cracked about four weeks ago.

Anyway, here are the highlights presented in brain-pinging fashion:

Sergio is settled in Albuquerque and seems very pleased with everything so far. Follow his Instagram if you would like to see the few pictures he has shared so far.

Rosalind had her spring concert at school and did not knock the kid beside her out cold despite some close calls.

It snowed hardcore on May 1st causing me to take no less than five videos of it and whine to everyone I could think of.

The job of moving has been made easier by Rolo’s little friend next door. He has laid claim to nearly everything we didn’t sell or don’t plan to take. Some of it is a great deal and some of it is junk. I’m guessing his parents hate me by now.

Rosalind has hit the horror inducing age of talking on the telephone. Unfortunately for her, she was born with all of my phone awkwardness and not one tiny stitch of my desire to avoid the phone at all costs. You’ve never eavesdropped on anything as awkward as a kid that wants to be on a phone with friends so badly and yet can’t open her mouth to say one natural sentence. I nearly hyperventilate in the next room every time a friend calls.

Even though we are many states apart, our family all managed to watch Infinity War last weekend so that we could discuss it freely without spoiling anything for each other. Pretty sure Sergio and I talked about the movie for a good two hours afterward. Does that make us weird? I don’t know.

I saw this portion of a poem by John Donne the other day, and it is just so damn fitting for this time of year.

“Busy old fool, unruly sun,

Why dost thou thus,

Through windows, and through curtains call on us?”

These pictures are from about 9 pm. Can’t imagine why my sleep schedule is off right now.

The Middle Places

I want to pack up everything in the house, but I still have to eat and clean and wear clothes and make coffee for now.

I want to break down my classroom, but the kids get sad when rooms are sad too soon before the end of the year.

I want to stop making new lessons and hounding the students, but the coasting time is at least one more week away.

I want to quit going to meetings and helping plan for next year, but that just isn’t allowed.

I want to get interviews for jobs in Abq, but I probably won’t until my license is approved.

I want to let the movers come early so that I can deep clean the house and then donate or dump anything leftover, but there are still three weeks and three days left to live like a normal person.

I want to either grocery shop like normal and make complete meals, or stop cooking entirely and eat cereal and takeout everyday, but instead we should eat up the random assortment of food in the cabinet.

Rolo and I both want to break out the Spring shoes and clothes, but the ground is taking it’s sweet time to fully cooperate.

 

 

 

Clearing House

Poor Sergio had to do so much work when he came back to visit. We made a huge dent in the amount of stuff we need to get done in the next three weeks. We leased an apartment in Abq, scheduled our utility start dates, accomplished an amount of paperwork on both of our professional licensures that could make your head spin, packed several boxes to the point of taping and labeling, bought additional boxes that we are currently filling up as we can stop using items, got the oil changed in the car, and perhaps most importantly, we had a garage sale!

I’ve only had three garage sales in my life and the results are always mixed. A lot of the things I thought I knew about garage sales from my past experiences proved untrue here. In the past, people were much likelier to buy my weird junk than my actual items of value. The first yard sale I was ever involved with was when I was ten years old and a woman bought a box of broken trophies. Why? What would you do with those?

However, here in Fairbanks we have three nearby military bases. This means there is a constant stream of people moving in and out. Garage sales are a huge part of the way people get settled while they wait on their stuff, and most people that leave Alaska tend to leave a lot behind. It’s a pristine model of supply and demand.

I did have to work hard to stay focused on my goal though. Remember, when you are having a moving sale, the goal is to rid yourself of stuff. It is NOT to make a profit! It is NOT to get out of your quality items the value that they are actually worth. It is just to watch your stuff walk conveniently away from your home. It’s hard to get into that frame of mind at first, but I settled in pretty fast. When someone asked me what I was charging for x, I would think of what I wanted to say, then I would go down a level of price. If I thought $15, I would say $10. In reality, if I had taken time online and waited, I could have gotten $25, but that’s not convenient, ya know?

Speaking of things I thought I knew about yard sales being wrong, our hottest item turned out to be the twin bed platform frame and mattress. The frame was not a surprise, but the mattress floored me. First of all, it squicks me out to buy a used mattress from strangers. Second of all, it was a thin Wal-Mart mattress. I didn’t know how to turn off the Facebook Marketplace comments and so had to delete my Facebook for two days to avoid the total onslaught of people wanting the bed. It was crazy.

The biggest inconvenience of the sale turned out to be that people did not bother reading the post that clearly stated a date and time and physical location. I’m not online selling! Stop messaging me! Just show up! Two and three hours after the sale was over (Craigslist and Facebook posts were deleted, and signs were down) people were still pulling up and seeing the closed garage and then KNOCKING ON OUR DOOR! Nope.

Except not nope because at first we just reopened the garage. We finally realized we could just say that we were sold out without seeming like we were being jerks.

Anyway, I am now a few decent donations to a thrift store away from being done with all of our excess items and $360 wealthier than I was on Friday night. I can live with that.

Later Saturday afternoon we went to Hoodoo Brewing to have a couple of beers outside on the patio with Sergio’s friends, and then we had wood fired pizza at East Ramp Pizza. It is located right off of the runway of our airport for the puddle-jumper sized airplanes. It was a great Fairbanks day and a much better send-off for Sergio than we managed the last time.

Rosalind slept until 10 am this morning which is unheard of for our little Early Bird, and I definitely feel her. It was a busy ten day visit.

T-minus 29 days until we are on our way!