Monday, March 05, 2007

Things have started to come together.

I've rounded up the help that I'm going to need for the sale, have spoken to my sister about yet another trip to LA to look for apartments and have talked to my dad about his offer to drive with me to Los Angeles. That's right. Anne and dad doin' a road trip. Oh, and let's not forget, the two cats. I can't wait to see how dad deals with the cats, but it should be okay. On the last trip, at times I'd forget they were even in the car, they were so quiet. Both of them have extra big carriers and all the necessities in them. The litter box goes in the car, which worked perfectly last time as well. I let the doors remain unlatched in the cages so that the cats can exit if needed. Mostly they just stay inside and sleep, except for when Scout sits on top of hers and peers at the road ahead. The first few miles are touch and go with the cats, then they settle in and all is well.

Just as I was typing, the owners of the business that I'm temping for saw me in here (Starbucks) and came in to say hello to me. How sweet was that? It's run by a husband and wife team and they have a great gig going, organizing events for Microsoft. I've enjoyed the work and they've been very nice to me. I'm on for another week which is perfect. Like I said, one of the smartest things that I ever did was walk into Randstad. I didn't know what to expect, but the clients that they've sent me to have been great. It's done wonders on keeping me moving and on track for this move. Now, I can also temp for them once I get to Los Angeles while I'm looking for that full-time job.

The LA trip that I'm taking by plane will be bundled into a trip to Atlanta for my sister's wedding reception. I'm going one more time to scope out apartments before the move. That was my little stroke of genius. With buddy passes, it doesn't have to be a two leg back and forth trip. You can keep on traveling, and that's what I plan to do. Yes, there are moments where I think I'm absolutely insane for doing this and ask myself why. I know why, and I'm moving forward, but I still don't believe it yet. Even when I look at the Great Wall of Boxes in my room, or at my sale items piled and organized. Even when I take pictures of the items I'm selling to post on Craigslist, I don't believe I'm moving. That's how I survive it, I guess.

Then, in the middle of it... a wonderful unexpected happened. In an incredible gesture of generosity, Jack paid for fixing up my car. This isn't a small thing, either. Apparently, as the Goodyear mechanic put it, "everything" needed to be done on it. Our family has been going to this Goodyear for years, so they aren't putting one over on us. I knew the car was in need of work, but didn't know how much work. Jack and I went on Friday morning to drop it off, and I told the mechanic of my upcoming cross country trip and the need for reliable wheels that won't break down in the desert. Then, I let the men talk it out. I knew on the surface what needed to be looked at, but was sick and couldn't really articulate. Jack told me that I looked "unwell" when I came to his car in the morning. He was right. I was in the middle of a nasty cold, no doubt brought on by the stress of the upcoming move and sale. I'm still suffering the symptoms, which includes a hoarse voice that seems to be a sultry attraction to the men. I'm not a fan of it, myself. Update today, Sunday, I woke up and had no voice. None. Now that the day has gone on, it's a barely audible scratchy squeak.

As for the car, it needs $3K worth of work. Yeah. Like I said, no small gesture on Jack's part. I'm still floored, numb, in shock. But that's Jack. No strings attached, no guilt trip. No big discussion before it, just a gift to make my journey easier. One incredible gift. And my goodness, it's going to give for years. The car has more than 100K miles on it, and well...had just reached that point. I'd gotten the tweaks and oil changes done through the years, and a year ago put about $1200 in it to get it to pass inspection. Now, it's apparently like new and I can guarantee going to last 100K more. I can't wait to drive it and hear it purr. I just love that car. Silly to be sentimental about a car, but I am. This will be its second trip across the country. The first time, I got it in tip top shape in California. Now, it's coming home.

My neighbor came over today and bought some of my items. She bought my curtains, a floor lamp, and a beautiful side table from Bombay Company. I'm so happy to see my things going to good people. This woman works as a night editor for the Baltimore Sun and is not only attractive, but friendly and smart as well. Her dad was in the Air Force and she's lived all over the world. It shows in the worldly perspective and calmness she projects. She brought coffee to my apartment after several email exchanges and we chatted. Scout was all ready for a new person to pet her, while Atticus took a while before he approached her for some good old head scratching. I love learning about the souls who share the world with me. Hearing about their paths and what brought them to where they are now. Many times, it's when you're leaving that you get to know those that live the closest to you. It creates an openness in all parties. I'm going to try to remember this feeling of openness for the times that I'm not leaving. It feels much better than being shut off which can become habitual in the day-to-day "get to work, go home, pay bills, do errands, write, sleep" mode. Things like sales give people a reason to contact you. I'm glad I met her before I left. Funny enough, people from "The Wire" has been at her offices a lot due to the upcoming fifth season, which has to do with the newspaper and a media sensation. What that sensation is, I have no idea.

Saturday morning, I received a great massage from Vladimir. I've been to Vladimir several times and he works miracles with my shoulders. This was part of my gift from yep, Jack, that he gave to me and my mom.

Last night, our neighborhood erupted in sirens and lights, speeding cars and squealing brakes. It was around 11:30 PM, and I grabbed my mace and ventured out to see what was going on. When I stepped outside my building, I saw a mass of firetrucks and ambulances one block down on my street. I walked closer and saw a giant plume of smoke, darker than the night sky billowing from a rowhouse on the corner.

Oh shit.

The firemen had already hoisted their ladders and were spraying the building with water. I thought of all those men, rousted from their bunks or from in front of the television at the firehouse and springing into action. How lucky are we that there are people who risk their own safety to do jobs like this. A cluster of us neighbors gathered on the corner to watch the scene and heard glass breaking as the firemen punched it out to get to the flames. Smoke belched out from the third and second story windows. In the middle of it, a man carried a beautiful long-haired cat, its tail curled around his arm, down the sidewalk away from the fire. It was heartbreaking. I didn't know if the two were from the building on fire or from a neighboring rowhouse, which no doubt also suffered damage. I met a few neighbors, one who walked me home after everything was under control. A few firemen had suffered injuries and were in the ambulance in front of me, but it appeared that the residents had all gotten out.

Today behind the wheel of my mom's SUV, I drove by on my way to the coffee shop and saw some students sifting through the remains that they'd carried out to the lawn next door. They wore shirts tied around their faces, and I pulled over and spoke to a girl. I told her I'd seen the fire last night and asked her if it was her house. She told me it was her boyfriend's house, and I asked her if everyone made it out okay. She said they did, even the cats. I told her I was really glad to hear that and how sorry I was that this happened to them. She thanked me, I wished her luck with getting everything back on track, and drove off. I really feel for them. Poor things. There can't be much that survived that fire. Thankfully, all the living things did.

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