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Apr 4, 2012

The Writing On The Wall

When I met Hubby, I fell in lust immediately. I then found out his friend was not gay (maybe an hour later), so I pursued Hubby. Quite successfully, I might add. We've now been together for over 9 years, and the journey we've taken has been amazing. At least once a visit, either Hubby or myself will make an announcement that will shock my family. Most often, the first response is 'why?'. Part of the problem is that I just don't know myself. Maybe I'm too close. Or maybe I just knew what I was getting into from the beginning.

We'd only been dating a week or so when we had our fist spat. I can't remember what it was, but I'm sure it was one of those little things that barely warrants an eye roll out of me these days. But Hubby got in broken down jeep that he was terrified to drive, and went to Walmart to buy me a stuffed panda bear that made sheep noises when you tilted it. I'll admit, it was cute, and we do still have it somewhere. But he never was able to explain why he, as a 19 year old, bought me, also 19, a stuffed baby panda bear. It's just the way he works.

Imagine my surprise a few months later, when walking around the Drillfield, he told me 'I think I want a motorcycle one day'. He's barely coordinated enough to walk and talk at the same time. And he won't drive my car because he's scared of the manual transmission. He knows how to drive, and does it very well. But he won't. When a coworker of his in Pennsylvania got a motorcycle (I guess 3-4 years ago now), that's all Hubby could talk about for weeks. 'P is saving this much on gas, and this much on car insurance' and 'if I had a motorcycle like P, I could....' To be fair, I always tuned those out, because he wasn't actually going to buy a motorcycle.

Then, another friend, A, told him that he should get a Vespa. That was maybe two years ago. He brought it up off and on until we discovered the move to Atlanta was happening. Then gradually became more 'on' than 'off'. Yesterday we got our motorcycle permits. In the next few weeks, I'm selling my darling Subaru Forrester, and taking on Hubby's Toyota Matrix just so that my darling can have the scooter that he's always wanted. Although he claims he's only wanted since January when he started actually going into the office at his new job.

My mom took the announcement that we were getting a scooter surprisingly well. Probably because of the announcement I'd made the last time I'd talked to them. My dad actually seemed excited about it, and was full of advice, but also gave a long version of the 'Don't Get Hurt' speech.

Anyone who knows us knows that Hubby is a hobbyist. He bakes all of our own bread and has maintained a sour dough culture now for several years. He decorates cakes. He crochets afghans. He gardens. And he is meticulous. For every single hobby that he has or wants, he has at least 3 google documents dedicated to that hobby. That I know of. And I know there are plenty that he won't share with me.

I have at least one Google Doc that contains only the animals that Hubby wants to keep as pets that are only found in zoos and circus acts. Like Elephants. And Tigers. As Pets. And he's closing in on 30. So my reaction shortly after we moved to Atlanta and our neighbors mentioned that they had chickens? 'Shit'. That's right, we're now raising chickens.

Again, I'm not surprised this happened. Several years ago, we were joking around with friends about preparations needed to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse, when someone pointed out that we would be incapable of feeding ourselves if society crumbled, even if the zombies never made it to Central PA. If the grocery stores failed, we don't grow enough produce to support ourselves. Someone mentioned that chickens could easily be raised on a small plot of land. Hubby's eyes gleamed with excitement, and I knew right then that we would one day have chickens.

He'd managed to do a good job and keep it mostly hidden. He probably didn't even think we COULD keep chickens. Especially since we live in Atlanta. Not near. In. (but we've been over that). Turns out, we can have chickens if we live in Atlanta, but not if we live in unincorporated Dekalb County. Also, we're 'limited' to 25 chickens. We wanted four.

They are adorable, and will keep us overflowing with eggs in about 20 weeks. Until then, they get to use our guest room for the next 6-8 weeks (or possibly 4 if the weather holds out...that's when they should be fully feathered).

Jan 19, 2012

Internet Piracy is Bad. Internet Censorship is Worse

I know I'm a horrible person for not posting in forever.  I have a billion and a half excuses, but you won't believe them anyways.  The truth is I've been feeling very blah and uninspired.  There were a few times I started writing posts, but they were terrible, so I never posted them.  I even deleted them forever, so even if it was just my depression, it's too late now.  Who does depression hurt? You, bitches!

In reality I'm doing better-ish than I have been.  I'm currently off my meds, so my moods change violently by the minute.  But it's a dry-crazy.

So what have I been up to? Applying to every job conceivable and not getting any responses.  I had a few teaching interviews but they went nowhere.  I've been working as a tutor, but my only student moved to a school that didn't qualify for my services....and I still haven't been paid and I started in October.  Just before Christmas I was offered a job training volunteers for the Democratic Party of Georgia. However, it turns out that it was a trial to see how I would do doing door-to-door fundraising.  They didn't have me come back after the trial day.  Kinda depressing to be told that you can't even knock on doors and beg for money correctly.

I have had a few teaching interviews the last few weeks so *fingers crossed*.

What have I been doing in my free time, you ask? You stupid, stupid fool.  Yes, I am aware that insulting your readers is probably not the best idea, but you asked for it.  I cross-stitched for the first few months we were here...and I made REALLY good progress on that crazy project I shared.  I'm about 25% done if I remember right.  But then Hubby went and did something completely irrational.  He made me take a week off.  I haven't touched it since. I did an obscene amount of reading for the next month or two. Then something very strange happened.  I started writing.

Not this weird free-flow-where-I-try-to-be-witty-but-just-look-like-a-giant-ass-hat that I do here.  I mean like honest-to-God writing.  And it's been going really well.  Like I've written about 300 pages since November.  And I've put a lot of it online.  I'm very proud of it.  No, I'm not sharing it with everyone, but that's for a different reason.  If you're interested, contact me, and I'll think about it.  Until then, leave me alone!  It's actually been great because I've been talking with other writers from around the globe.  There's a long shot that you may have heard of a few of them, but they are quite good and it's been a very enjoyable way to pass the unemployment.

Which actually brings me around to what I wanted to write about today.  Internet piracy.  Stealing other people's work.  I've been told I should care more about it between my blog and my stories, and I do care.  Just not enough. I have spent countless hours writing and the last thing I want is for someone to steal my work and take credit for it.  It's not like I'm making any money off of it, and I'd be livid if someone else did.  I may some day, but that's another story. 

However bad piracy is, though, censorship is far worse.  SOPA and PIPA threaten the very existence of the internet as we know it. Long before Hubby has been around, the internet has always been the 'other woman' in my life, and she always will be. The internet is my passion and my creative outlet. It's always there for me and never once has it passed down judgment upon me.

It's the way I cope with the depression and mental issues that have plagued me most of my life, and it's the outlet I've found to express the creativity that I didn't even realize was buried within me.

Nov 11, 2011


Just to warn you, I'm a little punch drunk after spending 13 hours over the past two days driving.

So I missed the big Virginia Tech game in Atlanta that I've been excited about since before we even found out that we were definitely moving there.  I did it to come up to my HS reunion.  It's actually a big deal for me to pass, but I know I'll get to see VT/Bama AND VT/GT in two years, so I can deal.  And I got to visit Blacksburg, which was fucking badass seeing people, none of which I've seen in like 4 years.  Which totally made it worth it.

So I spent 13 hours in the car, with a layover in Blacksburg yesterday.  Which meant I belted out a LOT of show tunes (stop judging me) and stuck in my mind.  Anyone who knows me well, then you should be afraid.  Very, very, very afraid.

It was actually not that bad.  I came to some revelations.

First off, I decided that next football season, I want the two USC's to play each other in a bowl game, and one blows out the other.  Because I want to see either of the following headlines: "Cocks stuff the Trojans", or "Trojans smother the Cocks".  Not all my thoughts can be winners, but I felt like sharing regardless.

I look back on high school, and don't have many bad memories unless I start thinking deeply.  I remember feeling alone and virtually friendless.  Now, based on photos and other forgotten memories that have resurfaced, I've realized that it wasn't actually the case.  I just spent a lot of time dealing with my own issues that I was relatively withdrawn to try to hide stuff I hadn't even had a chance to process myself.

I think it was somewhere in either 10th or 11th grade, I finally came to terms with the fact that I was attracted to men.  I refused to give up on the idea of liking women, and I kept trying put my feelings aside.  I'd pretty much fully come to terms with it when I started dating DG.  It just felt right, and the fact that we were never able to actually spend time together probably helped keep the relationship for more than a few days (sorry, DG, you know I still love you!)

My ability to deal with issues in my life became a lot better in college, when I was pledging my fraternity.  Don't sweat the small shit, and it's all small shit.  It's hard to remember that all the crap going on in your life is all 'small shit', but it really is.  And when you are actually able to put everything in perpsective, it's much easier to deal with.

I also realized that maybe I'd have had an easier time dealing with my own issues if there had been more stuff in pop culture about unconditional acceptance.  The "It Gets Better" campaign, the Trevor Project, in addition to a slew of big singles by popstars.  To be fair, TLC put out "Unpretty" in 1999, but I don't remember it as strongly as even Christina Agulera's "Beautiful", let alone Lady Gaga's "Born this Way" and Pink's "Fuckin' Perfect", both of which get crazy amounts of play on the radio.

Anyways, I'm actually kinda distracted while simultaneously realizing that maybe I should have my editor around when I decide I have a brilliant thought after 13 hours of driving.  Also,...actually, I don't think I had an also.  Maybe I did, but I'm done now.

Also, I'm really looking forward to the weekend, even if Hubby isn't by my side, so that I have some arm candy.  He's too busy proving how crazy smart and awesome he is.  And you may now call him Dr. Hubby.

Sep 27, 2011

Small Town Living in the Big City

Don't ask why I'm making a double post today (in fact, I literally just made the announcement on social media).  And for the record, I almost never actually go to facebook anymore.  I rely on the emails that get sent that 'so-and-so commented on your recent post' or ;you have a new message from so-and-so'.  These lame 'you have notification messages waiting for you' emails just don't do it for me.

Anyways, Atlanta is obviously a large city.  It has a population of about 484,000 people.  And then there is Druid Hills, Decatur (and North Decatur), and Scottdale, all within the Perimeter (the beltway to those from DC).  In fact, Atlanta Metro is about the same population as the DC Metro area.

However, it doesn't feel like we live in a large city.  In fact, it feels very similar to Central PA.  If you ignore the sounds of the police sirens and the traffic on I-20 (about 1/4 of a mile south of our house).  In fact, our neighborhood (Edgewood) has a population of only 5,000 people, so it's about the size of Bellefonte.  However, Edgewood is about 3/4 of a mile both North/South and East/West, ranging from I-20 to the MARTA line, and from Moreland Ave to our street...which seems a very strange and arbitrary boundary.

Like all major cities, Atlanta has interesting road quirks.  The most annoying one for finding your way through Downtown and Midtown is the enigma that is 'Peachtree St'.  There are 71 roads in Atlanta that use some variation of it.  In fact, There is a place where Peachtree Ave intersects E Peachtree St, which is two blocks off of Peachtree st.  Then there's the arbitrary road name changes.  When I drive to Decatur (which has been happening a lot in my job hunt, I take Howard Ave to College Ave.  There is no distinction, there's just a forced turn where Howard would have otherwise ran into the railroad tracks and MARTA line. At that same point, the road running parallel on the other side of the tracks becomes Howard Ave.  Not at an intersection, mind you.

When we were looking at houses, we looked at one on Boulevard SE.  That was the entire road name.  It was actually on a side-ramp, but that's not the point.  It was the best fit for what we wanted, other than the fact we couldn't quite figure out how we were supposed to get there, and there was a single-wide driveway to share with 2 other units.

Where Hosea L Williams Dr intersects Moreland Dr, it becomes Boulevard Dr.  Even though Boulevard Dr ends one block later.  When we first moved here, we figured that Hosea had to be a fairy major road (this was well before any exploration had been done).  Our rationale was that Atlanta is divided into quadrants, and we live in Southeast.  Houses on our road on the other side of Hosea are in NE.  Considering that Atlanta is already effectively divided into quadrants by I-20 and I-75/85, the interstates would make a more obvious selection, as would Memorial Dr, which is one block south of us, and runs the whole way through the city.

Interstate driving in the city is...interesting.  I've spent plenty of time driving in cities - I took my road test on I-66 and the Beltway.  During rush hour. I nearly killed us all, but I still got my license.  The Downtown Connector (where I-85 and I-75 combine) ranges from 8 to 12 lanes during the duration.  The official speed limits in some areas area as low as 40 mph.  The actual speed limits (regardless of time of day it seems):
  • Right Most Lane: 0mph - this is a fun lane that is exit only, but reappears as the onramp.  It never moves because people are trying to get on or off the highway.
  • 2nd Right Lane: 25mph
  • 3rd Right Lane: 35 mph
  • Middle Lane: 40 mph
  • 2nd Left Lane: 75 mph
  • Left Lane: 95+mph
  • HOV Lane: 35mph - This is the most amusing to me.  There are no HOV exits, and you can only enter and exit the lane at certain points.  At which time, you have to book it across several lanes of traffic to make the exit 1/4 mile away.
However, the most interesting experience I've had on the roadway was not even on the interstate, but it was an expressway.  I saw a few sets of flashing lights ahead, so both I and the pickup in front of me began to slow down.  Then sirens came on behind me, and I relized I was about to be rear-ended by another cop.  Two more police cars sped down the left and right most lanes (I was going 75, so they must have been going over 90.  Then I noticed 3 cars going roughly the same speed into traffic in the right most lane.  Then I passed it.  And nearly wet my pants.

The cop speeding down the left lane veered sharply in front of the pickup in front of me, causing him to almost run off the road, with me close behind.  As we both managed to get around the car, I noticed the reason for the disruption.  A single car was surrounded by cops, guns drawn, two right up against the front windshield.  I have no idea what it was, but I think I'll be letting off the accelerator more often.  Just in case.

It Takes All Types

I'd apologize for not posting in forever, but that's nothing new.  Since moving to Atlanta, I've been hit with several waves of depression.  I'm still unemployed, despite the number of resumes and applications I've distributed.  I've even started applying to restaurants and retail positions, but with two college degrees, I'm so vastly overqualified that they're not interested.  And most restaurants in the area are looking for people with 3-5 years experience as a waiter.

It's not that gloomy, as I did just get hired as a tutor, but it'll probably only be for about 5 hours a week.

So I've spent the last three months cross-stitching, surfing the web, and watching Netflix.  Things have been going well for Hubby, but without any income on my end to offset the increase in the cost of living, our living situation can best be described as 'stressed'.  Largely because we can't afford to go out, and there are few excuses for either of us to ever leave the house.

Which actually segues quite nicely (for once) into today's topic.  Typically, I go out and do the grocery shopping, but a few times Hubby has taken the lead.  And every time, he comes home with the same comment: "I saw sooo many gay people at the store".  Which always surprises me.  Not because there aren't gay people.  We live about 2 miles east of downtown Atlanta, and about 2 miles west of Decatur.  Decatur is the 6th gayest city in the country based on census data, Druid Hills (about 2 miles north of us) is the 14th, Scottdale (about 4 miles east) is 21st, North Decatur is 24th, and Atlanta itself is 31st.  By comparison, Miami Beach, a veritable gay mecca, is 33rd.  The compilation I was using ignored any city less than 5,000 people, so Provincetown, Massachusetts - probably the gayest city in America - is not counted.

It's not that he says it that surprises me, but the way.  I keep trying to tell him that they can't make him gay, but he just brushes it off.  (I should stipulate that Hubby doesn't have a problem with gay people, just to make that clear, although the fact that he's married to a man might also make the same point).

I was thinking about that today, as I was approached by a bum outside of a gas station.  So far, I've only encountered two types of bums: the nice kind and the annoying kind.

The nice kind come up to you and just engage in light conversation.  They don't ask for money, although they might ask for a cigarette or for you to pour some soda in their drink container.  They'll mention that they haven't eaten in x number of days, but then move right along.  I actually enjoy the 2 minute conversations, and have even given a few a dollar or so.

Then you get the other kind.  At least around us, they don't ask for money explicitly.  In fact, they typically want you to go in to a store and buy something for me.  One asked me to go across the street and buy diapers for her baby because she didn't have the money to take the bus to the mall.  I didn't see the connection, nor did I buy her diapers.  She was hanging out in front of a gas station in 102° weather, so I did buy her a Gatorade.  Really it was just to get her to shut up and find someone else.

Overall, we are loving the diversity and opportunities that living in a major city provides us, just wish that we could take advantage of these opportunities.  However, Gay Pride is coming up in a few weeks, and Piedmont Park will be even more overrun with those of the homosexual persuasion than usual.  I'm looking forward to it.  And it's free.

Aug 6, 2011

Water, Water Everywhere

Ok....So I've been slacking off.  A lot. I was originally planning on posting once we got internet access from Comcast set up on the day after we moved down.  Of course the guy that showed up at 7am was an incompetent imbecile and we had to wait three more days for a new guy to hook us up.  When he had to call something in to finish the set up he was on hold.  For an hour.  And he's the Comcast rep.  That's seriously messed up.  Anyways, then I was going to post after a week.  Then 10 days.  Then 2 weeks.  Then 3 weeks.  Anyways, not you get an update.  Not a great update, but I'm a little rusty.  So sue me*

So far Atlanta has been incredible!!!  Hubby has been loving the severe thunderstorms that we get somewhat regularly (we got an inch of rain today starting around 5), and Zoe has apparently gotten used to it, asking to go for a walk in it.  To be fair, I didn't realize it was raining until I got outside, but it didn't bother her at all.  Also, it was less humid while raining than it was earlier in the day when I took her outside.

Hubby and I had a wonderful time experiencing the joy of big city bureaucracy when we went to set up our water utility.  We were told that even though we live in Atlanta, we had to set up our water through Dekalb County, because the vast majority of Atlanta is in Fulton County, so a lot of the part of the city in Dekalb receives their water from the county.  If you are confused, it's just as well.  The woman at Dekalb County water place told us that even they weren't completely sure which sections of Atlanta got their water from the city and which got it from Dekalb.

So anyways, we went to the county office and were quickly told that we got our water from the city of Atlanta.  So we had to go downtown and go from line to line in various city halls and annexes (annexi??) before we finally got everything straightened out.

That is until yesterday when we got a water bill for the previous tenant.

I have more stories, but I just have to find a way to bring it all together and present it.  So probably wont happen.  Fingers crossed though!

*please don't, I beg of you!

Jul 2, 2011

My Life in Boxes

It is official!!! Well, at least unofficially.  Our new landlords have accepted are application and after negotiations (where they countered their own counter-offer) we are all free-and-clear.  Except we haven't signed a lease.  But according to our wonderful agent, Z, has assured me that it is a done deal and we can start with the whole change of address thing.  We will be living on the eastern edge of the Edgewood neighborhood in Atlanta!!!!

The sides of the hill are covered in undergrowth now, but the grass is still really nice.  It's nice and shady, so the A/C won't work as hard as it would've had to with several of the houses we looked at.  Technically, it is a downgrade in space.  We're losing our dining room (aka computer room), but has three bedrooms - the smaller two are massive compared to our current second two.  The space is laid out much more sensibly, and even though the kitchen is a good bit smaller, it has more counterspace and storage!  For some reason, I only took one picture in the house (in my defense, it was house number 6 we saw that day), and Z was in the picture on accident, so I blurred her. We do not have a ghost. Yet.  Give Hubby a chance, and I'm sure he'll figure out a way to have a pet ghost.

I took this near the front door, so it is diagonally across the living room and into the kitchen.  It's a little small, but with a studio apartment walk-in closet in the master, the coat closet will be transformed into a giant pantry!!  Oh yeah, and we have TWO BATHROOMS NOW!!!!!!!11!!!1!!!

We're 1 mile away from a subway station, 1 mile away from the center of the Kirkwood neighborhood, 1 mile away from a massive big box shopping center, and apparently 1 mile away from one of the happening-est gay districts in the ATL! We are very excited.  BUT....

We still have to get there.  I've talked a lot about the when, where, and how issues of this move.  Fortunately, they are all addressed finally!  Where: We're moving to a cute ranch house in Edgewood.  How: We have a 26 foot truck on reserve from a branch of a self-move service.  When: That's the kicker.  We pick up the truck one-week from tomorrow!! We're desperately trying to pack up boxes, although I think we're pretty much done for the night at this point.  DVDs and about 2/3 of the books are all packed, as is half of our wardrobe.

We are getting a washer and dryer from friends here, then loading up the truck Sunday.  Monday, we're going to my parents' house, where we pick up more stuff, and spend a night.  Tuesday, we're going to Hubby's parents' house, where we pick up yet more stuff and spend another night.  Wednesday is the long-haul, with a 7 hour drive - one of us in a 26 foot truck, the other in a car with a dog and a cat who will both be going crazy.  We might stop and visit family in North Carolina as a rest stop, because they live about half-way between Hubby's parents' and our new place, but only to stretch and give the animals a little relaxation time.

We should get to Atlanta no later than 4pm or so, and we need to unload as much as possible on Wednesday, but the truck won't be due back until the next day, so we can spend a little extra time the next day unloading.

Our trip (which we also just came back from a few hours ago) was amazing! We had a wonderful - if not completely crazy time.  We got to explore a lot of the area near where we'll be living and have already tried out a few of the really cool eating places near our new place.  Hubby even found a really neat organic/vegetarian grocery store nearby that has a better selection and cheaper prices than the specialty store he's frequented here in Central PA.  We quickly noted that regardless of age, gender, and race, the unifying factor of employees and shoppers alike in the store was long, gray hair.

Sorry, I thought this post was going to be funnier than it turned out being, but I'm too tired to really care.  Also, hopefully this won't be the last time I post before we actually move, but it might be.  Maybe when I move in, I'll actually take pictures of the place so I can show it off!!!