This year, 2014, the Seattle Seahawks are IN the Super Bowl. The mother of all football games. I am beyond excited. I’ve been a Seahawks fan since the days of the Kingdome in Seattle, when my parents held season tickets, and now I hold the season tickets. I’ve always loved football but started really paying attention to football in the days of quarterback Matt Hasslebeck and head coach Mike Holmgren. Now we have quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll. I remember a few years ago, when they first hired Pete Carroll to be the Seahawks new head coach, my mother asked me whether we should renew the tickets. I encouraged her to give the team another year and see what happened. She died in June, 2012, before this wonderful season began but attended games at Century Link (previously Qwest) stadium until she was 90 years old.
But I digress…
Sports – all sports - exemplify the quest for superiority, for greatness, for perfection, and mastery of the physical body. Watch any football player go flying through the air at maximum velocity, catch the football, and then land with both tiptoes in the corner of an end zone and tell me that’s not artistry in motion. It’s seems almost implausible that a lumbering, six-foot-plus man could be so much like a ballerina at times.
It’s human nature to strive for excellence, to be the best we can be. The commercials and movies that capture our attention often include stories of the underdog coming out on top, of the struggles within ourselves and our circumstances, and the lengths to which we will go to overcome them. We persist. We try. We fall. We get back up. We try again. We always, always have hope.
We cheer and salute the Nelson Mandela’s and Steve Jobs’ of the world, the child who survives a heart transplant, the woman who kicks breast cancer and the person who doesn’t allow circumstances (poor health, bad family, dangerous neighborhood, violence, captivity, or loss of any kind) to define them. We cry at these stories. We feel empowered by these stories because they tell us that we are only limited by our own minds. If we think we can’t, we can’t. Conversely, if we think we can, we CAN. In the words of the Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, “Why not me?” and “Why not us?”
Why not us? Why not the Seahawks? This is a team that since its inception has been the butt of jokes, has been called disparaging nick-names, has been laughed at and rarely taken seriously by other fans and the National Football League, in general. In our one other visit to the Super Bowl, we were definitely the underdogs, and even the refs didn’t take us seriously at times.
Did that stop us? Did that stop the Seahawks fans from believing? Not at all. In fact, I believe that this adversity caused us to be stronger, more loyal, and more vehement in our support of our team. #LOUDER, in fact.
Today, we play the Denver Broncos who have a two-time Super Bowl winner in Peyton Manning. He clearly is a great quarterback, and, by comparison, our quarterback, Russell Wilson, is only in his second year in the NFL with his first trip to the Super Bowl. The odds are against us, some would say. The Broncos may be favored but don’t count us out. We have some things on our side that are unseen to many, I believe, and not overly mentioned in the media. We have a quarterback who believes in God and doesn’t hide that fact. We have a team that exemplifies the definition of teamwork – they LIKE each other. They play TOGETHER. No one man is a star without the others and they all willingly acknowledge that. They play together as if each game is a championship game. They play at their very best without focusing on the outcome.
I have a saying in my life that has helped me along my journey: Do the footwork and leave the results up to God. I believe, in some way, the Seahawks follow that same philosophy. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch says, “I’m just about that action, Boss.” Actions speak louder than words, and he personifies this.
I love the Seahawks because of all this, and more that I find hard to articulate. We have passion, camaraderie, spirit, volume, energy, and FAITH. This is our time. We believe. We believe we can prevail and succeed – heck, we’ve succeeded just getting this far. We have every chance to win this game. Why not us? And
if when we win, I’m sure the volume of the 12s (fans) will be heard all the way from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to Century Link Field in Seattle.
Let’s get fired up!
Let’s see. When we last chatted, I was shacked up at a local hotel waiting for my condo to finish drying out and getting the repairs started. After exactly one month, I was finally able to come home. Is my house completed? No. Are all the repairs done? No. But I do have a new hot water tank (my expense) and a shower. At the time I came home last Friday, no repairs had yet to be started other than the drywall and paint in the half bath.
So what happened? Why is this taking so long?
Long story short, and because I think the story’s a bit tedious and tiresome, I fired the first contractors because they were essentially no-call no-shows all the way around from the general contractor to the sub-sub-contractors and they left me hanging without care or concern to how this all had traumatized me. I won’t go into all the minutiae of how the insurance adjuster was an ass and pulled the rug out from under me complicating matters. I won’t go into how I had a major meltdown and cried for nearly a day straight. But now I am home and starting to feel more centered and more me.
This picture is how the master bath looked for about two weeks. I have to walk through that bath to get to my bedroom.
Yesterday, the new contractors laid the floor in my half bath, hung the door, reframed the ceiling in my master bath, and scraped off the cement board on the floor of the master bath. Today, they moved a drain pipe into the studs of the wall, allowing me to have a flat wall for my new bathtub and tile. They framed the tub seat and the shower niche that I want, and started hanging the right type of backer-board and sheetrock. They painted the trim around the half-bath doors. Now we’re just waiting for the tub to be delivered.
Many of my friends think I’m going to end up with a new house out of all this, and no, not really. My half bath, which is on the main level of the house, will be returned to precisely how it was before the water catastrophe, with the exception of a new five-panel door (very inexpensive) because the one there was junk. My master bath, on the lower level, was where the majority of the damage occurred. It had a cabinet that was removed and destroyed as it was covered in mold. Once the mitigation crew pulled off the walls, I had the plumber remove the entire tub and surround – one of those plastic four-piece kits – so I could be assured that there was no further water or mold damage behind the bathtub. The insurance is only responsible for restoring a place to how it was before the event. This means, the new tub, tile, and floor is all my responsibility. The sheetrock, insulation, and painting, is the insurance’s responsibility.
Things are coming together so much faster in the last two days that I’m actually quite emotional about it. The relief I feel is overwhelming and at the same time exhausting. I can barely move because I’m so tired. The excitement for a pretty new bathroom that meets my (high) standards is mounting. Soon this nightmare – and it was a nightmare – will be only a memory.
The picture (left) shows the master now framed in and waiting for the tub. There will be a “bench” at the end of the tub that will hold shampoos, baskets, candles, whatever. The niche on the back wall will have mosaic tiles inset into it, and there will be a decorative grab bar just below it for safety.
You know the saying…”If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.”
Here I was, getting all settled in – well, starting to settle in – to my new place and seems that God and the universe had different plans for me.
I had been in my new-to-me condo for almost exactly one month when I noticed water under a floorboard in the half-bath on the main level of my home. (My home is three levels – top level is guest suite, main level is living areas, and lower level is the master bedroom and master bath.) The water was in close proximity to the hot water tank, but the area around the hot water tank was dry, so I assumed the issue was within the pipes inside the walls. I immediately scheduled a plumber and then called the HOA (homeowners association) property manager to let him know what I noticed and ask for guidance. (In a condo, pipes inside a wall are the responsibility of the association, anything inside the unit from the wall surfaces and personal belongings is the responsibility of the owner.) At this point, I wasn’t too alarmed because it didn’t look like much water but the floor was a bit squishy when I stepped on it. Still… water is nothing to mess with.
The next morning, I noticed some puckers in the ceiling of the master bath directly below the bath where I spotted the water the day before. When I touched the ceiling, it was soft and I could easily press up on the ceiling, leaving a dent. Now I was alarmed. It had to be a great deal of water to do that to the ceiling.
So, after several emails and attempts later to reach people in authority, I finally got guidance to get someone out right away. It was still the next morning before the plumber arrived. It took him no time at all to determine that there was “a lot of water” in the floor between the two bathrooms. However, we didn’t know the source of the leak. We had to call in a second company who tore off drywall and opened walls and floors to reveal a lot of water and… MOLD. Eeww, God.
The following picture is from behind a cabinet that was in my master bath. I had been breathing this for a month. I smelled it, I knew the downstairs had humidity issues (was wet somehow) but I didn’t know how. I have a bionic sniffer, for sure. Not to mention that this was causing me dizziness and fatigue. I even went to the doctor to figure out why I was dizzy and chalked it up to extreme exhaustion from the stress of the last year or so.
After a few hours of opening walls, removing water, shutting off water (not all in that order, of course), we determined that the cause of the leak was a nail that pierced a copper pipe. This happened, evidently, last November when the prior owner had the half bath remodeled. The nail was the incorrect length to use and went straight through the metal protector piece and into the pipe. The leak started then, continued slowly, was not evident through the pre-closing inspection, and finally gave way one month into my living there.
So, here I am in construction zone again… again! The first two days of this journey, I was so stoic, moving straight into my normal get-er-done mode that I didn’t stop to really digest what had just happened. When I woke up in my hotel room on Monday morning, I broke down. This was NOT WHAT I HAD PLANNED. I had chosen a home that I figured would be move-in ready, which I could upgrade with my own choices of paint and flooring as I went along, but essentially I’d be done with all the heavy homeownership requirements. I’d be free to work, play, knit, travel, ride my bike, and just relax for a while and live my life.
In hindsight, now 12 days into this adventure, what happened is exactly as it should be and a blessing in disguise. It’s a blessing because the source of the musty smell and humidity has been solved and will be eliminated. The house will be dry and I’ll be able to have zero mold and clean paint, and even toss in some of my own money to put my own touch in the master bathroom.
After a couple days, I started laughing and understanding the humor in all this. I – the overachiever, the go-100mph-nonstop woman, the caretaker – needed a rest. The universe knew that the only way I would stop and rest would be if I was stuck in a hotel room with my puppy and not much else to do.
Once again, God knew better than I what I needed. And thank you for that.
It’s going to be another week or so before I’m back in my home. By that time I will have been out of my home for nearly as long as I was in it. I have days I cry inside because I’m so tired and exhausted, and moments where I’m energized and eager to continue picking out paint for my walls and flowers for my outdoor pots. But mostly I’m just grateful. Grateful that the problem was found and I’m not going bankrupt because of it. It’s just a pothole on the road of life and I’m maneuvering around it just fine, with help from my friends, family, and of course, my higher power.
And blessed. Really blessed. This is the view from my hotel room.
This picture sums up how we feel about moving here. That is my daughter’s dog, Trixie. Who said dogs don’t smile?
We just love our new homes. There have been so many coincidences and serendipitous moments that prove to us that we definitely made the right decision to move here. It’s been a long, hard move with too much stuff to deal with and very little physical labor help. It’s been a slow process opening boxes and unpacking and wondering just why in Hades I packed that thing. As I unpack, I have boxes quickly filling up that will go to the local Goodwill donation center. Some things still up in a storage locker in Seattle will also get donated before bringing the rest of the stuff down here. Most of what’s left is memorabilia and things that were my mom’s. I have to sort through that stuff still and that takes time. I can’t make snap decisions about that stuff like I can my own stuff.
In hindsight, there are a few things I would do differently next time, particularly when moving from one state to another. (My thoughts have to do with the DIY move, not where you have professionals come in and pack and move you, as you might have with a job relocation where the company pays for your move.)
Sell everything. Seriously. Sell everything except clothes and personal items that you really must keep. Even the large furniture, unless it’s a family heirloom or something, can be sold, if you have the time to do it. The money spent to hire movers to move the stuff could be better spent purchasing new items in your new location. And shopping is way more fun. I had just purchased a brand new bedroom set, so I wasn’t about to sell that. However, pretty much everything else except for a couple antique tables could have been sold and I would have been happy sitting on the floor while shopping for new sofas.
Don’t ask friends to help you move, even if you’re willing to pay them. I did and was disappointed and hurt. One said he had to work the whole weekend, and the other who was a professional driver didn’t respond until the day before we were scheduled to move (I’d given him several days notice when I asked.) People are human and they will disappoint you. It’s a sad lesson to learn. On the other hand, I did have some willing helpers in my oldest daughter and step-daughter and for them I am eternally grateful – even if one box they packed was labeled “Kitchen Crap.” Ouch.
Hire professional laborers. Yes, you can hire muscle only. With the exception of some really stupid loading mistakes, the workers I hired worked really hard and were very conscientious about my items. The stupid loading mistakes were mostly from the workers not working “smart” and paying attention to the word “fragile” written on the boxes.
Pack your own items. If you can, pack your own boxes. You know better than anyone else the value of your items, and stuff that is really irreplaceable should be hand-carried by you to the new location, if at all possible. If not hand-carried, then make sure it’s packed safely in boxes surrounded with your sofa pillows, plenty of bubble wrap, and/or towels and linens. That’s the only way my mother’s heirloom lamps survived the move.
Sort and purge as you pack, not as you unpack. This sounds like a no-brainer, but honestly, it kind of goes back to my first point. There is so much less that you need in your new place than you think. I needed to remember that I was downsizing and would not have room for half the stuff I packed and moved. The rule of thumb I always like to remember is that if I haven’t used it in a year, I probably don’t need to bring it with me.
Slow down. This applies mostly to the loading and unloading. I hired muscle (laborers) who were paid by the hour. They were hard workers and worked quickly and steadily. However, in hindsight, I wish I had urged them to slow down a bit – even if I had to pay for an additional hour or two – and let me think as things were being loaded and unloaded. I could have supervised the loading a bit better and helped to ensure that the hardware to the bed made it along with the bed (it didn’t), and I could have directed the unloading a bit better so that the boxes and furniture made it to the right rooms (they didn’t.) My daughter’s apartment looked like a hoarder’s apartment because they stacked all the furniture and boxes in the living room. At my house, most of the stuff landed in the garage or in the wrong rooms. We had to pay for additional help to get the stuff moved to all the right places.
Remember to rest and eat right. I forgot this one a lot. Mostly because I just don’t stop. I become driven and machine-like. By forgetting to eat and rest, I ended up being beyond exhausted. My inner doctor (self) figured I was severely exhausted, suffering from dizziness and extreme fatigue. It was like a mega-flare of fibro combined with lightheadedness and heat exhaustion. I’m better now.
Enjoy the journey. This is probably the most important tip I have. One chapter closes, another opens. Remember to stop and acknowledge that everything in life changes and be grateful for the blessings received in both locations. I consciously made time in the process to stop for a few moments and acknowledge the home (not just a house) that I sold and left behind and all the memories I had (good and not-so-good) about where I was. I was then able to enjoy the process of hope and excitement about where I am headed.
All that said, I’m happy the move is behind me. Now comes all the unpacking, painting, and decorating. That’s kind of the fun part. Oh, and exploring my new town. More about all that in future posts.
Do you have any additional tips for moving? What was the biggest lesson for moving that you learned in hindsight?
I am a nature girl at heart. I am not a city girl at all. Give me trees, rivers, oceans, and even cow farms and I am happy. I particularly love water in all forms- lake, river, pond, fountain, ocean. I like to be in the water or on it, but even just gazing at it is rejuvenating.
Every day in my new town brings new opportunities to explore, and so far I have not been disappointed.
Today we found a new park near a river. The park had ample picnic tables, a pebble beach for the kids, a spray pad and giant jungle gym. (Probably the new word for them these days is playground structure. Who knows.) I had all three grandkids with me and they all loved it. We are ending the day with the two boys (who are spending a week with me before school starts) at the local skate park. They love this skate park and if they could would be here 24/7.