Friday, October 28, 2016

Travel Memories & Settling In

Now safely ensconced in our new-to-us Georgia home, Maddie & me are starting to really get settled in. Truth be told, it wasn't much of an adjustment since Sheila is amazingly welcoming and makes things so easy for us. And Bella may be the most polite big dog I've ever met (and Madison is taking full advantage of Bella's good nature).

We haven't really talked about our trip at all ... It was two trips from Jersey to Georgia in the Durango, a 12-13 hour drive each way. On trip #1 southbound, I was accompanied by Madison ... if you can call sleeping for 11 of the 13 hours "company". I had a long talk with her about holding up her end of the deal, asking her to keep me company for the ride and not do her usual combination of snore/fart while we're in confined spaces, but she just ignored me. Sheila has decided that Madison is "a little lost" most times, a polite Southern way to say that the dog is a bit stupid. Sheila is very polite, unlike my snore-farting dog.

Madison - still a Jersey dog

In both trips I traveled mostly at night . It's so much easier to drive when the roads are less crowded and you're not fighting rush hour traffic in either Jersey, Baltimore or Atlanta.  My EZ-Pass account took a huge beating, but fortunately Georgia doesn't really have "required" toll roads (they have some optional express lanes that they'll charge you a premium to drive) (I didn't really see too many people taking the "toll" lanes so I guess they just prefer to be stuck in maddening traffic down here in Georgia) so that toll-paying abuse will come to a quick close. Equally fortunate, there is no toll to be paid as I walk from the kitchen to my office or music area, so my daily commute to work is painless.  Unless Sheila puts up a toll gate at the doors to my areas, my days of paying to get to work are pretty much over.

Traveling at night has its challenges, particularly staying awake. I've found that putting in a solid 6 hours before stopping really helps to cut down on fatigue for me. I can do the first 6 hours easy enough and at that point I need to put gas into the car, so stopping for fuel, coffee, maybe a bite to eat (although food choices are horrible at 3am in North Carolina) and depending on how I feel, perhaps a quick nap or meditation (I practice TM, been doing so for 25+ years ... y'all should try it) (see how I've adapted to my new Southern-ness, y'all??) (Don't expect a lot more Southern charm just yet, though).

If I had given even a moments thought to my upcoming drive while jamming basses into the car, I would have realized that I needed to recline the seat a bit if I intended to nap. But I didn't give ANY thought to what I was doing and ended up with a bass speaker cabinet shoved against the back of the drivers seat. So, when I tried to mediate or take a quick snooze, I remained in the exact same position I was in while driving ... except for the arrival of a midget dog on my lap, making an already uncomfortable position even worse. And Maddie "harrumphed" at me every time I tried to shift my position; God forbid I tried to be just a little bit comfortable.

All-in-all, the trips were successful and both the occupants and the cargo arrived safely, as mentioned in my prior postings. Sheila has given me full access to her beautiful home and I have two very nice spaces for my AWT-south office and my music area. I have my shakey-head guy that Jennifer from AWT gave me a long time ago, she made sure I took shakey-head with me when I packed up my stuff for the south-bound trip. Shakey-head has been with me for a long time and he reminds me that, although I'm now in Georgia, some parts of New Jersey will never leave me.

 Thanks, Jen!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


We drove south, Maddie & me, headed for our new home in the tall pines of Georgia. Car full of basses, clothes, dog beds (oh, yeah, beds ... Madison doesn't like to walk too far without having the option of taking a nap), a few kitchen appliances that I'm using as a cheapo-dowry of sorts (of course I love you! Here, have a mixer ...) and that's about it. There will be one more move of things I need to have with me in Georgia, including some more basses (duh) and another dog bed or two (again ... duh), but basically the majority of my worldly possessions that I care about, except for my daughter (no, not a possession in the literal sense, but you know what I mean), are in Georgia.

Now, this doesn't mean that the Jersey within me has disappeared, not by a long shot. A few things that reflect my inherent Jersey-ness:

  • "You don't need to use your hands so much when you're talking", this from Sheila's dad
  • I have to stop being so self-deprecating ... that grows old down here, fast
  • When someone says,"We'll, isn't that just so sweet", they rarely mean it
  • Double negatives "Now, you just don't know no better" sound illiterate with a Jersey accent ... Best to leave that to the Southerners
  • You do pump your own gas here, and no amount of time spent sitting your car waiting for someone else to do it is going to change that
  • Being impatient at food stores is frowned upon

So, Maddie & I moved our stuff into the house, creating immediate chaos. Bella, the resident dog-in-charge, was quite gracious and settled in pretty quickly with Madison being there. Bella would have preferred to play more, but Madison has her own little Jersey attitude that she needs to lose and wasn't immediately receptive to playing with a dog 20 times her size. I talked to Maddie about her being less "Jersey" but I don't think she was listening.


It's also a lot, ummm, slower down here. I took Sheila's car for an oil change and wash this morning. All I could think was, if this was Jersey all of these people would be fired for being too thorough. In Jersey that car wash would have been sold as "full car detailing".

Luckily for me, Sheila has the patience of a saint and put up with the disruptions and mess. We've settled into a pretty comfortable routine after a surprisingly short period of time, just additional evidence that somehow, in the middle of all of our collective craziness over the past year, our being together is working out really well.

I will continue working remotely for AWT Environmental, my employer for the past nearly 20 years. As of right now, it will be a lighter part-time schedule for the near future. In a way, while I like the idea of being retired, I also like the idea of keeping up with the company ... they're more of a family than a job.

All in all, things are going better than expected, and our expectations were pretty high to begin with. Our next venture will be a trip back to Jersey in November for my niece Katie's wedding. Sheila will get the entire Goode family onslaught in one shot ... pray for her ...

Sheila & Me

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Moving My Junk

We’ve (my girlfriend and me, for those who haven’t been paying rapt attention) decided that we have played house long enough and it’s time to actually live together. We kept trying to be sensible adults and take things s-l-o-w, letting the world know that, yeah, for sure, we’re being really careful and working out all of the details and, … and, … and the hell with all of that. Seriously, it’s not like we’re young kids anymore, prone to mistakes created by exuberant youth and boundless enthusiasm. Nope, we’re (very) mature adults and while still exuberant, it’s definitely at a lesser level than it was when we were in our 20’s. And our enthusiasm is still boundless … it just takes a little longer to wander towards the outer edges of common sense.

But, we did do the “adult” thing and worked out some details about who is paying for what and who is doing this and who won’t be doing that, then promptly decided that neither one of us really gives a darn about any of it one way or the other. Nonetheless, we DID have the discussion and worked out the details … not our fault if we don’t pay any attention to it, right? And all along we did everything the right way … We phone dated for almost 2 months before we even met face-to-face, we completely behaved ourselves the first two dates (sorry kids, is that TMI??), we carefully introduced the presence of each other to friends and family … I mean, come on!  We HAVE been mature grown-ups through it all. If we mess up now, we figured we’ll let the kids yell at us if we’re doing something wrong, it’s their turn to have stress, right?

So now I have to move my junk. Honestly, we don’t need very much of it and even more honestly, I don’t care about too much of it. My list of stuff to move isn’t too impressive so far:

- Metal rack wheels with brakes (to put on a new rack I’m going to build)

- A USB to VGA cable to replace my broken one (my monitor isn't working very well) (I use two monitors, pretty sharp for an old guy, huh?) (I'll probably bring the broken cable, too, 'cause I do things like that a lot)

- Mixer (not a crummy one, either, a KitchenAid with some attachments … I think there are attachments, but now I’m not sure)

- 4 pictures, including one of Richard Nixon

- Piece of paper with the date of Madison's rabies shot

- An iron (it's a fancy one, lays flat and rises on its own when not touched) (seriously)

- A bell chime that belonged to Steve

- Piece of paper with the dimensions of an opening in a cabinet for a new microwave (her microwave crapped out and there is just an old small one in the open space) (I'm going to find a new one) (big spender, she gives me a house - I give her a microwave)

- Socks and three handkerchiefs

- ?

Not much of a start, is it? I don’t think I need to contact Mayflower Moving just yet. Of course, I need to move my basses, but there is no need to list them down on a piece of paper. Now, this list will change and grow a bit in a few weeks. My girlfriend is coming north to NJ with me in early November to attend Katie’s wedding (my niece) and once she gets a chance to really see everything I own, and after she stops convulsing with laughter, I’m pretty sure she’ll be adding stuff onto the list … I have a pretty good supply of Bounty paper towels and some extra Finish dish washer tablets that I know she is going to zero in on real quick …

In preparation for the big move, I installed a security camera “system” that I can watch with my cell phone.  It’s pretty sweet, Laura helped me install it (a.k.a. plugged it in) and we had a chuckle or two looking at it last night. It also has a speaker so if a crook is trying to steal anything, I can shout encouragement from the deep pines of Georgia and make sure they take it all so I can collect on the insurance.

High Security

I’m all set to move, though. Pretty soon it’ll be me and Maddie driving south, loaded up with basses, rack wheels, a fancy iron and Bounty towels, ready to start a new life in Georgia in a beautiful new home with a beautiful new life partner. We can’t wait!!