Since we were approved for public housing, we've been taking care of the inevitable meetings and paperwork reviews/signings that must come with such a bounty and moving various and sundry items out of our storage unit and GIHN's Day Center. That's not quite as pleasant as it sounds; the first day I was able to secure a moving van, about a week after we'd signed the lease on the apartment, I only had enough money to rent the thing for a half-day. So, I had to go to an agency that had agreed to give us some furniture*, pick it up, drop by the Day Center, grab what I could out of there, drive to the Hinterlands to the apartment and offload everything. Oh, and did I mention that all of this had to be done in four hours? Because the half-day started at 9 am and it took me until after 11 am (traveling by bus, remember) to go to the first office, find that they had not trucks available, travel to a second office that had one available, but wait for the manager to get back from whatever she was up to.
I did it, but it wasn't easy. I don't know how I avoided throwing out my back. Must've been a sight for the neighbors, though to watch this fat guy, 43-going-on-80, grabbing stuff -- some of it very large -- out of a 16' moving van and trooping across the yard without letup, dumping it unceremoniously into the lviing room, and going back for more. As though he were still in his 20s! What the heck...?
Did I mention I got it done in thirty minutes? No, don't ask; I have no earthly idea how I did it. All I know is the truck had to be back by 3:00 and I didn't pull up to the apartment until 2:25.
Other than that Herculean feat, we've been keeping very busy. I'm still looking for substantial work while holding down my job at the store (sigh!) Mama's looking for work, but the pressure's off her now, so we're talking about sending her to GTCC to take advantage of their training programs. Mike and Ness** are still wrestling with grades, and looking forward to summer break in a couple weeks.
I've also got a project going on the side that I can't talk about yet, but it's due the end of June, so I've been hustling on it best I can.
The News & Record asked me to write an article for their editorial section a few weeks ago; it ran this past Sunday. It looked good, and took up way more space than I thought it would (or I thought I deserved). Quite a few people around town have recognized me from the photo that ran with it, which is amazing becuase since then I've gotten a haircut and gained several pounds, but so far everyone's been very complimentary. I wish I could link to it, but I can't find it on their site. I chose as the theme of the essay "What Have I Learned?" And the editors ran several blog excerpts to go with it.
I've also been answering e-mails as best I can, although there have been significant lag times. However, I want to thank everyone who's sent along well wishes and kudos. They've been a great boost.
And the Beast? He hasn't been bothering me much lately. A sting here, a twinge there, but now I've got something to swat him across the nose with. I did court disaster one day a couple weeks ago, however. I was in rare high spirits; the sky was blue, the birds were singing, traffic was light, I had a place to live. I was feeling pretty cocky. I actually started needling the Beast. Pointing out that he wasn't so tough and where was his pointy, pointy mental barbs now, and things seemed to be finally turning the corner for me.
He simply responded with one word: "Traci."
Oh. Okay. He can defend himself, very much so. I shut the hell up. Fast.
Other than that brief encounter, though, he's left me pretty much alone, even at work. Kinds scares me, though, because I know he's still in that dark little corner of my brain, awaiting an opportunity. He won't get it today, though. And maybe not tomorrow, either.
My only regret about leaving GIHN is that I've had to go back to cooking for myself now. I readily admit I'm not the world's greatest cook. I have recurring nightmares of the Iron Chefs, Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray all ganging up on me and beating me to death with various kitchen implements for daring to try and...cook?! The volunteers at the various churches always handled the cooking and they were a lot better at it than I am.
*A lot of our larger pieces of furniture became landfill fodder when we hurriedly moved out of our old home, including our dressers, our mattresses and our fridge. It's not so bad; the furniture was all salvaged and the fridge was on the fritz anyway, so it sorta worked out.
**I noticed recently that I've been calling her "Ness" more than "Nessie", so I'll just stick to that convention here.