We’ve finally found our niche…Part I

…or so we think and hope.

Since we met 23 years ago, Chris and I have lived in just a few different places. We spent some time in Omaha, Nebraska while he was in graduate school. Then we took off to Southern California where we spent 8 long years on the Western edge of the Mojave Desert. We have since found ourselves on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We have been here now for 12 years and have come to love the area so much that we would love nothing more than to spend the rest of our days here.

When we were in California, Chris applied for, got and accepted a job at Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  I had never been to Virginia but had heard of and read about such areas as the Blue Ridge Mountains, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and the entire Hampton Roads area.  I was less than thrilled to be moving into a “city.”

As chance would have it, we had a friend in California that was from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  We started to ask him for some information about the area.  As it turns out, the “Eastern Shore” is actually a little peninsula that lies between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  The area is very rural and riddled with agriculture and aquaculture.  I became very interested and wanted to learn more!  I didn’t have much time to learn about the area as Chris accepted the position and we were on our way from the West Coast to the East Coast in just a matter of a couple of months.

Chris left California and reported to work about 3 weeks before my departure from the West.  I was left behind to tie up all the loose ends; pack up the house, meet the movers, hire handymen to come in to finish all of our incomplete “home improvements,” get the house on the market, and so on.  Unfortunate for us, this relocation was happening right at the time of the last housing market crash.  We had a buyer initially, and all went well until the eleventh hour when their funding fell through and…no sale.  Thankfully these folks agreed to rent the house until they could make another attempt at purchasing the home.  We allowed this to happen because we didn’t want the house to sit vacant as we continued to pay a mortgage on it as it was losing value.  No worries, right?  That’s a whole other blog post…

After traveling far and wide with my riding partner, my adventurous Uncle Don (who flew out to CA, helped me finish up some final touches around the house for a couple of days, helped me pack what was left in the U-Haul trailer, and put up with me for about 3,000 miles), I made it to my parents’ house in Northern Illinois just before the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Chris flew out to join us for Thanksgiving.  Then he and I, Chompers, C.J., Penelope and Lazarus, finished the last leg of the move East together.

NO trip through the mountains between the months of October and April are ever going to be without some kind of weather hazard.  Well, we ended up spending the night in a parking lot outside a gas station somewhere in West Virginia/Western Maryland.  I cannot recollect the exact location, but I do remember looking for road signs for hotels and there were so few!  We saw one early on and, of course, they were NO VACANCY.  By the time we made it to this service station we were done risking the hills and winding roads while pulling a U-Haul trailer behind us!  Things got really cozy in the back of my 2001 Ford Escape with 2 big dogs and 2 cats!  We’d get up from a snooze every so often to turn the vehicle on and heat it up when needed, but we stayed relatively warm, but cramped.

The next morning we had breakfast at the little diner attached to the service station we used as a camp site.  The people were very friendly and the food was, well, it was a diner and it was breakfast.  It was eggs, bacon and toast.  Delicious always.

It took about 8 hours for us to get from our makeshift campsite to our NEW HOME on the Eastern Shore of Virginia!

I cannot lie, when we got to Annapolis and to the Bay Bridge, I was not convinced that we weren’t going to be living in a congested area.  I am not a city girl, I do not enjoy city living, and I was not about to go from where we were in Rosamond, CA to something more populated and ridiculous.  Chris assured me it would all change in just 20 minutes after we get over this ridiculously high and long bridge.  I’m glad he was driving at this point.

Wow, this post is going on a lot longer and in much more detail than I anticipated.  I think I’m going to have to do it in parts because, thinking about all of the happenings from where I started (in 2007) to today, a LOT has happened!  I’m having diarrhea of the typing fingers and thoughts I guess.  I digress…

Chris was right.  After we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Annapolis to Kent Island, it only took about 15-20 minutes before civilization nearly ceased.  There were buildings here and there along Route 13, with some homes scattered along the way.  Whenever we were coming into a town there would be your little service station, maybe a restaurant/diner or two, and some other small businesses (used car dealer, pawn shop, thrift store, coffee shop, home store, … it was varied).  I was ecstatic!  THIS is what it was like growing up where I did!  I hated it as a child and young adult, but have learned to appreciate the serenity and sense of community as I’ve aged.  I couldn’t wait to see our new, temporary home!

We signed a 6 month lease on a property that we never saw in person, but we knew they were relatively close to Wallops Island, and dogs and cats were allowed.  We figured we’d only be there for a few months anyway.  After all, our house out West was in escrow.  After we take care of that we could look into buying something out here on the Eastern Shore.  We’d find an area we really like and start seeking properties for sale.

…to be continued…

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Choosing my Running Battles

Today I decided to get in another training run.  4 miles with my running buddy CJ!  My training schedule had me going out tomorrow, but I looked at the weather report and, yeah, I think I won’t be running tomorrow!  I know there are many runners out there that regularly run in temps well below freezing, and I applaud you!  But I absolutely abhor running in the wind, especially the freezing wind and the next two days are supposed to be just that.  So, I chose to run today and come tomorrow I’ll be happy to do my indoor cross training.

CJ joining me for today's 4 mile run

CJ joining me for today’s 4 mile run

The roads were plowed finally late last night so today’s pace was much improved over yesterday.  The packed snow and areas of slush and ice would have been much more difficult to navigate if I didn’t have my Ice Bug shoes.  I really do like them.  I’m thankful that I don’t have to use them very often, but very happy that I have them when I need them.

The bottom of my Ice Bug shoes.  Hard to see but they have

The bottom of my Ice Bug shoes. Hard to see but they have carbide tip studs in the soles to aid in traction.  They really work well!

This weekend’s “long run” is going to be less than ideal as well.  The weather is supposed to be warmer, but I have to go out of town so I’ll be spending some time in a hotel in an unfamiliar area.  Therefore, I will most likely end up doing my long run on a dread-, er…treadmill.  I don’t like running on treadmills because 1) I find it extremely boring,  and 2) when I get off after completing a run my legs feel like rubber.  But, I do what I have to do and will do my best to get all 9 and 1/2 miles completed on Saturday evening.  Maybe the hotel will have a hot tub!  Then it will all be OK.

Happy Running!  >^..^<

Fat Tuesnowday

Today was a Snow Day for us here on the Eastern Shore of VA! It’s rare for there to ever be much snow accumulation here, but every now and again we get lucky (or unlucky in some other people’s opinions). I personally enjoy snow, I just don’t like the cold that goes along with it (can you say “conundrum”). And my dogs, they think snow is the most awesome thing ever! Except CJ, he thinks most everything is awesome, except thunderstorms.

CJ enjoying a rare snowfall

CJ enjoying a rare snowfall

After being informed that I didn’t have to go in to work, I layered on the long underwear, dusted off my snow suit and snow boots, and went out to enjoy the powdery white stuff with my family (sans the cats…they were very disinterested in the snow). We took in the scenery, played fetch, checked on the chickens, then came back in to warm up and dry off. Just so that we could go do it all again!

Trekking through the snow with CJ

Trekking through the snow with CJ

I am in the process of training for the Run for the Animals Half Marathon in April this year and was due for a short training run. I don’t own a treadmill so my options are, well, there’s only one really. After piling on the layers and lacing up my Ice Bug shoes, I managed to drudge through the unplowed road and finished a 5K in record slow time! But I got it done. To be honest, I don’t mind running in the rain, snow or cold. It’s the wind that drives me crazy! I absolutely abhor running when it’s windy and make any and every excuse not to. But usually still do it with much complaining! They say running in inclement weather “builds character.” Yeah, it builds character alright…when I run in the wind, the character that is being built is a cranky, angry, foul-mouthed goblin!

My 5K trails today

My 5K trails today

Aside from being able to play in the snow and to spend a little extra time with my family, I was also able to get caught up on my chores (boring), AFAA classes and was able to do some blogging (duh). Fortunately, it looks as though the snow will stick around for a few days; unfortunately, it looks like that snow is going to stick around because the highs for the rest of the week are expected to be in the teens. I love snow. I hate cold.

I want to retire to Green Bay, WI though. … … … another blog!

Oh, wait! And to top off the excitement for the day, the mailman was able to get out and deliver today and delivered a most important package…BarkBox! Once again, CJ was THRILLED! Chompers was interested, but CJ was his typical “OMG is that for ME?!!!” self and claimed everything in the box…CJ BarkBox

Happy Fat Tuesday all!