First Night

Quick update! It’s Day One of house painting (and other projects) and it’s the first night that I’m spending in my new home. Exciting!

There’s lots of work to be done, but nothing too crazy.

Last night I picked out some test colors for my living room and bedroom walls at Lowe’s and got some samples to paint on the walls in different lighting situations.

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Choosing paint colors is difficult!

Making flooring decisions is also difficult!

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We went to Flooring America this morning to get a quote on vinyl for downstairs and carpet for upstairs. So many decisions to make!

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So far the only room we’ve tackled is my bedroom. We’ve sanded down almost all the wood base boards and doors and painted some test colors on the wall.

Tomorrow morning we’ll start priming everything with my dad’s super-duper paint sprayer. Cross your fingers that everything goes smoothly.

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We ended up eating a late dinner at 1 Fresh Stir Fry.

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It used to be one of my favorite fast-but-healthy restaurants in Tallahassee and the menu has become even more healthy since I last went there.

They now offer Quinoa as a starch (in addition to the tofu protein option) and veggies and toppings are now unlimited. Sweet!

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Post-dinner, we went to Home Depot to get some work lights, since the place doesn’t have any overhead lights in the bedrooms, and then we set up camp.

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Time for bed! I have a long day of painting ahead of me tomorrow!

Paint By Numbers

Wake up, grab coffee, and hit the beach.

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Today started out the same way as yesterday. It was still overcast, but that made the Florida heat a bit more bearable.

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I also put my new SwimSpot bathing suit to the test and I really like it. It’s a vintage/retro cut one-piece and I can remove the halter straps to make it strapless if I choose.

Although I did end up getting a bit too much sun. Must buy a new bottle of sunscreen for my body + face before I head back to the beach!

– House Stuff –

It looks like this weekend my dad, mom, and I are heading to the new house to get some painting done. I’m not entirely sure how this trip is going to work out or what we’re going to get finished, but painting is the primary objective of the trip.

I called the city yesterday and arranged for the utilities to be switched into my name on Friday.

Tip: A while back when I was looking at the prices of utilities I noticed that there is a $210 deposit required for setting up new utilities. I also noticed that if you have a letter from your previous utility company stating at least two years of good service, that the city will waive the fee. Before I left E’burg I got one of those letters and now I don’t have to pay any sort of deposit. Score!

I also checked in with U-Haul and after calling, e-mailing, and tweeting them, I found out that my stuff has been shipped and is on its way to Florida.

Now for the paint dilemma.

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I went to Home Depot last night and my head is spinning. Picking out paint colors and a scheme for your entire house is a lot more difficult than it looks.

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I have a strong aversion to white walls. It feels way to sterile and mind-numbing, which tends to make me want bright bold colors.

Flash back to my Tally old bedroom:

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(I promise the room wasn’t quite this bright in real life)

Yes, I know the color is loud. Yes, I know the color is a bit obnoxious. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I still like the color choice.

But my parents cringe at the thought of me painting any wall of my house that color and I’m afraid they might have a bit of a point.

So where’s the middle ground between boring pastels and neutrals and a bold splash of color?

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I’m open for any ideas or suggestions that may come my way, but this is what I’m thinking about doing, for the moment:

Using an off-white or tan for the main walls and then having an accent wall in each room. I’m loving the teal/green color combination, but I also really enjoy orangy-pinks, a la coral or salmon.

Here’s where some of my inspiration has come from (everything found via Pinterest):

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www.younghouselove
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The last picture above shows both a neutral, but not white, wall color and the curtain plan for all the downstairs windows/slide glass door and possibly upstairs windows.

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Mom suggested adding some white wainscot paneling for underneath the counter/sink. I think that will do wonders to update the kitchen and be a great temporary fix, until I decide on renovating the kitchen further. It would also help an accent color “pop” if I paint the walls around the kitchen.

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So what if the wall with these three windows, which is the front of the house, is my accent wall, painted either a teal or that greenish-yellow color? Then the primarily living room wall, with the sliding glass door on it, is the sandy neutral. Should I paint the kitchen area another accent color, since it’s a small space? What if I paint the wall leading up the staircase an accent color?

The only thing I know for certain is that all the current wood trim, doors, railings, etc, will be painted a crisp white.

The painting dilemma continues upstairs…

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My bedroom.

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The office.

I can’t decide if I should use the same colors upstairs as downstairs or what colors I should add into the mix? Blah. So many decisions I think my head might explode.

HELP! Ideas? Suggestions? Thoughts? Someone want to make the decisions for me?

L-A-Z-Y Days On The Beach

The past couple of days I’ve been lounging around and soaking up every minute of guilt-free laziness that I can enjoy.

I made my first Target trip since re-entering civilization and picked up a beach hat and some new funky sunglasses.

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So obviously, today I had to make a trip to the beach! It was actually overcast but it ended up being a great beach day. Not too hot, not too sunny, and I still got a bit of color.

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The only bummer was Treasure Island now charges for all their parking and they added this awful monstrosity of a slide to draw in the tourists.

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Anyway, I dusted off my little blue beach chair, grabbed some dunkin’ donuts coffee and read a couple chapters of Harry Potter.

It was pure bliss.

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On the way home I got stopped at the bridge.

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For a pirate ship.

Only in Treasure Island.

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I also turned in the hopefully absolute final copy of my thesis. I’m now anxiously awaiting an e-mail from the grad studies office saying that they’ve been sent to the binder and I have been awarded my degree.

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In other news, since I brought Charlie back to my parent’s house, he’s been causing a raucous terrorizing our other cat. I came home yesterday to find him stalking her in the window.

I now present — Cat Wars:

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Question: What is one of your favorite relaxing and lazy activities?

Sight Unseen

The last leg of the road trip was completed on Saturday after a miserable sixteen hours and 750 miles riding in the car.

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The reason for our very long day was due to a pit-stop in Tallahassee before continuing on to St. Pete, which is my temporary stopping place for the summer. I purchased a house sight unseen and after many skype sessions, pictures, and videos, this was my first opportunity to see the actual house in person.

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The moment I stepped out of the car I was hit in the face with a blast of Florida heat and humidity. Welcome home!

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We also needed to pick up the keys from the realtor, since we closed on the house just prior to my dad flying out to Seattle to see me, we didn’t want the keys getting lost in the mail.

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Twenty minutes after picking up the keys to my new abode, I was checking it out in-person! It still doesn’t feel real, but I guess once I get down and dirty with the painting and re-flooring projects, it’ll feel very real.

Admittedly, there were some aspects of the house that made me cringe, but most of the “cringe-worthy” parts were the stuff I already have plans to take care of — the carpets, the linoleum, dirty walls, the blah front entry way.

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As a bonus house-warming gift, the previous renters left me a 30 pound weight. I decided to do some impromptu squats and jackhammer moves.

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Charlie also enjoyed the break from the car and checked out every nook and cranny of the house. I think he’s going to enjoy his new home and the stairs to run up and down.

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I love this brick wall on my back porch. I foresee many pictures being taken in this spot. šŸ™‚

My mom also loves my brick wall, but because “it’s a fire barrier” between my townhouse and the neighboring one.

Mom’s are always thinking about safety hazards and the little details.

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After a quick inspection of the house, some obligatory pictures, and a super-short hello-goodbye to the old roomie who is moving to NC just as I am moving to Tally, we were off on our way.

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We arrived in St. Pete around midnight. We said hello to my mom and then promptly crashed into our beds.

Florida, I’m so happy to be home.

One other thing — Yesterday, June 26th, was the anniversary of H and I running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Seattle. I can’t believe it was a year ago!

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Question: What’s the longest road trip you’ve ever been on OR what is your favorite marathon or race?

Sweet Tea and Humidity

We’ve made it to the south!

More importantly, I’ve only been back for a day and my hair has already launched a revolt. I don’t think a flat iron can help this frizz. Oh humidity, le sigh.

Did you notice the lack of update yesterday? Well, I was on a reading deadline and then I spent the evening hanging out with my favorite second family, so no blog post. To make up for it, today I’m road- blogging. We are driving through Atlanta at the moment and I am so happy that we are almost to Florida.

So what all happened yesterday?

Well, while on the road, my car hit a big milestone. 100,000 miles!

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This car happens to be my first and only car, which I purchased and paid for all by myself when I was 19 years old. It was my first big purchase as a semi-adult. It seems appropriate that my car would hit this mileage while I’m on a cross-country road trip to my new home and phase of my real adult life.

Me and my morning coffee.

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Fact: I had my first taste of coffee when I was 16. I was in a Starbucks in the Rockefeller Plaza subway station in New York City.

Now I love all forms of coffee.

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We covered a bunch of states yesterday: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

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It’s incredible (and very sad) that all over the country we flood zones. Ellensburg was recently flooded. North Dakota is currently experiencing flooding and all along our route we’ve seen lakes and rivers that should be flat farmland. It’s so hard to tell where the banks and shores lines should be because everything is just a field of water now.

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We ran into construction somewhere along our route. Maybe Illinois? Maybe Kentucky? It all looked the same.

Traffic was forced into one lane and we just sat there for about 30 minutes.

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A couple of jerk-faces thought that they would skip the line and cruise down the other open lane and cut back in later down the line, but a mustang behind us didn’t want to let that happen. He pulled out into the second land and sat there, effectively blocking cars from passing.

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Even with the mustang blocking cars, a few special people were still too impatient to wait, so they drove around him onto the shoulder….

Only to discover a semi-truck who was doing the same thing as the mustang, but the semi was blocking everything.

Schadenfreude.

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After we passed the construction zone, we made a gas/bathroom/guilty-pleasure stop.

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I have to say, I’m pretty proud of us. Considering we have been on the road for five days, this is our first “splurge” of the trip. We also order the “snack” size which was still rather big, but small enough not to do too much damage.

I still feel pretty gross for sitting in a car for a week, but we’ve been snacking healthy and eating smaller meals, so we’ve done the best we can. I also gave up tracking my food, but once I’m settled, I’m going to resume all of my daily healthy activities.

Another sign that we are back in the south? Sweet Tea!

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Finally, around 7:30, we arrived in Nashville! We dropped off Charlie, unloaded a couple bags and then headed to Cinco de Mayo, the favorite restaurant of the daschwartau’s. It was so good, especially after a long day of driving.

After dinner, A surprised me with some graduation/house-warming gifts. Totally unexpected, totally unnecessary, but totally awesome.

Like her wrapping? šŸ™‚

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A must have read my mind, because she made a book out of my blog and pictures from the past two years in E’burg.

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She also made a Florida-themed picture frame with a picture of me, C, and her.

Don’tcha love my face?

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The last thing is a 30 Days of Joy, which is the mini-version of her Jars of Joy. I’ll start it and blog about it, once I’m settled into my place. Perhaps I can start it around the 19th or 20th so it wraps up right when I start orientation for school.

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Another fun fact: Last night A’s house had three orange cats living there. Charlie, Cosmo, and Cheeto.

A’s new furbaby Cosmo is still a kitten and super teeny. We thought it would be funny to take a Lion King picture with Cosmo, but then to be funny we took the same picture with Cheeto. If only I had taken a Lion King picture with Charlie. Then it would be like the small, medium, and large versions of an orange cat. Maybe I’ll take one later and add it to this sequence.

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I’m super jealous of Charlie.

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Tonight I get to sleep in my own bed and sleep in tomorrow morning. I. Absolutely. Cannot. Wait.

Master Navigator

[I hope this post makes sense. I’m rather overtired and wanted to get this done before bed, so I apologize if there are more typos than usual. :)]

Fact: Not only am I a master of theatre studies, but I am also a master navigator.

I credit (or blame?) this skill on the fact that my mom lacks a sense of direction and when we went on family vacations and my mom, sister and I went off exploring, I had to figure out how to read a map. Either way, the skill comes in very handy.

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Another fact: While traveling with my dad, I’ve discovered that he snores.

It’s okay though, because as a kid I used to snore so loud that my parents could hear me when they were downstairs and I was sleeping upstairs. When I got my adenoids removed, whatever those are, the snoring stopped.

The morning started in Colorado where I navigated us around Denver and avoided the morning rush hour traffic.

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I’m a bit disappointed. Colorado looks just like Wyoming and Kansas looks a lot like Colorado. Hey states, where’s the creativity?

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We stopped for an early lunch and I got a sub at subway. One of the only veggie friendly fast food places.

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Bye Colorado!

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Hello Kansas!

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The main attraction in Kansas has been the vast fields of wheat and the farmers who are in the process of harvesting it.

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Aside from the wheat, there were lots of oil refineries.

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And wind turbines.

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I was super tired today, so dad did most of the driving as I navigated and read my new kindle in the passenger seat. I think the past few weeks has finally caught up to me and I’m wiped out.

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We stopped for gas and an afternoon snack at a gas station in Salina, Kansas. It happened to be the most ridiculous truck stop I’ve ever stopped at. Trucks everywhere.

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This truck nearly hit me and my car. Yikes. I made a really crazy face when I realized the truck was coming at me and it apparently amused the driver who just smiled and waved as he drove by.

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Then I found a disposal box for hypodermic needles and other medical waste. What the heck?!

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Kansas has some really neat rock formations along the side of the highway.

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After about 10 hours of driving, we arrived in Olathe, Kansas for the night. Yesterday dad scoped out the area and decided that we would be eating dinner at Red Robin. He was excited to try their gourmet burgers. So we checked into the hotel and went to Red Robin.

I have to say I really enjoyed the meal. They offered to sub-in a veggie burger for any of their usual burger combos, so I ordered a mushroom swiss veggie burger on a wheat roll with a side of broccoli. It was delicious and way too much food.

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Tonight’s hotel has a fitness room, so I got up off my lazy bum and worked out for 30 minutes — 10 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes walking on the treadmill.

I may be exhausted, but I’m sure sitting in a car for 10+ hours every day can’t be good for me, so I did something, which is always better than nothing.

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Charlie likes the fancy digs too and enjoyed the opportunity to drink some water out of the marble sink.

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Nashville Tennessee and friends tomorrow evening!

I can’t wait! We’re almost home.

Big Sky Country – More of the Same

Day two down. We are spending the night in Ft. Collins, Colorado. It’s my first time in Colorado, but so far it’s looked just like Montana and Wyoming.

Did you miss day one and the packing process?
Day One – Cruising Down I-90 from Washington to Montana
Packing – U-Haul Puzzle Master
Packing on Father’s Day – Fabulous Fathers

We started the morning in Belgrade Montana and headed out onto the road around 9am.

I’ve been really impressed with Charlie. Sometimes I forget he’s traveling with us because he’s been so quiet and calm. It’s such a refreshing change from his usual troublesome behavior.

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Before we truly got on the road, I wanted to make a pit-stop in Bozeman to visit Great Harvest Bakery. I’ve read a lot about Great Harvest on Kath Eats and had to try it for myself.

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Dad and I each got treats for later in the day. I would have loved to get a loaf of bread, but it really wasn’t practical for the trip.

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The scenery in Montana pretty much looked like this the whole time. Montana really is big sky country and my camera and descriptions do it no justice.

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I took over driving around lunch time. I started my grazing for the day with broccoli and this Trader Joe’s hummus.

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In addition to the beautiful scenery, we saw lots of oil refineries and oil drilling happening along side the road.

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Next snack: La Croix sparking water and a string cheese.

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Welcome to Wyoming!

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My afternoon snack was my delicious Great Harvest morning glory muffin. I wish I had gotten more than one because it was delicious. Dad got a whole wheat cinnamon roll and said that while it wasn’t super sweet it was very flavorful.

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So many interesting rock formations.

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Charlie spent almost the entire day sleeping. He loves sunbathing.

It got me wondering, can cats get sunburned or ever skin cancer? Hrm.

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Funny story:

Dad and I saw this red thing as we were driving and tried to figure out what kind of statue or art piece it was only to discover it was the back of a sign advertising the mall in the next town.

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Dad prefers to drive, so I spent the afternoon playing around on the computer.

I did lots of facebooking and e-mailing while on the road. Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on the road trip experience by taking advantage of the technology, but I tend to think that I’d start asking, “are we there yet?” every 15 minutes if I wasn’t allowed to play on the computer.

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At the end of our driving day we crossed into Colorado.

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Hello Fort Collins!

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We checked into the hotel and then went in search of some soup. We ended up in the college area of Ft. Collins. I loved the atmosphere and it’s what I wished E’burg had felt like.

Mission Soup = Success!

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Catch you on the flip side somewhere in Kansas or Missouri.

Cruising Down I-90 from Washington to Montana

Day one and 562 of 3,225 miles down for my trip.

We didn’t end up getting on the road till around 9:30 this morning because I had a bunch of last minute packing and cleaning to deal with in the morning, but everything worked out.

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Even with the U-Haul box, the car is still packed to the gills. We wanted to avoid bringing a bunch of still with us, but c’est la vie.

Flashback to September 2009 — arriving in E’burg:

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This morning, 2011, departing E’burg:

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My apartment has been restored to it’s sterile white condition.

Packing up my apartment these past few days and watching it return to white made me realize that it won’t take a lot of effort to turn my new place into a space that feels like home. When I see the pictures of my new house, I fear that it won’t feel like “me,” but now I know that’s not the case.

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Around 9:30 I turned in my apartment keys, and before hitting the road we gassed up and grabbed breakfast at Subway.

We narrowly missed being in a minor fender-bender at the gas station when a little old man tried to back his car into the space next to the pump where we were still parked. I honked my dinky horn at him, but he didn’t stop slowly backing up till dad hopped out of the car and knocked on his car window.

After that we managed to escape E’burg without incident.

Once on I-90, which is the only road we drove on today, one of the first sights we saw were these huge wind turbines. I’m pretty sure they weren’t there two years ago when we drove into town. These pictures don’t do them justice. They look so cool and almost Star Wars-esque in real life.

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This was the view for most of the day. Big sprawling mountains with gorgeous blue skies.

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Charlie lived up to his reputation and was the perfect traveling companion. He was a bit confused and a little vocal for the first 30 minutes, but after he explored his surroundings, he settled down into the passenger’s lap or on the arm rest between the driver and the passenger.

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More beautiful scenery!

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We stopped for lunch in Moscow, Idaho where dad grabbed an Arby’s sandwich and I got a side salad. Since I’m trying to eat healthy and maintain my vegetarian status, I was a bit concerned about eating during this trip. When I went to Trader Joe’s I picked up a bunch of snack food for this week, including hummus, string cheese, carrots…

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Lots of trail mixes, yogurt, apple sauce, and of course, some chocolate!

My aim is to go for the grazing approach and avoid eating three large meals. So along with my side salad, I had a cheese stick, some nuts, apple sauce, and sliced strawberries.

Overall, I think it’s a fairly healthy mix and if I can save money and avoid gas station snacks, I should be good to go.

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Although, the exercise front has been slacking. I’m chalking all the packing, moving, and lifting from the past two days as exercise, so today was a rest day.

I’m going to aim to do a short strength training workout at the hotel tomorrow night and maybe the hotel we stop at on Thursday will have a gym for a quick cardio routine. I’m going to plan to do something, but I won’t hate myself if it doesn’t work out. I’ll just pick up where I left off when I get back to Florida.

Anyway, after lunch I became the passenger and amused myself by taking pictures and playing on the internet.

We kept stumbling across these letters on the side of the mountains. Anyone know what they mean?

“M”

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“D”

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My technology manager father is always prepared and we have both internet and a power charger on the trip with us. I was able to check facebook, twitter, and work on a project for a friend as we drove through Idaho and Montana.

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In Montana we saw lots of evidence of flooding. It reminded me of the flooding that happened in E’burg a month ago. The rapid increase in temperatures and the snowmelt wreck havoc in E’burg and apparently Montana.

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See the house in the middle of the lake? I’m pretty sure that “lake” is actually flooding.

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The day came to a close when we made it to Belgrave, Montana around 8:30pm.

On the trip our west we kept gaining hours, but this time we’re going to keep losing hours.

We found a nice, but strangely empty, pizza place right near the hotel and brought it back to the hotel where we’ve settled in for the night.

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Next stop Fort Collins, Colorado! I’m excited to see Colorado for the first time and cover some new ground on our trip.

U-Haul Puzzle Master

Just a few more things to throw into the car and then we will be completely packed. Tomorrow I say goodbye to Washington [ for forever?].

This post will be short and sweet. I’m out of brain cells and energy.

Anyway, today was spent adventuring with U-Hauls in Yakima, apparently the Palm Springs of Washington.

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I am so glad we are not driving a 10 or 14 foot truck across the country OR towing my car or a trailer. The taste of towing a trailer today was more than enough for me, thank you very much.

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We spent about two hours loading the U-Box up with all my worldly belongings before turning around and dropping it off in Yakima.

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Dad’s a genius. He strategically plotted out how to pack everything so we could fix everything into a 8 x 5 x 7.5 foot box.

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And we’re done!

We’ll be traveling with a couple weeks worth of clothes, some books, my important life papers, and Charlie. I’m so happy that our load will be light as we travel back to Florida.

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Post-packing we showered up and went to Valley Cafe for one final E’burg dinner.

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And one final visit to Fred Meyer.

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And one final visit to Winegar’s.

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We still have a few more odds and ends to do tomorrow, but we should be on the road by 8ish at the latest.

Fabulous Fathers

Happy Father’s Day to my dad!

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I feel really bad, he spent the whole day doing manual labor in my apartment.

I owe him BIG TIME. He broke down all of my furniture and wrapped it in shrink wrap. Right now, my apartment is 90% packed and tomorrow we have to load everything into the U-Haul box.

But this morning before we broke down all the furniture, I attempted to print my thesis on cotton paper.

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I say attempted, because I printed one copy and realized that the printer wasn’t printing dark enough.

*bangs head on desk*

The new plan is to take my paper to campus tomorrow and print it on the department printer. Knock on wood that everything goes smoothly. I desperately want to leave the thesis behind when I leave E’burg.

Afterward, the day was spent packing.

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Charlie wanted to make sure he wasn’t left behind, so he spent the day hanging out in boxes and trying some on.

“Does this box look good on me?”

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When we quit working around 9pm, this is what my living room looked like:

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We’re sleeping on mattresses on the floor tonight and then camping out tomorrow.

Bonus: Dad figured out how to fix the blinds that Charlie broke. Hooray!

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Now I’m blogging and Dad is watching American Pickers on his computer.

I think It’s time for sleepy-sleepy!

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