Settling In Again

If you read my last post, you know my husband and I recently made a local move. Nothing too far. Just the next city closer to DC and work. We’re still unpacking at the new place and cleaning the old, but slowly we’re settling in to the new house. We continue to rent because we’re not yet sure where we really want to settle longer term. This was another major leg of my 5-month marathon, and I was hoping for a breather before things picked up again in August and September. . No such luck. We got the notice to proceed on Phase III investigations at two sites in DC, so it looks like work busyness will be high through the end of the year. Really, that’s good!

The movers loaded up all the heavy stuff on the 7th and brought it over that same day. We did the heavy lifting a few years ago with our last move and realized then that we just couldn’t face such a chore again. We’re in decent shape, but when your twelfth move as a couple comes around, you might find the money invested with the professionals is well spent.

So now we’re fine-tuning the furniture placement, and I’m working on finding the best layout for my new office. It’s bigger than the last one, which is nice. I can extend a leaf on one old dining-room-table-turned desk and have more room for my computer, printer, and scanner. And I still have room for the other old table, where I can lay out notes for old-fashioned writing by hand.

nosIt’s still a bit messy as you can see in this panoramic photo, and there’s no artwork on the walls yet. I’ll get there eventually!

Tech Headaches

The bad news is that my nearly 4-year-old laptop isn’t playing nice with the new XFinity x1 system at the new place. At the old house, it zipped along just fine on the Internet with the older Comcast equipment. Now, it’s glacially slow when I go wireless. It’s fine with the Ethernet cable or right next to the modem/router, but worthless otherwise. My husband’s new computer with Windows 8.1 does fine everywhere in the house. Does anyone happen to know if it’s a problem with Windows 7 or with my old wireless card? If it’s just the old card, I’d get a new laptop with the old Windows 7. But if it’s Windows 7, I’d have to break down and get the dreaded 8.1, which I detest. I was hoping to wait for the next generation OS that would ideally be to 8.1 what 7 was to Vista. πŸ™‚

Writing … Progress?

While the word count really hasn’t increased on the new WIP, my brain continues to process the ideas in the background. Today’s setting photo shows my limited skills with manipulating composite photographs, but it works for me. I can see my protagonist doing what needs to be done in this location. I’ll understand if, upon looking at it, you’re wondering if I’ve maybe lost my marbles. πŸ˜‰

What does something like this have to do with the story? A lot.

What does something like this have to do with the story? A lot.

What I’m Reading

I saw a recommendation recently for a 1993 novel by Alan Lightman, Einstein’s Dreams. I’m really enjoying it, but by my estimation, the “novel” is about 25,000 words. Yes, 25,000. I did not leave out a leading “1.” I wonder if such a work would even be touched by a traditional press these days. And yet it received high praise and is a truly thought-provoking and interesting work of fiction.

Soβ€”how many of you can top twelve moves in your adult lives?! πŸ™‚

64 thoughts on “Settling In Again

  1. Your new office looks nice.
    I’m pondering whether your protagonist is an artist that uses unlikely material to make sculptures or whether he / she / it is an alien that eats waste metal!

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    • It’s going to take some time to figure out the best setup for working. I do enjoy the extra space, but the slow wi-fi up there is aggravating. Oh well, life is meant to have its challenges, right? πŸ™‚

      Even though I’m giving these setting photos, I hope no one figures out what’s happening too soon! So I won’t say whether you or others are on the right trail or not. πŸ˜‰ Now if I can just find the energy to write when the opportunities are there!

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  2. Glad to hear from you, JM, and wow — you’ve had lots going on! Busy at work through the rest of the year is good, and hopefully another sign that the economy really is in an upswing. The new office looks great; I’m jealous of all that space. Since you asked, I got to thinking about the number of moves I’ve made in my adult life (and I interpreted “adult” to mean the years since not living with parents)…and I counted 11 moves. I’m humbled by your greatness πŸ™‚ since I’d always thought of us as people who moved a lot. Helps that we’ve been in the same house now for 9 years, and probably will be for the next 6, until youngest finishes high school. And hiring professionals started around move #7. That was a slippery slope…we’ll never go back to maneuvering heavy dressers down narrow stairwells!

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    • It’s clear from your comment and others that our generation tends to be on the move! My older siblings haven’t done near as many as I have, though, and only my sister has also moved out of stateβ€”all the way to neighboring Indiana. πŸ™‚ My husband and I have more than made up for their sedentism I think.

      Heavy furniture and boxes do not mix well with stairs! This townhouse has 4 levels, and my knees are making their displeasure known just from carrying some things up from the garage where we had the movers leave them. I’m hoping the stiffness abates once we’re down to normal activities again. But we already know that when we do buy again, two floors is the max!

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  3. You have a lot on your plate! As for your computer, I do not know about XFinity, but have Windows 7. Mine works fine wireless as yours did. I use probably similar to Comcast via the RV Park…whoever is their provider. You may want to check it out at Best Buy. See what those Geeks might know? I agree with you, I do not want to have to go to Windows 8. Hubby has it on his laptop and from what I have seen, no thanks. Good luck!

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    • I figure it has to be something with my computer since Paul’s works fine throughout the house and so do the iPad and the smart phones. Age and operating system seem to be the big difference. A coworker’s boyfriend works for Comcast, so I have to remember to ask her to ask him for advice, too. He might know if it’s a common problem with the new Xfinity boxes and older computers. I really like my old Dell and don’t want to give it up yet!

      I’m really feeling a bit overwhelmed these days, but I’m hoping that will pass!

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  4. Lol! You have me beat. I’m only at nine moves. Your new office is great. I hope you find time to unravel on paper all of that story-building going on in your head.

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    • Right now, even when I do technically have the time to be writing, I’m just too tired to do it. Once all the physical work of unpacking is done that should be better. Or maybe I’m just getting too old for moving! πŸ˜€

      From what I’m seeing in the comments, we are definitely a generation of movers!

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  5. Einstein’s Dreams seems like a great book. Quality over quantity. I can’t help you with your techy problem but your office looks neat as a pin compared to mine. Good luck in settling in. πŸ™‚

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    • The book really was interesting. And I want to go through it again before returning it to the library because there’s so much being said in those few words. Not just about the different ways time could behave but also about human nature and how we live our lives.

      Now if I could just find the energy to take full advantage of the free moments I do have!

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  6. I’ve had exactly twelve moves myself since my first apartment at age 18! I just counted them. Most were with my husband, and we, too, finally decided professional movers were the way to go, but we couldn’t afford it until our 11th move. Luckily our relocation frenzy has slowed down since we had kids, though we’ll probably do one more move when they leave the nest. πŸ™‚

    Sorry about your computer issues. I don’t have the answer, but I feel your frustration. I wouldn’t want to go with Windows 8.1 either!

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    • When we’re just starting out, and paying off school loans, it’s a good thing we’re young and fit enough to handle those boxes and heavy furniture ourselves. πŸ˜‰ I’m really hoping this place lasts until we’re ready to buy again. And then I hope that house will be home for a long, long time.

      I have to remember to ask a coworker to ask her boyfriend about the computer issue. He works for Comcast and so might just know what the problem is. Hopefully nothing that requires a new computer!

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  7. 12 moves! Wow! I’ve had only 7 and really despise moving (besides the cleaning and organizing your junk part–that’s kind of nice). I hope you get at least a week of downtime before your busy, busy, busy!

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    • I think the cleaning wears me out as much as the unpacking. πŸ˜‰ There’s no better time to really clean a place from top to bottom than when it’s empty. So we spent a lot of time cleaning the new place before we moved in, and now we’re scrubbing out the old place. My muscles and brain are both asking for a break, though, and I can’t give them much of one! The comments show we are really a generation of movers, don’t you think?

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  8. Congrats on nearing the end of the (current) move. I’m sure it’s a relief.

    Regarding your wireless performance… wi-fi is so spotty in general. many things that can make it go crazy, but I would check to make sure you have the latest software drivers for your card (as well as latest firmware for your router). That’s fixed a lot of issues for me in the past as the manufacturers squash some bugs.

    Good luck!

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    • Alas, the drivers are up to date, and the new Xfinity X1 system combines the modem and router in a single unit. That piece is new, and my husband’s 6-month-old computer zips along, happy as can be, as does the iPad. That’s what makes me think the underlying problem relates to my older computer. I’m going to hold out as long as possible before buying a new one. I may just use this one less for Internet work and use the iPad or my husband’s for that.

      Maybe, when I’m back to writing, I won’t be so distracted by “online research” …. πŸ˜‰

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  9. New office looks good. I’m pretty certain I could beat your number of moves, I’m going to count from when I left home at 16…oh, 12 like you! Although actually that includes the first move from Dad’s house to apartment, so maybe it’s 11, unless I’ve forgotten any, and there have been a few occasions where we have stayed for several weeks/couple of months with family or friends in between places, and I haven’t counted those. I always find that when you first unload all your stuff into the new place, while it’s still all in boxes, you can’t believe how much there is and you wonder where you’re going to fit it all, even if you’re moving to a place that is bigger than your previous one, but somehow you manage.

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    • Oh, we are definitely in that “wondering where everything is going to fit” stage! Even though this place is a bit bigger than the last one, the layout is different and maybe not as conducive to “stuff.” But I’m hoping the balance shifts as we get stuff out of closets and into drawers, which will let other stuff go into the closets, and so on, and so on, and …. πŸ™‚

      I’m really coming to realize that our generation is one that moves around more than most earlier ones did. Of course, humans have always moved, but probably not in such numbers or so frequently except during major cultural upheavals. One of these days, I think we will finally settle down somewhere!

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    • I feel like I haven’t really had the chance to settle into it yet! There are still boxes to unpack and cleaning to be done at the old place. But maybe in a week or two, the new setting will kindle some of those sparks!

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  10. First off, I LOVED Einstein’s Dreams! I read it while Jack was at afternoon kindergarten and Maggie napped! As an aside afternoon kindergarten was a metro boston thing…half the kids went in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. worst system ever and they FINALLY did away with it!)
    12 moves is a lot! When married we moved every 2yrs because my ex is the only surgeon in the world who gets routinely fired (a pattern he’s continued to this day but without the 4 of us in two since 1998)
    I agree about hiring professionals. I even had them pack us up beforehand…with the exception of this last Florida move where I sold/chucked everything so therefore had zip to pack!
    your new office looks greatly spacious!

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    • That split kindergarten wasn’t limited to Boston! At my grade school I went to morning kindergarten, but there was also and afternoon class. I don’t know if it was a space issue or what, but I can’t imagine what going in the afternoon would’ve been like. I’d think the adjustment to all-day 1st grade would’ve been tougher.

      I’m really thinking we should downsize the amount of stuff we have when we buy another house. Even if there’s room for everything, I think it’ll be time for some things to find another path. And having the movers pack up everything might be on the list, too. Then, I hope we’ll be staying put for a long, long time!

      Einstein’s Dreams really was an interesting read. And I’m going to re-read it before taking it back to the library. I’m sure I missed some elements of the stories, despite their deceptive simplicity.

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      • Here where there is still a half day kinder, usually the incoming kids are evaluated a just before school starts. (“Say your full name, address, phone number? Can you count these objects? How high can you just count out loud? Can you write your name? Full name? Do you know what these (letters) are called?” Saying the alphabet song doesn’t really get points…they are looking for understanding of concepts, fine motor control, and verbal skills- vocabulary)
        Morning kinder is usually for those with birthdays in the second half of the year so they may not be as developmentally mature or for those who still take and need naps after lunch. Afternoon generally has kids who have gone to pre-k, have had parents work with them at home, or are just a bit ahead of other – some actually come in already reading. It’s a fluid situation and kids are shifted back and forth as needed the first week or two. Placement takes skill and good observations with kids this age. Sorting is a good thing here – gets like kids traveling at a comfortable pace. Don’t want frustration with school work at this age…that comes soon enough

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        • Given that my older sister had already begun teaching me to read, I suspect I would have been in your afternoon classes. πŸ˜‰ There wasn’t any special distinction between our morning and afternoon classes, which is why I think it was a space issue. Or maybe starting us off in smaller groups?

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          • I think a lot has changed since we started school – shoving content downwards to younger and younger kids. Pushing the little ones so hard – Might be better to ease up and move them towards love of learning, exploring, and reading in kinder…

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    • I’m almost tempted to go the Mac route, but I’m not thrilled with how expensive they are, and there are still software programs that don’t have native versions for them. I’ve never heard anyone say that running a Windows shell on a Mac goes hitch-free. If only there were a viable third option!

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  11. No offense, JM, but I’m glad I can’t top 12 moves. πŸ˜‰ Very good to hear that yours went smoothly, though. I have the same feeling you do about packing/moving: I have come of an age where I just shouldn’t have to do that any longer. LOL! We bought a few years ago and are almost finished paying off our mortgage, so I’m looking forward to not having to move for a while.

    That photo looks rather ominous. Reminds me of a twister aftermath. I hope your WIP protagonist stays safe!

    Windows 7 is certainly not the latest news, but the OS alone should not be causing you those wifi issues. Especially if you have good up/down speeds while wired. Phillip McCollum’s comment above about drivers is worth the trouble, notably if wifi was fine at your old location a week or whenever ago. Lots of weird things can affect wifi signal – wireless telephones, for example, or microwave ovens. Check your router, too: it could require a firmware update. You may also want to do a wireless scan in your area, as overlapping wireless ranges can conflict with each other. And, I’m assuming you have a secure network? If not, they’re not difficult to set up. Let me know if I can be of any help.

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    • Unfortunately, those drivers are up to date, and the X1 system uses a combined modem-router in a single unit. We do have a secure network, too. And given that the iPad and my husband’s new computer work fine, well, that’s what makes me think age might be a factor. It’s all Greek to me, but maybe my wireless card isn’t as good at picking up the signal from a brand new piece of technology? It worked great with the 4-year-old equipment at the old house while my husband’s much newer computer didn’t. We’ve done a 180 there. I’ll muddle through for a while yet before making any changes. And, of course, there’s no guarantee the next version of Windows will be as good as 7. Sigh.

      I’m really hoping this place will hold us until we’re ready to buy again, whether that’s in two years or four or whatever. We’re holding back in part because we don’t know if the company will keep us in the same town when the lease on our existing office building is up. We suspect a change will be made, and we don’t want to buy something now that would result in a huge increase in commute time in 2017. So we wait.

      My lips are sealed about the importance of this trash pile. πŸ™‚ I don’t want to reveal too much too soon!

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      • Considering your wifi is just fine when you’re right next to the router, I’d say it’s more interference than anything else causing your headaches. Have you tried switching to a different channel for your signal? Or, there’s something in the way of your signal: walls, bookshelves, anything that breaks line-of-sight could do it.

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  12. Hmm, just tried to comment and it wouldn’t post. I’ll try again, so forgive me if this ends up being a duplicate.

    I think 12 moves as an adult, in this day and age, is fairly reasonable. I moved 9 times in my adulthood. I hate moving. Not just because of the physical aspects, but I’m a nester. I like having roots and a long-term home, and it’s hard to have that when you’re moving so often. Once I find a place where I’m comfortable, I won’t budge easily!

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    • It’s funny that you would have technical difficulties on a post that discusses technical difficulties!

      It’s clear from the comments that we are a mobile group. My siblings haven’t moved nearly as much as I have, but as a child, my mother certainly did. But she settled down as an adult while my husband and I have never stayed in one house for more than 5 years. For some reason, we’ve seemed to get a bit restless with our surroundings. But when we do finally buy again, I think we’ll be ready to stay put for a while and enjoy those roots you describe.

      Now, if we can just get everything in place so I can be less tired and maybe do some writing in those few unbusy moments!

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  13. Well, that was a quick flashback down memory lane. Counting from the first time I left home and didn’t move back, I’m at 18 and still not done yet!

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    • Holy cow, you have jumped into first place on the move count! πŸ˜€ Where do you find the time to do anything else?! I’m really hoping the 13th time will “be the charm.” This packing and unpacking is really starting to get old. πŸ˜‰

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    • I really like this old computer and don’t want to give it up. It still works so well with everything else. I hope I can hold out a while longer. With all the work still to be done, I haven’t really tried any experiments with it. Maybe when we are finally settled!

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  14. Okay, I just counted and I too have moved 12 times in my adult life. That’s a lot. One might say I was socialized to moving since I lived in 4 countries between the ages of 4 and 10. I’ve had my fill of it–I hope to stay in our current house until I can’t walk anymore many (hopefully) years from now.

    As for that photo–quite intriguing. Good thing you have such a nice, neat office to write that story. How do you do it? I have piles of papers and books all around me. Every time I put things away “where they belong” I can’t find them for days. LOL.

    All the best settling in–it takes a while until it feels like home.

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    • It’s seems everyone here has made half a dozen moves or more as adults. I think that says something about our generation! My moves have all been within the US, and I can’t imagine the upheaval that changing countries would bring. I’m really hoping there’s only one more move to get to that stable point you describe.

      The office doesn’t always look neat, but I have hard time concentrating in a cluttered environment. So I do better work with fewer distractions. Now if I can just get over this tiredness and through the final unpacking and cleaning, I might have the energy to work on that new WIP even though the day-job work load will still be heavy. And that might help make this new place feel like home.

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    • Thanks, Dianne! Einstein’s Dreams really is interesting. In some ways, the writing style is as concise as Hemingway’s, but the author packs so much story into those few words. And that is so hard to do! πŸ™‚

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  15. Sixteen moves for me including Europe to Canada. But most were during my much younger years. Now I am about to move again, but only after living in the same house for 25 years. It was so much easier back then. Carefree and footloose, the privilege of the young. I am looking forward to more photos of your new office with artwork on the walls. I am sure it will be inspiring to your writing.

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    • You are currently in second place on number of moves. πŸ™‚ It feels like we’re making glacial progress on getting this house set up. Weekends have been spent cleaning the old place, but that will be wrapping up this weekend. Then a company comes in on Monday to clean the carpets, and we’ll have our final walk-through before the 31st. We’ll be able to focus on organizing everything here after that. And just maybe my knees will get less cranky with my office being on the fourth floor! If my Internet connection stays bad up there, that might be a good thing for the writing. Fewer distractions!

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  16. That pile looks wonderful – so much stuff in there – real STUFF. Glad your work(the paying one) is moving on – even if it keeps you busy – it’s bound to be interesting. (hope you get to get out there and dig around and not just shuffle paper! )
    Looks like you’ve got your new exercise plan with all the stairs – but nice if weather keeps you inside to have room to relocate as brain needs. Someday, I’ll have a space again – downsizing isn’t as cool as they say…trust me. So one more move…well, probably 2 at least. Unpacking is the hardest for me….better not to rush and then end up having to relocate stuff again later….or you can leave some in boxes like we do…make packing next time easier? (Snort)
    We have an old computer that does wireless OK (but is cranky, so there’s a replacement also) I did finally jump to Apple and am happy, but the office/work computers all use PC programs and we are hesitant to try overlay programs on an Apple…so we struggle and curse with the office computers. Maybe a techie can find a simple solution – adapting to a new computer is a real pain
    The book sounds good – will have to find that one. Thanks

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    • These days, I don’t spend much time in the field, and my knees and back should appreciate that fact. Of course, they’re not happy with the moving and more stairs, so they may not remember to count their blessings! I use a mini-stepper in my workouts, but I haven’t noticed that it makes stair climbing any easier. Different muscles I guess.

      Sometimes I think the space solution isn’t necessarily a matter of size but of efficiency. This new place is bigger than the old one but because it’s on four levels instead of three, there’s less wall space on each level. So that makes placing the furniture and artwork more of a challenge. There is more storage space, so I’m hoping that as “stuff” moves out of closets and into place that more room will be available for storage. We’ll see….

      The computer issues are definitely a pain in the behind. We’ve never had anything like them before. When we do finally buy again, we’d really love a single-story house where a lot of problems will simply not be an issue. I’m just not sure when that’s going to be!

      Einstein’s Dreams really is an interesting book. But it’s easy to overlook on the shelf. The version I checked out from the library is only about 6 inches on a side!

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  17. I could not stand moving all those times. I’m only moving twice more. When I can escape from this heat of Haiti’s. Second when I go to the retirement home. Although there might be one more in there to find just the right place when we escape this state. Thanks for sharing the book title. I’ll have to put it on my list. Sounds like you’ve been busy. It’s good to know that you still read, which is the question on my latest blog. Glad you’re staying busy. Be well.

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    • I’d really like those to be the last two moves for me, too. This one seems to be hitting me hard with exhaustion and sore muscles, even though we had the movers to do most of the worst lifting. The age factor might be kicking in. Sigh.

      I may not get to visit other blogs tonight, but I should be by tomorrow or Friday. Hope your husband is continuing to improve!

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  18. Glad the move is done JM, though the settling in will take more time. If I count going off to uni, which was the first time I left home, I’ve had only seven moves in my adult life. We are thinking of moving again, sometime in the coming years, but that, we expect, will be it. Interesting how things change. When I was at uni, I loved the fact that at the end of term, I’d move back to my home town, but by the end of the summer, I was glad it was time to move again. Now, I can’t be bothered to move! That’s an interesting trash pile there, wonder what treasures lie within it?

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    • Settling will, indeed, take a while. Figuring out where to put the smaller items will take some time, and those boxes refuse to unpack themselves for some reason.

      If you’d told me when my husband and I made our first move together how many more times we would do it, I never would have believed you. The expectations of how the careers would go, though, did not match the reality. And that’s been responsible for several of the moves. Others, we just decided to look for greener pastures. And yet, I’ll still insist that I’m not a nomad at heart.

      Seven moves is still a significant number! Treasures, mysteries, clues, inspiration… We’ll have to wait and see what’s waiting in that pile!

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  19. Ach! Moving…I can’t top 12, but hubby and I moved 6 times in the first 2 years. Now we’ve been in the same place for 26 years! πŸ˜‰
    Ironically we’re helping our son and DIL move this weekend -they’ve just bought their first house!

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    • Six times in two years would be more than I could handle these days! Maybe when we were younger and grad student stipends didn’t allow for the accumulation of much “stuff”…. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of being in any of the places we’ve lived for 26 years, but the idea sounds nice for when retirement rolls around!

      Careful of your back and musclesβ€”moving furniture and heavy boxes isn’t the same as working out. Seriouslyβ€”I know! πŸ˜€

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  20. Oh, man. Moving is so stressful, even if it’s local. You still have to pack up your life and shift it. Good for you that the ideas are still coming even if the word count isn’t moving along. I know it’s tough!

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    • Our move wasn’t anywhere as major as the one you recently made, but all that packing and unpacking really knocks me out of any groove I’m in. I’m still trying to find a new one. I know I will, but until then, I still feel like I’m completely out of step with the environment. I hope you’re getting comfortably settled!

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  21. You make moving seem easy…and neat. When we moved from one house to another several miles away, I had boxes stacked in all the rooms for months while we painted one room at a time and decided where to put things.
    I read a review of EINSTEIN’S DREAMS that called it a gem of little novel, where no words were wasted. Like you, I wonder if today it would be published as a stand-alone, or as a novella within a book of short stories.

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    • Ah, there’s a reason I only posted a photo of my new office so far! πŸ˜‰ The rest of the house did not look that neat and tidy. Slowly, we’re getting there. But the garage held a lot of the boxes until we began unpacking them. This last week has been especially exhausting as we’ve finished up cleaning the old place and gotten a start on organizing everything in the new. I’m hoping for a nice day next weekend where we can just go play somewhere fun. Or crash at the new house. πŸ™‚

      If you haven’t read Einstein’s Dreams, I highly recommend it. Many reviewers focus on the “short stories” as simply examples to illustrate different concepts of time. But I think they’re missing how much is also being said about how people in our world live their lives “in time.” I hope that makes sense!

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