Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Endless Packing and Other Craziness

  I thought I was so freakin clever. Started packing early while still dealing with school paperwork, buying a car, selling a car, fixing the new car, going to the DMV to pay tickets and get the new car registered and getting Joe's stuff out of storage. I should have paced myself. I am so tired.
   Our neighbor is a friend of the landlord and thought we were packing early so we could get out of paying the rent. (For heavens sake! We've been here 4 years.) A few phone calls and a check dissuaded him of that notion. But heavens, trying to get things organized with him knocking on the door 5 times a day was not fun. I showed my new patience and tolerance well though.
  School paperwork was fine until we got to the financial aid part and since money is not my forte', I had Joe sit in while we spoke to them. Made it worse, his accountant side came out and every tiny word had to be examined. Never doing that again. It turned out beautifully in the end though.
  Selling the car was an amazingly long and crazy process. I will never understand man things, really I won't. We put up an ad for a 1960 corvette, red ,4 speed, all original except the engine. Now please understand they make the parts for this car again and it's just a matter of sweat and money for this thing to be the car of a lifetime. We got calls, lots of em. But these guys were making offers that were insulting and calling 5 times a day to just talk and talk and talk. I finally called my brother and asked him what the deal was and he said for three days of time and phone calls they could shave 12,000 off the price, not bad for a few days work. WHAT? Really? So while Joe is on the phone for the bobillionth time, This guy offers half the asking price again and since it was on speaker phone I said, tell him he's insulting us and that we had already been offered 20,000. ( which is true BTW) He babbled and never called again. UH! So frustrating! After 3 ads in as many weeks, the Corvette sold to a calm reasonable man in Alabama. I still believe Joe just wanted the right person to have it.
  Buying a car is supposed to be stressful right? Well after we got smart and stopped going to dealerships, it got easy. We got a ten year old Ford Explorer in fine shape for 5,000. Any surprises you ask? Well the electrical in the doors had given up the ghost, so the doors wouldn't open unless you used a key. 299 at the dealership to fix it. Now we're talking!
  Now we have a car that actually drives, so it's time to get my license back and get Joes stuff out of storage where it has been gathering dust for 4 years. Yep you heard it, disgusting and considering Joe is NOT a cleaner, I can expect a nightmare. (Are you catching a trend here?) We drove up there to take a look and no surprises. it's dusty, dirty ,thrown in there are piles of clothes, tools, CD's, electrical components and a washer and dryer! Hey now! That's worth digging for right? You betcha! Thank God I started packing early, because we are on the forth trip there and STILL packing! Two months!!  Hold it now, let me back track. We have been taking the Harley everywhere for years, so having a car is luxury!
The DMV. Once again what a stressful place right? No, not really anymore. They still have the number calling thing going on so I did kinda feel like the sceen in Beetlegues, but the whole thing went well over all. Two appointments and a phone call. "sigh".
I'm just finishing the packing and moving it all into the pods. Sorted out the stuff we need for ourselves and the birds for the trip. Yes my darling I am tired, but you know when suddenly amidst the work you suddenly start to feel like it's almost Christmas? Oh my oh my, It;s almost Le Cordon Bleu!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Who Whispered Magic Words?

  Just so you know, with a huge family like mine keeping track is impossible. WE can barely keep track.
So my favorite holiday is here. No not Christmas, but the 23rd, Christmas caroling and the family is going to arrive any minute. My feet hurt and I'm pretty tired, I now know why I had such a hard time enjoying my family all those years. The first in the door are Ashley and her brother Will, followed closely by Sister Julie, her three adult girls and Allie. Hugs are dispensed and excuses made for those who couldn't make it. Now a family friend or three arrive. Good more voices, I am the only soprano this year...dang, I am in good voice though so I'll just do my best. Because there are so many of us, we don't exchange gifts. However this year is an exception and so we make great ceremony about Ashley and Wills ipads, Tears, hugs and lots of Ooo;s and Ahh's are uttered while looking at the valued loot. Suddenly My Niece announces she is pregnant. Upstaging my announcement utterly. I heave a big sigh and say that I have an announcement too...I have been accepted into Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Silence and then conversation starts again. I guess that is as much as I can expect, after all nothing has changed right? A twinge of hurt, but nothing I'm not long used to really. So I chat with the youngsters, admire the technological mother lode of the siblings and eat.  The conversation is centered around teaching and after about an hour of the teachery talk, Allie takes pictures and I float into my Sis's room where the fun is going on. Tony and Ashley are video chatting and making silly faces, my nephew is showing video from youtube of his band performing. His voice is amazing. I'm asked over and over why we planned the ipad joint gifts and I explain many times how these two have no privacy and have been long overlooked in the family. Do they realize they are the one who have over looked these two fine kids? Doubtful at best. Nothing is said to me about my Gigantic news. Now we all go to one house to carol. It is much too cold to go out normally. We sing, go inside, chat and break into small groups to sing duets and now and then I softly harmonize. Mostly I just enjoy my brothers fine strong tenor voice and his long camaraderie with his friend Danny. They sing Cat Stephens and James Taylor and the acoustics in this house are a thing of beauty. I feel full and strong. Memories of skulking around corners and listening to them sing as preteens sweeps through me and leaves me feeling grateful for having this loving man as a friend and brother. We start to flow towards the door with calls of Merry Christmas. Back at the house, as people start to leave my sister steps out of the hallway and makes me jump. She says congratulations and wishes me luck...this is the first time she has talked to me in 4 years. I say thank you and apologize for past issues and we hug. I now have no feuds with anyone in my family for the first time in 40 years. Thank you God.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Fairy God Mother Dena

4 days after I mail the card, a sweet wonderful woman called from Le Cordon Bleu, her name is Dena and she is not the least bit snippy. She keeps me on the phone until the first interview is complete and we schedule the next for the next afternoon...whew!   I SNATCH up the phone and kind of sang "Hi Dena!"When she calls the next day and she asks me if I have time to do another interview and maybe she can transfer me to financial aid and we can get me enrolled...Heck Yeah! BRING IT ON! Er except one thing...financial stuff is jibberish to me. So I grab Joe and make him sit in while I switch to speaker phone. The first half is like talking to a friend. I tell her how when I was 12 I made a runny batch of fudge and swore to myself to make the worlds most perfect fudge one day, and I do, I also talked about being 6 when I stood on a chair and helped make dinner for my 10 siblings and parents and about what a terrible cook my mother was and how much I just wanted to make good food. Without guile of any kind I just talked honestly. Freeing and thoroughly delightful.
  Now is the phrase around which everything orbits. Dena says I sound perfect and would I like to attend Le Cordon Bleu. Tears spring and my throat tightens as I say "I would love that". We are transferred to financial aid and there is a blur of government speak and way overly worded stuff, Yeah, I understand I gotta pay this back. Not real sure how that will go. My credit kinda sucks and I feel like I need to put my head between my knees. 72 hours...blah.
  Wringing my sweaty palms I tell Joe how apprehensive I am. This tough New York bastard tells me "Honey no matter what it takes, you are going. Go tell the world!" I'm pretty sure I levitated all the way to my desk. First I call Sis, then Tony my brother and then text my niece Ashley....drum roll please because now I announce it on facebook! 49 congratulations later I'm flushed with a combination of humility and pride. I am also completely committed. Now for the hard part. My family isn't exactly close, actually I'm the black sheep, so telling the rest of the family is risky because they are likely going to gossip. So I call Tony and arrange to carpool with him to Sis's house for the annual Christmas caroling and while we're on the phone he asks if I'm going to make an announcement. Yes, I think that's best, just get it over with.
  I've noticed that big events in ones life are roller coasters of emotions. Apprehension over telling the family one minute and excitement the next. While I wait though, my financial aid comes through and everything is covered but $71.00! Texts go out and come back and once again I am jubilant! I pack up the pie dough I froze, pie filling and all the do dads I need to make pies for Sis and her husband, a change of clothes and layers of warm outer wear. It's supposed to be 30 degrees caroling night. Lawd it looks like I packed for two weeks. Tony calls to say he's out front and we have a wonderful warm talk on the way. I love road trips with my brother. When we pull up, Sis is still asleep, so we grab the hidden key and I get started on the pies while Tony tries to sleep. Cooking in anyone else's kitchen is always a challenge. But when Sis wakes up the house smells like heaven. I work all day baking, helping Tony wire WiFi, decorate, plate up snacks, assemble song books and my feet hurt and I'm feeling tired when the rest are supposed to arrive.

Poking the tiger

  So I'm sitting here dissatisfied and thinking about what I'm really want out of life and what I'm good at and  my fingers type culinary school into google. Good heavens they are everywhere and which are the best? I type 'the best culinary schools with reviews" into google and now I know I'll have to move because honestly, why go, if your just going to mess around with community college? Been there done that. As I bow my head and think about all the changes I'd have to make. Feel the quavering deep inside and start to read. The one in New York is french cuisine and very well ranked, but there is a 45 minute commute on the subway each way and housing is ridiculously priced...damn, really liked that one. OK Now there is one near my Sis's house, but the traffic and again the housing is crazy high. Also, I never want to live in the valley again. Been there done that. WAIT a MINUTE now...there's a Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando near my fiance's niece and great niece (whom he's never met) AND it specializes in the tourist trade.
  After a minute to muster my courage I stride into the living room and relate all the info to Joe (fiance'). Holy COW! He says "sounds great" and we begin to plan. We'd be 35 minutes from your niece and this would give you a whole year to get to know her and and and...
  Now back to the laptop I go and look up Le Cordon Bleu Orlando, I'm pretty sure space and time jittered and before I can really think too much (this is always a good thing) I'm on the phone with a councilor. She kinda snippy and say's she will need to follow up with me the next day and I'm so excited that I can't get to sleep until 6am....so I sleep through the follow up call. (OH CRAP!) Now my Sis will tell you that she and I keep strange hours. I get to bed about 3 am and and get up about 11am. Needless to say this is not working when the place you are trying to get ahold of is 3 hours later. I try calling, no response. I try emailing, no response...crap crap crap.
  Here is the funny thing, Joe and I continue to plan and prepare for the move of 3000 miles to go to a school I think I blew before I started. Over the next month he gets a wee bit testy about WHEN we need to be there, but really we continue to plan, order boxes, sell his chick magnet cars, buy an SUV with a trailer hitch for the Harley and talk about what to take and what to give away. Surreal right? Yeah baby I thought so too.
   Have you ever noticed how sneaky little details matter the most? I got a little folded survey in the mail. From Le Cordon Bleu. Yep I did. I filled it out and sent it right back. Yes, I say, I do want to attend, why yes I do want the executive chef program and no I do not need child care. Mailed it and breathing deeply offered up a prayer of hope.