We are moving to Bozeman, Montana.

This is the current picture of the current home for which we currently are under current contract, at 12 Red Rock Court:

RedRockI have all of those “currents” in the current wording of the current post because the situation is currently fluid – you know, fluid. Like a current.

For those of you playing along at home, here’s a timeline:

  •  We left Park City for Arizona, where we stayed for eight years. All that time, Ethel worked for WGU remotely.
  • When we moved back to Utah, we went back to Summit Park, where we’d lived before; although we had a small dog, we bought a condo, since Ethel worked remotely; there was no reason to assume that she couldn’t stay home and take care of the dog.
  • After a couple of months, Ethel’s superiors wanted her in the office.
  • For almost two years, she’s been commuting – while trying to take care of a small dog (who couldn’t be left alone very long). This caused some timing issues.
  • Then a year ago she started triathlon, which absorbed all of her free time, plus 50%. And the dog ran into health troubles, which required more care.
  • This winter, since I had already done the research to determine The Best Place For Us To Live, Ethel and I made a couple of trips to Bozeman, and decided to move there – that way, she’d be remote again, and wouldn’t be commuting, and everything would make sense.
  • Ethel’s superiors said no, you can’t go remote again.
  • I pouted.
  • We made arrangments to move to the Valley, to solve these problems as best we could.
  • Put our house on the market.
  • It sold in a few days.
  • Put an offer on a great condo in Taylorsville.
  • Put a lot of our stuff in a PODS.
  • The sale of our house fell through – buyer couldn’t get qualified.
  • We had to retract the offer on the Taylorsville condo.
  • Put our house back on the market.
  • It sold in a few days.
  • Put an offer on a great condo in Taylorsville – the same model as the previous one, next door.
  • Put most of the rest of our stuff in a PODS.

Then, a week ago Friday, the appraisal for the second condo came in tens of thousands of dollars below the same unit, next door, so we couldn’t buy it. Ethel got mad and said “That’s it, I quit. I’m moving to Bozeman”. Her superiors said “Don’t quit – just move to Bozeman”.

She called me up and said “What are you doing after the race tomorrow?” (I had an Olympic distance race scheduled last Saturday – Ethel was supposed to do the sprint, but she’s injured). I said “Probably taking a nap, why?”

“Can you take a nap in the car?”
“Why?”

“So we can go to Bozeman and find a place to live.”

“I’m not racing tomorrow. Come home now and we’ll drive to Bozeman tonight”.

We went up there and eliminated everything else and I was a mite discouraged until we found 12 Red Rock, seen above. We have every intention of closing the deal on that home, but after the last couple of months, I’m feeling a mite skittish when it comes to saying what I actually think might actually happen.

But whether we wind up buying this place or not, we’re finishing packing this week, and we’re heading for Bozeman this weekend. We’ve got a place to stay until the purchase goes through.

So we’re going to Bozeman :)

Forecast for Salt Lake City.

heatdeathI moved back to Utah from Arizona because I thought that we were done with this stuff.

Average June highs for SLC are supposed to be in the 80s, but it’s been like this for a while. Ethel is loving it. Now, it’s not shadenfraude, because she’s not reveling in others’ misery, but it’s related to shadenfraude, because she is reveling in the conditions that are causing others misery.

I’m ready to try one of those long-distance marriages where you call each other every evening and share about your day – she can be in a blast furnace, enjoying watching her skin peel off, and I’ll be in northern British Columbia. Somewhere around Liard Hot Springs, where the springs are the only thing that is hot.

But I’d probably miss her.

It’s bad enough driving down into this awfulness every day, but we’re actually moving down here. Again, I thought that highs would be in the 80s. They obviously aren’t. It does no good to say “well, it used to be like that”. I used to have hair. I used to be thin and fast. My hair and thinness and fastness are not going to get any better, and I see no reason to believe that the forecast will, either.

At my first trip to SLC, in 1995, I was talking with Doug, a fellow Alabamian, who said “The winters are awful, but the summers are glorious”. Doug was not a skier, so to him “snow on the ground” equals “awful”. To me, “snow on the ground” equals “bliss”. But he was correct – the summers were glorious. For a fellow who had lived in Alabama, Texas and Arizona, June highs of 88 with no humidity felt like paradise.

This winter there was no snow, and now – well, there’s this.

Full disclosure – in Phoenix, you don’t see the yellow sun/red sky forecast picture unless the forecast temp is 110 F or above. So, in that respect, this isn’t as “bad” as Phoenix. But, then, having your wrists cut open with a steak knife isn’t as “bad” as having your intestines ripped out with a rusty hook, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

I’m pretty tired, and worn out from training and everything that the move has been requiring. So maybe I’m overreacting.

But I really thought that we were done with this.

I’ve ween wearing this wrist band now since the 30th of April. I’m gonna wear it until it falls of on its own.

wristband

They put the band one when you do your packet pickup at WTC races; there are millions of dollars in bikes in the transition area, so they don’t want any non-athletes wandering around. Plus, the wristband identifies you everywhere else that you have to go – and at an Ironman even, there are a lot of places that you have to go.

They put one of these on my last year, when I did the St. George Squealfest, and I got it off of my arm as soon as I could upon leaving town; it left a circle of burned skin on my arm, charred with the shame of my experience. They put one on when I did the Tahoe Smokeout (also known as the IronLung) and I got around to cutting it off fairly quickly, although that was one of the major anticlimaxes of my life.

But this is different; St George this year was a disaster, but it was my disaster. Even though it hurt, and was stupid, I did, indeed, finish it. And I have no desire to cut the band off.

I’ve had the odd notion about keeping this band on until I replace it with one that doesn’t say “70.3”, but I doubt that it could possibly last that long. I won’t even discuss doing one of those things (in my circle, we call it the “Mumble Mumble”, because as soon as you actually say the real worlds, you start thinking about it, and I ain’t thinking about it yet) until I have done a 70.3 right, and that won’t happen until at least August 22nd, at VikingMan in Burley.

Maybe if I could find some way to reinforce this band with some sort of metallic backing, I could get it to last long enough to replace it with the real thing. But, hey, that would just be weird.

So I’ll let it fall away in its own good time.

However, I suspect that when that does happen, it will somehow find its way into one of the drawers in my desk.

I’ve been in Pleasanton all week, for a class.

Workday has a great snack program, so I’ve been saving time on my meals – most every breakfast and lunch has been the same thing:

boc

Mixed nuts, jerky, and string cheese.

Workday has both beef and turkey jerky, and there’s also mild and medium cheddar cheeses in the same sort of packaging, so really I’ve just been dizzy with the variety. And it’s hard to get “lower carb” than this.

Since Workday’s paying for my meals anyway (expense account) I figure I’m saving them money – this has got to be cheaper than Pleasanton restaurants – and saving time, as well, so that I can spend more time doing what I’m supposed to be doing here, which is this class. And that leaves me more time before and after for training and meetings, which is pretty much all that there is for me to do in Pleasanton, since this is an Ethel Free Zone.

Somebody said last night “Why don’t you go to a movie?” The answer is simple – there are a lot of movies that Ethel would want to go see without me (pretty much any romantic comedy that doesn’t have action/adventure or science fiction overtones, for example) but the only movies that I would like to see without Ethel would be movies in which demons play a role – and “demons” here mean “demons in the Catholic Church sense”, not “demons in the Whedonverse”.

I’m no demon-movie aficionado, but there are the odd ones – “Constantine” comes to mind, and Denzel is great in “Fallen”. But those are movies that I found by accident – I’m not about to go to the theater on the off chance that something on the marquee might be one of those rare ones. So I’m not going to the movies while I’m here.

And that’s really about all there is to do, besides go to meetings and train. There’s no real “sightseeing”, as I’m in the East Bay, far away from San Francisco – most of what there is to see in the rest of the Bay Area is traffic. Everything looks the same – stucco homes and strip malls between beautiful golden hills with green patches of short trees. Several hours east of here are the Sierras, but I’m not driving way over there to see mountains from a distance.

I can only train so much, as well, so I’ve been making a lot of meetings. And going to restaurants at night, after meeting — which, by the way, is a bit disappointing; as it turns out, the East Bay doesn’t have any Mexican food. Everything tastes like it came out of a can.

Mostly, though, it’s all various subtle changes on Asian food. And I’m just not that hip on different ways to eat noodles.

Now, mixed nuts and jerky, though – I’m diggin’ on that…

Wow – it’s been a month since I’ve posted.

Well, I’ve been very busy. And there have been life events on hold that I didn’t want to talk about until they got settled one way or the other. Plus, I’ve been very busy.

This is me, being busy –

mhst

That’s at the Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon this last week, racing with friends Ian and Karl. Ian kicked butt, and Karl wrecked his bike.

Me? I had a good race – the most complete tri I’ve done so far. Heck, I even pushed the right buttons on my watch, at the right times, all the way through (and got this record in Garmin Connect for my troubles). I was down close to 2 minute pace for the swim – in open water! – and from the moment I climbed out of the lake, I was ruler of all I surveyed until the end of the race – nobody passed me on the bike, and only three very young folks passed me in the first half-mile of the run. (One nice thing about being such a slow swimmer is that the athletes coming out of the water when I do are not of the top caliber :)

Okay, let’s back up, from now until last month when I posted last…okay – right now, I’m in Pleasanton, CA for a class at work. I’m learning some more development tools and techniques; I’m still the dumbest guy in the room, but “a rising tide lifts all boats”. That’s why I ran the Morgan Hill Sprint this weekend – I came out to the Bay a day early to race with friends.

In this last month, we’d accepted an offer on our house, and made an offer on a place in Taylorsville, and everything was going along fine until Monday, when our buyer was turned down for his loan – so now our house is back on the market, and we lost the house we were buying, and I’m a bit discouraged with the whole thing. However, God is still running my life, so – unless He’s decided that He just doesn’t like me – I suspect that it’s all going to work out for the best.

On Saturday, Ethel did the Woman of Steel sprint triathlon down in American Fork, and had a great race (even though it was cold and rainy; I’m not sure I would have had the fortitude to go ahead and do that race. Obviously, I’m not a woman of steel). I was in “support” mode for this race; for those of you who’ve ever wondered, support is much easier than doing the race yourself.

The week before, I was doing marginal training, because the week before that, I had pneumonia, because the week before that, I had bronchitis, but I went right ahead and took my sick lungs through Ironman St. George 70.3 – yep. Finally got that monkey off my back. I had a terrible race, and by the time I got home to Salt Lake, I had a fever, which shot up to 102 on Monday – out came the antibiotics and down I went, and stayed down all week.

So it’s not true to say that I’ve been very busy for the whole month, because, for an entire week, I didn’t do ANYthing – but the nothing that I did was definitely at the top of my capacity. I did all that I could do, which was nothing.

And that takes us all the way back, so I reckon I’m done now.

Yesterday was Bring Your Idiot to Workday.

officelucy

Lucy came with me to the office. Workday allows this, once a little bit of paperwork is done. That’s why it doesn’t say ‘Bring your Dog to Work Day”, but “Bring your dog to Workday” – it’s any day. One has to sign up in Outlook so that no more than six dogs come on a given day.

She was quite well behaved; last week, we started working with her on “down” and “stay”. She did very well; the entire day she stayed where she was told, and didn’t make a sound. She got a lot of petting from folks who aren’t discriminating in their affections (which fits, because Lucy isn’t very discriminating either) and she probably got more exercise than a normal day.

Workday provides us with snacks, and yesterday afternoon I took Lucy with me to the kitchen; while we were in there, a co-worker nodded at the dog and said that Workday should start providing doggie treats.

I said “Don’t push it!” We’ve already got it made. Ridiculously so.

“Scoobies” in this context means Milk Bones, which in the Puckett household are “scooby snacks”. “Scoobies” in the larger sense, of course, refers to Giles, Willow and Xander (plus Anya, Oz and even Tara in the short term (as it happens, we’re going through Buffy again; this time, it was Ethel who seemed to need the comfort. Maybe it’s been the stress of putting the house on the market and getting ready to move again)).

Lucy was at work because the house was still on the market, and both of us needed to be in the office, and Ethel’s dogsitter couldn’t keep her, and it was too warm to leave her in the car. Today the house is off the market – we’re under contract. This means that we’ll be leaving Park City and moving…somewhere. We aren’t sure yet; we have an offer in on a townhome in Taylorsville that we expect will be accepted, but “expect” is one of the words in the English Language that acts as a low-impact intelligence test; when I use it, it means that I’m being stupid.

(Other intelligence-test words are “should” and “bad” used as a noun – as in “my bad”)

We aren’t going to Bozeman, and that’s something that is still working its way through my system – since it’s happening, then it’s God’s Will, and since it’s God’s Will, it must be a good thing. But sometimes it takes a while for me to adjust to His Will, and this may be one of those times – and that may be because of the “inconsistent reward” behaviorist-psychology aspect of the whole deal. The whole “yes, you can go – no, you can’t – yes, you can – no, wait, maybe – no, you can’t – let us get back to you”  business doesn’t allow one to simply close the door on something and accept that the door is closed. And it seems to me that when my selfishness has attached itself to something, the door has to be really closed before I can adjust. Heck, her boss could suddenly decide today to say “yes you can go” and then we’d just, well, GO.

So I’m still adjusting to that (I can tell by the way I phrased the last paragraph – sometimes, I don’t know what’s going on in my insides until I see it written down outside). We also had a lot of different homes that we were looking at in the Salt Lake Valley, but when we found the Taylorsville townhome on Saturday, we immediately agreed that that was the one.  We made an offer, but there were contingencies that the sellers didn’t like, and they let the offer expire (turns out that the owner was traveling and couldn’t connect with his realtor anyway).

When we went under contract, we sent ’em another offer without the contingencies, and as I said above, we “expect” that to be accepted. But it might not be – I can see that place going into a bidding war.

If we don’t buy that place, then we’ve got several other contenders; one showed up yesterday that is almost as nice as the house we sold in New River two years ago (minus the views and the negative-edge pool) and is still within our budget. I don’t expect that one to last, either.

Uncertainties. So much of my life right now feels like Shrodinger’s Cat – I don’t know whether it’s dead or alive until the box gets opened. I’m assuming that God knows, since He always has – but He never tells me. I just get to find out – when the box gets opened.

Who knows? We might still wind up in Bozeman….

Here’s a photo of our other Ray Swanson print, “Arizona Matriarch” (click to embiggen):

ArizonaMatriarch

It’s a very good print – it’s done with some process such that it retains the brush strokes in such a way that it looks like the original, as though the brush strokes are 3D. It’s probably my favorite print. When I’m laying on the couch facing north, this is what I see.

But she is not happy – about anything. And she is not hiding her feelings, either.

No doubt there are folks who are sure that she’s unhappy about some great issue – the spread of the white man across the plains, the treatment of her people, the inflated prices she has to pay for Navajo rugs, or somesuch. I tend to think of such folks – in my own head, quietly – as “socialists”; this doesn’t refer to any economic system, but rather I’m using “-ist” in its more generic sense, like “materialist”, “extremist”, “atheist” – meaning a school of thought that sees everything from a given issue.

There are folks out there who really believe that social issues are the cause of all of our woes, and that if we could “fix” society then we would fix humanity. Of course, most of them disagree on just exactly how society should be fixed (or even what sort of “fixed” humanity we hope to wind up with as a result) but they do agree that “society” is the problem.

The nice thing about this type of thinking, of course, is that it means that it’s not my fault – my life and problems are actually somebody else’s fault. Not only that, but the problems that have been caused can’t really be solved, because they are so big and complex – so, there’s nothing that can be done. So it’s not my fault, and I am left with no responsibility to fix it.

Of course, as always, it goes back to what they told me in Texas, thirty years ago – “if I’m not the problem, then there is no solution”. My problems are mine, generated by me. There aren’t any exceptions to this. N.B. – this does not imply (directly) that my CIRCUMSTANCES are necessarily self-generated – I’d be glad to discuss that some other time :) – but my problems are not my circumstances. Problems are internal, circumstances are external.

I used to think that I looked outside and saw the world, and then looked inside and generated my feelings about it. I have since learned that I actually look inside and see my feelings, and then I look at the world and try to figure out what to blame for them. I then have to filter out everything that is good, and true, and beautiful, and find the negative things that I need to blame for my bad feelings. Then I can sit in my crap and have somebody to blame for it.

When I am self-aware – i.e. “aware that self is my problem” – then I see that I’m just telling myself stories about the world, making them up, and only picking out the things that I see that support my stories, that serve as evidence. Then I’m free to ask Him for “another way to look at this”.

When I look at the Matriarch, sometimes I think that she is carrying some vast weight of unhappiness that was brought about by evil people outside of her control – and that means that I’m buying into that sort of thinking. And sometimes it looks like she’s unhappy with me, and I start thinking I’d better straighten up.

When I’m spiritually fit, then I figure that maybe she’s just tired- or maybe she’s just looking into the sun, and it’s causing her to squint? Or maybe, even, she is where I get so many times – to that place where she realizes that she’s causing her own unhappiness, and she’s just a little tired of herself; that place of perfect discomfort that comes just before being relieved of the bondage of self, for just a little while.

Or maybe she’s constipated. Government cheese will do that to you.

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