We were just at Home Depot a few minutes ago, moving along the order for our blinds for the new house. And I saw rows of appliances, including refrigerators – some at the front that were in the mid-$3000 range, then less expensive, and less – and finally, these guys, on the back row, facing the back of the store:

fridges

I sorta felt sorry for these refrigerators; they were the smallest, and the least expensive, without the fancy features or ice-in-the-door or any of that stuff. The last row refrigerators.

I found myself giving them all a thumbs-up and telling them “Good job!” like Hancock talking to the SWAT Team.

I wanted to let them know that maybe they weren’t as fancy and expensive as the other guys, but they were darn serviceable and functional refrigerators, and that they did what refrigerators are supposed to do – keep food cold. I sorta gave them a little pep talk, and I like to think that, after I left, maybe they stood just a little bit taller.

I know how it feels to be on the last row, with the smallest price tag. I know how it feels to think that nobody wants you, that you’re barely functional, that folks will gladly pass over you on the way to something better. And I didn’t want these refrigerators to feel that way.

I’m sure that this has nothing to do with the fact that, today, I can’t get my boss’ or team leader’s attention at all; I finished up some projects this morning, and these folks seem to be too busy to give me the next project. Maybe they don’t care whether I’m doing anything or not. Maybe they’d rather I not do anything, so that I won’t mess anything up.

Completely unrelated.

Good job, refrigerators! You guys hang in there – somebody need you; exactly you, and no other refrigerator will do!

Here are the new corporate offices of Western Governors University (Montana Campus) and Workday Bozeman.

KitchenOfficeWe’re in a thousand-square-foot 2 bedroom condo for the next few weeks, and this is the best that we could come up with for working spaces. It actually is much more functional than you might think….well, it would have to be, wouldn’t it?….and I’m quite comfortable. Pandora over the headphones insulates me from Ethel’s meetings and phone calls – and the 60+ Mbps connection is better than we had at home in Utah; it may be better, in fact, than what we each had at our Utah offices, as those were shared-bandwidth situations.

Life is proceeding apace here in the Great White North – no, wait. That’s Canadia, right? We’re not in the Great Plains – the eastern part of Montana certainly is Great Plainsey, but “Montana” means “Mountain”. We’re not in the Pacific Northwest – heck, here in Bozeman, we’re actually on the Atlantic side of the Continental Divide, although not by much. I suspect we could call it the “Northern Rockies” – there. That works…anyway, things are moving along. We’re two weeks out from closing on the new house, with all that that involves. And we’re learning our way around Bozeman from a resident’s perspective, and finding the new places that will someday be old hat.

For instance, last night, we swam for the first time with the Bozeman Masters swim club; that was not fun for me (I’m the introvert) nor was it easy. They are a SWIM club, not a TRI club; they want me to something called “IM” but that doesn’t mean IronMan – it means Individual Medley. But it turns out that it’s not very “individual” at all – it orta be called “Regimented Medley” because it involves all kinds of things that nobody would EVER do if left to their own individuality; things like “Butterfly” and “Backstroke” and “Breaststroke”.

“Breastroke” seems like “Dogpaddle” and it’s just as tiring. “Backstroke” – well, were I to actually DO a backstroke, I would need my own pool. With rubber cushions on the sides. And “Butterfly”? That’s just a fancy, exhausting way to drown. I was able to do “Fly” for about four strokes before I gave up and reverted to “Breastroke” for the rest of the length, whereupon I started to cramp up.

But Ethel wants to do social stuff like that, so I’ll go back. Even though they’ll soon be shunning me, or giving me my own lane.

We’ve been going to different restaurants, enjoying the variety while looking for a “go-to” place. In Park City, that once was El Chubasco, but as our time got more precious this last residence, it eventually became Billy Blanco’s . A “go-to” restaurant means that place where you go when you don’t have time to – or don’t feel like – cooking; it means a place with which you are familiar and in which you have confidence; enough variety in the menu, and inexpensive enough (and casual enough) to be comfortable. We haven’t found that yet here in Bozeman (although I really like Rosauer’s deli, Ethel refuses to let a grocery store deli be our “go-to”). We’re still looking, and the search is fun in itself.

Church works; we feel comfortable there, but not too comfortable (“I am here to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”) and meetings are pretty good. There is weirdness, but it ain’t West Coast foo-foo or Salt Lake City buffet (“I don’t have a topic picked out, so you all just talk about whatever you want to talk about”) – quite a few of these folks have read the book, and even paid attention.

We’re learning our way around – when to avoid that intersection, how that road cuts through to a remarkable shortcut, how to get to the running trails. We’ve found a great local lake for open water swimming, and that’s in a park with gorgeous shady running trails as well. This weekend, I did a nice long bike ride up into Hyalite Canyon to the reservoir; felt comfortable the whole way. Folks around here are used to bicycles.

Life is proceeding apace for the Pucketts of Bozeman, MT, and will continue to do so for another week or two.

Then we close on the house, and things will get crazy.

The purchase of 12 Red Rock Court is proceeding apace – albeit, at considerable expense.

There’s the purchase of a new bedroom suit and dining room that was necessitated by us somehow getting finagled out of that stuff in Park City. Ouch. So far, that’s about 6500.

There’s an unfinished concrete wall on the front porch that the builder says is “finished”. Nobody else thinks so, but he does – first estimate is $1700 to cover that with rock. There’s a light fixture in the dining room that is just a round thing that looks like it cost about $10 – acacia floors, alder trim, and then that thing sitting there. It’s got to be replaced, of course.

Blinds – new house, has to have blinds. First estimate was just over 4K. We’ve gotten some down to the 2K range, but that involves leaving some windows uncovered. I’ve told Ethel that the neighbors seeing a naked bald man in his 50s is a self-solving problem – they’ll never look again – but she was unconvinced.

Then there’s the backsplash for the kitchen – that will probably involve more work than money, by the time we’re done.

Then there’s the paint and AV work –GreatRoom

Ethel has informed me that this paint “doesn’t work with our decor”, so we have to repaint. We don’t have the estimate for that, but it’s terrifying to meditate upon.

And the fireplace is at an odd angle, and we have to get an AV guy to come in and set up the sound, since there’s no simple solution – the ceiling is about 25-30 feet up there, so we can’t just run speakers through the ceiling. And we need fancy mounting and stuff, and power and cable and Cat5 run to a spot on top of the fireplace, so we need a smart guy to do all of that.

Got that estimate today – almost 4K. Boink!

This is all ruinous :) However, I am comforting (reassuring? Ameliorating? Calming? Hypnotizing? : ) myself by repeating to myself that if it gets us into the house, and we STAY in the house, that it was worth it.

And, if not, then it won’t make much difference in the long run. We’ll still retire – someday : )

Here we are, in a nice condo on Baxter Drive in Bozeman, MT, living here just like real people.

The bikes are happy, up on trainers out in the jumbo single-car garage:

garage

Most of the stuff is in storage in two PODS and two vaults in Salt Lake (query – since PODS actually is an acronym for Portable On Demand Storage, should the plural be PODSes ?) while everything that isn’t was somehow shoved into our two cars and came with us to this condo.

Tomorrow, though, we’re actually leaving the condo for a few days (it was already rented out for this weekend before our realtor friend offered it to us as temporary housing until we close on 12 Red Rock, so we knew about this heading in) so we’ll be taking most of our stuff and putting it in this garage with the bikes, and taking some of the stuff with us to stay in a hotel for those three days.

But, of course, we can’t stay in a hotel room for three days – we’ll be getting stuff done for the house sale, and no doubt touring southwestern Montana over the weekend, at which time we’ll take some of the stuff out of the hotel room into our gym bags and hit the road.

So most of our stuff will be in storage in Utah, with most of the remainder in storage in the garage, with most of the remainder of THAT in the hotel, with the rest of it with us in the car – the supply lines are getting rather strung out, indeed.

….I’m getting pretty strung out, as well. My training has been slipping ever since we started packing for real; I’ve been stressed enough that I don’t think that I’ve been recovering from what training I have done (I’m not even sure that I’m recovering from the stress itself) so I’m not in good shape.

Today I decided to quit triathlon and go back to just running recreationally. Ethel said “Can I have your bike?” (She’s very loving and supportive that way).

Today work has gone badly, indeed – I made a booboo.

The condo sale in PC closed today, which is good news – and, given the fact that I made a booboo today, could be very good news. It means that I have enough money in cash to rent a nice place for a very, very long while. And, given the booboo, maybe I won’t be buying the place on Red Rock.

I’ve reached the point where I can do some things at my job very quickly, efficiently and effectively, but the tech is still so new and the processes still so much in flux – and there is so much to learn – that sometimes I feel completely out of my depth, and I just want to hide.

And I could hide quite comfortably here in a little condo on Baxter Drive in Bozeman for quite a long time, indeed – especially if I don’t have to leave for the odd weekend :)

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.

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