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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sayonara, Sunshine State.

Once we made the decision (again) to leave Florida, we didn’t waste any time blowing that joint. Within two days we had packed everything that we possibly fit into my car and Mike’s trunk. We said our goodbyes to Mike’s mom and gathered our thoughts for a few minutes before hitting the road. We decided to start our trip on Thursday night instead of Friday morning because we were pretty wired and knew we wouldn’t get much sleep.

Leaving Tampa was bittersweet. I don’t think that it had quite hit me that were were leaving the only state I’d ever lived and moving 2500 miles away. Unfortunately, because we had two cars, it wasn’t going to be a super fun road trip. I knew it would be a little lonely driving by myself, but at least I didn’t have to fight with anyone about what to listen to on the radio.

Here are the not so gory details:

1. We left on Thursday, August 26th at 11:00pm EST. It was humid and disgusting, as August in Florida usually is.

2. The first night/day we drove for almost 20 hours. We drove past Atlanta, GA at 6:00am on Friday morning, stopped in Tennessee for breakfast at the McD’s, and ended up in the evening rush through St. Louis. Why the heck would anyone live in St. Louis? Seriously. I didn’t even want to get gas in St. Louis.

3. We stopped for the night around 7:00pm in Somefuckingtown, MO and stayed in the skeeziest motel I’ve ever been in. It was disgusting and everything felt damp and smelled like smoke, but we were so tired we didn’t care.

4. McD’s for breakfast again.

5. We spent the day driving through the rest of Missouri and Kansas. Flat. Brown. Hot. That’s about it.

6. Mike nearly died from allergies on this trip. He spent the majority of the trip driving with one contact lens in and his eyes almost swollen shut. bless that man.

7. We arrived in Colorado just as the sun was starting to set and it was dark by the time we got to Denver.

8. We stayed in Fort Collins at a Hampton in and it was like the Taj Mahal compared to the shit hole we stayed in the night before. We got a good night of sleep and set out for the last leg of our journey to our new home.

9. The next morning, after drugging up the Hubs on Claritin, we hit the road. McD’s was consumed again. We finally got to see some clear blue skies and the Rocky Mountains.

10. I lost track of how many times I called Mike to ask “are we there yet?” We weren’t.

11. Wyoming was pretty to drive through. The mountains were huge. My ears kept popping from the changes in altitude.

12. We got into Montana early Sunday afternoon and into Billings at around 4:00pm MST.

I don't remember seeing this sign.

13. I swore of McD’s forever. That didn’t last long.

We’ve been in Montana for eight months now. To be honest, I still don’t feel like we live here. There is a completely different way of life here. It doesn’t feel like home. It’s not all bad, though. We have been very fortunate to have Jen and Dustin take us in, we’re both employed, we’ve made a few new friends, and we’re working to rebuild some of the mess that was made in Florida.

I’m sure I’ll do a few Montana posts eventually. For now, here is a little glimpse into some of things we’ve been up to since we got here.

We walked/jogged our first Turkey Trot. We cheated skipped a mile due to inadequate course signage. That's how we roll run.

Jen and I whipped up this awesome Thanksgiving dinner.

Just a little of the white stuff. It's been a very mild winter.

Mike turned 32!

We got a new car!

I made a friend at the zoo.

Someone got spoiled on Easter.

I’ve been horrible about taking pictures since we’ve been here, but Mike bought me an awesome camera for Christmas and I plan on putting it to good use! I’m trying to decide which direction to take the blog, so bear with me while post random things for the time being.

Thanks for reading!


The “Free Your Mind” Experiment.

And now for a break in your regularly scheduled programming…

After seeing this on K’s blog, mid(twenty-something)-life crisis, I definitely wanted to try it. Because I consider myself a work-in-progress, I thought it would be interesting to see how my answers to these questions change over time. My goal is to re-answer the questions a year from now, and see if and how the answers change. Side note: I originally wanted to do this in 2011 and I’m just getting around to it. Better late than never, right? It would have been interesting to see if there was any significant change in my answers after the relocation. Oh well.


  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? OAF. Old and fat. I’m sure that’s because of my physical condition, I feel a lot older than I am. Maybe 40. Ew. Note to self: answer this question differently next year.
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? Never trying. Despite how shitty I feel after failing, I hate “what if” even more.
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? There are two parts to this question. 1. I think that the main reason that we do things that we don’t like is because we feel like we have to. We grew up with parents telling us some form of  “I don’t care if you like it”/”you can’t always get what you want”. How many of us enjoyed homework and chores? We work at jobs we don’t like, go to functions we don’t care to go to, and act friendly towards people who we don’t like because we have to, or at least we think we do. We want to feed our families, keep our jobs, and avoid confrontation. Regardless of how short life is, there are always things that are going to take priority over things that we like (or even love) because we feel a sense of responsibility and a survival instinct that tells us we need to get things done regardless of how much we like them. It’s obvious (to me) that we should take pleasure in the small things in life that we have control over, but sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the larger things that we have going on. 2. I don’t really like this question. Why do we like so many things we don’t do? We can’t truly know if we like something unless we actually do it. That’s not the point of this question though. I think what it means is actually “why do we deprive ourselves of things we actually enjoy?” Fear of failure/rejection/humiliation. Financial difficulties. Time constraints.
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Of course. I never shut my trap.
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? Intolerance, ignorance, stupidity, and the fact that North Korea can launch a “missile” but they can’t grow a potato. (That’s for you, Mr. Folk!) I know that’s more than one thing. See question number 4.
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? Working with animals, being a stay-at-home mom, cooking, learning, and helping people.
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? I’m currently settling for what I’m doing.
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I would have 11 years left. My parents, grandfather, aunts, and some of my friends would be dead. This is depressing. I would spend as much time as possible with Mr. Folk, work as little as possible, travel as much as possible, and try to accomplish as many things as I could so that I could die not feeling like a worthless loser.
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? I guess I should take responsibility for all of the horrible decisions that I’ve made. And the not-so-horrible ones.
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? The answer to this questions varies with my mood. I want to do the right things, the right way.
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do? I would tell them that the person they were talking about was a close friend of mine. Hopefully that would keep them from continuing to criticize them, but if it didn’t, I would ask that they not talk about that person in my presence.
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Love yourself.
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one? Yes.
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? I married Mr. Folk, didn’t I? Or maybe it was the other way around…ZING!!
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? Hmmm. I type funny. I don’t use my thumbs when I type. I eat sushi weird. I like to pick the insides out and then eat the rice. I don’t think that I do anything of consequence differently than most people. Correct me if I’m wrong, people!
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? Everybody is different; that’s why.
  17. What’s one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back? One thing? Really? Ugh. This list could be an entire blog post on it’s own. I really want to go back to school and get an advanced degree. Money is holding me back. I’ll leave it at that.
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Always. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of.
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? Up until we moved to Montana, I would have said that I wanted to live anywhere but Florida because I was so miserable there. Now that I’m away from everyone that I love, I want to go back to Florida. There are SO many places that I want to visit, but I don’t think I ever want to live so far away from family and friends ever again.
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? No. Who does this?
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? A worried genius.
  22. Why are you, you? Wife. Daughter. Friend. Wifey. Crass. Loud. Smart. Emotional. Loving. Lazy. Procrastinator. Animal-lover. Wanna-be photographer. Foodie. Avid reader. Expensive taste. Music-lover. Tattooed. Life-long learner. Space junkie. Nothing about this is grammatically correct. I’m sorry.
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? Not recently. It makes me sad to think about. This is something that I need to work on.
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? Losing touch with any good friend is difficult, but losing touch with someone that you were close to that lives near you is very hard.
  25. What are you most grateful for? I am most grateful for being alive, for the ability to learn and comprehend, for my amazing husband and family/friends who love me, for the low/no humidity in Montana, for books, for being employed, and for the chance to start over again tomorrow.
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? This question sucks. I wouldn’t want to give up all of the wonderful memories that I have of my Nana and my Uncle Doug, my wedding, or falling in love with my husband. At the same time, I would hate to never be able to make a new memory with any future children that I have.
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? I believe so.
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true? I don’t think so, although there were various times in the past where I thought it had.
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now? Which time? There are several times that I was upset, sometimes incredibly, that don’t make a difference now. That doesn’t mean those times were any less significant at the time, though.
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special? Christmas at my Nana and Pop-pop’s. My family always got together and made it as special as possible for all of the family and friends who came to spend the holiday with us.
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? I honestly don’t know. I constantly feel like I am just going through the motions. This needs to change.
  32. If not now, then when? Um. What? I don’t even know what this means.
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Another stupid question. If I’m answering what I think is being asked, people put off doing things because they are afraid to get out of their comfort zone. Even if there is nothing to to physically lose, people are afraid of the unknown, myself included.
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? No. I like to use my words in case you haven’t noticed.
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? I don’t feel like I’m qualified to answer this question. Just because somebody supports or believes in love doesn’t mean that they don’t also support or have specific values about politics that can cause wars.
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? I think that good and evil are subjective.
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? Yes.
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? More work that I enjoy doing. Without a doubt.
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Unfortunately.
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? When we moved to Montana and left everything we’ve ever known behind.
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? My family and my mother-in-law, my friends in Florida, and Michele in California. Clearly a private jet would be arranged for all of the flying around.
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? No. There’s more to life.
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? For me, being alive is being conscious, with a sound mind, breathing on your own, and doing what you have to to stay alive. Truly living, to me, is making the most of the opportunities and experiences that you have, feeling, taking in the senses, enjoying your surroundings, and learning from your environment/experiences both good and bad.
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? There are always going to be risks and rewards, and I think that it’s good to be aware of them and take them into consideration when making big decisions. Even after a decision is made, being conscious of those things helps to keep things in perspective, but you shouldn’t let them hold you back. I think that when the possible advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it can be good to try something new. What’s the worst that could happen?
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? There are plenty of other ways to learn without making mistakes. It’s true that we often learn from our mistakes, but there are often consequences associated with making a mistake that overshadow the learning experience. People don’t like to be uncomfortable or make others uncomfortable. We are afraid of doing things wrong because we’ve been taught that it’s bad. It’s been ingrained in us to do things right the first time. So, even though we can learn from mistakes, most of us prefer not to make them in the first place.
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? I try not to let other people’s judgments affect my decision or feelings, but, as we all know, this can be very difficult. I’m not sure I would do a whole lot differently than I’m doing now. It would be nice to know that nobody was judging my decisions. I think it’s best, however, to accept that people are always going have their own judgments and opinion,s and they aren’t always going to coincide with yours. I should listen to myself sometimes.
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? Most nights when I try to fall asleep.
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? I love my husband, my family and friends, animals, cooking, food, learning new things, reading, feeling accomplished, writing, and music. I try to express my love for my husband on a daily basis, but that’s easy. I don’t spend nearly enough time fostering my other interests.
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? Probably not. It’s all so monotonous these days.
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? I make my own decisions based on what is necessary for my little family. That doesn’t mean that I love what I’m doing. Making my own practical decisions will always be better than having someone else decide for me.
What are your answers to these questions??? Do you think that your answers will change much over the next year?

Thank you for reading!

Montana. Tampa. Montana.

AKA “How I drove Mr. Folk to drink.”

Back in July had you asked me, “where would you like to live?,” I would have told you anywhere but Florida. The battery of bad news that had recently come our way only added to the list of complaints that I had about Florida, regardless of it being the only place I’d ever known. Once Mike and I discussed our options with people whose opinions we care about, and each took the time to think about what we wanted, we had come to a decision. I gave him a piece of paper and told him to write either “Tampa” or “Montana” on it and I did the same. We exchanged papers and opened them together. They both said “Montana”.

I called Jen and told her that we’d made a decision and then we started packing. We dove right into everything that we had to do to get going, as we only had a few weeks left on the lease and would have to visit both of our families before we left. In addition to packing, I was also on the hunt for a job for Mike. I was scheduled to be getting my unemployment soon, and would be able continue to collect it in Montana until I was able to find a job. We both decided that it would be important that he find a job first so that we would technically have two incomes. Amazingly, I had a job interview lined up for him within a few days. This meant that we had to get our asses in gear.

Everything was moving right along. I think we were both too busy to really be nervous about what we were doing. The week before we were scheduled to leave, we went to visit my parents in South Florida. While we were down there essentially saying our goodbyes, a major wrench got thrown into our plan. I found out that my former employer had appealed my unemployment and that there was a chance that whatever money I received could have to be paid back. Because I’m a neurotic cautious person, I immediately started wondering if we’d made the right decision. A million “what ifs” popped into my head and I felt like I needed to take a step back and think some more. Again, we consulted with our families and got a really mixed bag of advice. The entire way back to Orlando I made Mike want to leave me on the side of the highway talked to Mike about maybe having made the wrong decision. After four hours of listening to me go back and forth, I had somehow convinced him not to leave me in the woods that Tampa was a better idea. I sold my case out of fear of the unknown and really told myself that this was the smarter, safer decision. It really was.

The next day we rented a U-Haul, loaded our entire apartment, packed up the cats (not in a box) and moved to Tampa. We tried to settle in. We looked for jobs, researched different academic programs in Tampa schools, and spent a lot of time watching TV (we didn’t have cable at our apartment in Orlando). It wasn’t easy, though. Mike’s mom has lived alone for a long time and is allergic to cats. We were newlyweds living with our mom/in-law. I guess things weren’t going horrible, but in the pit of my stomach, I knew it wasn’t going to work. Don’t get me wrong, I am forever grateful to my awesome mother-in-law for letting us disturb the peace and live rent-free in her house. She welcomed us with open arms even though we knocked her out of her comfort zone.

By week three, I had to say something to Mike. I was overwhelmed and just overall really stressed out. I brought up moving to Montana and his initial reaction was “are you kidding me?” After everything we had just done, the packing, the moving, the decision making (and reversal), I wanted to change my mind AGAIN. I wasn’t doing to it to stress him out. I just needed to get my emotions out. For ever point I made, he countered it. He had a lot of valid points. He wanted us to get settled and really give it time in Tampa before making the decision to move again. He had given up his job interview in Montana and we didn’t have anything lined up. We could make it work in Tampa if I would just give it a chance. He asked what would happen if I had to pay my unemployment back and we couldn’t find jobs up there. The same argument I’d used when I changed my mind the first time. I knew that he was right, but I just couldn’t deal with it.

It had been three weeks that we were sending out resumes in Tampa and neither one of us had gotten an interview. I started to get scared. I talked to Jen again and asked her if the offer was still on the table. She graciously said yes and I told her we were considering it. I looked for jobs again in the Billings area to see if there was anything else we could find for Mike. Within a couple of days someone called him for an interview. The kicker, they wanted him there in a week. Awesome. We went through the whole thing again. The talking to our families, making pro/con lists, etc. In the end we had to make our own decision. We did the paper pass again. Montana. Mike told me that this was the final decision or he would divorce me.

These Folks were headed west!


When life hands you lemons…

Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for, right? RIGHT? The excuses explanation of why I fell off the blog for nine months. Let’s rewind a little, shall we?

As most of you know, back in July I was struggling to obtain unemployment and Mike and I weren’t the happiest of campers, but we were getting by. While I did receive the good news that I had won my initial hearing, I knew that my ex-employer would have the opportunity to appeal that decision, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would. And he did. Twice.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. It was just after we received the news that the initial decision was reversed that the next lemon fell off the tree. On July 30th, Mike was let go from his job. There we were, jobless, no income from unemployment, and our lease would be up on our apartment in under a month. Excellent.

We did what any newlywed couple in this situation would do. We freaked the F out. Now, here is one area that Mike and I are significantly different. When the world seems to be falling to shit, I freak out in such a way that there is no talking me down. Mike is more of an internal freaker outer. He keeps it inside, processing and trying to remain positive. I process internally, externally, in my sleep, in the shower, and I pull a dark cloud over each and every shred of optimism that Mike presents. I will sit there for hours telling him why anything he suggests can not and will not work and how our lives our over. I was convinced that we were going to be living in our cars with the cats (and bunny at the time) panhandling for change and giving ourselves a bath in the sink at a 7-11 bathroom. Dramatic much? My finest quality, I know.

After the reality of what our situation was had time to sink in for a few minutes, I needed a plan. Patience is my second finest quality. I had already been applying for what felt like a billion jobs at that point, and I started searching for jobs for Mike and sending out resumes for him, too. We were working as hard as we could to find gainful employment, but we still knew that with the unemployment rate in Orlando pushing 13% that we might need to consider a heavier option.

Without going into the insignificant details, we ended up with four options. 1. Move in with our friends Jen and Stephen in Orlando for a couple of weeks while we still looked for jobs and figure out if we could feasibly stay in Orlando. 2. Move in with Kelly in Palm Bay. We could have stayed there until the end of time, but the job situation wasn’t any better there. 3. Move in with my mother-in-law in Tampa and consider working part-time and going back to school. 4. Move to Billings, MT and live with my friend Jen and her husband, Dustin.

I’m sure you’re all wondering where the hell option number 4 came from. The first three options seems like completely sane, logical options for anyone in our position. How in the heck do you go from figuring out a life in Florida to moving clear across the county to Montana?! Here’s how that happened. Jen and Dustin had literally just moved to Montana from Missouri when Mike lost his job. I was talking to her about our situation and she casually brought up in conversation that they had a spare bedroom and that jobs were available there. I didn’t know how serious she was about it, but I tossed the idea in Mike’s direction. We spent a few days discussing it, researching Montana, and searching online at available jobs in the area.

In the end, we narrowed our options down to two: move in with Mike’s mom in Tampa or risk everything and move to Montana.

Stay tuned for what happened next…