Updated on June 4, 2017
We said we’d retired when we moved to our little corner of the Rio Grande Forest seven years ago. That was then.
This is now. I’m loading moving boxes for our seventeenth move.
After that many moves, I can relate to certain phases of any move. There are at least five phases.
When in the military, there’s was little control over where or when. In the civilian world, you can often choose whether to relocate. With either scenario, there’s always the WAIT.
You wait on the written orders. You wait for the official offer. You wait to share your news. Then the orders arrive. The offer comes. And, wham the enormity of what you face hits square between the eyes. You slip into Phase 2:
2. Feeling Overwhelmed
You question your decision … what have we done?
There are literally a thousand things to do. You must find a new house. Get your current house ready to list. Then there’s the packing. How will you ever get everything all done?
You may be thrown into a state of doubt for a while, but this phase is relatively short-lived. You put on your big girl panties and Just. Do. It.
Taking a bold forward step, you move into Phase 3.
You’re a professional, after all. You’re organized. You can handle this. You straighten your shoulders and begin sorting items by “need immediately,” “next season,” “garage sale” and/or “donate.” You pack – individually wrapping and labeling in bubble and newsprint layer upon layer of promise and hope.
Cabinets are looking empty. Treasures are boxed away. All is going well. Until your listing agent calls to say she/he wants to show your house to a potential buyer.
Yep, the same house where boxes litter every room, packing material is piled on the every available flat surface, and stacks of stuff are tossed to and fro awaiting the big garage sale or space in a moving box. Suddenly you’re into Phase 4:
You cram stuff into once empty drawers, you move boxes to the garage, you plug in a zillion air fresheners to kill the cardboard box scent permeating the entire house, you load the puppy into the car, and wave with a big smile at the agent and prospective buyer as you pass them on the street.
Unfortunately, this Phase 4 repeats often until the last box is sealed and loaded on the moving van, or there’s a contract on your house, or you’re finally at your new location.
With each recurrence of frantic moments, the tears diminish. You reach a tipping point and accept that the move will happen, your stuff will get packed one way or the other, and you chill until you reach the final phase.
5. It’s Over
The moving van door slams shut. The driver pulls away. Your heart jumps into your throat. You’re are really and truly leaving. You did it.
You refuse to consider what waits at your destination – those boxes to unload, the doctors and dentist to locate, the quest to find a new church and meet new friends.
Unfortunately, if you’re military, your arrival at your new location is never permanent. You’ll face these phases again and again. If you’re a civilian, your arrival at your destination may or may not be permanent.
Me, I’ve given up on ever saying this is the LAST move.
Updated on June 5, 2017
A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
We recently moved chicks from the long run on saw horses to a small pen on the ground. It is actually one of the bantam pens that is currently vacant. At first the chicks were thrilled to be on the ground. They scratched and pecked to their heart’s content.
When we checked on them later, however, they had gotten out and were everywhere. Some were in the pen with Richard and Isabella. Fortunately, Richard didn’t seem to mind.
Gradually they are adjusting to their new home. Only three continue to wander. Last night I extracted them from the pile of chicks in the big coop.
They didn’t fuss. In fact, they seemed to be relieved to be back with their pen-mates.
If only they would stay there.
Updated on June 2, 2017
Today I am hosting guest blogger Brandon Butler. Brandon is a dog lover and vet tech. He loves helping pet owners by sharing advice on Fur and Feathers.
After you read this blog, you’ll truly appreciate the benefits pets bring to our lives.
A Guest Blog by Brandon Butler
Studies done on the human-animal bond and show many benefits for people with mental illness. Pet ownership or therapy sessions with animals can be an excellent alternative or supplement to medications. This method can cut back on the possibility of substance abuse by the mentally ill, who tend to be more susceptible to addiction due to the desire to self-medicate.
Dogs especially can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. They encourage playfulness and exercise and introduce joy and unconditional love to those in need.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can play a major role in easing symptoms of PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, stress, autism, and other mental illnesses. Having a pet to care for helps people focus on getting out of bed and finding a purpose for their day.
Walking a dog is a daily routine that helps both the owner and the dog get exercise. Spending time with your pet solidifies the bond between the two of you, and getting outdoors can make your body feel better. Fresh air and sunshine are healthy and joy-inducing, and you may even have more positive social interaction by getting out of the house and meeting other pet owners along the way.
Try taking your dog to a dog park and see how contagious your dog’s happy social interactions can be. You will likely have some nice conversations with other dog owners while you are there.
Playing with and loving your pet will elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine which calm and relax. Having a pet can lower stress levels and anxiety, which in turn lowers blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure keeps you healthier, helps you avoid heart problems, and can add years to your life.
Mental Health Benefits
People struggling with mental health issues see their pets as the central support in their lives, and often, even over family and friends. A pet offers unconditional love on days when you are feeling good and on the days you are feeling terrible. They will never judge, and that can be a powerful support system when you need it.
Isolation (felt by many with mental illness) is alleviated by having a furry companion. The structure and routine of pet ownership can help the mentally ill not withdraw from society. Knowing that their pet needs and depends on them can also deter them from having suicidal thoughts.
There are many people who cannot or do not work due to their mental problems. Having a pet that they care for and treat well can also be a source of pride when they feel like they have nowhere else to contribute to society.
Ultimately, pets increase confidence, comfort, safety, and peace when dealing with mental health issues. They offer loyalty for life and could be just what those suffering from mental illness need.
Great insights, Brandon. Thanks for sharing with us today.
Updated on May 13, 2017
The use of commas can be a major issue for writers. Copy editors and/or the publisher style choice usually become the final authority before publication.
My personal opinion is that the Oxford comma is necessary. Thanks to Daniel Neep’s recent tweet for pointing out some excellent examples to reinforce my opinion.
The clarity of these sentences is lost without the Oxford comma and leaves the reader some very weird meanings. Wouldn’t you agree?
Grammarcheck.com also offers this infographic with further explanations about the comma dilemma.
I doubt the question of comma usage will ever have a definitive answer. When I’m in a quandary, I simply figure out a way to rewrite. 😉
What’s your opinion on comma use? Too many commas or not enough?
Updated on May 21, 2017
A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara
Retrieving eggs from the bantam coops has always presented a bit of a challenge. For a while, I had to scoop them forward and then grab them before they rolled back into the coop. Then in the new coops, I could move them forward with a stick and they stayed put until I picked them up.
However, one day I discovered the perfect egg grabbing tool at the 99 Cent Store. It was marketed as a butterfly net. In fact, the cashier asked if I was going to catch butterflies. Now mind you she was wearing bunny ears so I knew whatever I said would be accepted without judgment.
“Actually,” I said, “I am going to gather eggs from our chicken coops.”
She suggested I wear bunny ears while doing so. I assured her I already had some and would consider it.
Since acquiring this magical net, we have discovered other uses. It is perfect for scooping up chickens that are between the chain link and privacy fences. The chickens are not thrilled with this process but they really don’t like being trapped either.
The net is also good for catching escapee chicks. We can get to them from a distance, contain them, and then put them back where they belong.
We have already had to replace one egg-getting, chicken-scooping, chick-catching net. I have an extra one as a BUN – Back-up-net.
Last time I was at the 99 Cent store there was a stunning lack of what they call butterfly nets. I guess we’ll have to be careful with ours until they can get more in stock.