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Cats, Bags, and Life

The cat is now out of the bag, an expression our cats can relate to, since they love sitting in paper bags. There are days I wish I could join them.

Anyway, Team MPOW got the early warning, a few close friends were alerted, the advisory board just got their heads-up… the upshot: we’re moving, but I’m not going anywhere, at least for now. Sandy has been called as the settled pastor of a church in Tallahassee–and in case you’re thinking “and I suppose you’ll try to pass as the ‘man of the house’,” it’s a very progressive church that very matter-of-factly welcomed me as well.

We made our second trip to Tallahassee this weekend, the congregation voted, we looked at seven houses and fell in love with the seventh, our condo in the East Bay is on the market and has some nibbles, the books are going in boxes, the cats are romping among the bubble wrap and packing tape, and we’re getting ready to close our California chapter with many good memories and as Sandy puts it, the satisfaction of knowing that we wouldn’t die wondering about what it would be like to move to California.

I’m still going to run MPOW for now, since I have the approval to do so from the appropriate Higher-Ups, but I don’t plan to do that indefinitely. We’re up to our ears in a boffo search engine roll-out plus another special project, and I am in the implementation stages of addressing the budget shortfall, and plus, it’s a job that I can and have done from a hotel room in another country… but I see this as a time of transition, and a chance to bring in fresh eyes and voices for MPOW. (I was going to say “fresh blood,” but after this year’s steep budget cut, bleeding is an uncomfortably apt metaphor.) It is getting time for me to do other things, to build on skills I’ve developed at MPOW, and to feel fresh enthusiasm for my work.

I will talk more about our move later, but here’s a short list of answers:

1. Tallahassee is more like Georgia than Miami/Orlando/Tampa etc.–woodsy, rolling hills, a different feel.

2. Yes, I have lived in the South before, and Sandy is half-Southern. She has already started saying “dudn’t” (for doesn’t/didn’t), and I found myself resurrecting “terrectly,” a word I learned in the military that does not quite mean “directly”; it means “in a bit.”

3. No, there weren’t any church openings in California, not permanent positions. Sandy has done great in her two interim pastor positions, but her denomination has a rule that the interim is not considered for the permanent job (I can understand the conflict there), and it’s time for her to have a permanent job. We had our druthers for locations, but broadening her search geographically was a wise move (are you listening, LIS students?).

4. I’m not entirely sure what my future entails, but I will soon be qualified to teach in three specialties (English comp, LIS, and creative writing), and MPOW has only added to my managerial/supervisory/technical skill set.

5. Yes, I did have family when I moved here, and my sister still lives in Truckee (Tallahassee is Manhattan compared to Truckee… though Maia loves Truckee and that’s what counts), but my father, stepmother, and mother have all moved out of state since we got here in 2001 (was it something I said?).

6. No, I do not wear a big flowered hat to church (though I do bake pies for church bake sales). Actually, at this church, khaki shorts appear to be the uniform of the day on Sunday morning, so anything dressier than that is the equivalent of a big flowered hat. I do have a small flowered hat I have worn on Easter several times, and may wear it again next spring.

7. Sandy starts work the day after Labor Day, and I’ll probably drive her out there, fly back, supervise the move, and ship my car and fly the cats… or drive my car and fly the cats… or we’ll ship the goods, fly the cats out first, drive one car and move the other… or various permutations thereof… notice how I am carefully avoiding any option to drive cross-country with two spoiled felines. I’m thinking about teaching the cats to drive, just to add a few more options to this still-nebulous plan.

8. Yes, we’ve found a house, if our offer is accepted, and if you live in California you don’t want to know what it costs. Let’s just say it’s half the price and five times the home we have now, in a wonderful part of town.

9. No, we won’t be culturally deprived. Tallahassee offers more culture than we would ever take advantage of (we whose cultural experience in the last five years pretty much ends with a few museum visits and three Chanticleer concerts). The USPS delivers to Tallahassee, and most of our entertainment comes from Netflix and Amazon (or encouraging the cats to play with paper bags). There are three major schools, and FSU has a writing program, which means readings and other writerly goings-on.

10. This really should be a ten-item list, but I have run out of time; so I’ll just say thank you to all the friends who encouraged us during Sandy’s search process and now share in our excitement, and though I’m now in a maxed-out week, with MPOW backlog out the wazoo, I promise to update y’all terrectly.

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