First Days in the Enchanted Forest

We just got Internet installed today! Yay! I’ve been writing each day about our first week in the Enchanted Forest and I can finally post it.

Weekend, May 30-31

A week or so before we moved, I worked at hauling junk from the basement. I threw away things I knew were junk—like falling apart cabinets and old boxes. I didn’t throw away anything that I knew EJ wanted or anything that I was unsure of. This last weekend EJ continued the process—he sorted through the things he wanted to keep and the things he wanted to throw away. JJ and I mostly hauled the junk he was throwing away to the dumpster. When we were finished, the basement looked much emptier!

JJ’s phone had died last week, so Saturday we took the time to go to the cell phone company and buy him a new one. We aren’t eligible for discounted phones until our contract ends in January, so JJ planned to buy the cheapest phone he could and then upgrade it to a smart phone in January. However, we learned that there was a promotion on his phone, and if we changed our plan, he could have a smart phone with no increase in our monthly payment. So of course he got the smart phone. He loves it.

Sunday we decided what things were essential to take north with us this week. EJ crammed the Xterra so full that I think he couldn’t have packed even another toothpick.

Monday, June 1

Car full of cats
Car full of cats

On Monday morning we got up early and while EJ tied a few more items on the roof of the vehicles, JJ and I captured the cats, put the most aggressive ones in the three plastic carriers and the rest of the cats in the cardboard carriers I had bought from Amazon. We were on the road by 7 a.m. and the moment we started moving seven cats began meowing in harmonic protest. They protested for most of the trip but they didn’t escape from the cardboard carriers, which I had been concerned about. Only one cat messed in her cardboard carrier. Meanwhile, Danny rode with EJ in the Xterra. He was the perfect, calm, and SILENT companion.

Waiting on the porch for EJ to return from the closing
Waiting on the porch for EJ to return from the closing

EJ led us to our new house in the Enchanted Forest and then he got Danny out of the car before he sped off. He had to drive through heavy traffic to our bank in the Emerald City to get the money he needed for the closing and then drive back to another town for the closing. Meanwhile JJ and I got the garage door opened and released the cats from their imprisonment. When we opened the carriers, they all scrambled to hide in various parts of the garage. JJ stay in the garage to comfort the cats while I got the comfy lawn chairs unfastened from the top of the HHR and sat on the porch to enjoy our new property. Danny let it be known that he wanted in the house, but when that didn’t happen, he sat quietly at my feet.

I was considering how long I could last before I had to discreetly find an out-of-the way place to, uhm, relieve myself, when a car pulled up our driveway. It was our realtor. EJ had said he was a really nice guy; after meeting him, I thought so too. I’ve been told he doesn’t live very far from us. He unlocked the lockbox from the door of the house. We chatted a bit and he showed me a little of where our property line is before he had to leave to get to the closing. I’d like to find all the boundaries of our property, but that will have to wait until we have time.

Since the realtor hadn’t said we couldn’t go into the house, I went in to use the bathroom. Danny came in too, and then JJ and I started capturing the indoor cats and putting them inside.

The animals all reacted to the new house differently. Kee-Kee was angry and hissed for a while before he settled down and accepted his new surroundings. Little Bear explored the new house with large eyes and nervous meows. Timmy explored boldly. Luke fearfully scrambled up into the rafters of the garage and hid. Meanwhile, Danny acted as if he has always belonged here. He’s always had to be on a leash because we lived in town so I was planning to keep him on the leash until he learned to not run off. However, we quickly put aside the leash because Danny shows no desire to wander off. He follows us in and out of the house and stays close to us at all times. I only take the leash when we walk to the mailbox and put it on him just before we reach the road. We don’t want to risk him getting hit by a car. A few times Danny rolled in the grass with happiness.

Beautiful Emerald City snuggles up to this bay
Beautiful Emerald City snuggles up to this bay

After about an hour, EJ returned. The house was ours! Yay! We unloaded the Xterra. We hadn’t been able to bring much: Sleeping bags and pillows, some dishes and cups and pots, clothes, EJ’s Lazy-Boy (with his back problems, he needs to sleep comfortably), two foldable lawn chairs for JJ and me, towels, toiletries, clothes, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, and a small cooler full of food. After we finished unloading the Xterra, and looking around the house, JJ got ready for work and then we went out to eat in the Emerald City. Afterwards we dropped JJ off at his job while we went got a few groceries and air mattresses for JJ and me.

Silly Timmy loves to hang out on top of the fridge and cabinets.
Silly Timmy loves to hang out on top of the fridge and cabinets.

EJ and I returned home and talked and planned. Earlier, before EJ had returned from the closing, JJ and I had opened all the windows in the house. Little Bear found a ripped screen and escaped outside, but I quickly caught him and brought him back. I warned EJ about the screen, but he thought it was a different window so he opened that window. When I noticed it, I gasped, “EJ, that is the window with the ripped screen!” so we closed it quickly and counted cats to make sure they were all inside. We found three of the cats, but we couldn’t find Timmy. We searched every room, and every closet, and every possible hiding place, but no Timmy. We went outside and searched. No Timmy. Sadly, we went back inside. Then I happened to look up and saw Timmy sitting on top of the kitchen cabinets as proud as if he had won a game of hide & seek. That has become his favorite place. Silly cat.

We realized that there were no overhead lights in the living room, so on our way to pick up JJ from work, we went to a store in the Emerald City to buy a lamp. The Emerald City is very busy with traffic because it is a desirable tourist destination. It is a very beautiful city, but I wonder how I will ever learn to navigate it. We picked up JJ from work and drove home.

Back at our new home, EJ used the portable air compressor to inflate the air mattresses and I put our sheets and sleeping bags on them. JJ had gone out to the garage but still couldn’t lure Luke from the rafters. I lay on my air mattress and several of the cats settled around me. I was almost asleep when I heard EJ and JJ talking so I got up. JJ had had a nightmare about Luke in the rafters so he and his Dad went out to the garage to get him. Apparently it was quite an adventure getting him down, but they managed it and brought Luke into the house where he explored and settled down. The guys said they had heard a coyote, a screech owl, or maybe a whippoorwill outside.

June 1-4, 2015 023
EJ admiring his new land.

I should describe our new property and house. A long driveway winds around and climbs up a steep hill to our house. Our house is in a clearing on a hill. There are forested ravines that circle the clearing like a moat around a castle. Our property includes the ravines and continues into the forest a bit. When on our property, we see no other houses–and although we can hear the occasional car drive by, we cannot see the road. We are completely hidden from the other houses and road by the trees that surround us. Alas, the trees block out our ability to see the sunrises and sunsets, but we can clearly see astronomical happenings in the night sky. The property is very beautiful and peaceful…but after lived in towns all my life, it also is strange. It would be easy to believe we were the only people in the world.

The living room with doors to the library, JJ's bedroom, and the bathroom. We will paint the living room walls a more neutral color.
The living room with doors to the library, JJ’s bedroom, and the bathroom. We will paint the living room walls a more neutral color.

There are a lot of things I like about the house. It has a much better floor plan than the old house so that we never feel cut off from each other here. The kitchen and bathrooms don’t have as much storage space as the old house, but the closets in the bedrooms are bigger and the pantry is HUGE. The new house also has bigger windows so the house is filled with light. Our old house had narrower windows and we had to have lights on even during the day to fight the gloom.

The kitchen
The kitchen

The windows are all low so Danny can look out them. He already runs to the window looking out to the front porch and driveway when we return home. The new house isn’t as solid as our old brick house. Although it was hard work getting the firewood, I will miss our wood stove which kept us toasty warm. There are enough differences that the new house feels alien. I think it will feel more like home when we move our furniture up here. Curtains also will help the house feel more homey. The new house just has valances and blinds so even though there is no one around to look in through the windows, I know that JJ, especially, feels more exposed and vulnerable. Also, the sounds of the house are different. And the sounds outside.

In addition to the house being different, the scenery up here is different with lots of hills and valleys, trees and lakes. The climate is different too. EJ says that we are several degrees difference in latitude than where we lived before. EJ says that summer will not be as warm and that we could get 200-300 inches of snow over the winter. I cannot comprehend that much snow. Also, the towns all have unfamiliar names, and the business are different, and I do not know where anything is. Neither do I know much about country living. Everything is strange and I feel more like a tourist than a resident right now, although I know that will change soon–especially after we get our furniture moved up here. Our old village is already beginning to feel like a fading memory.

Tuesday, June 2

EJ noticed that the HHR needed new back tires so this morning we went to a tire place to get some put on. JJ will be driving this car until we find a winter-worthy vehicle so we don’t want him to have any problems. We had actually bought a used Suburban over the weekend. The mechanics at the dealership were just going to fix a few minor problems and EJ would pick it up next Saturday and stuff it full of boxes for the Big Move. However, the dealership called today to tell us that they had discovered a very major problem. We mutually cancelled the deal. We will have to find a different vehicle before winter that can handle the snow.

After the new tires were on the HHR, we went to the bank to get my name put on the account. We were going to go to a hardware store to get more house keys made and to buy paint, but the guys both had to work today and they were tired.

JJ left for work late in the afternoon. He got there all right, but made a few wrong turns in the dark on his way home. Thank goodness for Viki, our GPS! JJ is a bit spooked by all the changes in his life, not sure what he’s doing, nervous about driving to and from work. He thinks cancer sort of rattled him and made him a bit agoraphobic. I think he could be right, but he has to face his fears and conquer them so he can move forward.

EJ leaves for work a couple of hours after JJ. EJ worked his first 10 hour shift, leaving for work in the early evening and returning home the next morning.

Left alone in the evening, I puttered around doing dishes, putting some of our few possessions away. It’s very, very quiet here. I love it…but it is a bit freaky to see no roads or houses or people.

Wednesday, June 3

I was the first one up this morning and Danny wanted out so we went outside together and enjoyed the morning. Two of the outside cats—Rikki-Tikki-Tabby and Tesla–are adjusting very well to the move. They quickly learned to use the cat door in and out of the garage, and they are enjoying wandering around. They join us when we sit on our front porch. They both have followed us down the long, steep driveway when we walk to get the non-existent (so far) mail, which we preferred they didn’t do because we don’t want them to get run over by a car. I didn’t see the third cat, Annie, until last night in the garage. I was relieved because I had been beginning to think that she was a casualty of the move. This morning I spotted her in front of the garage, but as soon as she saw me she ran around the garage and into through the pet door in the back. I haven’t seen her since. I think she’s totally freaked by the North.

EJ is trying to adjust to his new shift, but he was able to sleep only 5 hours today. I worry because he said he fell asleep a couple of times on the way home from work. After he got up, I fixed a good breakfast and then we drove off to a town that is much bigger than Anatevka but is much smaller than the Emerald City. We have not yet given it a figurative name. It is where I will probably do most of my shopping. We went to the Secretary of State office—most states call it the Department of Motor Vehicles—to get our addresses officially changed on our driver’s licenses.

All week I have been quizzing us: “What’s our address?” I asked. I’m hoping that if we practice it, we will become more used to giving our new address instead of our old one. So far we can recite it quite well when we practice, but when we have to tell others we stumble over it.

We couldn’t find a hardware store, so we stopped at the nearby grocery store instead. Then we came home and ate lunch. After JJ left for work, I looked in the phone book and found the address of the local hardware store. EJ and I drove into Anatevka but couldn’t find the street so we stopped at a store for directions. The employee directed us to a different hardware store just a few miles away. We drove past a large beautiful lake that is very close to our home. We will definitely go to the park for picnics SOON.

We found the hardware store and bought a few paint supplies and got new keys made (which though they look exact, don’t work). We looked at the color samples and chose a cream-ish color for our living room, which is currently a dark blue color that we don’t like. We also brought home some color cards so we could decide what color to paint our kitchen. We almost like the red color, but not enough to keep it. We have to paint the kitchen a color that will work well with the blue counters. EJ suggested yellow, which I thought would be nice, so we brought home yellow paint cards. I don’t like pale yellow—I think it’s too cold–and I didn’t want the color to appear to be too similar to the living room, so we chose a warmer and bolder yellow. We will pick up the paint on another trip to the hardware store.

We forgot to look for mailboxes—ours is dented. We might have to go to a bigger home improvement store for the mailbox.

We were planning to rip out the carpet and get vinyl flooring installed this week, but we have been too busy and tired to take on that project so it will have to wait until after we move.

This coming Saturday is our big move. The following week we think we will return to the old house to complete some projects. The following week the furnace will be installed in the old house. We are thinking that after that we will stop working on projects and call the realtor to sell our old house.

Thursday, June 4

Tesla and Danny following me down the driveway
Tesla and Danny following me down the driveway

Early this morning I took Danny outside. We started walking down the driveway. I figure that if I can walk down the driveway and run back up several times a day, I will get in shape and lose weight. Tesla and Danny followed me down. Danny was nosing around near a line of trees when suddenly there was a cacophony of noise as a female turkey erupted from the trees. At least, I’m quite sure it was a turkey, but I have found that a lot of birds look very similar to each other. Anyway, Danny chased her across the driveway. I ordered Danny to stop, and surprisingly he did. I grabbed hold of his collar so he wouldn’t be tempted to chase the bird, who was on the other side of the driving running up toward the house. I put Danny in the house and watched as the turkey headed back to the place she had erupted from. I’m sure she probably has a nest there.

Danny watching the guy install the Internet.
Danny watching the guy install the Internet.

Later the Internet guy drove up. I was totally glad to see him. It’s amazing how dependent we have become on the Internet. We look up phone numbers, find locations, check the weather, connect with friends, do a variety of research…The Internet guy was friendly and it was interesting watching him get us hooked up. He walked around with an antenna to find the best connection. He had to put the satellite dish—or whatever—halfway down our driveway and then run a cable up to our house. He ran part of the cable through our forest, but we will have to bury the cable that runs across the clearing to our house. JJ is ecstatic about the new Internet–it’s much faster than we had in the south.

Ahhh! Life is good in the north.



4 Comments on “First Days in the Enchanted Forest

  1. You truely are a surprise, I was hoping to hear from you by next mon. What an amazing family you all are, tell the guys hi and thanks TJ for keeping in touch, or should I say welcome back.

    Your new home looks wonderful and your special touches will bring it all alive. love ya!!


    • Love you too and miss you already. I was thinking just yesterday that I’m going to have to find new people to cut our hair and I doubt we will find anyone as special as you two!


  2. I know that special people will be put in your paths for all your needs and we are so happy that your journey is slowing down. You guys are irreplaceable, but you will always have a special place in our hearts.
    We do get up to the Enchanted Forest. They have been known to host our education seminars so who knows maybe we can do a visit. In the meantime have fun exploring and enjoying the beauty that surrounds you!!


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