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[December 2001]

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December 2001

the move from hell but the best silly season ever

Best thing that happened
Yule celebration
Worst thing that happened
Moving day

Sucky Move

The fun and games with moving to my new place in the Oakland Hills didn't stop with the incredible hassles that U-Haul gave me. It rained on the day of the move, and all my stuff didn't even fit in the Budget truck! On top of it all, two of my new housemates, Romijordanna and Nathan, were conducting reiki lessons in the living room, which we had to pass through with all the stuff bound for my bedroom.

Appreciating Friends

But there was one really positive thing that came out of all the drama: just in case I didn't already know it, I learnt the value of having friends, and just how cool my friends are. Expat R from Australia, the Tempest, her boyfriend, and a woman I met at a peace rally a couple of months ago arrived at my place early to help me do my last-minute packing (especially Expat R), and help me realise that there was no way I was going to get everything in the truck. The peace rally woman helped me at the other end as well, along with Diospyros, her lover, and of course Hope. They all put up with my frazzlement and got the job done on the day. Romijordanna and Nathan didn't even mind the interruption to their reiki thing too much.

It gets better. The next day, Hope and Christine helped me move all the stuff that didn't fit in the truck. Christine even loaned me her station wagon to do it when she couldn't be around herself. It took the rest of the weekend, and a couple more trips during the following week, to get it all done. It was the worst move I've ever done. I need to get rid of a lot of crap!!

Settling In

Settling in was a long process. It took weeks before I even had time to put furniture in a reasonable place, and I honestly don't think I'll get all my photos on the walls and get the lights set up until next year. And when I came back to sleep in my new bedroom for the first time, I found that strong winds had broken my bedroom window. (See photo.) What next?[Broken Window]

Once again, though, I was comforted by the patience of other people in my life. Shelley spent the night with me twice that month, both times on a futon mattress on the floor surrounded by boxes and out-of-place furniture. Getting a real bed in here will have to wait until next year as well, because there's a tight turn in the stair well that prevents me from getting mine down here.

About my New Place

I really like my new place. I especially like my new housemates, Masked Laura, Romijordanna and Nathan, and the views I have from my private balcony (see photo), and the ensuite. I don't like the electric stove, and I don't like being car-bound... I miss being able to walk almost everywhere like I could when I lived in the City, and catching busses when walking was too far. My new place, despite being a ten-minute drive from work and from downtown Berkeley, is deep in yuppie suburbia, and there's not a single bus within walking distance. But when I do drive, at least I get to enjoy the view on the way down the hill! (See photo.)

[View from My Balcony] [View from My Drive to Work]

An Urgent Package

One more stupid thing happened in the move: an urgent package that arrived at my new place on the day I was moving in got lost. I never found it again. It contained some divorce documents that I needed to sign, and since I lost it, I had to take the next day off work so I could get new copies, sign them, and have them notarised. This all had to happen in Sacramento, where my ex, M, lives.

The divorce did get finalised this month. This has huge tax advantages for next year, and it means all this crap is over with. As for the divorce itself, I don't really have any feelings about it. I never did about the marriage, either, to be honest. It's the relationship that counted for me; marriage was just some fancy document to make our relationship open to exploitation by governments and insurance companies. I'm sad about the relationship being over, but that happened a long time ago, and now that all this divorce crap is over with, I'm hoping that M and I can work on being good friends again.

Avenue A's Stuff

The "worst thing that happened" award's strongest rival was what happened to my lover, Avenue A. She broke off the relationship with the guy she's been involved with for over eleven years, and he became violent as a result. We're talking the need for restraining orders here. This was further complicated by the fact that he took all her tools for trade when he left. Luckily the people that sets up stalls on Telegraph Avenue are a really close-knit crowd, so by the next day they'd collected enough tools for her to continue her business and enough money to relieve the strain from that for a little while. Still, it was horrible to find out the details of the whole story. She hasn't really been in the mood to get together with me since it happened, and I don't blame her, although I hope I get to spend time with her again soon. At least she has a lot of other friends to help her work through this as well.

The Best Silly Season ever

Normally I hate the silly season, that time leading up to Christmas when capitalism gets out of hand and everyone's stressed out. Here in America, they have Thanksgiving as well, which at least delays the start of all the Christmas crap, but since I don't like turkey I don't really like that holiday either. This year, however, I had the best holiday period that I had since I was a kid.

The main reason is that I went to the Yule celebration at the the Rabbit Warren this year. Even though I decided a few months ago that I'm definitely not a Pagan, I still really enjoy being among Pagan spirituality, and there was plenty of that to go around at this event. It was an all-night gathering of various families, including their kids, to spend the longest night of the year together. Like many people, I fell asleep at some time in the wee small hours (after dreamervictoria's very memorable Santa number!), but I did wake up to take part in the fire dance at dawn. [Hope and Mik at Yule] Here's a photo of me snuggling with Hope on a pile of pillows in the living room.

I spent Christmas Eve at Hope and Sinboy's place. They made me dinner, which was wonderful as usual. The funny thing was that as I drove to my acupuncture appointment on Christmas Morning, I forgot that it was winter! It somehow wasn't that cold when I walked to my car, I didn't notice the heater in it being on, and the sky was overcast and threatening rain. It felt like a sultry summer Christmas Morning, like some of the Christmases that I had as a kid in Sydney. Not quite as good as the real thing last year, but lovely nontheless.

Work allowed us to choose what extra day to take off in December, and I chose Boxing Day. It's about time that I had Boxing Day off work again!

I spent the last weekend of the year in Sacramento so I could spend an afternoon with Denise and a night with Burn Juggler. On the way, I went to Fry's Electronics to decide on buying a new PDA, but I left empty-handed... I just thought I could get a better deal somewhere else.

A funny thing happened on the drive there. I was on the section of the I-80 that bypasses Sacramento, and traffic was slow. I eventually saw the problem: there was a dead dog in the middle of the freeway. Just as I passed it, however, the dead dog sat up! I pulled over straight away, as did a few other motorists, and coaxed the poor animal to the side of the road. His friend was waiting for him in the shoulder, too. So there we were, a bunch of strangers on the side of the freeway, with two dogs that we didn't know what to do with. The "dead" one was bleeding, obviously from being hit by a car, but it didn't seem to mind. They dogs were friendly; obviously they were pretty used to being with people, and weren't strays. They didn't like the cops, though, so the cops had us coax the dogs into the back of the cop car so they could take them to a kennel. I hope they made some effort to find the dogs good homes... I'd rather not consider what's more likely to have happened to them.

Shelley's party, and meeting Anna the Bean

Shelley had a brunch on the 9th, although I didn't actually get there until much later, when the party was winding up. I actually felt bad about that, especially since it was an interesting crowd. It was nice to see Shelley's place for the first time, and extra-nice to see her. The only problem was that I didn't know how much snuggling she was up for, given that she was hosting a party, and I probably erred too far on the side of distance.

At the brunch, I met a woman named Anna the Bean. We talked for a while, and realised that Briana had tried to set the two of us up a long time ago. We agreed that we should avoid seeing each other for a few weeks, just in spite of her. We did exchange e-mail in that time, however, and built up quite a bit of sexual tension. It will be fun when we finally do meet and relieve that.

Miscellaneous Happenings

Work gave us an afternoon off and shouted us tickets to see Lord of the Rings. The film was excellent and I enjoyed the perk. The sound was a bit distorted for a few minutes, so the cinema gave us all vouchers to come back and see another film some time. Score!

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Mik Scheper, 19 February 2002
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