“Show me the money!”

16 03 2007

Now it’s decision time… Or as Jocelyn likes to call it, time for them to “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” Interview #3 was phenomenal. Spent about an hour talking with the Rehab Manager, going through some situational questioning and plenty of personality screening – in both directions – and then I got to sit down at lunchtime with the entire Rehab staff for Q & A and getting-to-know-you sort of conversations. It felt like a really good fit. Very similar to St. V’s in how things run and how Rehab figures into the “care team” mentality. Definite A-Game from Interview #3!

From Interview #3, I cruised by an apartment complex, the one I’d likely move into if I take a job there. Toured an apartment, and I must say it’s very nice, and VERY convenient to the hospital – about 1/2 mile down the road… granted, it’s a busy road in the high hospital-traffic times, but seriously, it can’t be beat. I took my time getting home, familiarizing myself with getting around town and keeping my eyes open for any other prospective living situations.

We went out for sushi dinner (it’s a Lenten Friday of course!) on Bring-Your-Screeching-Kids-to-Sushi-Night in Decatur. Fabulous dessert at Palate in darling downtown Oakhurst. Palate is one of those places that you just want to move into. Great lighting and atmosphere, the perfect soundtrack, and a dessert counter that rivals Papa Haydn’s… no kidding. We had a bottle of Funky Llama Shiraz – mostly because of the name, and enjoyed a blissful evening of wonderful conversations and togetherness. I am totally in love with this neighborhood. It’s quaint and darling and walk-able, and close to the city and close to Hans and Jocelyn, too. And whatta-ya-know, across the street is a For Rent sign for a 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment in an old divided house! So we took down the phone number and plan to go see it tomorrow if at all possible. *squeal*

Early to rise. Lots to do before I leave. (p.s. I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that I’m leaving here today. I mean, I’m here… I’m finding a job… I’m finding a place to live… why am I leaving again?!?!) the plan today is for breakfast at Hans and Jocelyn’s Favorite Breakfast Place in Decatur. (and Crescent Moon is, in fact, supremely fantastic!) It’s blustery today, which doesn’t do much for a comfortable wind-chill factor, considering it’s probably about 7 degrees when the winds start howling around us. And I’m in flip-flops because everything else is packed… niiiice.

After breakfast we get in touch with the owner of the rental property in Oakhurst. And he agrees to meet us at the house for a walk-through in 10 minutes.  Talk about Southern Hospitality! The place is fantastically cool. HIGH ceilings, crown molding, needs some TLC, but that’s what he’s been working on. It’s very, very cool. He then offers to show us a house-house (not an apartment in a divided house) very near by… and this house is PERFECT for me. Jocelyn even calls it a “Kristen house.” It’s a 1-level house on a sloped lot with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, gorgeous hardwood floors throughout, brand new heating and air conditioning systems, completely re-wired, and a Parisian balcony off the front-facing dining room… I’m in love. Per the owner, he was hoping that his daughter would move back after going to school in PORTLAND, OREGON (not kidding) but she’s staying out there. So he’s interested in renting, renting-to-own, or selling this house. I happen to be insanely interested in any or all of those options. At this point, all I need is a job offer, and I’ll be calling him to lay claim to the house… as a rental, first, then once my house sells, I can have a better idea as to whether or not I can afford it. But seriously, it would be a fabulous home for me… Great location, great situation. And he’s asking a pretty darn good price for the neighborhood. Jocelyn’s convinced that I could make a killing on this house in a few years with just a little TLC and face-lift sorts of projects. I can’t believe how great it was. Which means I have just that much more to coordinate in the next week!


Take Two

15 03 2007

Now THAT is more like it. From the second I walked into the lobby of Interview #2, I felt immediate relief. This place just FEELS good. The people were lovely and smiling and helpful. The interview process felt natural and not at all stressful or meaningless. The PT staff was young and welcoming, and I feel like I could show up Monday morning and start working there. THIS is what I was anticipating, THIS is what I was hoping for, THIS is the type of place that I want. So, naturally, Thursday evening is MUCH more relaxed and comfortable. The next place is going to have to bring their A-Game if they’re going to out-play this place!

Dinner at Oakhurst Grille – had the delicious Oakhurst Fried Chicken, with mashed red poatoes and the garlic-iest spinach ever slapped on a plate. And sweet tea, of course! Mmmmmmm! Same great little part of town, same great neighborhood. I think it’s fast becoming the front-running location for my home search.

One down, Two to go

14 03 2007

I left Interview #1 feeling surprisingly UNDERwhelmed and very disappointed. This is not what I was anticipating. Not what I am looking for. Not the place for me. And I’ve flown all this way, made all these plans, jumped through all of these hoops for THIS?!?! I was starting to wonder what exactly I’m thinking? I mean, I have a job that I absolutely love, with people I adore being around and working with, and I am just ready and willing to throw this all to the winds and come down here to work at a place like this??? Oh. No.

So as I’m trying to calm myself down and focus on the remaining two interviews, we decided on a dinner spot. The Universal Joint is an old converted gas station right in the center of Oakhurst neighborhood in Decatur. Had a delicious burger and fries, and a beer that I can’t remember the name of because Hans ordered it for me. Also tasty. We sat outside in the mild evening and marveled at our good fortune for the Atlanta March we’re having.


13 03 2007

It’s gorgeous here. Warm sun, blue sky, soft breeze, birds chirping… it’s almost wretch-inducing, if you aren’t one of those people who is absolutely thrilled to be here!!! It was hard to leave Morganton – as usual – but I am so glad that I was there this weekend. It was important for me to get to have that time with all of them, and I think it ended up being important for them to have me there, too. I took a “short-cut” from Morganton, which ended up not really shortening much of anything. And then of course I hit Atlanta city limits about the time the EVERYONE in Atlanta is on the highways. Oh well. At least I headed the correct direction on 285 this time around. No 20-mile detour for Kristen today!

Monday night supper was heavenly. Jocelyn came across a recipe for The Sauce… that amazingly delicious sauce we had at several restaurants in Paris. *mmmmm* So it was steak and potatoes and asparagus (but not for Hans) and The Sauce over all of it. There isn’t a word big enough to describe how delicious it was. Wow. I really don’t think I say anything else about it. Just know that anyone reading this should be insanely jealous of how amazing that supper was!

Jocelyn took Tuesday off work so that we could play. We did a bit of exploring around town and then we went to a cafe-style restaurant that is the Atlanta equivalent of the Seinfeld’s Nazi Soup Kitchen – except it’s Mexican fare. Seriously. I got through the line without too much hassle, and happily took my margarita (it was after noon o’clock, so no judgement!) to their plastic-enclosed patio. Got a tad stifling in there, but it’s just too nice outside to cower indoors in the air conditioned bliss!

From lunch, we headed out of town – about 45 miles or so – to the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville, GA. The biggest draw: Pottery Barn Furniture Outlet. And to make us even MORE giddy… their new shipments arrive on Monday, so we’re going to have our pick of the newest merchandise!!! When we arrive, we know instantly that this trip is meant-to-be… they’re having a sale: an additional 30% off all furniture. *sigh* Jocelyn lucked waaaaay out when we happened upon the unloading dock and spotted The Table, the side table that Hans wanted but that they couldn’t see spending $250 for. Jocelyn immediately flagged down a not-so-attentive unloader, and made her plea for ownership. Apparently Pottery Barn Furniture Outlet Rules clearly state that they cannot sell anything until it hits the floor… so she asked if he could put it on the floor, because “I want this.” She really did. So he did. And I got to drive the new Nissan Xterra out to the parking lot to wait for her and her prize. With the current sale, Jocelyn got The Table for $93, including tax. And the sales guy was this-close to giving her the employee discount by mistake, which would have knocked the price down to only $56 dollars!!! Everything always seems to go our way on Kristen and Jocelyn Adventures! The return trip took much longer because we hit Atlanta right at peak rush-hour time. But even the crawling traffic couldn’t keep smiles off our faces at our fabulous finds!

It was Taco Bar night at the Broders-and-Kristen’s house. Initially we weren’t quite sure if any of us had the energy to prepare an actual meal… but it’s amazing how quickly dinner gets on the table when there are three of us to pitch in! Since none of us slept well the previous night, we had a round of NyQuil shots before heading to bed. Oh, my room at the house is so fantastic! They put a strip of molding about 2-1/2 feet down from the ceiling. Above the molding is a deep chocolate brown, and below it is a creamy vanilla color. The bedding is a pink and cream swirling paisley design. It feels like you’re sleeping in a gigantic tub of Neapolitan ice cream! It’s so darling, and so perfect for me! I love having “my room” at all these houses!

One Year

11 03 2007

The past year has gone so fast.

I didn’t sleep well last night. Kept waking up for no reason and then couldn’t make my thoughts quiet enough to get back to sleep. So I just laid there in My Room thinking and dozing and putting off the start of the day until I just decided that it was here and I had to deal with it sooner or later, so I got up.

My room is so beautiful! The walls are an airy light blue, and the daybed has a crisp white coverlet and piles of pillows in shades of blue with some yellow for accents. Rita made everything herself: the curtains, the coverlet, the pillows, the chair cushion, the dust ruffle… The curtains are fantastic – made out of a darling, very Parisian blue toile with blue tassles along the edge. It’s the perfect room for me.

I didn’t want to leave her alone today, but Rita insisted that I “do my thing,” so I left her to take a nap while I went into Valdese to see Allison’s family. As soon as I was safe inside her bedroom, I let the tears come. It was a great visit with her folks, and I got to see the photos of her trip to see me last September. What great times we have!

I went with Rita to the church, and then she took me to see Scott… it was my first visit to his grave site, and even though it was emotional and very difficult, I know that I’m glad I went. This was my good-bye, my grieving, my memorial for him. And I love that she let me have that. It’s been a whole year, and I still can’t believe he’s gone. We spent the rest of the night talking about him, crying together, and sharing our loss of such a great man. And now my healing can truly begin.

Home Sweet Home

10 03 2007

Saw more of the NC highways than I ever thought I might want to. The 45-minute trip ended up lasting closer to 2-1/2 hours… imagine the blinding starvation from which I was suffering by the time we finally pulled up to Katie and Phillip’s house! Lunch was incredible, as was the company and conversation. Again, I can’t help but marvel at the ease of being around these people, these lifetime friends of mine.

Made the quick trek down I-40W into Morganton, where I was greeted (as always) with loving embraces from my “Mom.” The boys are golfing, so the two of us have plenty of time for catching up and togetherness. At once, I am convinced that this is the only place I should be this weekend. Once the golfers arrive, the fun starts multiplying exponentially. Dinner and drinks at Yianni’s – with a formal introduction and kisses from Yianni himself! – and then pool and name-that-tune and spending great times with more of my favorite friends. I know this weekend is a difficult one for everyone here, and I hope that me being here will only serve to help them. I don’t want any of them to hurt anymore… and I don’t want to hurt anymore, either.

Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day for all of us. I hope and pray for peaceful serenity and that we are able to find happiness in our memories of a wonderful man. We all plan to meet for breakfast in the morning – not as a memorial, but as a celebration of the friendships we have fostered, and the people we hold so close.


9 03 2007

There’s just nothing like spending “regular” time with my favorite people! Got to Shelby and had some quality one-on-one with Jerry, while we waited for Allison to arrive and for Laura to get home from work. The plan was to get cleaned up and go over to meet Laura at work, to maximize our “Laura Time” – but then all three of us got stuck on the leather couches and we ended up falling asleep, only to be woken up by Laura coming home! Yaaaaay for friends!!!

Out for Laura’s “birthday” dinner at Doc’s – a great pizza place in town that has Stella Artois, specialty glasses and all! It never ceases to amaze me how some friendships can continue to maintain such closeness and how Laura and Allison and I can always pick up right where we left things. There’s no break-in period, no re-acquainting required, no distance. Our friendship is one of my most important blessings. Especially when such friends humor my obsessions and allowed me to watch the end of my little brother’s pitching appearance on the internet video feed… for those interested parties, he got the save!

Friday brought a whole day of “us.” One mall trip, several dressing-room fashion shows, and many, many fabulous finds later, we headed home. Jerry picked our dinner location, and I – being a very good Catholic girl – ordered a meat-free entree, it being Lent and all. Plans were formed for Saturday’s departure from Shelby, and since Jerry has to work, it was agreed that the three of us (in our three separate cars) would drive to Hickory to have lunch at the Sprinkle’s.

The whole “last night in town” mentality is one that I will never ever get used to, nor will I happily accept it. I will never look forward to leaving the people I care about, and I will always wish that I could stay. At least this particular leaving situation means that I get to arrive somewhere else. And tomorrow’s “somewhere else” is Hickory, and then on to Morganton and the rest of my “family” there.