Doctors and sofas and bills, oh my


Botanical Garden, last month. I haven’t been back yet but will go soon.

When last we left our intrepid lost soul, I was in need of a doctor and some medications. Having the doctor’s hours, I went that day and waited, arriving a little before he was supposed to show up. He arrived and we talked for a few minutes. He looked up the medication and said that usually it could only be prescribed by a specialist, which he wasn’t. He talked to the pharmacy in the building and did, in fact, give me a prescription after all. He very kindly didn’t charge me for the visit, for which I was deeply grateful, though I had been prepared to pay cash and deal with filing an insurance claim with the VA’s foreign medical program. I’m really glad I haven’t had to deal with that just yet.

I went next door to the pharmacy and dropped off the prescription. They didn’t have exactly what I needed in stock, but said to come back late the next morning and pick it up. I am now the relieved possessor of a 15-day supply of my antidepressants, which will get me back to Seattle to deal with the VA pharmacy, mailing addresses, and all the rest of that mess. I also got a haircut, so it’s up out of my eyes finally. That’s a relief, because it was very annoying.


I no longer look like a sheepdog.

My first gas/electric bill came in the mail last week, as well. My brother said it was a pretty reasonable amount (around €125 for the last two months), and that he’d seen some Americans come up with bills of over €1,000 because they were using power like they were still in the US. I will admit I’m uncertain whether this is the real amount or whether it was an estimate, given that apparently they don’t actually read the meter but a couple of times a year, if I was understanding the situation correctly. If you use more or less than their estimates, you either get a bill, or you can attempt to pry a refund out of them. Gods only know what the reconciling bill will look like if for some reason I’m using more than I think. I haven’t really had the heat on except the first couple of weeks of February, and I don’t have the lights on except at night or when it’s really dim. The computer’s on most of the time because I’m actually using it. Anyway, it was a reasonable amount, and I’ll find out later if I’m going to have a heart attack or not.

A lot of bills here get paid at the post office. They apparently also have accounts like a bank, for payment of bills and shipping and other such things. I knew I was going to have to brave the post office at some point. The main post office in Trieste is on Via Roma, opposite Piazza Vittorio Veneto. It’s a huge building, and the tourist map of Trieste says there’s a postal museum in there. It wouldn’t surprise me. The windows for paying bills and getting stamps and such are up a set of stairs on the first floor. I took a number, but there was no actual line and so I was immediately able to go up to the window. Being the sort who wants to be prepared, I’d already sorted the amount I needed from the bill and pulled exact change out of my pocket. The guy at the window took it and then started saying numbers at me. I was kind of thrown and he was speaking too fast for me to quite follow. I realized after a moment that I hadn’t given him enough, but couldn’t figure out quite what I’d done wrong. I told him that I didn’t have much Italian, so he showed me the receipt – the post office puts a surcharge on paying the bill, so I owed him about €1.30 for that. Easy enough to fix once I knew what was going on, but I was kind of embarrassed that I had missed it. Next time I’ll know, and will allow for that for the water bill when it arrives, as well.

Having slain the postal dragon with only a small amount of angst and anxiety, I tackled trying to get a pair of shoes, as I wanted something more comfy for walking than what I have. I tried my luck at one of the little stores nearby that carries a lot of everything. I found a pair that mostly fit, and got them, but they were mostly plastic and not terribly comfortable. Returning them was out of the question, so that was a waste. I did mention the whole mess to the folks at the American library. Denise mentioned that there is a Foot Locker on Corso Italia, noting that they were expensive, but that at least one person there spoke English. I wandered over and spent more money (not as much as I’d expected, though) on a pair of shoes that fit properly and are comfortable.

Amidst all this dashing about, I saw that one of the Italian furniture chain stores was having a 70%-off sale. They are expensive, but the quality is good, and I desperately need chairs and a small sofa for the library, so that I have places for people to sit when they come to see me. I wandered over to see what they had, and found some things that I liked. The prices were good but required me to go back to my place to check the balances on my credit cards to see if I had enough. It looked good, so I went over and got a chair and a small sofa, expecting to pay the entire amount up front.

No, they wanted a deposit, but the items would be delivered in June and it would be cash on delivery when they arrived. It was quite a feat doing the paperwork for it all. They needed to see my ID (at this point my passport) and my Codice Fiscale, they wanted my address in the US (I had to give them my APO box), and several other things. I was a little confused, but we managed. On getting home, I pondered for a bit and realized that I actually could afford to get the second chair, so I went back the next day and added that to the order. I’m squirreling away the cash for the items so it will be available when the delivery arrives, sometime in June.

Amidst all of this, I have been trying to talk to people in Italian. Most of them respond in English, if they have it, when it becomes obvious that I don’t have much Italian. I know that I need to speak it more if I’m going to get better at it, so I continue with my mangled bits as best I can.

I have, at several points, mentioned to people that I’m going back to Seattle soon to get my dog. It’s amazing how people light up when I say this. Dogs are everywhere in Trieste, water bowls on the sidewalks outside many businesses, dogs in restaurants, dogs in grocery stores, dogs in the piazza. Triestinos love their dogs. I’m looking forward to having the little guy here. I’m leaving in about a week and nervous already about flying, and about flying him, though I’m eager to see everyone back in Seattle.


Chris, aka the Dog of Devastating Cuteness +3, in the Everett condo before I sold everything. Soon to be a Triestino dog.

This week, two poems written for Slippery Elm’s anthology. It feels good to get things down on paper.


An apartment, a film festival, and coffee

On yesterday’s trip to Trieste, I signed the rental contract for my apartment! I’m getting the keys on Friday, and having most of the utilities and services swapped over to my name, though the garbage service doesn’t get swapped over until the 31st. I’ll be able to use the place to bring things in and will stay for a couple of nights while I’m working through a few things there, but will legally take possession of it on February 1st. I’m perfectly okay with this, as I won’t have my Permesso before then anyway, and can’t legally change my residence until that happens.

Friday morning, I’ll go to the rental office to pick up the keys. This means that I still have to get up at an ungodly hour while it’s still dark, but that bit of it will be done, at least. I’ll be going by myself; my brother will drive me to the train station at Pordenone and drop me off and I’m actually on my own in Italy for the first time, just me and my phrasebook and dictionaries. It’s a little intimidating.

Okay, it’s a lot intimidating.

At 12:30 I’m meeting the woman who owns the building, at the fountain in Piazza Unità, so that we can go to swap the utilities over to my name, and in the evening I get together with the folks at the American group for their Trieste orientation evening. It’s also their TGIF and there’s food, so I had to get a ticket (€7) to cover for expenses and I’m supposed to bring along something to share to drink. With any luck, I’ll learn some useful things to help me get by.

My plan is to haul the air mattress and a few other things I’ll need over to my new place so I’ll have a place to stay for the weekend and not have to take the train back on Friday night after the gathering. I can spend the weekend exploring Trieste and getting acquainted with what’s there, both in my neighborhood and around the more accessible parts of town. Until the 1st, the landlord and the various workers will have access to the apartment, so I won’t be leaving anything valuable there, but I will be able to start getting things into the place.

Starting this weekend, Trieste is having a film festival. It runs for, I think, about ten days, and the program at the link is in both Italian and English. Most of the films are subtitled in Italian (if the film is not in Italian already) and English, and I’m considering going to one or two, if something I’m interested in is showing while I’m there. One film that looked like a possibility was about an Italian language teacher and his students – the teacher is an actor but the students are apparently all immigrants learning Italian to integrate into Italian society, so it seems like a thing that’s very relevant to me at the moment. I’ll have to look at the program again to see what day it’s playing, and where. The festival has about a dozen venues located around town, from cafés to theatres; they have dramas, animation, documentaries, and a variety of other genres playing.

I don’t have any new photos to share today, but I’ll be taking some of the inside of the apartment when I am there this weekend. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about the whole thing. I was able to give a delivery address to the people who are shipping my things, so that is finally out of the way.

Today I spent a little time getting a few small, light things to take to Trieste with me and leave at the apartment. I also got a bilingual Italian-English visual dictionary to help me along with the everyday things on a slightly larger scale than a phrasebook. I also discovered that I may not have the same violently bad reaction to Italian coffee as I’ve had to the coffee in Seattle. I had some at home earlier today and had only a vague sense of queasiness that might have been psychosomatic because I’ve had bad reactions before, or it might have been the acid on a nearly-empty stomach. I wanted to wait until I’d settled a bit, and to try it here at home rather than out at a café so as to avoid problems if it did make me ill. In either case, it would be nice to be able to have a bit now and then so as to be a little more sociable with the people here, for whom coffee is a way of life. We shall see.

Paperwork, apartments, and minor frustrations

It looks like I have an apartment!

We went back to Trieste a couple of days ago and talked with people at the rental agency about contract details, and are supposed to go back tomorrow to sign the contract with the building’s owner. I’m not sure if I’ll get the keys on the 15th of January or the 1st of February, but it will, at any rate, be soon. I’d like to work on getting a bed in there, and things for the kitchen as soon as I can, as I won’t really be able to live there without a place to sleep and something to cook and eat with.

The building with my soon-to-be apartment

The building with my soon-to-be apartment

Getting a bank account was a little more challenging than I’d anticipated. The first place we went to was reluctant and the person we talked to said that services for Americans were much more restricted than for other people. Apparently after 9/11 the US government put a lot of restrictions in place for offshore accounts, and that means that people like me, who just want to be able to pay rent and the bills, will have a harder time than otherwise. He called around for us and said that another bank would be able to help us, and we thanked him and headed over there.

The process of opening the account there took half an hour or so, not counting the waiting in line. I had to sign a novel’s worth of papers, and was asked if I was a political activist. The answer to this question, unlike the answer to “are you a god?” is always “no.” If I do any deposits that aren’t electronic deposits, I have to fill out a paper saying where the money came from each time I make one, so I’m going to talk to the VA and see about them automatically depositing my disability check while still having my Social Security check deposited in my US account so that I have options for dealing with things in both countries. I have a debit card and some limited internet banking availability. I’m still not sure yet if I can pay the rent electronically or if I’ll have to get checks every month for the rent and my bills. At any rate, I am bank-enabled now and this is a start.

Amid the frustrations of dealing with banks and rental agents, we took a walk around other parts of the city. The Roman amphitheater is right across the street from the Questura office, so I’ll be able to find the place pretty easily when I need to go there to do things like renew my Permesso when that becomes necessary.


Roman amphitheater in Trieste

Stained glass at Pescada

A little toward the waterfront from the Questura, and into a pedestrian street, we grabbed some lunch at a fish restaurant called Pescada. The décor was cozy and a bit funky, and they were playing chill electronica rather that the surprisingly ubiquitous English-language pop that most places seem to have going all the time. The food was fantastic as well. It’s definitely a place I’ll be returning to.

The restaurant generally caters to the office workers at lunch, with a fixed-price menu, except on Fridays. I’m betting dinner is really nice too. The stained glass separating one of the dining areas from the kitchen was oceanic, complete with octopus.

We walked around on the waterfront, too, and I took some photos of the city from the dock. The day was overcast and a little chilly, but not too bad. There was a little drizzle but certainly not anything I wasn’t used to.


Triestine waterfront


View of the city looking toward the train station


View of Piazza Unità d’Italia from the waterfront


Image of the Bora wind from a wind rose on the dock

I still don’t have a Carta d’Itentità. It turned out my brother’s landlady didn’t actually have to sign anything. The guy down at the office in Montereale has never dealt with an elective residence visa before and was concerned that the Questura would want one. They didn’t ask for it, so that wasn’t at issue. Since I arrived on an elective residence visa but am being sponsored into the country as though it was a family reunification type visa, he was not certain which category I belong in, and is not going to issue the identity card until I actually have my Permesso in hand. As previously noted in other posts, that may not be until the first or second week of February. While this isn’t really that long in the larger scheme of things, it does mean that I can’t legally change my address to Trieste until after I have a card for Montereale. Even if I get the keys to my apartment on January 15th, I can’t register my address there until that paperwork is done. I will still mostly have to be living here in Montereale. I suppose it’s not that big a deal, as I do still need to get things together to make the place actually inhabitable by someone who needs to be able to eat and sleep.

Empty of worrying

Be empty of worrying.
Think who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?


This afternoon the last of my possessions departed. A couple of pleasant, efficient men showed up with a truck and inventoried, boxed, and hauled away everything I own except what’s in the bags I’m taking on a plane, and soon those boxes will be sailing across the eastern ocean en route to Italy, most likely by way of the UK. It took about two hours. I closed out my account with the storage facility, my heart finally light, as this was the last thing I had to do before I get on the plane on Thursday.

I am empty of worrying, and the door is wide open.

This is a rare state of affairs for me. I’m prone to worry, after all, and to anxiety about all manner of things that are beyond my control. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll be worrying again, though I hope that won’t happen for at least a few days. It’s nice to be free of that weight for a while, to just breathe easily and know that everything that must be done has been.

It felt good to watch as the stacks of boxes disappeared, smaller boxes of fragile items put into larger ones to make them safer to ship, and that last load taken from my storage unit out to the truck and loaded. Papers were signed. I was given a copy of the inventory.

Caera and I walked in the cold from the storage place behind Cal Anderson park over to Elliott Bay Books to have a little lunch with Irene and warm up a bit.

Tomorrow I’ll stay here at Caera’s for my last night; Thursday morning very early I’ll have to be up and ready to head out to Seatac to get on a plane. I don’t usually sleep well before I travel, particularly not when I have to travel far. The trip will be about eighteen hours from takeoff out of Seatac to landing at Marco Polo in Venice. I can only hope I’ll be able to sleep between Chicago and Madrid, where I transfer again to Italy.

I’ll likely post from the airport – one of them anyway – on my way out, and again sometime soon after I arrive in Italy, just to assure all my friends that I’ve landed safely.

One more day.

Leaving the ghosts of my life

Yesterday morning I moved out of the condo.

Wednesday and Thursday were my last appointments at the Veterans Hospital in Seattle, and I said a lot of goodbyes. I’ve been going there since 1988, and have a long history with the place and its people. Some of those goodbyes were tearful, but we all knew I was going off on an adventure, and everyone wished me good luck and safe travels. A few of them, I know, will be following me here; my friends, don’t feel like you’ve lost me.

Friday I mailed out my desktop computer to my brother and spent time chatting with Lizzie at the mailbox outlet as she built a box for the beast. I’d spent time this week changing my address with the places I needed to online, but the post office and the credit union both needed a signature for an overseas move, so Charles and I drove around and dealt with those items. I called and had the power and the internet turned off at my old place – it feels so strange to call it that.

I’d been anticipating a rather more wrenching goodbye to the Dog of Devastating Cuteness +3 over at Patrick’s but it was quick. When last I saw him, the DoDC+3 was happily sniffing and exploring. He probably won’t even realize I’m missing for another day or two. “Don’t worry,” Patrick said. “I’ll send you pictures every day. I’ll hold up a newspaper next to him so you can see the dates.”

“Reassuring me the hostage is still alive, eh?”

I’m still waiting for that first picture. I wonder if I should worry…

Afterwards, we drove down to Seattle in time to catch Shiuwen Tai for the last half hour or so that Floating Leaves teahouse was open that day, before the tea club met. I hadn’t seen her in several months. Without a car, it was a lot harder to get down to Ballard to have tea with her. Her tiny shop has been a haven for me on more than one occasion. When it was in a larger space further down Market Street, I spent hours there and, as with Travelers, I wrote a big chunk of one of my books there some years back. We tasted a roasted oolong and an aged Kwan Yin (I’ve always regarded Ti Kwan Yin as a little too bitter for my taste), then I bought more tea for my journey. I know you can actually buy tea in Italy, but it won’t be the stuff that Shiuwen imports herself from her home in Taiwan. I’m going to have to find space in my bags for this on the plane. I bought an Alishan, an aged Ping Lin, and a sizeable bag of her House Black tea (my favorite malty black breakfast tea ever); she was very kind and gave me a parting gift of a bag of Oriental Beauty oolong for the road. I told her she should come and visit me if she gets to Italy and she promised she would. Shiuwen is another of my friends who travels a lot and may very well show up on my doorstep one day.

Dinner was Moroccan, as I’d been having a craving. Charles had never had Moroccan before (nor had he done a Taiwanese style tea), so the evening was a culinary adventure for him. He’s been doing an immense amount of carting me around the past several months, so I was pleased to give him a couple of good new experiences for our last day of errands together.

I spent Friday night with Caera, and yesterday morning Qi and Dana were coming by to collect the bed they’d loaned me, and the last three remaining bookshelves. I got there an hour or so before they were due, collecting the last of my things and doing some cleanup. Everywhere around me were the ghosts of my old life. No matter where I looked, there was the afterimage of art on the walls, or altars, or shelves filled with books. Here I had couches, there the dog’s crate, across the room a baker’s rack filled with teaware, over here my desk. There is a worn spot in the floor in the living room where I’d sat in front of my desk for nine and a half years, working on my writing and talking to my friends all over the world.

These are my ghosts – the echo of conversation before a fire, the click of a dog’s nails on the floor, the stain of smoke on the ceiling under an altar where incense and candles once burned, the imprint of a chair at a desk, the scent of feasts cooked and shared with a house full of friends. These have been the gifts of my life.  These are the memories I will take with me from that place. It’s been hard not to cry.

Last night, I went with Caera and Tara and PSV Lupus to a party down in Seattle. Nathan and Tempest were married in California a couple of weeks ago, and having a reception for their friends up here at the Tin Can Studio in the old Rainier Brewery. The building has been a fixture in the Seattle landscape for decades, its red neon R a glowing beacon marking the southern approach to the city. Nathan is a musician and Tempest a dancer, both of them immensely talented and wonderful people. I got to see quite a few more of my friends there as the evening progressed. I was exhausted even before we headed down there in the late afternoon, but it was worth the trip to be able to say more goodbyes and extract promises of visits from some of the assembled. I’m very lucky that I know so many traveling people; I’m sure that a lot of them actually will come to visit me. For some of them, that may mean having to find performance venues for them so that they can afford the trip, but I’m sure I’ll find people in Italy who can help with that after I’ve settled into my own place.

Today I’ll be unpacking both of my bags and taking stock of everything, then repacking more efficiently and so that I can live out of them for the next four days. I was trying to get everything into the main compartment of the checked bag in hopes of avoiding an oversized bag charge, but at this point it will be worth it to me to stuff some things into the more accessible outer pockets and just pay the extra baggage cost. A little convenience at this end will be worthwhile.

Tuesday the shippers are coming to collect my things from storage in Seattle and ship them away. I’ll see Irene and possibly Llyne that afternoon before Caera has to head north to practice with her band; they have an EP coming out on the 14th, with a performance and party at Soul Food Books over in Redmond. I’m sad that I’ll be missing my girlfriend’s EP release party, but timing is what it is. I wish everyone in Chronilus the best of luck and great success, and may the release party be fantastic fun!

Selling my previous life

Tomorrow I’m selling off all my remaining things in a moving sale. If you’re local to Everett, Washington, please feel free to come by between noon and 3pm to have a look!

I’ve spent the last week hauling my things out to the garage, and the last two days sorting and pricing things; I’ve arranged for Northwest Center to come and pick up what they want of what’s left a few days later. Arrangements have been made for taking the last few boxes of my things to my storage unit in Seattle, my desktop computer will be shipped to my brother via priority mail, and I should be out of the condo by the morning of December 7th, latest.

There’s still a little left to do here as far as getting things out to the garage, but I’ve been saving the last few cooking things, flatware, and kitchen utensils until the morning, so that I can use them today and tomorrow morning. After it goes out to the garage, it’s restaurants for me until I leave. It isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s certainly the most practical, and there are a couple of restaurants right next door. I suspect I will be living on teriyaki and sushi rolls for a few days until this is over, as it’s inexpensive and filling. I’m giving the rest of the food I would have to cook to one of my neighbors, and tomorrow evening it’ll be time to clean out the fridge. I’ve already given things to my girlfriend that she can eat, but there’s a lot left that she couldn’t take from me, so it goes to the next person on the list.

Yesterday, I hadn’t planned on participating in any turkey day festivities. I didn’t have the time or the energy to deal with it, but seven of my friends brought the holiday to me, with folding tables and chairs, food, a log for the fire, and their good company. Despite having a migraine, I had a really lovely time with them. One is a couple of weeks out from his annual winter in Mexico. Another stopped in with his partner on the way home to Bellingham from their own festivities in Seattle.

My neighbors have been talking with me out in the parking lot when I take the dog for a walk or get my mail or haul things up to the garage for the sale. They have all said they’ll miss me and are very sad to see me go. It’s nice to know my presence has been appreciated despite my unusual hours. One neighbor dropped by while I was sticking price tags on things and bought a few things from me already, so that’s a couple fewer items to worry about! I’ve been overwhelmed by the sea of my possessions and am glad to be getting rid of everything that’s left.

I am at the point in this process where I just want to be done. I want to be on the plane and not have to deal with the intervening 11 days. Beam me up, Scotty! I’m feeling restless and at loose ends in this empty space. I’ve got accounts to close, addresses to change, and last minute details to attend. I’ve got myself a Skype US phone/text number so my family and friends here can stay in touch with me and not have to make international calls, but it’ll be strange not to have the same number I’ve been using for about 15 years now. I couldn’t get a Skype number with a 206 area code, like the one I’ve had for so long. Even my displacement is displaced.

Earlier this week, I went with one of my friends down to Seattle to walk around Green Lake for the last time. The weather has been clear, if cold, and I’ve had some lovely views of Tahoma to file away in my memory. The rosy orange glow of sunset on its snowy peak from the south entrance of the Veterans Hospital was particularly beautiful last week, with that slight touch of unreality that follows when things are in flux. The mountain seized me emotionally when I first got to Seattle many years ago, and it is hard to imagine not seeing it regularly. I have been looking at things with the eyes of one who will not see them again for a very long time and it steeps sadness into me even as I am letting go and looking forward to my trip with excitement. Every time I am down in Seattle, I realize how much I will miss the place, and how much of a home it has been to me for most of my life. Seattle’s mountains and water, and its green spaces have become a part of my soul. I hope that I can find that same sense of connection in Italy.

My brother’s last day with the Air Force was this week. This means that we won’t have to worry about him leaving me alone at his place out in the countryside with no way to get around while he’s at work. He’s driving down to Venice to pick me up, rather than taking the train; it’ll be easier on both of us when I first arrive, as I’m going to be exhausted. I’ll have been in transit for about 18 hours, not including the time it takes for me to get to Seatac and get through security, then wait for the plane. I’m guessing closer to 24 hours will be my total transit door to door. I will be fried when I arrive that morning; there will be lunch and then sleep. The next day, we’ll arrange for me to go to the Questura to apply for my Permesso di Soggiorno before my eight days are up. He says that the office in Pordenone has become much more efficient in recent years, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble. Then again, I have no idea what to measure that against. It could be downright Dantean, even by Veterans Administration standards.

I’ll be sure to bring a book. And a sense of humor.

22 Days

Time is moving at a faster clip than I ‘d like sometimes.

Yesterday, I sold my desk and my dresser. Aside from bookshelves, that was it for the large furniture. There are a few small pieces left, but nothing of any size. The garage/moving sale is on November 30th and anything left after that will be hauled off to the charity shops. It has to all be dealt with by then so that I can be out of my apartment around December 5th. After that, I’m staying with my girlfriend until I leave.

Tomorrow, along with a doggie dental appointment, the Dog of Devastating Cuteness +3 is getting his EU compliant identity chip implanted. Sadly, the ones that are usually used here in the US are not compatible with EU systems. He’s an adorable little guy, but kind of temperamental. He’s 10 years old, and he was a rescue and has issues. His not getting on well with other dogs (or other animals generally speaking) means I have to leave him here with a friend until I get my own place, as life at my brother’s would be really difficult for him. Jim lives in a little place on a farm where there are other dogs, horses and donkeys, geese, chickens, and cats, at my last recollection. It would be a disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, my friend Patrick will take him in until I can come back for him in a few months. I’m also looking into safe airlines for flying pets. I’ve heard Lufthansa is good.



I’m in the process of checking out shipping companies and seeing if my things can be stored for a bit when they get to Italy if I don’t have my own apartment rented by then. One place so far says, “Yes, up to two weeks for free, then we charge you.” Another hasn’t got back to me yet, but I only just sent the emails a little while ago. I may well have an answer from them by the time I get home this evening, or sometime tomorrow. I’m almost done sorting everything and all I have to do is get the rest of what I’m keeping into my storage unit. One of my friends is coming by Monday to help manage the pricing and sorting of the things I’ve got out in the garage for the sale. Between the two of us, we should be able to manage moving the last larger bookshelf out, and the smaller one won’t be a problem. With a cart, I could move it myself.

The weather has taken a turn for the frigid. It’s brilliantly sunny out today, but there’s still frost on the ground where there’s shade and the grass crunches when I walk on it. It’s definitely a contrast to the grey and rain we’ve been having, with some flooding in lower lying areas. Those fish crossing signs are probably getting a workout in some places. (Lest anyone think I’m kidding, here’s a picture for your amusement.) I’m concerned about the moving sale being out in the garage in this weather, but selling any of it at all will do. At this point, every few bucks counts for putting money in the bank toward moving costs and getting my own place. There’s no going back.