Thursday, May 28, 2015

About change - Carver

Some things are sad to leave. Most of these things are big things. The reason is that the big things are furniture. When I lost my dresser (and by lost I mean it was sold. How could you lose an entire dresser?) I had to reorganize my whole room. All the small things went onto a white bookshelf which now lives in my room and my clothing went to my closet. But it is really sad when that happens. It will be terrible when my bed gets sold.

My bright green room was painted a couple days ago because the green wasn't neutral. The blue is fine but it is certainly different.

What I don't like and adapt to well is change. For example I sleep best in my bed and I don't sleep well in hotels. I will have to adapt to change on this trip. Soon the biggest thing will be gone. That big thing is this house. Some things are hard to lose. Never wanting change is like a pi bond in chemistry. Pi bonds keep molecules rigid. No change keeps life rigid.

I had originally intended for this to be about furniture but I realized that what I was going to say about furniture, it would be about change.

"De-cluttering" - Carver

There are many types of cleaning. Some are sweeping, mopping, running the dishwasher, doing laundry, and many other kinds. But one of the hardest is "De-cluttering" which is removing the clutter that develops. However, it seems to me that when we "De-clutter" a room, we move half of that clutter to a different room that hasn't been "De-cluttered" where when we "De-clutter" that room, we move half of it to another room. I expect that clutter moved in that possibly infinite cycle will end up either in the basement or the garage which will ultimately be put in boxes for storage or thrown away.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Might Not Be a Mighty Miter - Erich

I once had a job in which the boss was an overbearing micro-manager, you know the kind. One couldn't make a decision without having to justify it twelve times. We couldn't leave the building during work hours if it wasn't on the all-knowing Google Calendar. I often wondered when a new policy would appear declaring employees must clock out for trips to the bathroom.

It won't be a surprise to learn that the turnover rate at that place was high. I didn't even make it a full year in that job before I had to leave for my own sanity. But one day before I left that position, my boss was complaining to a coworker and me about how difficult we were to communicate with, nay, how difficult it was to communicate with all of us who worked there. After the boss moved on, my coworker, obviously a natural born philosopher, said, "If it's a problem for you to get along with everyone, maybe the problem is you."

Today, I was working on a small home repair, in the quest to get everything into top notch shape for sale of the house. And part of this repair involved the use of the miter saw and the miter box. Clearly the saw is not sharp enough, the box is badly designed, and the wood is uncooperative. Or maybe, when everything else is the problem, the problem is actually me.

Using the miter box is not one of my most highly rated skills. In fact, I'm not all that good at it. And that same statement holds for a variety of tool related activities. I am not a handy man. I'm not particularly handy. I have hands, but apparently not the handiest hands.

So this was bothering me, because I found myself unable to complete the task at hand. (Those not handy hands keep coming up!) But before I dove into the depths of the self-deprecation whirlpool, I realized, I do have a few other skills. I'm pretty handy with calculus and Newtonian physics. I can write a site-specific play with the best of them. And I am a world-class pointer out of ridiculous things that could and should be better. So that's something, right?

In this trip we are taking, we are going to be hitting our limits, testing those limits, and hopefully extending the limits. So I better get used to it.

And if you don't agree, well, maybe the problem is you.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not Quite the Quintessential Commencement? - Erich

Beginnings, like most other things, don’t come easy. A great beginning is hard to come by.
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” 
  • Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote…”
  • “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” 
A bad beginning just falls out of the sky, if beginnings are like raindrops.
  • It was a dark and stormy night.”
  • “I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.”
  • “When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
I recognize that Macbeth, being already considered by many to be a cursed play, is not a wise choice for poking fun. Plus, an army of Shakespearean scholars will now completely refuse to read on. But I’m not sure that was my intended audience anyway.
An adventure, like a story, also often has a clunky beginning. And the adventure I am about to embark on is no exception. I am smack in the middle of the beginning (if beginnings can have middles) and let me tell you, it is not pretty. You see, to start a new chapter, you have to end the previous chapter. But in a book, you can just end the chapter with a cliffhanger. In life, it’s not quite so suspenseful as that. To start a new adventure, you have to end the current one. And that can involve a lot of work.
My wife, my children, and I are about to begin a new adventure. Two years. For two years, we are going to travel around the world, living for a couple of months in one country, and then moving on to another. We want to be tourists, but also more than tourists. We want to get to know the culture, food, people, and art of the place. We are planning on living in four different continents during that time, in eleven different countries. And then home again, home again, jiggedy jig? Perhaps. I don’t know how this adventure will end yet.
But to take on something of this magnitude, you have to clean up the adventure in which you are currently immersed. We have a house to clean, declutter, get on the market, and sell. We have furniture and books and just stuff to sell or give away. We have jobs to finish, we have friends to visit, and we have goodbyes to make. The cliché speaks of tying up loose ends, but at some point there are so many ends, it’s more like weaving a loose tapestry.
I’m confident we will weave this tapestry so that we can continue onto the next one. But in the moment it can feel so overwhelming. Selling a house is never easy. Selling it while also having to get rid of most everything you own just adds to the “never easy”.
But I guess it’s paying your dues that gives you the privilege of the new adventure. And as chaotic as it may seem, it’s certainly not so bad as a dark and stormy night.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How I Feel - Carver

Welcome to our Extravelganza 411 Blog. The first important thing (at least in my opinion) is why that is our name. We thought of many names but we never agreed on a perfect one. After weeks of thinking, we came up with one. We all love it and you can probably guess what the name was. With a name, we could start writing. Anyway, the second important task is what I am excited about. It will certainly be fun and more relaxed. There will not be times when we have to hurry around to different activities. But in all happy things, there is sad. I will leave things I know and like (and some things I don't like) and have adventures that might not be happy. Over all, I am excited. I will learn so much. If you wanted to know why we liked this name, Extravelganza is exciting and we will visit 11 places on 4 continents.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In the Beginning - Syarra

I feel like every weekend we put in an hour or more together to get the house ready to sell. When we go, only a few small things stay. On Sundays, we fill the trash can as high as we can. We try to sell the big stuff, or we give it away/donate. When we go, our plan is to go around the U.S. to see family and then go around the world.
Although I can't wait, it's hard to go away from many friends that I have made. I will Skype for contact, but it is not the same as seeing them. Ever since I found out about the idea, I've been really excited, even though it's hard to leave stuff behind. It's a great idea, and I can't wait because we are going to go in about two months to take the trip around the U.S. 

                                            we can't wait

Monday, May 18, 2015

Getting out the door - Alrica

Getting out of the door is the hard part. After moving 6 times in the course of 5 years, I know all about preparing a house, getting it ready to sell, packing up . . . but this is definitely different. With just a couple months left, the plan is to get rid of pretty much everything. How to do that is quite a bit harder. Especially considering that life continues, we are still coaching soccer, running a girl scout troop, homeschooling Carver, and working; activities like finding the time to post furniture on craigslist are hard. And that is just the big stuff, there are so many little things that we need to decide on: throw it out, give it away, donate it, sell it. All are options, but take some time. And none of us wants to get rid of things that we think we might want during the next couple months.

So turning my attention to the upside: In July, we are leaving Lancaster to see friends and family around the US and then we head off to explore the world in August 2015! We want to learn about the people and the history and the culture, though I'm sure we will see many sights too. We want to be travelers, not tourists. Spending two months in each place should help with that. We are all trying to learn enough about the cultures and languages that we will be able to fit in as well as possible. We will live in rental apartments and houses where the natives live. First stop is Prague! That first month in Prague we want to really immerse ourselves. We expect to play in the parks, see Old Town, shop at local markets, take our time . . . live slowly. The great thing about Europe is how compact it is so as we get more settled in the Czech Republic, we plan to venture out more and see other surrounding countries. We know that best laid plans still go awry so some of the conversations that we have been having revolve around being flexible and keeping our expectations in check. 

For now, it is back to preparing the house, figuring out our packing list, and finishing up the school year. We hope that people follow us on our journey and stay in touch!