Archive | June 2012

Wanna know what we did today??

Okay, so Jonathan and I have been saying all day that we needed to blog about the “goings-on” today.  We have decided that the reason things just can’t be easy and smooth is because we are such good story tellers.  God didn’t want to waste crazy stories on bad story tellers!  But you will seriously not believe me when I tell you all the crazy junk that went on today…

#1-We stayed up until about 2:00 AM trying to get things packed up.  Of course it’s not officially moving day until something breaks.  So I shattered a juice glass all over the kitchen floor, Jonathan swept it up, and then an hour later I had to pluck a sliver of glass out of my foot.  Yay!

#2-We decided, as 2:00 was quickly approaching, that we would just throw everything we didn’t want the movers moving into our giant master bathroom,  So we started creating a mountain of clothes, shoes, linens, etc. in the bathroom floor so we could shut the door and return to it later.  That’s another story…see below…

#3-The movers get here and get everything loaded, transported to the storage unit, and packed in the storage unit in under 3 hours while I stood there kind of in a daze watching all my stuff leave my house for the last time.

#4-We grab a quick bite to eat and then head back to the house with every intention of doing some serious vacuuming and cleaning.  So we plug in the vacuum, flip the switch, and the darn thing doesn’t come on.  So we concluded that it was broken (just our luck) and we were gonna have to go buy some cheapie at Walmart.  Then I try to flip on the ceiling fan because it’s beginning to get a little warm, and I realize that the vacuum wasn’t broken, the electricity is turned off!!!  So I am immediately raging mad because I KNOW we paid the bill because we paid it on Monday when we called to give them a disconnect date.  So we call to see what’s going on and they tell us that due to weather (what weather???) Centerpoint has had some outages.  So no air conditioning, no vacuuming, and we can’t even pump up the air matress and take a nap until they decide to turn our electricity on.  Which leads me to the mountain of stuff in the master bathroom…

#5-With nothing to do, we decide that we simply HAVE to take a nap because we are exhausted.  So what is our only option?? The pile of clothes, shoes, linens, etc. in the bathroom floor.  So we find a “comfortable” spot on the floor of the bathroom and try to sleep.  All the while, laughing our butts off because we are laying in a pile of crap on the floor because we have no furniture in our house and apparently no electricity either.  Needless to say that was not a very restful nap…

#6-Enter weirdo wife of the guy who bought our fridge.  She came by to pay us our other half and pick up the fridge.  But there is some sort of “mellodrama” playing out in her life (cry me a river) and she has a melt down in our living room.  I conveniently stayed holed up in our little nest in the bathroom floor, though, because she seems particularly interested in me and my stuff.  So I avoided that whole awkward situation completely and passed that buck to my wonderful hubby.  He’s got a knack for eccentric women… 😉

#7-We are meeting Marivy and Bryan for dinner at Jimmy’s so we both are in desparate need of showers.  So I turn the knob on the hot water in the shower and it spits and sputters and then…there is no water.  That’s right, no water!!  I forgot to mention that, yes, eventually they did get around to turning our electricity back on.  So this is just adding insult to injury.  Because again, we JUST paid that bill earlier this week when we called to give them the cut off date!  AAAHHH!!  So we finally figure out that the guys who moved the fridge turned off the water supply to the house to stop the pipe from leaking into the house.  I guess they forgot to turn it back on.  Can’t we catch a break??

#8-Finally, to end our day, we had to take the trash out.  3 years of living in a house paired with the necessity to purge ourselves of everything that it would be ignorant to store means bags, and bags, and bags of trash.  Our garbage men are finicky and won’t take any garbage that is not in a can.  They won’t even take the trash if the can is overflowing.  So what to the resourceful (and sneaky) Womacks do?  We load up our car with bags of trash and “put pocket” all our neighbors’ garbage cans secretly and under the cover of darkness.  We are expecting the police to come to our door demanding an explaination any minute now…

So now, at 10:45, we are in the middle of our living room floor on a blow up matress watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix in our completely empty house.  We kind of feel a bit like college kids again!  And I can’t help but wonder, after all the drama that was today, whether or not in 3 years I will wonder why in the heck we stored all that junk and didn’t just get rid of it.  Time will tell.  Time will also tell whether this air matress can stand the test of a 10 hour sleep without slowing deflating and leaving us sleeping on a hardwood floor with a nice layer of plastic for a bed.  Something tells me that we might be retreating to Mt. Master Bathroom at some point tonight…

This entry was posted on June 21, 2012. 1 Comment

Polka dot, polka dot, polka dot, afro…

So my Facebook status pretty much covers it.  I need a circus afro to go with the week I’ve had!  Or rather the weekend I’ve had.  I was all excited about Jonathan being officially finished at the clinic after Tuesday of last week because that meant I’d have him around to help me do stuff.  Not to mention there were several “administrative” things that needed doing that he HAD to be present for.  Little did I know there needed to be a soundtrack to our last 5 days that was reminiscent of Looney Tunes.  So here’s the run down (and might I add…NEVER MOVE TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY!):

Wednesday — Run around town being told “No, you can’t do that here” and “You’ll need an appointment”.  So we made appointments and got addresses and phone numbers of the ACTUAL places we needed to go to get things taken care of.

Thursday (official afro circus day) — Get up at the crack of dawn, load the car for the weekend in OKC/Tulsa, go to the Office of Vital Records (which we now lovingly refer to as the Office of Viral Records) to get yet another copy of my birth certificate.  Yes, right before we got married I had to get a certified copy of my birth certificate so that I could get my passport at the last minute.  I’m having nightmare-ish flashbacks of that with this whole saga.  Suffice to say that certificate got lost in our many moves over the last 5 years and was nowhere to be found.  And yes, I needed another one for the same stinkin’ reason.  To get my passport.  Why do you need ANOTHER passport Rachel??  Well you see, the passport I got in 2007 was for Rachel Elizabeth Harris.  Customs and visas do not accept marriage licenses as proof that you are who you say you are.  So yes, I need a new passport that says Rachel Harris Womack on it.  And Jonathan needs a new one too because his passport is expired. 

So we get my official “viral record” and head to the federal building to get our passports squared away.  All of this is on this crazy short timeline because of our ignorance essentially.  You see, we received paperwork from Ross University for our foreign visas on Monday of last week.  Stupidly (apparently) we thought all we had to do was fill out the forms and send them back.  Oh no…not that simple.  Is it ever??  Here’s what a foreign visa requires (after reading this you will understand my sound advice about moving to a foreign country):

Each person must have the following in their “visa application”:

-Visa application

-A copy of the photo page of your current US passport

-A police record (yes…that’s a fun story too…)

-Two “letters of reference” attesting to our character (thanks Hendersons!)

-A Health Certificate including blood tests for vaccinations, shot records, and a physical

-A copy of your birth certificate

-A $100 money order

And yes, of course, that all has to be in the hands of “the powers that be” by June 20th.  So we couldn’t just apply for the passports, we had to “same day” them.  And we have been running around town all day Wednesday, Thursday, and today (Monday) trying desperately to get all of this together.  It is all finally in our hot little hands (except for the results of our blood tests) and we are next day mailing our “applications” tomorrow to New Jersey. 

All of this is punctuated by a trip to OKC/Tulsa for me to help Bernice do a beading workshop and a show for A Different Kind of Flair (which is our jewelry business by the way).  It was a very successful workshop/show!  Thankfully the bulk of the to do list is crossed off and that feels REALLY good.  The student loan stuff will be finished tomorrow and that will round out the last of the “big stuff”.  Wednesday is moving day so that means tomorrow is pack and clean and organize day.  Yay!! (please read the sarcasm in that yay…)  These next few days mark our “last” in Houston since we’re headed out on double header family vacations this weekend and won’t be back until the 8th of July.  We will be back in Houston for a few days to close on the house and finish up a few things (we’ll be staying in Baby Emma’s room for a few days in the Henderson’s house…).  And then Bernice and I will be doing a home show for A Different Kind of Flair on Saturday the 14th.  After that, one more week in OKC spent gathering the last of our lives into 4 suitcases, squaring away our financial affairs, and visiting with friends and family before we FLY!!

God willing, I will survive these next 4 weeks with as few grey hairs as possible…

(I also have to add that when we went to pick up our passports at the federal building before heading out of town to OKC, we returned to our car to find it booted in the parking lot.  I wanted to scream!!!  We had paid $10 for an “all day” parking pass in this teeny little lot across the street from the federal building.  We left to run errands and came back to pick up our passports and we still had our “all day” pass so we parked in the lot (in the exact same spot we had paid for), ran upstairs, grabbed our passports, and were back down at our car in literally less than 10 minutes.  It took home slice almost 45 to make it back to our car to “un-boot” it and charge us $100 claiming “You can’t go in and out.”  Apparently it said “no in and out” on our little torn off ticket.  I call bull honky!  I HATE parking in downtown!  And I’m quite sure that the gateway to hell is monitored by a parking attendant…)

A week of tearful farewells…

Ugh.  This week has been a little rough for me.  There’s a blessing and a curse in the fact that this process is moving so fast.  A blessing because I’m certain drawing this out any longer would be even more difficult than it already is.  But a curse because it has made us have to say our goodbyes quickly and unexpectedly.  So here’s how my week went:

Tuesday:

KMS Talent show.  Every year other than this year has been a “delightful debacle”.  Kids forgetting words to songs.  Dancers forgetting steps.  Etc., etc.  But this year the kids did AMAZING.  I was totally impressed.  And then the last act happened…  We have an awesome guitar club at Keller and there are kids from all electives involved in it because it’s an after school club.  I’m including this in my “tearful farewells” post because of one kid.  Adrian Resendez.  He’s one of my percussionists and also one of the most talented kids I’ve ever taught.  He gets up there to play drum set (mind you this is a 6th grade kid who has never had a private lesson in his life) and he just has this look of sheer joy on his face.  Like there is nothing in the world better than sharing his musical talents.  And he blows up that drum set like he’s been playing it his entire life.  I was pulling the curtain for the show and so I’m watching him from the wings.  Just bawling my eyes out.  Because I’m so proud of him specifically, but also because I am overwhelmed by this idea that in 4 years at Keller I did EVERYTHING I intended to.  Most importantly, I passed on my love of music and performing to my students.  There is nothing else more rewarding than seeing your kids loving their art as much as you do.  While I was watching him play I could only think, “Wow…I got to be a part of that.”  And that feeling is priceless…

Thursday:

6th Grade awards ceremony and the last day of school (for the kids).  Amazingly I got through that awards ceremony relatively smoothly.  These kids were gonna leave me this year regardless if I was moving or not, because they are going to 7th grade (which in Pasadena is another campus).  But I feel like this year these kids really exemplified everything I wanted my bands to be at Keller.  They are hard workers, they love a challenge, they are self-directed, they are motivated, they are caring.  And they embrace fully this idea that the band is a family.  We have each others’ backs.  We can disagree, but at the end of the day we still love and respect each other.  And EVERY person on the team contributes something.  There is not one member who is expendable.  They challenged each other, they challenged me.  They made me better.  As have every class of kids that have come through Keller.  I could not be more proud of the kids I’ve taught over these 4 years.  And I’m signing out after what has probably been the most successful year I’ve had.  And I could not be more blessed!

Friday:

Last day for teachers.  I have to say that Friday totally blew me away.  I was not expecting such an intense send off.  We had a quick faculty meeting at which Diane (our principal) gave each teacher that was leaving a hibiscus plant saying “You’ve helped our school grow.”  For me, that plant also signifies how much I’ve grown at Keller myself.  Not just in teaching.  When she got to me she got teary and said, “Rachel is one of my babies.  I hired her as a first year baby teacher to start up the band.  And she did a bang up job and I could not be more proud of what she’s accomplished.”  I was so touched.   I interviewed for every middle school opening in Pasadena.  All of them were head jobs because there were no assistants at the time.  I got turned down by all of them…probably mostly because of my inexperience.  Until Diane called me and said, “Hey Liz (the principal at Shaw MS) called me and told me that I needed to interview you ASAP before you got snapped up.  So would you come in and interview with me this week?”  So I sat down with just her and “interviewed”.  I use that term lightly because it really was just a conversation.  Her trying to absorb my personality and me trying desperately to both impress her and to portray myself correctly.  When we were finished she said, “Well as far as I’m concerned you’re hired.  You can go home and think about it and call me tomorrow!”  Needless to say, I grabbed the opportunity.  That first year was tough, but I feel like I’ve gained 10 years of experience in 4 years.  Thanks to her faith that I was the right gal for the job.  So when it came time to say goodbye to my Keller family, there were many tears shed.  Many words exchanged.  Lots of encouragement given by teachers who (whether they knew it or not) were my role models.  We’ve been through A LOT in 4 years at Keller.  By that I mean on a personal level.  We’ve suffered loss and tragedy and adversity and we all clung to each other through it all.  I always knew that when I needed it, there were multiple people in that building that I could go to.  For a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board, a venting buddy, a good laugh, a deep conversation, a word of advice, a hard truth.  So in closing, I will dearly miss my Keller family.  You all have meant so much to me over the years and you will continue to be held in my heart for many years to come! 

Sunday:

This Sunday was our official last Sunday at UBC.  I’ve been at UBC for almost 17 years (if you count the 4 I was at OU for…).  Of course the people in that congregation are my family.  Debbie Henderson said, “I’m so sad you guys are leaving.  You’re the last of the Harris’s!  I guess you won’t be coming back because you don’t have family here anymore…”  To which I said, “Are you kidding me??  You’re our family!”.  And it’s true because so many people there have been mothers to me, fathers to me, siblings to me, adopted children of mine, etc.  I sang with Debbie Forrest and the contemporary band and one of the songs on the docket was “Waiting Here For You” by Christy Nockels.  It was so apropos that I asked her if I could lead it.  I barely got through it (actually I didn’t in practice!) because the third verse says “You are everything you’ve promised.  You’re faithfulness is true.”  And I just about can’t sing that because the gravity of the truth behind those words is almost more than I can take.  He IS everything He’s promised!  He promised us that if we seek Him we will find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts.  And Jonathan and I have been seeking His will and guidance for a long time in regards to this leap of faith we’re taking.  And He’s been faithful…He has made His presence known!  We would not have been able to take this plunge if it weren’t for our UBC family encouraging us, praying for and with us, teaching us, loving us.  Thank you just doesn’t even come close to covering it…

Of course there are many tearful farewells in store for us.  I don’t even want to think about them at this point because I really can’t without breaking down. You know, we’ve developed such a HUGE all-encompassing family here in Houston.  We have been so blessed!  So as we wrap up our final “see ya laters”, all I can say is that it really is just a “see ya later”.  Not a goodbye.  Because our hearts are so full of your love that we couldn’t possibly leave here without little pieces of all of you.  Much love from the Womacks to our insanely wonderful Houston family!

This entry was posted on June 11, 2012. 2 Comments

You’ve still got questions??

Here is the continuation of my earlier post.  I’ll try to finish answering all the crazy questions!

Where will you live?  In an apartment?  A house?  A hut???

We will be placing our deposit on an apartment in Freeport in a week or so.  Yes, it will be “sight unseen”.  That’s a requirement of full admission to the school.  The one we are leaning towards is a duplex style house which has a yard (not fenced) and a grill out back.  Since we’ll have Matilda with us, we think it will be really nice to have that outdoor space.  We won’t know for a few weeks though whether or not we actually get the one we want.  Living expenses in Freeport are fairly comparable to the US, however Dominica is much less expensive.  So we will, no doubt, be looking forward to our move down there to escape the big monthly outpouring of our teeny little budget!

What will you be taking with you?  Will you be shipping all your stuff??

We won’t be shipping all our stuff.  We will be storing or selling most of it.  We basically get to go with what we can pack in 3 suitcases and 2 carryons.  We will be shipping one box of random stuff we think won’t travel well in suitcases though.  But we are trying to avoid having to ship as much as possible.  The cost to ship a big box overseas is outrageous!  We will be living in a “fully turn key” apartment which means that towels, kitchen stuff, and dinnerware/flatware will be provided as part of our rent.  We like to say often, though, that once we come back to the states and pull all our stuff out of storage we will feel like we’re living at the Ritz!  We’ll be so used to living with wicker furniture and mismatched drapes! 😉

Do you guys have to get any weird vaccinations to move to the Caribbean?

No, we won’t have to get malaria shots or anything like that.  At least not to go to Freeport.  We haven’t heard anything like that about Dominica.  We promise not to come back with any diseases though!

Where the heck is Dominica?  Is that the Dominican Republic??

No, it’s not the Dominican Republic.  And it’s not actually even pronounced like the Dominican Republic.  It’s pronounced like Dominique-a (with emphasis on the “nique”).  It is actually an island in the West Indies which is just souhteast of Puerto Rico.  They call it the “Nature Island” because it is very naturally beautiful.  Sort of untouched.  It’s a volcanic island so there’s lots of jungles and it’s very mountainous.  Not to mention it boasts some of the most amazing beaches in the world!

Can we come visit?!?

Of course!  It will be short stay for us, but we would love for anyone to come visit us!  As soon as we get settled, I will post our address and what not.  Just let us know when you want to come! 

We are officially flying out on July 22nd and will arrive in Freeport, Grand Bahama the afternoon of the 23rd.  Between now and then we have to pack, move, close on the house, get Matilda’s vet stuff done, get our passports squared away, and deal with the student loan drama.  So much to do, so little time!

This entry was posted on June 7, 2012. 1 Comment