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Gina Stafford

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It’s been about six weeks since Bill and I moved to Chattanooga and our house in the suburb of Hixson, but it seems longer.

I expect anyone who’s ever moved their entire, long-established household to another city to take a new job in that city understands. I don’t mean it seems long in a bad way. It’s just that–given the stress of two closings 100 miles apart on the same day, movers arriving the next day, and having to use GPS to get back to work a couple of days later–the six weeks feel like dog years. A whirlwind of change has blown almost nonstop.

The good news: We’re finally getting our nest made.

As I’ve written here before, we were fortunate to have sold our Knoxville home of 24 years within the first 24 hours it was on the market. Which was the last Thursday in May. We were set to close a month later in June. All we had to do was find a place to live in Chattanooga, get a mortgage approved, get our stuff set to move, and close on the same day–in about 26 days. Oh, and I would be working full-time at the new job as of June 1. Piece of cake. What would we do with all our spare time?

It was a huge help that my new employer, UT Chattanooga, made it possible for me to rent a furnished, on-campus apartment for the month of June.

So we only had to move my office stuff once and most of my clothes and a few of our household items twice. I’m not complaining. There’s no way I could have found and rented a furnished apartment for just 30 days–utilities included–otherwise. And the commute for the month of June was pretty sweet. Two blocks, and I never even had to start my car.

My new colleagues at UTC couldn’t have made me feel more welcome from the first day, June 4. IMG_0227

I mean, how do you beat your own, personalized welcome banner created by the creative services director? Thanks again, Steve. You’re the best.

Then Steve and our boss, George, and our division’s business manager, Megan, and I all went to lunch on my first day at one of the countless trendy spots in downtown Chattanooga: Jalisco Taquería.

Those three are a fun bunch to grab lunch with, and the tacos were great. Still, I managed to make the trip even more memorable by going for an accidental dive on the brick plaza as we carried our takeout to an outdoor table.

In my dress and heels.27760701767_d171a851a0_o

Yep, that’s how I roll on the first day of the new job.

I couldn’t get the name of that location to come to mind later in talking about the restaurant with some other work colleagues. Steve helped: “It’s that place where you fell.”

Which is what it will forever be known as at the office, I guess.

A month of staying in Chattanooga five nights a week and driving back to Knoxville every weekend to pack stuff and clean the house was about all the fun I could stand. 40714150080_aaed6e9d8a_oThen came June 26, when we officially sold a house in Knoxville in the morning, drove for two hours with three squalling cats, bought a house in Chattanooga in the afternoon, then headed to the new digs.

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We couldn’t ask for a nicer neighborhood.

But the first night, we could have asked for furniture. It came the next day.

We slept on the floor–to keep the traumatized cats company–instead of driving back to my on-campus apartment where there was an actual bed with a mattress.

No biggie. We learned it’s possible to sleep on a floor and get up the next morning and spend the entire day carrying stuff inside and showing the movers where the heavy stuff goes. Not saying you’d want to do it, just saying that you can do it.

We were thrilled to have all of our stuff back in one place again. And lordy, there was a lot of it. One thing I learned from finally having a closet big enough to keep my clothes all in one place: I don’t need another shoe, dress or pair of pants.

All the change and strange was pretty stressful for our cats. We put them inside their individual crates and put them in a closet while the movers were working. They made not a sound nor a mess in their crates all day. They felt hid and that made them feel better.

It was kinda fun when the movers had gone and the time finally came to let the cats roam the house.

They skulked and sniffed and jumped at everything.

They’d never had a staircase to play on before, and they seemed to enjoy that.

A couple days later, it was Saturday, June 28, the last weekend before July 4. We were sweaty and tired and unpacking boxes when first one then, a couple of hours later, another knock came at the door from new neighbors to make sure we knew about the Pre-July 4 Neighborhood Block Party that evening.

No, it didn’t matter what we wore (since I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d be able to find my clothes). No, we didn’t have to bring anything–there would be plenty of food.

Tired, but showered and fully dressed in actual clothing, we eventually made our way to the Block Party. That’s when we found out what nice neighbors we really do have. And that they turn out in big numbers for the Block Party. If you look closely, you might be able to spot Bill and me in the photo:

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We’re grateful to be living in a place with such nice, friendly people.

And we’re almost as grateful that the inside of our house is finally, slowly coming together.

Come see us. We’ll make you feel welcome to the neighborhood, too!

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3 comments on “Welcome to the Neighborhood

  1. jdjutvolstwccom says:

    Pretty home and know you and Bill are glad to get settled in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jerry. You’re welcome anytime.

      Like

  2. Mary Ann Everett says:

    Congratulations on your new adventure & journey!
    What a whirlwind month or so…..but you are so efficient & got her done!
    So happy to hear you are happy & enjoying your new HOME!
    Thanks for your sweet note, certainly was not expected, but then you do the unexpected.
    Happy for you & hope one day to see you on the trails again!
    Love y’all!
    Mary Ann

    Liked by 1 person

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