Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adhoc Queen in Virginia

November 10, 1988.  I'd said my goodbyes at work the day before.  They'd had a little, "going away" party for me.  They gave me a T-shirt.... it said, "ADHOC QUEEN."  Let's just say, in those days, in the Knott Data Center in Tallahassee, FL, I had a reputation of being able to write or fix a program on the fly, get it working, very quickly.  But it was my last day working in the data center.  I'd accepted an offer of a new job -- one that would take me to the Tidewater area of Virginia.  And this day, November 10, 1988, we made the drive from Tallahassee to Yorktown, VA, where we were to stay in a motel while we looked for a place to live.

I think back on this four day weekend and wonder WHAT we were thinking?  Yes, we'd lined up a Realtor to show us some places, but seriously... I had NO place to live and I was going to start work on MONDAY!  Our trip from Florida was made in two vehicles.  I was driving the car that I would keep up here with me while my then-husband returned to Florida in the small Ford pick-up truck, remaining there for the next six weeks, allowing the "family move" to take place during the children's Christmas break.

Veteran's Day that year was spent looking at properties that were lovely, but too expensive for our budget (why do Realtors ALWAYS show you places you cannot/will not afford?).
 Our criteria for our new house included:
  • at least 1/2 acre
  • two story house
  • at least three bedrooms
  • garage
  • neighborhood with children
  • within our budget
By Friday, two days after our arrival in town, and after exhausting ourselves looking at houses that did not meet our criteria, we'd found a place in Gloucester, VA. Though TECHNICALLY it did NOT meet all of our criteria, we decided it was "the place."  It was a split-level house, on 6 1/4 wooded acres, with NO neighborhood, NO children.  It had three bedrooms and a garage and it was ALMOST within our budget!  We put a bid in on the house, our offer was accepted, and I moved in... part of the bid included my being able live in the house, paying rent until our closing -- estimated at 7 weeks away.  Of course, "moving in" meant I put the contents of the pick-up truck into the basement "bedroom."

For the next six weeks I lived alone in that house in the middle of the woods.  In my basement bedroom I had a roll-away bed, a small dresser, a sewing machine, a small B&W TV, a radio and my guitar.  In the main part of the basement was the wood stove, which I kept stoked to keep warm... the basement was not otherwise heated, and I was not about to run electricity to heat the whole house for just one person.  It was quiet and very peaceful.  This was back in the day before cell phones were popular, so, our communication was by land line and very minimal... trying to keep expenses down. My new work kept me busy during the week and driving around to get the "lay of the land" on the weekends became my pastime.

The calls from Tallahassee, however, were always interesting.  My then-mother-in-law was staying with the family for the six weeks and would travel up to VA with them in December, before returning to her home in DE.  One evening, during our phone conversation, my mother-in-law told me that she'd had a bit of a rough day with my youngest, Jenn.  It seems Jenn, then age five, had decided she wanted to wear basically ALL of her favorite clothes at one time.  Fashionably attired in several dresses, and a LOVELY slip, which she had as her outermost garment, she presented herself at the breakfast table.  "MomMom" took one look at her, and told her she needed to return to her bedroom, choose a single dress, and wear the slip UNDER that dress.  Jenn was obstinate and, though MomMom DID eventually win that battle, it was not, I am told, an easy win... I had to laugh.  That was my Jenn....

Thanksgiving was my first holiday at the new job and I took the train to spend the holiday with my family in Maryland.  As is customary, my step-mother, who was hosting the event that year, sent me back to Virginia with a care package of leftovers.  Among these was a lovely slice of her DELICIOUS apple pie.

Back in my basement abode the next night, I thought about that slice of pie, and thought I'd like to eat it, just about then.  I took it from the fridge, and decided to "warm it up" a little on the wood stove.  Now, I believe I was missing a few marbles that night because I placed that lovely piece of pie on the wood stove... still in the TupperWare container.  Even MORE brain-dead, I then returned to my "bedroom" to play the guitar a little, while my pie warmed.  Suffice to say that by the time the fabulous aroma of the apple pie wafted my way, and I went out to enjoy my treat, I found that "treat" sitting squarely (or triangularly, since it WAS a slice of pie) in the middle of a TupperWare puddle. And so was lost not only a spectacular slice of pie, but also a perfectly good container... AND I had a MESS to clean up before I ALSO burned down the house I did NOT yet own!!!

I survived being "home alone" that year, but I was, indeed, happy to have the family arrive two days before Christmas.  Our household goods arrived on Christmas Eve, and we celebrated our first Christmas in Virginia.

So today, on this beautiful Autumn day, when I sat down at my computer, 22 years later, I had to laugh... who'd thought I'd still be in VA this long?  The adhoc queen has moved on from programming, moved on from that marriage, moved from that first house in the woods, to the house in the neighborhood, to the rental house in the neighborhood, to the house on the pond, and now, to the old farmhouse, the children have grown and are both married and living in VA, and I am still doing "brilliant" maneuvers, on almost a daily basis!

Fallen Leaves of Yellow

Fallen Leaves of Red
And Some That Cannot Decide
Old Farmhouse, Autumn Colors


Sharon said...

One never knows which way the road will turn, on an unfamiliar road. Seems your life has taken you on a great (if not hazardous) ride!

Judy's Corner said...

LOL Sharon! I need a "keeper!" I can do some of the DUMBEST things, I promise you!

mixednut555 said...

You have to stand in line for the honors of doing the dumbest things, Judy. If we were to run a contest, am betting your might get honorable mention, but not first place. Too bad about the pie, though.
Lovely pictures and a lovely post. Thanks
WV: ailionai

Canyon Girl said...

Looks like your life now has all you want in it. What gorgeous photos.

Judy's Corner said...

Haha Kat... I seriously doubt that! Ask anyone who knows me... I have done some real GEMS!!!

Thanks, and enjoy the wine.. should make moving a little more tolerable, if you can take a relaxation break every now and then!

Judy's Corner said...

Inger, yes, I am happy. And it is beautiful in the Autumn, that's a fact!


What an interesting story about your life and how you are doing today. God bless you and have a great Veterans Day :-)


Judy's Corner said...

Thank you OG! Happy Veterans' Day to you too!

Chris said...

Judy! Your posts wear me out just thinking of all you do! LOL! What I really like from you is the your ability to "see" what's wonderful! Keep up the good work.