BIG news,  Bug,  the sticks,  unpackamania

Moving along

my ocean

I’ve written about a thousand posts in my head. I would have typed them out too but I’ve been so busy with moving I haven’t given myself a chance to sit down and think. If I sat down, I fell asleep. The move has been going really really well. I have felt those prayers more than ever in my life. Thank you prayer warriors, more than you know. And everyone else who was sending me hugs and thinking of me, and sending me kind emails. You must have done the trick because what I thought was going to be deep dark agony has actually been smooth-sailing and at times even filled with bright patches of laughter.

Texas representin' in the OC

Heather flew out to help me pack up and move to the sticks and if ever there was a force to be reckoned with, it is OMSH. She has the strength of an Amazon woman and a laugh that expels demons. I swear, her smile lit up my life and everyone around me too. Between Heather and my friend Deb (my neighbor from the beach), I felt like I was sandwiched between two pieces of protective steel bread. They held me up and kept me going. I could not have done it without them.

We hired some guys to help us move. I’d never done that before and now I doubt I’d ever move without hired help. Those guys worked so hard for so little money. I paid them double in the end because I was so thankful. They carried my boxes down the stairs and right out of my house in about an hour flat. True, I don’t have a whole lot of stuff (I guess that’s debatable; Heather would probably roll her eyes here) but without them, it would have taken me days and probably a trip to the hospital for a broken back. They didn’t speak much English but they were the sweetest guys on the planet. So many times I tried to help and they pushed me back in their broken English telling me they were “trained professionals.” I don’t know what kind of training they had but they were definitely gentlemen.

A funny thing happened while my U-haul truck was parked by the beach house so we could load it up. It was pretty much parked smack in the middle of the alley because I didn’t want the truck roof to hit the overhang of my old apartment that juts out into the road. (Yes, we live like that at the beach.) There was no room to pass on either side, maybe four feet. Obviously, not enough room to drive a big fat SUV through but you know people…there’s a bimbo airhead born every minute. I heard the men shouting and ran downstairs to see what all the commotion was about. There she was, stuck in her big fat white hybrid SUV between my U-haul truck and the brick wall on the side. She’d cleanly taken off her side mirror and left a nice big black plastic scrape mark on the side of the U-haul. Good thing I decided to spring for that extra insurance.

Why why why? I waved my arms out beside me in exaggerated motions. Whatever could you be thinking you crazy idiot?!! I mouthed silently as I walked up to the driver’s side window. Her perfume hit me like a mushroom cloud of flowers. At first I thought the smell was alcohol. What else could explain this idiocy? She must be drunk. And then my heart sank when I saw two kids in the backseat in car seats with their eyes as big as saucers. They were so scared. I went from angry to desperate in about two seconds. I have to rescue those kids! I thought. I don’t know what she said to me but I turned and whispered to Heather that she was drunk and we had to get those kids away from her, then ran upstairs to get some paper and a pencil to write down her information. I don’t know what I thought I was going to do but I figured Heather would know what to do while I bought time getting writing utensils.

By the time I got back downstairs with my paper and pencil, the woman had gotten out of her car and was talking to Heather and the moving guys. Boy was she a sight for sore eyes and believe me, our eyes were soaring. She was dressed in a jersey-knit mini dress, printed with a giant herringbone pattern. It might have come to her thighs but I’m guessing it was shorter than that. Three inches below her dress, her boots started and they were high heels of course. Very high. Her plastic boobs exploded out of the neckline of her skin-tight dress and between them dangled a diamond-encrusted cross. She was a sight.

Thankfully, it turned out she wasn’t drunk and she was actually very apologetic about the whole mess. That may or may not have been due to the giant guilt trip Heather laid on her about making my already complicated day more complicated. In the end she turned out to be very sweet. She gave us her insurance information and we sent her on her way, to the mall of course. Where else would you be going in such a hurry dressed like that? Sheesh.

trucker girl

So that was probably the worst of the whole move. Of course things with Toby were strained. That’s a given. This is a hard time for us, especially for him. But we muddled through the best we could. Then we did a few last-minute errands around town and headed off into the sunset, or rather away from the sunset since I’m moving inland, which is east. But it was sunset time and there I was driving a giant truck that can’t go any faster than 45 miles an hour. It actually got up to 70 on the freeway but it took a while to get there. It was so weird to be driving such a big truck when I’m used to my small sports car. It was scary and monumental, sort of like my life right now.

she LOVED riding in the front seat packed up and ready to go!

Bug loved that she got to ride in the front seat with that giant view out the front window. She was laughing and kicking like it was a ride at Disneyland. Of course she doesn’t understand the largeness of this move but I’m thankful for her joy in the small things. She fell asleep probably half an hour into our trip and I was thankful for the peaceful time to just process everything. I really did it. I packed up my life in boxes and I’m forging ahead.

That night we parked the truck in the driveway of my new place out in the sticks and left it there. When I walked into the mobile home that is my new home, there was a chocolate cake sitting on the counter, freshly iced. I wish I’d taken a picture of it. It was so beautiful and so symbolic of a warm welcome. My sister-in-law had made it for me. I love her. The heat was on, the lights were on and the carpets had been freshly cleaned, thanks to my grandpa.

When I was last here a month ago, the place was dirty and messy. My mom’s belongings were still strewn about. (She used to live here and has been in the process of moving next door for months.) I thought I would have to clean the place myself and I wasn’t looking forward to it. To be honest, I’d been dreading it for a month. Forcing my mom to get rid of her junk is one of our lifelong battles full of hot buttons and sore spots and you know, all that family kind of stuff. But everything was gone and in its place were clean open rooms. The outside of the mobile home is still stacked with bins and boxes and miscellaneous junk but my mom did her best. Of course the fact that I threatened to throw anything away that was left inside might have helped but really, I was impressed. My family loves me.

my front door
(excuse the blurriness, I took this at the crack o’ dawn)

The next day was a blur of unloading, unpacking and deep cleaning. Heather was a superhero. She wiped down cupboards and laid in contact paper (my least-favorite part). She arranged furniture and counseled me in organization. If you are familiar with her blog and her homeschooling room, you know she’s an expert in organization. I love her minimalistic approach. We made a trip to Target for all those things you need when you are starting your life over.

my new desk

I bought this desk for THIRTY DOLLARS (!) at a thrift store. I love it so much. I think I’m going to decorate the rest of my house around this desk. Of course, I don’t really have a budget for decorating at this point but it’ll make its presence known.

I took a bunch of pictures of my new house in its half-unpacked state.

site of my new office

This is my office. PLEASE know that these are BEFORE pictures. I know it’s a trailer and I’m really going to be pushing if I think I can pull off trailer-chic, but I am not going to leave it a mess like this. It has potential.

I decided to use half of the living room as my office. I like it. Working is a big part of my life right now so it seems appropriate that my office takes the best spot in the house. This room has the best light. Not that Bug is going to be shafted, stuck back in her room. She is part of this office too. In fact, right now she spends more time on my laptop than I do. I think I’m going to set up a little Netflix viewing area (since we don’t have cable or tv now) somewhere so she can be comfy watching movies while I work. I can also watch her playing outside from the big windows. It’s a better setup than being in a back bedroom with no views.

my living room I took my mirror with me.

This is the other side of the living room. It has one very sad chair. But don’t worry. That very sad chair has a cover that was in the washing machine when I took this photo. With its cover it is nice and white and happy. I’ll probably get some more furniture in there but for now the chair is fine.

dining room mess

This is my dining room. It needs some work. Since I took this photo, I’ve washed and put all my see-through glassware in that built-in hutch. It looks about a thousand times better. Now I just need a real table instead of my old fold-up painting bistro table but I’m not in a hurry. I can save up for a cute little $100 table from Ikea.

dining room/kitchen

This is the view of the kitchen from the dining room. It’s small but functional. AND!!! It has a dishwasher! I’ve never had a dishwasher before. It’s so nice. Sometimes you gotta move into a mobile home out in the sticks to get the finer things in life. Funny how that works.

kitchen looking towards dining room

Here is Miss Bug eating her breakfast at the little built-in counter bar thing. Please ignore the yellow cast from the awful fluorescent lighting and all the clutter on the counter there. I’m working on it. It is not going to stay like this, no siree.

living room

Here is a view from the dining room into the living room and just the edge of my office. Here is also my dog. I HAVE A DOG!!! I’m actually borrowing this dog from my brother who was borrowing it from my mom. Apparently, we share animals in this family. This is a good thing though because I really feel like I need a dog living out here for safety but I’m not really in a position to get a puppy since I don’t know where I’m going to be living in six months. I can’t be tied down to raising a dog right now. I like borrowing dogs and then if it doesn’t work out, I can just give this lovely dog back to it’s loving family. My mom lives next door anyway so in the dog’s eyes it’s probably just like she gained two new pack members.

Anyway, the dog’s name is Haleakala. She’s named after a volcano in Hawaii. We call her “Holly” for short. She’s old and sweet and perfectly good with kids. I love her already. She doesn’t jump around or lick faces. She just follows me everywhere and when I stop she sleeps at my feet. Right now she’s on the floor by my desk while I type this. I can hear her snoring. She’s the best dog ever. I might have to keep her.

I have a dog!

Bug loves her too. I’m sure she’ll be popping up again and again on this blog.

Bug's room my room

This is Bug’s room on the left. It’s a mess right now, of course. I’ll take better pictures when we get settled. I’m still trying to figure out where to fit a bed in there since my mom had counters built in for her sewing room and they take up the only wall big enough to put a bed against. We might have to rig up some kind of mini-bed situation, which is fine since Bug sleeps with me most of the time anyway. But it’s fun for her to have her own room. I’m dreaming of painting it pink for her.

My room on the right is a mess of ripped wallpaper but truthfully, I kind of like it. It feels like a very small apartment in Paris. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Also! I have my own bathroom. Such a luxury. I finally can be one of those girls who leaves her blow dryer and hairspray on the counter. Maybe I’ll actually start doing my hair now that I have a special station just to do it at.

my bathroom

See? Hair-doing station. Whoorl would be so proud. I just need to do a bit of an EXTREME makeover on the decor. Just a tiny bit. Heh.

I have more pictures of the outside and a few other details but Bug has woken up and is demanding my attention so I’ll leave the rest of this post for tomorrow. We have big plans for today: Gymnastics and visiting Daddy. Also, it’s time for breakfast and I need some coffee.


  • Teri

    You look pretty well unpacked for how little time you’ve been there! Good luck and good wishes and lots of prayers to you.

  • bethany

    Welcome home, to whatever comes next … no doubt you’ll whip it into shape in no time, and thank God for girlfriends and family! Thx for the update, been keeping you in thoughts/prayers and will continue. Oh, and that desk is lovely! May the life-building be warm and stretching in the gentlest of ways. Hugs.

  • Taylor N.

    Brenda, I’m really amazed at how strong you are! Keep your steel support around you. God designed us to need each other :) You’re looking super thin in those mirror pictures–I mean you look good but I hope you are eating :)

  • Clownfish

    A place to call ‘your own’ is such a good thing. Knowing you both are well and safe is a great thing. Wishing you all the best as the page is turned and this new and exciting chapter begins.

  • speck These are the hardest steps. It all gets better from here.
    Trust me, I traveled the road. Those are my kleenexes along the way.
    Go girl.
    You rock it.

  • Caroline

    I am praying for you and thinking of you and so excited for you, though I know that this is not an easy thing. I did this myself 2 years ago and it’s so funny—you and I have the same IKEA pillows and Target spotted baskets and bookshelf and on and on! Makes me smile! I love that you have found this new space in which to nest and I will be thinking of you and praying for you all the time. Be well!

  • whoorl

    Well, I AM proud of you, but it has nothing to do with the hair-doing station. ;) You are doing what’s best, my dear. I truly believe that.

    I can’t wait to see what you do with the place. It will be oh-so Brenda chic! (And I love the desk!!)

    Chin up, mama. xoxo

  • Mrs. Wilson

    Wow. That’s INCREDIBLE. Exciting and scary at the same time. SO thankful you had OMSH there with you!!! I can only imagine how amazing she is, having never met her in real life.

    Will continue to pray for you every time I think of you as you and Bug start your new life in the sticks.


  • JennyBean

    Ahhh, B! Even tho its a work-in-process, I think its looking great so far, you’ve done a lot with it in a short amount of time. You’re my hero, the way you’re approaching this. Great big hugs and lots of prayers to you both. Oh and how sweet is Holly?! :)

  • Susie

    Please know that your loyal readers, even the ones who don’t comment very often, are thinking of you.

    Separation is difficult at best, but you have such a positive outlook and strong support network of people who love you, I’m sure this will be an adventure too.

    Best of luck in your new home — I can’t wait to see how you dress it up — you always do everything with Secret Agent Style! :)

  • Angela

    You’re so amazing. Even during tough times, you seem to survive with such a unique flair. I love that. The very best of luck as you settle into the new digs!

  • Colleen

    WOW WOW WOW!!! You did it !!! And speaking from personal experience I know how hard a move like this is. I think your mobile home is a perfect little house for you and Bug!!! It looks warm and cozy and being around your family is exactly where you need to be. Wishing you many years of happiness as you begin this new phase of your life with your beautiful little girl!

  • Ninotchka

    “Sometimes you gotta move into a mobile home out in the sticks to get the finer things in life. Funny how that works.”

    Beautifully written and so true in many ways. Wishing you the best, Brenda and Bug. You girls are lovely and loved and you’re going to be just fine. In my book, you already are!

  • Laura

    I have made that Target run myself as you know.

    I dreamt about you the other night. You were getting off of the plane and being welcomed home by your dad. Can you tell you have been in my thoughts and prayers. It is good to have an update. I am so glad you are surrounded by such wonderful friends and family, The place already is looking great. Please keep posting pictures.

    b.t.w. – I need a Holly – she seems so very sweet.

  • Karoni

    Another chapter in life. That’s the way it is. Your very fortunate to have wonderful loving family and friends. Your doing what’s best. You deserve the best. Keep your chin up!

  • sizzle

    You’re doing great. This is such a big transition and you’re letting people support you and being brave. Go you! I know this is just a piece of all that’s going on for you but still, I’m rooting for you. My sister is going through something similar and my heart goes out to both of you.


  • anne

    You are going to do great things in and to that little home! It will be a beautiful adventure for you and your sweet little Bug. Hugs and yes, prayers. :)

  • mamalang

    I wish I lived closer, I would be all over the painting of walls for you (one of my favorite things to do. It is a sickness.)

    I’m so happy that things are moving along so well for you. I know they aren’t easy or effortless, but it all does seem to be working. To me, that’s a sign that you are making the right choices. As always, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Carrie

    It looks amazing already. I know once you put those secret agent skills to good use it is going to be such a wonderful home for you. I’m so proud of you for doing what you need to do and taking such a huge, scary step. What wonderful friends you have (but of course–you are an amazing woman!)

  • OMSH

    Well, I love you–but you know that.
    And? You have accomplished SO MUCH! Way to go.
    And? YOU ARE SO VERY STRONG b/c your strength comes from the Father who has all the strength in the world.

    I can’t wait for more photos.
    And y’know, that desk is still uber-cool.

    Give Bug kiss/hugs for me.

  • Dena

    Best of luck in your new home. You will have it ship shape and make it yours in no time! I hope you figure out whatever it is that you need to figure out..if that makes any sense.

  • anna b bonkers

    I just want to say I love you, you are amazing and I sure wish I could be there, dang crazy life of my own right now!
    That is one amazing support system you have! But hey, now that you are in the sticks it will be so much easier to visit you….when that happens! Is Kedge still in that place with the pool….I could do double duty!
    Anyway, I just want to say you are awesome, I have to go back and read your full post still but I know everything will be alright. God has you in the palm of his hand and under the shadow of his wing, there is just no better place to be!

  • jastereo

    Welcome to your new life, you absolutely deserve it! We’re all here to cheering you guys on, remember that. Super-sweeeeet desk too – that curve on the top front edge kicks ass.

  • Amanda Brown

    Oh, Brenda, you are doing so well in the face of change and hardship. It’s amazing how you are striving to see the good in the midst of a tough experience and it looks like you’re building a beautiful home for and Bug.
    Also, Heather is lookin’ so SLIM!! Way to go, OMSH!!!

  • Christine

    You have such an amazing attitude; and you’ll make that little house into a beautiful home, I know it. Thinking all the positive vibes I can for you and your fresh start.

  • Shanee

    That is definitely a desk to be designed around1 so very awesome!

    I’ve been where you are and I you have done so much already! Only totally cool secret agents could do that. Which is why you excel as always! Prayers go up so the blessing can come down. HUGS!!

  • Starryprincess

    I have been reading you since I found you whilst googling homemade mermaid costumes. You have been my friend in some very difficult lonely times. i found Bethanyactually and Dooce through you oh and Kuky, you all helped when I was struggling.
    I am so sad for the three of you,I can’t stop thinking and praying for you all.
    Your new little house is delightful, look forward to seeng what you do with it.

  • Heather

    I made that Target/Ikea run a year and a half ago. It was such a dark time, my lowest point. My life is full of light now. I couldn’t have imagined how far I’d come and how great I’d be. All the best…you’re strong and have support. Be sure to lean on those who love you. The cake sounded great!

  • BeachMama

    Apple and J are very excited to see your new home and that you have a new DOG!! You have been on my mind and I am happy that things went smoothly for you. Prayers are powerful.

  • bethany actually

    Ha! Laughing at Aunt B’s comment…she used to come visit my mom when my brother and I were little and we lived in a trailer, and bring us pizza from Godfather’s with her when she did. My brother and I thought of her as the pizza lady for years, and used to be really disappointed when she came to visit and didn’t bring us pizza. :-)

    (Aunt B is Donelle, by the way.)

  • Ninabi

    I had to move twice this summer (we sold our house, went into a tiny rental/rented a storage unit, moved into our new house when it was ready months later).

    It’s not easy. And glitches. Always the glitches (like the lady running into your U-haul, yikes!). But it all gets done.

    Your blog reminds me that amidst a lot of ugliness on the internet (viruses, spam, porn), the internet is a force for goodness, as well. To have loving, blogging friends helping you move, supporting you- it’s a testament to goodness.

    I’m so glad you took pictures of your new place as it is- because in the next few weeks and months your magic creativity will transform the space in amazing ways.

    And in the middle of all this, I noticed something else- a tranformation. She used to be known as “Baby Bug”. Then, “Bug”. And now…”Miss Bug”. Your daughter is growing up.

    Praying that the transition continues to be smooth for you and that this is a time of renewal and peace. Hugs to you! Nina

  • Kindra

    I am delurking to say, it will all work out and you should be proud of yourself!!!! I am sending postive energy from Wisconsin!

  • leslie

    WOW! everything is looking great and you know, you can be VERY proud of yourself….just as much as we (the blog-readers) are of you…and a bit more :)
    i’m really hoping that things go well and that bug will have a smooth transition!

    you two (or three) are covered in prayers!

    many hugs

  • MargieK

    Glad to hear that it all went so smoothly — or at the very least that you feel good enough to write so positively. I’m sure some of it was hard, both mentally and physically, even WITH movers.