For the last month or so I have been trying to deal with a laptop that will not charge. There is a little warning box that simply says “Plugged in, not charging” and gives me this statement about my battery being at the end of its usable life. Even when the computer is plugged into a socket it doesn’t have any power. When I was at 1% battery left, and with no luck finding a way for it to take a charge, I finally broke down and bought a new battery ($20 from Amazon, not $140 from Dell) to see if that would fix my problem. And it did, kind of. I now have 60% battery power from the new one, but it won’t charge. “Plugged in, not charging” is now my nemesis.
Is this also a metaphor for my life of late? Probably. “Plugged in, not charging.” In the last couple of weeks J-Mo and I have had a couple-or-three really sticky things to work out, and of course two of them are strictly in the unbloggable category. A dozen heart-felt thank you’s to those of you who have heard me out on (Unbloggable) Thing 1 and (Unbloggable) Thing 2. I am not at all embarrassed to say that I have re-read emails and gchats over and over, and have replayed conversations in my mind at least a half-dozen times to try to make a little more sense of Thing 1 and Thing 2. I know it’s bad form to even mention Unbloggable Things, but I feel like I must to put Thing 3, which has been the easiest of the three and is something I can talk about, into the right context.
A few weeks ago J-Mo was offered a job in another state. He wasn’t really looking, I definitely haven’t been looking, and moving several hundred miles away was not in our plans for this year. However, sometimes things just fall into your lap and demand consideration, suddenly your world turns upside down as you are forced to make a lot of spreadsheets and pro’s/con’s lists to figure out what you are supposed to do. All of a sudden I was trying to prioritize and assign numerical value to constants in my life that I have never had to quantify before. Are my friends and social life in Salt Lake more important to me than my apartment and are both of those together more important to me than being geographically close my family. And is being closer to J-Mo’s family more important than the stability of my having a job, and is my resume in a place where finding a new job in a new state would be a headache nigh unto the opening of the jaws of hell, or would it be mostly okay? Is this the opportunity for me to focus on a graduate degree instead of focusing on finding a competitive job? What kind of happiness quotient do I assign to myself as I move from a full-time co-bacon-bringer to a full-time student and bacon consumer? And what about our book club? And should that be assigned a lower numerical value because I can start a book club in a new city? For that matter, we can find a great place to live in a new city, so should that be as high on the list of concerns? Assigning numerical values and quotients to life constants is exhausting.
People, there was a LOT of back and forth. Should we stay? Should we move? Should he accept the offer? Should he try and use this offer as a bargain chip with his current job? Should he counter? Finally, we made a decision and I started making mental lists of what I needed to do over the next couple of weeks to completely uproot my life and move away.
There is a LOT that goes into packing up, moving hundreds of miles away and starting over all within three weeks. Highlights include: giving notice at work and to our landlord, starting applying for jobs in our new city, selling at least one vehicle, box up over 1,000 books and several hundred pairs of shoes, have a yard sale, finish packing, locate a short-term apartment until we figure out where, exactly, we want to live, call the movers, throw fantastic going away party and make the long drive to our new home. Easy-peasy, right? Um, no. Really hard, actually. But, the thing about a huge change like uprooting your life and planting it somewhere new is that the hardest part is over relatively quickly, like ripping off a bandaid* or getting a Brazilian wax. It will hurt like hell for a minute, and it may take a little while before it’s not so raw and tender, but after that it’s not so bad. (*Does it really hurt to rip off a bandaid? I usually notice the annoying left-over stickiness more than any pain of taking the thing off.)
The next day our decision changed again, and a few days later we made a final decision–again–and I put those mental moving lists away. J-Mo and I are not moving. At least, we’re not moving any time soon.
Let me back up a little bit. Remember how I told you that of the three BIG things we’ve been working with/around/through the last month or so Thing 3 was the easiest? The decision to leave–leave my family, our friends and social networks, my professional network and a stable job with excellent benefits, a really great apartment, the city I have called home for more than a decade–was a relatively easy choice. I love writing in new notebooks, and such an enormous change would have been like that, a clean slate. That’s not such a big deal, right?
Singularly? Yes. It’s kind of a big deal. Relatively? Not a big deal at all. Drop in the Bucket o’ Stress of Thing 1 and Thing 2.
“Plugged in, not charging.”
Over Labor Day J-Mo and I took a much needed road trip to Mesa Verde and Santa Fe. It was lovely, and I’ll be sharing pictures and stories soon. However, I’m afraid it was the equivalent of my buying a new battery. I went from 1% power to 60% power, but I’m still not charging. Hopefully, over the next couple of months J-Mo and I will make it through the painful tweezing and Thing 1 and Thing 2 will be moved into the “not so bad” column.
In the meantime, any good vibes or kind words you can send our way would be greatly appreciated.
Also, if you are some kind of Dell expert and can tell me why my laptop is “plugged in, not charging” I would really love some advice. I didn’t make that part of the story up because it seemed like a nice metaphor, the poor thing really is having issues. (59% power available; plugged in, not charging.)
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