Advice to Movers

A long time ago, I posted the “7 Stages of Moving,” a description of what happens when you change residences. It’s spot-on, I’m told, though I don’t know how helpful it is except for maybe raising awareness of what is going to happen to you as you pack. But having just moved again, I’d now like to offer you some advice. If you’re getting ready to move, listen up.

Start Packing Early. Way Early.

It is NEVER too early to start purging and packing. Even months ahead of time is fine. You’ve got plenty of stuff you’re not going to use between now and then (out-of-season clothes, extra linens, etc.) and plenty of decor you can do without for a bit. Go ahead and take down your curtains if you can. Pack up all those books you keep meaning to read but know you won’t before the move. It will make unpacking more fun because every time you open a box, you’ll be all, “Oh YAY! I’d totally forgotten about this!” It’s like getting new stuff.


When you open a box and are like, “What the eff is this?” you can just take the whole box straight to Goodwill. Bonus!

Get Three Times As Many Boxes As You Think You Need

Twice during my most recent packing, I thought I only needed maybe eight more boxes, and both times, I went to the ABC store and got 10-15, and BOTH times, I packed ALL of them. So do yourself a favor, and when you think you only need eight more boxes, get 25. If you don’t need them for packing, just leave them in your old place so that when you go back to finish cleaning up, you’ve got a couple of disposable trash cans there waiting for you.

Take the Week Off

W-Josh and I both happened to have the whole week off of work before we moved, and it was the best thing ever. You think you need time off after you move, but you are wrong. You’ll be tired, but you’ll make it. You’ll be less tired if you give yourself plenty of time before the move to be prepared for it. We did such a good job that all day Friday, we were just sitting around. We wanted to try and get a few loads of stuff in if we could, but we couldn’t because they were cleaning the carpet (which was fine because our lease didn’t start until Saturday anyway), so I literally sat around all day watching Friday Night Lights and waiting for 5:30 to roll around so we could get things started.

You may not need to take a whole week off. A day or two might suffice, but I’m telling you, if you can do it, do it. It will keep you sane.


This is the most important thing I learned from this move. People are not deceived by promises of pizza and/or beer. You can’t dress up a move as a party. Everybody knows it’s not fun. It’s sweaty and exhausting, and too many people are on gluten-free and/or Paleo diets these days for pizza to be much of an incentive. But if your friends and family love you (and of course they do), they just need to know that they are needed – desperately, desperately needed.

So beg. Beg a LOT. Beg often. Beg in emails. Beg in person. Beg over the phone. Beg on Facebook. Beg on Twitter. Beg with pain in your voice and tears in your eyes and a slight limp or some bandages. You don’t even have to fake it if you think hard enough about how heavy your crap is and how much of it you have. Or if you’ve sliced your thumb open with an industrial tape gun.

And no matter how many people you have committed to helping you, when someone asks if you still need help, the answer is YES. Always, every time, period. Even if 20 people have said they’ll help, you still need more help. You just never know what’s going to come up, and hey, if 35 people show up, boom! Easy work. That’s how we got a full truck unloaded in twelve minutes. TWELVE.

Set Up Teams

You can have an outdoor team carrying stuff out of the old place while an indoor team cleans up behind them. That way, when everything’s out, it’s also clean, and you don’t have to come back later.

You can have an outdoor team carrying stuff from the truck to the door and an indoor team set up to put things in place in your new digs. That way, when everything’s in, it’s also arranged, put-together and partially unpacked.

You can have a muscle team and a motivation team. The muscle team does the heavy lifting while the motivation team cheers and keeps Gatorade at the ready.

You can have a moving team and an unpacking team. The moving team comes on moving day to do its thing, and the unpacking team comes the next day to put all your books on shelves, clothes in drawers, spices on racks, dishes in cabinets, etc.

Help Other Movers Move

This is powerful stuff, man. The more people you’re willing to help, the more people you’ll have willing to help you. It’s like a co-op. Start building up your network now even if you’re not planning on moving any time soon.

That’s all I’ve got! What advice do you have to offer movers?

Awesome April Adventures!

Well, with just a couple of days left in March, I’ve been hard at work on my list of Awesome April Adventures. Thanks to all of you who made suggestions, the list is really quite superb. Now, they are numbered so I would know when I had enough for each day of the month, but the numbers do not in any way correspond to the dates on which I will do them. Some will clearly need to be done on a weekend due to the time they will require or the time they will require me to go to bed, but the others could happen at any time. Please let me know which ones you’d like to participate in, and I will get up with you to plan. Refer to the actual activity and not the number. You know I don’t do well with numbers. So excited, y’all! April is going to be awesome!

  1. Sidewalk chalk a driveway.
  2. Salsa dance party in my living room.
  3. Swing! (aka play on a playground)
  4. Story telling night.
  5. Four square tournament.
  6. Random dress-up night.
  7. Photo scavenger hunt.
  8. Iron Chef: Cookies (bake cookies using ingredients found in the kitchen).
  9. Beach trip! (complete with sand castle contest).
  10. People watch – make up stories about the people.
  11. Public craft night (invite passers-by to join in).
  12. Picnic.
  13. Make a friendship bracelet/mail it to a friend.
  14. Stargaze.
  15. Kickball game.
  16. Field Day!
  17. Segway tour.
  18. Rock/Wall climbing.
  19. Progressive dinner.
  20. Offer to do people’s caricatures in the park.
  21. Send a silly package.
  22. Spend a day in a podunk town just looking around.
  23. Finger paint.
  24. Bake cupcakes and give them to my neighbors.
  25. Let a child pick out an outfit for me at Goodwill. Wear it to work.
  26. Buy a plate from Goodwill, paint it to commemorate my Awesome April Adventures, and display it on my mantle.
  27. Set up a free face painting table downtown.
  28. Ride a horse.
  29. Go somewhere after hours.
  30. Ride the carousel at Pullen Park.

True Confessions

True Confession #1

When I think about planning lessons, my whole brain shuts down, and I have to convince myself that it’s a necessary thing to do. Then I have to think about how long it will take me and what else I have to do that day, and if there’s any time at all to spare, the lesson planning gets bumped back. I like the actual teaching, and I love hanging out with my students every day, but the planning part is so draining. The only things in life I like planning are trips and parties. That’s it. Everything else can be improvised.

True Confession #2

When I’m walking alongside a single guy friend, I always want to hold his hand. Always. It doesn’t matter if I’m interested in him romantically or not. It just seems to me like the natural thing to do, and I have to constantly remind myself that we are not dating, that I’m not actually interested in dating him, that if I were to try and hold his hand, it would be weird, and that nothing good could come of it. It would make everything awkward and not be worth it at all. So if you are a single guy friend of mine and you notice that my conversational skills are lacking when we walk, it’s because I’m having to concentrate very hard on not weirding you out. You’re welcome.

But if you want to hold my hand, go for it. I won’t think anything of it.


Y’all. Whew.

The semester is over. It’s over, and a new one doesn’t start for almost a MONTH! And in that time, I have so few plans, it’s ridiculous. And the plans I do have are as follows:

  • Spend this weekend in VA with Rachel and Annabelle shopping and baking.
  • Bake cupcakes.
  • Write/edit some articles.
  • Put up my Christmas tree (finally).
  • Go Christmas caroling.
  • Spend Christmas in Charleston with la mia famiglia.
  • Spend New Year’s…somewhere. I don’t know where yet. I have some options.
  • Watch movies.
  • Run.
  • Eat.
  • SLEEP.
  • Start thinking about what to teach next semester. Maybe make some copies.

Oh it’s going to be FABULOUS. If you’d like to join me for any of these things, let me know. I’m open to company for most of them.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Oh my gosh remember when I turned 30?? Yeah, it’s a little fuzzy for me too. But here are some pictures:

Many people came to celebrate my birth. And celebrate, we did, with tasty, tasty Asian food. Afterward, we went to see Shutter Island. It was not good, but the celebration was.

G.Lover and I made a series of silly faces. This one was my favorite. I like that G.Lover. She sho do love her some Gs.


I aged and still have great lung capacity!!! And also, I am extra-great at looking creepy and maniacal. Hooray!

Oh hey! My half-birthday is coming up in a week or two. Perhaps we should celebrate some more?

Happy New Year!! 2010!! WOOHOO!!

Hey, remember when I couldn’t find the USB cord for my camera to upload all my pictures, and that’s why I haven’t really shown y’all any pictures in the last 6 months? Well, I found it, which means we now have a LOT of catching up to do. Let’s start with pictures from the New Year’s Eve Ugly Sweater party I went to. Be prepared to be amazed. And also, know that the absolute most horrible sweater you’ll see is one I found at Goodwill in Asheville that morning. You’ll know it when you see it.

These guys apparently didn’t fully understand the purpose of an ugly sweater party, but the 80s track suits are still beyond entertaining. We nicknamed them DJ and Rerun Rogers.

Here we have Rerun and his wife Reba. I wish you could see her sweater better. It was quite bad. Many textures involved.

There it is. Man, that sweater was AWFUL. Oh, and he’s making that face because he’s doing an impression of a redneck girl his sister encountered in the bathroom of a bar once. The redneck girl was, according to his sister, at least 75 pounds overweight and wearing cotton (like sweatpants) shorts and a tank top. The sister was hanging out in the bathroom trying to get away from some skeezy dude who’d been hitting on her all night, and she struck up a conversation with this redneck girl and her friend. In the course of the conversation, the redneck girl says to Andy’s sister, “You know what? I just farted, and you didn’t even know it.” And then, as if that weren’t weird enough, the conversation continued until a few minutes later when she said, “You know what? I just farted again, and you didn’t even know it again.” In this photo, Andy is in the middle of saying, “You know what?” And he’s doing an excellent impersonation as far as I can tell.

I honestly couldn’t tell you what exactly was going on here. Just know that (a) I am not drunk, (b) Andy is not in an Olan Mills photo shoot, (c) Andy’s hand is not in an inappropriate place even though that’s what it looks like, and (d) there were a bunch of other people at this party. I just don’t have any really good pictures of them. Oh, and also, “Reba Rogers” referred to my sweater all night as “Gifts of Pleasure.”

Happy New Year!! Tomorrow, we’ll take a look back at Twiggy, the Water-skiing Squirrel!

Well Now That That’s Over

Thirtieth birthday – Check. And now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can go back to being 29. Here’s what I’ve decided: There is nothing wrong with the number 30 or the age. I’m not upset that I’m 30. I don’t long for younger days or miss the glory of my youth. No no, there are parts of years past that I’ve learned from, and I’m glad they happened, but I don’t know that I’d call them glorious by any means. It’s just that I guess I’ve always had in my mind a picture of what the life of a 30 year old looks like, and that is not my life, so until it is my life, I can’t possibly be 30. It’s just not natural.

Whitney and I had this conversation the other day:
Me: From now on, whenever people ask me how old I am, I’m just going to tell them how old I feel in that moment.
Whitney: Buddy, what’s wrong with your actual age?
Me: Nothing. I just feel like it’s not accurate.
Whitney: That’s the most ridiculous thing ever.

Really, buddy? Ever? Ever? Need I remind you of Joey Deadweight, “Trained to Avoid the Bulge,” The Glaze, The Daze, The Laze, poop cupcakes, Zimmerman Limmermacht, God Is Not a Temp, and whatever this was about? And those are just the things we’ve come up with. That is not counting Weng Weng, The Best Fight Scene Ever or Ain’t No Weather Man. I mean come on. Let’s keep things in perspective.

But seriously, “30 on 40” was awesome good times. I got to see lots of my favorite people, who gave me really great gifts. Brookie and I performed our traditional reunion jumping dance. I got out of my house for a few days, which is always good for me. I didn’t make out with anyone, but there was plenty of cake. All in all, I’d call it a successful beginning to a new decade.

My 20s. All of them.

And just like that, my 20s are over. Man, what an awesome decade. I’m going to try to do a recap of all my 20s birthdays and hit the highlights of some of the incredible things I’ve had the opportunity to do in the last ten years. I’m old, though, so I might not remember all of it, but I’ll give it my best.


My 20th birthday was also known as “Princess Day.” In college, we started calling all of our birthdays Princess Day, and we’d wear tiaras and sashes and be treated like princesses. So I think that year, my friend Rachel made like she was going to take me to dinner at Chili’s, but then when we got there, we were “hijacked” in the parking lot by Becky and Faith and taken somewhere else instead (Applebee’s maybe – Chili’s was just too crowded for our large party). And then after dinner, they took me roller skating. You remember that, right, Laura Jenny?

Other than that, 20 was not a very remarkable year, although I think it was the year I did that deviance project for my sociology class – the one where I dressed up like some kind of cracked out super pirate (of the ECU pirates) and ran around downtown handing out candy and doing body builder muscle poses in the elevator of that apartment building.

It was also the year that I met my friend Andy, with whom I shared the most horrific moving adventure ever. Amazingly, we are still friends.


By my 21st birthday, my parents had moved from WILKESBORO!!!!! to New Bern, which was only about an hour’s drive from ECU, so my mom came to town for that one, and she and all my friends and I went out to eat at Red Lobster (then one of my favorite places on earth), where I was COVERED in toilet paper by the semi-psychotic waiter who was responsible for celebrating the birthdays. He dressed up like the Gorton’s Fisherman, covered the birthday girl or boy in an entire roll of toilet paper and sang birthday songs through a megaphone – songs like, “Who’s got a birthday? Who? Who? Who? Who?” which was, of course, an adaptation of the Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

That year was also the year I decided not to work at Caswell again, regretted it, and was down there every chance I got. That was the year of 9-11, and just a few months after 9-11, I decided to leave the country for the first time and go on a mission trip to Honduras. I don’t think anybody saw that decision coming. I had several friends who’d gone to Kenya (while I was not working at Caswell), and when they came back, they all came to me individually and told me I needed to go overseas, and y’all are not going to believe me, but my response to all of them was, “Nope. I’m fine right here with my indoor plumbing and my familiar foods. I’m not going anywhere. I’ma stay right here in the U.S. of A.”

And then one very normal day, I was sitting in the computer lab in the psyc building at ECU, and plain as day, as though someone were standing right over my shoulder, I heard, “Go to Honduras.” I stopped, my whole body stiffened, and (almost out loud, but not because I didn’t want everyone to think I was crazy, so just in my mind) I replied, “Come again?” And the voice said, “You heard me.” And just like that, my world travels began, but not until…


I have no idea what I did on my 22nd birthday. I remember that being sort of a rough time. It was my last semester in college, and there was just a lot going on. I’m sure it was celebrated. I just don’t remember how. But to continue the story started just a moment ago, that was the year I left the country for the first time. It was also the year I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s sort of a long story that I’ll share with you in person if you want to know, but by the time I got back from Honduras, I knew I wanted to pursue ESL as a career, and by Christmas of that year, I’d been accepted to NYU’s graduate program. And THAT is a day I’ll never forget. I’d gone home for lunch and checked the mail on my way back out to work. When I opened the envelope and saw the word “Congratulations,” I almost drove off the road. I just couldn’t believe it. And then I started calling everyone I knew to tell them about it. It was a good day.


I’m not sure how we celebrated 23 either. I was living in Winterville with my sister and hanging out with Collice and Hilary a lot, so they might have all been involved in the celebration. I just don’t remember what we did.

Anyhoe, that year, I left the country for the second time, had my wisdom teeth removed, moved to New York City, drank alcohol for the first time and got my nose pierced.


In grad school, I got involved with the Navigators, a campus ministry similar to InterVarsity, with which I was involved in undergrad. A week or two before I turned 24, the Navigators went on a weekend retreat/conference in upstate NY, and I just had the best time ever. For my birthday, I asked to go to Winter Conference again, and we sort of did have a little mini version of it, which was really nice. And then we sang karaoke. But my clearest memory from that night was Mike and Sonja dragging me, running, through the streets of NYC yelling, “IT’S HER BIRTHDAY!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETH!! BIRTHDAY GIRL COMING THROUGH!!” So fun.

That year, I:

  • started blogging
  • left the country for the third time to backpack Europe and study Spanish in Spain (see any entry from late June-early August 2004)
  • resolved not to move back to NC
  • decided to move back to NC
  • spent New Year’s in San Francisco
  • moved back to NC


For my 25th birthday, Laura Jenny (aka Marieke, aka Partner) and Jason Jones took me to Bojangles. Then we went back to Jason’s house, where they had a cake for me, and Jason made very strong margaritas, and we all decided it would be better to watch a few episodes of Knight Rider before driving home.

Starting that year and continuing for the next few, we had a lot of fun making the dirtydish. There’s not much activity there any more, but I was and still am very grateful for what it did for my writing. It gave me an outlet and the confidence I needed to put my stuff out there for a new audience to read. Thanks, ddo.

And we’ll just hurry things along by saying I’ve left the country at least once a year since that first time. When I was 25, H(P)M and I went to Paris. That was also the year Emily Furr Hogan and I spent New Year’s in Times Square, which was SO fun.


No idea. I didn’t even blog about it. I probably went to Chili’s. This might have been the year I had bangs, so it’s possible that I blocked it out. However, this was definitely the year I flew to London to stay with Ann and surprise DLF for New Year’s. Oh what fun we had!!


My life in Raleigh by this point had reached a level of autopilot where I was almost curled up in the back napping. I knew I needed some sort of adventure, so just before I turned 27, I signed up for my first Avon Walk. It helped. It also got me to the gym, where the Cutie Von Hottenstein encounters began, which culminated in the weirdest party I’ve ever been to in my life. I also went vegan that year, and oh, that was the year of the most awful semester of my life. I won’t force myself to think about that right now, though.

Gasp!! I don’t think I left the country that year. Did I? If I did, I don’t know where I went. I think I was too busy. Oh my gosh. I need to take two trips this year to make up for it.

I think for my birthday that year, I was supposed to go on a luxurious mountain road trip retreat with some friends, but I became deathly ill and was laid up in bed all weekend. I definitely went to Chili’s, though.And wait, was this the year I had that awesome surprise party, or was that mystery 26? Either way, there was one year when my sweet Brookie, even though she was in the middle of working on her national board certification (which she passed on the first try thank you very much), conspired with Whitney and all them hoes to throw me a surprise party that I almost didn’t go to! Whitney, however, being the genius that she is, got me to go, and it was awesome. Whenever it was.


By 28, I’d met Lauren (Josh), whose birthday is the day before mine – HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, BUDDY!!!! – and that was the year we had the photo scavenger hunt party and the Teen Girl Squad cupcakes. This was also the year wherein:

  • Brookie moved to Wilmington 🙁 and got married 🙂
  • I moved in with Josh and Josh
  • I didn’t think I would survive the summer
  • I had a boyfriend
  • Whitney and I went to Mexico for H(P)M’s wedding
  • I became an indentured servant of Wake Tech
  • The Rack Pack walked DC


We’re almost done!! Last year’s birthday was lots of fun. We went to Bald Head Island for the weekend, played Wii, rode bikes, lounged around and hung out on the beach. It was a much needed get-away for everyone, and nobody wanted to leave and come back home. We powered through, though, and it went on to be a most momentous year. I completed my indentured servitude, moved to Italy for three months, almost moved to Oregon, and moved to Asheville instead.

I’ve traveled well over 13,000 miles in the past year, visited two new countries (Hungary and Austria) and a few old ones, and now, I’m getting ready to head out on what I’m calling my “30 on 40 Roadtrip.” It’s where I turn 30, having three parties in three cities on I-40. And I’m sorry for the rushed ending, but if I don’t get in the shower, pack and leave very soon, I will actually miss my second party – the one in Raleigh tonight.

But one thing before I leave. If my post yesterday made it sound at all like I am disappointed with where my life has gone, that is not the case. I meant to say that high school senior Beth just could not have imagined all of this – all the travel, adventure, friendships, food, passions, love, opportunities and general awesomeness I’ve had the incredible pleasure of experiencing. I can only hope that my 30s out-do my 20s.


Well That Was Fast

First of all, I’d just like to add to the title – That’s what she said.

Ok, now that that’s out (that’s also what she said), I was just lamenting yesterday how I had no birthday plans, and now I’ve got THREE parties in the works!! That’s one for every decade! I love it. So what appears to be forming is a weekend-long progressive party road trip with an Asheville party on Friday, a Raleigh party on Saturday and a Wilmington party on Sunday! And just like that, I’m happy to be without a day job (for now) because I can come back into town on Monday and not have to rush any of my birthday festivities and visits.

Hooray!!!! (She might have said that too.)

T-Minus 19 Days and Counting

So…my birthday is in less than three weeks. And it’s not just any birthday. It’s my THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY, and I don’t have any plans. That is either the biggest relief or the most depressing thought ever. On the up-side, I don’t have to bake a million cupcakes or clean my room or take a shower in preparation for people coming over. But on the other hand, no one is coming over. Frown.

And since I’m giving up facebook for Lent, that means I won’t get to have my self-esteem bolstered by the 500 birthday well-wishes that will be left on my wall (by people I never talk to) until after Easter. I think I need to make some plans.

So my birthday is on March 6. Any ideas?