Sunday, April 19, 2015

Retreat Weekend

Once I had found out that I was moving to Michigan I immediately began to seek out groups similar to what I had been involved in previously. I found that not too long after we were planning the move there was going to be a CTR (competitive trail ride) held only 90 minutes from the house. I immediately contacted the ride organizer and offered to volunteer. I knew I wouldn't have Gwyn by then but at least I could start meeting people.

I kept in contact with her, verifying that I was camping, dates, that I was available and made my camp reservation and waited.  Friday, departure finally came. I packed up the car and played with Kaylee until Eric came home and then it was off on the road!  Due to an accident, it took me over 2 hours to get to Brighton Recreation Area, where the ride was being held. I was rerouted by google to avoid the accident but ended up in stupid traffic anyway when the GPS was not clear where I was supposed to go.

I found ride camp easily, they had nice signs out and met the organizer who was surprised I showed up. Apparently people flake a lot and she didn't want to count on an admitted out of stater who was 'moving' and new. But pleasantly surprised and excited to have a fresh face. She explained CTR/UMECRA, which is different from AERC and I set off to go set up my camp!

I was camping in the horse loop and there were big rigs everywhere and horses hi-lined on large posts meant for that exact purpose. Campsites were large and they all had a picnic table and decent size fire pit. I would not return to my exact campsite if I was still tent camping though, because it was COVERED in acorns. Thank goodness I had the air mattress. I was near the pit toilet but didn't have any direct neighbors since a few people canceled.

I managed to get a fire going and heat up some water to make dinner and then settled down in my camp chair to read for a bit before retreating into the tent since it was getting cold. I had an air mattress that I inflated with a car charger air pump inexpertly since the pump didn't make an airtight seal on the mattress opening. It wasn't as firm as it could have been but when I laid on it I wasn't touching the ground so I called it good. I also had my down filled mummy sleeping bag that's rated down to 20degF AND on a whim I brought the wool cooler I had purchased over FB and had mailed to Michigan.   The wool cooler saved me.

I used the cooler to line the air mattress and then pull around on top of me. I feel super claustrophobic in the mummy sleeping bag when I'm all the way in and zipped up tight so I usually keep my arms out, which get cold. So I layered a ton and snugged with the wool cooler. I perfected the method on night 2 and actually slept through the night.

In the morning on Saturday the sun was shining and it was already promising to be a warm day for April in Michigan. I walked down to the staging area and the 35 mile riders had already left. I was shown what to do for verifying the riders were out on the trail and given the task of being official time keeper. I kept track of the time that riders came in and wrote on their scorecards their vet check time and time out if they were doing another loop. I occasionally announced time to riders in their 40 min holds so they knew when they were nearly done. It was hectic and I was busy most of the day and outside in the sun. It was near 80!

The ride was successful with no injuries or pulls. There was a potluck and awards ceremony and I contributed a bag of previously frozen cooked shrimp that I had intended for dinner that night anyway, neglecting to realize that they were going to feed me for being a volunteer. I didn't need to bring the food I did. Next time I'd just bring yoghurt for breakfast and some healthy snack stuff since their breakfast was donuts. Delicious, but unnecessary.

Saturday night I made myself a bonfire with the rest of the firewood and sat and read my book by firelight. It was SO relaxing. Then I continued to read in the tent when the fire wasn't bright enough to read by and finished my book. It's a library book and it's already over due, I just haven't had time to myself enough to get through it like I usually do.

I slept much better that night.

Sunday (today) I woke up a half hour before my alarm and decided to just get up and start breaking camp so I'd be ready to go for the first wave of riders. I didn't want to be late again. I packed up quickly and drove down. There was a smaller group riding today, only 12 riders compared to 37 the day before. They were sent off in 2 waves of six and we proceeded to just sit around and chat. I got some crocheting done and finished the crochet part of my test fly bonnet!

Before I added the trim colors (creme and another purple)

I tested the fit on a warmblood at the ride and determined where I'll need to increase the size to fit Gwyn. The one I made is more suited for an Arab I think, or at least a non-draft head. It just needs ear fabric now! I'm thinking of using athletic mesh fabric to try and reduce sweating and provide a breeze for the horse's ears. 

 The weather was much chillier today, better for riding horses with a bit of winter hair still, but not so great for sitting around. It warmed up a little bit and the sun tried to peek out but soon it just became overcast. Drops of rain started up the minute the last horse passed the final vetting trot out. In the nick of time!

I met some amazing people at this ride. I want to return and do more CTRs so I can hang out with them again! I fit right in, and for introvert ol' me, I was actually energized by being around them all day. We had no shortage of conversation and they were excited that I was going to be active with them. I was welcomed with open arms and it felt wonderful. I promised to return next year and volunteer but ALSO ride ;)

I returned a very happy lady. Even Eric noticed and I think he's grateful to have 'normal' me back again. So much different from two weeks ago, let me tell you. My mood is uplifted and I feel like dancing. I feel energized. I feel like I have friends again.



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Things I did Today - Notes on property purchase

I am currently making my own fly bonnets. I need to add edging and ears, but finally I can custom size them!! It wasn't even that hard, I had a few rough patches but I puzzled them out!

I'm also thinking of making some with super fun print fabric and mesh fabric for the ears for hot days.

Progress!!

Today is looking like SUCH a good day!

We got an offer on our WA house! It's lower than we'd prefer by 15k so we're countering and hopefully will hear back. But honestly, if we settle somewhere in the middle I'll be happy.


I also had an ultrasound done to see if there are any physical issues causing

Sunday, April 12, 2015


We visited 4 more houses today. The first one was pretty good, there was some work that needed to be done but it was manageable. The barn needed replacing, which was a bit annoying. I'd at the very least need to dig it out because it's all mud from the very friendly cows (they came to greet us!) but the roof was sagging too and there was water damage. But 6 acres with room for an arena!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Feeling Better

Thanks for all your kind comments. I definitely made use of my support network, even if they aren't physically near me, and I think even venting out loud about the whole thing was a big help. I got outside of the house, took Kaylee to a park, and today we went over a Mom friend's house (she's on work from home doctor's orders from some issues in her pregnancy) where Kaylee got to play with a ton of toys and generally had a blast, and I got adult socializing. Yay!

I've also got an appointment scheduled for Monday to see an OB to talk about fertility stuff. I'm giving myself a pass this month and I'm not even looking at periods and ovulation because it's just too much to handle. I've mentally let go of worrying about when our house sells. It will sell when it sells.

Eric did redo the numbers on our finances now that we know what GM will cover in terms of realtor fees for selling the house. They are actually covering MORE than what we originally budgeted for (provided we aren't counting our chickens, etc) which means that, provided our house sells for its new list price of 325k, we'll have a max budget of 375k.

It's a whole new wooooooooorld!


I also found some fun jobs to apply for!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Emotional Stability

When Eric and I discussed moving to Michigan one of our concerns was the lag period, the time we're in now, where we're not in our own space, the horse hasn't arrived and the social circle is not yet replaced. Several years ago now, I had a bad period where, looking back, I was depressed. We were both worried that I might regress with this move. Today was a day where I can admit, out loud, that yes, I see myself getting more and more depressed. There is so much that is out of my control right now and I'm struggling day to day.

 This week is especially hard because Kaylee is on spring break from her Montessori school so I don't have any opportunities for mental breaks through the day. I didn't want to leave the house yesterday and it was more harmful than beneficial. A toddler should not be contained.

 Between selling the house and house hunting, I'm stressed. We just signed paperwork to lower the asking price on the WA house and that's not a happy thing to do, but if we want it sold we need to attract buyers and get more views of the house.

 My MIL is starting to exert more control over her house, despite not living in it. We have been asked to keep the heat low, get a storage pod and move all extra boxes into the garage. Eric suspects that she is going to want to show the house to potential buyers, so if the house is sold, we'll be out of a place to stay. While that's not a huge risk at the moment, it's nonetheless a potential scenario that we need to discuss and plan for.

 I've yet to find new friends who are free during the week. Algonac has shit for things to do, so I have to travel further and look farther afield to find activities for Kaylee. One mom's group rejected me for not attending any of their events when I'd only put in for a trial for a week (their rules stated there was a 30 day window). I do have two online friends in the area, for which I am extremely grateful. I've met both of them in person now, one at the zoo and the other for the maple syrup festival.

 Kaylee has had some issues falling asleep so Eric and I tag team sitting with her until she's asleep so that's cutting into our adult time to just talk, forget about sex.

 We saw the top of the list house on Saturday and I'm in love. I really want to be able to make an offer, more than anything right now. I want our own space.

 I have been working out pretty regularly, which is good! But I'm not seeing a change at the scale, and that's not helping my mood at all.

And we've been trying to conceive for a year now, officially, with no success.  


So, things I've done to proactively work on my mood:

Today I took Kaylee to an indoor play area and rather than going home after we were done, we went to the nearby metropark with the kickass playground AND took a 3/4 mile walk. Then minor retail therapy at Play it Again Sports where I found toddler size soccer cleats. ADORABLE. Kaylee starts soccer at the end of the month and I'm excited!

Being outside today definitely helped me feel better. I need to promise myself to get outside every day.

Tomorrow we're going to a different metropark that has a farm and a 'meet the babies' every morning. That's more for me than Kaylee, but she'll enjoy it and it will get us out of the house.  Thursday we're meeting Elyse (online Mom friend) at her house for coffee. Her daughter will be at school, but Kaylee will be able to run wild in the house and play with toys.

Sunday Grandma is taking Kaylee for the whole day. Eric and I plan to have a nice long Skype DnD session with WA friends. Grandma does not know this is why we wanted child sitting.

I am going to try and get a massage next week while Kaylee is in school. And maybe start moving some of my horse stuff in to the new barn.

I also have my solo camping trip to volunteer for an endurance ride coming up in less than 2 weeks. I am excited about that, except I can't find my hiking boots. Grr.

Most everything else is out of my control, so I'm going to focus on things that I can do for myself. I'm also going to make an appointment to see an OB and talk about fertility.



I was supposed to fly back in May to assist with a horse show at Hollywood Hill Saddle Club. It was going to be the Hunter Jumper's first judged show. We'd previously done only fun shows where you pay for a round in the ring to practice with a jump course. (Notice I still say we... can't help myself)  That show got moved to July because the ride organizer, my friend Jan, broke her leg. I had already purchased my flight before I even moved to Michigan and she didn't let me know early enough to avoid the fee for changing/cancelling my flight. I had thought that I might not be able to make the new date but Eric cleared that up today, so I'll be able to return to WA in July for a day or so to help with the show anyway! That helped cheer me up today.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

4 houses visited

The first one was the only good one. Favorite house remains favorite house, by far and away. The barn was even better than I had hoped and the outdoor riding ring is elevated so it drains nicely. In fact, despite there being standing water on other parts of the property, the ring looked dry. There are several pastures plus gravel runs out of each of the three stalls. Everything is fenced with electrobraid and it looks in good condition.