Highs and Lows

My good friend, Carol Stratton, just released her new book, Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You‘re Transplanted.  But she still has time to maintain her blog, and was gracious to post my thoughts.


See this at the original site:  http://www.changingzipcodes.com/highs-and-lows

Carol’s note:

We have another blog from Mollie Bond who has just moved.  She is a very adventurous young woman and always has an interesting slant on moving, especially choosing a large versus a small town.  I know you will enjoy her blog.

I moved from a town of 50 people to a town of 50 million people. Many things I had grown accustomed to drastically changed. I got funny looks asking seemly innocent questions.  My new neighbors were accustomed to things that were new to me. But, I believe the greater the highs, the greater the lows. Moving to a big city had its benefits (highs), and its disappointments (lows).

High: Being close to a store. In an unincorporated town, there is no store, no mayor, no post office, no police. In my new city, I can walk to the store. And it’s not walking to the store that is exciting, it’s the choice of which store to visit.

Low: Being close to a store. It’s impossible to have a five-minute visit. I find the line where the person in front of me has limited English skills. That takes time. Although I try to be patient, I’m from a town where there is one customer in the store at a time, and we all speak the same language.  (“Done?” “Yep.” “Ten bucks.”) It’s hard not to stare as the cashier answers back in their language.

High: Choices in churches. On Sundays, a couple of people show up at the same leaning church, the only one for 70 miles. So my family does the 140 mile drive each week. Leaving at 7 am before Sunday School and arriving home at 1 pm after grocery shopping makes it difficult, and leaves me hungry for lunch. In a city, there are many churches. It’s hard to choose one, but I am glad for the abundance of good community right around the corner.

Low: Not being from here. Most people are from the area, and even if they’ve moved, it’s been so long they’ve forgotten the lessons. Like radiator heat. I had to learn on my own what to look for when apartment searching, whether the radiator is broken or okay.

High: Driving. It never takes long to get anywhere, as long as the time of day is right. Mostly, I’m just glad all the roads are paved. It saves me on washing the car so much, but also saves my shocks from the washboards. I probably save some dentist work too from the lack of teeth rattling too.

Low: Parking. I have to look at a website before venturing anywhere to see where the closest—free—parking is located. Parking on the street is new for me. I fret about whether my car will be stolen overnight, or I’ll see the side view mirror hanging because the streets are narrow, or I will I find a ticket on my windshield. What’s parallel parking? And oh vey! the prices on parking passes can suck the life out of your budget. I miss the small town for it’s traffic, or rather, lack-thereof.

High: Peers. Where I attended church, the closest person in my age group was either 18 (living at home because they haven’t graduated yet), or 37 (with a husband and children). For me, the 26-year-old single, it was difficult to relate to anyone. While I sat on a bus recently, I tried not to get carried away guessing everyone’s age, knowing most were around my age.

Low: It costs! Not only is the tax rate higher in a city, but everywhere you go there is a cost. Cost to park, cost to drive (in the form of a toll), cost of admission. A day out can drain a bank account quickly.

Living in a large city, the choices, the people, all excite me. Yet those highs outweigh the lows of parking, prices, and some other small inconveniences.  I think there are some who disagree, who see my highs as lows, and my lows as highs, and I can respect that. If that’s the case, there’s a town of 49 looking for that 50th person again. We all have highs and lows.


See this post at ChangingZipCodes.com.  It’s a wonderful site with some information that makes so much sense.

Cool, confident, collected. I kept repeating the words as I tried to pull open the door to my new job.  And then, hiccup.  I know when my nerves kick in, so do the hiccups.  Still, I kept moving forward.  Unfortunately I smacked right into a locked door.  Hiccup! I found the black phone attached to the wall to make an overhead page so someone would let me in.

What exactly do you say?  “Uh, I’m Mollie, I’m new.  Can someone let me…hiccup!”

It seems I forget the details during moves.  Then, I get nervous but I don’t know it until the hiccups start.  With this particular move I had started packing weeks in advance, so the day of the move was less stressful.  In my cleverness I packed too many essentials too early and I couldn’t find everything. “I’m doing good!” I had said to my cat, Charlie, as I packed out each corner with some underwear, “What a space saver I am!”  The problem was, each box had underwear in it, and some of those boxes are still at my parents’ house.  Also, if I could do it over, I would not have put the white lace underwear inside the dirty coffee mug.

I have a friend who is organized in her packing.  She numbers each box, and puts a star sticker on it when it is done.  The sticker is color-coordinated to a room, and the number is listed on an excel spreadsheet that is printed off and stuck in clear plastic protectors.  Each number has the room the box belongs in, its contents, and any special notes, like “open first” or “breakables.”  I wonder if I could use those plastic protectors to protect my underwear against coffee stains next time?

Before moving day I felt them coming as I packed my little blue compact car, hic…hic…hiccup!  My friend brought his large SUV which I also packed to the bursting brim.  Each car had a walkie-talkie and that was amazing.

However, my friend does not own a cell phone so we only had my cell phone. When he missed the exit, the walkie-talkies were useless since they were out of range.  I sat in my cramped car at a hotel parking lot smelling the cardboard boxes. I hoped he would turn around and find the exit. I faced the traffic light, repeating directions.  Everyone who as on that channel could hear the same thing over and over.  I hiccuped while I looked at the only cell phone, the only map, the only GPS unit, and the only written location of the hotel sitting on my center console.

My friend finally found me, and with a shrug said, “I got close enough to hear the directions, but had to turn off the walkie-talkie.  I couldn’t understand anything past the hiccups. Besides, I was filling up at that gas station across the street.”

The next hiccup occurred when paying for my medications.  I had planned on ordering them at the local pharmacy before moving so that I had a supply to back me up while I looked for a new pharmacy in the new city. I procrastinated.

It cost me triple what I usually paid, details that would have avoided more hiccups.  On the other hand, I made sure I was caught up on other appointments before leaving, like that important haircut and color, a dental checkup and a medical check-up.  Hmm, maybe the doctor could have helped with those hiccups.

I have found that my major hiccups, and the situations that resulted in those hiccups, are much better to handle with a plan.  So, plan for the unplanned.  Have extra of everything and a phone close by in each vehicle and a GPS app for it.  Take extra underwear, even if you don’t get it into labeled boxes with special stickers and plastic protectors.  Then you will be cool, calm, and collected if the hiccups arrive.

What hiccups have you experienced? Let me know on Facebook at HopelesslyHopefulBooks.

Photo above by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Mollie’s Moving Mishaps: Episode Two

The following is taken from:  http://www.changingzipcodes.com/wordpress/?p=251

It’s a great site for those moving, or just trying on new houses.  I highly recommend it.  And thank you to the editor of the site for “showing” me the value of showing, not telling.



Mollie’s Moving Mishaps: Episode Two

Last week I posted the first part of Mollie Bond’s moving story. This is part two. Last I checked, she is alive and well in Kansas and planning another move to Chicago. Some people never learn!

Moving with Mollie:

Part Two “Victory over Vans”

By Mollie Bond

If the weather was the only issue that kept our first move from going as planned, I thought we would be able to handle anything.  An unexpected visit of rain delayed the first leg of the journey.  My plan included my husband driving the moving van out to Iowa, riding the bus back, and then both of us driving out our personal vehicles.  No room for God’s ideas, or the foul weather we faced in October.

The next morning I was confident the rest of the move would be smooth.  So as the alarm chirped at 6 a.m., the bravest of brave husbands took off in an enormous moving van, taking all of our roots up with it.

That evening while eating the last of the food in the house, I received our planned phone call from my husband.  Our tight budget meant I kept the cell phone while he went without one, so he was calling from a pay phone.  “Hi hubby!”  I answered cheerily. “How was your day?”  I waited to hear chattering on the other end…?  Why the cold pause…?

What I didn’t realize was that while it had been raining on the West Coast, light, fluffy flakes had been piling up on the van, and my husband, as he huddled outside a K-Mart parking lot in the middle of South Dakota.  At dusk, his tone proved his tired bones needed a hot shower and some rest.  He reminded me that our 9 a.m. appointment with our new apartment had to be kept.  He did not plan on going to a hotel, but would finish out the drive that night.

He continued to fill me in on his brave adventure.  South Dakota lacked convenience stores, stores in general, towns and basic civilization along the highway to help travelers in any manner.  While driving, the van’s engine heated up and whizzing down a hill at 70 miles per hour it quit.  My husband coasted it to a stop in the middle of nowhere without a breathing soul in sight. Climbing down from the seat, he pushed the lever to release the hood.  No antifreeze.  No stores.  No people to help.

That didn’t stop my resourceful husband…  Being the man with a thinker, and a full bladder, he did what only a man could do.  He used the radiator as a latrine. Hey, you do what you gotta do!  Fortunately, this was the last of the hic-ups for our moving journey, and the van made it to Iowa.

The lessons I learned from Moving, Day 2 were:

1) Check over the engine before leaving,

2) Bring extra snacks and water in the vehicle, for all kinds of emergencies,

3) Cell phones are a must,

4) Don’t move in October

5) Pray more for guidance in plans.

Editor’s note: Geography alert: don’t drink anything until you get through South Dakota.

Mollie’s Moving Mishaps: Episode One

This is taken straight from the ChangingZipCodes.com website, June 2011.  

See this post at http://www.changingzipcodes.com/wordpress/?p=237

Dear Readers,

I recently met a delightful young woman, Mollie Bond  at a writer’s conference and she kindly consented to share two of her moving stories with me.

By Mollie Bond

Chapter One: Victory over Weather

Check with your weatherman before moving

Boy, oh boy, our first move as a new couple! My (then) husband and I had rung the wedding bells a year beforehand, and were finally taking those cans off the back of our car, leaving them in the Pacific Northwest to start over in the Midwest. My brave husband wanted to start our new family close to family.

The plan sounded seamless: Husband drives moving van. Husband meets with family to move in furniture in Midwest. Husband rides the bus back to the Northwest. Husband and wife drive personal vehicles to Midwest. Husband and wife live happily ever after.

Seamless in the summer, but by the time October 2006 rolled around , our schedule didn’t go as planned My husband did go get the van. But as newlyweds, cheap was the name of the game so we decided to save a day’s rental and load up in 24 hours. He would start to pack the van in the morning, and then we would finish it off when I got home from work. Simple enough. Unfortunately, it rained all day and my husband decided to delay packing till that evening. He figured we could move it all in before bedtime.

Rain beat my jeep as I drove to our apartment after work, and I don’t mean a warm summer drizzle. I arrived with the rain still pounding. It bit us with frigid temperatures. Still, we put on brave faces determined to war against the rain. Out shoes slipped and slided as we hauled desks, televisions complete with taped-on pillows, and heavy pottery dishes. The oak Captains bed frame crushed my already achy muscles. By 2 a.m. the clock chimed out in our living room and it sounded nothing like wedding bells.

The next morning, a day after our planned departure, my husband went back to continue our packing, and I went back to work. The weather had changed and we realized the job on a bright sunny day didn’t seem so bad, as long as the mud holes were avoided. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the heavy furniture we dragged through the rain. We never did tell the apartments about how the deep gullies formed that night but took off fast the next day before we had to answer any questions.

So, the lesson I learned when moving is to plan in an extra day for weather. Packing time, drive time, or even unpacking time can get soggier than a cardboard box if weather decides to take a ride with you. And double-check the weatherman.

Mollie Bond is a Christian devotional writer and blogger whose articles have appeared in ChristianOnlineMagazine.com, andmolliebond.wordpress.com.  She recently earned her Masters in Business Administration, and has a heart for the people of Haiti.  She lives in Kansas with her cat, Charlie.