Monday, October 12, 2009

Newbie and Tyhoons in Dishwashers

I just went to Trulia to check on the state of housing in Smithfield and Manteo. I was hoping that maybe, just maybe (while we were all sleeping), housing values in Smithfield would have temporarily risen by 50% (just in time to sell our house) and values in Manteo would have temporarily dropped by 50%, just in time to buy a house.

But alas, here is what the picture looks like. As High School teachers are fond of saying, "Compare and contrast."

And then find a corner to sit in and cry. While you compare. And contrast. And sigh.

Do you see what I'm saying about houses being a lot more expensive in Manteo? Yikes! We may have to revert to our former "being on the road mode" and find ourselves an RV to live in!

Oh well. Those housing costs in Manteo are more than balanced out by delightful people, beautiful natural scenery, a fabulous artsy bookstore, great restaurants, a waterfront downtown and (drum roll, please) at least two thrift stores!

We'll probably give our real estate agent the go ahead this week to start negotiations on the house we're hoping to "rent to own," but at this point, there are no guarantees what can be worked out in that regard.

(RV, anyone?)

I am finally getting the packing and moving every weekend scenario down to a science. I've always wondered how people who own property at the beach and go there several times a month ever get themselves organized enough to make that kind of schedule possible.

I've discovered it's all about making a list and checking it twice. And sometimes, even thrice. I make a list while we're in Manteo about what we need to bring next time we come and I keep a running list at home about what we need to rememberto take the next time we go.

I must say that our brains have gotten quite a good workout over these past few weeks of transition.

In addition to the mental workouts involved in packing every weekend, we are also in the process of memorizing over a hundred names. Have you ever tried to memorize a hundred names in a few weeks and then try to apply each name to the face it belongs to?

I have recently caused unwitting people at our church to be placed in entirely new families and have attributed to them children and spouses they never even knew they had. Because not only are we memorizing the names and which faces go with each name, we are also memorizing who is married to whom and which kids go with each family and what the name of each child is.

I keep a piece of paper with me all the time and I write down names as I learn them. Each time we come home, I open my Manteo File on the computer and add the names and family connections I learned over the past weekend; then I print out copies for Steve and I to study over the week.

And then there are brain challenges as simple and down-to-earth as functioning in a (wonderful) new kitchen every weekend.

The oven, for instance, has two levels--an upper and lower oven that can each be set at different temps. And then the microwave has the convection feature which I am not used to. I kind of tip toe around it warily trying to figure out which button I should push without blowing up half of Manteo.

And the stove top has gas burners instead of electric and so I have learned all about cooking with gas, which is a rather exhilarating experience. And the dishwasher? It took Sarah and me fifteen minutes of pondering to figure out how to run that particular marvel of machinery. There were no buttons on the front and so we opened it up and peered at the little buttons hidden in the top of the door where lights were flashing and a whole universe of options awaited us.

When we finally got everything loaded and pushed the (hopefully) correct buttons, we were then concerned because we could barely hear it running.

Did we do everything correctly? Was it, in fact, doing its job? Should we open it and try again?

You see, our dishwasher here in Smithfield has a lovely typhoon sound effect associated with it. (And no, we didn't even have to pay any extra for it to be that loud!) We're used to closing a dishwasher and hearing the sounds of wind, and waves and storms emitting from within.

In Manteo, however, the dishwasher is whisper quiet; it's really quite alarming to experience that much silence after being used to so much more drama in the dishwashing department.

And then if we decide to go to the grocery store, we have to first remember where it is located and then we have to wander the aisles in a pitiful state of confusion while trying to uncover where exactly they stock the popcorn, the french bread and the dog treats.

You can always tell a newcomer to any town by the tentative way they make their way through a grocery store, peering furtively around each corner and plucking nervously at the products on each shelf.

In contrast, the natives of the land whip through the aisles, cornering on two wheels with their carts, talking on their cell phones, waving their hands, snatching things off the shelf with elan and finally showing up at the check out with their fifteen items just one minute and 45 seconds after walking into the store.

Our family on the other hand, has been known to take up to thirty minutes to buy just three items. We then take those three things back to the cottage and tiptoe nervously into the kitchen to try and make peace with the five burners, three ovens, and whispering, gleaming dishwasher that greet us. And don't even get me started on the fridge, another beautiful, high tech, impressive piece of machinery!

And then we decide we might go out for ice cream. But we have to stop and ponder that decision too. Because, where on earth is the ice cream shop? (And is it spelled shop or shoppe? Because spelling is important in this family!)

The bottom line is that we are doing a lot of "stopping and pondering" in Manteo right now, deciphering roads and addresses and stores and people and families and ovens and names and children and neighborhoods and non-typhooning dishwashers and grocery store shelves.

If you've ever moved to a new town, I'm sure you'll agree with me that non-stop pondering is tiring! In a good sort of way, of course. We're learning about our new church family, our new town, our new community, and our new culture and it's been a wonderful experience!

And someday, we will be the ones who are whizzing through the grocery store, picking things off of familiar shelves even as we spot the newbie in the next aisle who looks just slightly concerned and confused.

And we will smile and remember our newbie days and then stand and ponder for a moment how wonderful it is to be a newbie no more. We'll be officially transplanted Manteo-ites and it will be a wonderful thing, indeed.

Until then, we'll continue to ponder and memorize and remember and review and study and think and learn. And it could even be with all that mental activity going on, that enough calories may be burned to justify a trip to the ice cream shop(pe).

If we can just remember where it is.


Let me just add right here how wonderful the lady is who is loaning us our weekend abode. The first week we were there, she had a frozen pre-seasoned, ready-to-put in the oven roast waiting for us. (Along with bowls of chocolates.)

This past week, she had compiled a packet of magazines, brochures, and lists of things to do. We have been so blessed by her and her husband's kindness and generosity.

And speaking ofthose lists of things to do, I mentioned in a past post that on Saturday, Steve and Sarah went to an Elizabethan Faire. Here are a few photos from their outing.

There will be a story about this young man on Sarah's site in the next day or two.

And now this Manteo newbie/Smithfield oldie will take herself downstairs to put some dishes into the typhoon, er, dishwasher, and get some unpacking done.

Thanks for stopping by!

9 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Shannon said...

Oh my I can't believe how calm you sound with everything that is going on right now!! It's good you can find the humor!! I would be stressed to the hilt!! Good luck and I'm praying everything works to your advantage!!

Ann Martin said...

Like the fair pictures. I would enjoy that. Is the house the "fixer up" one or this an entirely different house? Manteo seems to be such a "neat" place to live. I look forward to visiting when things get settled here and with you. Just more appointments each week but things may be slowing down a little. Mama got her new puppy Friday and we have a "vet" appointment Thursday. Take care and enjoy! Love you.

MaryH said...

I had the best time catching up on a few days of updates. You are a master at organizing all that is needed for your weekends in Manteo. I am sure it won't take but a few short weeks and you all will be feeling right at home and knowledgeable about all that is Manteo. What an adventure and opportunity to live somewhere so beautiful and historic. I understand your concern about housing costs but somehow, somewhere God and your Dad will provide all that is needed. I also was so intrigued by all the pineapple represents - not to mention they are just downright delicious! Have a good week - looking forward to hearing about the swashbuckling kind of guy on Sarah's Spot!!!

Anonymous said...

You are doing great getting into the new groove! I am working at not coveting your new kitchen appliances! I just love kitchens and in my family that's where we all gather! Did you find the ice cream shop/shoppe?

Housing? Our God is faithful and loves to provide miracles once all seems lost and impossible.

Handsome gentleman on the ship! Kinda' Pirates of the Caribbean look! - Ciao! Guerrina

Ann said...

Well, Becky, your graph shows prices heading downward in Manteo. Maybe you could wait 10 years to buy?! Or speed up time!

Hang in there and hoping something wonderful works out!
Ann O.

Anonymous said...

Green Beans...

wash the beans...spread them out on towels to soak up water. spread them on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer...let them freeze...then gather them up and place in freezer bags...take as much air out as possible. cook with them as you would any frozen beans...

Anonymous said...

Does the Manteo church have a photo-directory? Our church has a directory with about half of the families pictured in in it. It makes it oh so much easier to make connections among names, faces, and families.
Good Luck!


Lauren said...

I know what you mean about housing costs! My parents are astonished that the cost of a house in Mooresville is so much more than the cost of houses where they live in Winston-Salem. I'm convinced that I'll be in an apartment for the rest of my life.

Love the part about assigning unwitting people to new families!

Anonymous said...

As long as you whiz around the corners on two wheels with "elan", I'm sure you'll fit in just fine! (yes, I gave you bonus points - or is it "pointes"? - for using "elan" in a sentence). I can't believe the intricacy of the costumes at the Faire/Fair/Fare.. (Olde English throws me every time). Those people are SERIOUS about their fair-going attire, aren't they? Lah de dah... I'm certain that Sarah performs a perfect curtsy. And, hmm.. that was a bit of a rakish-looking young man, too.
Finally, as the proud possessor of a 1989 dishwasher that still continues to emulate Hurricane Hugo on a GOOD day, I am envious of your silent kitchen companion. Treat your gleaming galleymate with loving care.. it sounds delightfully discreet as it goes about it's business.
Praying, in the meanwhile, for God to clear the way soon for a permanent abode for my favorite N.C. family, so that the chaos in your life can quieten down to the pace of your new dishwasher! hugs..
Pam D