Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Chick Lit Cheerleader: The Big Move

Introduction by Melissa Amster

I received some amazing news at the beginning of the summer. Our Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker, was going to be moving to Maryland! Instead of being almost 10 hours away, she would only be about ONE hour away. Since that time, we've had her and her lovely family over for a barbecue and she and her husband got to see my son's Bar Mitzvah service. I know we'll be getting together again in the near future and I'm looking forward to any time we get to hang out. Jen is here today to tell us all about moving halfway across the country and what the adjustment has been like so far.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, or Indiana for that matter…

On July 21 at 10:00PM, two-thirds of my spawn and I landed on a turbulent and rain-soaked Saturday night at Baltimore Washington International Airport. It rained non-stop for the following week, too. And I wondered what the heck were we thinking when we agreed this Maryland trek was the best “next step” for our family.

My husband, Mike, accepted a position with a company in Maryland. There would be no communing because, well, we lived in Indiana and he’d be way late for dinner every night. Indiana…where all three of my children were born. Where my middle son attends college. Where my parents and many of my BFFs live. Where I knew the backroad shortcuts to Starbucks to beat out the morning school busses. Where I always found Annie’s gluten free mac & chees on my Wal-Mart’s shelves. Where my bank, post office, drycleaner and favorite resale shop employees all greeted me by name when I walked into their respective establishments. Where I perpetually sat in my favorite row during 8:30AM Sunday morning church service whispering with my friend, Jill. Who is actually lunatic enough to leave behind all of those things and more? Obviously, friends, that’s rhetorical.

There’s something about picking up stakes and challenging life on your own terms. That’s not something many of us ever have the chance to do and even when presented with the opportunity, many don’t take it. It’s not for everyone; to be uncomfortable yet also be OK at the same time. To forgo the familiar and boldly discover new places, friendships, and experiences. It’s all about attitude—it’s what YOU make of it. And although I lightheartedly questioned our sanity the waterlogged night Mike picked us up at the airport, this was my new stomping ground and I was thrilled to make it my own…once it stopped raining.

Now, don’t ask me about my shortcuts around town just yet. I’m still getting used to Maryland drivers who feel speed limits are merely laughable suggestions to lollygaggers. You don’t want to know how my forehead wrinkles when my Wal-Mart is constantly sold out of gluten free mac & cheese no matter what day of the week, or varied time, I shop. My best friend, Nancy, set me straight when I complained that tampons here cost ten dollars—TEN DOLLARS—a box.

“Order them on Amazon!” was her way to tell me to quit whining, and at the same time questioning why I wasn’t already doing so. Look who just caught up to more perks of her Prime Membership—me.

When people aren’t behind the wheel (seriously, tailgaters, and you know I’m right), I think Maryland is filled with some of the friendliest folks that rival Midwesterners. Not only do some areas near our home feel somewhat rural like my former hometown of West Lafayette, the cornfields here are framed by mountains and green valleys. It can’t get more picturesque than that. And I’m getting to know my local businesses here too! Like the checkout clerk at the liquor store (we’re besties) because I can’t buy wine at Aldi’s in Maryland due to state laws. The horror…

Here’s the best part. Not only did I take all the love and friendships with me when we relocated, I have several people in my life I’m now closer to geographically. My childhood friend, Mary, lives just outside DC. She’s like my sister and we’ve made her a key to our house, so she can come home anytime she wants. I’m 50 minutes away CLC’s very own Melissa Amster! Mike and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend her son’s bar mitvah last month. It meant the world to us to be a part of such a momentous occasion. She’s so close, I can reach out and hug her, and her sweet family, whenever I want. My friend who’s more like a cousin, Paul, and his wife live in Annapolis. With the exception of my parents Paul has known me longer than anyone, and the thought of being just miles away, compared to hours away, is a total bonus. Paul’s reaction when he learned we were moving: “It’ll be so great to be close to our family again.”

Maryland, I’m falling a little more in love with you each day. My house is transforming into home with each room painted and another box unpacked. Seeing my husband love his job, our daughter thrive amid a massive tween life change, and our oldest making his way around the city reinforces that this was the perfect next step for our family come rain or shine. Ryan’s Thanksgiving flight is booked and his bed waiting for him when he returns home. See? Only six weeks in and I’m already calling Maryland home. I think I’m becoming comfortable here, and we’re absolutely OK.

Jen and her lovely family


Close to a year ago, I took a hiatus from writing to tend to some personal family matters. My mind and heart were not in the right place to be here with you as I wished to be; as you deserved as a community. Yet, here I am, again, and it feels so good! Just like Sade sings about brand new shoes but I’m thinking it’s more comparable to those comfy slippers you yearn for after a long day. I want to take a moment to thank our fearless and fantastic phenom (alliteration is like riding a bike for me), Melissa Amster, for not only being so understanding but also one of the most caring and kind kindreds a gal could have on the planet. Melly, you’re amazeballs. A big hug to Keith Stewart as well. There’s a reason he’s not only CLC’s Go-To-Gay but he’s also been mine for the past two-ish years. I love you, Boo. To the entire CLC family—because that’s what we are whether you’re an author, reviewer, reader or all of the above—it’s good to be home.

Peace, love, and books,

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.


Janine said...

I'm glad you're settling in well and enjoying Maryland and your new home.

susieqlaw said...

I am glad you are enjoying life in Maryland.

dstoutholcomb said...

Welcome to Maryland!

Hope you have a Wegmans nearby--you can fine all of your g-free food there. I'm about an hour north of Melissa A.


Anonymous said...

Hey, It's Tzipporah LaFianza. I was having some challenges signing in so I figured this would do the job. :)

I'm so glad your trip to Maryland went well and that you all are making this your new home. I live about an hour away from Melissa now (how much I miss living within walking distance!) But at some point it would be nice to all get together.

And of course I know where to get ANYTHING gluten-free you could possibly need. So hit me up if you have trouble with finding anything.