Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kristen's Horrible, Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

You thought I was finished whining about moving already? Oh please! I am a cham--peen whiner so I haved barely touched the tip of the iceberg (although I will be trying to make a concerted effort after this post to "get over it already" since I don't want to bore the one blog reader I have left these days).

Today was move-in day. This is never a happy day but today was worst than most.

I woke up with a migraine (so I didn't get my scheduled run in--and I'll be on a plane tomorrow so it won't happen then either).

I couldn't make the beds from D.'s apartment here fit in R.'s room so it looks like I'll be getting rid of them. Nevermind that we sweated our butts off yesterday in 98 degree weather to move them from the apartment to the house.

Only a couple of hours or so into unloading the van, one of the guys dropped and broke the base of the beautiful cradle that my grandfather made for me when I was born. Yes, if you, my one reader, are paying attention, you'll note that the other obviously broken item so far (give me time to find more in the boxes) was also made by my grandfather. Why is it that the cheap, who-cares-about-it items always survive unscathed and the vitally important and precious to your mental health stuff is the stuff that takes a beating? Since I can't be funny about this, you can probably tell that I. Am. Not. Happy.

As time went on and more stuff came into the house, it was becoming increasingly obvious that our furniture doesn't fit in this house. Have I mentioned: I. Am. Not. Happy? I took to just having them stash everything in the basement or the master bedroom. Should make the next two weeks unpleasantly maze-like for D. as he has to sleep in one of the two places while I retreat north again to the relative peace and happiness of the cottage. Of course, as he is the one who has made me move (see, I'm still in the bitterness phase of the moving stages), it will serve him right!

The movers took it upon themselves to set up the beds in each of the bedrooms with no regard to where I wanted them so we've had to completely re-arrange the furniture already. In the process, I smashed the snot out of one of my fingers. Given the size of the divot in the nail, I'll be lucky if it doesn't turn black and fall off. Of course, the toenail I blackened last year running in the half marathon has never fallen off so perhaps it will look like an obscure fashion statement: one black toenail and one black fingernail. If we were still in Detroit, perhaps I could claim it as a gang affiliation and finally get some respect.

I haven't even had the courage to look in the basement since I suspect that it is floor to ceiling boxes with small islands of furniture interspersed. It will be one obnoxious task unpacking all of it, let me tell you. On the plus side, I am bringing my 80+ (she'd be mad if I gave you her actual age) year old grandmother home with me from up north and will put her to work sorting it all out for me. Ok, not really but since she will be staying in the basement, I'll have to get to it sooner rather than later or risk having her disappear forever in there (she's always been directionally disfunctional). Maybe a GPS would help, although if she's as bad as I am at telling her right from her left, having a disembodied voice tell her to turn right would probably be more disconcerting than anything! I'd drop bread crumbs but I think the fat dog would make short work of that. And for a map, I'd have to wade in there first to chart it. Looks like I'll either have to unpack or stand and call to her until she makes her way out of the mess. (And if you know me well, unpacking isn't the likeliest option.)

And just to prove that no day is totally a lost cause (although this one comes closer than most lately), the house in Detroit did actually close so we no longer own a piece of the imploding real estate market that is Detroit. Couldn't end on a better note.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Forgot the positive, didn't I?

In my last post on moving, I conveniently forgot to mention the positive I mentioned in the title. Not much of a surprise given how I feel in general about moving, but I did promise it (in some sense) so here it is:

When in the middle of a move, all of your plates and dishes, pots and pans, utensils, and the like will all be packed so you don't even have to make an excuse to go out to eat every meal. Of course the constant fast food gets old and anything else gets expensive, but it's a nice treat to start with anyway. (Or, if you're like me and your husband being away is a license to eat out constantly, it is a comfortable part of the usual routine! )

And because you knew I had a few more negatives I forgot as well: can any one explain to me how a crew of all guys can blow through all 3 rolls of toilet paper that I had saved out from the packers? I should have been the only one using the stuff the majority of time and yet by day two, when I thought my bladder might explode, there was not one scrap of toilet paper in the house. There were also no napkins, no paper towels, and no Kleenex. (I think all of these were packed with the plates et al noted above.0 Yes, I actually had to go out and buy more toilet paper to make it through and haul the rest of the rolls from the package in the car because the packers had already been, used more than their quota of my toilet paper, and gone, of course.

I'm also curious (I'm really trying to be diplomatic here) to see what other members of my family think are priceless enough that we have to pack them in the car because we don't want the movers to take them. I choose to take family pictures, my jewelry, and anything that we keep in the safe. So imagine my surprise when D. came out of the house carrying two full bags of DVD's. What the heck was so priceless about those? Astonishing, really. And he was shocked that I deemed them of such little importance that I fully intended to let the movers take them. I sort of figure that I can't replace pictures of our children's babyhoods but that Full Metal Jacket on DVD is widely available for replacement. Silly me! To make matters worse, he didn't include the videeo from our wedding in those he deemed so valuable. Then again, I'd be just as happy if that disappeared as it captures for posterity my sister calling me difficult in front of all our nearest and dearest (and she wasn't refering to a bridezilla situation, she was labeling my whole life). Anyway, we're all relieved to know that the movies I wouldn't watch if you paid me have made it down here to Charlotte, in advance of the moving truck, safe and sound. The tv to watch them on is still on the truck, but that, my dears, is immaterial!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The negatives of moving (and maybe a positive or two)

Moving is never fun. At least I don't think so. Which you already know if you read my previous long and whiny entry. I almost deleted it when I re-read it myself but I decided that I'd let the pity party stand and write a more interesting post about moving to offset it a bit. So without further ado, here are my too oft-considered thoughts on moving:

1. Having the contents of your entire house reduced to towering stacks of boxes arranged in incomprehensible mazes that you have to live with for several days, is not pleasant at best. Of course, if you have nice enough packers, they offer the keep the computer unpacked until the last possible moment. Or maybe they just take pity on me when they see the look of utter panic on my face at the prospect of two whole unconnected days (they left the tv unpacked for D. as well but since I'm in the resentful stage of the move, I would have told them to go ahead and pack that bad boy up asap).

2. Good packers will carefully label each and every box both as to contents and to room destination. This will ostensibly be helpful on the unloading end. In the short term, it is interesting to see what they call some of your belongs. In my case, the boxes tended to have "Books" on them and nothing further. Personally I would have been more explicit (unread hardbacks as versus already read paperbacks and the like) but sitting amongst all the boxes for so long, I had such a contact high from the smell of the Sharpie markers, that I was incapable of rational (okay perhaps obsessive is a better word) thought.

3. Each moving company (and I think we've used them all by now) has its own very bizarre lists of unacceptable-to-move items. This move, they wouldn't move my candles. Now, if I had asked them to move them lit, that would be one thing, but really! No candles allowed on the truck. I've never had to move the candles myself before and now the car smells like a Yankee Candle shop so I'm liable to get a wicked headache by the end of the drive. At one point the kids' crayons was also in the not-to-be-moved pile. But I think that was the work of one oddly overzealous guy--the same one who started putting all my silk plants in the no-move pile as well after telling me that plants can't be moved. I outsmarted him though. I just collected the plants and put them in another room that a less clueless guy was packing and he happily stashed them all for me. Ask me how smart my plan was on the other end when they are mashed beyond repair though! And if all the crayons melt into one unrecognizable clump, I'll probably be grateful for my fragrance-induced headache since that will mean I will still have candles for those times the electricity goes out (you'd never guess from the sheer number I have that this is about the only time I ever light them).

4. I swear there's one irresplaceable thing broken every move. I already know what it is this time (knock wood it's only the one thing) since I was rudely awakened from my second nap of the day by the crash. The packers had taken the slate coffee table that my grandfather built before I was born and propped it on its end. When the driver went to pick it up to take it out to the truck, about half of the very heavy slates crashed out of the top and clattered to the (wooden) floor. At least the floors were padded so the dent they made isn't so large the new owners will notice--at least immediately. And the slates didn't break so the table can ultimately be repaired (unlike the freeze-dried wedding bouquet under glass we lost in the last move). But knowing me, it'll be a very long time before it gets repaired so anyone who comes to visit will just have to ignore the wobbly slates and missing mortar on the coffee table.

5. If there was any doubt that I use food and sleep as coping mechanisms for stress, this move clearly put that doubt to bed. I have, in the past three days, eaten one bag of Reese's peanut butter cups (my favorite candy), a bag of hazelnut flavored wafer cookies (and I find I don't like hazelnut as much as I thought I did), some almond rocca (which I like more than I thought I did), and half a tub of brownie bites from Costco (and a tub from there would feed a third world country easily). This is all in addition to regular meals, of course. It's going to be bad if I have to roll down the road for the marathon because my legs no longer reach the ground! And as for the sleeping part, each day the packers and movers have been at the house, I have spent approximately 20 minutes awake at a stretch. Now it could be that I have been in intermittent sugar comas, but I don't think that's entirely it. Usually I'd be incapable of curling up and snoozing (avec copious amounts of drool, I mind add, so these are no small catnaps) on the couch in the family room while a crew of 4-5 strange men wandered around the house and past my sacked out little self. But it was more than possible this past few days. Between the food and the sleep, it's just a darned good thing I actually managed to roust myself for my daily runs or I would shortly have been like one of those 1000 lb. folks who can't even get off the couch without an assist from a crane.

6. The experience of moving makes it incredibly easy for me to channel my inner b*tch. I know, this one isn't *that* much of a strecth, but just imagine how bad it must be if I'm admitting to it!

7. Movers tend to be the skinniest, scrawniest men around, which still amazes me, even 7 moves later. I always expect them to be big and brawny. This move they were also quite homely, which turned out to be a good thing because I was so disgruntled by the whole thing (when I was awake), that I decided that the guy who was listening to the good music (for the record he had way better musical taste than D.) could rescue me from the box city I was living in. However, one look at his scary self in his wifebeater shirt and I decided that good musical taste wasn't the be-all-end-all.

8. It is always disconcerting to sign the final papers before the movers pull out because it gives them the right to convey your things across state lines and basically grants them your stuff until such time as you pay them for their services. I might have mentioned to our driver that books don't sell all that well on eBay. He thought I was being funny. But I was actually just trying to protect my library.

9. And for those who have seen my house or are just plain curious what kind of damage my book habit does, this move we officially had 176 book boxes. Surely not all of them were books but the vast majority were, as was evidenced by the swearing (good thing the kids weren't around to hear that people other than mom and dad use such atrocious language too) of the guys elected to pack books all day the first day and the guys elected to carry the boxes up from the basement and down from the sitting room on the last day. Always nice to alienate the people into whose care you are consigning your things! (Wonder how many will curse my name on the other end on Tuesday when I waffle on where all the books should go given the lack of a sitting room in the new house?)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not a good day

I think I may be having a mental breakdown. Yes, I get that this would be just the latest in a long line of many, but I am having a really rough time right now. My lovely northern summer was rudely interrupted by the need to come home to meet up with the movers. Not like I didn't know this when I left on vacation, but still. Somehow it didn't seem real until I arrived home yesterday and immediately wanted to cry. I have felt this very strange sense of dislocation at being here when I don't want to be. It was all I could do to drag all the stuff I didn't want the movers to deal with into a closet that is the "off-limits for packing" closet. And now that they are here today, I am hiding in my room fending off tears. I don't really have any clue what is wrong with me about all of this. Am I suddenly discovering a great love for the Detroit area? Am I having a panic attack over the fact that we are moving to a house I've never laid eyes on except for online? Am I channeling great bitterness towards my husband for moving me yet again? The answers are not likely, I don't think so, and quite probably. But none of this completely explains the general malaise and lingering unhappiness I feel being here instead of being up north in the place of my heart (or la querencia as my old geology professor called it).

And up north right now isn't all sunshine and smooth sailing either from what I gather. Apparently the monsters I spawned took advantage of me being gone to jump on my bed and move it entirely across the room, wreaking havoc on the short trip across the floor. So my mother has grounded them from doing anything at all until I return. She asked if I thought that was too harsh a punishment. While I told her no, I wondered if her sanity can handle having them trapped by their own naughtiness for so long. Maybe I wasn't nearly as bad as my crew are, but I find that I have to temper their punishments because *I* can only suffer for so long before I start wondering how deep I'd have to dig to bury them alive. So in that sense, I guess I'm glad I'm not there. Because sure and fate I'd do something further to tick my mother off and we'd all be in the soup.

So I'm feeling weepy and generally down, I have 4 movers packing up all of my belongings (and this set refuses to pack some very strange things that previous movers have all cheerfully thrown in boxes for me), my kids are 350 miles away and acting feral, I had to run in yucky humidity, and I'm bored stiff with myself. When I was small, this would have been likely to push me towards being bad (or as bad as I ever got), now it just pushes me to want to run away from home and not come back. Guess it's a good thing I'm too conventional for that. :-P

Friday, July 11, 2008

In need of a self-esteem boost

My sister and I walked down to the produce stand yesterday to get some blueberries and other assorted goodies. While there, she had to take off chasing after my imp of a nephew, who thought it might be fun to take off at a dead run into the parking area. While she was chasing the maniacally laughing little stinker, the produce guy asked me something about my daughter. Unfortunately, he didn't mean 9 year old R., who I do occasionally claim as mine. He was talking about my sister. That would make me a grandmother and old enough to have a daughter in her thirties! Holy cr@pola. That just isn't funny, although the rest of my family is getting mucho mileage out of this. I mean, I know I'm going grey at an alarming rate these days, but really! I'll just go grumble and whine through my toothless gums over here in my old lady corner. :-P

Mupdate #3 (July 10)

I think I'm averaging about once a month with these long-winded running updates. Good thing I save up all my blathering and hit you with it only once in a blue moon, I guess. They're not too bad though, are they?

First, another thank-you to those who have donated to the cause. The little thermometer on my website (http://pages.teamintraining.org/mi/nikesf08/kknox1n5c2) is continuing to rise. And my friend tells me that if I raise $10,000 (yeah right!), I get a bracelet to match the finisher's necklace I'll get for crossing the finish line in SF. Not a bad goal given my love of bling (more on that later) but let's not forget this is not all about me (well, this e-mail is but the run's not really). I also wanted to take a quick moment and say thanks to those who have given good wishes. I know the economy is rough right now but not laughing at me is free and I appreciate all the "Go get 'ems" I've been told since I announced this crazy undertaking. I do know how hard it must be to say that without smirking! And there's one more donation note I wanted to make. To whomever made an anonymous donation: Thank you! You really know how to keep me occupied given that I've been busily attributing it to every Tom, Dick, and Harry I can think of. I know I'll never know who you are but what a lovely gesture (even if it is driving me nuts-- although my dad always says that's not a drive, it's a short putt). So now onward to the rest of the mupdate!

I've been trying to convince the kids to run with me. I'm slow enough that I don't think they'd substantially change my pace. So when I signed up to run in the 10K in my town, I noticed that there was also a kid's fun run. Mind you I paid no attention to how far the fun run was, I just knew that it was set to be run after I finished my race. All the kids agreed that they really wanted to run it. Luckily I didn't take them at their word though as first one and then another bailed out. Only the smallest fry continued to say he'd like to run. Being the supportive and confident mom I am, I said I didn't think he could run a whole mile and suggested that he had to run with me to prove he could before I was going to fork over the money. I thought that would be the end of the conversation but Mr. Persistence actually wanted to run. So after enough nagging on his part (where he inherited that unpleasant trait I'll never know), I laced up my running shoes and took him out. First off, given that he's 6, even my slow pace was too fast so I ended up just slower than a brisk trot. He kept up with me but didn't talk much at all, which is not a normal state of affairs for the family lip-flapper. I asked him several times if he was okay or if we should slow down. He said he was fine and no we didn't have to slow down. So we plugged along in the quiet, with me listening to his feet slapping and watching his hair flop up and down. I was mean enough to take him on a loop in the neighborhood that culminates in a rather long hill (if I have to run in SF, I can't avoid hills and well, my runs are all about me, not about making it easy on the kid). After wondering aloud if a mile was very long for kids with legs as short as his, he seemed pretty pleased to see our driveway. I watched him run into the garage and then continued on my way for the rest of my run. Apparently he went inside, flopped on the couch, and announced that he couldn't feel his legs anymore and when asked where I was, said, "She's still out there killing herself." Good to know I'm instilling the joy and benefits of exercise into my children! Even worse, the fun run was only a quarter mile. And no, T. didn't participate because he was still sleeping off the exhaustion from his kiddie boot camp run with mom.

One of the interesting things about running is all of the cool gadgets you can use while you run. I always figured running was a cheap sport. Sure, you pay a lot for a good pair of shoes (nothing worse than bad shoes for those poor old hips and knees) but other than that, the roads are free, right? If you think this, you are clearly an amateur! I have found the slickest, coolest toys and I just knew I needed them desperately. In addition to the shoes, I also have very expensive socks (SmartWool for anyone who cares) because of course, as the running store is fond of saying, "cotton is rotten." My clothing, when I'm not slumming it (which isn't often), is also fancy-schmancy wicking material. The running bras I like the best are high tech and industrial strength (with no zippers on the front--a definite recipe for disaster). Aside from apparel, I also have the ubiquitous iPod to listening to while running. One that holds the most music is best if you plan to run for hours at a time (but really, what normal person wants to run for hours at one time?!). Of course, if you're me, unlike other people who put inspirational, fast music on their iPods, I put dead slow stuff on there to just match my current pace. No need for speedy cardio-type music that might push me beyond the limits of my capabilities. I'm running for endurance and consistency, right? I have a water belt with 8 small bottles and a pouch to carry that tasty Gu in on the long runs. I will admit the sloshing is a bit distracting but it sure beats going out and making water drops before running (and with my luck, somebody would come along and pick up my carefully stashed waters as litter or something). Finally, I also have a really cool GPS watch with an overall timer and pace clock. So now I know exactly how slow I am going per mile. Could be discouraging for some, but I've mostly accepted my tortoise-like self cheerfully. I admit I do ignore the watch when it beeps at me (unless it is beeping to let me know about a specific distance) since I can't be bothered to slow down or speed up or whatever cockamamie thing it is requesting I do. And thank heaven there are different beeps for distance and for all the other issues it has or I'd have to be looking at it every twenty seconds and I'd be more likely to trip over my own feet than I already am. Let me tell you, I look like a real professional all kitted out in my snazzy gear (wonder what gadgets I'm still missing that I can't possibly run without?). Too bad I not only don't run like a professional but I can't seem to manage my toys well either.

I was out running this morning (and I'm very grateful the rain stopped when it did) when I chanced a glance at the watch only to see that it was asking me questions. Now it had never done such a thing before and I'd totally ignored the unfamiliar beep it had made so I'm not sure exactly when it started chastising me during the run but it had to be fairly near the beginning. First it told me that it is having trouble tracking me on GPS (must be because of that blazing speed I possess). I randomly pushed a button to make such unimportant information disappear. But then it asked me if I had moved hundreds of miles from where I started. Given I'd only gone about a mile, I pushed the button for no. Then it wanted to know what the date was. Once I got all of that entered in (running all the while, I might add), it chirped at me to let me know I'd run 485 miles in just under 12 minutes. Darn I'm quick! Ok, so I haven't mastered the watch (I suspect that heavy cloud cover, combined with lots of tree overhang on the road confounded the GPS signal--or it could be user error but I prefer to ignore that possibility) but I at least thought I had the iPod down. I had it set to just go ahead and play every song I have on it but apparently that only works if you charge the doggone thing. And when the iPod battery is dead, it just plain old stops. No winding down to warn you, like on a music box. Oh no, it just up and quits in the middle of a word. And I won't share the word--not a part of the song--I uttered when it up and stopped either. Not cute to all of a sudden hear my own tone-deaf self singing along to vanished music. Even worse to listen to my own labored breathing for the following 3-4 miles. I'd say a pox on gadgets but then I'm afraid the next thing to go would be my clothing or my shoes!

Now that we're up north for the summer, I am having to find new runs for the distances my handy-dandy schedule requires each day. I had routes all worked out at home but didn't stop to think that I'd be running lots of long distances up here in the UP. So I'm making good use of the very wonderful internet site www.mapmyrun.com. If they want to pay me for plugging them, I'd be happy to take it but mostly I just really like the fact that I can plug in my starting point and then draw snazzy little lines down all the streets and it keeps track of the mileage for me. I admit to being easily bored so I'm not willing to find one route and then just run it back and forth until I reach the daily recommended mileage. I need variety and, preferably, as little looping back on my path as little as possible. So I punched in my start and I was amazed at how many roads there are up here that I never knew about--and where some of the roads I did know end up going. I swear I live in a bubble. I've been up here every summer my entire life and I've never noticed some of these roads. Mind you, some of them look perfectly fine on the google map, but they have gates or something across them in reality. Good thing I drive my intended routes before running them or I'd be a bit stymied on the actual run. Actually, I only drive the routes because I need advance warning of hills and other items of interest. If I can't have a cheering section on each tough stretch of road, I need to know that I only have xx number more hills and then I'm finished or xx number more driveways before I can turn off onto another road. Yes, I am a motivational nightmare but it's the little things for me! And if any of you want to be out on the road with your pom-poms, I'll be happy to have you there, even if I do stick my tongue out at you.

I was told that I should check out the races up north while I was gone and true to form, I didn't bother to take that advice. But I managed to stumble into two races anyway, both right in this area and nicely casual so I didn't have to get totally stressed and neurotic about them. The first one benefited the local high school cross-country team and I charitably mentioned to my sister that I was going to run it. It was a 5 mile race and since I've been running 5 miles several days a week, I didn't figure it'd be any big stretch. I smugly thought that since my darling sister had resorted to walking each of the times she'd come with me to run 5 miles, that I would good and show her during the race. Clearly I forgot that she got all of the athletic talent in the family. Either that or she was just toying with me during the runs that didn't count. Actually, I was planning on doing the course twice since that Saturday my schedule (yes, I am that religious about it) called for a 10 mile run. So I told her up front that I was going to run slowly so I could loop the course. She said she was going to run slowly too until the guy starting the race mentioned cookies at the end and medals for the top three finishers in each age group. Then that little rat looked right at me and said, "I want a medal" as she sped off leaving me in her dust. Huh! Brat. To add insult to injury, a family friend popped out of his office when she ran by and yelled for her but headed back inside before slow-as-molasses-in-January me ran past so I had no cheering section at all. I told M. I was terribly offended and thought it was a bit like betting on the sure thing instead of the underdog. No courage at all in that plan. Yes, she beat me to the cookies (and took gold in our age-group to boot). I am pleased to say she only beat me by a couple of minutes but because we aren't competitive in our family at all (HA!), I ran much faster than I should have (as fast as I could, really) so I didn't end up looping the race or getting in my second 5 miles. Ah well. I got the silver medal in our age-group though so I got my own bit of shiny, even if my mileage for the day was off. The following day was a hike and bike 5K and I figured I'd do that too. I even tried to incorporate M.'s advice that I wear something other than a white shirt so I'd be more noticeable (although I figured I wouldn't know anyone on that route). I chose to wear a greenish shirt so I'd stick out. So what color was the t-shirt they gave out for the race and that a good number of people were wearing? Green. I can't win for losing!!! I thought perhaps my sister would be sore from the race the day before since she hasn't been running much at all and maybe I'd manage to beat her this time (see, not competitive at all, am I?) but I was in for a very rude surprise. Not only was she not sore, but she has more than one pace! She ran even faster for that short race than she did for the longer race. I only have one pace--slow. Well, maybe I have two paces: slow and stop. But I definitely don't have fast or faster in my repertoire like she clearly does. So if she beat me in the 5 mile race, she absolutely smoked me on the 5K. Last time I tell her about a race! I'm thinking about seeing if there are any other races going on in this general vicinity but I've now learned not to count on running a race and then running some more to make up mileage. When they tell me there's a finish somewhere, I am officially finished for the day!

So now I'm plugging along most days (no running Monday and Friday as per the holy schedule) with the long runs getting much longer. This Saturday is a 12 miler, bringing me to a total of 29 miles this week. Anyone up in the UP wanting to join me is welcome; just give me a holler. My sister, aka Speed Racer, is leaving this Sunday so I'll be left to chug along all by myself. On the plus side, the iPod should be well and truly charged by the time I have to run without chatting my through the entire thing. Here's hoping this is true, because if not, my mouth will be exhausted after 2-plus hours of non-stop chatter. Not to mention how strange I'll look talking to myself as I trot down the road loaded down with all my gadgets!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 4th

I hereby nominate July 4th as the most miserable day of the year to be suffering from a migraine!

Book Awards Wrap-Up

I'm on vacation and have very limited access to a computer (can be both a good and a bad thing, I know) so I'm doing this wrap-up post rather later than I was supposed to. That's okay too as the last thing I need is to be entered into a drawing for another book I'd just have to move. At any rate though, I want to comply with the rules (the result of being a goody-goody my whole life, I guess) so I'm posting the finish anyway. So here's what I read for the challenge and the award(s) they won (reviews will follow eventually on at least most of them):

1. A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (1987 Pulitzer)
2. Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller (1934 Pulitzer)
3. The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket (2006 Quill Award for Children's Chapter Book/Middle Grade)
4. Dale Loves Sophie to Death by Robb Forman Dew (1982 National Book Award 1st Novel Award)
5. Remembering Babylon by David Malouf (1994 LA Times Book Prize & 1996 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award)
6. Marley and Me by John Grogan (2006 Quill Award for biography/memoir)
7. Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (2007 New Zealand Montana Award for Fiction)
8. Small Island by Andrea Levy (Orange Prize for Fiction and 2004 Whitbread)
9. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (1988 Whitbread)
10. Kate Vaiden by Reynolds Price (1986 National Book Critics Circle Award)
11. Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky (2005 MA Book Award in Non-fiction)
12. Postcards by E. Annie Proulx (1993 PEN/Faulkner)
13. So Big by Edna Ferber (1925 Pulitzer)
14. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (2007 Kiriyama Prize for Non-fiction)

As a whole they all came out of my tbr stacks so I was pleased to finally work through them. Several I loved and several I hated so on balance, it was a pretty fair collection of books. The book that surprised me most in a good way was Mister Pip. And I was most disappointed with Dale Loves Sophie to Death (not least because I didn't like it at all and I have several other books by Dew on my shelves).

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