Sunday, April 27, 2008

It's My Blog and I'll Cry If I Want To

Pin It Tonight after putting the kids in bed I sat down to make a list of the things I'm grateful for, hoping it would help me to put things in perspective.

(Sigh.)

Pretty much the only thing I came up with for today, specifically, was that nobody was attacked by rabid flying monkeys.

(It wasn't really a very inspiring list.)

After that, I made a list of things I could do to improve our situation:

- Find friends for my children
- Finish getting things organized
- Get them involved in activities to keep them busy and happy
- Binge a lot

Oh, I know it may not sound like it, but I really am trying so hard to hold it together. I'm trying to stay positive and trying to encourage them to "bloom where they're planted" as the cliche goes. I know this is a nice neighborhood, with perfectly nice people. I know we can be happy here. I'm not sure how or when, but I know it's possible.

In Relief Society (a church class for women) all of the women were friendly and kind - in the way that you're friendly and kind to new people before you go sit with your real friends. To be fair, I sat down by myself in the middle of the back row and didn't make an effort to talk to anyone around me. I'm not particularly shy, and normally I would have tried to reach out a little, but I was feeling beaten down by life and self-indulgently sorry for myself, so I sat there and pouted instead.

A playgroup sign-up list went around the room and I signed it, my hands clammy with anxiety. A PLAYGROUP. This might solve at least twelve of my problems. I had a million questions for the woman sitting in front of me (WHERE? WHEN? HOW SOON? TOMORROW? TONIGHT? WHEN?!!), but she didn't have any answers. (And possibly I scared her a little with my inappropriate intensity about the topic.)

If the playgroup doesn't pan out, I do have an emergency back-up plan. At church they handed out a list of women in the neighborhood complete with pictures and email addresses and I think I'm just going to make a complete freak of myself by emailing everyone in the ward. (Sometimes having no shame or sense of social decorum is a net positive.)

I even resorted to blog-stalking (after my sister-in-law spilled the blog addresses for a few of the women), leaving messages like, "Um, Hi, I live in your neighborhood, and I'm not weird or anything, but I just wanted to say Hi! P.S. I see from your blog that you have children. Would they like to come over this afternoon?" Oddly, they haven't responded. Apparently, contacting complete strangers on their blogs and inviting their children over to play is frowned upon in some circles.

The truth is, I'm not in the mood to start over - to gradually meet people, to eventually become friends with them, to even more eventually become very good friends with some of them. The thought of it (of having to wade through the small talk and artifice before we can get to know each other; of the whole back and forth and trial and error of developing new friendships) exhausts me. My heart is not in it. I know there are lots of wonderful, interesting people in our new neighborhood, and that in a year or so, I won't be able to imagine not knowing them. I know that.

Right now though? I just want my OLD friends back - people who know me and like me anyway. I miss my neighbors - who don't sprint for the garage as soon as they emerge from their cars. I miss being able to look out the back door and see a crowd of kids for my children to play with. I want my old neighborhood back - with trees and grass and open spaces. I want a fairy to descend from the sky, hand me a million dollars and make everything better. That's what I want.

(Closes eyes, makes wish:) Make it so.

(Opens eyes, looks around)

Drat.

62 comments:

  1. Why does this all sound so familiar? Oh yeah, because it's me, too. Sue, I'm over here in Ohio wishing you had moved in next-door to me.

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  2. Gawd do I wish I could make that happen for you...

    I know you know, but really, in a year things WILL be better. You just have to grit your teeth and GET THERE.

    In the meantime, ((((((hugs))))))

    Heidi

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  3. This does sound familiar...It is hard. Just hang in there!

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  4. It sounds like you are doing all the right things - and you never know, you might be feeling sad sometime and have a chance encounter with someone who might be fun...
    I know that sounds like a load of crappe when you are blue, but you never know!

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  5. Oh, I hate that!
    I'm really rooting for the playgroup. Torture whoever (whomever?) you have to to get the info on that.

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  6. If I could make it so, I would. Go ahead and cry if you want to - better out than in, right?

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  7. We don't have kids and I'm not really social but I'd talk to you if you moved in next door. ALthough I'm guessing CA is a bit far for you. I wouldn't try to call you either and to make it even I wouldn't answer if you tried to call me either. LOL
    I hope it all works out soon.
    Did you put your phone number on that play group sign up? You might have to answer the phone. Just remember to check the caller ID first, then take a deep breath and have one of your kids close by and pinch then so they shriek if you need an excuse to get off teh phone right away ;).
    Hope your week gets better!

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  8. Oh, honey. I feel for you. I know you're going through a rough time and I know the mental energy it takes to stay upbeat for your children and that leaves you all worn out with nothing for you. Bless your heart. I don't know what else to say, except I'm thinking positive thoughts! Maybe that and some fairy dust will make it all better. Maybe??

    (that was lame - I'm sorry)

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  9. a lady moved into my neighborhood, and was (shortly after me) struggling, so she made a ridiculous amount of cookies, and took them around to all of us unfriendly sorts (me)... being the nosy sort, i asked her why she was doing all this... she said cause she was lonely and needed friends for herself and the kids.

    just an idea...but I would do store bought, just cause I'm lazy like that!

    moving sucks.

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  10. aww, hugs to you. i'd totally be your friend if you just moved to canada...speaking of which, we live in a military ward and it just gets exhausting finally making friends only to have them leave because they've been posted. then you have to start all over again when (if) someone new moves in. i know the fatigue of which you speak. it's just so much WORK making friends! you'll do it though. and we'll all be cheering for you.

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  11. I am sending you ((hugs)) and wishing you chocolate. The good stuff.

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  12. You didn't want to move, and I would give anything to move. It's hard to bloom where you're planted when it's already so hot outside and there's a blister beetle infestation! I feel your pain.

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  13. Cry all you want.

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  14. Maddison9:12 AM

    Sorry this is so hard for you. I can't help but think how wonderful it is though that there are so many organized opportunities for people to meet and get together from the church. At least that. It seems without that, it would be way harder. I can totally relate to the whole not wanting to have to trod through the small talk and socially awkward moments with everyone, though. It IS exhausting.

    Maybe I've not really given any advice, but just know that some, if not all of us can relate. As you know, and as others have said, it will get easier with time. It's just tough right now.

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  15. Oh, Sue, honey...it'll be okay. All you need to do is start drinking...

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  16. Maybe you should introduce them to your comment card idea and skip over the next 11 months of "slowly getting to know them" and just jump into the "Hi, I'm your new BFF!"

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  17. Of course you know that everything will turn out all right.

    Still.

    Hugs, and hugs, and happy thought to you.

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  18. What, having a dog who eats your dead skin is not enough for you?

    No, seriously — I was right there with you in the back row. That is the worst feeling in the world, sitting there while everyone else buzzes around all-friendly-like and you know the work it'll take to be part of that group.

    I hope people respond to your inappropriate blogstalking and emailing.

    And if it makes you feel any better, when I was a freshman in college, I introduced myself to EVERYONE wearing Depeche Mode t-shirts in an effort to find a friend, figuring at least we'd have the music in common. Since they were all haughty goths, you can imagine how far that got me...

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  19. Hey, I am one of your silent readers--never commented before. But I just have to say I love your honesty. Your blogs are so open and honest and that's why I love them!

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  20. hey Sue...my latest blog stalker! i didn't know who the heck that comment was from till I linked over and saw your pretty little face up there!

    Welcome to our ward. I'm sorry you sat by yourself in church. We really are some nice people around here...the playgroup thing, don't hold your breath! But I can tell you who to call about it (hahahahaha).

    I know how hard it is to start over, but I think you chose a descent area, and you'll make friends. I'm from Utah too. I'll look for you on Sunday :) You can call me if you want.

    Ok...sorry for the manuscript, but hey, it is what it is!

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  21. I think that you SHOULD cry. A good cry will help a lot.

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  22. Anonymous12:20 PM

    Sue,
    I have many of the same feelings as you, and I have lived here for several years. I was a back row sitter until they put me in primary, now, I just don't know anyone in the ward unless they have kids.
    I didn't like our last neighborhood, so I don't miss it, but my kids have made some good friends here (there were no kids in our last area)
    There are tons of really nice ladies here, it's just that we're all so busy taking our large broods to soccer and dance that we don't have time to get to know each other. I go to all the Enrichment meetings, but I just don't feel like I fit in.
    I'm lonely.
    I would sit by you anytime.

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  23. I agree with Mombabe.
    Cry, get it over with. Include some chocolate.

    When I was a kid, we had some new neighbors move on our street, and they had an open house and invited all of the neighbors to come over and meet them. We all thought it was kind of strange, but it turned out to be really fun.
    Just a thought.

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  24. Oh how that hits home. I felt that way when we moved up here. Different country, different style of place. City girl transplanted to the country, not knowing a single person in the entirety of this small, close knit town.

    I freaked a lot of people out by stripping away the small talk and artifice. It's not the way things are usually done, but I didn't have the patience either.

    It paid off. Just so you know. It paid off.

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  25. That sounds so sad...but you always put a twist of humor in it...so even though I find myself feeling bad for you...I am smiling...sorry...you are just such a good writer!

    Anyhow...I totally feel for you because I went through something similar a couple of years ago. It sucked for a good while...but then I put myself out there, cause unfortunately we have to do that, and slowly it got better!

    Luckily kids are the best and somehow they just find friends and they are happy and stalwart!

    I love your blog BTW!!!

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  26. Sue? I promise it will get better. I promise. I hate to leave a link to ME on your blog but here is a column I wrote in 2001, one year after we'd moved into the house we just moved FROM. The house where I spent the happiest years of my life so far. But this is how I felt then.

    http://www.sothethingis.com/28%20Putting%20Down%20Roots.htm

    I didn't think I'd ever make any friends in that neighborhood and now those people are some of the best friends I've ever had.

    I promise it will get better. Hang in there.

    --Barb

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  27. I've actually had really good luck with playgroups - every mother there is sort of desperate for adult interaction AND friends for their kids. I hope it works out.

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  28. I'm feeling sad with you right now! I hate change and I hate being lonely. Any time change is looming, even if it's good change I start to get this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach...and usu pretty depressed.

    It may be a little stalkeresque, but you're doing the right thing getting out there...you can't wait for them to come to you!

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  29. lmfao...yeah, I don't know how you will fare with going to blogs and inviting over their children...and then they will get ahold of YOUR blog and then well, we all know what will happen...oh wait, they will probably LOVE YOU LIKE WE ALL DO...

    put yourself out there a little, I am sure you won't regret it...and I know they won't. at. first... ;)

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  30. Anonymous3:57 PM

    Okay I don't know you and only read your blog for the first time today, but it sounds like somebody's having a pity party. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off. Things could be so worse. Really think of the blessings in your life. I know there have to be some. tomorrow is another day. Put a smile and a little confidence on and go to the women's group again next week witha new attitude. Take your kids to the park, set up a lemonade stand, do something that attracts people to you. If nothing else, you will feel better and happiness attracts happiness. Okay, pity party over now, c'mon, life is good, get up, get your new life in motion! We're all rooting for you!

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  31. Give the miracle fairy a day or two. I'm SURE she'll get around to it AFTER she performs MY miracles. Sheesh, get in line sister!

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  32. Anonymous #2, you win my very special Stating the Obvious award because - YES, I know.

    Everyone else - thank you. Lots.

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  33. I know where you're at - and it sucks. Hang in there.

    A friend of mine once equated meeting other moms like dating - giving each other the once-over, eyeing the kids and trying to guess the ages, wondering whether to make the first move....

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  34. Anonymous #2- Read the post title. Now, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go poop on someone else's party. That is all.

    Sue, one of my friends has the brilliant friend-making technique of going up to people she thinks look cool and saying, "I want to be your friend." Doesn't do much to help you play it cool, but it seems to REALLY work for her. Also, women in our ward have become friends through a monthly game night held at someone's house. Maybe you could blackmail a certain sister-in-law into hosting one so you can meet people in a non-churchy atmosphere.

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  35. Whew, I am feeling so bad for you girlfriend!! We move every two - years cause of the hubby being military and all so I totally get where you are coming from. I can tell you that eventually it will start to feel like home. It sneaks up on you when you are least expecting it. You will start having good days again. Your kids will all the sudden be happy again. It takes time. Let yourself feel the whole range of emotions. Tell yourself it will pass, eventually. Just give yourself time and know that there are other women out here who are pulling for you and sending you warm thoughts and some hugs.
    Hang in there!!
    dawn

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  36. I agree with the others. A good cry might just be in order. We've all been there, and anyone who says just to suck it up and get over it probably has no friends because they're obnoxious.

    But I'm sure this will be a short-lived problem. If you look at all the comments you get on here, you obviously draw people to you. With your wit, how could people not want to be your friend?

    Give it a little more time. You're going to be just fine. And get some chocolate.

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  37. Oh honey. I so wish you had ended up in Michigan.

    But, I know you will be just.fine. And although we can't be with you in person, you know you're in our hearts. ;-)

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  38. Oh I feel for ya! (((Hugs))) from a completely random stranger who you quasi know through the net! I am sorry I am not in Nevada because I would so invite you and the kids to come destroy the peace and quiet around here!

    My husband the therapist always says that time heals everything. You're too new and it will be better soon. Just you wait and see.

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  39. It is perfectly, completely, and TOTALLY understandable! I wish I could make it just fly by for you...but I can't...so in it's place *hugs*

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  40. Sue, so Carol says don't hold your breath about the playgroup. Sounds like you should just walk right up to the R.S. President and tell her that the playgroup will meet at your house next ___(whatever day) and give her some handouts with your address, phone, etc. Or call her first, since you have a list, to see if anyone has actually organized and planned the playgroup. I know most presidencies would LOVE for someone to actually volunteer to do something without having to pull teeth, and so would the moms who want the group but don't want to take the initiative. Playgroups usually just need someone to get it started. And your kids might find a couple of friends they really enjoy that you can invite over on other days, or who might invite your kids over. In our ward in the summer we have "Moms and Tots in the Park," and everyone packs a sack lunch, brings their kids and blankets to the park. Moms sit around and visit while kids play on the playground. That way no one has their house at risk or open to "inspection." The moms have built some good relationships that way, and it has been an especially good way for new ladies to get acquainted. With your park handy, you might give it a try. Before it gets too hot. Worth a try. Better than sitting on the back row without a plan.

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  41. Well Mom - you'll be so proud. Because I actually PICKED UP THE PHONE, today Abby went to a friend's house to play, Sarah went to a friend's house to play (after school), and Carter played with his cousin. It was a good day for all of them. But I think I WILL volunteer to host playgroup. It can't hurt.

    Carol - thanks for the tips - and YES, I want that name ;>

    Anonymous #1 - Email me. I'll hang out with you (when we're not going to or from school, or to gymnastics, or to dance, or... Yeah, I see what you mean.)

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  42. I love your explanation for 'people say hi and are friendly- and then they go and sit with their 'real' friends" (or something like that) One ward we moved in- everyone was 'super friendly' and one couple invited us over for FHE- and I thought we had a great time... well- we called one night to see what they were doing...and their was awkward silence on the other end... followed by, "oh , we are busy"- yeah- going out with their 'real' friends... I guess we were a 'service project'- but - I did make eventually some of my greatest friends who I treasure today... It just takes time... and I know you are super fun and funny- so pretty soon you are going to be complaining that you have too many friends!

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  43. Sue, I love you. I also think that playgroups are horrible but that may just be the way to go. I did really like Amy's comment though.

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  44. I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. I love my calling, but wish I could have been in RS to sit with you in the back row. It is so hard to start over and make new friends. I think you are doing an amazing job and really trying hard to reach out.

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  45. You are doing a good job reaching out. I am so impressed by people that can do that because it is sooo scary!! I am still kind of like wallpaper in my ward, just hanging out waiting to be noticed. I go to playgroup, but I am not as outgoing as i should be. except for the occasional insult that was supposed to be a funny remark, you know. You're making me want to try harder. So, thanks! Those ladies just need to know you for a minute, and they will love you as much as we all do.
    and if you need something to cheer you up, just read Wendy's comment over & over. It made me crack up!

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  46. You could always wear a comment box around (or maybe a locker-sized white board, hanging down like some 80's rapper bling) at church meetings...trolling for fellow bloggers, lol.

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  47. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog!! And don't you ever feel sorry when you have a whine or two! Moving is crazy and hard and heartbreaking and well just plain hard!! You hang in there!!
    dawn

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  48. Okay okay...I'm trying to find out how to get around the post-menopause thing...and looking at your beautiful pics I don't think you qualify either...but if I find out how to get past that hiccup...I'll sign us both up for that chocolate study! hahahaha!

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  49. I feel your pain. Although I have not moved, I can totally understand where you are coming from. And yes, this is YOUR blog and YOU CAN cry if you want to!!! Take as much time as you need to adjust and settle in. We will all be here for you to listen and cry with. {{{HUGS}}}

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  50. I'm sorry. Moving sucks. Especially when you didn't want to move. I feel your pain. It'll get better- I promise.

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  51. I'm a fan of the happy pills, myself.

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  52. Im going to be the opposite (as usual) of all your other commenters... WHAT ARE YOU SITTING IN THE BACK FOR???? this is your chance, your ONLY opportunity to make all the suckers in your ward who don't know you think ANYTHING YOU WANT them to think about you. You can be sweet and quiet (BORING), you can be sassy and funny (which you so are!!!!), you can be a know-it-all (but come on RS has too many of those already), you can be witty and smart (pretty much have that totally going for you). DUDE don't mess this up! Take the bull by the horns, shake things up, BE BOLD- then screw the small talk they'll all be clawing each others eyes out to sit next to you and it will BE FUN!

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  53. Bridget7:01 PM

    Chanel is so right on the money. You are the proverbial girl starting out her first day at a new high school in a John Hughes movie. (Does anyone even know who John Hughes is anymore? Just me? Oh, OK) Anyhow, just tell 'em to look at your blog and they will see what a riot you are. Then bring a big bat to RS because you will have to clear a path, what with all the awesome young moms with kids who will be swarming around you, trying to be friends and hook up playdates. Hey, it could happen! :)

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  54. HUGS! I've been in the same town my entire life. I live 7 minutes from the house I grew up in. I KNOW this area. The idea of ME being anywhere else, is entirely terrifying. How would I survive??? On the flip side, I've honestly never once met the neighbor to the left of us and we've lived here 8 years, we hide from the neighbor to the right of us because he TALKS AND TALKS, and people in the further back parts of the neighborhood look at me funny when I'm out walking with my kids because we've never seen each other before (REAL close-knit neighborhood, can you tell??????), so I'm not sure being in the same place as always puts me in any better position than you're in, in a NEW place. (does that make you feel a LITTLE better???)

    hugs again! I hope the playgroup thing pans out

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  55. Sorry you're sad.

    (I KNOW that's a lame comment, it's just that your comment note on the sidebar made me feel GUILTY, so I had to go ahead and comment my lame comment. Sorry.)

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  56. Good for you! Good for you for putting yourself out there even though you don't really feel like it!

    Hang in there--

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  57. Good for you, Sue! I'm glad you had a better day.

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  58. It makes it so hard when the kids have a hard time adjusting. It will happen, and I pray it happens soon for you.

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  59. Moving sucks - check. Missing the old - check. Hating to have to pick up all the shattered pieces and start again - check.

    Sweetie you're right on schedule with all the grieving. And you aren't fooling me you've been having the good cry - it just doesn't want to stop. Hang in there!!

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  60. Cry on, sista! Moving SUCKS! Especially when you've gone somewhere you didn't want to go.

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  61. ok, so I'm moving soon... where do you live... I'll move there and we can be R-tards together!!! sound like a plan? No? To stalkerish? .... ahhh, sorry about the creep factor there :)

    but seriously. I would so hang out with you! and your little kidlets too :)

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  62. Moving Sucks. I am so sorry for you having to make new friends. Maybe if you sent a photo with the e-mail so they know to whom they are speaking. I would invite you over either way.

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