Whew. What a week. Yesterday I was excited all day. I was ready to have a reason to celebrate so Trump losing and a female VP was a great one. I played celebratory music all day while packing up to move. There’s a lot more to say about the politics of this country, but I don’t have the energy for that in this post.
But today, I’m stressed about packing. We’re realizing we can’t fit everything and that we have way too much stuff. So it’s time to toss some things. We already filled up the trash for our condo. 😬 And I’ve been feeling like we are pretty wasteful to have so much stuff and to throw it away. Why do we need so much stuff?
And it’s not like we weren’t throwing out stuff before. A few weeks back I started tossing stuff and still I find myself surounded by too much stuff. In this big move, I’d really like to live a little lighter and a little leaner. At the begining of this year, I planned not to buy new clothes, only used. And then I was like, well, I will buy new socks and underwear of course. And then one day I was headed to an event with no sweater and it was cold. And then the pandemic hit. And going to thrift stores to look for clothes was too hard. I know you can by them online, but sizing is so hard online. And like everyone else in the pandemic, I gained weight. And moving to Washington requires a raincoat that effectively keeps out rain. So that new year plan didn’t quite work out.
It’s only November 5 and my idea to blog everyday has already faltered. Yesterday after work I was trying to catch on all things re: moving. Every day after work, we have some task to do. Today I need to pick up Teddy’s records from the vet. And I already got behind on some tasks. The lab for my annual labs is only doing appointments and they don’t have appointments until long after we are gone. But at least I got my mammogram done. I was trying to hit all of my health providers before I move so I have some time before I need to find a new one.
And every day we are packing a little more.
One of the things you do is tell a lot of people that you are moving. And we have heard a lot of people say things like, “everyone is leaving California” or talk about how better it is outside of California. And I get it, everyone has their own feelings about California but I really don’t feel the same way they do. I love California. I love it’s nature, it’s weather, it’s food, and I love some of the progressive things we do. I am not leaving because of taxes. I pay mine and I like how we have a higher minimum wage, state disability, etc. I am definitely aware of it’s issues but I am going to miss California.
It’s one of the hardest things about this process. I don’t know how much I will like Washington (it is temporary) but we definitely picked an area based on some of the things we love like Trader joe’s, college town, liberal views, etc.
Last year, I was pretty negative about what the outcome would be. My husband really believed it would work out. But I didn’t. But even though I thought Trump would win, there was still anxiety while I watched it happen. Anxiety while the news tallies and projects and zooms graphics across the screen. Last time I was in grad school in getting my Masters. I was in an online class switching back and forth between tabs and private messaging with classmates. We were extremely stressed and disheartened.
This year is the same. I didn’t have high hopes going in. I did my civic duty and voted. The whole family voted. I’m not in class, but the anxiety is ever present. We are watching #vanlife videos but we both are inevitably dooms scrolling through results. The most upsetting part is being constantly reminded how little people care for the well being of others. How callous they can be. How racist they are. You really hope people will do better.
Wherever you may be, I hope your doom scrolling isn’t alone and I hope you have someone nearby.
Remember back in 2007 when we were doing this and it was November and everyone was doing NaNoWroMo. Ok, I am sure people still do it, but none of this blogging stuff is like 2007 anymore. Not after SEO and BlogHer etc. None of the internet people I met back then write blogs anymore. But I am getting off track here. I think I am going to try it. Because this month, this November in a pandemic and an insane election, where I try to move? It seems like a good time to write it down.
Tomorrow is the election and are stores out of toilet paper yet? Paris is on lockdown for the second time this year. And I keep seeing posts about people getting prepped for the election. Boarding up businesses in Beverly Hills and D.C. people shopping and getting cash and filling up gas tanks. So I am just wondering, is this another toilet paper moment? Are you stocking up?
I’ve also seen the videos of Trump caravans following a Biden bus. Ive seen the videos of people being pepper sprayed so much this year, and now recently on a March to vote. It’s disturbing for sure to see people so ready for these kinds of actions. So ready to gather and follow a bus on the highway in a group. So ready to spray pepper spray. It’s definitely anxiety inducing.
We leave a week from tomorrow and the timing sucks. I wish we could have planned it for 2 weeks earlier. But escrow is escrow and I already had next week off of work. Also, I would have rather been outside of the country but this was about as fast as I good get things moving. I’ll be real. When my autonomic nervous system turns on, it’s preprogramed for flight. Years of my life growing up trained me to get the eff out when things look sketch. Also, my idea of things look sketch is different than other people. I always believe it can get bad.
It doesn’t mean I am not hopeful or optimistic. I just think I’ve seen some pretty crappy sides of people. So I have my eyes open. Are you thinking, wow, this got dark? It is what it is. We are in a dark place whether I want us to be or not.
Today though, I am keeping the news off and music on. I need to protect my energy.
8 months of a pandemic. Whew, that’s weird to write. I don’t know if this has happened for anyone else, but I have found the pandemic has really shrunk my circle of people. It makes sense because we go less places, we don’t go to events, and we spent a lot more time at home. The people we do see or talk to are people we work with, our neighbors, or our very close friends and family. For me, there are also seems to be a lower bandwidth for people. I find myself having less energy for certain conversations about certain topics with certain folks. If this talk is going to cost too much energy, I’m not engaging. In fact, not long ago I deleted my Facebook because I couldn’t stand reading the craziness on that damn website.
In the last months, we’ve had our energy spent on so much, it really makes you realize what a finite resource it is. And I need more time to replenish it these days. In the last months, I’ve spent my energy on maintaining awareness of so many issues facing us as a country, facing us as healthcare professionals, and what we have faced in our family. It’s felt like a relentless energy suck. So no, I don’t have the energy to listen to Covid conspiracy theories and fake facts about 5G. And I am not debating Trump. There’s no debate to be had.
Now that we are moving and thinking about saying goodbye to people, we realize there are people we haven’t talked to in quite some time. And they didn’t even know we were moving until we ran into them at Starbucks. Living somewhere for 20 years and then moving in a pandemic has definitely been odd. But I don’t feel too much regret for not being able to see everyone before we go. Sometimes we have to do what we have energy for.
We are down to 9 days until we move. 9 days of constant sunshine left. 9 days of amazing mexican food. 9 days of southern California mountains and chaparral brush. 9 days left to pack!
Well after 5 days of appointments, our place had FIVE offers. I guess everyone was right about selling fast. So no we are in escrow and we have a lot to do! I made a long list of to do things on my phone, but of course every day I get new items to add. But basically, we are out of here in 28 days.
Which is weird. We’ve lived here for 20 years. At some point after moving, we became Southern Californians. I don’t when the exact moment is that your new home becomes where you are from. It could be when you can’t remember the last time you said I-5 instead of the five. It could be when you can’t remember street names from where you spent the first 20 years. Or maybe when your friends from there start saying you are so Southern California.
And now in 28 days it changes. We’ve started planning good bye socially distant coffees. But it’s hard to say good bye to everyone.
We found a place to move. Which felt like a feat on its own, with a bully breed dog and trying to negotiate a six month lease. But we did it ✔️ and now it’s one less thing on the list. Next up: 20 more things to do. And eventually we will be strangers in a new place trying learn how to live in totally different weather.
It’s kind of weird to sell your house during a pandemic. There are no open houses. Showing by appointment only. Hand sanitizer and shoe covers. But when we leave in the afternoon for people to come look, we have no where to go. You can’t hang in a coffee shop or go to your friend’s house. Today when we left, I had a work meeting so I did actually go to Starbucks. Obviously not inside, but I sat outside the drive thru one and used their WiFi. After that, we ate dinner in a park.
When we got back, I went around the whole house with a spray bottle cleaning doors, light switches, counters, etc. And we still have tomorrow and the weekend too!
Everyone says it will sell fast because that’s what the news has been saying. Fingers crossed. But I am taking it week by week. Because after that is escrow and inspections. I am already pretty tired of having to let people in my house. Which I guess is what makes it more stressful. There’s more hypervigilance around all of these regular interactions. And so far we have learned that we are on the more cautious side than other people. But you we are nurses. We’ve spent the last 6 months being vigilant for our patients and ourselves. It doesn’t turn off easily (not that I want to). I do wonder how hard it will be to go back to regular interactions when the pandemic is over (is that coming anytime soon?).
Right now we are getting new floors, new paint and a bunch of other things done while we get ready to sell the house. Because of that, we are staying a few days in a hotel. But we are not enjoying this stay. It isn’t Ventura, that’s for sure. Our bathroom smells like someone has been smoking in it. We are only minutes from our house and we have been driving back and forth constantly. We go back to see the progress, talk with the people doing the work, check the mail, let the dog run around more, etc.
It’s a little bit of everything happening all at once. The amount of things we are juggling is crazy. Will’s in school. Did I mention that? So he has online homework. I have a new job that starts Monday and I am currently waiting for a computer to be delivered to work from home. And of course with all the work being done little surprises come up. Leaking refrigerator. Broken garage door spring. And it’s all more $$. We are trying to balance getting a good sale price but also not by spending too much of our money to get there.
Just before we began out hotel stay, I was stung in the lip by a wasp. The HOA had someone out redoing the trim on the outside and they power washed a wasp nest onto my balcony. I didn’t know this and I headed out to clean the balcony before the inside work got started (it was covered in ash from the fires). As soon as I opened the screen door, angry wasps flew up and at me. One landed on my upper lip while of course freaked the hell out, and it stung me. It hurt like hell. I took a Benadryl. After that I couldn’t do anything but lay down while trying to ice it.
Will and I are definitely stressed and getting a little short with each other. Mostly we have to choose to let things go. But after this is…a lot of uncertainty. We know we are going to Washington but we aren’t 100% sure. Will has applied for license but it’s pending. He’s looking at jobs but without the license, he can’t actually work. The Canada process is slow. They rejected my official copy of my birth certificate because there was no seal on it, even though that’s how that county sent it to me.
But in the back of all this, we are excited about the future. It’s a weird kind of excitement. Anxiety and excitement.
Wow, this year continues to crush us. The west coast is on fire. We left home because the fires in the mountains were causing so much smoke I couldn’t sleep. The other morning my husband woke up next me in a hotel room in a pandemic 90 minutes from home and he was stressed. He turned to me and said what if all these fires mean we can’t sell our house?
I don’t know. I really don’t know. I mean, we’ve been saying things are getting worse for years but we haven’t been able to understand what getting worse looks like on an individual scale. We’ve been a bit protected in our careers and our privilege. These things that are happening are a constant back drop of dispair and now personal impacts that show up in ways we don’t always expect. On a macro level, you say of course the west coast is on fire. Of course this administration has failed us in a pandemic. But then you find yourself trying to book a hotel in a not crowded place to work from during a pandemic with better air quality without spending too much money and you think- what the fuck is this life?
Hey, I get it. I am lucky. Lucky I have a job. Lucky I had $600 to spend on a hotel for 3 nights by the ocean. Lucky I have a car. Lucky I am not sick. But some days lucky doesn’t feel so fabulous. And I can’t help but wonder, how did people survive WWII? How did people rebuild Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima? How about Vietnam after the US pulled out? I think a history of terrible things and wonder how do people recover mentally, spiritually, and emotionally?
But then when I think about that, I feel like I’d rather bury my head in good fiction or mindless television or play music loudly. Maybe that’s how people survive. Maybe other people’s art is literally how people survive. I wish I could say my faith is carrying me through. But it’s not. It’s me going through the motions. It’s me wondering how faith matters in the face of climate change, pandemics, racism, and willful ignorance.
But that’s just part of today. Today I also went through boxes of slides, photos, developed negatives, and old camera equipment with my husband. We made piles to keep or not keep. I’m taking Teddy to the vet so all of his shots are in order for a move. I am continuing on as if things will continue on. And that’s how we are getting through another day.
Back in 2000, when we moved to SoCal, it really didn’t seem complicated. Back then, my husband took a couple trips to SoCal and found a place for us to rent. I don’t think I even saw it. I just trusted his decision. I think I used my tax return money to rent a u-haul. And I moved. I don’t remember forwarding mail and I left most of my furniture. He drove the u-haul and I followed in his Honda CR-V. Everything about it was exciting. I don’t remember thinking it was hard until months in when I realized it was hard not to live next door to my BFF anymore.
Skip to 20 years later, and our lives are so much more complicated. For one, moving to a different part of the state is way easier than moving to another state… and moving to another country? House hunters international makes it look so easy.
Every week I have different tasks to keep track of, all moving parts to juggle. Will’s license application, my assessment for licensure, selling the house, moving out one adult kid, creating a good savings fund…and all of these can be broken into smaller parts.
One big thing in front of me right now, is that we have so much stuff. Like closets of it. It’s a lot to go through. I know I can’t take it all, bit what do you do with your stuff in a pandemic? I have given a few things away. I went to the Goodwill website and I thought I figured out which one was open, but after I drove there, it turned out not to allow donations.
Somedays, I get really stressed and overwhelmed, but other days I get very excited. Today I completed all of the identity documents for my assessment. I finished my portion of the education documents and I am waiting on the schools to send their documents. Next up: documents from places of employment. That one stresses me out because trying to get a hold of HR people who work from home about the very specific forms I need completed and mailed has proven to be a challenge. And one large company has a phone message with push 1-8 for these options (none that work for me) and a chance to leave a message. No talking to an actual person. Ugh.