Anyone else ever move across the country in a pandemic?
A guide to relocating in a pandemic would be good. How to find a new dentist via email because you just can’t walk into a place and chat up the receptionist guide. Or how to get to know your new neighbors from a distance with a mask on but still seeming friendly guide. How to find your favorite neighborhood coffee shop when half of them close for the next month.
Luckily a lot of people here are friendly. But that’s a lot of what you get, friendly strangers. I am not sure how it moves past that without time near people. We did attend our first feast. Feast is like church for Baha’is. We hang out every 19 days and pray, go over the business of the community, and then do the social portion. Of course feast was on zoom. The social portion was in break out rooms. We did meet someone whose mom lives in Pasadena. That might be an avenue for meeting people.
But we are also a little uncertain about how long we will stay. We have a 6 month lease. But will we be able to go to Canada if it’s still a pandemic. And also, I prefer my work from home life over hospital life during the pandemic. Today Will and I were talking about hanging up art. And he said, if we aren’t staying should we even bother? I say yes because I care about what I am surounded by.
Those are the kind of questions we have when we aren’t working or trying learn how to exist in the rain. Teddy seems to be getting used to the rain somewhat. But if we take him out in it I worry about how cold he is. How do you know if it’s too cold for your dog?
I watched a video on snowshoeing on you tube. I’d like to try that out. It seems less intimidating than skiing.
I knew that weather would be the hardest part of this move. I usually tell people I am allergic to frozen water. I hate the snow. I’ve lived in Southern California for 20 years. I don’t know how to live in actual winter. But here we are.
Before we left we did things like scheduled maintenance on our cars and replace the windshield wipers. Do you know how often we used our windshield wipers in SoCal? When we drove long distances and bugs were dying on the windshield, we would turn them on with wiper fluid. That’s basically it. It rains like 5 times a year. So they were sunbaked and cracked. I also bought a gortex rain coat and trail runners that are water proof. I knew I’d have to get used to existing in rain that lasts days. I also got some smart wool socks. I basically shopped the clearance at REI.
While I was unpacking, I realized I have like 3 long sleeve shirts and like 25 tank tops. And the long sleeve shirts are either for hiking or dressing nice in an interview. I have like 3 pairs of pants that aren’t capris or leggings. I don’t actually have very warm clothes. And now that I am here, I am feeling it. I’ve been trying to layer up but I also find myself working in my office with a blanket on.
And today when we got up there was ice on my car and it was 35 degrees. And I realized it’s not even as cold as it is going to get. I knew this but I was pretty focused on the rain aspect that I forgot about the cold aspect.
I know, I am being dramatic. It’s not that bad. I will live. People live in winter, right? But it is definitely an adjustment.
We made it to Washington state. It’s been a hectic move, but when is moving across states not hectic?
Will was driving his car and had to replace his tires on the second day of our move. Something fell into the road and he ran over it. It even scraped the underside of his car barely missing his gas tank. I was ahead of him a bit and he ended up 3 hours behind me in reaching Oregon.
When we arrived to our rental, the previous tenant was still there. We were pretty disappointed and ended up having to clean the kitchen and bathrooms because they weren’t clean. He got all of his stuff out pretty late at night. It complicated our first day because we had been driving for 3 days, we had a dog and it was raining. Oh yeah, and there is a worsening pandemic.
Then we found out that our stuff which had gauranteed arrival for Friday, won’t be here until Monday. We wanted a Friday arrival so I could set up my office before work on Monday. Unfortunately that won’t happen. We are basically camping in our house with an air mattress and camping chairs. But we do have my computer and wifi set up.
Some great things about the move include me having my own bathtub. I haven’t had a bathtub in my bathroom for over 5 years. I was so excited to have a relaxing hot bath and bought some lavender bath bombs and a book to read and spent a whole hour lounging.
We’ve had fun exploring some new neighborhoods and some parks. We did a 4 mile walk along a creek to the waterfall. We saw sea otters in the bay. We love the water everywhere.
The fall colors are amazing.
Moving is definitely an unsettling experience. All of your routines and norms are thrown off. There’s no order to your things, your time, and your calendar. But there is also a lot of opportunity and possibility in that space. A chance for new hobbies, new habits and new experiences. We are looking forward to them.
Today is day 3 of driving. Day one included visiting all of the kids and their dogs. We had dinner at a restaurant for the first time in 8 months. Not take out, but eating at the establishment. We sat outside and we were the only people there so we felt better about it. It was good to see the kids and I definitely am starting to realize it will be hard to be further than a 6 HR drive away.
The second day was our longest day of driving. And it was complicated by a flat tire for Will. He ended up having to take 2 1/2 hours to get new tires. I guess Subarus and the all wheel drive means you can’t have varying tread on the tires. So that was an added $670 spent. He did get a good discount on them. We got to our hotel in Oregon at 6:30 and Will arrived at 9.
The drive through Northern California and Southern Oregon is really beautiful though. It was nice to see all of the fall colors.
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.