It’s my first Sunday morning in my new home. I moved in three days ago. I’m already about 96.4% unpacked. I would have made it to 100% but this place is smaller than my last house and I am still trying to figure out where to put some things. Why no linen closet? Why?
People have asked me if I love my new place, and the answer is, not really. I mean, please don’t misunderstand. I like it well enough. I am grateful that I found it, and it is certainly comfortable, well maintained, ideally located, not too far from work or amenities (the bank and grocery store are about 2 minutes away, the office is about a 15 to 25 minute drive, depending on weather and traffic). With my furniture and belongings in it, it feels like home. But it also feels very cookie cutter to me, without a loving soul. Perhaps that is a good thing, this is a short term, 10 month lease, and I think not being in love will keep me motivated to find the cozy, soulful house of my dreams.
The weather has been mild-ish. The perky newscasters keep telling me that this has been an extremely mild November, usually about 50 degrees during the day. It is raining today, lightly now but heavier rain is expected this afternoon. I own four different levels of coats: light rain, polar tech, the wool duffle and the dreaded down puffer that makes me look like Randy, the little brother from A Christmas Story. Oh, and I have an L.L.Bean Trapper hat that is most fetching! But so far I’ve been fine with the light rain coat or polar tech. I know winter is coming, however, because EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have met since I moved here, and told I am a recent California transplant, has laughed and said “ha ha ha, good luck with the winter.” Every single person. I mean, I read. I have an education. I understand that the weather is different on the east coast from the west coast. I’m a little frightened about it, but I understand it is coming. I even bought 2 snow shovels (one for the house, one for the car) and a rake for the car roof. Bring it!
I’ve been getting lost, a lot. Relying on Google Maps has been a godsend, but frankly, our relationship is a little tempestuous. Sometimes, she refuses to speak to me, and I have no idea why. Sometimes, she is willfully obtuse. Seriously what the f*ck does “take the second exit off the roundabout” even mean? Apparently not what I thought, because I earned the dreaded “proceed to the route” again after that maneuver. Getting lost has been both scary and serendipitous. Yesterday one wrong turn had me speeding down the Mass Pike towards Boston, not my destination. Another wrong turn took me through the sweetest little town I’ve ever seen, one I want to return to for possible housing.
I’m not sure how I feel about all of this yet. I’m not sure it’s even all sunk in yet. There’s been so much change, and along the way some very stressful bumps, especially the recent illness that I’m still not fully recovered from. I won’t be going in to the new office until after Thanksgiving. My employers have been fantastic about allowing me the flexibility to work from home for another week so I can continue to get better and take care of the gazillion little details of settling in, from opening a local bank account to buying a car. I’m so grateful for that, it’s been essential to my pulling this all off. However, I think once I do start going to the office on a regular schedule, things will feel more “regular,” like this is my real life. I’m looking forward to Daisy getting here (that’s another post in itself), and the upcoming holidays. Next weekend, if the weather cooperates, I plan to go in to Boston for the first time, very excited about that!
My sister did a big relocation earlier this year, and she told me it took her about three months to really settle in and feel like she was back to living her life. In the meantime, I’m trying to stay as Zen as possible, and enjoy the ride. Even when I take the wrong road, I usually end up somewhere good.
The end, for now
Well, I did it! I have officially, and irrevocably moved to Massachusetts! I can’t give much more of a report than that, although that sort of feels huge enough, because in reality all I have done so far is arrived, navigated to my hotel room, eaten a pizza, taken a shower, and gone to bed. Oh, well, I have also talked to my brother, my sister, my father (twice), my stepmother, and my best friend (twice), but that’s pretty much just a normal day for me.
In a couple of hours I will get the key to my new place. I’ll start puttering and trying to think where to place my things. I only saw a model of the condo, not even the actual unit that I’ll be living in, and I am sort of Ms. Magoo-like in my visual observational powers, so if you were going to quiz me now about the various features of the place, I might not pass. So it will be an exciting surprise to get in there and see what’s what. My “stuff” won’t be here for several days, and Daisy Petals still has about a week to go before arriving, so the next week will be in flux, as I ready the condo, work, and do things like opening a local bank account, get a driver’s license and buy a car. More flux, I should say, because the last two years of my life feel like a long period of flux, and the recent weeks leading up to this certainly didn’t go any smoother.
I had been preparing for the move for a couple of months. Hired a mover, coordinated Daisy’s travel, arranged for utilities and insurance. Sorted through all of my possessions and discarded (donated, etc), any items I considered non-essential. We had a big garage sale a while back, just to get rid of things. Even with all that, there was a lot to be packed (so many books!), arranged, considered. I’m not a list maker, but for this mega project, you better believe there was an intricate spreadsheet, with links to essential vendors, associated costs tracked, every detail of this monumental project documented.
It was all in order and going smoothly. I kept waiting for something to happen, perhaps escrow to fall through, something, and kept telling myself that whatever happened, I would need to stay cool and calm, that everything could be handled.
Then, about 2 weeks before I was scheduled to leave, I got in a minor car accident. Nothing serious, 100% the other person’s fault, but of course it involved calls to the insurance company. A trip to the adjuster. More calls to the insurance company. Again, no big whoop, but a little aggravating, especially considering how busy I was and that I was leaving my car to sell in L.A. and now it had a fresh new gouge in it that I didn’t have time to get repaired.
But even that got handled fairly easily and we were heading into the final stretch. I started to breathe a little easier. Mistake! Because, five days before the moving van was coming, I became very seriously ill. So seriously ill, in fact, that I ended up in the hospital and spent two tortuous days hooked up to multiple I.V.s and completely freaking out about, hmmm, well, everything. It was not good! Eventually, after a lot of begging, cajoling and perhaps even a bit of whining, I was released, but unfortunately, it was not exactly in robust health. It’s going to take at least six weeks to completely recover from this illness, and in the meantime I am completely exhausted, and a little weak. Just what you want as you prepare to make the biggest move of your life!
Like everything in life, things have a way of working out. Thankfully I was already so organized and ahead of things that there wasn’t too much left to do. I spent the last 2 days before the move packing up last minute personal things, the stuff that no-one else can really do for you, and let the movers do the rest. I had help from family and friends, and after the packing, went and “camped” out with my best friend for several days, where she took great care of me, we laughed and talked and laughed some more, and consciously made an effort not to dwell on our upcoming parting. I tried to rest and recover, not as easy as it sounds with all of the thoughts swirling through my poor brain. Thursday morning we said goodbye, and kept to our promise not to cry, although I definitely shed some tears as I drove away. Then I went to my parents for my final night, my dad took me to the airport in the wee hours of the morning, and here I am, a Massachusetts resident!
I’m not going to pretend it hasn’t been weird, or that it isn’t weird now. There was a moment on the plane where I just thought “what the hell have I done”? I know it’s going to take a while to settle in and make this my home, but I’m confident this will happen. I wish I wasn’t still so tired and rocked by my recent illness, and know that I am going to have to work very hard to take it a bit easier than I normally would, and to be very good and kind to myself. But I have a wonderful support system, both here and in CA and know all I need to do is ask for help and it will be given. I spent the last two years thinking and looking and praying for a job, and now I have a good one, in a beautiful place. Wonderful things lie ahead! So, stay with me, and we will all see what happens next.
The end, for now