Week 1. It’s November. A stark transition from the sunny beaches of my now former island, Oahu. We’re holed up in a motel in Petaluma. A motel that accepts pets. Specifically, one that allows three dogs. They don’t allow four, and they don’t take cats. Or rather we couldn’t handle a cat with all the dogs in a motel room. We’ve moved the loudest dog (4lbs when soaking wet) and the cat to a boarding kennel.
The timeline is unknown for this stay. It’s cold as hell, and we’re staying in a depressingly dark area next to the freeway. I’m sure this will fit into my dreams of living in wine country somehow. Nightmares if we don’t find a home soon. For now, I am in a fog. Or should I say in “the” fog? The fog of Petaluma and the dead cold of winter. Just for fun, night one included a 2 am drive in brutal said fog from Petaluma to San Rafael emergency in a Suburban (our short term pet-toting car rental) with my sick child. A trip that usually takes 35 minutes, but with crazy fog can go double. If you haven’t driven a Suburban on a narrow gap of a paved road, judiciously lined with unforgiving cement barriers some crazy person calls a highway, you haven’t lived. When the fog is thicker than bread pudding, it adds an extra layer to the thrill. A screaming child is not optional. To experience this level of ecstasy, you need one of those. I’m hoping the place we’re staying is temporary. Like two days temporary.
Trying to stay upbeat while looking for a rental in this market is incredibly difficult. The market is tighter than a full body Spanx. The days are trudging by so slow and repetitious I feel like I’m in Groundhog Day Part 2. I remind myself to stay focused. This move is a dream. Helping family members stay upbeat is required. You may scream incessantly into a pillow when all are out of the motel room. Push down those feelings of utter panic. The opportunity for the family is tremendous, and we just left our home in Hawaii on the water with a boat in our backyard for this. Remember?!
Week 2. Our weekends now are mostly looking for homes. The weekdays, attempting to work with countless distractions. Barking. No Desk. Housekeeping. New neighbors. Unruly jerks in the parking lot. I look forward to breakfast. Breakfast, because it is in a room larger than our hotel room. I know what I can count on. There are people there other than us. Bonus! Runny, lumpy eggs from a chicken who obviously has something wrong with it. Refined carbs stacked to the ceiling and unlimited bacon. I eat bacon until I am sure my cholesterol is up there with Donald Trump’s blood pressure. There are two first generation Chinese women who serve our “all inclusive breakfast” and clean up after. The conversations are natural. I feel at home. Not homesick. It feels safe. Familiar. I don’t look forward to dinner. We have eaten out so many times we’ve run out of decent restaurants. We’re about to try Applebee’s. I’m depressed.
Things you think about when you’ve made a conscious decision to rip your soul from living in the most isolated land mass in the world after 36 years. What if I hate it here? Was this a bad decision? Can I get through the day? Where the hell is my stuff? On a ship of course! Or maybe it hasn’t left yet. That $8,000 shipping bill is going to turn into a $16,000 bill if we need to return.
Oh and I find out the shippers are trying to charge us $3,000 MORE than what they quoted us. As the saying goes “Lucky we live Hawaii!”. The “stuff” is officially stuck. So I guess it’s cool we haven’t found a place yet. It still feels like an adventure of sorts.
Week 3. I wake up feeling like I am riding a ride at the State Fair. What the?! I can’t shed it. I’m doing deep inhales trying to relax because I have no idea what’s going on and it only it’s making me feel like I am going to pass out. Even trying Yoga poses I could never quite master. Nothing is working. Wine is now my confidante. When you speak to your wine glass, all other feelings seem less important. I could be genuinely going mad! My son complains of similar sentiments. Dr. Mitchell, (after reading WebMD – I’m official) has determined this unsavory, unattractive discomfort is ANXIETY. Wow. Something new! We don’t have a house yet. I am sick of bacon. I am tired of the rental car. After walking the dogs three doors down to the poop park 4-5 times a day, I’ve had enough of that too. The poop park has become the center of my universe. It’s a 4′ x 8′ patch of grass with free green plastic bags and a myriad of stinky smokers. I guess it’s appropriate.
It’s getting harder and harder to be kind to my family, the dogs and even myself in the little room we call home. The biggest question in my mind as I enter Week 4… Were we mad to make this decision to leave everything we’ve known for decades to come to the Mainland? Sanity at this point is optional. Delusions included.