We’ve been in California for 14 days. I figured it’s about time I wrote about it.
Now, if you’re friends with me or the boy on Facebook, you’ve probably already unfriended us or are pretty close to getting to that point. We’ve been raving about the road trip out here, and lately, raving about all things California. Everything here is absolutely amazing. We actually have days off. We go hiking on Tuesdays and then get our lives together and in order on Wednesdays. Jezzie is happy here. The weather is fantastic, and reminds me of “winter” at home in Florida. And, for the first time since I moved to Florida with my family in 2005, I feel at peace. I don’t feel like it’s one foot in the door and one foot out. I don’t feel anxious about what happens next. I honestly could see us spending a good amount of time here. How long “good amount” actually plays out to be is yet to be determined, but I don’t have that anxiety about wondering what is next. We have a great balance here.
But, despite all of the happy posts and everything being amazing on Facebook and in the pictures, it’s not all sparkles and rainbows.
Rewind two weeks. We’ve been in the car all day having left Boulder in the morning, white-knuckle-driving all the way through Vail over snow packed highways, skipped Vegas out of sheer exhaustion, stayed in Baker, California, and now are back on the road.
As we’re getting closer to Lake Elsinore, the boy is searching on Craigslist for apartments or condos or homes or anything close to the dropzone within our price range. We make a list of four or five to visit, check them out, and are less than impressed. My phone has been acting up since Boulder, so we drive down to the nearest Apple store, in Temecula.
The Genius I’m working with on my phone freezing issues is talking to me like I’m four. Or deaf. One of those. A bit condescending when talking to me about how I need to shut my apps down. I’m on the brink of a meltdown in the Apple store. Which, PS, is totally not allowed because the Apple store is a happy place of wonderment and amazingness. But this Genius has about tipped the scale here.
Turns out I need to shut down my apps more often. Stop the hard resetting. Delete some apps and reinstall. Bam, no more freezing on the unlock screen.
So it goes, we leave the Apple store, with my pride a bit bruised by the Genius I was working with. We get on the on-ramp to 15 North and I start my little sniffle and single-tear-rolling-down-the-cheek routine, which usually leads to full on meltdown mode. The boy asks why I’m sniffling.
“We don’t have a place to live.”
“We’ve been here for like six hours.”
“We don’t have a place to live.”
“Babe, when I went down to DeLand, I didn’t have a job or a place to stay. By the end of the day, I had a job and a place to stay. We already have jobs. We’ll be fine. Skydivers take care of each other. It’ll sort itself out.”
So we check into a hotel that night. I don’t know if the town is like where my parents live in Florida and there’s just no zoning or whatever and there’s really nice patches surrounded by seemingly dicey ones, or if this is just what California looks like in general, but I’m uneasy about the part of town we’re in.
I cried in the shower that morning. Full on ugly cry. I didn’t want the boy to be concerned about me and I wanted to be strong and powerful and amazing since this whole California thing was kinda my idea. He hasn’t visited here before. When I came out for Chicks Rock, I was kinda scouting the place for us. He’s got a job, and from what we gather, they jump a lot here, but there are so many unknowns. At this point, all I wanted was a place to call our own. Everything we had seen on Thursday when we got in town was awful. Too small and really expensive or in a part of town that made me nervous, or the ones that were good didn’t accept pets. I had visions of being stranded at this hotel, blowing through our money that we saved up before we start working again. Thus, the meltdown.
After I pull myself together, we head to the dropzone to get the inside scoop on where to live. We were kind of flying blind when we first got here. We get a sweet hand-drawn map of the area, and John (the owner) makes a few calls. We head off to breakfast to devise a plan for how we’re going to tackle the day, when not even ten minutes into the meal, I miss a call from John. There’s a gal at the dropzone with a room for rent in her house, available immediately. Pets OK.
I dance around in my seat. The boy asks why I’m so excited.
We scarf down the rest of our breakfast, head over to the house, check it out, meet the roommates, agree that this place is awesome and the first 10 minutes spent with our new potential roommates is great, so we arrange for us to move in. They’re going to clean up the place and we’ll move in that afternoon, until then, we head back to the DZ to fill out paperwork, now that we have an address.
Cue sigh of relief. And no more tears.
Tonight? Our roommates are hosting a “Welcome Sydney and Barry to Skydive Elsinore” party at the house so some of the staff and jumpers can get to know us. I thought they were kidding when they were putting it together. I’m so excited to meet everyone I haven’t met yet! Next Thursday? Thanksgiving with the Hamiltons and a bunch of their friends and family. I’m hoping Barry and I can recreate the amazing stuffing we made last year and blow some minds. Every day we get a little bit of confirmation that we’ve made the right choice in coming out here. I’m excited to see how our lives develop out here. So far, so good.