So I promised you two posts to catch me back up into the blogging world. Yesterday I shared a bit about the Baby Shower (and spent way too long freakishly cutting heads off of perfectly cute photographs), and so today I want to share about our road trip over Labor Day weekend.
I’ve written before about how Los Angeles and I are starting to have a relationship like two roommates who get on each other’s nerves. As in, we still need each other to pay rent, but we can’t even stand listening to the other person breathe. I explained how B and I are ready for more space and peace of mind. Mainly, we imagine a plot of land (minimum 5 acres) with trees, meadows, maybe even a stream...with my horses grazing in the pasture. We dream about sitting on our back porch, listening to crickets, sipping a glass of wine, and watching the evening darken. Oh, and we dream about all of this within an easy drive of good restaurants and culture. Where may be find this paradise, you may ask?
Those of you avid followers (haha) may already know that we hope to find the dream in Sonoma. It seems to be the best of both worlds. Not too removed from wine country, San Francisco, and even LA (for B’s business trips), but still within peaceful countryside. So, this past weekend, we loaded Monte into the car, packed my
Giant White Vagina pregnancy pillow, and headed up North.
Let me first share with you the joys of roadtripping at 31 weeks pregnant. Then, I will talk about the outcome of searching for our dreams. Deal? You see, in order to scout out the “perfect place,” in addition to the 8 hour drive to get up North, we also spent every day, ALL day in the car, driving around to research areas and properties for sale. The result? Picture me in the car, with pillows propped at all angles. One wedged under the belly, one on my left side, one on my right, and one in the small of my back. Really. Each day I would start out sitting like a normal human being, but by the end of it I’d be wedged in like a marshmallow, trying to ignore aching muscles. You know what else is great about the country? Lack of restrooms. Seriously. No shortage of beautiful views or redwood trees, but nowhere to pee!! And not “country” enough that I felt comfortable peeing on the side of the road for fear of someone seeing my pregnant self squatting there in full glory. Well, to be honest, this did happen one time, on the side of a road, near a vineyard. Classy. Each night at the end of the day I would crawl into bed bleary-eyed and not speaking in coherent sentences and fall sound asleep.
But, aside from the fact that I may have underestimated the impact of 3rd trimester pregnancy on roadtripping comfort, the trip was definitely a success. We went up not certain if the area would be right for us, and we came back with plans to move anytime between spring 2014 and spring 2015. That is CLOSE!
The positives? Plenty of trees, vineyards, open land, crickets (as requested) and beautiful views. Plenty of cute, wine-infused towns and friendly locals. A note on friendly locals. We realized how LA we have become when baffled by local-behavior. As in, wow that person just politely waited to let us onto the road, or that coffee barista spent 15 minutes chatting with us about which roads are pretty to drive on, or the hostess at the restaurant chatting with us about local schools and then bringing us some homemade bruschetta to “welcome us to the area.” Wow. Also, horses. Horses everywhere. *sigh* Most of the areas we fell in love with were within an hour’s drive from San Francisco, which is perfect because I love San Francisco (definitely LA’s classier, more genuine, artsier, unrelated-adopted sibling), but I don’t want to live there. Being close enough for a day trip will help our kids grow up loving it too, but NOT being city-kids.
The negatives? I realized I may have become more citified than I originally thought. B fell in love with off-the-grid properties nestled away in hidden groves of redwoods that were 30-45 minutes of winding roads from any semblance of a town. And I found myself thinking…um? Schools? Doctor’s offices? My place of work?? You see, he can work remotely from home, so a “commute” isn’t as big of a deal for him. Also, our “dream” of having the land with trees, pasture, creek, and back porch to elegantly sip wine upon? Well, that could easily run us upwards of $1M in certain areas of Sonoma. Fuck. So maybe our dream has to be edited slightly. Or approximated. (I suppose I could sacrifice the stream).
The decision? As I already said, we’re thinking we may move as soon as next Spring or into the following Spring. But we won’t be buying yet. We can’t afford even an approximation of our dream just yet and also we realized that it would be much better to choose the dream house/land based on its attributes, not its location. Which means casting a wider net geographically. Which means it would be a hell of a lot easier to search with a real estate agent while we actually live there. PLUS we realized that for half of what we pay currently in rent, we can already afford our approximated-dream in a rental. We found 3 bedroom farm homes on property (with streams!) for reasonable (by LA standard) prices. Which would set us on track for saving money and allow us to start living what we want.
So, you may be asking, why wait? Just move! Well, basically we’re waiting to feel sure (as sure as we can be) that B’s business will survive if he relocates. All of his clients are here and most of his employees (a percentage also work remotely). He knows that he doesn’t need to be physically present to run the team, but he wants to make sure it’s solid enough to handle the transition. Also, the longer we wait, the less commuter flights he’ll be taking back to visit the City of Angels.
But, we have a plan – however vague – and it makes me excited! I love having dreams and plans for the future. I am someone who thrives on change. But I do feel a bit apprehensive. I realized this will be the first move we’ve made that we were not “forced” to make. I have moved for college, for graduate school, for internship, finally ending up in LA when B got a job here after my internship ended. All of these moves had a purpose. This next move? The purpose is to seek out happiness, I suppose. But it seems a bit reckless to walk away from the secure life we have here, my very good job, and B’s company flourishing the way that it is. But, as my sister said, “what’s the alternative? Buy a house in LA and raise your kids here?” Now, no offense to LA-lovers (really and truly – no offense!), but I want my kids to grow up running free on our property with our dogs. Not to mention, the same $1M in LA will buy you a semi-decent house in the valley or a 1 bedroom house in the glam-ghetto of the westside. No back porch or crickets.
And now? Back to real life. Which hasn’t seemed so bad now that we have The Plan. I also feel healthier emotionally after getting away from work, the city, and my obsessive Calendar-Gazing/prep for baby. Not that I am not still totally excited and in love with the idea of him getting here, but it was nice to have a weekend where I focused on something else. B and I also feel more connected. He spent more time talking to Baby and feeling my belly. We spent more time having REAL conversations instead of snippets. And we actually spent a little bit of our time having actual sex. Wow. Oh, and Monte enjoyed himself too! So all in all, Road Trip Success!
What about the rest of you? Have you ever left something certain for the chance at something better? Or are you happier not rocking the boat? While you mull over that, I'm going to leave you with some pictures from the trip. Some of the scenery, more of Monte, and a few of Bear (who didn't come on the trip but still just keeps being cute!).