On the move

It turns out we weren’t the only people to move during the pandemic. We’ve run into several friends who made the move to Ariz. It was one of the toughest things I’ve done. Going through 28 years of junk. Parting with the home and town I loved. Leaving behind friends. I go from loving my new home to missing my old life. But shelter in place changed everything.

A cactus I saw on my morning walk today.

My husband gets to work from home which started a year ago in March. Our new home accommodates that better than the old one. He has his own office and so do I. I used to write in my son’s empty bedroom or at the dining room table, while my husband worked in our Master bedroom. It didn’t feel like my bedroom anymore.

I read an article that said 11% of Americans moved during the past year. In an article called Survey Shows Americans on the Move During Pandemic by Evan Anderson for NBC in Dallas Fort Worth, most people are moving out of high priced areas, like we did.

It’s no secret the pandemic has completely changed the meaning of home, prompting many of us to rethink how and where we want to live. A new survey finds 11% of Americans have already moved in the past year not just across town, but across the country.

This is all according to Zillow in its first-ever “Mover Report.” It’s a data-based dive into the people and emotions driving moves this spring.

Anderson wrote that Zillow predicts another 2.5 million people will be moving. It’s making the housing market go wild. He also also stated that the sunbelt is most popular and that cities seeing the most people move in include  Phoenix, Charlotte, North Carolina, Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin. People want warmth and affordability. We moved to a suburb of Phoenix, so I guess our unique idea to move during a global pandemic wasn’t to unique after all. We’re part of a trend.

My new backyard.

Would you consider moving from your home? Why or why not?

Exploring my new hometown

standing next to saguaro

This saguaro must be 200 years old.

I walk every single day and have for at least six years — except for 2018 when tore my ACL and meniscus skiing. I had surgery and months of recovery. Other than that lovely experience, I get out seven days a week without fail.

In Palm Springs, I’d walk downtown among the shops and restaurants or around the neighborhood and park. In my new Arizona home, it’s a wilder landscape full of saguaro, brush, shrubs, hawks and quail. At first I walked every morning in our development but that soon became boring. So I ventured outside to a sidewalk between our development and wild federal land.

saguaro in the sun

The wild views across the street.

I made a pledge to myself that every weekend, my husband and I would explore a new trail and go hiking. I was excited to get off the sidewalk and see more, but not willing yet to do it on my own. Moving into a new area during a global pandemic makes hiking the perfect way to explore safely. The first weekend after getting somewhat settled, we drove 10 miles to Cave Creek Regional Park for our first hike, which was challenging and gorgeous.

To find more trails, I googled moderate hikes in the county and discovered our house was across the street from a conservancy with trails — the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. We’re miles from the main entrance but there are trails literally across the street. A trailhead is two miles down the street from our house. We decided to drive to the trailhead instead of wasting four miles round-trip on the sidewalk. The other choice is to cross the street and walk through the brush and cactus until we ended up on a trail. I nixed that.

During the hike, as we got further into the wilderness, I felt a little anxious as we passed coyote scat and other signs of wildlife. I told my husband that next time I’ll bring my pepper spray or a hiking pole. My husband, of course, thought I was silly.

The hike was easy and we marveled at ancient saguaro and wanted to learn more about other cactus and plants. The landscape is so different from what we’re used to, it’s breathtaking. I wonder if I’ll get used to it and take it for granted? We missed the trailhead that led to our car. We kept going thinking it would be around the next bend. Pretty soon, we were close to our house. So we backtracked — adding more than a few miles to our hike. Not so easy, after all.

Saguaro

It takes a saguaro 100 years to grow an arm. I wonder how old this guy is?

Do you hike or walk during COVID-19 to get exercise? Where are your favorite places to go?

Thoughts on Leaving California

archway gate Olive the cat sitting at our gate.

Did you know there is a private Facebook group called Leaving California? I’m not sure how I ran across it, but before we made the move, I signed up. I was surprised to find out there are more than 30,000 members!

Scrolling through the posts made me feel sad in the beginning. I wasn’t convinced I wanted to leave. I loved our home downtown Palm Springs. We were two blocks from restaurants, shops and our views were breathtaking.

To add to my uncertainty, my “adult children” were beyond furious. That was the only home they’ve known prior to moving away for college and their adult lives. They both believe we made the biggest mistake in our lives by selling our home. It does have “location, location, location.” It is beautiful. But it also had its downsides. It was rustic without many modern amenities like closet space or a roomy kitchen. I was always freezing and my fingers went numb. It was big on charm, though. It was also big on expense. For some reason — partly because it’s located in California and also that it was built in the 1930s — it was terribly expensive to keep up.

birthday party for dog My kids celebrating a birthday with Natasha our rottie years ago in the family home.

The kids were so angry with us that they didn’t speak to my husband or me for a bit. This made me more sad. We invited them to come home to say good-by. We also asked the buyers if we could stay for one last Christmas. They said, sure, no problem — $8,000 and Christmas was ours. We passed and decided to bite the bullet. We left our home close to 30 days of selling.

I bring this up about my kids because I noticed this week on the Facebook Leaving California page, that a lot of people are going through the same thing with their adult children. The latest post garnered close to 400 comments. Most said “Tell them to buy it if they want it.” Others were a little more understanding to the kids’ feelings.

prom photos in backyard We celebrated several proms with photos in our back yard.

I understand how my kids feel. My mom had to sell our childhood home, which was gorgeous with stunning views, too. Unfortunately, she had to sell after she and my dad divorced and she could no longer afford the expenses. I can tell you, that was an extremely upsetting way to lose my childhood home — and my nuclear family. I felt like my world turned upside down and there was no gravity to keep me on the planet.

My husband felt our kids were acting spoiled. They weren’t entitled to the house. He said he’d been working since age 13 and didn’t want to work until the day he died to pay to live in our home. Although, he’s still working now in our new home, there will come a day in a couple years where he won’t have to.

My kids are coming to accept our new reality. I’m looking forward to COVID-19 vaccines and their visits to our new home. I can’t wait to show them the hiking trails we’re discovering, the quail running through our backyard and the sunsets and sunrises.

Nothing can take away all the great memories we had of 28 years living there. I truly believe that home is not a structure, but is with the people who love you.

view of gorgeous Palm Springs backyard Our backyard in Palm Springs.

What are your thoughts about selling a childhood home? Would your kids understand? How did you feel when your parents did the same?

 

 

What I’m grateful for in 2020

Saguaro profile in desert

A saguaro cactus I pass on my morning walk.

We can all agree this year was crazy. I hear over and over how people wish to leave 2020 in the dust and welcome in 2021. While I was on my morning walk today, I looked back on what this COVID year brought us that was good. Was there anything to be grateful for?

There were a few things. Mightily few. But here’s my list:

ONE

My daughter came home when the Bay Area went on lockdown. She had just moved into a new apartment and didn’t know her roommates. She felt uncomfortable being locked down with strangers. We thought it would be for three weeks — that’s what we Californians were told. She ended up working from our guest room remotely for several months before getting furloughed, rehired and then permanently let go. During the time she was home, we played tennis in the park, walked with Waffles the pug, swam with a bungee cord and played Smashball in the backyard pool. We ordered take out from all our favorite restaurants. We got to spend an extended time with our adult daughter — and that would never have happened without COVID-19.

TWO

My husband has worked remotely since March. We don’t know when his office will reopen. Although at times it got on my nerves to have him home 24/7 there are some benefits, too. We are closer than ever. We count on each other like never before. We were able to test the housing market and put our house up for sale. It sold above asking price in three hours — due to people fleeing the cities for more space because of COVID and working from home. We made the big move to another state and have a whole new outlook and view of life each day.

THREE

My friendships grew during this time of lockdown and not being able to hang out. I have four friends who were diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic. All are surviving although it’s one heck of a time to go through surgeries, chemo and radiation. I’m thankful for all my friends, their health and this tough time made me realize how important they are. I love them and continue to pray for their health and recovery.

Sunrise colors over swimming pool

Watching the sunrise in my backyard is a daily event.

What are you grateful for during the terrible awful year called 2020?

 

 

 

Third time is a charm?

desert view

Views from my neighborhood.

Today I will get my driver’s license in Arizona. I hope. You see, this will be my third trip to the DMV, although it’s not called that here. That’s what we call it in California.

My first try and getting a license and getting the cars registered in AZ was online. I finally figured out after clicking away through the websites that I had to get on the phone to make an appointment as a new Arizona resident.

I was on hold for 35 minutes to make an appointment when I finally talked to a human being. He was very helpful and made an appointment for both me and my husband. Then he said, “Now, let me go through the list of everything you will need to bring with you.” The line went dead.

So, I thought, how hard can this be? The website said you need to have a valid driver’s license from another state to skip the driving and written tests. I also got out the titles to our cars and insurance cards.

Off to the DMV and our appointments. First thing we were asked if we brought our passports or birth certificates. Nope. They couldn’t let us get driver’s licenses without them. They also asked for our Social Security cards, which we don’t have.The last time I’ve seen mine was in high school!  We were told a W-2 or 1099 would suffice if it showed our social security number. (I get a 1099 for writing and it only shows the last four digits of my social security number. UGH!)

In addition to all that, they wanted two proofs of our address. Huh? We have been here a little over a week and haven’t gotten mail yet!

Somehow, I managed to get all the documents together. I even found a W-2 from a Class Action lawsuit settlement that had my Social on it. Whew! I decided to order a replacement Social Security Card online just to be safe. (The Social Security website couldn’t verify me, by the way, so that was a failure, too.)

Next day, we went back to the DMV with ALL the required paperwork. They took my husband’s photo and then asked me for my driver’s license and then they’d take my photo. I looked in my wallet and it was missing! I started to panic, wondering where could I have left it? Was it at the Apple store the day before where I handed it over so I could pick up my order? YIKES.

Then I remembered. I had pulled my driver’s license out of my wallet while I tried to order my replacement Social Security card. So, I made an appointment for today, Christmas Eve. Will the third time be the charm?

Cactus Arizona sunset

Sunset in the neighborhood.

Merry Christmas! Stay safe and healthy!

Letting go…of stuff and more stuff

desert view

Views from my neighborhood.

Yesterday I had a breakthrough moment. During the endless hours of unpacking boxes, I realized I could let go of stuff. Lots of stuff. We are setting up our new home in Arizona after escaping the high cost of living in California. This wasn’t easy because my husband is third generation and I’ve lived in CA for 36 years after leaving my home state of Washington.

I got rid of sweatshirts that I’ve had for years, including ones from my kids momentous swim meets and a trip to Ireland. My biggest breakthrough was letting go of my DVD player and hundreds of DVDs and VHS tapes. I called my daughter and asked her if she minded. We have the complete Seinfeld and I Love Lucy DVDs. She looked it up and they are all on Hulu. “Let them go,” she said.

I had second thoughts of tossing my videos from ultrasounds of my babies in the womb. But, I haven’t looked at them in twenty plus years. There are also Nutcrackers when my son and I performed, plus underwater swim videos of my kids at USC swim camp. But I tossed them all. After all, I don’t have a VHS player and forgot all about these tapes.

I texted my son and asked if I could toss a stack of awards he had from St. Theresa’s, his elementary and middle school. “Please!” he texted back.

I’ve put away plenty of things that we need and will make life comfortable. Then I looked at all the boxes and wondered how will cluttering up a new house going to feel? Today, I’m elated I could finally let go. I’ve got more to toss today and tomorrow. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I feel 20 pounds lighter.

The view of quail from the Casita window this morning. Earlier, I watched a huge coyote stop outside the fence and we stared at each other for a few minutes.

 

Do you still own DVDs and VHS tapes? If you do, do you ever watch them? Do you have trouble letting stuff go?

 

Moving day: An exercise in tired!

Moving van

The moving van arrived.

Friday was moving day. Our movers arrived at 9 a.m. and we thought it would be a couple hours and we’d hit the road. No, we were wrong. By 5 p.m. the movers realized the van was full and we still had a bunch of stuff in the garage like bikes, a wheelbarrow and my daughter’s small desk. Plus the STORAGE UNIT where we’ve been squirreling away boxes and stuff for months.

Yikes! They had to rent a U-Haul and we gave them the keys to the storage unit. They said they’d come back the next morning and pick up the rest of our stuff in the garage when our housekeeper and dear friend Delia would be cleaning.

We drove on to Arizona and our new home, minus our stuff. We thankfully packed suitcases. Our fellow Piranha parents and close friends drove one of our cars packed to the hilt, plus their car complete with all the stuff from our freezer and fridge. Now, those are real friends who volunteer to drive an 8-hour round trip to make our move easier!

I have driving anxiety and panic attacks driving on freeways and couldn’t face the four-hour drive. Our daughter was going to fly down from SFO and drive one car and help us unpack. Then the state went into lockdown and she didn’t feel good about flying. So our friends volunteered to help us out and meanwhile her supposed flight was cancelled. So it all worked out in the end.

moving boxes in house

Our new living room. So much work to do!

We got to our Arizona home at 10:30 p.m. Unpacked what we had and settled into bed around midnight exhausted beyond comprehension. The moving van and U-haul arrived at 2 p.m. the next day and we’ve worked a solid weekend to get the kitchen in order and our closet organized. Kitty is stressed and hiding under the bed in the casita, where we’ve been living.

pink skies at sunset in Arizona

My new backyard as the sun begins to set.

I don’t recommend moving after 28 years after living in one house on anyone. It’s an unusually hard task, mentally and physically. But, when we’re more settled the sunsets will make it all worthwhile.

Cactus Arizona sunset

Sunset and saguaros in the neighborhood.