Thoughts on Leaving California

One year ago in December we left California for Arizona. I’m loving it now. But I’ll admit it took me at least half a year to warm up to the move. During my week in California for Christmas, I got homesick for my new home, Olive the cat and our wildlife of coyotes, javelina, quail and the bobcat.

Here’s what I thought one year ago about the move when it was a couple weeks after leaving California:

archway gate
The entrance to our old home in Palm Springs.

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 Natasha the rottie’s birthday.

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
Pre Prom Photo 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 former backyard all fixed up to sell.

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

What a year!

It’s official. We left California for Arizona one year ago! I can’t believe how quickly our year flew by — and in some respects all long it seemed.

Here’s what I thought about moving one year ago today:

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 their truck 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. Of course there weren’t any in town and they had to drive to San Diego or some place to find a U-Haul. 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 and bedding. 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. 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. Boy am I glad we decided to buy the casita furniture! If we hadn’t, we’d have slept on the floor.

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.

What’s the longest you’ve lived in one place? How did you handle the packing and going through years of stuff? Have you thought of moving during the COVID shutdowns? A lot of people did move.

The end of solitude

My husband and kids giving their Adams family look while visiting our daughter for a swim meet in college.

My quiet weekend alone ended in a flurry of phone calls Sunday afternoon, causing my anxiety to escalate. Poof! I lost the sense of peace just like that.

I was getting inundated with calls from my daughter, my husband, my son and two close friends. From my end, I felt like everybody was venting to me. My daughter was upset with my husband. My husband didn’t understand why our daughter was angry and crying. I wasn’t there so I felt helpless but wanted everyone to be happy.

Then my husband called again and said our daughter took him to the airport, but he was worried about the kids returning the U-haul. He didn’t have the time to do it himself before his flight home. He said the U-haul was difficult to drive, had poor visibility and that it had to be returned quite a distance away on the freeway.

So I took that burden of worry, too. I waited anxiously to hear that the kids returned it and were safely back in their homes.

I juggled with an onslaught of calls. Hanging up on one person to answer the call of another. Calling the person back that I hung up on, so they weren’t offended.

I was looking at news stories on my laptop and read there was a bomb threat and the campus had been evacuated where my son’s girlfriend’s brother was at school. I called my son to let him know. There were three campuses with bomb threats yesterday. Reading the news definitely wasn’t helping me.

The topper was the call back from my son. He said he and his sister were on the side of the freeway with a flat tire. They got the U-haul returned without a hitch, but then had a a blow out on the way back. My daughter was worried she was going to miss her comedy writing class that was scheduled to begin soon. They called AAA and were waiting for the tow truck.

Then my husband called from the Phoenix airport upset because he couldn’t find where he had parked the car after searching for 45 minutes. I took that to mean that it was my fault because I didn’t want to drive him there or pick him up. To be honest, I’m terrified of the freeways here. There are accidents every time I’ve been on them. And always someone driving 100 MPH weaving in and out of traffic. People drive crazy here. My daughter lived here for a year and she said she’d see five wrecks on her drive from Tempe to Scottsdale for work — every single day.

By the time my husband got home, my nerves were fried. I called to check on the kids and they were okay. They were safely back in their homes 700 feet apart. I tried to read and sat outside in the backyard missing the quiet happy feeling that I had bathed in only hours earlier. The peace that defined my weekend vanished as though it was a desert mirage.

Then Monday morning came and my husband woke up with the flu. I called the kids and they said that one of my son’s housemates had the flu. Ugh. I should stay in the casita and turn my phone off. I hope I’m not next for the flu. I haven’t been sick since February 2020.

On to tackle my Monday and back to NaNoWriMo.

Any suggestions on how to handle phone calls where things seem to be spiraling out of control? How do you not let other people’s problems become yours?

Views from my week

sun setting in the desert
Almost sunset the other night in the neighborhood.

Besides sitting down writing this week for NaNoWriMo, I went for walks, enjoyed sunrises and sunsets and was entertained by Olive the cat and our friendly quail. FYI, I’m almost 10,000 words into my 50,000-word challenge. My husband took off to help our son move so I’m alone and will have lots of quiet time to write. I’m stressed because he didn’t leave himself enough time. He may be on his way back home in an hour. It’s out of my control, but it’s the type of thing that makes me anxious.

My son is moving from his apartment of five years into a house with more space. My son needs help because he isn’t supposed to lift anything due to his August shoulder surgery. My daughter said, “Only my brother would plan a move when he wouldn’t be able to pack or lift anything.”

She’s looking to move as well, so my husband might be moving her if she finds a place this weekend. She looking at apartments this very minute. Funny, the house my son is moving into is 700 feet from the house my daughter gave notice to leave. It wasn’t planned and I’m sure they’d like the close proximity, but it just worked out that way. My son is moving for more space and the black mold they discovered doesn’t agree with him. My daughter is moving because she’s in a co-op with a total of eight people and she’d like to try living alone. She said she’s tired of other people’s messes. Just wait until she has kids someday!

cat peering through cat grass looking out a window.
Olive hides behind her cat grass waiting for the quail to appear on the patio.
Quail out the window where I sit and write.
A bunny hangs out with the quail.
Sunset in Arizona
Sunset.

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Anybody have more exciting plans than mine of sitting and writing? What are your plans? How much time do you give yourself at the airport when you travel?

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?

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?

 

 

Getting down to the nitty gritty

The first few days after moving were filled with the basics — finding all our kitchen things and getting the heart of our home established. After that, we moved onto the bedroom. I was overwhelmed with wardrobe boxes and bins of clothes. Why did I have so many clothes and why did I move it all from California to Arizona? How many swim t-shirts does one need? I’ve already sewn several quilts out of them for my kids. What to do now? I found a home for some and took a bunch of clothes to the local Kiwanis market.

cat on a closet shelf

Olive Bear found a safe space inside our closet.

Now that we’ve been in our house for 18 days, I’m down to the nitty gritty. Our guest room still has unopened boxes labeled “photos,” “stuff in frames” and “photo albums.” The plan is to scan in photos I want to keep and throw the rest out.

I’ve filled the dresser in the guest room with stuff I don’t know what to do with. There’s a drawer filled with cords from HMD1 to extension cords and cords of no known use. The same dresser drawer was filled with these cords in my son’s room in California. I think today is the day to make some decisions on cords I need and can use. Or, I can just throw the whole mess out and not waste my time.

The question is why did I move a mess of stuff I have no use for, but cannot part with? And why can’t I? Maybe today is the day.

saguaro cactus

Morning walk views of saguaro.

Any suggestions on how to get rid of stuff I don’t have a place for is much appreciated.