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July 10, 2013

Moving: A Timeline

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , , , , , — llcall @ 5:13 am

We’re moving! Have I mentioned that on here before? We’re trading in traffic congestion and urban sprawl for the sparsely populated (2,600 people in our town) mountains of the Los Padres National Forest. Although this has been on the horizon for a good 9 months, everything got kicked into high gear when Neal found a house (well, a view mostly) he really loved while I was on vacation back east. I got home on a Tuesday night and Thursday morning we were off to check out the house, along with 4 or 5 others. Well, the house didn’t seem like the best fit — I think the realtor’s exact words were “Well, I wouldn’t bring a young child up here with the rattlesnakes and mountain lions, but . . . .” Though it was hard for Neal to give up on that view, we drove by a different house that was, for me, the house. I saw the sturdy, two-car garage and could picture Neal painting in his “studio” while Addison played in the yard. I could see Addison sledding down the little hill in the back, or begging us to walk her 2 minutes to the local park for some real sledding hills. I could imagine myself throwing up a lawn chair in the middle of the driveway just to be in close proximity to the wonderful piney smell. (Everyone thinks I shouldn’t be picking a house based on the outdoor smell, but I don’t care, I love me some piney smell!) In short, I could see our life there, and I was instantly enamored with it.

The only hitch in the giddy-up was that we hadn’t actually seen the inside of it, a feat that turned out to be far more difficult than we imagined. In a series of awkward and mumbly phone calls with the landlord (Neal is the awkward one; the landlord is the mumbly one), Neal ascertained that there was no one in the vicinity to show us the house nor was there expected to be in the near future. But perhaps just to get Neal to stop making awkward phone calls to him, he finally sent up his handyman to let us in. We agreed on the drive up that unless the place was truly heinous on the inside, we were going for it. Luckily, it was far from heinous — in fact, when Neal saw the cathedral ceilings, he tried to convince me to skip renting altogether and just buy it, like yesterday.

So we finally saw the house on a Wednesday; I spent Thursday filling out the rental application (in the most anal-retentive way possible in order to appear like a good bet when our income is obviously lower than what a landlord would want); and on Friday we were on our way to Inglewood to try and woo the landlord into choosing us. Three hours later, he called to tell us that we could pick up the keys on Monday! (I think he liked the combination of Neal’s entrepreneurial spirit and my frugality.) Of course, when he said we could pick up the “keys,” we had no idea he meant a zip-lock bag full of keys belonging to various rental properties all over the greater Southern California area because he wasn’t sure which ones fit our house. It’s a little unnerving to suddenly find yourself with keys to houses that you have no business having access to, but hey, at least one of them fit the locks at the house.

I should mention here that while I’m ecstatic about the house, I was less than thrilled with the timing. Months ago I said that August or September were the months for us to move because this July is, in a word, chaotic. There’s my last few weeks of classes and the attendant final project submissions, grades due by the 31st, multiple visits from Chris and Rish and taking care of their kids so they can get a few days away, a trip to New Mexico for Neal’s 10-year high school reunion right when I’m supposed to be grading my final papers, along with all the usual little events. So while I agreed that we had to act quickly to get this particular house, I was still lobbying for waiting to actually move until mid-August. But if you’re following along at home you know that Neal likes routine and schedules — no, “like” is too mild a word, single-mindedly obsesses over them, perhaps? So suddenly having the keys to this new house and even contemplating all the packing and moving and appliance-buying that was going to be taking place over the next several weeks was shooting his anxiety through the roof, especially since I told him I was too busy to even plan a move date let alone actually move. In a compromise, we agreed to drive up to the house on Friday for under 24 hours so that we could identify the right keys and test out the carpet (since the former tenant had a dog) and still be back in time for a killer BBQ my friend was throwing.

It all went pretty much according to plan, except for the departure, arrival, and everything in between . . .

  • 4:00 pm Leave for new house — only 3 hours late, armed with Bag o’ Keys
  • 6:00 Arrive at the house, test each key
  • 6:05 Test each key again
  • 6:10 Test each key again, upside down this time
  • 6:15 Have Addison test each key, cause, I mean, you never know!
  • 6:20 Come to grips with the fact that the Bag o’ Keys is useless to us
  • 6:25 Frantically search for a bathroom for Addison, while exchanging calls with the landlord, the handyman, Chris & Rish, my dad, and a handful of locksmiths
  • 7:30 Drive up to Bakersfield to spend the night there instead, but set an appointment with the locksmith for 9:00 the next morning
  •  7:30 am Wake up and pack everything back up
  • 8:00 Wake Addison and get back on the road
  • 9:05 Arrive back at house, test keys again, call locksmith
  • 9:10 Mill about in the backyard until the neighbors get suspicious
  • 9:30 Call locksmith again
  • 10:50 Locksmith finally shows up, picks the lock — we have access!– and starts rekeying the house
  • 10:52 Excitement tempered by realizing locksmith does not take credit cards
  • 10:55 Pool the cash from our wallets: $5.47 — just slightly shy of the $120 bill
  • 11:05 Check if neighborhood market gives cash back from a credit card — nope, only from a check (Whaa?? People still use checks?)
  • 11:15 Check if largest gas station gives cash back from a credit card; no, but there’s an ATM!
  • 11:17 Realize the bank sent a new ATM card that I left at home and haven’t activated yet
  • 11:20 Call Rish; Great conversation starter: Do you happen to have $120 lying around and can you meet me on the side of the road in 100° heat to give it to me?
  • 11:50 Arrive at halfway point
  • 12:00 pm Raise fists to the sky and curse that I’m sitting in the middle of nowhere instead of my friend’s air-conditioned house eating her homemade baked goods
  • 12:10 Clandestine exchange of money, hugs
  • 12:35 Arrive back at the house: pay locksmith who waited an extra 45 minutes, soothe Addison who cried for me for the last half-hour
  • 12:40 Lock up and triple-check keys
  • 12:42 Head out
  • 12:45 Notice we don’t have Bag o’ Keys; head back to house to find them
  • 12:48 Realize Neal gave said keys to the locksmith
  • 12:55 Neal retrieves Bag o’ Keys but jokes that the locksmith flushed ’em already
  • 12:56 Neal realizes jokes will not be well-received right now
  • 1:00 Refuel; Neal convinces me to buy a special lemonade drink to try to help me not punch something since I’m missing my yummy BBQ
  • 1:15 Start the drive back home
  • 1:30 Realize we never actually fed Addison (or us) a legit lunch or breakfast; bust out carrots, Cheetos, and jelly beans
  • 3:15 Arrive home, shower, gratefully hand over fussy toddler
  • 4:00  Arrive at BBQ, fashionably late (4 hours is “fashionably late,” right?)

But you want to know the worst part? At the end, Neal said, “I think this is probably about how the whole move is gonna go.” I wasn’t sure whether to cut him or weep.

So, the moral of the story is: we’re moving! We have no idea when. There’s a lot of things to do first. Like start carrying cash. And a checkbook. But the future looks bright . . . and kinda woody . . . and smells like pine.

DSCN9594 wo address DSCN9547 DSCN9563 DSCN9553

Yellow stove, probably from my year of birth. I can dig.



  1. That is so exciting! All bad experiences aside, I am excited for you guys. We spent a weekend up there last month and really loved it.

    Comment by enelo — July 10, 2013 @ 5:49 am

    • You will have to tell us more about what to do when we get there — I’m excited, but probably still uninformed 🙂

      Comment by llcall — July 10, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

  2. How exciting to find exactly what you wanted! Can’t wait to hear more about it when you actually move. Also, I can’t believe the whole saga with the keys!

    Comment by Nikki — July 10, 2013 @ 5:58 am

    • We’ll be a few hours closer to you so maybe a reunion is in our future…

      Comment by llcall — July 10, 2013 @ 5:47 pm

  3. I’m sorry you had such a crazy time, but this post makes me so happy. You have good things coming your way! That house looks great! I see what you mean about being able to envision your life there. It really looks like a fabulous place to live, and I haven’t even smelled the pines. Yet. 🙂 Here’s hoping you live there a long time and I can come have a west coast vaca your way sometime. 🙂

    Your experience with needing cash is so funny to me because it sounds like you live somewhere not unlike where I grew up—I just didn’t know there were places in CA still like that. I can’t think of other specific advice right now, but I’m not worried about you. You’re quick on the uptake and you’ll figure out living in a rural area out quick. That’s the nice thing about the rural lifestyle. It’s different, but it’s straightforward.

    Ok, this is a total rambling comment because I’m a little distracted right now, but thanks so much for posting and sharing pics, and I can’t wait to chat with you, hopefully soon!

    Comment by Victoria — July 10, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

    • “It’s different, but it’s straightforward.” That is a very comforting thought right now!

      Comment by llcall — July 10, 2013 @ 5:49 pm

  4. This post is hysterical. I laughed aloud multiple times, startling the sleeping baby in my lap 😉 you could give Neal a run for his money recounting daily events in such a humorous way! Anyway, I’m so excited for you! A house in the pines away from urban sprawl sounds dreamy. Good luck with the move! My best moving advice is to color code each room of the house and then place the appropriate color on each box as you pack it up (i prefer those little round stickers from the office supply store). Then when you’re moving everything in, you or the people helping you can just check the color to know where things go. At least that way everything somewhat ends up in the right place until you start the never-ending unpacking process. Can’t wait to hear about all the adventures you’re bound to have in your new cash/check carrying town!

    Comment by Kristin Christenson — July 10, 2013 @ 1:30 pm

    • Color-coding, that’s a great idea! I knew I would get some good advice…

      Comment by llcall — July 10, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

      • Color-coding is good advice. When you unpack, the most important items to do first are the kitchen & the beds: know where those boxes are!!! (have to eat, have to sleep) Good luck!

        Comment by Nena — July 11, 2013 @ 5:28 am

      • Neal definitely has the sleeping well in hand…he’s making all sorts of plans for our new “bed” situation. Of course, bed is always in quotes with him since he doesn’t want us to actually have beds.

        Comment by llcall — July 11, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

      • LABEL well which ones are bedding items and which ones are part of the kitchen. So easy for boxes to get stacked. Need to know soap, towels (& paper towels), broom, too. You’ll do great.

        Ah, Neal wants no beds. Mats for the floor? Unfortunate that his upbringing comes with the territory, but he does like sleep! And scheduling it in 🙂 .

        Comment by Nena — July 12, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

  5. I think that house/location was worth all the agony you went through; it looks awesome! We just moved back to Provo about a week ago and before we started packing everything up into the van my brother-in-law suggested we get some gasoline and a match and torch all our belongings, pretend it was an accident and collect the insurance $…not a bad idea if you want to simplify 🙂

    Comment by Natalie — July 10, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

    • Haha…we DO want to simplify! But my parents might be ticked if we burn down their house on our way out 😉

      Comment by llcall — July 10, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

  6. I’m so so so happy for you! That looks so idyllic. I personally love rural areas and find them soothing for my introverted soul. I hope we can make it out to see you too! How long do you think you’ll live there? Yay homes!

    Comment by Emily tew — July 10, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

    • Yeah, plan a trip! We will be there at least a year, I think, and maybe forever if we like it!

      Comment by llcall — July 10, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

  7. Haha! Love your story! Glad you shared 🙂 So happy for you, the house looks great!!

    Comment by Tamesha Udu — July 31, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

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