No, wait, happy, giggling, and taking pictures like tourists - that's the way we were!
We had logic when we started, really. The logic was that we'd basically pack everything that we could the night before, but then we'd throw our matress and the TV and the little tiny bit of random stuff (coffee maker and the like) into the back and head on our merry way. We'd get on the road at 9, and be in El Paso sometime around 7 pm.
the only problem with this plan? the "little bit of stuff" was really the entire back half of the moving van, more than just a couple of boxes and the bed to be sure. I had to leave my plants *waaah* because of California restrictions on bringing in out of state plants (we weren't willing to disobey the law on that one even if we did end up getting waved through the checkpoint). And my pots, because they wouldn't fit after we shoved EVERYTHING we hadn't packed (and of course it ended up being at least 5 more boxes than we thought) into the truck.
Finally though, finally we were on our way. We left the house with messy (but swept) floors and vacuumed rooms and said goodbye to our little haven in Austin.
It was pretty at first, the drive out of Austin and into the hill country. Pretty and kind of exciting since Daria was in the car with me and we turned into 10-year-olds pointing at cows and goats and even a camel. Texans, as long as it's an animal they'll let you bring it in and keep it as a pet.
But then we hit the middle of Texas. And it was ... kind of boring. Mesquite, little scrub brushes, and nothing else. So we tried to entertain ourselves by flipping radio stations, pettin the dog and drinking coffee. That really only lasts so long. Then we got hungry. Then we realized we had four or five more hours until Neil's 'scheduled' rest stop. It was that kind of a day. And finally, after lunch and another 5 hours of driving through the most boring parts of Texas we saw billowing smoke from in front of us on the highway. Around the bend, we discovered after 20 minutes of waiting at a total dead stop, a truck had exploded. We saw the burned out husk in between emergency vehicles and police officers. It was the capper to a grand day, to be sure, and by the time we pulled into the La Quinta on the other side of El Paso I was ready to fall down dead. Attempts at getting a margarita led us to a Chili's across the street (which really is not the kind of strong drink i wanted by the end of the day, but I took what I could get).
So day one? way too long, way too boring, and such a relief that it was over that I didn't want to get in the car the next morning. The only good part of day two was that we only had to drive for six or seven hours, instead of the 10/11 of the first day, and that our friends who lived in Phoenix came and visited us in the hotel room, giving us some pleasant company and two people (and a munchkin) who weren't completely tired of driving. Oh, and New Mexico on HWY 10? So frigging boring it's not memorable.
Finally, though, Friday dawned and we managed to get out of Phoenix and onto the road that would take us to california. Oh, yeah, Arizona on the 10 isn't that interesting either. At least the radio was better - I glutted myself on NPR for much of the morning (and Thurs afternoon for that matter). We started to pass through places that looked ... interesting. Why? Because we'd passed the border and California is just plain cooler. Sorry, but it's the truth. I was grinning and goofing all morning because I saw that 'welcome to' sign, and every town or city we passed through after that looked halfway familiar, even if I'd only driven past them once 4 years ago when we drove out to Texas. And once D switched back into my car after we stopped in Indio for lunch (I've never been so happy to stop in Indio in my life!) we both giggled like maniacs at every sign we were back in Southern CA. The windmill field, the rhododendron bushes, the funny highway walls that are pure SoCal architecture... And like any two kids arriving back in a place we called home, we pointed out landmarks and snapped pictures and managed to get lost once we hit downtown (I forgot how to stay on the 10 and ended up on the 101 going through downtown at rush-hour like an idiot).
And finally, finally, we pulled into the apartment parking space and D got to see the place we'd rented in her name in PERSON. And Neil was only about 20 minutes behind us in the evil UHaul, so we had just enough time for her to open cabinets and poke through all the rooms and then all three of us scrambled to unload everything it had taken us two days to load in less than an hour. Because, of course, our new fabulous apartment does NOT have a large driveway and parking is damn near impossible on the street. Instead he blocked the driveway and we apologized to our neighbor (who laughed it off because she can't even park in her parking space, her garage is filled with so much stuff). Of course, once the relay was done we had to return the truck and discovered the UHaul company wanted us to take it to .... Burbank (which is at least 20 miles out of the way). I found myself caught back in rush hour traffic following Neil in the truck while he tried to find a place to turn the truck of evil in. Luckily third try was a charm and he was able to pass along the keys and get charged for not having the gas tank filled to where it was when he rented it (because, of course, he wasn't going to get bACK in the thing once we'd found the return place just to get gas). Finally, finally, finally we got to actually drive !home!
If I'm using too many finallies it's because it actually felt that way - each time we accomplished something there was the next task lurking around the corner - day one, load the truck, then get to el paso, then get to dinner, then walk the dog, then the next morning get to phoenix, then get to LA, then get the truck back, THEN unpack 'em if you got 'em.
But, over the last two days my love for this city has been totally rekindled (well, I suppose it never left in the first place, but it's good to know it's still there).
Let me count the ways:
- absolutely stunning produce (like lettuce that doesn't have a single spot of brown on it, at all, and i got yellow zuccinni AND watercress and had to literally restrain myself from getting any of the obscure veggies just to try them - that can come later)
- friends who not only kept your boyfriend's car when you shipped it across a couple of states to them, but brought it back with both inside and outside washed (actually, we don't even deserve friends like that, but we have them apparantly)
- raspberries that smell like raspberries (and not a single one is crushed in the box)
- a neighborhood where every other building and every yard is adorable, where your dog loves walking and you love walking her
- breakfast places within walking distance, that serve breakfast all day where I can get a lox-egg-on a muffin with hollandaise and the rocket-feul coffee actually tastes good
- bacon-wrapped-chicken in a gorgonzolla cream sauce for delivery the night you get into town
- more restaurants in our neighborhood than we could go out to in a month
- a park within walking distance
- delivery of actual, tasty indian food in 10 minutes
- a library within walking distance
- a pet store within walking distance that carries our puppy food for $2 cheaper than Austin
- cigarettes that are $1 cheaper than Austin (i smoke speciality brands, so there)
- people who live in the building who not only *want* to do something with the backyard but spend Sunday reinforcing the gate and cleaning up the trash back there so we CAN do things with it
- oh, and they're nice too, and want us to have a building-housewarming-party once we get it all done
- loving coming home to your cute apartment with its fabulous bathrooms and long spaces
- your boyfriend going out to get the paper and bagels and lox with REAL salmon in it
- I don't even hear the outside city most of the time - at night in our bedroom it seems quieter in Austin (though that may just be a product of fatigue)
- our first news-car-chase!
- excuses to shop at ikea
I woke up today and realized that I didn't have that much to do, having unpacked what we could over the last couple of days. This waiting game is annoying, but I keep telling myself that in two more days we're going to have more crap than we know what to deal with. There are some admin things I could have taken care of, but I put it all off until tomorrow (because Neil and D are both returning to work tomorrow, and I'll have the place to myself).
So all in all, it's summer time, and the living, while having been hectic, is at this moment pretty damn easy.
How are all you?