Thoughts from our first week on the road

I had all these plans, you know, about how I was going to write all about The Plan, and what happened to get us to the point of The Plan, but the longer I don’t get around to writing those the longer I don’t get around to writing the ones that come next.  So I will summarize:

Last week Jay and I finished selling, giving away, throwing away, or storing everything we own except what can fit in a Ford Transit cargo van, and we left Los Angeles.  We headed north about 8 hours and checked into an airbnb for a month, chosen fairly randomly in that it was a) about a day’s drive from LA b) available c) fit the most significant of our criteria for functioning – working, particularly – from some other home.

The lead-up to leaving was difficult in a lot of ways, but in particular the weeks of physical chores involved and the stress, so we rolled in here at midnight last Sunday – after Jay had to shout me awake twice on dark windy switchback roads before we changed seats – absolutely shredded, and pretty much collapsed for the entire week.  Most workdays required at least two naps – the kind you can’t deny or shake off with an extra coffee – to get through four or six hours of work in a day.  We were going to bed at 9, 9:30, laying down packed like sardines in a Queen-sized bed, two sidesleepers who use massive body pillows or our backs/shoulders/necks don’t work, and maybe half-waking once in the night for the bathroom.  The extra coffee bit me in the ass early Thursday morning, when I had a panic attack and a migraine around 5am and lost another half-day of work.

We finally today got the internet situation working well enough for Jay to actually do everything he needed to get done.  It’s 5:45pm; he’s napping again.  We feel better, but we don’t yet feel great, and we still have a ton of aches and pains, so there’s some recovery yet to go.

But we are having a good time.

In the final chaos-days of moving, he turned to me at one point and said, “I’m still not scared about doing this, or any more anxious than I am about anything.”  I agreed.  This is a uniquely good time to come unmoored.  We are pretty calm about dealing with the annoyances that are sure to come.  And even though we are exhausted and sore and a little cramped in the bed, we go out on our little front porch around sunset in the evenings to watch the sunset light go from gold to blue and then crawl away in a shadow, and we go out on our little back porch before bed to look up in awe at the milky-way-smeared sky we used to be able to see about 15 stars in from our hot tub in LA.  In the mornings – and nights are pleasant here even on hot days – we can sit and listen to the morning rooster choir.

This is very nearly a tiny house – one of the critical rules is it must have one bedroom with a door so we can split up to work or someone can go have the light on in another room for whatever needs – but I’m enjoying a kitchen that’s open to the living room and my desk.  The washer and dryer are an apartment stack but what they lack in capacity they make up for in surprising speed.  There’s no nightstand on my side of the bed, but I have a TV tray that’ll do.  There’s a heatwave coming the next few days, and that’s something that stresses us out, but there’s a powerful new mini-split AC in the dining area and Jay can sit right under it and I’ll be fine on the other side of the room.

It’s just really…nice.  That’s what we were hoping for, of course, but there was that fear that what if we get to the first place and it’s just miserable from the jump?  I do already feel like this particular location isn’t going to come high on the list for a permanent move in the future, it’s too hot in the summer, but there are specific aspects to these circumstances we wanted to test out.  This is a rural enough area that it has no postal service and the driveway is dirt.  There is a gas station less than half a mile downhill (but walking back up is a doozy, the van struggles so I know I would too) and a full-service grocery store 2 miles away and a Dunkin’ two more miles on from that.  There is no grubhub available, though there is some instacart.  We went 30 miles “into town” yesterday to go to WalMart, and then went out for surprising small-town sushi and okonomiyaki; next weekend we’re going “into the city” two hours away for a night to see friends and go to Target and Lowes and maybe Trader Joe’s.

I can be a little doomy sometimes, so to have gotten through this first week with no ragrets, as the forehead tattoo says, is satisfying and reassuring.  The panic attack was work-related plus the caffeine, and I’ll just need to make sure to be less distracted in the coming weeks, and continue taking care to get sufficient rest and not too much caffeine.

I will tell you, though, that this general framework makes you incredibly aware of how short a month actually is.  We have somewhere we need to be by Thanksgiving, and then probably we need to be halfway across the country early next year so we need to maintain a certain clip.  But as I pointed out to Jay last night discussing it, we can keep doing this as long as we want, so there’s no point in letting FOMO call any shots here.