Archive for the ‘The Big Move’ Category

After a few weeks here, I thought I’d post my impressions of a few things I’ve encountered about the area.

It rains a lot.  I’d say it’s rained at least once a day maybe 70% percent of the time.  And it comes out of no where.  Twice we were out shopping and when we were ready to head out to the car, a downpour erupted.  Good fun loading bags in the car when it’s coming down in buckets.  I’m hoping this is the rainy season here and it dries up after a few months, could be wishful thinking.

We can’t use the jacuzzi.  It’s just too fucking hot.  Instead we spend time at the pool after dinner.  The water is still 75-80 degrees but it feels real nice after we get out and towel off.  We’re looking forward to using the spa this winter.

We went down to the beach after having dinner.  Tina insisted on walking down to the water to see what it was like.  Same as the freaking pool, 75-80 degrees.  Is there any relief from the heat you ask?

Well yes, yes there is.

Stay inside where it’s air conditioned.  I also noticed there were absolutely no waves with the exception of the occasional ankle slapper.  It’s like a lake out here.  The sand is white and soft.  Sand at CA beaches is a bit more course and tan.  I like the sand here a lot better.

Bugs!  Fuckin’ hell man, they have flying cockroaches which can run pretty fast as well.  They’re called ”Palmetto bugs”.  Imagine cockroaches on steroids.  I’ve only seen them at night.  And it’s not like there are swarms of them but we see a few just about every time we head to the pool at night.  Tina’s pretty grossed out by them, which I get to enjoy every trip to the pool.

Due to the heat, we run our air conditioning 24/7.  The thermostat is set at 74 degrees and there’s pretty much no way you can’t have it running.  When we were having dinner down at the beach, the hostess asked if we wanted to be seated inside or on the patio.  No joke.  But there were a few families sitting outside.  I’m hoping after some time out here we’ll get used to it.  But Tina’s brother told me “Dude, I’ve been here 15 years and I’m still not used to it”.

The first night we arrived, we ran into a guy at the sports bar across the street that lived in Chula Vista before moving out here.  He gave us a heads up on a few things.  One of which was the driving.  He wasn’t joking.  Just about every time get in the car, we see someone do something stupid.  The worst so far was some guy cutting us off making a right turn in front of us from the left hand lane.  Luckily, we weren’t going too fast and were paying attention.

The good news, we love our gated condominium complex and it’s in close proximity to a sports bar, movie theatre, grocery shopping and liquor store.  Strange they don’t sell liquor in the grocery store but grocery stores can have a liquor store parked right next door to the grocery store.  What’s the point?

And for the first time ever we stumbled across a pizza and martini bar called “Gio’s”.  It’s next door to the movie theatre that’s less than a mile from our place.  Interesting concept so we had to check it out, very nice restaurant and bar.  Definitely a place we’ll be having dinner before we hit the movies next time.

Oh and Snuffy aka (ScottC) directed me to a Sarasota poker room that’s less than 10 miles from our place. 🙂

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But no trip across the country would be complete without dinging the trailer at least once.

Along with all our worldly possessions, our mutt and my car trailing behind, we made it safely across the country.  We ran into some rough terrain in OKC.  Driving hwy 40 thru OKC was like driving a horse drawn carriage across cobblestone.  There were also some rough spots leaving Arkansas and a wicked downpour as we past Atlanta en route to our last overnight stop in Macon, Ga.  I’m convinced some of the truck drivers think they’re driving mini coopers.  It’s the only way i can accept them blowing past me in pitch blackness with buckets of rain coming down.  Visibility was about 20′.

The drive from Macon to Florida was uneventful except for a bit of rain.  Which i’m discovering occurs around here like 70 degree sunshine filled days in So Cal.  Luckily for us, the rain didn’t show it’s ugly head as we unloaded the truck last Friday morning.  What took us almost 9 hrs to load took just over 2 hrs to unload.  It’s been such a long time since I moved, I forgot how much longer it takes to carefully place all your belongings on a truck so they all fit without crushing each other as opposed to grabbing boxes and going.

Over the past week, we’ve got mostly everything unpacked.  We picked up a new bookcase, night stand for our bedroom and a desk for me.  We stopped at just about every retailer that might have a desk we’d both like and after several days wandered into a small furniture store across from Home Depot just as they were closing.  They had exactly one desk on display and that was the one we both instantly agreed on.

Our place is in close proximity of a main blvd with more retail outlets, restaurants and bars than we could’ve hoped for.   There’s a sports bar across the street from our complex which turns out to be a Steelers bar.  It will definitely be worth it to deal with the terrible turds as I enjoy the Bolt’s on their big LCD screens courtesy of NFL Ticket.

We spent the 4th at Tina’s brother’s house grilling and watching the Yankees/Blue Jays game.  Tina insisted on stopping at a fireworks stand on the way and picked up some decent shit.  She bought some mortars that launched like 30-40′ feet in the air, blew up and came down with a nice shower of sparks.  No way you’d ever find anything like that in So Cal.  The fireworks there are pretty tame.  I was kicking myself for not stopping in NM to pick up some M-1000’s.

I’ve only played just a few sngs since leaving So Cal.  Hoping to bump up the volume now that we’re close to settling in.  Also a trip to Hard Rock Tampa is probably somewhere on the agenda.

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Over the hump

We made it to Little Rock safe and sound.  After Tuesday, we finished the day closer to Florida than California.   No turning back now.

Driving weather was perfect, no rain.  Only the occasional crosswinds to deal with and a few kamikaze truckers.   Truckers will blast past with only a few feet between you and their behemoth 18 wheeler.  At night, it can get a little hairy.

Can we talk about highway 40 thru OKC?  my gawd man.   Tina was white knuckling it hoping our (her) precious fragile cargo would remain intact.  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, I was glad I triple wrapped our LCD TV with moving pads and placed it carefully in the Audi.  Shit might be jostling around in the back of the truck.  But the TV will be ready for service on day one.

Tomorrow we ship off thru four states en route to Macon, Georgia.  Please let this be over soon.

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We arrived safely in Amarillo at around 12am.

After breakfast and gassing up the truck we hit the road at approximately 11:30am AZ time.  Skies were clear as was the road thru the first few hours.  Just before we hit Albuquerque a rainstorm hit.  We even saw some lightning.  We haven’t seen lightning in quite a while making the drive slippery but interesting.  Tina got a little nervous on occasion one time blurting out “you need to slow down”.  I was able to drive 70-75 mph when skies were clear but had to slow it up during the rainstorm.  She was a little uncomfortable with me getting a “running start” to an upcoming hill.

On our first day of travel we climbed over 7000 feet into Flagstaff.  At times, we were coming up hills as slow as 40-45 mph.  Today we ran into a few hills but never drove slower than 60 mph on the highway.  I told Tina everything would be fine, we might just have a close call.  She wasn’t laughing.  I thought it was kind of funny.

One thing i’ve noticed is I haven’t seen a single roadside call box since leaving California.  There have been times when our cell reception was no bueno through long stretches.   What happens if we have a blow out?  We have no spare for the trailer.  Are we supposed to pull over and pray?   Shoot a flare?  Hope a random tow truck stops or CHP?  This is 2010 and there’s no easy access  to emergency road side assistance on the interstate?  WTF??

Another thing that sucks about driving east is we lost 2 hours going from Flagstaff to Amarillo (AZ to CST time zone).  So instead of getting to our hotel at 10pm we arrive at 12am and find ourselves scrambling around to find somewhere to eat dinner.

Tuesday we wake up and do it all over again.  Next stop, Little Rock.

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It took us 2 days to load the truck.  Getting the boxes and big furniture on board was a lot of work but what took the most time was all the odd shaped odds and ends.  Our neighbor described it as a simple game of tetris.  He wasn’t far off.   Luckily, we had neighbors and my nephew and niece offer to help.  Otherwise it would have easily taken twice as long.

After loading the truck I had some trouble with the jack on the car carrier.  It wouldn’t lower onto the the hitch.  I was on trailer tilt for a few hours until their road service tech finally fixed us up.  This set us back and we were unable to get into Flagstaff until approximately 1:30am local time.

Dog’s road antics.

Tina had planned to finish a 24 page paper that is due on Monday.  But wasn’t able to get much done because our mutt decided to act like a little bitch and jump on her lap every time we hit a rough patch of road.  Man up mutt, you’re not a fucking lap dog.

Since we got into Flagstaff so late and Tina has a deadline, we decided to stay an extra night.  Shortly after I booked our room for Flagstaff, the hotel emailed me an offer to stay Sunday night for almost half their normal rate.  No brainer.

We’ll be back on the road Monday morning grinding miles to our next planned stop in Amarillo.  Good times.

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In less than three weeks.

Tina has done a kick ass job with a lot of the packing.  I realize since we’re married everything is supposed to be 50/50 but there aint no fuckin’ way half of these boxes contain anything remotely close to some shit I need or want.    I’ve been taking care of other odds and ends along with some of my own packing.

We sold Tina’s car a few weeks ago.  This was becoming a worry because we had it up on AutoTrader for over two months before we got our first real offer.  We got less than Tina wanted but I was glad we were done with it.  But, don’t feel sorry for her one bit.  She’s tooling around in my Audi while I can’t go anywhere until she gets home.  Fortunately, this hasn’t become too much of a problem.

Today I listed our BBQ on craigslist for free-fiddy-free and within minutes emails and phone calls were rolling in.  The grill wasn’t very well taken care of so I didn’t think I could get much for it anyway.  But, the 15 year old kid who got here first was extremely excited to have his own grill.  I gave him a quick primer on the intricacies in the art of grilling and he was on his way.

Enjoy, junior grill master.

Shortly afterwards I got a phone call on the washer and dryer from one of the neighbors.  We put up signs on the mailboxes in our complex listing on the shit we wanted to dump.  He and his wife are expecting and were in dire need of a W/D.  I took a deposit and that’s now a done deal.  Next up is the refrigerator.

We’re getting rid of a bunch of crap so we don’t have to drive some jumbo sized truck towing my car 2600+ miles.  Much of it will be replaced when we get there and it will be nice to have some new shit instead the old crap we’ve been rockin’ for that past 7 years.

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Never say never

I’ve spent my entire life in Southern California.  I grew up surfing and playing sports with the neighborhood kids.  I had a real love for surfing.  We’d bike to the beach every weekend with a trailer hooked to the back of someone’s bike hauling our surfboards, boogie boards and fins.  We’d spend all day at the beach and ride back.

Hermosa Beach was about 7 miles each way from the house I grew up in.  When we made that final turn up the block to my house, my brother and I would dump our stuff in the driveway and run into house to gorge on whatever we could find in the kitchen.  Meanwhile, my mom would be telling us dinner would be ready soon.

“Don’t spoil your appetite”.

I loved the beach and loved surfing.  During high school, my life was spent at the beach when I wasn’t in school.  Once I got my car during senior year, my schedule was down to four classes so I was able to bolt from school and go straight to the beach at noon with whoever wanted to tagged along.

It was an awesome time for me.

Tina recently finished her matching process for internship.  She applied and interviewed in NC and FL last month.  This morning we found out she was granted a one year internship in Bradenton, FL.  She’s worked so hard to get to this point.  It’s a huge milestone and she’s pretty excited to start.  I’m very proud of what she’s been able to accomplish working through her doctorate.

Why Bradenton?  It’s partially economics and partially family reasons.  Tina has family in Bradenton and we’ve come to the realization that we’ll never be able to afford a house here unless we move inland.  We’ve been renting a 2 BR/2 BA condo here about 2 miles from the beach.  Even the rent is rediculous ($1900/mo).

In four months, we’ll be packing up a truck and hauling all our possessions along with my car and our little mutt over 2600 miles.

I never dreamed I’d ever leave my homeland but, the time has come to move on.  I don’t surf anymore but I’ll miss SoCal and my family dearly.  It will be a difficult transition for me but, I’m excited to start this new chapter in our lives.

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