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2198 Miles | A move across the country part 5

The part where we finally call a place home.

The owners said we could “stay” in the home. Because they didn’t want the squatter coming back, and because they wanted us to be able to protect our goods that were being housed in the garage. And because we had a closing date that was super close.ome

And I tried to abide by the rules. I really did. It started out as, well, they can’t expect us to sleep on the floor, so let’s set up the mattress. And we might as well set up the bed frame. And the furniture doesn’t fit in the garage so we put it in the dining room, what’s the difference between the dining room and bedroom.

And basically, it turned into, “as long as I don’t put any holes in the wall I’m still abiding by the rules”.

I was desperate to nest.

And then one afternoon I met Michael down in Berkeley. The title company sent us a mobile notary. And we sat outside on a really bright sunny day, next to a little garden and signed what felt like 100 pieces of paper.

I finally had a home.

And funny thing, all those bad things I had felt when I first saw the house… they evaporated. What I saw as crammed turned into cozy and quaint. This neighborhood was perfect. I have loved every single neighbor I’ve met. I love the location. I love the city. I love the tall trees. The sounds of the birds. And I saw the potential.

I knew we would make this house so perfect. Just a little bit of renovating. that’s a lie. It’s a metric shit ton of renovations. But we will make it through.

The house doesn’t come without some downsides. The lots are small. Very small. And our houses are mirrored. So my kitchen looks right into my neighbor Claire’s kitchen. And we both have very large kitchen windows. That face each other.

And let’s just put it this way. We finished installing some kitchen cabinets one late night and got a text shortly after, “the new cabinet’s look great!”

It’s a good thing we really like our neighbors.

And we will try and teach ourselves to wear pants. Always.

I also love this town. The bay area is huge. And crowded. But we live in a small little town at the very top of it. And our town is… a bit eclectic. And odd. And sometimes upscale. And sometimes trashy. I knew this was the place for me when I went to the local Safeway at 10 pm to find a woman pushing shopping carts in the parking lot in a bathrobe, slippers, and with curlers in her hair. First, it’s 2017, who the heck wears curlers in their hair to bed? Second, bathrobe and slippers too? This woman must have time traveled.

Also seen in this town, a teenage girl walking her pet snake to Walgreens.

Anyhow, I hit the ground running. I wanted everything unpacked and in its place in 30 days.

And well, that was semi-laughable, because it’s now been 65 and I’m still not there, but, in all fairness, I got the stuff that mattered. Most of the boxes left in the garage are either camping gear, tools, or clothes that I sure as hell won’t unpack until we have our laundry under control.

We are almost done with our moving claim. To which I’m sure we’ll be given a giant middle finger. We’re placing bets on how much we’re compensated after they did thousands of dollars of damage. The manager we were dealing with at one point suggested that their industry doesn’t attract the smartest folk and that this is a par for the course. Do they attract elephants? Because I’m quite certain one stomped all over our stuff!

But I’m finding peace with that too.

I ventured to Ikea. In Emeryville. In Michael’s truck. Which I will never, ever, ever do again. Hello, 27 point turn with people staring and probably available for viewing on youtube. I bought new beds for the girls. Cole has a new bed. We’ve got a giant dumpster out front for the renovation so we can rid ourselves of all the broken pieces and begin our new start.

We pulled down some kitchen cabinets. We started knocking out some walls. We demoed the “lovely” lava rock wall. We pulled up the carpet. Our goal is to finish with the phase one remodel by Christmas.

And man do I love this house. It’s a little dark for a photographer. I know I don’t get my camera out as often as I should because of that. But one day. We’ll throw in some skylights. We’ll get some walls knocked down.

But it’s wonderful right now.

And it is not our forever home. It’s just our home for now. And it’s where our hearts are hung. And looking back at this journey, that is just what we need.

This was a big risk. It was a huge amount of change. And there wasn’t a single time along the way that we didn’t question ourselves. Were we doing the right thing? Would this bring us more quality of life? Will the kids be happy? What if we move and it’s not what we were looking for?

But we’ve been here a few months now, and I am quite certain we did the right thing.

First Weekends from The Rusty Lens on Vimeo.

And some more randoms from around the house in March and April.


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