That one time we decided to chuck the plan and move across the country.
I remember the day really well. I was laying on the bed nursing our new baby and Michael was in the rocking chair picking his lip as he always does when he’s distressed, thinking, or day dreaming. We knew he hated his job. It was a good job. It wasn’t draining. It paid all our bills and then some. He enjoyed his coworkers. But it was mind numbing. Michael wanted to be on the front lines of the industry. He wanted to do something that had never been done before. And he knew that would be quantum computing. We talked about a company in Vancouver, Canada often, but we knew that a move like that would be costly, and we knew the housing market there was really expensive. So we started a plan. We called it “The one year plan”. We would pay off debt, save money, remodel the house, and plan for this move. We also knew there was a new startup company in Berkeley, California. But Michael was trying to keep a deal we made early in our marriage where I said “never. I never ever want to live in California.”. I hated California. I spent nearly every summer as a child here. And several as an adult. My mom is from California. And my dad’s family retired there. I. hate. traffic. I hate crowds. I need to breathe. So we laughed. Like, oh, hahaha, that will never happen.
So the one year plan went something like this. It was August. That was the start. Michael had applied to a graduate program to make him a more likely candidate for the company and we figured in one year he would be able to add enough to his resume to get him an interview.
“You should email someone at the company. Tell them you’re interested in working there and you want to know what would make you a better candidate. Ask them what they need. Let them know you’re passionate”, I said.
Famous last words. lol.
Michael sent off an email. A bloody brilliant email. And they responded instantly with an appointment for an HR interview.
This was early September. Not even one month into “the plan”.
They offered him a job in Dallas working with the company, but not working with the technology he was desperately seeking to help develop. So he declined the offer.
But the day before they called he threw this one at me. “Oh, I also sent off an application to the startup in California. They had a tab that said, “do we need you and not know it yet”.”
Well, I guess they needed him and now they knew it. Because two days after they got his application they sent him an HR interview request. And then another interview. And then two more telephonic interviews. One that involved a hilarious encounter with a rattlesnake, but I’ll save some of Michael’s dignity and not share that one.
And then a trip to San Francisco to interview on site.
It was still September.
He flew back and he agonized. Scrutinized. Stressed. Did he do well? Did he ace it?
But I knew. I’m pretty much married to Good Will Hunting. He’s a freak. He’s brilliant. And dedicated. And passionate. How could someone interview him and not know what he could do for them?
And then the CEO called. He said this is the modern day mission to put a man on the moon. He wanted to know if Michael could give it some blood, sweat, and tears. And Michael kindly responded that between the army and having six children, he had it in spades. He lived in a zone of pain and discomfort, daily, lol.
And that was it. He offered a job.
It was now October. The first week of October. We had finished remodeling one room. One freaking room. And Michael had to be at the new job in November.
The next few weeks and months were painful. Like, on a scale of 1-PTSD we were definitely in the PTSD category. Six children, remodel, live apart from spouse, clean a house, sell a house, pack a house, move, buy a new house, unpack a new house, and begin remodeling new house. That was the new plan.
We did it. I’m not sure how, but we did. We interviewed real estate agents. We cleaned, gutted, purged, organized, staged, and I was able to keep the kids out of the house for showings and open houses. We were aggressive. We picked a price we knew we could sell quickly with. We did it. We did the cookies in the oven. We did the oils in the bedrooms. We did everything pinterest said to do. Oh, by “we” I mean me. Michael was in California already. lol. The house sold in 10 days.
I tried. I really tried to start packing. And at first it was easy. All the non essential items went in. I had four weeks so I left the necessary stuff out. And then we got sick. And sick again. And we took a pause for Christmas to celebrate one last holiday in our home. And then we were down to crunch time. We had 10 days to pack.
And then it happened. Brody crawled on my back while I was laying down. I thought it was sweet. The pressure of his little body on mine felt good. And then I heard that sounds. And I knew. We were all going down. Vomit. Vomit everywhere. For days. First Brody. Then me. Then Pippen. Then Campbell who got it the hardest and longest. It swept through the house. We tried. We tried to pack. We tried to sterilize the house. Michael was flying in with three days left. We had to pack the whole house, clean it, and hit the road.
We had Michael’s grandparents in town to help and we blew through it as fast as we could. The movers showed up and we were still only about 75% done with packing. It became a race at that point. And then of course, Michael got sick. Really sick. He took a bucket to closing sick. He was on the ground on the sidewalk heaving sick. It’s pretty hilarious now, but at the time, oh gosh. He was on the ground, I was trying to get the baby in the car and get out things so I could help him in. I saw our realtor coming. I saw her step off the curb to avoid the likely homeless drunk wrenching on the ground. And I saw her reaction when she realized it was not aforementioned homeless bum, but rather her client. It was awful.
But we made it. By the skin of our teeth, but we made it.
I had one last good cry. I said my goodbyes to the space that I had called home for over 3 years. This has been the longest I have called any place home since turning 18. I crawled in the bathtub where I had birthed two babies. I cried. And I said my goodbye.
We dug up our Saint Joseph and we began our move to California.
It was dark. We knew we wouldn’t make it far, I would have been okay if we’d only made it 30 minutes outside of Austin. We pushed 3 hours to Sonora, Texas. We drove at dusk. By we I mean I. Michael was still holding his bucket. We were a team though. We were deer spotters. I had never seen so many deer in my life. And they all wanted to play chicken with traffic. We crawled, slowly, painfully, sorely, and made it to a Best Western in a cute little Texas town. We did it.
Seriously, renting a dumpster was the best decision EVERRRRRR. We will do it every time we move. All that junk after the movers come. All that stuff you can’t give to goodwill and need to trash. Bam. Best 300$ ever spent.
Rise and shine in Sonora, Texas! We slept in. Indulged in hot breakfast. And hit the road again for El Paso. We were supposed to do Indian Lodge. But NOOOOO. The ONE freaking week a year they are closed. Bastards.