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Moving to Los Angeles

cartoon of small truck loaded with boxes and furniture

I won’t be hanging Christmas lights or putting up a tree this year because we’re moving to Los Angeles in less than two weeks! My husband got a great offer for a new job, so off we go. Lots to do for both work and selling the house in the next ten days, but we’re pretty experienced at this moving thing—and I’m always up for a new adventure, especially one that brings me close to the beach—so I’m excited!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our 18 months in Sacramento. It’s a great mid-sized city with lots of culture and things to do, and great weather most of the year. And I’ll miss my friends here. But I’m ready to explore LA, and get more beach time in my life, since we should be pretty close to the water.

It’s going to be a busy but fun month. I’ll have more news soon. Enjoy the season!

image of boxes in basement

A graduation, a retirement, and a(nother) move

image of graduation ceremony

If it seems like I’ve been a bit distracted lately, I have. Life’s been busy at Casa de Hernandez, pretty much for the last year.

In March of 2015, my husband was preparing for a September deployment to Afghanistan for six months when the Air Force said, “Never mind, we need you in Florida in three weeks instead.” Cue the scramble, and the complete upending of all of our summer travel plans. And, of course, a small celebration that he’d be staying Stateside (though I’m pretty sure some part of him was disappointed at the location change).

We’re good at adjusting course on short notice, finding adventure in the unexpected. Some people are adrenaline junkies who find their joy by jumping out of planes, climbing Meru, or surfing 30-foot waves. We like to travel and explore, and move. (Good thing, right?)

image of boxes in basement

And, while it’s been fun letting the Air Force pick where we go, exploring places we might never otherwise get to know, we’re finally in a position to choose for ourselves.

This month, our youngest graduated from high school and my husband retired from the military. So, we’re off to California. Sacramento, for now, while my husband goes back to school, with an eye toward moving to the coast in a few years.

image of moving boxes in living room

Yes, I’m still working on my next two Scrivener courses. Yes, I’m still working on Men of Steele #3. All are coming along slower than I’d planned, but the classes will be live by the end of summer, and I intend to have MoS3 out before the end of the year.

For the next few weeks, though, I’ll be filling up my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages with pictures from our cross-country trip and some new adventures. Feel free to follow along and share your own.

Got any fun plans for summer?

Home!

Moving boxes in living roomSorry I’ve been so quiet lately. We finally moved into our house and I’ve been buried under boxes—it took me nearly three days just to get the kitchen in order. Plus, I always forget how much time it takes to make address changes, update insurance policies, get a new driver’s license, and on and on…

Write? Fuggeddabout it (okay, sorry, that’s NYC).

The good news is that we’re loving the Boston area already. New England is somehow even greener than northern Virginia and there’s so much to do here. I can’t wait to start exploring. We’ve already done a bit of it, and we’ve been enjoying the nearby bike trail as much as possible.

My oldest is off to college in about a month—yikes!—so we’re going to do the touristy Boston thing before he goes (he’s forgotten a lot from our trip back in 2008). But my list is long, and that’s just for around here. All of New England and Quebec beckon. 🙂

Moving boxes in kitchenThis week, though, I’m still trying to arrange, rearrange, and unpack. Plus, I’m getting ready to fly to San Antonio on Monday for my fifth Romance Writers of America national conference, so I have lots of packing and some shopping to do. It takes careful planning to get a week’s worth of clothes, shoes, and workout gear into a carry-on bag, but I’ve done it four years in a row and it’s worth it.

BTW, if you’ll be at RWA14, my workshop, “Easy E-books with Scrivener,” is on Saturday the 26th at 3:15pm. Even if you can’t attend the workshop, I hope to see you in Texas!

Now back to my regularly scheduled unpacking, unwrapping, and piling things in corners until I figure out where they go…

Boston or bust

Boston Old State House

Today’s the big day! We’re off to Boston.

As much as I love Virginia, I’m more than ready to move on (especially after spending almost a month in a hotel). 😉

Here’s to new adventures in New England. Have a great week and weekend!


 

Photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USA_Old_State_House_1_MA.jpg#mediaviewer/File:USA_Old_State_House_1_MA.jpg

Home is where you make it

BloomWherePlanted

There’s a part in the movie Joe Dirt where the old Cajun man tells Joe, “Home is where you make it.” Of course, Joe misunderstands to (dubious) comic effect, but the old guy has a point.

In the military, we say “Home is where the Air Force/Army/Navy/Marines/Coast Guard sends you.”

Right now in the middle of a move, I’m again reminded that home (for me, at least) is less about a specific place, and more about where you make yourself comfortable, hopefully surrounded by those who matter most. Currently, that’s a hotel room. In a few weeks, it’ll be a townhouse in the Boston suburbs.

I grew up as a military brat and am now an Air Force spouse. For me, getting attached to a particular house or city is pointless. Honestly, I’m not sure I could. As much of a pain as moving is, the idea of never doing it again is a bit terrifying. I’d miss the excitement of learning a new city. That exploratory phase when you see everything you can and “wear out” the area before it just becomes the place you live.

Now that we’re out of our Virginia house, I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to the latest adventure in a part of the country I haven’t lived or spent much time in yet. And I’m looking forward to making a home out of our next house.

That’s me. How about you? Like to move? Hate to move? Have never moved?

Another move

I’ve been busy doing this…

WomanDustingVacuuming

…in preparation for this…

For_Sale_Sign

…and this…

Boxes1

…to move here in June.

Zakim_Bridge_Boston_MA

Have a great weekend!


Image credits:

(1) Public domain image (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woman_dusting_and_using_a_vacuum.tif), via Wikimedia Commons

(2) By Lyn Lomasi (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

(3) By skrewtape (http://www.flickr.com/photos/skrewtape/851672959/) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

(4) By Luciof (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Moving story

We move a lot. It’s a benefit—or burden, depending on your outlook—of the military life. We prefer to look at each move as an adventure, which helps the whole family maintain a positive outlook. But it’s not an adventure without an element of challenge, and a few of our moves have definitely been challenging.

The most memorable was our cross-country move—aren’t they always?—from Dayton, Ohio to Santa Maria, California. We shipped our beater of a sedan and set out in our piece-of-crap van (part of the live-below-our-means-plan, which we’re still on, but the means have improved since then) for the 2300-mile drive.

Everything went along smoothly until we stopped in Arizona to visit family. Something went wrong with the van and we had to take it to a mechanic, thus delaying our departure a couple of days.

Finally, we were on the road again with our 700 pounds of household goods and two preschoolers. We stopped in Palm Desert to retrieve my husband’s car and caravanned into Los Angeles. We made it through the the suburbs in bumper-to-bumper traffic and onto 101 northbound, and blam. Right at the intersection of the freeway and a two-lane onramp, the van died.

Oh, yes, my fellow road warriors were most pleased with me. Did I mention it was July 4th? I was that “broken down car blocking the right lane” on the traffic channel.

Details of the transfer to my husband’s car and the towing event are fuzzy, but when the mechanics got a hold of the van, it started right up. They couldn’t tell us what was wrong since it was working. Well, !@#$%. We took the kids to McDonald’s (PlayPlaces rock with little ones in tow), and began to list our options.

We still had 150 miles to go and it was already mid-afternoon. If we broke down again, we might be in the middle of nowhere next time. If we left the van behind, what would we do with it and all of our stuff?

We decided to store our stuff and, if possible, sell the van.

And the countdown was on. We had only a couple of hours until the dealer closed.

Step 1: Store our stuff. We found a storage company, paid the $90/month fee, and moved everything down a hall, up an escalator, and down another hall in multiple trips. We were barely able to fit our suitcases in the Camry. We stuffed three in the trunk and crammed one between the kids in the back seat.

Step 2: Get the van detailed. Off to the full-service car wash for a professional wash and vacuum.

Step 3: Sell the van. We arrived at the dealer about thirty minutes before closing. (Yes, this may not have been our most ethical choice, but it’s what we came up with under duress.) The van was still running and continued to perform like a champ. We basically got paid what we’d spent to get the van fixed in Phoenix.

We made it the rest of the way without incident, checked into our temporary lodging on base, and drove around until we found a place to watch the Lompoc fireworks from our car. Our treat for a crappy day.

Two days later, we rented a fifteen-passenger van, took out most of the back seats, piled the kids in, and drove back to L.A. to retrieve our things from storage, making the return the same day.

At the time, the whole situation was stressful and maddening, but now I look back on it as an adventure. Another obstacle that we survived and overcame that made us stronger.

And just in case you were wondering: that was my first and last van.