T Minus [hopefully] Five to Seven Weeks

{ This post was written on July 10, 2016 but is just now being published. }

Friends who know about the possible move keep asking when we're leaving. The answer is that we don't know. We're in a 60 day escrow (required by the VA). Sometimes escrows, for whatever reason, fall through. The VA is notoriously picky, both on the lending side, as they'll basically being co-signing the loan, and on the condition of the house itself. I appreciate the thoroughness. Such detailed due diligence will probably stave off any future trouble for us. So in addition to the possibility that the escrow might not go through, we also have no idea when we'll actually close on the loan. We agreed that if the loan closes sooner than 60 days we can take possession of the property, but again, no idea on that yet. Hopefully this week will give us more answers. The loan will be submitted tomorrow to the VA. The physical inspection is on Tuesday, and we're hoping the appraisal will happen this week as well. 

Then there is the matter of where we currently live. We need to be able to give 30 day notice but how do we do that when we have no idea when the loan will close? ARGH!! For a planner like me, this is some exquisite torture right here. In the hashtags of #ProblemsYouWantToHave, this is one, but the not knowing does needle me so. On the plus side we talked to our landlord and told them about what we're trying to do. He's cool if we give a 'tentative' 30 day notice and said if it all falls through, we will still have our place, no problem. Good landlords are good. 

With as little as five or as much as seven weeks remaining, both Eric and I are jonesing to start packing. Should we take the pictures off the wall and start packing them? Will it suck to have to hang them back up if this all goes south? We finally decided to just throw caution to the wind and slowly starting packing up. We've rolled the dice before and almost always the roll works out well. Worst case scenario? We end up unpacking again. I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen. 

Pausing to read while we pack up books.

Pausing to read while we pack up books.

Over the last two weeks we've been keeping busy by going through everything we own and giving away or tossing things we don't need or want for life up north. Today we walked over to a neighbor's and picked up all their moving boxes. The girls helped us carry them back to our place and the whole family pitched in to start packing. 

Wish us luck, eh? Let's hope the escrow goes through, and sooner rather than later.

We're Moving to Mammoth

The initial plan wasn't to move to Mammoth. No.

Eric and C had been driving up to Mammoth all of last winter to snowboard and every time they went, Lyra and I would stay behind. I had no interest in being stuck in a hotel or an AirBnB with a 2-3 year old while the other two members of my family had a blast. Nah. Lyra and I stayed comfy cozy in our San Diego house, with all the comforts of San Diego winters and leaving me with the ability to sew and write.

I did envy them their freedom. Eric would send photos from the slopes and they'd come back rosy-cheeked and giddy from yet another successful adventure. Lyra turned three in February but she's pretty tiny and we just didn't think she was mature enough to try to take lessons. No, we mutually agreed that Eric would take her up for the first time in the 2016/2017 season. 

"But I'll go too." I added. "I'd love to cross country ski. Or snowshoe. Maybe we could all do that? Or, I'll just chill while you take the girls on the slopes. That would be lovely actually. I'd totally curl up with a book and enjoy the solitude while you guys are out."

"Why don't you try downhill skiing if snowboarding doesn't interest you?"

"Nah, I'm good. " And I meant it. The idea of three hours alone to read a book was far more appealing than trying to learn how to ski on a busy mountain surrounded by masses of people. 

But I did want to adventure. Gawd, I missed having adventures. Losing the boat had meant that Eric and I had lost our greatest common denominator. Without the boat, we were adrift. We no longer had our largest life goal. And we no longer had a mutual way of shared adventure. Having one kid who was still very young was the ultimate limiting factor. A 2 and then 3 year old just makes doing things like backpacking, snowboarding, or cross country skiing nearly impossible. (But you took little kids everywhere on a sailboat! Yes, yes, we did. Our sailboat was a floating home, replete with all the things a home brings with it. Having your home with you is handy with very young children.) 

After a full season of being left to tend the home fires with Lyra while Eric and C had fun, I wasn't just starting to get cabin fever, I was starting to get life fever. 

And then at Christmas, 2015, I got the flu. It took me almost a month to recover. During January as I recovered I had other weird symptoms that I dismissed as 'female trouble.' February had all my attention on my trip to Greece with Carry The Future as I worked as a volunteer helping refugees arriving from across the Aegean. Two weeks after getting back from Greece I had an acute attack of, at the time, I had no idea what. I was bent over in pain, my abdomen was swollen for days and my GP had all kinds of theories. When none of her theories were correct she sent me to a specialist, a uro-gynecologist. He did more tests. Ultimately, he said he didn't know what was wrong so he sent me to a gynecologist. She suspected endometriosis and sent me for a pelvic ultrasound. It showed a tissue mass on my left ovary. All of these appointments and tests went on for March and April. Finally, in a lot of pain, desperately fatigued, swollen, and short of breath, I went in for surgery on May 2nd. The doctor removed a blood clot the size of a golf ball that was adhered to my left ovary and colon. She suspects it was an unresolved clot from a ruptured ovarian cyst. It took me about a month to recover.

^^ The point of the above very long paragraph is to explain that I'd been physically and/or emotionally out of commission for almost six months. It wasn't until the beginning of June that I finally started to feel human again. My birthday is June 13th. Taking stock of my life on the cusp of turning 37, after six months of being ill, and two years of trying to figure out what the hell to do with myself after losing our home and entire life trajectory, I was searching for something new. Lyra had made leaps and bounds in maturity between being a 3 year old and 3 1/2 year old. Whew. What a difference six months made for her. C was a month away from being 6 and Eric was a month away from being 38. All of these facts were brewing into a perfect storm of a great need to explore again.  I had my health back. The kids were getting easier to do more things with, and Eric and I weren't getting any younger.

No, the initial plan wasn't to move to Mammoth. Instead, months earlier, Eric had floated the idea of buying a condo there. He proposed we rent it out via AirBnB and then we'd have a place to stay anytime we wanted to go up. He spent a lot of time running the numbers and did several drives there and back, sometimes in the same day (that's 15 hours of driving in one day... :shudder: ). We went into escrow on a one bedroom at the beginning of June, right when I was finally starting to feel human again.

"It's almost my birthday. Why don't we do a family road trip to Mammoth? I'm dying to check the place out. I'm ITCHING to get out of town. Other than car camping, we haven't done anything as an entire family in YEARS. We could leave on the day C's school gets out. Then I could see the condo too."

Eric needed zero convincing. I could have just stopped at, 'why don't we do a family road trip to....' and he would have been down. Within hours Eric had an AirBnB reserved for the trip and we spent about a week in anticipatory excitement for the open road. 

We arrived in Mammoth on Wednesday night, June 15th. At no point did we think we were moving to Mammoth. I'll tell you more soon about why that changed.