Day 1 of living in Mammoth Lakes, California

{ This post was written on August 12, 2016 but is just now being published. }

As you can probably imagine, neither Eric nor I slept well last night. Sleeping on the floor was torture for my hips and my lower back. I laid awake, tossing and turning, my mind whizzing through everything. Through ALL.THE.THINGS. I couldn't stop thinking about our final day, and about the fact I was leaving a city that I had called home for 20 years; that's over half my life. 

Eric fell asleep around 11pm but I stayed awake a full two hours more staring up into the dark. I know I fell asleep around 1am because Eric got up at that time, finally having had enough of sleeping on the floor himself. Our plan was that Eric would get up and leave around 5:00am and leave ahead of us. His Land Cruiser goes slow enough as it is. With pulling the Uhaul, he'd go at a snail's pace. We figured if he got a head start, we might all end up there at the same time. 

Instead of leaving at 5:00am, he left at 1:00am, right as I was finally able to fall asleep for just a few hours. I set my alarm for 5:30am and groggily got up and moving. Just as I switched on the lights, my phone beeped. It was a text from my brother Rich who was outside in the alley. He knew what time I was planning on leaving and had driven over to help me pack up and to say goodbye one last time. He did this unasked. I was 100% surprised, but elated to see him and to have the help. 

After a final walk through the house and buckling two very sleepy girls into car seats, I gave Rich a giant hug and pulled away from our San Diego house for the last time. The sun was just peeking up over roof tops as I slowly drove down the streets of Golden Hill (my neighborhood in San Diego) toward the 94 east. My arms tingled with emotion. I love this city. San Diego is where I came of age as a woman. It's where I met and fell in love with Eric. Where Cora was born. San Diego is the place we came back to re-start our lives after losing Rebel Heart.

It was time to leave there, and so I did.

We drove up the 15 north and pulled over at a Starbucks in Tierrasanta to grab coffee for me and breakfast sandwiches all around. Of course after asking for breakfast sandwiches, the girls then did not want them. That was okay. I ended up eating theirs over the long drive and the girls devoured the snacks I'd packed for the drive.

Instead of stressing about getting up to Mammoth in record time, I took the opposite approach. If I was going to have to drive two girls and myself in a car chock-full of household goods, I was going to be super chill. We pulled over to pee frequently. If anyone had a hankering to stretch their legs, I stopped. Gas breaks, snack breaks. You name it.

We only hit traffic once somewhere in San Bernadino. It didn't last long and we were soon zipping along again.

It took us 10.5 hours, but we got to Mammoth feeling pretty zen'ed out. Eric had arrived about two hours ahead of us and, bless him, he had already unpacked over half of the Uhaul. The girls were so excited to see the new place. Out came the camera and we followed them around exploring their new digs.

It was fun to see the house through the kids' eyes.

After dreaming of a couch for over 9 years, I finally have one. A COUCH. 

As luck would have it, the house is partially furnished. This is incredibly handy as over the last two years of being back from sailing we have accrued very little material possessions. All of the furniture you see in these pictures came with the house. What a relief. Each piece is one less thing we need to buy.

We decided to bust ass and get the Uhaul and cars fully unpacked before heading out to eat. 

When we were finally ready, we headed to Mammoth Brewing Company and I swear food and beer have never tasted so good. All of us, even the picky 3 year old practically licked our plates clean. Our hunger was the culmination of six weeks' worth of effort and with that meal, we were finally sated.

On the way back home we stopped at the gym and got a family membership. This is something we had purposefully budgeted for in this move. Eric and I place a huge importance on fitness and we weren't going to do a move that would leave us too strapped to afford going to the gym. Every family has their priorities, this is one of ours.

It has been a long, and very worthwhile day. Headed to bed happily tucked away in our new home.

The last day in San Diego ~ Cue Excitement!

{ This post was written on August 11, 2016 but is just now being published. }

It's our last day. Tomorrow we'll be wheels up by 6 or 7am. We are all a thrum with excitement. Last night my girlfriends, Ryan and Christina, stopped by and brought snacks and wine. Amidst the chaos of our packed up patio, we three sat outside enjoying each other's company for what may be the last time in awhile. 

We ate and drank and paused our conversation every five minutes as the airplanes flew by overhead towards Linderbergh Field. The Point Loma pause, people call it. Also, the OB pause, the Hillcrest pause, and the Golden Hill pause; I shall not miss you.

This morning the girls got to open the presents I made for them. I figured there would be enough in the bags to keep them entertained as we packed the Uhaul and I was right. It was gratifying to see how much they loved the little presents.

C has been out of school for the summer and Lyra's last day of preschool was in July. We would not have been able to work, or to pack, without Lissa, our amazing summer babysitter. Lissa came highly recommended by our friend and former babysitter, Taylor. They were roommates in college. Lissa is about to start a Masters program in Chemistry at SDSU. 

C was over the moon when I told her she was going to have a scientist as a babysitter. 

Lissa, none of this would have been possible without you. If you ever need a place to stay when you're in Mammoth, our casa es su casa.

When we didn't have someone watching the girls, they did a fairly good job of either helping us or keeping out of the way. Sometimes they would set up little forts or play areas near where we were working.

For this last week Eric and I have been in high gear as far as packing up the house. Things seemed to naturally work out where one night I would do a hardcore, late night push of packing while he zonked out from fatigue and then we'd vice versa that as he got shit done and I passed out early.

It took me one afternoon and longggg evening to pack up the outdoor storage shed and all my sewing and work supplies.

I eventually got it all packed up, but it took a lot of podcasts of This American Life to get 'er done.

Eric put the girls to bed that night and ended up passing out with them. 

The following night I was exhausted. Eric stayed up after work and packed up the entire kitchen and pantry. ALL.OF.IT.

I have to stop and give a massive shout out to Eric for the work he did to get us packed and ready to leave San Diego. Anyone who knows Eric knows how much he detests moving, and helping other people move. If Eric helps you move, it's a tremendous gesture. He has been known to pay for movers to help friends instead of his having to go and do it. I was dreading this move because of how much I knew he hated stuff like this.

But Eric surprised me. Turns out he is a meticulous packer and mover. Unbelievably detailed oriented. After 12 years together this was something new to learn about him. When I asked him where he got these mad skills he said he did a lot of moving as a child and he was also the primary packer. He got really good at it. And he hated it too. Hence his simultaneous talent and disdain for the whole process.

The final day flew by as we continued packing feverishly. Eric loaded the Uhaul like a Tetris pro and soon the house went from this:

To pretty much this, empty (minus robot children):

We were cleaning up until the very last moment before our landlord arrived at 7:30pm to do a final walk through. We passed it and finally breathed a sigh of relief. This was actually happening. 

Here I have three gigantic thank yous to send. First, to Meg & Rachel, who let the girls go over to their house that afternoon and evening after Lissa had to go for the day. Thank you, friends. It was tremendously helpful to not have the girls underfoot during that final push. Thanks for feeding them and taking care of them and thanks for the care package you gave us for the drive up.

A second thank you to Mele. Over the past weeks Mele has shown up numerous times to watch the girls, lend a hand, and be moral support. Your help has been invaluable. We are going to miss living in the same city as you! Come visit us prontito, por favor!

And the last shout out is reserved for my brother, Rich. Rich who is always there when you need him. Rich, whom I love. Rich came by in the afternoon and patched holes, spackled, and painted. He disassembled furniture and helped pack the UHaul. He did really anything we needed him to do and I would not be ready to leave San Diego tomorrow if it weren't for him.

Two hours before the landlord was supposed to arrive to walk through, Rich was walking around downstairs doing small paint touch ups when he accidently dropped the entire can of paint on him, the floor, and most awfully, on his dog. The downstairs was literally almost completely clean and ready to go and then SPLAT, that can hit the floor and chaos ensued.

Rich grabbed up Jelly Roll (yes, that's her name) and ran her upstairs. Luckily I hadn't packed a few towels or the bathroom soap since I knew we'd still want to shower tonight. He worked on getting the paint off her as I swooped the kids out of the house and took them over to Meg and Rachel's. After that I drove frantically to Home Depot to get another can of paint and some acetone. With only hours to go before the landlord arrived I hoped we'd be able to get all the paint off the floor. As soon as Jelly Roll was clean enough, Rich went home to shower and poor Eric found himself completely alone in the house, with a floor full of spilled, white paint. By the time I made it home through San Diego rush hour traffic (I will not f'ing miss rush hour traffic, let me tell you), Eric had the floor SPOTLESS. You couldn't even tell. The man is a marvel. And with that, what could have been a total disaster ended up being just one more hurdle we had to jump over before we could leave town.

It was difficult to say goodbye to Rich. Along with my sister, Sariah, he is one of the only siblings I have a relationship with. One of the hardest parts of moving to Mammoth would be moving there without knowing a soul and without having someone we loved nearby in the same town.

That's it. We're packed. Everything is ready. The girls are sleeping on these little pallets tonight and their bags are ready to go into the car first thing. They've just manged to fall asleep, but I don't know if Eric or I will get a wink.

He is already trying to sleep, see him curled up there on our little beds too? Those green gym mats might be better than sleeping on the carpet, but not by much. Right now the plan is that Eric will wake up around 4am and get a headstart. He'll be going very slow in the Land Cruiser pulling a Uhaul. The girls and I should be able to sleep until 6 or so and still make it up around the same time as Eric. I'm going to completely unplug from the internet now because I'm already amped as it is. Maybe if I can't get online I might actually be able to sleep a tiny bit. Good night, San Diego.

Goodies for the Girls - Handmade gifts for the drive to Mammoth

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

I had been thinking about some gifts to make for the girls for the long car ride up to Mammoth and as a way for them to be happy and excited about the move. We bought them some new coloring and activity books and I squirreled them away until I could also make some colored pencil rolls to accompany the new books.

My plan was to make just enough for me, the girls, and a few more as gifts for the realtor, lender, and escrow agent that helped us buy the house in Mammoth. As I posted my progress pictures online though, friends inquired about buying some as well. So days before moving, I was also taking orders for Sew, Sew, Sew Your Boat. #ProblemsYouWantToHave

I listen to a lot of   Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me   while I sew.

I listen to a lot of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me while I sew.

So pretty! These hold up to 36 colored pencils, or gel pens, or whatever you want to put in them. I got the girls new gel pens for the drive. 

This fabric turned out two kitty plushies. They were just small enough to fit in the little bags I was making for each girl. I used fabric markers to write their names.

Next up were these Japanese knot bags. The concept is thus: You make one strap of the bag longer than the other in order to knot the longer one under the shorter, effectively closing the bag while you carry it without any hardware.

I had enough fabric from the Out to Sea quilts I'm making the girls to make Cora a pink bag and Lyra a blue one. I definitely wanted one for myself, and I thought my friend Mele Sato might like one as well, so I made two exactly the same for me and her. Ours were made from remaining fabric from the Starlight Quilt and some gorgeous, orange, organic fabric I'd had in my stash for forever.

Mele helped me to photograph and model them. She also painted the girls toenails while I finished up this project. Thank you, Mele. We love you.

This wasn't the first time I've spent sewing last minute before a tremendous move. I asked myself several times why I was spending so much precious moving, packing, and saying-goodbye time on sewing instead. After some reflection, I came up with two answers. The first is that sewing relaxes me. Similar to weight lifting, I find it meditative. In the midst of chaos, I can sit in front of a machine and focus on creating. Making these things for the girls and for clients, actually helped the move be less stressful.

The second reason is probably a bit of residual scarring from the loss of Rebel Heart at sea. I similarly spent a lot of time sewing and creating right before we left. 

There were the cockpit organizers, both for our shoes, and see those awesome canvas bags on either side of the seats in the second photo? So handy. So rad.

There were the sacrificial covers I made for my fave cockpit chair (a Thermarest folded up in a seated position), and the covers for the hydrovane.

I made a beautiful, large bag to hold Lyra's booster seat from some butter yellow Sunbrella I'd been hoarding. And I took one of our laundry bags and converted it into a bag for her little table. The remainder of that laundry bag was turned into a drawstring bag to hold loose toys in their berth.

There was everything I did for their berth. The organizers I hung, the baskets, the sheets and bedding. Oh those glorious sheets. Do you remember them, dear readers? Remember all the little children of the world on them?

Once the colored pencils rolls, the kitty plushies, and the Japanese knot bags were finished, I assembled all the goodies together. There were turtle plushies, coloring & work books, stickers, and blank art books too.

As I prepared everything for them to see I couldn't help but remember how I had meticulously packed little gifts and activities for the long crossing of the Pacific and for the time we had planned to spend in the Pacific. Maybe part of spending so much time on these gifts was a way to assuage the pain of the work and care I had lost at sea.

Tomorrow is our last full day in San Diego. I plan to give the girls their gifts tomorrow so they have something to occupy them as we pack up the house around them. I'll update on how they liked everything. We leave in TWO days!