IMG_8969Yeah I know, I skipped a WSDW post and that usually doesn’t happen, because it doesn’t take much energy to write them. But, let me tell you – if you knew what kind of craziness we have been dealing with other the past 4 weeks, you would totally understand. So I’ll tell you –

WE ARE MOVING (BACK) TO LOS ANGELES!

By “(back)” I really mean “I” am moving back, because I’m the only one out of this nuclear family who’s actually lived in CA, and I did for four years. After college, I went to UCLA for my MPH and then went to get my Master’s in Nursing at the University of San Diego, so I lived down there for two years. Never had I ever planned on leaving CA  until I met Jeff. I actually daydreamed of moving back to the DC area, because I had been away from it for so long. But, after relocating back to DC, I wanted to be back. 

I felt like my soul was left in California. That the real “me” was always there. Any one of my friends knows this about me. I just felt out of place, I felt like I was robbed professionally, because healthcare and nursing altogether are so vastly different on the West Coast than it is on the East Coast. Yes I was so happy to be with Jeff and we were taking our relationship to the next level. But, the West Coast is so pro-nursing. They’re supportive of every effort in the nurses to strive for the next level of their career, whether it be at the bedside or not. If you graduated with a Master’s in Nursing, it went right onto your ID badge, because they feel you should be recognized for it. They encourage nurses to get involved in their unit, in their hospital, and offer (cash) bonuses for activities in which they volunteer. The health benefits are better as a nurse, the disability, maternity leave, all around, it’s better to be a nurse in California. Now don’t get me wrong, once I transitioned to the ICU at Virginia Hospital Center, I once again loved nursing (after a year of feeling dragged down by the institution I worked with) but it still didn’t have that empowered, involved, excited and supportive feel that I’d felt when I lived out west.

I knew that my time at the bedside would be limited, because I spent so much time and energy to creating a strong academic foundation for myself to do something outside of the typical bedside nurse’s duties. After Jia was born, Jeff and I came to the agreement, that if/when I do return to work, it would be for position that would put me on track to where I wanted me career to go.

As Jeff continued to struggle with his identity at the company to which he devoted 10 years of his life, I urged him to look for new jobs, and to please, look in California. He’d joked that since he was so unhappy at his job, that it would be “easiest” if I just find the job that could move us to Cali. But, looking at the numbers, it didn’t seem like the smartest move. I didn’t think it was fair for me (currently a “SAHM” (stay at home mom)) to take us away from both of our families, especially given that he was making a good salary so that I could be at home with Jia.

So after some months went by and he applied to and interviewed with many local tech program manager jobs and one California job (that we found out about with the help from my friend Nancy), he was able to progress through the Interview Olympics and land a really great job offer, right in the sweet spot in Santa Monica. I was elated, my heart was pounding as soon as he told me the news (before he even boarded the plane back to DC), and I began texting all my close friends and mom with rapid fire. “Jeff got a job in LA, we’re moving back!” I copied and pasted, copied and pasted.

Well now it’s happening!

Over the last 3 weeks, we’ve had a monster of a to-do list on our hands. We were:

  • putting important tasks on hold until Jeff’s background check and drug screening were cleared
  • asking our tenants to cut their lease short (they were expecting a baby 3 weeks before their lease would be renewed, so we figured it would be the least inconvenient for them to leave before the baby was born)
  • getting the condo ready to go on the market (repainting, fixing things in the unit, cleaning)
  • Remotely find day care for Jia
  • Coordinate a moving trailer and moving services (try doing that with non-existent moving dates and hypothetical addresses, since everything was contingent upon Jeff actually having a smooth background check, it’s stressful)
  • Find an apartment/house/townhouse/anywhere that allowed 2 dogs with a minimum of 2 bedrooms (it’s a lot harder than you would think, since almost everyone has dogs in LA),and under $2500/month – again – without knowing what our move-in date was or whether or not the offer would really go through if there was a hiccup/delay with the background check.
  • Sell Jeff’s soon-to-be-failing-and-likely-problematic “single guy” Infiniti G35x and trade it in for an electric vehicle (they get carpool privileges for lone drivers, cutting Jeff’s 7 AM commute down to a hypothetical 1.5 hour drive to 1 hour)
  • Call the California Air Resources Board about the application for a carpool lane zero emissions decal, to see if the timing of a utility bill, getting CA driver’s licenses, and a CA registered electric vehicle will work out
  • Call Jia’s pediatrician to see if a possible lapse in health insurance between July and September 1st (when his benefits at the new job would kick in) would be OK for her vaccination schedule, should we not find her permanent pediatrician by her 18th month birthday in August, while on Obamacare
  • Donate a CRAP TON of clothes, because we sure as heck won’t have NEARLY as much space in LA as we do here in my family’s gigantic house (we have two large closets and two dressers in our bedroom right now, with a third (full) dresser in the guest room)
  • Secure an actual start-date for Jeff’s new job
  • Plan a cross-country road trip for Jeff and his dad, find dog-friendly hotels, but with arrival in California at a hypothetical move-date
  • Arrange airfare for Jia and my travels to California from here, once we know a start-date
  • Figuring out what to do when moving from a 4000 sq. foot house to a 1000 sq. foot apartment over 3,000 miles away without paying for a storage unit (What do I do with the maternity clothes? Baby clothes? Baby toys she’s outgrown? All the nonsense we don’t really need to have for the year we are renting? What do we do after we buy a house? How do we get all that stuff back to us?)
  • Plan a farewell party so that all of our nearby friends and family can say bye to us, when we only have 4 weeks to be physically in California from the day we heard that his background check was clear and we were good to go
  • And so much more…

Here’s what our original (19-item) to-do list looked like, and it’s on our kitchen wall to visualize and update everyday (I was getting so overwhelmed by the swarm of things we had to accomplish, but they were all jumbled and unorganized in my head. So this is what Jeff initiated):

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That “QUIT JOB” sticky has gone between the “In Progress”/”This Week”/”Today” too many times to keep track, so it’s finally been put on the “Today” column as of 7/21/15.

But, our quaint little list quickly mutated into an even longer (27-item) list, after finding there were lots of other in-between tasks we had to accomplish as well:

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That was taken this past weekend. Since then, it’s now a 35-item to-do list. As you can see, over the past weekend, the “QUIT JOB” note is under the “In Progress” column, and we’ve moved quite a bit of tasks to the “Completed” column.

OK so what’s Jia doing? Here we go, a quick recap:

  • I can say to her “put down your pacifier first” and she’ll take it out of her mouth and put it down.
  • She says “UH OH” when she sees all her crayons on the floor, and toddles over to them to pick them up (yay! we’ve somehow taught her to clean up after herself!)
  • She’s eating
    • Cherry tomatoes (quartered)
    • Cucumbers
    • Avocado
    • Cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches
    • My homemade whole milk yogurt + raspberry + mango pouches
    • Trader Joe’s Multigrain Blend (this stuff is amazing, it has quinoa and a bunch of veggies, and Jia loves it and eats it by the fistful!
    • Clementines 4 at a time… this child loves citrus!
  • I bought all of these awesome trinkets for Jia to start daycare and I’m so ecstatic:
    • FunBites (a BRILLIANT Shark Tank-funded company)
    • YumBox (bento-style lunch box, got mine on Amazon)
    • FOOGO (how many sip cups and straw cups must we try before we find one that’s great? I’m pretty happy with it right now)
  • I’ll have to get some Name Bubbles designs picked out and ordered for her, so I can label all of her belongings (socks, shoes, blanket, sheet, extra clothes, lunch box, water bottle, sunscreen, cloth diapers, everything!)  Click Here for Name Bubbles. 
  • She’s sick of the spray grounds near Target. This is a bummer. It’s been in the upper 90s lately with humidity like a sauna and this child wants to climb fences and hang on bike racks instead of run through the kiddie fountains.
  • Says
    • “milk” when she wants milk, says “oranges” when she wants oranges (which is all. the. time!)
    • When you say “give me a hug!” she runs towards us and hugs us. Same goes for “give daddy a kiss” (usually)
    • “It’s nice”
    • “what does the cow say?” she responds with, “Moo” 
    • “Ruff Ruff???” when she wants to watch Ruff Ruff, Tweet & Dave
    • “Sit!” to Mei Mei when we come to the back door, because she hears me yell this to Mei Mei as she hyperactively claws at the doorway and doggie-screams herself into a tizzy
  • She can identify everyone in her family (Kona, Mei Mei, Daddy, and Mommy) in photos
  • She places books onto her rocking chair and then climbs up into it to browse through them
  • When she’s hungry, she walks up to her high chair and asks to be lifted into it
  • She goes down the slide at the playground by herself now

OK that’s all for this week! 

The circumcision post will be up most likely after we get settled into California unless I have some time to do the work for it. Things are so busy that when we get a free moment, we are pooped and relaxing!