Saturday, January 29, 2005

Lost It

Has there been any research showing the correlation between hormone level changes in connection with big life changes, aside from pregnancy? I've been packing like a mad hound and realizing that for 2 people who others say don't have a lot of stuff for 2 people, we have a TON of stuff. Packing sucks. No ifs, ands or buts. And at the end of the day, exhaustion setting in, I had a little emotional breakdown. Like postpartum, I guess I'm really not ready for it to be over in some ways. I'm really anxious about the job situation, missing my friends, the weather, having a lot of social anxiety more than anything, even worried about my marriage. And all I wanted was to be around some friends tonight, I was in a really bad place... and they're all busy. So, I'm in an even worse place, wondering how often I'll feel like this in MD. Post pregnancy symptoms: mood swings, spontaneous crying, loneliness, depression. Yeah, I've definitely lost it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Preview of Things to Come

Just a brief post to summarize observations on my last trip to DC/MD as visitor... next time it's as resident.

1. House is officially ours... yeah!

2. Celebrated in Baltimore at "Howl at the Moon", a great bar with dualing pianos, incredible sexual energy, and tons of fun.

3. Driving a stick shift with no power steering right after a snowfall is not the best way to learn a new city, nor the best way to learn how to drive in snow, nor the best way to learn how to drive manual transmission.

4. Some of my friends have blogs where they do a weekly theme. I have friends who sum up TV shows every week, who write about books they've read, who have weekly contests. I've decided I'm going to have "Protest of the Week." Only a sampling below, but look for it once I've settled in. Apparently, the presence of these protests will dictate both my metro travel experiences as well as my wife's work schedule at least on a weekly basis.

Protest of the Week: "Right to Life" Nothing like cramming onto a metro full of religious freaks with an attitude only 2 days after being bombarded by their posters of some of the most graphic images I've ever seen on the way back from closing on our house. It took every ounce of control to stop myself from saying a few choice sentences, such as "Honey, did you pick up the morning after pills from the pharmacy this morning?" and "I heard your crack whore friend's addict baby finally wound up in foster care after no one would adopt him, but died after being beaten... she must feel terrible."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Averaging Out at O.K.

The original name of this posting was going to be "Miserable," because after just over a month of hard-core home-buying business, that's exactly how I've been. No one tells you the truth about such matters, but it is hard to believe home-buying is the American Dream. Several times in the past couple of days, I have been ready to pull the plug on the whole operation. Nothing ever seems to go right for us. We've had problems with the realtors, the offers, the houses, the closing date, the financing, the insurance, the move... There have been many times I decided I just don't want this damn house anymore!! However, if we can just make it past Friday without a big glitch, we will finally officially be homeowners. My boss finally admitted to me how difficult purchasing a home can be... he said the only thing worse than buying a home, is buying one when you have one to sell. I can't see why anyone would go through this twice... you must forget how bad it is after a while, kind of like childbirth (from what I've been told).

So, speaking of childbirth... this morning I became an aunt for the first time. This is very exciting news for me. I am quite happy, a proud aunt indeed! A baby girl was born to my brother and sister-in-law at 8:30 this morning. Through the chaos and distance, we haven't seen a picture yet, but we're told she was 7 lbs., 8 ozs., 19 inches, and we think her name is Rachel. Because of the timing of the birth and the move, I may not get to see her for several months, and that is quite disappointing.

Also disappointing is the news of my friends' cat, who fell ill too early in this life, and was lost this past weekend. She was a great cat. I'll say the second-best cat ever (next to mine, of course... although I admit there were times when I would even put her at #1). I feel for the loss... animals that touch us can be our best friends, and sometimes as close if not closer than family. She will be missed.

And so, the ups, the downs, the ups, the downs... I guess I'm no longer "miserable," but just averaging out at "O.K."

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Venturing Out Further - The Beginning

And so I return from an absence in writing to share with you that we have finally purchased our first home. We've been through so much the past few weeks, that I think I can't begin to tell much about the home or the experience, except to say that it is quite an ordeal trying to purchase a home 3000 miles from where you live. I will be making my 2nd and 3rd trips within 1 month in just a week from now. I am reminded of our friend's calming words, that what we are going through is no different than what thousands of military families go through every year. And when I think of the tsunami and mudslide victims, and how quickly a home can vanish, I try to remind myself that this purchase is not the end of the world... even if it feels like it at times.

My wife called me to tell me we had counter-offers on homes we had bid on. I needed to fly out immediately because home inspection and escrow periods were short. She called on Dec. 28, the second and possibly worst day of rain in "sunny" Southern Cal. Within a couple of hours, I had a ticket for Dec. 29... I had purchased so fast that I forgot I was committed to dog sitting, and that my parents couldn't cover for me because they were leaving on a cruise on the 30th. The dog owners were in London, and unreachable, and apparently you can't kennel a dog without it's shot records, which were in her purse in London. The nice friend with the military advice was the one who eventually came to our rescue.

I packed the heaviest coat I had (the only heavy coat I have - a ski-type down jacket). Mental note: need fashionable winter wear when I get to Maryland and can afford it. I left behind a powerful 15-day rain storm (which by today's count had beaten the most rain since records have been kept, with a second place finish that hasn't taken place since 1889. They said if it doesn't rain AT ALL the rest of the entire season, we will be almost 500% above the average seasonal rainfall.) I arrived in MD to 60+ degree weather... all week. I actually stood in bare feet and just pajamas, outside in MD, on January 1st! Between the tsunamis, earthquakes, rain, and heat, something is definitely screwy on the planet.

Other interesting things on my visit: Canadian geese. I saw hundreds of them, and they were amazing. I'm sure if you're from Canada, this is no exciting thing, but they never fly to California, so seeing them seemed special somehow. To think they go to such a cold state to warm up! Other new birds for me were cardinals. Looking at a home, I think I shocked the realtor when I looked up a tree and froze in awe at the little red bird. We don't have those in L.A. Also interesting is the ability for cell phones to work underground on the Metro. In L.A., my cell phone has trouble working in my office building most days, but there I could get reception underground, with 3-4 bars! Guess they know their target consumer! Also fun while there, we attended the auto show. The auto show pales in comparison to the L.A. Auto Show... again you have to know your target audience, and L.A. drivers probably demand more. But they had a radio contest that we were just in time to see the end of. People had been holding on to some cars for a week, the last to hold on would win a car. These people were insane! and quite tired!!! Eventually, there were too many people left when the contest ended, so they had to pull cards to get a key, and only 1 key opened each vehicle. After 4 years, 1 guy finally won a vehicle. He had made it to the end all previous years, but his key never was the right one. The whole scene was surreal. I've seen the contests on TV, but we were there by accident to witness this great event... I started to wonder what their hourly worth was to spend a week for the cost of a car. Hmmm....

Anyway, last but not least... the house. For a mere (approximate) $100,000 over the last year's going rate, we landed a home. Prices were ridiculous, but one more year and we'd be out of the market for good. So we took the plunge. (Any contacts in the MD area for work, especially at Discovery Communications, are greatly appreciated!!!) Apparently, Maryland is 4th in the nation for the outrageous home sales price growth. 4th, ABOVE New York!!! That just blew me away. It's funny to own a home and not know where it is. I don't really know how to get there, or any major cross streets. I just know it's about a 1-2 minute walk from my friend's parent's home, which was a nice coincidence. It's got 4 bedrooms and 2 baths (which sounds big until you see the size of the bedrooms and baths... small!), a fireplace, wood floors, newer roof and newer kitchen with granite countertops. And it's on 4 levels... which sounds huge if you're from CA, but again, size is relative. The only thing that REALLY is big is the yard... a large feat in L.A., we came away with a MD average-sized 1/4 acre lot.

That's about all the energy I can muster up for description at the moment, but I'm sure there will be many more adventures to come, as the hermit ventures into new territority. Stay tuned...