Successful landing!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, and my blog reading and writing fell off completely. The road trip was short and stressful. Sister and I drove over 2,000 miles in 3.5 days. Because of predicted snow in the Sierras, we took the extreme southern route through Missouri, Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle, New Mexico, northern Arizona, and then into California.

Expressways are built for high-speed traffic and sister was apparently determined to take advantage of that fact; as her fiancé put it in a text, we were “breaking land speed records” when she was behind the wheel. 😉 I meant to write a blog post on the road, but I just couldn’t squeeze in the time. We drove a minimum of 10 hours a day and basically fell into bed at night.

Hannah dog did remarkably well. I had to take off her travel safety harness on the second day, though, as it apparently inhibited her ability to move enough that she was getting stiff. I noticed her limping during walks, tried re-arranging her “nest” of cushions in the back seat, and only noticed improvement after I completely removed the tether from the harness. I thought the tether was pretty generous in length, but I guess old dogs need to adjust themselves in more ways than the manufacturers had envisioned. I’m taking Hannah to her new vet on Friday and will talk to her about my observations. It’s possible she has a touch of arthritis in her legs.

So where are we, exactly? Napa, California.

I’m a bit surprised that I’m living way up at the far northern edges of the Bay area, too. I never thought to look up here for a place to rent, but I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity when it was presented to me.

About two years ago, sister and her (now)fiancé bought this cute little cottage in Napa, CA. They want to live in Napa during their retirement years, and thought they would get a jump-start on that by moving here a few months after purchase. Sister works for the same company I do, and had already talked to her boss about transferring; her finance thought to find a job in the area since his skills are usually in a high demand field. But their plans didn’t work out due to family issues, so they took on tenants instead of moving in themselves.

When I started talking about moving to the Bay area, that got the wheels turning in sister’s head. She suggested I lease the house and take over care of it from the property management company. I had to admit there were some positive aspects to the deal: they were OK with me bringing my dog, there is a small fenced yard for the dog to stretch her legs,  and I will be able to garden in the yard, too. The only negative I could think of was that commuting into San Francisco would take at least 1.5 hours.

I confirmed that the rent fit my budget and then talked with my boss about continuing a heavy telecommuting schedule. Everything checked out, so here I am.

The first week I was overwhelmed with unpacking, cleaning, getting my internet and TV service set up, picking up some basic household stuff I had not brought from Chicago (like bed pillows), and figuring out the town. Sister stayed for several days and did some house maintenance tasks that the management company seemed to overlook (such as cleaning the gutters and fixing some loose boards in the fence).

The second week I was focused on getting back to work and being productive. I have many reasons to be grateful to my employer, but trying to keep a schedule that sort of worked in the Central time zone has been incredibly difficult out here in Pacific time zone. Virtual conferences and meetings that started at 7 AM CT have necessitated cruelly early wake up times. It’s true that I don’t have to allow for time to dress and commute, but if a meeting starts at 5 AM local time, I need to be up at 4:30 AM so I can get some coffee down my gullet and splash some cold water on my face to wake up my tired brain and body.

Now that I’m in my third week here, I think I’m adjusting. Hannah dog and I are establishing a routine of pre-dawn rousing, morning walks after the early meetings are over and the sun is up, and then nap breaks in the early afternoon. At some point in the afternoon we’ll take another walk and/or I may run some errands.

Eventually I’ll find a dog walker (wish me luck in interviewing a third person this Friday!) and can start setting up a schedule of days in the office. That will likely call for more body clock flexibility since my wake time on those days may start a bit later. I’ve already tested the commute to San Francisco by meeting my South Bay friend in San Francisco my first weekend. The route involves a drive down the valley on a relatively fast highway, then a ferry ride. I really enjoyed the ferry ride, even if it did take one hour. The seats are comfy, there are plenty of power outlets and free wi-fi, and the view is incredible.

But how am I liking Napa? So far, so good! All the people are very friendly, it’s easy to get around town (even “heavy traffic” here is nothing like a Chicago rush hour), and the weather has been…well…interesting. After three years of drought, we’re experiencing what I guess is a traditional winter here with plenty of rain. A new acquaintance who also grew up in Chicago said that during her first winter here she felt cold all the time because it was so damp; I can completely relate. In Chicago I could hang a load of clothes to dry inside at night and they would be ready to put away the next morning. Here it took nearly two days for my jeans to dry while hanging on the drying rack inside.

Moving to a new climate and new town is giving me lots of topics to think about and write about. Now that I’m reasonably settled there should be more frequent posts.

So what’s new in your world?

9 thoughts on “Successful landing!

  1. I am so excited for you! It sounds so wonderful. I dearly love Northern California. You are a few hours’ drive from the Redwood Forests, you lucky dog! Your weekend trips are going to be incredible.

    I am looking forward to more blog posts!


  2. So exciting. Sounds like a UK winter. I was amazed at how it would never get below freezing yet the damp was so bone chilling that it took hours to recover from being outside on a misty morning.

    I love that part of CA though. Sounds like a wonderful fresh start.


  3. Hi! I found your blog through a mutual friend. This summer my husband and I moved to California from the Chicago area, northwest Indiana, actually. We wanted to escape the winters and the hot, humid summers. I was having breathing problems as well, as the area is heavily industrialized. Since we drove in late summer we were able to take the northern route. We moved more north than you. We are only 20 miles south of Oregon. We love it up here. The air is so fresh, always, and nature is everywhere. Welcome to California!


  4. Pingback: ‘Twas the Link Love before Christmas… | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured)

  5. Oh, to live in Napa! Gosh. I hope it works out well for you and you love it.

    Do you have a floor furnace vent in the house? Put your drying rack over it. Or if you have those heaters that run along the wall along the floor, place the drying rack as near as you get it to one of them. The heat rises and helps to dry clothes faster.


    • Unfortunately there are no heat registers I can use that way. The heat in the house is forced air and comes out of vents in the ceiling. (I guess with the absence of basements the equipment needs to be in the attic of the house.) I could put the rack under the closest ceiling vent, but that would block access to the sliding glass doors at the back of the house. The sun was out yesterday and I was thinking that I really need to get a drying arrangement set up outside. I’m still trying to figure out the best spot in the back or side yards to put my umbrella dryer.


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