Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Last night I had the best night sleep since I left my in-laws.  That means I slept for at least 8 hours straight and did not wake up.  Let me back up.  We are sleeping on a blow up mattress on the floor in our new house.  I think I have it bad but the girls are sleeping on camping mats on bamboo floors and they haven't complained yet.  But I am not fond of the blow up mattress even though we bought an egg crate and put it on top and found some nice bedding and threw that in the mix as well.

Sleep is very important to me.  If I don't sleep well I start to get anxious.  Anxious while driving the car, anxious in crowds, anxious in the house, anxious outside of the house and if the sleeplessness continues then I get panicky. 

I'm well aware that I could take medication for all of the above and sometimes I do.  I know I spent most of my 20's and part of my 30's self medicating for a myriad of physiological symptoms that I self diagnosed with the help of my very bestest friends.  Right now however I choose to grin and bear it and so last night was a high point in a week of setbacks, sobs and chagrin.  And adventure.

We are opening a bottle of champagne when the movers show up.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Road Again

One of the hardest songs to play on the expert level (which is the only level that Gabe and I play on) in Guitar Hero is On The Road Again by Willie Nelson.  He does all these crazy things with his guitar and it makes my fingers feel like they are having a nervous breakdown.  I love to try it but I can't make it even 10 measures into the song without failing - and so we have to put it on a no fail mode to play and I cheat my way through it.  But I love the song.

When I was 10 years old we moved to Kingston Jamaica.  We didn't just go straight there we wound and twisted around the US until we got there.  I vaguely remember a train trip to somewhere like Arizona or Texas.  Then we stayed in with various friends and relatives until we found ourselves near Freeport Maine and we started the school year there until it was cold and our visa's came through and then we flew to Kingston and when we stepped off the plane the air was so warm and moist I felt like I was drinking.

At age 10 moving was a real adventure.  And the trip we took to get there was an adventure.  And now we are taking our kids on such an adventure too.  Today we talked to Gabe and his Dad and they were somewhere in Oklahoma and the plains were barren and dull and they were racing storms to get to their destination for the night.  They have been driving for 2 and a half days without breaks and they are over half way there but I could see the tiredness and stress on their faces as we Skype'd with them last night.  They will be happy to stop driving.

Two days ago I felt like I was playing On The Road Again, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown, not that I necessarily know what that feels like.  I came to my in-laws and I couldn't sleep.  And the girls were driving me crazy.  And I was exhausted and irritable.  And then last night I had nightmare after nightmare.  So I woke up every 2 hours and tossed and turned.  And I worried and I fretted.  But this morning I woke up and the sun was shining, the girls were rested and my MIL was making waffles.  So I had a waffle, a cup of tea and I clipped my kids toenails and I told each girl how much I loved them.  And I feel much better.  I am not having a breakdown, I am moving and while they are very similar, they are not the same thing.    I'm gonna be ok.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Goodie Bag

I have been wanting to write something for several days now but all my time seems to be sucked up by this upcoming move.  I will work feverishly for 2 or 3 hours and realize that I've done pretty much nothing.  I also stress out over the weirdest things which I'm not going to post because too many relatives read this and I don't want to freak them out.  But suffice it to say that I actually had a panic attack driving the car to pick up a kid from piano lessons and it actually took me about 2 or 3 minutes to realize I was having a panic attack and not a heart attack.  I didn't pull over of course because 1) the panic attack never wins and 2) I was too busy to pull over and 3) I live in Cupertino (still) and most people drive muy loca here so no one noticed.

I hate the Goodie Bag.  H.A.T.E.  I hate all the little pieces and plastic crap that goes into them.  I hate the paper or plastic bag that the small pieces go into.  I hate the pencil toppers, note books, whistles, slinkies, candy, balloons, erasers, squinkies, rings, blowpops, twizzlers, pez dispensers, hair clippies and all the other stuff that comes along with the Goodie Bag.  I hate that there is pressure to put together a goodie bag so that you get one at the end of a party.  I hate that each kid expects the goodie bag so that if you decide not to make one they are crushed on the way out of your party.  What ever happened to just being happy for the kid who has a birthday?  It is their special day and not yours, get over it.

I can say that there are a few very small exceptions to the Goodie Bag that I will allow.  One party we took home these fabric bags with velcro on them that we later used for sandwich bags that we wash and re-use, they seemed very eco friendly and earth sound.  One party we threw each child made bracelets and necklaces as a craft and so they each took home their own jewelry they had made.  And finally I went to a birthday party where we took a book and exchanged it for another so every child brought a book and every child took home a book.  It seemed so wonderful and educational and forward in the parents thinking.  After all, who has a child without any toys?  Please raise your hand if you do and I will personally take your child to the Goodie Bag store and buy them a bag full of plastic, small, vaccum cleaner breaking stuff that you can take home and then strew all over the floor and leave for your mother to step on. 

It is my mission to eradicate the Goodie Bag all together.  Remember that book by Al Franken where he ran for President and his platform was to stop ATM's from charging a withdrawal fee?  Well my platform is to eradicate Goodie Bags from the face of all parties.  Unfortunately I'm going to have to start in N. Carolina since I'm moving in a week.  More panic.

Monday, December 10, 2012


We spent a whirlwind weekend in and around Raleigh this weekend looking for what will soon become Casa McKeon - the most fantastic house for this Irish/Korean/Spanish speaking/pet loving family from Cupertino.  We wanted something charming and we wanted something cute and we wanted something with a little land and we wanted something that was us and finding all those things in one house is a lot of work.  It is also impossible.

The first place we saw was interesting, the kitchen was old, there was hardly any storage, a huge burn spot on the dining room floor but the neighborhood was cute and the couple seemed very nice.  They knew we were just starting out so they wished us luck and sent us on our way.  It was like they knew we would not be back.

The second place we looked at was fabulous.  It was beautiful and it was remote and the house was so pretty that we didn't feel like it was for real.  We tiptoed around the place and ooo'd and awww'd and then left.  It really felt like a grown-up house for grown-ups.  Not for a couple of kids like us.

The third house was hideous.  The fourth house was hideous.  The fifth house looked like all the houses my friends had in 1983.  It had bright blue carpet, wallpaper and floral motifs.  Ugly.  The sixth house was brand new.  Brand new and beautiful.  Cookie cutter end townhome unit, community pool, 2 car garage, expensive but beautiful.  The seventh house was cute.  But by this time of the night - 7:000pm to be exact, I knew that I had seen too many houses for one day.  I knew that I needed a break and I needed some food and I needed to go to sleep.

So we got up the next morning and drove back the the last house and looked again.  Everything looks so different in the light of day.  The couple renting it was so nice, oh so nice and we wanted to rent it for them because they were so nice and we liked them.  But then we drove back to the second house and walked around it.  And I stood there and looked at the house and as I photographed it, Gabe walked around the side and said, "this is our house, this is it" and I knew that we were not kids anymore, we were grown ups and this was our very own grown up house.  And so we called the guy and filled out a bunch of paperwork and that will be our new home.

And ya'll come visit anytime, ya'hear?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


This is a picture of what my new home state will look like.  It looks strange to me.  I have officially entered the kicking and screaming, temper tantrum stage of my move and the packers haven't even shown up. 

On Friday we will get on a plane and fly to North Carolina and check it out.  We will drive around and we will rent a house and we will meet people and we will check out schools and we will get on a plane and fly back home and then the movers will come and pack our stuff up and you know the rest of the story. 

Last night I was talking to my friend Whitney who I met through the Moms club I belong to and I was telling her that my biggest fear was that people would be having lots of fun and I would not be here to have fun with them.  And that it made me sad to think of myself miles and miles away and them here laughing it up, out to dinner, park play dates, fun events, beach trips, celebrating birthdays, camping excursions and all the while life will be moving on without me.  I started to cry because that is something that I am doing a lot lately and I felt silly, like a little kid that wants to have her cake and eat it too.  I can't move to North Carolina and live in California at the same time.  I can't move into the next stage of my life and become a home owner and stay on the west coast.  I can't say goodbye to my family and stay here and watch them leave.  This is a package deal - we made this decision together and we are going to make the best of this wonderful job opportunity and life changing decision. 

It just means that I met some pretty neat people here and I put down some roots and I will miss them.  And I'm sure that after a while we will put down roots there and we will meet people and we will make new friends.  And one day I will realize that I'm having a great time somewhere else with other people, new people and I won't feel so lonely or bad that life has gone on without me here in California.