I figured it was time for an update on the Big Move Back To California. Before I start, let’s have a movie! Check out the clip below (sorry, I can’t get it to stop playing automatically), and you’ll understand some of the pain I’ve had in front of me the past few months:
Nice, huh? That’s an ad that has been airing on many of the programs I watch, to promote California specifically to UK tourists. Before making the decision to go home, it was like television was mocking me. Seriously, I’d see an ad like that — or the opening to Californication — and I’d just have an huge internal sigh. What could you do?
Fortunately, TV no longer mocks me. I’m coming home, baby, you taunt me no more. FYI, the ad drives people to this site, where there’s a video library I just discovered in writing this post. Costa Mesa is one of the featured clips:
So how’s it going? One challenge was our small domestic animals. Yes, I’d talking about her and one of her babies that we kept. Look, the boys don’t read my blog, but I’m still not going to come right out and say it. I feel bad enough, and I never even wanted one of them much less two. The animals, that is, not the boys.
OK, the truth is I don’t feel that bad. I feel relieved. When I was a kid, sure, I was a dog person. I even had one. But something happened when I went to college, and sorry dog-lovers, I just can’t stand them. Really, I’m sorry. In college, I became much more a cat person. I had one in college that sadly got run over. I had another when I was a young reporter that I had to give away when the fleas were too much. Fleas and cats are tough in Newport.
The rest of the family overruled me about three years ago on the dog front. Suddenly we gained one, and I never really liked having her. Yes, I have a heart of stone. But dog hair everywhere, dogs jumping up on me, dogs yapping, dogs, dogs, dogs! Did I mention not liking them?
My wife and I knew there was no place for them when we went back, not at the beach. Plus, you know the boys really don’t play with them that much. Having been gone on a trip, the dogs went into a kennel, and they didn’t even notice they were gone when we got home and they stayed in the kennel a day or two longer. They just came back from the kennel again this week, and again, their absence wasn’t noticed.
The kennel had someone that would give them a good home so off they went yesterday. We’re heading back to California for nearly a month next week when the boys are out of school, and we figure they probably won’t notice for some time. If they do, well — we’ll probably lie or make noises about seeing about bringing the dogs over. I know, it’s cruel, heartless and mean. But it’s for the best. And no, I won’t be getting a cat. Fleas, remember? But maybe a hamster. They’re nice, disposable pets.
Speaking of the boys, they continue to amaze us for being up on the move. This morning they woke earlier and were discussing how much more play time they’ll have in the mornings because they’ll have a shorter distance to go to school. I keep waiting for the pushback, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed they stay excited.
Meanwhile, there’s all these things to dispose of. I spent the weekend pondering the seven desktop computers I’ve accumulated over the years (three others I donated long ago). Two are ones I built from scratch and dragged with me to Britain when I first came. I pried an Intel Pentium chip out of one as a souvenir — it’s headed to recycling. I pulled the hard drives out of the other two, those massive 6GB hard drives, and they’re going to be destroyed before heading to the recycle place. I pondered putting another old hard drive back in my former Windows 98 machine, but what’s the point? I’ve got an old laptop with Windows 98 if I want to go back in time, plus I can always run Windows 98 as a virtual machine on my Macbook through VMWare. One Pentium 4 machine with Windows XP will get donated. My main desktop, a family desktop and likely an all-in-one machine will probably go back.
Ironically, though, I’ll be getting an iMac for the family when we get back for good. I already put my wife on a new Macbook picked up in New York last week (overheard in the Mac store from one of the acolytes, “Macs don’t get viruses or need firewalls.” Right.). Look at me, from Mac hater to a two Mac then later a three Mac household.
Furniture. I thought we’d sell everything. But apparently, you rent a big shipping container, and it’s not that much to send your stuff around the world. So lots of our furniture will go, which is nice — I do like the big comfy couch we had. But wardrobes and some other old furniture we bought here in the UK from salvage shops is being sold back. A few pieces will come, ’cause they’ll be unique in a new setting. You can almost hear the lucky pieces saying, “Really, we’re going to California?”
Our second biggest ticket item, our Volvo XC90, goes tomorrow. Didn’t exactly do great on the resale value, getting about half what I paid for it about three years ago. Ouch. But the dealer is making it easy to sell it back to them, and with Britain cracking down on 4x4s regardless that ours gets better gas mileage than many other cars, people don’t want them as much. But I console myself with the fact that cars are so overpriced in Britain that even selling this used, it’ll pay for a brand new Escape hybrid in California. You go dollar, for once, I don’t mind if you keep dropping.
The big ticket item is, of course, the house. It goes on the market next week. The estate agents that came looking (that’s British for real estate agent) were far more positive than we were. The UK housing market is slowing, but it’s still not as bad as the US. Apparently, we have a desirable house in an area with few properties on the market. Or they just wanted to say the right things. We’ll see.