Friday, September 11, 2015

That One Time We Move to Los Angeles

The big idea was to sell most of our stuff and just keep the essentials -- books, CDs, records, kitchen equipment, clothes, an air mattress and two chairs -- packing up said essentials into a small U-Haul and drive out West.

In the beginning stages of our plan, we were going to buy a second car that could tow a U-Haul because our Honda Civid Hybrid would not do the job. A brother proposed that he might help us with our move using his SUV as the towing vehicle. A date was set; we put in our notices at work and at our apartment and kissed the city of Austin good bye. That was the extent of our plan to move to Los Angeles.

For months we told our friends and family of our plan of packing and moving. We had no jobs lined up. We had no apartment lined up. The plan was to just go. Everyone we told thought we were crazy. How could we do something this big without any sort of plan? I told everyone that we did have a plan, move to Los Angeles. It was the only plan we needed. 

We were crazy.

We packed our shit. I got overwhelmed, per usual. I wasn't ready for when our caravan members arrived; a mom, a dad, and a brother. We had a tight schedule to follow. People had lives to get back to; we had lives to start. 

We left Austin on July 5th. With the help of our caravan, we packed up two SUV's, a Honda Civic Hybrid and a U-Haul trailer. The drive to Los Angeles was pretty uneventful in a good way. No cars died on us, no people broke down in an emotional puddle of tears (I'm talking about myself). We just had a transmission scare that was solved by having a second SUV that could hitch the U-haul. Thank heaven for parents.

We arrived in Los Angeles after a couple of days on the road. Put our crap into storage and stayed in an Airbnb. We did some sight seeing with the parents, then we were on our own. The husband and I moved into a smaller Airbnb. The plan was to stay in this Airbnb for a week and find an apartment and start our new lives. That did not go according to plan. Life never goes as expected, right? 

The whole apartment searching scene in Los Angeles is crazy. If you aren't accustomed to this crazy process, it can be a bit overwhelming for the first-time renter. We sat in our little Airbnb and looked at places online, calling and messaging complexes about apartments. We got virtually no response back.

Since we only had a week, we became desperate. Finally we saw a listing that had an open house. We went right at the beginning of the open house, looked at the studio apartment and said we would take it. The only catch was we couldn't move in until the beginning of August. AUGUST! We had three weeks to kill until we could officially move to Los Angeles.

What were we going to do?

I do think we could have done our apartment search differently. I wish we would have driven around more and called about apartments instead of relying solely on internet listings. The whole process was overwhelming*.  I can't believe this city really doesn't have apartment locator services -- sure they have Westside Rentals, a place that just takes your money and throws you to the apartment hunting wolves. I understand the urban sprawl can make it difficult, but really Los Angeles, come on.

*This post brought to you by our sponsor: the word "overwhelming." I get overwhelmed, and I was overwhelmed. I am OVERWHELMED!

Now, we are living in the world's smallest studio apartment. I know, I am being dramatic. I know people in New York, Paris and London have smaller studio apartments. When you are sharing this space with a second person, things can get tight. Especially when we are coming from a two bedroom townhouse apartment. Where can I go to weep silently without someone watching or judging me? Where can I get my "alone" time?

If I felt like we hadn't grown up before, I sure as hell do now. We don't even have a proper bed, we just have an air mattress. We have no room to get a proper bed. It's like I am reliving my college years all over again.

Our location is pretty great thought. I think for knowing very little about this city in general, we did do a good job at picking our location. It's just too bad we don't have parking. Ugh, parking. That is a whole other story.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Big Move West: Or How The West Was Won.

So we moved.

"What?" you ask. "I thought you were dead."

No, no, no. I am not dead. I am still here. I have had moments of utter total breakdown, but I am still here. Barely.

I am well aware that I have this little corner in the blogosphere and that I have ignored it successfully for over a year now. I do have this tiny annoying voice in my head reminding me that my audience awaits for my return, but I just ignore it. It's what I do best. However, I don't think I can ignore it any longer.

I'm here now. Better late than never, right?

Like I mentioned earlier, we moved, the husband and I. It's been a little over 11 years since last we did something like this--something where we just up and move with a little plan and all of our crap whittled down to just our essential items and a small nest egg in savings.

"Are we crazy?" you ask. YES!

The first time the husband and I did a move like this I was a year (he was two years) out of college, and we craved a change.

I grew up in the Upper Midwest and I met my husband at an Upper Midwestern university.

After college we dicked around a bit, trying to "find ourselves" (it's quite pathetic, but I am still trying to find myself, and it is annoying). While all our friends were getting married and thinking of the "bigger picture"--a house, car payments, 401Ks, and babies--we just wanted to enjoy our twenties. We were in no hurry whatsoever to get married and finally tied the knot after 15 years together.

We did not want our lives to be the typical Midwestern story, starting off at an entry-level desk job with the potential of moving up the corporate ladder to another crappy desk job all so we could make a bunch of money to buy that house in the suburbs and start that family.

There is nothing wrong with that life. It just wasn't something we wanted.

We made a list of some cities that we thought would be fun to live in. I liked Portland, Oregon or Boulder, Colorado. The husband liked those cities, and he added Austin, Texas to the list.

I was hesitant about Austin because it was in Texas. TEXAS! But the husband threw me in a car, and we road tripped to the second Austin City Limits Music Festival. I fell in love. The decision was made, Austin, Texas was our town. We packed up two cars and drove through the night. We had become Texans, y'all.

This isn't our first rodeo. We have done this before, a move like this. But everything has changed.

I might still be in shock. We moved to Los Angeles, California. Oh, boy! We are no longer in the small* Central Texas town. Our cocoon, our security blanket. We had lived in Austin for over 11 years. Austin had treated us well.

*Austin's growth the past 11 years has been outrageous. When we first moved to Austin, it was a cute "little" college town. Now it is a sprawling city, and its essence is slowly being destroyed. I could go on and on about Austin, but not today. These are my personal thoughts on Austin, and many would disagree, but I am allowed to have my opinions.

Now, we are well into our 30's. What are we thinking?

Unlike our move to Austin 11 years ago, this move to Los Angeles comes with a tiny plan.

When we moved to Austin, there was no plan. We just showed up on Austin's front door (we did have an apartment lined up on South Lamar, something we did not have before moving to Los Angeles). 11 years ago we had a tiny nest egg; today we have a bit more. When we arrived in Austin, all we needed to do was find jobs. Cost of living was cheap, and we were 23-year-olds without a care in the world.

Now, everything is different. I keep on repeating myself, but EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.

Are we crazy? YES.

Can we do this? I am not sure.

Will I be here to write about it? I think I can manage it. We'll see.

I haven't worked in over 2 months, I'm hoping I'll find the time.