Monday, May 31, 2010

cold hands (and feet)

Last weekend, we drove to northern California to visit with Charlie's family.




On the way home, we stopped by San Francisco to visit the sites and then opted to take the beautiful Highway 1 through Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur all the way to Morro Bay.




I've done this drive before, but it never ceases to take my breath away.


(Especially this place.)


(We stuck around for a while. Ghiradelli is the Patron Saint of ... me.)


The California coastline is absolutely spectacular. Hopefully, these photos which were taken through an open window as we zipped along, convey the awe inspiring majesty of this region.




I know Virginia will be beautiful, too. But I've got this tiny little feeling that every so often manifests in to this great big booming voice that screams, "DON'T LEAVE CALIFORNIA!"




The weather is definitely cooler in northern California than southern California. So when we stopped for lunch in Big Sur, and a light rain began to fall and the temperatures dipped in to the 50's, I could feel myself start to get chilled and then almost instantly, my fingers turned that corpse-like Raynaud's white.


How will I ever manage in Virginia?


When the temperature in January falls sub-freezing?!


And there is snow and ice for as far as the eye can see?!


I'll be a human popsicle!!


I'll never survive!!


Nonetheless, we're going. So every spare moment of our time is absorbed with looking online at real estate in Virginia. We're currently looking in Fairfax County and if our current house hadn't lost 60% of it's value over the past three years, I might not be suffering quite so much sticker shock.


But it has. And if that wish to retire before the age of 90 is still on the table, I'll need a bigger dandelion.


If we move outside of the "Beltway" it seems that we'd get a lot more house (and garage) for our money, but then, I'd be stuck with a 45+ minute commute each way and that doesn't fit in very well with my plan of being in the car as little as possible.

(Unless this was my drive.)


Add to that, a large portion of the pictures we've seen show the homes BURIED under snow. Yes, I know this past winter was a harsh one ... but even if those "harsh winters" only come along once every few years, I'm seriously doubting my body's ability to self regulate it's temperature and not instantaneously freeze.


From what I can see, it's highly unlikely we'll be doing this next Ground Hog Day. Unless, we're visiting California on vacation. Or back out at the absolute last minute and never leave in the first place. While I am genuinely excited about the prospect of change, I can't stop thinking about ice, snow, falling down and breaking my hip, huge mortgage payments and lack of garages with so many homes.

Which begs the question, where do people put their strollers and bicycles if they don't have a garage?


It may not seem it, but I'm really trying not to second guess our decision. I'm really trying to not let the fear of the unknown creep in. I'm really trying to resist the temptation to call the whole thing off. I'm really trying to be strong, courageous, go forth and LIVE!!!


To do that ... I've got to stay focused.


I've got to take this one step at a time.


I've got to keep my eyes and chin UP.


Provided we find a suitable home that doesn't force us to live off rice so we can make the mortgage. And provided the working in an office every day schedule doesn't turn me in to pulp. And provided I acquire some good cold weather gear that can withstand temperatures to minus zero Fahrenheit, I'm certain ...

This move will be a good thing.


If I repeat that 22 times, while blocking out all reasoning and turning clockwise in a circle chewing a clove of garlic, I actually start to believe it.


  1. I beleive (and I tell myself daily!) that the fear of change, whatever it may be, is always worse than the change itself. When the change happens, it very quickly becomes normal life. Once you get where you are going you will have other things to worry about and you are far too sensible to continue worrying whether you made the right decision - that'll become apparent anyway - no, you'll get on with making a home and loving your family.

  2. Do you have Raynaud's syndrome?'s_phenomenon

  3. Those pictures are beautiful - I can see why you struggle.

    It'll be fine once you get here and get settled. The East Coast is beautiful too. And yes, most houses do have garages (at least around here) and no, you won't instantaeously freeze (if this transplanted Texan didn't - then you probably won't either). Before you jump in with both feet and buy something - why don't you rent first so you can get a feel for the areas? That's what we did. And it helped us figure out where we wanted to live and where we didn't.

    Just remember - it will be fine. No matter what happens.

  4. Dang. I'm in sticker shock too. Just went to the web to see what you're talking about. I couldn't find a 2 bedroom home under $200,000 or a 3 bedroom under $320,000. If you did better than that, I salute you.

    Its wild to look at home prices on either coast. I live in KS and our house was 109,000 3 years ago. Its a 1700 sq ft 3 bedroom/2bath with no basement and a 2-car (barely) garage. If we had splurged and spent 200,000-300,000 we could have gotten a helluva house. I mean mansion compared to our home. Amazing.

  5. I love the central coast... We lived in Monterey for a year and it was absolutely beautiful.

    That being said, I lived in Fairfax County for almost my entire life. If there is anything you want to know, feel free to ask. I grew up there, still have family there, and we even still own a house in Virginia. It's not California... but it's nice.

  6. wait until you photograph fall in the mountains here!! it's AMAZING. You will LOVE it.

    Also, we live 50 yards outside of fairfax county in Dulles (near airport) and my commute to Reston is 20 mins and hubby commutes to McLean in 30 if you live on the edge of Fairfax, it is MUCH cheaper and you get way more for your money. When can I expect you to visit w/the kiddies??!! ;-)

  7. You gonna die there. Your blood's thinned out for sure by now. It was 95 with 10 percent humidity yesterday and I was in my glory. I am sure I am part lizard.

    But this will all be highly entertaining and I can't wait for your next chapter.

  8. I don't know if this will be helpful but having moved a lot of times in the past several years I wanted to say that this is totally normal for the last little while before moving. At least in my experience. Even though we were excited about our moves those last few months/weeks when you feel like you're constantly wondering "is this the last time we'll do/see this activity/place/people" so difficult that you question your sanity. It's very emotional draining. And I seemed to fall more in love with our current location just before each move, finding the bg and little things I adored about each place and obsessing over how much I would miss them. Sometimes it would have been easier to just get the move over really quickly - in fact, most of my moves didn't take more than a month or two to orchestrate. But it was a good time to really soak in the places and people that we cared about in each city.

  9. Cummon...VA is NOT that bad! It's not like you're moving to North Dakota where it IS super cold all the time. (Although the houses there are pretty good!) There's a ton of things to do in Virginia and the DC area. You will have a great time.

    As for no garage, we keep our stroller in the car 24/7 and if I need it, I take it out of the car.

    I know you will miss CA. I'm sorry about you having to leave a place you love.

  10. As a SoCal transplant to beautiful, snowy Colorado, I have one word for you, my friend... WOOL. Lots and lots of beautiful, warm, fluffy wool. Also, mittens are significantly warmer than gloves. Preferrably wool mittens. :)

  11. What beautiful pictures! I know you will miss Calif, I was there three times and I miss California. Raynaurd's runs in the Coleman family, Nana had it and I have it so we can compare notes. Remember Uncle Bills words, that it doesn't matter where you live, it's whom you live with. You two will be happy on the moon

  12. As much as we'll miss you guys...I have to say that we're excited for your move. We definitely need to see you guys before you leave!!!! ;)

  13. Hi! I don't think I have ever commented before. I live outside of Boston (and have 3 year old triplets.) I also suffer from Raynaud's - mainly in my toes. And interestingly enough, my ANAs came back "slightly abnormal" a few years ago. My doctors told me that nothing was off enough to cause alarm or mean anything. I have been wearing Uggs during the winter months - those are the only boots that have kept my toes warm enough. Good luck with your move!

  14. Just rent out your house and rent in VA. Then you can make it permanent once you feel more settled.:-)

    It will take a while, but your body will adjust to the temperature difference, and I am going out on a limb here but guessing that even with Raynaud's there may be some adjustment. And from the New England states people think VA has relatively mild winters (they do not last quite as long nor get quite as cold).

    Good luck with everything!

  15. If I remember rightly, you said this new job would likely peter out in about five years and you'll have to relocate again, maybe to Texas? Considering that, go for the smaller house and the easier commute. You can do smaller. We did... WAY smaller... and it really wasn't a big deal. Seriously.

    Although I am seriously sad you are leaving me, you guys will have a wonderful set of new adventures. yay for adventure!

  16. Listen to that voice that says STAY! But best wishes to you in whatever you do!

  17. if it's any comfort at all, I have Raynaud's, too, and while I live in NC (which isn't QUITE as cold as Virginia), I have managed to survive the chilly winters. ;-) My doc said wear mittens instead of gloves and surprisingly, it does help! =) But those pics out there are incredibly beautiful...and yes, Virginia is beautiful, too, but I can see how you would have a tough time with your decision. Best of luck with the move!

  18. Although I hate to see you leave San Diego, you, my friend, will flourish WHEREVER you go! I imagine you would even succeed in the North Pole!

  19. I moved to the Bay Area in 2000 after 28 years in South Florida; once I figured out how to stay warm, which took about three years, I couldn't be bought out of living here. I love the scenery, so gorgeously shown by your photo tour above thank you, the people, the HUGE rocks, rivers, wildlife, diversity and intelligent population.

    Spent 15 years in Valley Forge PA; you are right to Fear Virginia... snow drifts into mounds twice as high as your car. Try shoveling your way out of that mess. with small kids. and ice... no thanks.

  20. Wow! Absolutely breathtaking photos. Virginia is beautiful to though, Jen. I went to college there for 4 years...Harrisonburg, in the Shenandoah Valley. Breathtaking as well. You'll love it.
    And as for the cold? Don't you want your children to experience the seasons? Winters can be cold, but your kids will have oh so much fun playing in the snow. Virginia is actually much milder than many states. You'll love it!

  21. Hang in there! I live in Charlottesville, VA (about 2 hours south of NoVa) and last winter was VERY unusual! My twins are 6 and that is the first time they saw so much snow. We do have all four seasons here which makes living here all that more special---I especially enjoy fall with all of the beautiful foiliage. Good luck with all that you have to accomplish before the move! And, remember, "Virginia is for Lovers"!!

  22. I did a quick search and was in major sticker shock, too. I did find this 3b/1.5ba home w/ single car garage, for $285,000: 13329 Scibilia Ct Fairfax, VA 22033.

  23. Your photos are gorgeous! I was sorry to hear of your loss. I am wishing you well in your move and new adventures. I have a friend who lived in Fairfax area in 2 different locations so if you need more info or would like to talk to someone with specific questions, plase email me at and I will put you in contact with her.


  24. Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures. BUT he will have many gorgeous pictures from the East Coast as well.


  25. Virginia is LOVELY! It has seasons! And you can keep your bikes in the garage or out in the shed or under the porch. You'll see. It will be great! (Disclaimer: I've never actually, technically, sort of *lived* in Virginia. But I AM from the East Coast (MUCH further north!) and I would move back again in a heartbeat if I could.)

  26. Your pictures of the CA coastline are stunning! Yes, Fairfax County definitely does not look like that. But, there is beautiful scenery to be had throughout the state. I'm a Virginia native but I've lived in southern Italy and visited all over the US and Europe (and parts of Asia), and Virginia still amazes me with its beauty. Of course, Fairfax County amazes me with the cost of housing (but realize that prices there have dropped by 60% as well, so you're kind of evening out). Just beware of property taxes. My husband and I live in the Shenandoah Valley (where housing is much cheaper, property taxes are totally affordable, schools are good, and people are nicer) and love it, but his commute is L-O-N-G. And we have basements out here, so you don't really need a garage; it's just kind of nice to have. Anway, you're definitely the type to make lemonade out of lemons so regardless, you'll find a way to love it here, even if just for a few years. Good luck and feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about VA!

  27. I was faced with this very same situation two years ago. My husband decided that he needed a change and started applying for academic positions at colleges and universities. Six months later, we found ourselves in a car with our one year old moving across the country from our lovely home in New Mexico and landed in New Jersey. Far away from family. Far away from the mountains. Far away from everything we had grown to love.

    But it was worth it. Completely worth it. We have new friends, new jobs, a new house, and have started planting new roots in our community. As overwhelming as it feels now, you will overcome and be stronger because of it.

    (And while you don't know me from Adam, it is kind of fun knowing that I may have a random chance of bumping into you someday... especially since you'll be just down I-95 from Jersey.)

    Good luck. Godspeed. Safe travels. Welcome to the East Coast!

  28. I have family in Virginia and the pictures they send are amazing. You will still have beauty AND have new scenery to share with your children and take pictures of.

  29. cold climates are GREAT as you get older - it especially helps with HOT FLASHES!

  30. We moved FROM Northern Virginia to Texas last year, and I'm still not quite used to the HOT, HOT weather here. Yes, it will be cold there in January. But the four seasons will also be beautiful. I hope you will like it. Also, I'm sorry for your recent pregnancy loss. I've been there, too, before my twins were born and I know how hard it is. Sending good thoughts your way.

  31. Beautiful pictures!
    Good luck with the move.

  32. I was a military spouse & we were stationed at Andrews AFB right across the Potomac in Maryland. Let me tell you that the D.C. area has the BEST public transportation system. I worked in D.C & would park my car at the local metro station & take the metro train into work. So much less stressful than dealing with traffic every day. Plus, I had time on the train to sit & listen to my iPod, read or just relax before getting home.

    My sister-in-law lives in Ashburn, VA (which is in Loudoun County) and her husband commutes to work via metro as well. It never takes him more than an hour to get home (that includes drive time from the metro station). Loudoun county has one of the best public school systems in the country, also.

    You guys will love it there! So much to see & do! Best wishes for a safe trip.

  33. You are so funny. You didn't mention eating aren't going to have peace without chocolate...or wine...
    When we moved out there not knowing anything about the place, I zeroed in on the school district I wanted to be in and then we rented for the first year. I really wish we rented returning to CA. Then my house wouldn't be underwater by 80k...but whatever. VA has a most excellent public transportation system. You may want to check the train/bus schedules. Then you could actually be doing something during your commute.
    VA and CA are apples and oranges, but you'll learn that VA is great for other reasons....

  34. Your pictures are beautiful! I've never lived (or even visited) California, but seeing it at some point is at the top of my 'bucket' list. I've lived in the DC area three different times- once in grade school in Fairfax, once in Bowie MD in six grade, and then I chose to go there again after I graduated college. I worked in downtown DC and lived in Silver Springs MD just outside the beltway. My advice- live outside the beltway!! If you can, consider driving only as far as your closest metro stop and riding the metro in. It's clean, I always felt safe, it's super convienent, you can read (or sleep!) rather than fight traffic, and it's MUCH cheaper than gas!! Plus running every day errands is much easier in the suburbs than downtown. I loved living there- especially as a kid! Museums, memorials, seasons, cherry blossom festival (my favorite!)- all things to look to forward to! :) Hang in there! Moving's hard, no matter what the circumstances, but you'll get through this, and your kids will have all new adventures to look forward to.
    -Laurie G.