Tuesday, November 17, 2009

poor us! we're trapped in ... paradise?

I'm sitting on the phone - with computer support techs who are trying to trouble shoot my work computer - and while they're working their magic via Net Meeting - I'm checking out my archives because there is truly nothing better that I can do.


Except vacuum. And that would be too obvious.

Unfortunately, the technical problems that I am having are due to both my machine and a corruption to my files which are on the server. So a new computer isn't going to completely solve the problem. From what I gather, there is much work to be done. Sadly, nobody knows quite what, yet.

But while I'm checking out my archives, I'm hard pressed to understand why any one, save my mother, would ever read this blog. It's like being caught in the mind of a crazy person.

I am happy! I am mad!!

I want to move! I don't want to go anywhere!!

I want to stay in California! I want to get out as fast as we possibly can!!

I love my job! I don't want to work anymore!!

I want to be with my children! I want to relocate my children to the MOON!!

I love my family! My family drives me iNsAnE!!

I am on a health kick, let's get fit! Shhh, I'm hiding in the closet eating cookies!!

I believe in God!! I was up all night trying to figure out if there is any purpose to life?

Hello. Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?

Seriously. I've got some major issues, people.

Do you read this gibberish just so you can feel normal about your own chaos? Or do you like comparing yourself while thinking, "I'm glad I'm not a nut like her! Yowzie. She's off the deep end!"

Oh whatever. Don't tell me. Your answer might scare me.

We've dug deep in to our souls to figure out what our next steps should be. I've prayed on it, lit candles over it, looked for signs in the stars and shook a Magic 8-Ball until I had blisters. I also made a list of the reasons to stay and go. And because I share all kinds of nuggets of my personal life, I'm sharing our reasons, here. Ready, set, play ball!


1) Opportunity to experience seasons
2) Real live trees that aren't planted from 5-gallon buckets
3) Slower pace of life
4) Less people
5) More affordable cost of living
6) Potential to live on a piece of property without a neighbor five feet away
7) Proximity to the gorgeous mountains and gorgeous coast
8) Proximity to family
9) Career opportunities for Charlie
10) Better potential for me to stay home
11) New places to explore



1) Our quaint house
2) Our awesome community
3) Our church
4) Our friends
5) Security
6) MY career
7) Charlie's budding business
8) Family that lives an 8-hour car drive away
9) SeaWorld, the Zoo, Legoland and a million museums
10) This...


11) And this...


12) And last but not least, THIS...


Charlie just called me from the beach, where he took the kids to play again, today. It is 75 degrees and they are the only ones there. It's an absolutely perfect day.


My head hurts from all this thinking.

And since I'm looking at the hourglass stuck on my computer screen and a bar at the bottom that indicates I have approximately six hours before this newest "fix" that they are attempting is completed (and which may or may not work - their words, not mine), I've decided I'm going to disconnect from this pointless phone call and go join them.


Ah yes. That's much better.


  1. Yes. We all feel so sorry for you. I read your blog because you are like bipolar and I LOVE drama. You fulfill a need in me. I HEART you.

  2. If it's any consolation the churches in the southeast are awesome and you have dozens of choices to find the one just right for your family. We have beaches, too and water you can actually swim in without protective gear! We have all four seasons, but in the Carolinas they are mild. Take the yesterday, 77* in November. In the winter we alternate between the 70s and occasional snow just long enough to play in. We have great parks, museums, mountains, aquariums, amusement parks, and more without the outrageous cost of living and mind blowing traffic. And people here are so friendly, you'll feel at home in no time :)

    I've moved 18 times in my life- up and down both coasts and Japan. The Carolinas are now home. We've been here for 8 years and have never regretted it for a moment.

  3. I read your blog because the things going thru your head are going thru mine at any given moment! Like "I wish I could stay home" and then I get home from work and the house is empty and I feel nervous and edgy from the quiet (kids are at school) and then they come home and I wonder WHY didn't I take advantage of that hour I had to myself and when does school start again?!!!

    We are re-locating too Jen - hopefully by next summer - to NC. From NY - and my kids are school age. Tough call, but if we ever want to retire, we have to do it. And we have family there too.

    Anyway...you aren't crazy.

  4. we read because you are real, and yes crack me up with your stories, I am an awful storyteller and must keep my blog boring for the sake of my daughters foster family, but I love yours but don't have a clue whay you should do.

  5. Just nodding... I'm here.

  6. That should be your holiday card this year! Although, crying kids on Santa's lap might be a tad bit better! LOL!

  7. Why I read..."I'm glad I'm not a nut like her! Yowzie. She's off the deep end!"

    Your Words Not Mine :-)

    Glad you got out!!!

  8. Why do I read your blog?

    When I read your blog, I think you are an inspiration.

    Other times, I think you could quite possibly be certifiably crazy.

    You see? Even your readers can't make up their minds!

    But mostly, I read because you make me laugh. And I love to laugh.

    Thank you for sharing it all.


    PS Big changes (moving country) possibly on the horizon for our family too. I am trying to be brave, but it is scaring the crap out of me. Good luck with whatever you decide. I keep telling myself that as long as we are together as a family, that's all that matters.

  9. From where I sit (on the outside, looking), it's CLEAR that you should move. It's a no-brainer. Even when I look at your pro and con list, it's absolutely obvious. Really, it isn't even slightly cloudy to me. Go and I think you'll be so happy!!

    Leslie in Hawai‘i

  10. I read you because you have a great writing style, an awesome sense of humour, you update often, and you frequently have something interesting/inspiring to share!

    Good luck with your decision.. I don't envy you having to make one like that. Staying or going both sound good... geeze!

  11. Wait, I've come up with the solution!

    You need to invent a machine that allows you and your family to be in two places at once. Then you can just sit back and enjoy BOTH options of life.

  12. I definitely don't think your crazy. I think life is crazy hard and as you become a parent and are not only in charge of yourself but of your children, it becomes exponentially harder. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. I hope that you find peace and happiness with whatever route you take. Good luck.

  13. I keep meaning to comment about your dilemma; but one thing or another (usually one thing Man-Child hogging the computer) keeps me from it.

    When Man-Child was small; I was soooo grateful to be home with him despite the hardship. At the age of three-ish (for him; not me), I had to go back to work. He was fine with it; truly. He loved the companionship he got at pre-school/daycare.

    Now that Man-Child is older; I appreciate the financial stability (such as it is right now). Because I am working we are (barely) able to afford our home and his tuition (and, really? I'd give up the home to keep him in his school).

    BUT; I can appreciate the risk that you are contemplating. We moved to NC with absolutely no jobs; or prospects. It was rough. Really, really rough financially. It turned out to be the best move for us.

    I know I'm giving contradictory advice; but all I can say is this; look deep in your heart and see what you NEED. And it will all work out in the end; one way or another.

  14. these are all GOOD problems to have, you know...

    I get caught in that cycle of wanting to leave Southern California- too crowded, too expensive...I dream of moving to the middle of nowhere and living on a huge ranch. But I can't move b/c my husband's job only exists in Los Angeles. So, we are stuck because he loves his job, and that seems to be a rare thing in this world.

    It's a tough call- stay or go. But either way, you really can't lose!

  15. I read your blog because I am insane myself, and am *FASCINATED* by insanity! :D

    I also can't believe your FRANKNESS, it's SHOCKING! :O The stuff you tell us! :O This is *WAY* better than a soap opera! :D

    ~Cindy! :)

  16. I don't think you are crazy. I think we all have those same exactly feelings but are able to put them out on paper for everyone too see them! Those are great pictures and glad that you were able to join them. I hope that your path opens up and He leads you the way that you are suspose to go.

  17. I've been actually reading your archives over the last couple of months. I'm still back in 2006, but I'm getting there. ;o)

    I started reading the back story because I wanted to see your reaction to finding out little Henry was on his way. I love surprise baby stories. I've also been interested in your story because of what you have in Charlie. I'm staring life over at 30 - single, was jobless (but now part time employed), childless and no where near where I thought I'd be. I thought maybe if I learned enough about your husband I could find one just like him for myself.

    You are an amazing person, Jen. I want to be half the person you are when I grow up. ;o) I know my heart is as big, but I wish my motivation to actually do something was even close to half where yours is.

    Thank you for writing this blog! You're so inspiring and your family is beautiful!

  18. I read your blog because you are hilarious with all your bipolar ups and downs. I read your blog because you are normal as hell. No one can make a decision easily, no one. It will come to you though Jen, it will come. You and Charlie are both smart as hell, you have experience in making tough decisions, it will come. Just give it time. Rome was not built in a day.
    You do the best you can and I think you're doing a damn good job...coming from someone on the outside looking in. :)

  19. Jen, you're courageous and honest enough to admit openly what many of us are not, either to ourselves or especially anyone else.

    From reading about your life, I've discovered that at times I put my own doubts and fears aside (granted, sometimes we have to)rather than face them more directly. I also read because you are an amazing writer, you're smart, and funny. You get down and you get right back up, and then some. -Karen

  20. About 10 months ago I googled '24 month ultra sound pictures' and found your blog. I have been an avid reader ever since. We have some things on common but the number one reason I continue to check your blog more than daily is because you are so brutally honest. At the risk of sounding like a character from a bad movie - that is rare these days. You are as 'crazy' as the rest of us and aren't afraid to put it out there while we remain hidden in our homes sometimes pulling our hair out and eating chocolate chip cookie dough.

  21. OK, not that you asked, but here is my armchair analysis. I have "known" you since you were posting on Resolve. You were one of the people to congratulate (and reassure) me when I found out I was pregnant my triplets, who turned 4 last month. I've followed you on Resolve, then BabySteps, then over to your blog (gosh, I'm starting to sound like a stalker). Here is what I think I know about you after reading your thoughts on your life and family after 5 years.

    *You are head-over-heels, crazy in love with your husband and children. They are the center of your world. Of course they drive you crazy sometimes, but any time you've gone through a period where you are seeing them less (Montessori, increased work hours, whatever) you eventually start to feel like you are missing out on the important stuff and end up changing things so you can spend more time with them.

    *You have ALWAYS wanted to move back east to be closer to your family.

    *You are smart and have a successful career but it definitely is not important to you as your husband and kids (just one example - choosing Disney over the meeting). You were hardly dying to get back to work after your maternity leave with Henry.

    Of course reading someone's blog isn't the same as REALLY knowing someone, but over the last 5 years the thing that is most consistent about you is that you want to participate in your kids' everyday lives as much as possible. I come to this blog every day expecting to read that you've quit your job. I just can't imagine someone who pulled her kids out of preschool because she couldn't stand having her kids away from her tolerating 12-hour workdays very long. I know you are doing what you have to in order to support your family right now and that's admirable but now that there's another option on the table... I will be surprised if you don't end up taking it. And looking at your lists, there is nothing on your "stay" list that gives you more time with your kids, Charlie, or extended family.

    Bottom line is, whatever you do, wherever you go, I think if you can figure out a way to get the whole work/family balance right for you (not an easy task - I work full-time too so I know) you will be happy. One of the many things I admire about you is that you are someone who knows how to count her blessings, so if you have your family around you and a roof over your head you are going to be ok.

  22. I stay because I still like virtually hanging out with you Jen. And twingles! Hi!

    And of course because you're a great writer and a wonderful lady and your posts are always really fun and interesting!

  23. I read your blog because I SO appreciate the difficulties of trying to decide what is the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, for your community. While I read many blogs, there aren't that many that I can totally relate to in terms of feeling torn in five different directions. Trying to balance fiscal responsibility with family responsibility is something very few people are talking about. It's so often just black and white. You SHOULD work to pay your bills or you SHOULD stay home and spend all of your waking hours with your children.
    I like know that there are other people trying to figure this out, just like I am.

  24. im fascinated by your crazy. maybe because it plays a little like my crazy, only better. it's way funnier too. i like it. i like it a lot.

  25. That last picture shows the most important thing. Your family, together. You'll continue to make wonderful memories wherever you are.

    I really have no idea what is best for your family. I'd make sure Charlie fully explores this job opportunity. They have an ocean and nice weather there, too. Or at least that weather seems wonderful after living in Ohio for many years. It might not be as wonderful as San Diego's, but it's pretty darn nice!

    And I love your blog. You give me ideas on how to manage life with my own kids, make me laugh, make me feel like I'm not crazy, or I'm not the only crazy one, and you inspire me in many ways.

  26. Move or stay... It's like choosing between flavors of ice cream, both options sound great! Questions: If your mom lived in San Diego, would you even consider moving? Seems like the only thing wrong with San Diego is your mom is not there (nor any other family). It seems like that is the one big element missing from your life: living within a stones throw from family. Not several hours away, which can have advantages:), but really near by, to see the kids school plays, and help tuck them in at night and join you for a glass of wine kind of close. You seem to crave that to your very core. Not just for yourself, but for your children as well. I know you have been struggling with this choice for a long long time, but if living in the same town as your extended family is truly paramount, then I'd take the leap!


  27. I'd lean toward moving east if I were you. Don't get me wrong. San Diego is an amazing, gorgeous place to live. However, you've been given a small chance to move east, closer to family. Seize the day! Who knows what else God has planned for you if you take this step of faith?

    The beach will be so hard to leave, but just think of all the other gorgeous options your children will have if you move east as well.

  28. I haven't read the other comments yet, so I can't speak for anyone else. I keep coming back because much of what you struggle with are the same issues I struggle with. I don't think you're bi-polar or crazy...unless I am too and have no perspective. Ha! But I think the scores of people that keep coming back to your blog, are others that relate to the chaos and dichotomy of your life. We get it. YOU GET US! I vascillate with my huge life decisions much like you do. I am a mother bear that wants my children to remember great things about their childhood. I love working (sometimes) and want to stay home at the same time. I love how God has blessed me beyond belief and yet feel guilty about asking for more in life, like staying home with the kiddos. (Even though that's what scripture commands...to ask our Father!)

    I keep coming back because I like you. If we lived in closer proximity to each other, I feel like we'd be RL friends. And I probably speak on behalf of most of your readers here. The internet has been such a blessing to our generation. I've "met" a dozen of people that I now call friends, even though some of us have only met a few times or NEVER!

    No matter what you think, you have been a blessing to so many people out here in blogland. Don't sell yourself or what you write short.

  29. This is probably one of the toughest questions you will ever face. I know I couldn't live far away from my family. We have explored opportunities elsewhere and always come to the conclusion that we just don't want to be that far away from family. I love that my kids can see 3 of their 4 grandparents pretty much whenever we want. If it was me I'd be packing the car and heading east.

    And I read because I have wild twin boys and sadly reading about your 3 makes me feel a little better about my own crazy life.

  30. Do you like cold weather? Our house is for sale North of Chicago...It's big, roomy, and has almost 1/2 acre of land...I'm just sayin'...Best Wishes in whatever you decide to do..moving is always a huge decision for me!

  31. Jen I read your blog because you are fricking hysterically funny, a wonderful writer, a wonderful person and a wonderful mom. Besides it's nice to know that I'm not the only crazy person in the world.

    As a born and bred Northern Ca girl I could NEVER imagine leaving my beloved state but you need to do what's best for you and the gang.

    BTW my Mom is a hard and fast Catholic. One weekend when she was up visiting timing was such that it only made sense to go to Mass with her. Just before communion I whispered in her ear if it would bother her if I went to communion. Her reply (and I just love her for this) was of course not. As long as you are truly sorry for your sins it doesn't matter. It was all I could do not to cry.

    There were a few gasps in the ground when people I knew saw me, I don't attend church I don't need to I live in the middle of a redwood forest. You can't live here and not believe in some form of God.