Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Not Exactly What I Had in Mind When I Pictured Living the Dream

When we were in Naples, I found clotheslines in the city so romantic. Not quite
the same when it's in my backyard in California.

I remember that when I started my job at Yahoo! back in 2005, everything felt slightly uncomfortable. It was strange being in an office all day after having freelanced for 3 months. It was hard to write ads about new products I didn't fully understand. My coworkers weren't old friends. Everything felt a little stiff like it needed to be broken in. It took about 6-9 months before I started to finally feel at ease.

I try to remind myself of this in change situations.

It takes time. It's always hard in the beginning.

People keep asking me how things are going with the new house and the new life. Their eyes light up with hope and excitement like they're cheering for us from the inside. And I find myself wanting to fake it for their sake. So I try to focus on how beautiful the surroundings are. How lucky we are to have nice neighbors.

But the truth is that it's just plain hard. All of it.

When Mr. W and I imagined this wonderful wine country life, we thought we'd be here together. Not the case yet. Instead, he gets to struggle in a 330-square foot basement apartment while I try to manage the demands of a bigger house and giant yard.

Nothing is easy right now. Dishes have to be washed by hand. The oven burns everything if you're not careful. We don't have a proper sprinkler system, so every day I have to go outside and water. We're constantly playing bug police, trying to contain the wayward wildlife that continually crawls and flies through invisible holes in screen doors and windows. We've had an ongoing summer flea infestation that has required multiple cat baths and more vacuuming than I've done in months. And until this weekend, we've been without a washer and dryer here. Unfortunately, the dryer can't even be hooked up until we get connected the central gas line on the street, which could take months.

I don't even want to use this lovely machine because it doesn't
have a dryer to go with it. Good thing I work from home. I
can just stay in my pjs all day and not wash my clothes.

Every time I feel like we start to get a handle on things, or make progress in some area, something goes wrong. Primarily when it comes to the cats. In the nearly 6 weeks I've been here, we've had 2 bladder infections, fleas (even though the cats stay indoors full-time), one scary reaction to flea medication, and now a delightful case of the runs. I've never purchased so many supposed cat remedies in my life. (Did you know canned pumpkin is good for cats with upset stomachs?) I don't know how people with kids survive...

That little brass cat on my shelf is my favorite cat in the house. He only cost
$3 at a yard sale and he never has to go to the vet.

When I post pictures of the sunset or wine tasting on Facebook or Instagram, I think part of it is just to remind myself that it's not all hard work all the time here. Because that's largely what it's been feeling like. And that is so not what I had in mind.

The key to feeling better may lie in Mr. W and I being back on common ground. Which should be about another 6 months away. Perfectly aligned with the usual time period it takes me to truly settle in to a new situation. It'll be just in time for us to start tearing the house apart for renovations and putting everything in turmoil once again. Good thing we didn't choose to move to orange juice country. It would be much harder to cope.

15 comments:

  1. I feel your pain about the dishwasher. We are without as well. I actually figured out that we have not had a dishwasher for 4 years!

    And although using a clothesline might not be ideal when you are forced to, I am actually a bit jealous. I told hubby that for sure next year we are getting one. Even if it is small.

    So in about 6 months when you are back together, you know that whatever picture you have in your head right now will probably not be what really happens? If you need some encouragement though I know a really good blog you should read. It's called the path to wonderful :)

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    1. Suzy you have such a better attitude than I do! :) And you're right - I should start prepping for the 6-months-from-now picture not looking so hot either!

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  2. Ha! I loved that last line. Seriously, orange juice country would suck!

    Thanks for writing about how messy life is. It's nice to know I'm not alone, compulsively cleaning the counters with Windex because I can't clean the rest up so easily.

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    Replies
    1. Every time you talk about the Windex I wish you lived at my house.

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  3. I'm living the dream, too. But also kind of living in squalor. I feel your pain.

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    Replies
    1. You have no idea how comforting that is. Thanks!

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  4. I'm so glad you wrote this post. Admitting the dreamy move is hard is a good way of processing all that you're doing. And girl, you're doing it all! I can't imagine how hard it is to be in a new place, a much more remote place than before, without Mr. W. Hard AND lonely! In a few years, you'll likely look back at this time and chuckle (with wine glass in hand). In the meantime, hang in there. You'll get through all this muck. And, by the way, my friends and I have a saying about raising kids: the minute you think you've figured it all out, they {the kids} go and change. I think the same can probably be said about settling into your new digs and your new life. Just as you think you're beginning to manage things, everything changes. Gah!

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    1. I really think it all boils down to being in it alone. And you're right - the change is always constant and inevitable. Thank goodness for Modern Family reruns. For some reason they make everything feel better.

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  5. I am really good at *telling* myself nothing will go (usually even close) to how I imagine. I am very much not good at accepting that. I do not know when that will change, or if it ever will. I notice sometimes, though that I make it harder by trying to get all meaningful and "deep" with it; getting the lessons, etc. So lately I have been telling myself to just go through it, to just do what needs to be done and end each day with that much. When I get a little too overwhelmed it's not because there is more to do (there will always be more, including pet digestion issues which I dealt with this weeks as well!) but that I have chosen to think about it in a way that keeps it at the forefront.

    Of course I think reflection and not rushing through every moment is important, but when I notice it is starting to make me feel stuck and annoyed (okay, pissed off) I let myself move on. Maybe that is as much as I can take from a struggle.

    And in about six months, I am sure things will feel easier. Being without your support close by does make everything harder. In the meantime, thanks for being honest about how even dreams working out is hard work.

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    1. I think a big piece of it is intentionally working in joyful activities while surrendering to the "lessons." At least that's what helps me maintain some shred of sanity. You're so right that it boils down to how you think about it though. I need to do my "work" here...

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  6. I appreciate your honesty. I can relate. When we have dreams come true, they don't tend to come without set backs or adjustments. That's just human and it kind of sucks. But the good news is it won't always be like this. At least that is what I tell myself when I am feeling frustrated or sad. xo

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    1. I've been thinking about you a lot. Being human does suck sometimes but I guess the depth of frustration and sadness is part of what makes it such a rich ride.

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  7. So you're in your new home in the wine country. You don't have a dishwasher, you have to water the lawn with a hose, there are bugs to deal with and the gas dryer won't be connected for awhile all while your husband's away working on a major motion picture. I had no idea how tough things were. Honestly, it sounds like a living hell. Thank you thank you thank you for keeping up the brave facade. I've already bought the URL melneedsagasline.com, and I'm filing the non-profit forms and expect to start raising money for you as soon as humanly possible. Stay strong, it'll get better. I promise.

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Well, whatdya think?