Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Move: Arranged!

Wow!  We must be getting really good at this moving thing.  And I have decided that maybe I should become a travel agent or a realtor once the kids are a bit older, because I have quite a bit of experience with both areas.  This move has come together really quickly.

We found a house!  The first one we considered, actually.  And more importantly, we have lease paperwork signed and a deposit made.  You may remember the trouble we had the last time around, when we thought we had our housing set up but the homeowners backed out.  So this time, we knew not to count on anything until the paperwork was in our possession. We are really excited about our new place in Alameda.  It's three blocks from San Francisco Bay, in a fabulous neighborhood, and within biking distance to Coast Guard Island.  We have already talked about buying a Laser and teaching the kids to sail!

We also have most of our trip planned from here to there.  We are taking the ferry part of the way this time, for a change of pace.  We will drive three days to Haines, AK (but have to pass through Canada to get there!), take the ferry to Bellingham, WA (a 3-day journey), and then drive the rest of the way to Alameda.  We plan to stop in Seattle, the Oregon wine country, and some other fun destination yet to be determined.

We head out of Homer on June 20.  I'm afraid to count the days between now and then, because I know it's not all that many.  We plan to have our household goods sent ahead at the end of May, and have booked a little furnished vacation rental apartment in town for June.  The time is going to go by way too quickly, so now it's time to make the most of the days we have left here.

February of the things we will miss most about Homer

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Moving News

How it already got to be this time again, I have no idea.  Our tour in Homer has just flown by.  We dove right in and got involved in the community, and it's going to be really hard to leave it behind.  But since staying is not a choice, we have been (im)patiently awaiting the dreaded call from the detailer for the past two months.

The call came the Tuesday before we left for San Diego.  The job wasn't even one from our list, but the location was.  Since I have spent hours and hours over the past few months familiarizing myself with housing and schooling options in each of the areas on our list, it wasn't difficult to hit the ground running with organizing our move to...Washington, D.C.!  The commute times from pretty much any area with semi-affordable housing and decent schools were just terrible, especially coming from a place where our top speed is 45mph and the road is one lane in each direction.  The job was in Coast Guard Headquarters, which is moving this summer to a new location known to be not in the safest of areas.

Notice that all of that is in past tense?  That's because two days later, we got a very surprising call.  We were offered a choice: keep the D.C. job as a guy in an office, or take a newly-created job as the guy running an office.  On the opposite coast.  In a location nowhere on our list. And for only 2 years instead of 4.  Oh, and we had a day to decide.  We are so fortunate to have lots of great friends who have lived all over the country.  Within fifteen minutes, I was able to call four different people to try and find out everything I needed to know.  I also made some great connections online with people who had been stationed in both locations.  After getting over the initial shock (and sadness that we may not be as close to family as we originally thought), the decision was pretty clear.  The new job itself was a huge step up, and the area was much more our style.  And all of my folders of bookmarks in Safari were instantly irrelevant.

So...we are moving to Alameda, California!
Quite appropriately, we came across this street sign while in San Diego the day that we got official orders:

That's across the bay from San Francisco.  Four hours from Lake Tahoe (yay, skiing!) and Yosemite National Park (yay, nature!).  We already have a tentative ferry date booked and are scouring the web for rental homes.  I learned today that the rental market is so tight there that we need to write a pet resume.  Yes, as in a resume for our dog.  He needs to sell himself to potential landlords, because he will be our biggest hurdle in finding a home to rent.  I have always told him he needs to get a job...guess I was right.  So, if you or anyone you know has a home for rent this summer in Alameda, I've got just the friendly, outgoing, non-barking, floor-cleaning, house-trained for nearly 10 years, 80-pound lapdog tenant for you.

Winter Escape

We survived a month in Homer with the ship away, so we enjoyed a little escape from winter in the form of a family trip to San Diego last week.  It was a much-needed break from our not-so-great weather.  Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind whether it's winter or spring.  This winter's pattern seems to be single digit temperatures, then some snow, and then a quick warm-up followed by rain.  We are now in the the fourth iteration of this cycle, and I feel like I am training to be on Ice Road Truckers.  We have even paid a man with a truck three times to dump sand on our driveway, which looks just like an ice rink. If only the city would keep up with our street as well as we try to do with the driveway...

San Diego wasn't as warm as we had hoped, but there wasn't any ice to contend with.  And there was plenty of sunshine.  We ate tons of good food and exhausted the whole family with trips to both Legoland and the San Diego Zoo, as well as hitting San Diego highlights like Old Town, Children's Pool at La Jolla, and even squeaked in a date night in Banker's Hill and the Gaslamp District (thanks to my mother-in-law meeting us for part of the trip).

We stayed at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, at a fabulous beach cottage.  The ocean was right out our back door.  And the runway was out the front door, along with fighter jets and helicopters coming and going.  It was actually fun to watch...and very loud!  But you can't beat a two-bedroom condo at military prices, with easy access to the commissary (and bowling alley!) nearby.

What a difference a year makes, as far as traveling with the kids is concerned!  Somehow they are now seven and almost five, and for the first time we were much more free to explore without worrying about if it was too close to nap time or whether the restaurant we wanted to eat lunch at had a kids menu.  We survived miles of walking at the zoo without any meltdowns.  They even carried their own backpacks through the airports (all 8 of them that it took us to get there and back!).

I have some very serious little drivers...

 The beach behind our cottage.  Note the jeans and sweatshirts.