5:30 a.m. is when our alarm went off on moving day, but you can bet your cute butt I had been lying awake staring wide-eyed at the ceiling long before that. My dad had come down to San Luis Obispo to say goodbye and make sure our house was ready for the new renters to move in, but he also surprised us with the generous offering of a hotel room in the same hotel he was staying in the night before the big move. I don’t think we were ever more thankful for a bed in our lives.
The cleaning crew was showing up at 6 a.m., so we rushed home to let them in, get ready, and do any last minute packing (which, of course, ended up being way more than expected). During the chaos, my beautiful friend Danae popped over way before her normal wake-up call to steal me away for a coffee at Black Horse in my neighborhood. It had been both bitter and sweet having so much to do and so much logistical nonsense to take care of that I hadn’t quite had time to remember that I was incredibly heartbroken to be leaving my friends, my job, and my home, but it definitely hit me on the quiet, early morning walk through the houses that had surrounded me for the last 8 years. Saying goodbye to Danae was hard. Harder than I could have imagined. But she said it all when, through tears, she reminded me that gratitude was due for the time we did have together, and we promised to plan a trip for early January. It’s never goodbye – always “see you soon”.
Bill and I pulled away from our first home together, but instead of heading straight out of town, we stopped for one last breakfast with my dad at the Apple Farm, the restaurant he had been taking me to every time he visited for years. I managed to make it about 5 minutes through breakfast before I teared up, and then I utterly and completely lost it when it came to hug my dad goodbye. As I watched him walk across the parking lot and get in his car, I just stood there sobbing until I ran over and pulled him out of the driver’s seat for one more hug. I finally tore myself away, and we were off.
It took awhile for me to get ahold of myself as we got on the road. However, I couldn’t help but laugh when, despite my OBVIOUS dire need for support, I lost both Bill and Indy before we even got to Nipomo, a mere 25 minutes down the road. I was in good company.
The salvation of the day was that we had planned our first two stops, and they were both in places I had been dying to go: Ojai and JJ’s house. Knowing I was going to land in both places gave me something to look forward to and helped me ease into the trip. Visiting Ojai had been a dream for years, and 3 years ago I even bought a Groupon for a hotel with the hopes that if I did so we would HAVE to go. Didn’t happen. But it was as cute as I had thought it would be, and it was worth the wait even for the short time we stopped to walk around the famous Ojai Valley Inn and the quaint downtown. Not too mention how entertaining it was to hear my GPS, whom I lovingly call Daphne, pronounce the name as “Oh, HI”, like she was in the middle of giving us directions when someone she hadn’t expected to see joined our conversation. “Take a slight right onto Highway 33 East toward – oh, HI.” Bill and I laughed a little more than was probably warranted, but I’ll never hear the name Ojai the same way again.
We arrived in Yucaipa at the Macauley residence around 3:30 p.m., just in time for me to take Audrey to meet her mama at swim lessons in Redlands while JJ’s husband Adrian took a business call and Bill parked it on the couch to watch the NBA Draft. Here’s my precious cargo!
Okay, so I never doubted for one second that a toddler swim class would be in the Top 10 Cutest Things in the World Ever, but holy my goodness. See for yourself.
We made it back to find ourselves amidst some unexpected love affairs. The first being between Audrey and Indy…
And lastly, between Bill and bedtime stories.
Day One fabulously, warmly, heart-breakingly completed. Tomorrow, we leave California as we continue the trek to our new home in Florida.