December 3, 1998
Same View, Different Zip Code

We made it.


We've landed safely in California  --  after a marathon fourteen hour drive on Tuesday  --  and today I'm working on a journal entry, in between bowls of Alpha Bits and bouts of frenetic unpacking.

In the meantime, click here and here to read the last two fabulous entries ... and check back later.

Later That Day:

Some things never change.  Here I sit, as always, at "Command Central," drinking coffee and listening to the radio ...

... typing on the same clackety old keyboard ... looking at the same old computer monitor ...

... my favorite photo of the Tots, on the top shelf of the desk: the one we took at the Des Moines Marina back in 1991, just before we went to the fair and Daughter #2 won the goldfish (which were found floating upside down in the pickle jar two days later) ...

... my favorite reference books ("Roget's Super Thesaurus," "HTML For Dummies," "The TV Commercial Trivia Quiz Book") tucked handily in the corner of another shelf ...

... my favorite wind-up chicken, pecking contentedly at the hood of my CPU ...

... and it all feels familiar and comfortable. Like any other day in the life.

Except that now I'm in CALIFORNIA  ...

... and except that there are now two computers, plunked side by side on this desktop: my little Acer Aspire, demurely festooned in Moon Paint graffiti and fortune cookie fortunes ("You will always be surrounded by true friends") ... and his gargantuan whatever-the-heck-it-is monster machine, festooned with rock stickers ("Hagfish Rocks Your Lame Ass") ...

... and I look at the two computers sitting next to each other in front of me, and smile at the way his computer completely dwarfs mine, just like his big hand completely dwarfs my *miniature* hand when we're walking together down the street ...

... and I realize that while it may be true that some things never change, my LIFE has changed. Irrevocably. And so has his, and so have the lives of a lot of people we love, and for better or for worse  --  but mostly for "better"  --  we're going to make darned sure that it was all worth it.

We finished loading up the U-Haul Tuesday morning, and by 10:30 a.m. we were on the road, fueled by MJB and optimism  ...  a plate of cookies (from my boss) and road maps at the ready, Diet Cokes in the glove compartment, magazines and Doritos in a bag at my feet.  All systems go. California, here we come!

Four hours later we were limping into dismal and drizzly Roseberg, Oregon ... exhausted, butt-weary and ravenously hungry.  The girl behind the counter at Subway grimly told us to "get out of Roseberg while you still can." We ate our lunch posthaste and followed her advice.

Another couple of hours later I sat in the passenger seat, white-knuckled in terror, as we skidded over the Siskiyous in blinding rain and total darkness ... all of my worldly possessions thumping ominously behind us in the U-Haul ... convinced that these were probably my final moments on Earth, and wasn't it ironic that I was gonna die on the happiest day of my life?

Another-another couple of hours later, I was driving at the speed of mud through a nighttime California valley ... listening to local radio stations fade in and out on the crappy U-Haul radio ... sneaking peeks at David, sleeping in the passenger seat next to me, just to make sure he was still there and still breathing ... feeling an interesting combination of joy and terror, certainty and doubt, calm and chaos: choose one from Menu A and one from Menu B ... but mostly just loving the person sitting there beside me, and wanting to contribute to getting us *home* as safely and expediently as possible.

It was well past midnight before we finally straggled through the door of "Castle DRaftervoi"  --  cold, tired, disheveled, grumpy  --  but more or less in one piece. (Or should that be two pieces?)  We parked and locked the U-Haul down the street from the apartment -- unpacking could wait until morning -- and collapsed into a heap, where we slept the sleep of the profoundly weary for a solid eight hours.

Yesterday -- Wednesday -- was another endurance test of unpacking and sorting and rearranging and discussing placement of "His" & "Hers" and planning and making lists and hauling stuff to the garbage and the Goodwill and slowly, gradually combining The Tree House and The Castle into something brand-new ... something weirdly/uniquely "us."

We're not finished by a long shot, of course. This will be an ongoing process. (It might even take a lifetime.) There are still boxes everywhere.  I'm still trying to figure out where the heck I'm gonna hang my Johnny Cash "Flipping The Bird" poster. But by the end of the day we were able to actually find the bathroom without a compass again, and that's a start. The rest of it will happen gradually ... and as usual, you can bet that the whole thing will be fully documented, right here on the website.

(She beams.)

And speaking of the website:  I continue to be amazed by the behind-the-scenes ridiculousness that "FootNotes" seems to engender, and by the lengths to which some people will go in an effort to sabotage our sobriety and our happiness. At the same time, I am heartened beyond belief by the outpouring of supportive e-mail we've received from friends, family and total strangers, over the past few days ... especially people who *get* what the website is all about, and who want to see it continue. You help validate the past fourteen months' worth of blood, sweat, tears, energy, anxiety, downloading, uploading, typing, testing, printing, editing, correcting, research, rewrites and horrifying HTML errors ... and I thank you for that. 



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