Really, I’m not. But life has been so crazy the past few months that I haven’t had any time to write a blog entry – and I don’t have a place to cook or experiment.
OK, neither of those are really true, but the statements are close enough. Here’s why:
I lost my job at the beginning of the year. After some searching, the best, most stable and non-shady job I found was working for a company in DC. Unfortunately, it meant no more working from home. Even more unfortunate, it meant having to move. Now, Emily and I have been talking about moving out of Orlando for a long time now, but now it was one of those, “Oh, shit. We have to actually do this. And we have to do it now!” sort of things.
Emily is from the DC/Maryland/Virginia area, so it’s not a completely foreign area unlike some of the other places we had discussed possibly moving to (Austin or San Francisco, for example). I’m from New York originally, but I’ve been living in Florida for almost 16 years now. This was going to take some serious adjusting. And a lot of headaches to deal with to make this move happen.
Two primary issues arose: finding a home in the DC area, and figuring out what to do with our home in Orlando. We bought our home before the market skyrocketed, but due to the economy and housing market in Orlando, we’re still underwater. That means it’s impractical to sell. But that also means not having money to buy a house in the DC area. Did we even really want to buy one? DC is not where we want to live. It makes little sense to lock ourselves into the area for the lifetime of a mortgage or the volatility of the market. All of that means renting out our house and finding a house to rent in the DC area.
So those bring up new issues: getting our home ready for renters, actually renting it out and finding a new place to live – made more difficult by the fact that we were five states away. Oh, and my new company needed me to start as soon as possible, of course.
Thankfully, we’ve got friends and Emily’s family in the area. Even though I hadn’t seen her in almost 16 years, a friend from high school and her husband offered me a place to live while I search for our new home. Emily, meanwhile, is staying in Orlando – getting the house ready for rental, packing up everything for moving and working a full time job of her own. I feel terrible leaving so much of the burden on her, but there was no other way.
The plan is for me to find a place to live – searching at night and on the weekends. At the end of April, I will drive back down to Florida to pack up the cars with dogs, birds and some essentials and we’ll drive up to the new place, followed by the movers. It’s a great plan in theory. Really, it’s our only feasible plan. But of course, plans never go as smoothly as one would like.
Finding a new home has proven to be… difficult. The market here is very different from Orlando. The prices are much higher – especially when we search for a place that meets all of our criteria and is still in a nice enough neighborhood. We need a detached, pet friendly home, with some sort of ground level workspace area (garage/shed) – and we don’t want to live within the Beltway if we can avoid it. Searching and finding time to view homes is difficult with a full time job and not really being familiar with the area myself. We were already turned down for one home. With any luck, we should know very shortly, whether or not our most recent application was accepted.
Technically, I could drive to work from where I am staying. But parking in downtown DC is ridiculous. Most of the lots near my office charge around $18/day or $280/month. Thankfully, my friend’s home is a 35 minute walk to/from work. Of course, the comfort of my walk is at the mercy of the weather. While I grew up in New York, my body has acclimated itself to the Florida environment. I’m no longer used to the cold and I have to wear my hood or earmuffs on many days. I have, however, found myself adjusting already. The mid-40′s are now brisk to me whereas in Florida it would have meant not leaving the house if there was no reason to.
I have no TV in my room and the only gaming I do is what I can do on my iMac, laptop, iPhone or the few 3/DS games I brought with me. Whatever time is not spent searching for a home is used working on learning more programming subjects. Python has been my primary focus and I’m really enjoying it. I plan to also do some work in Unity3D and iOS. You can probably put 2 + 2 + 2 together and realize that I’m trying to learn to put together a mobile game. I have no particular ideas for one; I just want to learn how.
I barely cook now. Nothing is done or said to make me feel uncomfortable, but I feel uncomfortable. To me, cooking in someone else’s kitchen feels like wearing their clothes. Compound in the fact that I’m on a super tight budget and don’t really have the money to pick up the sort of ingredients I’d want to experiment with for cooking. Or maybe I’m just lazy and trying to rationalize it all away.
This week is week six of being separated from Emily. By the end of the week, it will be the longest we’ve been apart. My time on Pirates of the Caribbean was just under six weeks. I’ve got a nice support system here and communication with Emily is much easier than it was from the Bahamas. Back then, we had to Skype as phone calls were prohibitively expensive. Unfortunately, the Internet connection where we were was terrible and Skype didn’t work half the time. Even still, I’ve found this separation infinitely more difficult than the last one. I’ll admit that after the first week up here, I almost said, “fuck this” and just packed the car back up and drove home. I’m flying back to Orlando for the weekend though and am chomping at the bit to get back home if only for a few short days.
Next up: some observations regarding the DC area and the sort of culture shock I’m experiencing.