Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Complaints Box is Full

I have spent an enormous amount of time and energy complaining about California. There is nothing too small that I can't find a way to blame on this place that I find myself in. Let's be clear - there are many things that are worthy of complaint around here....too many people, too many internet companies, too many pieces of real estate that are overpriced, not enough buses, not enough water, not enough food priced in the reasonable range. The list is limitless. Catch me on a bad day and see how long I can actually go on about what stinks about California. And if the weather dares to be anything less than perfect, California is a complete fraud, claiming to be full of sunshine and happiness when it really isn't. I have done my very best to deny that anything truly positive could result from a move to California. And time has passed and here we sit, still in California.

A few weekends ago I headed off to Napa for a girls weekend. We had been planning it for several months and I was really looking forward to the time with friends and wine. And it was everything I hoped it would be, with much laughter and fun, lots of wine, and a simply perfect landscape as a backdrop. Did you know Napa is in California? I was shocked, too! I can't complain about Napa. Not one thing. It is such a lovely place....and it is firmly attached to California (I guess until the next Big One. Something to complain about for sure. Earthquakes kind of top my list.) I fully expected to spend most of my time missing home but every time I tried to work myself into a homesick frenzy, I couldn't do it. And the ladies on the trip were comforting and sweet and understood my journey, as most had similar experiences, and - all was good. I love these gals. I can't wait to see them again. A WIN for California - Napa.

Cathy, Shannon, Janet and I
Add Lou and Renzo to the mix for an awesome day of vineyard hopping
PN, or Post Napa, I have been a bit more content. I have been less likely to hate on San Francisco, and more likely to take it in. Last week we had a perfectly lovely Friday and the kids were so excited to try the backyard pool. Yes, I somehow still find a way to complain about a backyard pool. I am embarrassed. But having not grown up going to the pool regularly, or even being that comfortable in the water, the idea of a backyard pool is tough. We almost didn't get this particular house because of it, but a sturdy fence around the perimeter has helped put me at ease. The water has been like ice - but I was willing to let the kids give it a try. And boy is that nice! A pool in the backyard is fun. I'm sure I'm not the first person to discover this but it is news to me. We had a fabulous afternoon and we will be inviting friends to join us soon. Another WIN for California - pools.

The little elves are happy again

Kevin travels way too much for work. It is getting ridiculous, the back and forths to the East Coast. He was gone for another Sunday and I was fully prepared to keep the kids in and clean the house. It is easy. A new friend here suggested we drive the kids down to San Jose and enjoy the day at the children's museum. Sounded - awful. Drive somewhere unknown and far away? Pay more money for another museum? Deal with the kids in a large space? Pack lunch? UGH! But I adore this friend and her children and I figured it would be good for us all. And it was. What a fantastic little place for a fantastic adventure. I felt so grown up - taking on the big adventure without Kevin to drive me or plan it, which is how it usually works. And all of us enjoyed the company of friends. Another WIN for California - endless adventures and great new friends.

Crafting at the museum
I actually have a legitimate complaint about this "wonderful" place. I have not been able to sleep. I have suffered from pretty awful insomnia. I have trouble falling asleep. When I finally fall asleep, I can't stay asleep, and I find myself awake at 2AM, reading the most boring things I can find to make me drowsy enough to crawl back into bed. It usually doesn't work and I end up reading for 2 hours, then getting dressed and heading out to an early morning workout. I'm up - I might as well do something, right? I have tried stretching and tea, lavender spray and lavender oils, drinking no water after 8pm and eating no food after 7pm. I've banished the iPhone and screens from my view a 1/2 hour before bedtime in hopes of settling my mind. I've tried - a lot. I even resorted to using ZzzQuil. It worked like a charm the first few times I took it, but then my stubborn brain won out and even if I took it, I could stay up despite the drugs. Initially, it didn't matter so much but then it started to catch up on me. I was literally stumbling through my days, snapping at my children, struggling to keep my eyes open during homework time. I was beginning to fear driving because I knew I was sleepy. And then I was fearful of bedtime, because I knew I wouldn't sleep. Sleep poorly for 3 months and life is hard no matter where you live. 

One of my new friends here was witness to my struggles. She offered suggestions and much sympathy for my plight. And then she read an article about insomnia and took action. She ordered me a coloring book and ordered me to try it. It couldn't hurt. Earlier this year she successfully cured my son's pink eye without any medication so I am very amenable to anything she suggests. And it was an incredibly thoughtful gesture. I climbed into bed, after stretching and lavender spray and no screens, borrowed my son's colored pencils, and set to work. 

It was fun. I liked listening to the sound of the pencil strokes and taking my time to color in the lines. And I didn't get very far before my eyes started to droop and I was ready to put it away. And then I slept. For more than 6 hours straight. I woke up, but was able to fall back asleep until my alarm had me up for my early morning workout. I had a great workout. And I had a great day. And I think it was because I had a coloring book. And I wouldn't have had that coloring book had I not met a great new friend....who happens to live in this place called California. Even if the coloring does not work in the future, I still have the great friend that gave me the book in the first place. That certainly can't hurt my life here on the West Coast. Another WIN for California - compassionate friends and restful nights. So while I could continue to complain about this place, it sure feels like I just shouldn't. The complaints box is full, its contents have been taken into consideration, and I'm feeling better about whatever comes next. But now let's keep our fingers crossed for no earthquakes. I know I will complain about that.

1 comment:

  1. We will have to plan more adventures around the area as we had a lot of fun too!