So we have arrived in Santa Monica, and for the most part are starting to feel somewhat settled.
We spent all of May 31st loading up the Uhaul with the help of some family and friends and then cleaning the apartment. Although we got rid of tons of stuff (several car loads full of goodwill trips) we were somewhat surprised to find that we packed the 17 ft Uhaul to maximum capacity. So much so, that we actually had to make some last minute decisions to leave a few items on the street as freebies (dont worry, its not like littering, in San Francisco, that kind of stuff disappears in less than an hour. in fact minutes after i put out a table and chair set, a girl came by and asked if i was getting rid of it and loaded it up, which made me happy, i felt like it was going to a good home. haha)
After maxing out the Uhaul, we loaded the rest into the Prius and headed to John’s folks house, where we knew we could spend the night in a good neighborhood and not be worried about the truck getting broken into. We were soooo exhausted by the time we got there we could barely stand.
Bright and early on June 1st we hit the road. John driving the Uhaul and me following in the Prius. I’ll be honest I wasn’t really sure how i would do with this. I’ve never really done a long drive like that (about 7 hours ish) on my own. We drive up and down the California coast often, but always taking turns driving and if im honest, John does most of the driving and i give him a few hours break. But I did well and we only stopped twice.
When we arrived at our house in Santa Monica, i suddenly got a second wind, i guess it was adrenaline. We kicked butt and emptied the truck ourselves in about an hour or so! Just the two of us, and my serious muscles, haha.
We took no time to stop and take a break, we instantly got busy emptying boxes and getting settled. Shortly after un-packing we had the record player set up and all our records on the shelves and Sinatra on the turntable. John and I are both the type of people who like making a home “ours” and waste no time getting to it. Amazingly, given the fear of the realization we had packed the Uhaul with no room to spare, we were delighted to find that once inside the cottage, our stuff did not feel overwhelming. In fact, i think we did an amazing job of coming up with some great storage solutions which hopefully i can share with you more later.
We’ve already seen several of our friends who live in the area, which is great, as it makes us feel comfortable and at home. We’ve been doing a lot of eating out, partly because we are pooped at the end of each day and too exhausted and partly because we like exploring our new city and that’s one fun and affordable way to do so. We’ve already found a few favorites, for example, the vanilla honey latte at Urth Cafe is amazing.
I’m sure you all know my obsession with dogs. I love them. I have wanted one all my life. Every coin in the fountain, every birthday candle wish, always for a dog. Growing up my dad was allergic and it was always “when you move out…or when you xyz.” then John did the same thing, and on top of it owning a dog in SF is nearly impossible unless you own or are willing to risk getting evicted. So ive waited. and waited. and waited. We knew that moving here meant we could finally have a dog, and we were both on board to get one finally.
We went to the local shelter to take a look and when we got back in the car, i cried my eyes out. It was so sad and depressing. It makes me so sad to know that people will pay for a pure bred dog when there are so many dogs out there that need homes, and may never find them. Additionally, it infuriates me to know that some people feed off this and illegally and improperly breed dogs for sale with little to no regard for the dog, their interest purely in the money. The people at the local shelter gave us a list of other shelters in the area where they said the dogs had even less time. We went to one of the said shelters next. It made me feel good to see that unlike the last, this shelter was full of people looking to adopt and lots were doing just that. We met a dog there and he was nice and all but i didnt feel a strong connection to him. The shelter was closing for the day so we didnt have to decide right then anyway. We talked about him in the morning over vanilla honey lattes..did we want to see him again? etc.
We left Urth and started to walk down Main St to the farmers market, when John spotted a Much Love Animal Rescue tent. I said ” we have to go! what a coincidence! what if my puppy is there!?” He laughed at me and we went to check them out. There was a dog there named Peep that i had seen and read about online and i wanted to meet her. The volunteers brought her out and i fell in love. She melted in my arms. She snuggled but was also playful. The volunteer who knew her best said that she didnt respond to everyone the way she responded to John and I and that it was really great to see. She got so comfortable she was falling asleep in my arms. We filled out paper work for adoption and waited for a call. We rushed home, excited, to get our house in order. Making sure we looked like “fit” parents when the house check rolled around, and making sure there were no puppy hazards lying around, and waited.
The next day we went on a bike ride. My first bike ride since my accident (i bought a bike in SF and was hit by a car the same day, in fact, while riding it home…slightly traumatic). We rode from our house, down to the beach and along the beach bike path into Venice. I wasn’t really all that comfortable on the bike, it wasn’t too bad, and it felt good to be “back on the horse” but a ten speed bike just doesn’t really feel right on the beach. You need more of a cruiser so you can be up and alert and relaxed. My 10 speed has drop handle bars and brakes so i have to lean forward and press my hands up on the breaks which hurts. But all in all it was a good ride and it felt good. Riding home we got the call. The Much Love rep wanted to arrange a house check for the next day (coincidentally my birthday). I told her the day was wide open, and we agreed on 1 oclock.
That morning we went out and about. John got his heart set on a Linus Bike before we moved here. So we stopped in there shop to check some out. They are a rad little local bike shop who make really simple clean line beautiful no frills bikes “inspired by French bicycles design of the 50′s and 60′s”. Being the impulse shopper that he is, he of course had to buy one, right then and there. And being the Gemini that I am, I of course had to do what he was doing. So we placed an order for two bikes, one cream with fenders and one black, straight up. And when John found out that they were going to stop making the the bike basket i liked so much (not pictured), he added that on as a birthday present.
We hurried back to the house for our house review and luckily we passed with flying colors. I had waited 29 years for this puppy and she was finally granted to me, on my birthday, i guess birthday candle wishes really do come true…eventually. When she asked when we wanted to pick her up, we said “as soon as we can, duh!”. We ran to the pet store to get some essentials & then picked up our girl Peeps! We couldn’t have had a smoother first day. She was good and quite and snuggly and she slept in her crate all night without any problems.
Today is her second day at home and we are figuring each other out. She bonds easy and was attached to me very quickly. John was a bit jealous, and i was a bit scared that she would be come TOO bonded and get territorial. Getting a rescue dog, you dont really know what you are getting. You don’t know her history and the animal rescue doesn’t either. What we do know about Peeps is that at some point most of her organs somehow were logged far up in her rib cage and while under the care of Much Love she received surgery to repair this and has healed up fine. We dont know how those organ got there…blunt force? Trying to wiggle out of a cage so bad she hurt herself? who knows. Was she house trained? who knows. Does she know simple commands? who knows….its a gamble, but one worth taking.
So far, she has been pretty great. She’s crate trained for night. She seems pretty well potty trained. She did have two accidents, however she was smart enough to do them both in the bathroom, which made for easy clean up. We are being good at taking her out often and after eating, and we haven’t had any other slip ups. She is responding well to “sit” considering its been less than two days. WE are teaching her to sit before we leash her and sit at crosswalks. She also responded well to staying out of the kitchen when asked while we are cooking. And we are trying to teach her the phrase “go potty” when we take her out. She bonded more with John today and now feels comfortable being alone with him (no longer following me when i leave the room, scared i wont return) and as the night wore on, both of us could leave the room and she didnt seem concerned. She’s eating well and showering us with affection.
We are finding out that she doesn’t seem to have had any obedience training as “sit” is the only word she seems to grasp, and only sometimes. And she has some fear issues. I think our biggest challenge is going to be socializing her. She is definitely demonstrating some territorial issues and not responding well to certain strangers. Particularly house guests. Today our friend Annie stopped by, our first house guest since Peeps arrived. And she wouldn’t stop barking at her and nipped her heel. This is terribly frustrating and I’m a bit bummed about that. It just makes me sad that people wont meet the Peeps we know, they will meet a barky, annoying, territorial dog. But I am trying to be level headed about the fact that its only been 2 days, and that overall she is amazing. But i will definitely be enrolling her in some obedience classes soon, which i hope will help as she seems to be a good learner who wants to please.
Hopefully once we establish that we are the pack leader (cesar milan, i love you) she will learn to trust our judgement of other humans. But, we are all learning from each other and when its just the three of us, its heaven on earth. Just the sound of her little nails on the hardwood floors as she prances around the house, warms my heart. I am so grateful for her, and its clear that she is very grateful for us. I’m pretty much on cloud nine. Best. Birthday. Ever.
So far, I’m loving it here and I am really happy. I have a positive outlook on what the future will hold for us here in southern California and I cant wait to see what’s next. But for now, I am going to soak up ever last drop of right this moment.