Okay. You sitting down? Really. Sit down for this one. Ready? Really? Okay.
We're moving. As in leaving the bay area. With our stuff. In a moving truck. With the kids. And the cat. And where, pray tell, are we going? That would be Texas. Austin to be exact. Shocked? Me too. I don't quite believe it and I am the one that booked the movers.
Got lots of questions? Me too. And only a few answers.
Whoa. When is this happening?
Really, really soon. We fly out with one-way tickets on August 24.
Are you freaking out?
Yes. A lot.
I thought you loved it here?
I do. WE do. BVZ grew up here and it's been my home for more than 8 years now. I love San Francisco, I love my friends (a lot, a lot, a lot), I love my job, I love the (foggy) weather, I love the (cold) beach, I love our house (most of the time), I love the lifestyle, I love.... well, you get it. But, without going into too much detail, BVZ has been increasingly unhappy and unfulfilled at his job for several years now. Don't get me wrong, his job afforded us many things (like a house) that we would not otherwise have had in this area, and we certainly have enjoyed a certain standard of living. But money isn't everything (duh) and we would prefer him to not have an actual nervous breakdown. Plus, we only get one shot with these kids and he needs to figuratively and literally be around for them.
So, he should just get another job here!
If only it was that easy. It's kind of complicated, but the bottom line is that he is emotionally, physically, and psychologically done with big law firm life. Unfortunately, we bought this house at the ultimate height of the market and we have a ginormous mortgage. I am a public defender. I do not command a ginormous salary. Any job BVZ would be interested in here does not command a ginormous salary. Kids are expensive. They like to eat.
A bunch of reasons. First. Kids are hard. They are even harder when you don't have a ton of family around. Austin has a ton of family. Second. Austin is cheap. BVZ can do a job he really likes and enjoys without feeling the weight of the financial world on his shoulders. We can get 3 times as much house for a third of the cost. We work really hard. It would be nice to have more than one bathroom. We already have reverse sticker shock. The most expensive preschool is hundreds of dollars cheaper than what we are paying here. Groceries are actually affordable. Especially avocados (weird, right?) Third. Austin is fun. It has fun music and fun food and fun people and fun stuff to do. We have a lot of friends there that we really, really, really like. Fourth. California public schools are in serious trouble. School in Austin affords our kids certain things they simply won't have here.
So, did BVZ get a job in Austin?
Yup. We had been entertaining the idea of moving there for a while, but hadn't really done anything aggressive to make it happen. It was more of one of those "wouldn't it be nice if we could have more than one bathroom" kind of thing. An opportunity came up in kind of a weird way a few weeks ago and one thing led to another. And we took a deep breath and pulled the trigger. He is joining a very small, start up intellectual property firm. Same kind of law he does here but in a very different environment. VERY different environment. He's beyond thrilled.
When is his last day at work here?
Tomorrow. He'll take August off to pack, go to Giants games, take the kids to the beach, and move. He will start at the new firm the second week of September. There's a lot to be said for seven years worth of unused vacation time that gets paid out at the end. I better get a new dining room table out of it.
What about your job?
Sigh. Let's not talk about that one. I love my job. LOVE my job. I work with fabulous people and I really, really enjoy what I do. The work means a tremendous amount to me and I am heartbroken to leave. I may try and take one of my cases with me, that's still up in the air. It's actually a little easier emotionally because I am still on maternity leave and so I am not in the thick of things right now. But it sucks. Really sucks.
Do YOU plan to get a job in Austin?
Yes. I've got some things in the works. Maybe not right away, but yes. I think stay-at-home moms rule the world, but that's not a job I am cut out for. I would love to be able to finagle a part time gig and least while Lou is still so little. We'll see.
Do you have to take the Texas bar?
Oh, hell no. That was my stipulation...I refused to move anywhere I had to take the bar. We've both been practicing long enough that we can apply for admission without having to take the exam, thank god.
What are you doing with your house?
It is going on the market soon. Anyone want to buy it? We will end up taking a loss on it. Hopefully not too much, but time (and it better not be a lot of time) will tell. We could try and wait out the market and rent it out but, 1) what we could get in rent wouldn't cover the mortgage, much less taxes, insurance, etc., 2) renting it seems like an unbelievable hassle, and 3) the market isn't expected to fully recover for years and years and years. We would rather suck it up and get rid of the albatross now. It's a cute house. More than one bathroom is overrated. Buy it please.
Where are you going to live in Austin?
Good question. We're going to lease a house while our house here (hopefully) sells and we figure out what school district, etc. we want to be in. It's proving a little more difficult to find what we want. Housing has taken a hit there too, of course, and the rental market is red hot. We have the worst timing when it comes to housing (ie, bought at the highest, selling at the lowest, renting in the worse rental market ever). Whatever. There are worse things in life.
Texas is hot. Don't you hate the heat?
I need a Xanax just thinking about it. I took this picture 2 days ago when I took Lou for a walk mid-morning. TWO DAYS AGO. That would be July 26. He's wearing a fuzzy bear suit on July 26. Austin has been over 100 degrees for over 80 days straight. Oy.
So, are you buying a Texas sized SUV?
No. We're keeping the Prius.
It's tough to leave a place you really like.
Tell me about it. We'll miss Grandpa Gene and Ms. Mary a ton. We'll miss being within driving distance of GG and Aunt Vanessa. I will miss my cooking club. We will dearly miss our friends, who have been our lifeline all of these years. BVZ will miss the Giants. We will miss Half Moon Bay. We will miss the place our kids were born. I will miss my village of moms. More than I can ever explain. The amount of tears is overwhelming.
This sounds miserable! Is there anything you are actually looking forward to?
Why, yes there is, actually. Mostly this:
Our kids have cousins in Austin. Super awesome, amazing cousins. And a grandmother who can't get enough of them (and wants to babysit for free). And aunts and uncles that adore them. Who are we to deny them the chance to grow up in the middle of this kind of love fest? Plus, I get my mom. And two of my sisters. Who happen to be two of my very best friends. I haven't lived in the same place as my family in 18 years. That's a long time. Too long. Plus, we get a house with more than one bathroom. I can't begin to describe how much I am looking forward to that. Some of my favorite friends live there. That's going to be great. Oh, and BVZ won't have a nervous breakdown. That's big too.
How's Norah dealing with it?
She says she's excited. She talks about living in a new house and having her own bathroom (what can I say, the excitement is contagious). She is really excited to be with her Bubby and cousins. She is looking forward to all of the swimming pools. She wants to go. And then once we're in Texas she wants to go to Ruby's house. And play with Caleb and Ava and Caroline. And then maybe go to her school and see her teacher. And then see if Pamma will come over. In other words, she totally doesn't get that here and there are in fact mutually exclusive. She'll adjust just like she always does. I just hope it doesn't break her heart.
When will you be back?
Soon. Norah and I have a trip planned in December to meet Baby Goo Goo.
What's your policy on visitors?
They are encouraged and expected.
I think it's going to be a tough transition for everyone (especially for me-for christ's sake it's been over 100 degrees for months!), but at the end of the day it's going to be nothing but good all around. Bay area folks, please make sure we hang out before we leave. Austin folks, come be our friends. And bring beer.
Cheers to the next chapter!