You've probably heard the expression "the elephant in the room"? Well, for Team WestEnders, the pachyderm that has taken up residence with us answers to the name of Cal(ifornia). I thought it was just me, internally obsessing about all things West Coast. But it has become abundantly clear that it is, in fact, a topic on everyone's mind. Don't get me wrong, I have been sneakily--I mean "in a gently persuasive way"--trying to pull my family members onto the moving van....er, "bandwagon"...with me. Some of them have been more resistant than others. Riley, for example, cringes every time the subject comes up, while protesting vehemently about how he doesn't waaaannnnt to go. (A complete turnaround from his earlier enthusiasm, darn it!) On the other hand, Husband has shown surprising signs of climbing on board, as evidenced by such spontaneous comments as "Do you think we should contact a Real Estate agent before we visit this Summer, and walk through some houses on the market, just to get an idea of what we're in for when we're ready to buy?" (Why YES, dear, that's a brilliant idea!) Or the other day when we were discussing what sights and activities we want experience on our vacation, and he pondered out loud, "Hmm, if we move there, will we need better bikes? I feel like there'll be a lot of family rides..." (Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about!)
Then there's the teenager, who every couple of days inquires, "So, are we really moving?" The last time he did that, I re-confirmed that I haven't changed my mind and couldn't help adding, "It'll be great, you'll see!" in what I thought was a perky, totally winning manner. In response, he rolled onto his back on the bed, threw his arms wide, and loudly proclaimed, "It's crushing...it's heartbreaking, it's....DEATH!" (I couldn't help but applaud this stirring performance. And also wonder how the heck he's not in Drama Club. He's so ready for his Shakespearean swordfight-to-the-fake-bloody-end scene, it's almost scary...) However, there may just be a glimmer of hope for him yet. To wit: in the car the other day I noted that traffic lately has seemed to be growing markedly worse in our little corner of the world, what with all the retail and housing construction growth. "I know, I know," he interjected, "it won't be like this in California." "Oh!" I laughed, "I have no idea, maybe it'll be better..." He replied, "I just thought that's where you were going with it," in a world-weary tone of voice. (And hey, resignation is better than outright rejection, yeah? I mean, isn't it one of the stages of grieving...I mean "acceptance"?)
I've been doing my part to mention positive aspects of the area we're interested in...things like "did you know the Santa Rosa Youth Soccer League goes up to age 19, and plays 3 seasons out of the year?" Or the even less subtle "just think, with the climate in Sonoma County, we wouldn't even need Winter coats any more!" Riley tends to groan when I do this, but today Derek gave a hint that he's actually listening. (Wait...gasp! Okay, carry on...) After school he was preparing to venture outside to play--in the gray, drizzly, coolish afternoon--and he mused, "This morning was 48 degrees. I went to school without a sweatshirt, and I was freezing. He continued, (completely unprompted, I might add) "I see what you mean about California; I could wear nothing but shorts and a tee shirt most of the year." (Yes, even he's finally losing patience with our non-Spring-like weather.) Meanwhile, I managed to coax a smidgen of excitement out of Riley--at least for the Test Run portion of our plan--by dangling a treat in front of him. In my research of the region, I stumbled upon the fact that within driving distance of where we're staying, there is: a Jelly Belly factory. You should have seen how he perked right up when we promised to put that on the agenda. (Note to self: never mind the attractive proximity to hiker-friendly mountains, entertaining cities like San Francisco, beautiful State Parks, stunning Redwood Forests, or the majestic Pacific Ocean...the way to secure Riley's cheerful cooperation apparently lies via his stomach...by way of his sweet tooth...)
So, that's the status of our little California caper at the moment. What's definite: a ten-day trial as pseudo-residents this Summer. Airline tickets, rental car, hotels, and baseball tickets have all been bought or reserved. (And on a related topic, are you ready for this? Who would the National League San Francisco Giants be playing while we're in town? That's right, our own East Coast, American League BALTIMORE ORIOLES. I ask you, does that seem like fate, or what?) Now, we wait...and finalize what we absolutely want to see and do while we're there...and of course continue to brainwash--ahem, "convince" my beloved family that relocating is the Greatest. Idea. Ever. Sigh...is it time to go yet?