Moving – Santa Cruz, CA to Horseheads, NY

Moving – Santa Cruz, CA to Horseheads, NY


So the thing about this type of move… it’s CRAZY.. but the payoff can be big!


Eric and I have talked about the idea of relocating for a couple of years.. typically, after a visit back east to visit his family and not dealing with traffic for 2 weeks and looking at the real estate market.. But it’s never been quite right… we weren’t in the right space as a couple of financially or even with work…


But this past summer – so many things were different.. and I think that we looked at each other and knew that the timing was right to seriously think about the details and logistics and how we would make this cross-country move with our kids, house and stuff…


We were in an incredible space with us and the kids and we started to research moving companies and the job market.  It was over-whelming on so many levels…. But we kept focused on the bigger picture and started to weed out stuff… yard sales, good will, craigslist… we were making a change and it was time to de-clutter…


We started to talk to moving companies and were shocked…. We ended up settling on one that was not your local brand name, but wasn’t the bottom of the pile either… we had heard that all moving companies suck.. so we figured if we went with “middle of the road” all would be okay… it wasn’t.. but we will get there…


We started to think about timing for Eric’s work… it needed to be Spring so that the likelihood of him finding work would be higher.. and honestly.. I don’t think he wanted to take my flip-flopping wearing self and put me someplace that had snow on the ground in March/April.. which worked for me..


I started to look around for work in the local area but really wanted to stay connected to Silicon Valley – I knew that moving would change the course of my career… which would be fine.. My goals no longer include being a VP of Talent Acquisition.. I want to make a solid living for my family.. but I am unwilling to be away from them for 70-90hrs a week…


I was approached by a company who I had previously spoken with and took the straight forward and honest approach.. We wanted to move and I needed a company who would be willing to have me work remote… They worked hard to bring an offer to the table… but I tend to be extremely loyal and I LOVE my current company and team.  I approached my manager and broke into tears (seriously.. I love my team).. and I told her that I wasn’t giving notice.. but I was letting her know that it could be coming… She is not only my manager but someone I consider a friend…. I wasn’t making a play for a counter offer.. I was just really torn… which is funny, considering what I do for a living.. but I don’t negotiate for myself.. I just talk straight….Eric and I talked about it.. and decided that if my current company wanted to keep me onboard, that it would probably make the most sense… I don’t like change and trying to manage a HUGE life change, along with a company change may seriously through me over the edge and land me in the looney bin…. I am still amazed at how it all worked out.. but I stayed with my current company and we set a tentative move date for the end of March.


As if all of this wasn’t insane enough… we signed up Eric for his first Ironman event – in Mexico – In March!!!! And we planned on taking all the kids…. So while trying to reduce our stuff and plan this trip.. Eric was in major training mode…

We had talked about getting married and making everything official but were pretty focused on the task at hand in terms of moving… of course, that didn’t stop Eric from hitting his knee and proposing on my birthday (December 1st).. and after a lot of talking and thinking.. we decided to get married before we moved… Santa Cruz is my home town and the place that we met and helped us create the life we had together… and considering that our families are on two separate coasts.. there was not a good medium.. and we knew that we would be keeping it small (see previous posts)….


We approached the past several months by event and by each task.. to approach it as a whole, was terrifying…


So we focused… on Erics Coast ride…. Eric’s trip back east to look for a place for us to live… On our wedding…. On Mexico…. This helped us get through those weeks… and through it all we were getting rid of items and trying to pack what we could.. but honestly.. between work and all of these life changing events.. it was tough.. Eric was also dissolving his company and we were both coming to terms of leaving two of our children behind… not for good.. and we have a plan for them… but its still an indescribable feeling… and for me… I had never lived anywhere other than Santa Cruz… Preschool to College to professional career.. its been my home for 35yrs.. its where my family is from and its where my parents came to give me the hometown they always wanted… and here I was.. leaving..


Our plan was to take the kids to Mexico for Ironman, give us all a few days together as a family and then come home and pack.. We would have a week before Eric was supposed to get on the road.


The original plan had us all driving across the country together…. But after a family trip to Lake Tahoe with the little kids.. we quickly had to come up with a new plan… There was no way the 1yr old or 3.5yr old could hang in their car seat for 8-10hrs a day.. times 6 days….


So it was decided that Amber, Eric’s 15yr old, would drive with him over her Spring break and the little ones and I would fly back a few weeks later… This would allow Eric to get across the country and get the house ready for us.


On Eric’s trip back east. He looked at his grandparents house, which has been sitting vacant for a year.. and we decided that we could rent the property for 6-8months and then look into buying it… The upside – it’s a home that holds so many memories for him and his childhood and sorta embodies the feel of this place… It sits on 2 acres and has a lot of potential for our family.  The downside, its been empty for a year and needed a lot of work..


We decided that while it wasn’t currently perfect for us.. it could be and decided to move forward and plan on moving in the first week of April – or whenever Eric arrived. 


We refocused on the wedding and enjoyed those moments with our CA family and friends (see blog post).. and then switched the focus to Mexico and getting Eric through his first Ironman (THAT post is coming)….


The plan was to come home and spend that weekend packing as quickly as possible.. unfortunately, things never go quiet according to plan… Alex had started to throw up in Mexico towards the end of the week, and we assumed it was either something he ate or was fighting a bug… but everyone else appeared to be fine… Until the Saturday that we were back – My mom was watching the girls for us that afternoon and Madison started to throw up.. we managed and my family stepped up to help us.. the problem was… that I got hit harder than I had been in a very long time.  I was incredibly ill.. I dragged myself to the office on Monday and was promptly sent home – it was the WORST timing ever!!!!


Eric has wrapped up his work prior to Mexico and we figured he would be doing most of the packing.. but not like this… He was awesome though and made the move possible.., especially considering that I could barely get out of bed.


Friday, March 29th arrived and Madison was feeling much better and I was on the upswing.. we took the girls to daycare and anxiously awaited our movers.. who were due to arrive at 7am…. By 9am the stories started about being stuck in an inspection point… after numerous calls and the blood pressure rising… we decided that Eric and Amber would start on their journey and I would stay and deal with the movers… we figured they would be there in good time and we would be back on track…. Little did we know that it would all fall apart at the seams…. Which continued our stress-feast….


We were told numerous times that they would be there.. they were getting released.. but it was looking like 6pm+….


So I scrambled and arranged for my sister to pick up the girls from daycare, while my mom and I would wait for the movers… by 8pm… We were told they would be there within an hour.. and I had to call my dad to come and wait with me so that my mom could get the girls and put them to bed… It would be the first time that anyone would put Madison to sleep, other than Eric or I.. and I was thankful for our sleep training….


My dad arrived and my mom went and handled the girls.. and I dealt with the movers.. who FINALLY arrived at 10pm at night.. in a neat-up, old, BUDGET moving truck… I literally laughed out loud and said “Are you fucking kidding me?”.. and to be honest.. my red flags were up ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE… but I was exhausted.. I was sick… and I knew that any other options would cost us more and I was ready to be done with this part.


The driver walked in and started to talk about how the load was MUCH larger than what he was told.. and he had to call his supervisor and they didn’t have room in their truck, etc.. and I could feel myself starting to loose it…. I KNEW what they were doing…. I KNEW they wanted us backed into a corner… but I was trying to remember that they had moved a co-worker of mine and he got his stuff… and I was prepared for this little game, as they pulled it on him.


I talked to the new supervisor and explained that we had a binding agreement that was based on weight and not volume and while I didn’t do this as a profession.. I was SURE it was not the 20k lbs they were trying to say that it was… We sold our table and couches and most of our large furniture… I KNEW they were trying to bully me…We went back and forth until I talked to my original contact…. Who did the whole “Let me see what I can do, etc..”.. and came back with a price that was significantly higher.. yet.. still lower than some of our other quotes… I told them to write up the new contract and Eric and I agreed to suck it up and go with this new price… but neither of us felt good about it…  


Honestly.. I just wanted them to take our stuff and be gone.. which is the WRONG attitude.. but after the day and week we had.. I just wanted it to be headed to NYS.


When I sat down to sign the new contract, as I was reading it – I realized that the insurance they had “claimed” was included… was actually not to cover our stuff.. only if something happened to their truck, like an accident, or something.. .but that essentially we had NO coverage on our items.. I literally go up from the table and knew that this was a bad idea… but I was fighting my gut instinct.


My sister and BIL were checking in with me the entire time and I think my BIL could hear it in my voice and called a friend of his who had owned a moving company for 20yrs… Jim arrived at our house at 11pm and pretty much walked in like the town Sheriff… He didn’t need all the details to know what these guys were doing… and he essentially chased them out and told me that it would be a BAD IDEA to send our stuff with them.


I literally lost it.. and burst into tears.. I knew he was right but I also knew that we couldn’t afford to go a different way and I envisioned Eric half way across the country and the girls and I in SC with a bunch of boxes and no place to live.. yes.. I am being dramatic.. but I was sooo overwhelmed and wished that Eric was there and had no idea what we were going to do.


Jim said he would make a few calls and help me find someone to come out and do an estimate.. I made a few calls and basically had to lock up the house for the night and head to my moms. 


I woke up the next morning and we had Atlas Vanlines coming to do an estimate – I was thankful to have Jim in our corner but didn’t know what to expect… I laughed.. feeling sad that all of the discounts I had worked so hard for, went down the drain.. but then again, realized that they were just handing them out because they knew what they were doing.


We had several people from craigslist picking up items and at least I knew I was clearing out the house – especially since I had to push out our exit date by a week.


Atlas showed up and were very nice and we later learned that Jim really asked them to give us the best deal they could… it was still high and essentially  twice the amount we were going to pay before and after the discounts and deposit, about 3 times as we were expecting to pay.. my dad came to the rescue with a loan – which meant we could schedule the pickup and get back on track… THANK GOD.


My mom and I spent the weekend cleaning up the house and getting the people from Craigslist to pick up everything.


And.. we got the new pickup date from the movers for Tuesday…


I managed to get healthy… manage the kids and work and with the help of my family… we got all of our stuff on the moving truck that Tuesday.. scheduled the carpet cleaners and house cleaners and got our deposit back… It was a week of insanity… and in some ways I was glad that I was dealing with the stress of it.. because if my husband doesn’t deal well with something.. its CLUSTERS.. I mean.. neither of us do.. but I tend to be a tad calmer in these moments…


In the meantime… Eric and Amber were making awesome time and enjoying the time together… They landed in NY about 3 days ahead of schedule. Which meant that Amber got to see her east coast family and the house… She helped Eric pick out paint and start on the house…



Eric and his family worked their butts off getting it clean, painted and the bathroom remodeled to be in working order… and I knew that Eric was in a world of his own in terms of stress…


Those 4 weeks of separation were extremely difficult for us.  We were 3,000 miles apart and trying to stay connected in the midst of Eric working 10-12hr days and making all the decisions about the house for us… and me being a single parent, managing the kids, working and all the last minute items for CA….tying up our apartment and still trying to manage staying connected as a couple.  We got creative and some days were easier than others… I do think it was probably good for us to each have a few weeks with our families.. without our family.. if that makes sense?


I had more dinners with my parents and my sisters family, than I had in years.. we were cramming in time with the girls and it was a double edge sword.  The kids were getting more attached to their CA family and we were all making time for each other.. but its because it would be coming to an end.. I gained 8lbs eating out and drinking with my dad and friends… but I will cherish those moments… and Eric got to be around his family for more than 2 days.. just him.. no distractions from me or the girls.. just him.. and I am sure that it helped re-solidify his bonds,, because he had been away from home for over 20yrs.


Once the apartment was cleaned and our deposit was returned.. I felt like I had a week or two to breathe.. I was focused on work and making sure that everyone knew about the move and that I would still be supporting them and reachable…


Eric was still working his tail-off and I was sooo extremely thankful for him and for the foundation we had created together.. because without that… I am not sure we would have made it those last few weeks… it was REALLY HARD.. to be managing two separate households and our own stresses and fears….


Wednesday was my last day in the office and I got to bring Alex back to SC with me… Thursday, I was working from home and my mom and dad would be getting to spend some time with him during my meetings and calls.. this meant that I got extra cuddle time with him.  I had created a photo book for him that included photos of us from the moment he was born, as well as photos with him and Eric, Amber, the girls and all of my family.. including our time in NY.. Eric and I wanted him to know how much we love him and how much apart of this move he is.. that this move is for our family… even if he will still be going to school in CA…


Before we knew it.. it was our travel day… I had packed up our suitcases.. gotten the cat ready for her trip and my dad arrived at 5am and we were off…


Both of my parents took us to the airport to see us off… we unloaded the bags and came to find that Ayla, our cat, had not faired the trip over Hwy 17 well.. My parents took her to get cleaned up.. and then it was check-in time… THANK GOODNESS we got their early because checking in the cat was much more of a PITA than I realized… we got our bags situated and they looked over her health certificate, had TSA examine her and by the time it was said and done.. it was time to hit the security line.


We got through it and then it was time to say goodbye… there were lots of tears and hugs and kisses.. but at least I knew that my mom and Alex would be coming in about 6weeks and we would have to work on my dad….


Because we were holding up the line we had to go and then it was the shuffle of getting the girls and I through security… Thankgoodness for my Ergo and for the girls being so good.. they were excited to know we were headed towards Daddy, as was I.


We got to the gate and literally boarded within 5 mins… I was grateful for the hundreds of army personnel on our flight.. and thank goodness, the ones near us liked kids… Madison finally fell asleep, after fighting it for an hour – just in time for Mackenzie to tell me she had to go potty.. I was able to leave Madison asleep on the seat – with a watchful eye, while I dealt with her sister..


We arrived in Detroit and made a mad dash to our gate and got there with 2 mins to spare… it was hectic and crazy but I knew my husband was waiting on the other side and we would all be together shortly.

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One Response to Moving – Santa Cruz, CA to Horseheads, NY

  1. jmagen says:

    and I wrote this in July and didn’t feel like editing the work stuff… but I was laid off at the end of July.. but since then have had the opportunity to work with a great start-up and a well known tech company among the geekiest of the geeks.. which is fun!

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