Monday, August 22, 2011

An experiment in commuting....

Dovey and I were house and dog-sitting this past week while our friends were on vacation in South America. This friend lives in Moorpark, CA - about 40 miles away from our house. We decided to look at this adventure as an experiment on how we would do as commuters.

We gathered up a weeks belongings and the pup and headed out on Sunday afternoon. We just love their house, huge backyard for the dogs to play in, 4 bedrooms a big kitchen and lots of room to spread out. Moorpark has beautiful weather, in Ventura County so it has the beachy weather. Its a quiet neighborhood too. Its the equivalent of our 'dream' home except the distance from the city. Suburban living is the trade off for space! We did enjoy the weekend time, relaxing in the back yard with the dogs and enjoying the quiet, suburban life.

Test 1: Early mornings and late nights! 
Dovey works all over the city with different clients. The first day he was working near our home, and left an hour earlier than usual (at 7am) to get there on time. He said that he arrived on time - barely - and that traffic was horrendous.  In the evenings, he had to hang back for an hour until the traffic broke up - and didnt arrive at the house until about 8pm. (We usually eat dinner around 645 - so we were both starving by that time)

One day this week he also worked in Long Beach - a trek he takes every other week on average, so this was the true test! He went to the office first so he wouldn't be counted as late - that took about 1 hour - and then left after his morning huddle to LB - another 2 hours one way. He was on the road for about 6 hours that day and decided that the 2 more than usual really wasn't nice. He was exhausted from dealing with traffic, and starving when he arrived home at 8pm.

I work the opposite direction, but the first day I also left about an hour earlier. My drive took just 15 minutes more - and I was stuck close to the office with about 40 minutes to kill. (Target here I come! Best place to window shop! haha) Every other day I just gave an additional 15 minutes, so the commute didn't bother me that much. But waiting for him to get home at night was the kicker.

Test 2: Carpooling!
In order to save gas and mileage - we decided to try carpooling from the house a few times. This way only one car would make the trek to Moorpark.  It was nice to be together on the ride there and back, have a little more time together - but we still had the early mornings and late nights. We also ate out during the 'hang back' time on those days - which would have been nice except we were paying more for gas, mileage AND food as a result.

Our Decision:
Overall, we decided that we weren't going to cut it as a 'commuter couple'. We would rather pay more to live in the city and sacrifice size and space for quality of life. We really missed our morning and evening walks - spending that crucial fresh air and cool down time behind the wheel was an awful trade-off. We were both grumpier and super tired all the time. We ate out more because we lacked the energy to cook - sacrificing our healthy homemade cooking for convenient, bad-for-you food just wasn't our thing. Once in a while junk food is a treat, but all the time is just bad news bears! (At least in our opinion!) We aspire to be healthy and happy - and this was definitely not the way to achieve that!

I'm glad though, that we had this chance to see what life would be like - so that we didn't just assume it to be a better choice and buy further out without knowing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A surreal visit to the DMV...

Yesterday I paid a visit to my local DMV office to obtain my new Driver's License and pay my vehicle registration. This time I planned ahead and scheduled an appointment online for first thing in the morning. I arrived at 8:59am, just before they opened the doors and noted the line around the building for those without appointments. 
{Thank goodness for being a planner! Really though, why WOULDN'T you schedule an appointment - nowadays you can do them online and even from your cellphone!}

I joined the line of 5 appointment people, and shuffled my way inside. I was AMAZED at the cheery disposition of all of the employees. The woman processing the queue greeted me with a smile, was very informative - making sure that I had all of the necessary documents to complete my transactions and giving me the application to fill out. She then told me when it was finished to 'just pop in front of everyone else' and she would get me to a window. CHA-CHING!

Within minutes I was at a window, where another very kind woman greeted me with a smile and began processing my requests.
{Seriously folks... did someone slip some happy pills in the coffee pot?!}
Then she tells me that she apologizes for the delay (I've been standing for all of 1 minute at this point.) but that they began implementing a new system this morning and that they have never used it before.
{Hold up. So everyone's smiley and happy AND your learning a new system? How is that even possible?} 
She completed the name change and moved onto the registration in no time at all - and then pointed me in the direction of the photo booth...

THANK GOD I get to take a new picture... the last one was stretched horizontally by their system - making me look about 30 lbs heavier! Fingers crossed that doesn't happen again!

The man at the photo desk was being silly and smiley and happy too.. he was joking around with me and all of his neighbors... keeping the mood light and airy. Fingerprint. Signature. Photo. Done! The man said that I will receive my actual identification in 2 - 4 weeks and to Have a great day! I look at the clock on the wall on my way out, stunned... all that happiness and it's only 9:20am.

With a cheeseball smile on my face, I was off - with my new 'Sawyer' paper identification in hand - ready to face the day!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The most amazing part of marriage...

I know there are too many things that fall under this heading, but Ive only been married for just under 6 months, and the most amazing part SO FAR has been "family."

Growing up it was my sister and I, my mom and my Daddy... with the addition of two half brothers, my dad's first wife and her husband and all of my brothers best friends (there were about 5 at family gatherings! plus their significant others if they had them!) A big extended family was the most amazing part of the holidays. When everyone grew up and got their own spouses, things changed again... less time together, more time for them and their families.

And then my dad passed away. I know that it was no ones intention but tragedy does some strange things to people. There were serious cracks in our family's stability and a lot of separation. Sadly, it took ten years to repair a few of those cracks and a few of them seem to be permanent. Though there were survivors, to this day we struggle to survive as a family unit.

Enter Dovey - though his family has had its ups and downs, they continue to be strong and remain close. Mom & Dad are still together (after 35 yrs!), and live close enough to have monthly visits. He has 5 siblings, two older half brothers (like me!) and three that he grew up with. And when we married I became an aunt to 10 amazing kids! I'm even going to be a great aunt in just a few months!

I feel as though I am learning from all of them every day. Learning about myself, and what I value most. And when Dovey and I decide to become parents, it makes me happy to know that they too will be part of a very large family circle.

With hope for the future,

♪ ♫ We are family... get up everybody and sing! ♪ ♫

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Great Wall of Los Angeles

Today, Dovey and I decided to take a field trip. We recently found out that we are just a mile away from the 'world's largest mural' in the Los Angeles River. Dove was having some trouble getting started that day, so before we knew it it was 1pm. We decided to walk over there since it wasnt too far away.

They had just completed the renovation project and the colors were beautiful and vibrant. It took you through LA in prehistoric times, through wars and strikes and political agenda's. The Spanish conquistadors, Mexican rule, there was the Japanese Internment camps and the Indian Relocation. There were some less depressing parts too, like the beginning of Rock and Roll and the Movie Era (with Mr. William S. Hart!). It was AWESOME. So many years, so many artists - all keeping true to the original. I am attaching some photos too. :)

If you have a day and are capable of walking a mile, I suggest you pop on over. and take a look.
Happy travels!