The Raleigh World: One Month In

North Carolina flag
North Carolina

Today marks one month since Dos Gatos Locos and I rolled into Raleigh and began making a new home here. As with the day we arrived, today’s weather is warm-ish and rainy (thank goodness it’s light showers and not nearly the gully washer that greeted us).

We are settling into life in North Carolina: the apartment is coming together and I’ve taken care of a lot of the bureaucratic whoop-dee-doo involved with moving to a new area (I still have some business stuff to sort out). I’m beginning to make some car trips without needing to fire up Waze. I am able to restock cat food and litter and keep my fridge and cupboard stocked without getting lost or resorting to having them delivered.

Most of my weekends have been taken up with setting up the apartment and setting up my freelance business, but I have ventured around the Raleigh/Cary/Durham area a couple of times1. I’ve joined a couple of meetup groups and am making my way as a dyed-in-the-wool introvert through this networking stuff.

Victoria Klum Photography: Photoblog &emdash; Mill House

Other things that I am slowly becoming accustomed to include:

  • having “Miss” appended to my first name: I’m glad I go by Victoria now and not Vicki because I’m not Tiny Tim’s wife and being called “Miss Vicki” used to send me round the bend when I was a kid.
  • styrofoam food containers (quelle horreur)
  • directions: west means AWAY from the (nearest) ocean! Seriously, I need to etch this into my windshield!
  • weather: as much as I mentally prepared for hot, humid weather, I neglected to prepare myself for prolonged cold2. But we weathered *cough* the cold (and the surprise snow storm) and my electric bill wasn’t nearly as high as I had steeled myself for.
  • a winter scene on a nearby street
    ❄️🌨☃️
  • manners3: Last week as I approached the door at Starbucks, I hesitated because the way the light was hitting the area, I didn’t think the guy opening the door would see me and we’d collide. He came inside, saw me and leaped back to the door to hold it open. “I’m sorry,” he said softly. I wouldn’t have thought anything of him not holding the door, mostly because I didn’t expect him to have x-ray vision, so I was a little shocked that he not only jumped back to get the door but apologized for not holding it in the first place. I regained my own manners enough to smile and thank him as I passed through the door.
  • people complaining about rush hour traffic: unlike the Bay Area, I doubt they have to turn on the metering lights at 05:30 a.m. around here. Come to think of it, I don’t think they even *have* metering lights here.
  • parking: as in, you can do that here without driving around the block for an extra six miles or needing to take out a home equity loan to pay for an hour or two of parking downtown.
  • time: Oof. The first couple of weeks here I thought I was doing well with the time change but these last couple of weeks have been a struggle. I also tend to forget that my people back on the west coast are now three hours behind me (so sorry for the texts and FB messages at 06:00 a.m., darlings!)
  • neighborhood farm
    Y’all. These are some of my neighbors🐄🐑🐐🐓
  • peace: I live less than ten minutes from the airport and I rarely hear aircraft. I rarely hear traffic, other than the nearby railroad (and a train is blasting its horn as I type this). And there is a FARM right next door! Instead of 24/7 sirens now I hear goats and a rooster.
  • ease: People here don’t go out of their way to make things difficult. Even the DM-freakin’-V was the easiest and most organized experience I’ve had at a DMV since I left Oregon. I didn’t make an appointment for obtaining the driver’s license or the registration, and both times I was done and out of there within an hour (car registration took 10 minutes).

So that’s a snapshot of the first month of The Raleigh World. I’m grateful that I’m able to ease into this new chapter of my life and that the Boys are adjusting well to their new surroundings.

It’s been a lot change. And I’m just getting started.

Clancy
Doesn’t matter that I need to get up and do stuff. Clancy is comfortable on my lap, so here I sit.


1Okay, fine: the second excursion was a driving tour of Morrisville/Cary last Friday because I decided to not use Waze for the trip home and I got on the westbound freeway instead of the eastbound. But what the hell, it was a lovely day out and I made a couple of mental notes of places to return to.

2After living in the Bay Area for 24 years, cold is anything under 55 degrees.

3The manners seem to dissolve once folks get behind the wheel of their cars, however. HOLY CRAP have I encountered some asshole behavior on the roads!

The Raleigh World: Apartment Tour

All right, folks. This apartment is as put together as it’s gonna get for now, so it’s time to show y’all where The Boys and I are living.

Here’s the view from the entryway.

apartment entrance
The entry to my apartment

Right off of the entryway is the bathroom. There are two doors leading to the bathroom, one from the entry and one from the bedroom. You may be thinking how convenient that is, so guests won’t need to access the bathroom by going through the bedroom, but you’d be missing the true value of this. And what is that value, you ask? Charlie and Clancy can now chase each other around and around and around the apartment!

bathroom-2nd view
A view of the sink area of the bathroom.
bathroom
The tub/toilet area of the bathroom

This tub, tho.

bathtub
I have a HUGE tub!

On the other side of the entryway is the dining room, but I’m using it as my office. It’s barely controlled chaos, right now.

office
Technically, the dining room, but it’s my office. Pls ignore the chaos.

MOVING ALONG

The kitchen:

kitchen
A view of the kitchen.
kitchen-second view
Another view of the kitchen

Having a dishwasher again is a life-changer! I had no idea how much I missed having one until I got one again.

The bar area:

kitchen-bar
A view of the kitchen/bar from the living room

Yes, I have placemats attached to the wall. Charlie is an exceptionally messy eater.

And the living room:

living room
Living room

I’m not going to get new furniture for it for awhile. Part of the reason is not spending money, but the other part is waiting until I get a feel for this space. I brought the old chair/stool from Alameda, so I have something to sit on, so I’m not in any big hurry to buy anything.

And the bedroom:

bedroom view
view of the bedroom from the window

Another view of the bedroom, showing the hallway leading to the bathroom. The doors on the left are the closet, and across from that is the laundry closet (holy crap, talk about another life changer, being able to do laundry without leaving home!).

bedroom-hallway
Another view from the window of the hallway leading to the bathroom

So there we have it. A quick tour of…of…what the hell am I calling this now? For now, it’s home, even if I don’t have a name for it yet.

Turning Life Off And On Again

I’m caught between wanting to establish a routine and needing to power down and reboot.

The routine is important for me and for the cats, so I can establish good habits, and so we all know what to expect from our day. For example, Charlie EXPECTS to be fed around 6:00 a.m. and I EXPECT he will behave like an obnoxious jerk until I shuffle into the kitchen and toss some kibbles in his dish. But when you are this adorable, you get away with being a jerk.

These two
Too much adorable with these two!

And then there’s my body, which is reminding me that the last six months have been the most intense ones that I’ve lived through since my mother’s death. And my body has been telling me to tap the brakes a bit, while I finish processing all of the feelings about being in–and leaving–the Bay Area, the drive across the country, and the fact that I am now living 3,000 miles from where I had lived my entire life.

So, now that the boxes are unpacked and recycled and the apartment is as put together as it’s going to get right now, I’m trying to honor these needs as best I can. Some days that means grabbing a nap. Today that meant researching and writing a proposal. My main priorities right now are making sure I make time for moving my body around, meditating, and cooking fresh meals, because when life starts getting really busy these self-care habits are the fastest ones to get left behind if they haven’t had a chance to take root.

I did manage to get over to the DMV Monday morning to get my driver’s license changed and I registered to vote, so I’m starting to assimilate. I think I have to wait until my permanent license comes before I can get Luna registered. Oh yeah, this happened yesterday:

40005 miles
It only took 13-1/2 years to hit 40k!

Clearly, I need to get out more often.

As the week heads toward the weekend, I have calls to make and a proposal to finalize and send and weather forecasts to review so I can determine whether I need to find a real winter coat now, or if it can wait until next winter.

Speaking of winter, here’s a photo that I took near the apartment a few days after the snowstorm.

snow landscape
In some areas near my apartment the snow took a while to start melting.

The Raleigh World

This is the true story, of a strange lady, who picked up her life and moved it across the country, to see what happens when she stops being Cali and starts being Raleigh.

I have no idea why my brain kept wanting to work the intro to The Real World into this move, but it wasn’t going to shut up about it until I wrote it down, so here it is.

I was offline for a bit because posting was kind of a pain to do from my phone, especially if I wanted to add photos, so I waited until I could get my internet set up.

I got the internet turned on and my stuff got here on Monday. Jared and Josh from Superior Moving Systems got my stuff into the apartment on Tuesday morning (they were great and I highly recommend them, if you’re moving in the RDU area–just make sure you get THIS company and not the other Superior because that other outfit seems a bit shady). The contents of the Relo Cubes shifted a bit during transit and though there are some dinged shelves, nothing was broken. And I know you all were worried, so I’m happy to report that the cat trees were completely unscathed!

But…

So.

Many.

Boxes.

boxes boxes boxes
So. Many. Boxes.

I spent the last few days drowning in cardboard. I’ve got pretty much everything that was in cardboard unpacked and I tossed the empty boxes into the back of the Subaru and took them to the cardboard recycling bin at the complex. I still have a ton of stuff in plastic bins (mostly photography stuff). It is unsightly, but it is not something critical that I would need to deal with immediately.

Oh, and this happened.

snow-covered Subaru
Dude! Where’s my car?!?

It was like Nature said, “Oh, hey there! I heard you’ve missed having Real Seasons, living in the Bay Area. HERE’S HALF A FOOT OF SNOW FOR YOU! Enjoy!”

Let me just take a moment here to say, HOLY HELL AM I GLAD I MADE THAT CROSS-COUNTRY DRIVE LAST WEEK AND NOT THIS WEEK.

So I did get to finally enjoy a snow day, grateful that I did not need to travel in that weather. And, based on appearances, most of Raleigh shut down during the storm. And since I wasn’t going anywhere, I powered through unpacking the boxes. Once I got rid of the empty boxes and could access the entry closet again, I pulled out the vacuum and gave the floors a cleanup (I have faux hardwood in the office/dining room, kitchen, and living room. There is tile in the bathroom and carpet in the bedroom).

The Boys and I are slowly getting settled in and adjusting to chilly weather and having dogs as neighbors. So far, so good.

Here are some more photos I took of the storm, for your viewing pleasure.

snow people
We had some short-term neighbors move into the hood
snow person
I think this poor snow person needs a chiropractor.
snowy farm yard
The critters were tucked safely in their barn.
snow scene
Took a snowy walk around the apartment complex.
icicles on a car
As the snow slowly began to melt, icicles formed along the bottom of my car
Vicster in the snow
First snow I’ve seen in a veeeeery long time!

Alameda To Raleigh: Day Six

Y’all.

I just drove from California to North Carolina.

With two cats.

And one very understanding and awesome friend.

We got to the apartment a bit after 3:00 this afternoon, but not before driving through the heaviest rain I remember driving in. In the 13-1/2 years I’ve had Luna, I never once had the windshield wipers on full speed. Today I had to use that speed several times (including my trip back from Target).

I’m exhausted and we don’t have internet set up in the apartment yet, so it’s a short update.

Clancy and Charlie were awesome again, though Clancy has some issues at altitude. He didn’t like climbing in Arizona and he complained through the Smoky Mtns.

I’m doing my first load of laundry…IN my apartment, while I tap this out on my phone and drink lavender chamomile tea. Clancy is curled up next to me and Charlie is over ALL of this bullshit and has buried himself under the covers on the air mattress (and he has always hated being covered up!).

Road tid-bits: too tired to remember them now.

I’m grateful for: Corinne, completing this part of my journey, the two sweetest cats in the world, doing my laundry without leaving home, my Subaru, sleep.

An image of a speedometer and odometer that shows a trip of over 2,900 miles