All the Clouds in Reverse

I will not deny that I felt anxiety having my boy in a big truck that might leave my sight at any moment (and eventually did) and I will also not deny that mostly I was afraid of the truck exploding.  I was not afraid for Max to spend some time with Bobby who is a lot of fun and completely trustworthy.

This, my 25th move, will be remembered forever as the move that almost wasn’t.  The move in which I was the idiot woman who got taken advantage of by two thugs: one named Tweedle Dick and the other named Tweedle Douche.*  Yeah, that’s me taking pot shots after the fact because I’m ashamed I wasn’t the super woman I’m supposed to be in which I kick the asses of any men who try to chisel me but instead I let them because I’m scared of conflict being by myself with my son and no one to step in if… IF.  That’s a lie, I’m scared of conflict, period.

Max in the truck with Bobby who helped us come back home.  Max enjoyed his time and later, after getting back into the car with us, he wished he’d stayed in the truck.

The truck almost couldn’t be rented due to a check that went AWOL between California and Oregon.  I’m not even going to dwell on the humiliation attendant on any person trying to rent a 26′ truck with NO funds.  We got bailed out at the last hour by some close friends.  I cried more and slept less in the last week than I have the whole previous 12 months combined.

I was certain that McMinnville was holding onto me with platinum claws.

360 Scenic Drive.  My ghost address.  My mailbox.  The mailbox that surely is filled with ghost mail delivered to my dead and buried self of 27 years ago still haunting the driveway between my heaven and hell and swinging on the monkey bars at Briscoe School.

We paid Tweedle Dick and Tweedle Douche $205 at 1am and spent 45% of the grueling drive to California discussing the semi-toothless thugs in the wife beaters who took advantage of me.**  It turns out that when Philip told me two weeks ago that by Christmas we’d be laughing about this whole black hole of a move he really meant that our life would suddenly resemble a cheap movie.

Magnificent clouds ride the road all the way from Northern Oregon to Northern California.  They follow, they burst, they shout, they cajole, and in the end they show themselves backwards.

The animals suffered a lot for this move.  They were hot and agitated and constipated and scared and yowling and panting for cool air because our air conditioning is only marginally stronger than if I were to blow on them with my own hot breath.  (I’m being unfair.  When we turned the car off at stops it heated up like a furnace full of Christian wrath and as we got moving the air quality equaled that of a hot tropical spa.)

The minute I get to California I know it without the welcome sign because I know this road as though it were an extension of my own feet taking me home.  Oregon and California both being home by turns.

I’ve spent so much of my life riding over the Siskiyous, over the pass and across the California and Oregon border going both ways.  I will always consider myself both an Oregonian and a Californian.  I’m a hybrid person.  No matter which way I’m going, I feel an excitement crossing the state lines.

I wanted to whoop and holler when I took this picture but I exercised amazing restraint based on an irrational superstitious belief that if I entertained any thoughts of hope and excitement or relief or desire that I would careen into the canyons dropping off to the sides or that I would wake up and find the Tweedles choking the life out of me in my unmade bed.  I think I might have squeaked and then clenched my whole body, waiting for the piano to drop on my head.

There’s no such thing as ever hating Oregon for me.  It’s in my blood.  I lived there as a kid in my formative years, I loved it with my spirit, the weather is the most perfect weather in the world for me – and it has served such important functions in my life.  It has made me who I am exactly as much as California has.  I love the ragged yet lush Oregon forests and get thirsty when I see the dry golden hills of California yet when I am in the Bay Area or the North Bay I feel as though I am where I am best loved and appreciated.  I am starting to think that California has been my mother and Oregon has been my father.

On both ends of this surreal move are so many people who have gone the extra mile for us, who have done whatever they can to make this easier for us.  Those saying goodbye to us have been just as kind and wonderful as those pulling us back to Santa Rosa.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years feeling isolated and raw and right now I only feel love.

I want to say special thanks to the following people: Tara B., Bobby and Cathy, Angela and Phil, Sid and Dennis, Nicole, Carolina, Shanta and Robert, Sharon and Norman and their amazing boys, Lisa and Mark and their wonderful kids, Laurie, Max, my mom, and Philip.

We’re not quite done yet.  We have one more truck load that will occur exactly as soon as we can afford it.  I’ve never needed so much help in one single move and though I’m really tired of asking for help (not something I naturally find easy) I can’t express how important it is to have the kind of people in your life that will help you when you ask.  I try not to take my friends for granted in the normal course of my life and I do try to be a good friend to them – giving my arm or ear when needed – but being so needy as we’ve been through this move has humbled me freshly.  It has reminded me what kind of friend I want to be to others and reminded me how we don’t and can’t live our lives in a vacuum of solitude.

I am home.

*The gangsters U-Haul: Moving Help found to help us load our truck.

**I don’t even have the energy to recount every outrageous detail here – I’ve been trying to for two days and I just really wish you were face book friends with me because then you could just read the updates for all the horrible details.


  1. angelina says:

    Hi Ann!! Philip is going to have to make one more trip with a smaller truck to get the rest of our stuff but I’m here and I’m not going back until I am just going to visit with friends there. So we’re here with most of our stuff and I LOVE IT!!!! I’m writing a post about it this morning. Might not get done because I am still way behind on work – but report coming soon!

  2. Ann says:

    Excellent! I’m glad to hear it. It’s funny how horrible stuff that is looming in the future eventually is in the past. Phew, now onto to something completely different. I’m so happy for all of you. A new chapter so to speak.

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