Getting out of London was complicated, what with revisions on the book and organizing the packing and helping the boys towards closure, but arriving in Los Angeles has proven even more overwhelming.  For three of us, at least, it may as well be a foreign planet.  Until two weeks ago, I had only ever spent 36 hours here.  The neighborhoods, the highways, the rhythm of the weather, the architectural style – it is all different than anything I have ever seen before, and I spent the first week simply trying to orient myself, as did the children. 

             Neither of our sons had ever seen a palm tree before, and Benjamin, even two weeks later, is absolutely smitten.  From their point of view, those trees are about as exotic as vegetation can be.  Nor can either child quite figure out what to make of all that sunshine.  Zachary deals with it by insisting upon having his window open every time we get into the car, while Benjamin starts screams “OUTSHIDE” the moment he gets out of bed.  He stands at the front door in his pajamas and yanks on the door handle, stopping only to grab my shoes and then beseech me to put them on.

            As we get our bearings, we are also trying to piece a life together.  J has one more week of UK vacation time stored up, but we have been doing anything but vacationing.  Our lives in Philadelphia were liquidated, and we are starting from scratch around here.  J bought a car shortly before we came, on his last business trip out here, but we needed another one.  We also have to find doctors, babysitters, grocery stores, and playgrounds, not to mention a few other salient items, like a place to live.

            You see, we are in temporary housing, which, by its nature, is temporary.  So, if you are wondering why the quality of my posts as nosedived and why I have not been reading or commenting very much lately, it is because we are busy going to open houses and scheduling viewings.  In my quest for good air quality, we have landed ourselves in one of the most pricey parts of a very pricey city.  Now, we have had to prioritize in very short order.  We need enough space for all five of us, but how much space is enough?  Can five people live comfortably in 1400 square feet if three of them are under three feet tall?  We don’t know if we will send the children to public or private school, but which elementary school has what we are looking for?  We have another six years at this preschool, so how far away are we willing to be?  Will we trade five more minutes in the car to and from preschool for an extra 200 square feet of living space?

            All we know is that we had better have a little back yard, because one of us plans on spending all day outshide.  

23 responses to “Disoriented

  1. I imagine LA is as strange to you as London once was. Watching with interest from afar, as we will be in a similar position in 18 months – two small children, perhaps one more on the way, and the stress of beginning a new life in a brand-new place.

    At least the sun shines on you.

  2. And good luck! I don’t think we could ever afford to move back to LA, although my husband mentioned it more than once when we saw snow in the forecast again.

  3. I echo you on the busyness of a move and “work” transitions, though I have four animals, not 2.5 kids! And my move is on a MUCH smaller scale! All that to say I don’t know HOW you are doing it all and blogging and being pregnant!!!
    Take all the time you need for your family! We’ll be here when you get back !

  4. I can’t believe you are finding time to blog at all! Kudos, to you!
    We are a family of 5 living in a house of 1500 sq feet. We are beginning to grow out of it (especially if I get that 4th child I want), but are clinging to it for all we’ve got. We love this house. I really don’t want to move, but the space has become a bit of an issue.
    Good luck on your search!

  5. Babies, houses, palm trees, outshide – it’s all very exciting.

    I love Benjamin’s age. I love how exciting life is when you’re 18 months old.

  6. Outshide is pretty nice. I hope you find a house soon, so you can really get settled in.

  7. Square footage… somewhat important – ratio of bathrooms to bottoms? Vital! Particularly with two (at least) young boys who will for some time have a care-free attitude towards things like… aiming.

  8. I love sunshine! Outshide indeed!

    Good luck with all of this, Emily. This is a lot to manage. But I love the excitement of it all, at least from the kids’ perspectives.

  9. I don’t envy you darlin’. I wish I had some good advice, I know that disorientation and I know how it sucks.

    Holla if you need me.

  10. i wish you the best of luck finding a house and settling in.

  11. Welcome [back?] to the 2-vee-hickle world, not to mention 3, 4 and beyond. And you definitely need to have a backyard if at all possible.

    The time zone change alone is a killer. My kids and consequently our home used to get chaotic just changing back and forth between Eastern Standard and Daylight time. Didn’t seem to matter which direction. Crabby? Arrrrgggghh.

  12. The fact that you can post at all, through this madness, amazes me. Best of luck with the house hunting!

  13. Oh househunting is hard work, even if it’s sometimes really exciting. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the absolute perfect house appears before your eyes in the next few days. Go with your instinct – you know the moment you’re over the threshold whether you can fall in love with a place or not.

  14. I love looking at houses — though, admittedly, it’s much easier, when it’s someone else’s house being looked for. Actually looking for a place to live for any length of time is awfully stressful, given the amount of money involved and, these days, the gyrations (mostly downward, in our area, anyway) of the real estate market. If you have the time and energy, I’d love to hear descriptions of some of the houses you’re looking at.

    Good hunting.

  15. Good luck with the house hunting. I think a family of 5 can live in a 1500 sq foot house. We have a 2400 sq ft (includes garage) and honestly I think the house is too damn big.

    Good luck

  16. Good luck…much good luck to you. I’m glad you take a few minutes to let us know how you are and how you are settling in, despite the crazy busy and big decisions and setting up priorities such as playgrounds.

  17. Delurking to say yes yes yes the extra 5 minutes in the car is worth the extra 200 square feet. You need to love your home, it makes everything easier, in my opinion. Being outshide so much you need that extra space. Best of luck with it all, I’m enjoying reading and living vicariously through you, all year sunshine – ah bliss!

  18. oh! there is a GREAT elementary school in Santa Monica: Crossroads. Check it out.

  19. Oh, outshide. We know outshide around here too, by golly.

    Here’s to finding your new home soon.

  20. I echo all the others’ best wishes on the house-buying front.

    We, a family of five, live in a relatively compact two- bedroom apartment. All three boys share a room & our two saving graces: the living room, study, and dining area (no eat-in kitchen) all open into each other so you feel like you can move AND we live across the street from a park/playground so we can run around ‘outshide’ and get the ya-yas out.

  21. Good luck, indeed. House hunting is very serious business and I personally find it to be nearly impossible. It’s just so much money and so very important to find just the right place. Good luck and enjoy that wondrous CA weather!

  22. Hi, I’m a frequent lurker, but never commented. Was surprised and excited to hear of your unexpected relocation. I’m originally from Philly, have spent 5 yrs in western NY and will also be heading to LA this summer!

    I commiserate on the stresses of finding the right place. I too only have limited knowledge of the area and worry about location and schools. Unfortunately, purchasing a house is not in our options. But due to DH’s job, we are looking strongly in Santa Monica. We will probably be jamming 2 adults, 1 5-year-old and 2 newborns into an 800-1000 sqf apartment. And NO back yard. But I’m counting on the beautiful weather to get us out places.

    Anyway, just wanted to wish you luck! If I learn anything groundbreaking, I’ll let you know!

  23. I think if I lived somewhere warm and sunny like that I’d want to go outside first thing too!

    Hope all the searching is going well..