Friday
Jul222005

« Deep In The Bowels Of Hell »

What fucking hell. Utter fucking hell. It's the middle of summer, so we got our Florida-like humidity and heat that helps sour the whole experience even before the sleep is wiped from my eyes, and even waking up at 8 am is no help. (Hell, in less than two weeks, if I wake up at 8 am, I will be an hour late to work!) What a time to have to do this mad amount of work. Later on, I am looking at working primarily in a warehouse in the Mission Gorge area of town, where it's notoriously hot. Good times. But therein lies the ticket to my new life. Maybe.

The last two days have been just totally draining in every way. Arguments with Kelli like never before. We’re both in massive change mode, and it's worthless to figure out who is getting the shorter end of this moving deal. What I do know is that she signed up for a school with a commuter program so that she could live in San Diego and attend school three days a week in Claremont, with the option of staying in their on-campus commuter housing for the two nights that are obviously necessary, but possibly for a third, to make things safer. Her class starts rather early on Wednesdays and it's early enough that she can’t just take a train up there (timing doesn’t work out), and it's also early enough that it would make for one hell of an early morning commute to class (leave SD at 6 am and negotiate the two hour drive and whatever traffic too, and rush into class, not to mention getting up early enough to do all that in comfort). So she really should make the commute on the night before when early morning stress is not a problem, but it adds another night to the housing costs, an additional $35, bringing the weekly cost to $105 and the monthly to $420. And all that is ON TOP of whatever we pay to stay here in San Diego.

So for most of the last three or four months, the talk has been about commuting while she lived here, in this current house. So of course we were shocked to be issued a notice to leave. The next most possible option was to actually get one of the apartments the school has for students and totally leave San Diego. At least we were assured a place, and it was but a short walk to class. But it would still cost about $900 for a one bedroom on campus! About double what the commuter housing would cost, but a single price for a single place that is all ours to live in, instead of the dorm-like commuter rooms. Still, neither of us sounded ready to leave SD and neither of us were working at the time, so it would be a challenge, even if the housing was secured for us to move into. But we still had no assurance of any way to sustain that since we had no jobs. Even if we had jobs here, it would be meaningless; we’d have to start over up there, and it's harder to find stuff up there while perched at a computer down here. So for a couple weeks right after we got our notice to leave here, we perused Craig’s List and looked for work up in the greater LA hellhole, and down here too. I got not one single response to the LA area calls and emails/resumes, and when I looked at the map I found that some of the places were going to be a godawful distance to commute not once a week, but once a day! I think a 35 mile commute, or a 50 mile commute can actually take years off a person’s life!

After some fumbling with the LA work scene, and the other “opportunities” in the Claremont area (really closer to San Bernardino and Riverside), we resorted to looking down here again. We drove to Claremont to go to the school and do some administrative things, see the apartments, and taste the area. The lady who showed us the apartment asked us to be there at 9:30 am, which meant we had to leave here at 7. We got there with 10 minutes to spare. Then she told us she didn’t actually have an empty unit to show, so she arranged some Asian student to show his place, but he had three kids and another family member or two there visiting, so it was mad clutter and noise. Less than two minutes later, we were out of the apartment and I had not done anything more than stand in the living room and peer into the bedroom. Well, so much for that place. And they have no cable service whatsoever. DSL, if anything. The apartment complex was made out of block. Pretty soulless, but not about to be torn asunder by the southern California hurricanes and tornadoes. It was institutional. But it was a few steps from there to class. The school is utterly tiny, so distance is measured in yards, not blocks or such. The rest of Claremont, the city, is not far, certainly in biking distance, and it's a cute cute little downtown, totally cool for the peak oil/new urbanist guy in your family. But after traipsing about doing school related work and stopping in at a couple of the other colleges and their admissions offices possibly for my benefit, we got some lunch and it was already after 3. Hardly time to look for any real work. Nothing jumped out at me. Nothing seemed to be the sort of thing that would have gotten me the ideal $2700/mo to live in that $900 one bedroom apartment. I did go to the local Costco to once again try my hand at applying, but they said Costco only does online apps now. Fuck. We stayed and looked at the rest of the cute downtown of Claremont, and talked to people. Upon finding out that the commute to LA central is a 35 mile drive, we mostly were talked out of looking for work in the LA area. Most everyone suggested a far more local search. Then we drove home, and I filled out the Costco online app, complete with that absurd psychological profiling shit all the online apps have now. And it was an app for ONE store, not chainwide, or even a selection of stores!

So, since I had already been waiting a week and a half for AV Concepts to call, I called them that same day and told them I needed to start making some plans. They told me it would be until Monday (this was a Thursday). Then I called on Monday and was told that I could come in for a second interview the following Monday. This is now three weeks after the first one. So I am crossing my fingers like mad because I got the idea that this job could actually anchor me in town here and get us a new apartment, pay for storage at least until we can sell things down, etc. We’ve been talking about how important it is that we stay in SD because we have all our friends and church folks down here, and that is our life. We don’t know anyone in Claremont, and most of all, we have no plan for how to pay for that apartment either, so the talk was that it was far more risky to ditch our San Diego life entirely than to move within SD and keep with the commuting plan. I reasoned we could always complete the move later when commuting and separation became unbearable or gas got too expensive. We’ve both been unemployed for months now, so it seemed silly to totally bet the farm on a new life in Claremont when we could barely afford the move itself. Maybe we could get a running head start in SD for at least a semester or two, and when one of us gets some experience with the new place, we could have some idea of opportunities there.

So back to hell week.

We did our garage sale thing and it took three of us three days to get the thing done from early clean up and inventory to late clean up. We put a lot of stuff into two drive off containers. We still have a messy ass house. I still have all my music gear here in a corner and it still takes up about a third of a bedroom. Girl stuff is still scattered about—knickknacks, picture frames, plants, and other stuff still surrounding us. We still have a number of pieces of furniture that probably won’t make the cut and will have to be sold or stored. We still have mad amounts of half filled boxes and stuff. Closets left unmolested. All Kelli’s office space is intact. Bathroom and kitchen stuff is still unpacked. We got our work cut out for us still! I supposedly start work on the first of August. Shit. I have no fucking idea what to do about my music gear. It takes up space and is of high value. I can’t just shove it in a closet nor can I leave it unsecured, nor do I like the idea of leaving it with others. Not all of it anyway. It's pared down rather thin from my erstwhile glory days of studio extravagance. Still not ready to sell it. Right now it's a burden. I guess I could get another drive off container or storage facility, but that's added expense.

Well, I did finally get the AV Concepts job and started to look up and could finally release my crossed fingers that were getting sore after three weeks. After weeks and weeks of stress, one key piece came into place. We got a job that could keep us in SD. Starts at $1760 a month (to start, with more on the way in a few months, or so they say), which for me is pretty darn good. Add whatever Kelli can make and her financial aid, and it seemed that things were falling in line. We had exactly three weeks to get out of here. Miracles do happen, I guess.

So in the midst of all the other stuff, which everyone agreed was hell enough, Kelli’s car started giving her hell, and it became clear that the cost of fixing it would be silly and it's time to start looking for a new car, especially if she is going to commute regularly. So we have this fucking ordeal added into the mix. That just means more time is getting sucked up into criscrossing town looking at stuff. Time not spent packing or moving, or looking for another job. When I came home and told Kelli that I got the job, she did get excited but then found out that it paid less than I had been proposing, so she started getting all bent out of shape that there was no way we could live in SD and have her do the commuter thing too on that sort of money. Uh? What happened to her commuter housing being covered? What happened to her two weekdays remaining to work, or up to four if she wanted to bury herself with some weekend work too? Uh? I could not believe it. She started on gasping about how all her plans were falling apart, and how she might as well just quit school, and all sorts of other stuff.

So I suggested we just ask for money now, and so I reminded her that my old man had made some offer to help us with the transition. She protested, then she suggested we go, then protested, and back and forth. Finally, after going around and around on the issue, I just went over to his house on my own and started on the pitch to help us with some moving costs, and oh!, the car needs to be replaced too. Kelli really doesn’t like my old man much given the current state of things, but we are in a pinch here, and frankly, he could help. So I got to his house a couple days ago and she followed over afterwards, choosing to drive her little death trap on wheels to a place she would rather not be. After some negotiating, the old man went and collected a thousand dollars and gave it over. It was, in a strange reversal of the usual patterns of the universe, the best thing that happened all day! We so often think of a trip to his place as a disaster waiting to happen, but the last few weeks have been different, and he has expressed some desire to be charitable toward us since he can see an end to this housing dilemma here.

Kelli and I didn’t say much before we went to counseling that night, and I was thinking she would have been totally dumbfounded and surprised to have received a cash gift from my dad, so I thought things would be better. What I do remember happening is one of the most tense and overtly confrontational sessions ever. Just fucking hell. It was like the planets reversed their orbits that day—the best thing to happen was the exchange with my dad, of all things! Kelli elaborated how she thought we were going to Claremont after all this time, to which I had to say, well, then why the hell have the last two weeks been filled with looking at San Diego properties and jobs??? Shit, if all we needed to do was to move into the Claremont apartment, we could have done that a while back! But now I got my decent job in SD that can hold things together, it's not good enough??? I found myself in the odd position of defending two things I ordinarily am not known for: the actions of my father, and the prospect of my job (which of course is one that helps lift up the vanity of corporations, uses massive amounts of energy for nothing of any real use, and operates across huge geographical areas, but it's giving me what I need, when nothing else is).

So yesterday I got up at 8 and was ready to go apartment hunting by 9. Kelli woke up then, so we left at 10, and hit up a number of places in the North and South Park areas, University Heights, and the like. We finally found one place that for the price and the financial incentives was great, but it was actually a nice little place–a reconditioned place from the early 60s or so. Tasty and a nice step above the ghetto shack I anticipated we could get for the newly revised price we were looking at, if indeed we were going to pay the whole price together: $800. So we drove to the offsite manager’s place, which was another complex a few blocks away, got the apps and went to a restaurant to fill them out over lunch. Then on the way back to the manager’s place, I asked her if this was okay, and well, fuck me, the whole thing opened up again! All sorts of cries that we talked about Claremont this and Claremont that, and that this is only good for me, and what about her? Fuck, I lost it then. We got to the truck and were shouting like mad, finally I tore up the apps and threw them out and said we really need to fucking decide what town we’re gonna be in because this half in-half out shit is messing things up big time. She doesn’t have an answer for how to actually pay for any place in Claremont, and yet, for weeks we’ve been looking HERE, not THERE for work and housing, which finally turned up something and was about to turn up some housing too.

She might feel her world is crashing down, and maybe it is. We both feel that way. But being totally ripped out of home, studio, familiar settings, and from friends, all while being pressed into doing a new job that I am really pretty ho hum about is a bit much, you know? Add to that I have to store or sell stuff that I have used and lived with for years, and some of it is the last of the stuff I have to inherit from my grandparents. She faces the commute plan, and she could commute with other SD residents, or take the train, or whatever. She has to buy a new car. She has to go to grad school and work part time. Who is getting off cheap here? Me? Her? Each is being thrust into something beyond challenging, but what the fuck? If we were supposed to live in Claremont, why spend the last few weeks looking here and nonchalantly packing and filling storage containers here? We should have been in Claremont! Of course, then my new job here would be utterly useless. And any talk of living in two apartments full time is financially out of the question, and she associates that with a divorce. Well, what the fuck? One of us has a job, we both have lots of reasons for being in San Diego, her original idea was to commute. Hell, maybe we should just go up to Berkeley where she could go to Pacific School of Religion (first choice, and one that she could get, since our minister is an alum there and could help her in) and we would be VERY clearly out of San Diego and would give up the idea of living in two places at all! And, at least we’d be around some other smart liberal minds and nicer land when the shit starts hitting the fan in the post-peak days.

Bloody hell. That’s all I have to say.

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