Before I begin, I want to link the fundraiser I have started:
Help 5 people, 3 cats, & 1 dog move to Eureka CA!
I’ve been a member of Daily KOS for a long time, but I don’t post much. Mostly, I just lurk. It’s hard to make a post like this, but, the truth is that we need a little help. I am moving to a house in Eureka, myself and some friends of mine. We almost have everything sorted out, but we’re struggling with moving expenses. The move is 700 miles, more or less, and there are a thousand little things we need to put in order. We need a moving truck, and we’ll need to rent a car (because there are too many people and too many pets to move in the truck.) We need to hire some movers. We’ll need to pay for gas. There are U-Haul boxes involved that must be put into storage for a while. It will be good for everyone once it is done, but the actual doing of it is proving to be very complicated.
And the U-Haul boxes are *Off!* Uhaul will take them to our new town, where they will sit in storage until we pick them up. We absolutely could not have done this without the help of this fundraiser. Thank you everyone for your generosity!
The next step is: getting the Two Sisters, and the very few things they have that did *not* go into the Uhaul boxes, up to the new house location, a distance of 630 miles. That means renting a truck to move boxes (of the normal cardboard variety) ($850) and renting a minivan to move people and pets ($1100.) Once the two sisters have moved and gotten settled in, thirty days after that will be my turn (I expect that I, also, will need a box-moving-truck and people-moving-minivan, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
As a bonus, I have PICTURES! Here are the pets that you and your generosity are helping to move. Again, thank you for anything you can spare.
I will continue to send updates as I can, but I expect it will be at least a week before the next one. Again, thank you for all of your help! I am truly grateful.
Wow! The sisters and I are blown away by the amount of help we have already received. I hadn’t even managed to comment on a pootie diary yet! (It’s coming, I promise.)
Thanks to all of you, we will be able to pay for the U-haul boxes, which was a big, *big* hurdle, trust me. The boxes are an enormous part of the move and having them sorted is like a weight off my shoulders.
Our next steps are:
- We must rent a truck (for boxes) and a car (for people and pets.)
- My own move will come a month after the sisters move (no date yet but it is coming) and there will eventually need to be a car/truck/movers involved there too.
For now, though, we have the Uhaul boxes covered, and that’s a huge, huge, huge relief. Thank you everyone! We are all so grateful.
Wow, I stopped in after work and there are a bunch of replies and several people have donated towards the Uhaul boxes. I cannot thank you enough! I have been tasked with passing along the thanks of the Two Sisters as well. They are as grateful as I am.
I am going to talk to them about getting some pet pictures to add to the Pootie Diaries, and I will see about Paypal.
I will keep checking in as we move forwards. We are in a bit of a holding pattern right now as we are waiting for an important document from the bank (which had to go through the mail, don’t ask why, it’s a long and frankly ridiculous story.)
Thank you again, to everyone! :)
How I Got Here
I came to California with my husband. At the time, Greg Abbott had won the election for governor over Wendy Davis. My husband had recently lost his business because he had a health scare where he had nearly died, and I had lost my job some weeks prior to the election. We both thought Abbott was dangerous, (I much more so than my husband) and it was time to get out. We packed our one car, sold off everything else we owned, and drove out to Los Angeles. (This is why I took the name, Red State Refugee.)
I had friends in California, long time online friends whom I had never met. I will call them the Two Sisters. We arranged that we would go and visit them, and then we would stay in California and start over there.
What a wonderful time my husband and I had on the trip! We went to little roadside attractions, to Carlsbad Caverns, here and there. When we arrived, we set up in a little rent-by-the-week hotel, and began job hunting.
We went to visit the Two Sisters, who were as delightful in person as they were over the Internet. There were the two sisters themselves, of course, and as the elder one was married, her husband as well. There were two children, two dogs, and three cats. It was a big, busy, rambunctious household, (and a bit of a shock after our very quiet house) but what a grand and glorious time we had! We visited often, grilled BBQ in their back yard, constantly had to shoo the younger dog out of the garden lest she dig holes, and chatted about all sorts of topics. They gave tips about where jobs might be found and forwarded our name to people they thought might be hiring. We laughed and laughed.
We single-mindedly hunted for jobs for about three weeks. Then, one day, my husband, my sweet kind darling husband, who treated me like a queen every day of his life… one day he just dropped dead. Literally collapsed in his tracks.
I had been in California for one month.
I never thought before about what the term “widowmaker” really meant, when talking about heart attacks. I never thought it meant you would be talking to someone one minute, and then the next they would just keel over. I never realized how true and literal the phrase “puppet with its strings cut” was.
As it happened, the week-to-week hotel where we had been staying was located about a mile away from a local hospital. It seemed like the ambulance was there almost before I hung up the phone. The ambulance fellows (I never learned their names) tried so, so, so hard. “He’s in a bad place,” one of them told me when they finally were loading the stretcher onto the ambulance. “You need to prepare.”
On one level I understood what he was saying, but on another, I just couldn’t wrap my head around that statement. The concept that my husband might not be all right was just too much to grasp. I followed them to the hospital and found the emergency room waiting room.
About an hour later the doctors came out and took me to an office, and told me that they couldn’t save him. My wonderful kind husband was gone.
Eight years later, I always get stuck here. This is why this diary never seems to get finished. Eight years later and I still cry when I think of that day. I’m fast forwarding a bit here. I’m sorry, but I desperately need to get this posted. Everyone at the hospital was very kind to me, but I’m still not really ready to write about it.
Eventually I went back to the hotel. What else could I do? I was in California where I knew no one except the Two Sisters. I was one month shy of our tenth wedding anniversary. Six weeks shy of my birthday. I was 47 years old, and I was a widow. This was before the pandemic. 47 year old widows weren’t common at the time.
I made three phone calls. The first to his family in Texas; the second to my elderly father, who resided in Florida at the time, and the third to the Two Sisters. “We’re coming to get you,” was their response, at least as far as I can remember.
And they did. Two hours later, there they were. I was completely surprised. Somehow I had managed not to comprehend what “we’re coming to get you” meant. Looking back on it now, I can’t actually tell you how my car got from the hotel to their house. I had a car. They had a car. Did I drive it back? I’m not sure.
They had a spare room and it was decided that I would stay there for a while.
I don’t remember the next few weeks very clearly. Did I do anything but cry? I cried at breakfast and at dinner; cried because I was afraid to do the laundry, because it meant opening the suitcase where his clothes were packed; cried because I turned on my computer and his stayed off; burst into tears at the bank when the poor teller said, “How are you?” the day I had to get money for the crematorium; cried when I went back to Texas for his memorial; cried when I flew back to LA.
I had to open doors again. Did I mention that my husband treated me like a queen? I hadn’t opened a door since we got married. I had never actually driven our car. I had to find paperwork, had to learn to pay bills.
I stayed with the Two Sisters for a few months. Their generosity with their spare room, their kindness and understanding, helped me get back on my feet. Eventually I landed a job, and moved into my own apartment. I would never, ever have been able to make it in Los Angeles without them. They have my undying gratitude, and we have kept in touch ever since.
Now our positions are somewhat in reverse. Their family has been living on the ragged edge of homelessness for some years; in various housing, but just barely. On my side, I still live in the same apartment complex. I don’t go out much, and it’s not good for me to be all alone all the time like this.
So, we’ve pooled our resources to buy a house. That’s been quite the experience! Luckily the elder sister is an unsung genius both with paperwork (she understands mysteries like escrow, inspections, and real estate agents) and with construction (having been involved in theatre and doing things like renovating homes and building sets.) She toured a bunch of houses, video camera in hand, while we all watched breathlessly. “See that?” she’d say. “That’s earthquake damage,” or “This is black mold,” or “This is foundation damage.”
After a lot of effort, we finally found a good house, at a price we could afford, that didn’t need major repairs. It has a garden to walk in, with a little pond and what I am certain is the tiniest greenhouse ever to be constructed by mankind. They’ll have solid housing. I’ll have a place to retire in, and so will they. It’s a situation that will be good for everybody.
Problem is — we have to get there! It’s something like 700 miles, there are two different households to move, we need to hire movers (I’m not really up to moving and need help carting boxes around,) we have to move pets, have to put stuff into storage, need to rent a car, and a thousand little things.
The most immediate problem involves U-Haul boxes. I’d never heard of them, but apparently they are these gigantic, room-sized boxes, and U-Haul will put them into storage while you move. We owe a balance of, I think something along the lines of $728, due in about a week. We’ll be doing the actual move within something like 4-6 weeks. They will move first, once escrow closes, and then I will follow a month later (I have to give my current apartment complex 30 days notice.)
If you are still reading, thank you. I know it’s long. Anything that anyone can do to help, particularly towards paying the balance on the U Haul boxes, is appreciated.
As things go forwards, I’ll be stopping back here with updates. Be advised I work during the daytimes, so my posts here will mostly take place evenings and weekends.
Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for any assistance. We really do appreciate it.