Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Cookie Jar Exclusive

Subtitle: The Cookie Jar Goes Bi-Coastal

We got back late Tuesday night from a long weekend in South Florida. How was it, you ask? Good; pretty humid and a bit warmer than warm. I spent a lot 0f time flashing back to my sticky-skinned past in Houston, where I served a 20-month mission for the LDS Church in 2000 & 2001. We had a great time, and hopefully Stellan did too.
The trip started off not perfectly, as Stellan had a fever for the first day and a half. On the plus side, it made the plane trip much easier. He also discovered the joy of cuddling; he never cuddles unless he's sick, but in our unfamiliar hotel room in an unfamiliar environment, he spent quite a bit of time just slowly crawling over us on the big hotel bed until he found the right cuddle pose for a nap. Very cute, but a little pathetic. Later in the trip, he got used to having lots of playtime on the bed.
We spent a pretty good part of Saturday, our anniversary (6 years!), driving all over looking for addresses that only sometimes existed. Stellan was a super trooper about just hanging out in his carseat, and even helped us with our navigating. That night we had our first taste of the Atlantic Ocean - very nice! Warmer than Santa Barbara, and the color was pretty amazing (although the nighttime photos won't help you much with that). Stellan liked it a lot, but he wasn't too thrilled about all the gritty sand that stuck on him even after we tried to clean him off. The sand grains are definitely bigger at the beach in Dania.
On Sunday we attended the Hollywood Ward, located in Hollywood, FL. They were very nice to Stellan, and he returned the favor by spending most of Sacrament Meeting cleaning the tile floor in the foyer with his knees, palms and stomach.
On Monday we did some more looking around and then headed for the beach. You'll enjoy the photos of our escapades there. Stellan's favorite thing to do was to crawl in a little deeper than he should, wait for the waves to completely cover him, then come up choking and look at me dumbfounded. He did this maybe 10 times. Eventually Kevin built him a sand wall, which formed a pool behind it that Stellan played in. We were interested to note that we didn't see a single sand crab; any East Coasters care to weigh in on that one?
Since Monday was also Stellan's birthday, we took him out for ice cream. OK, we took us out for ice cream and shared with him. We went to Jaxson's, which is a famous old-fashionedl ice cream parlor with huge portions. We shared with Stellan (unusual for us - I promise we don't let him indulge in dessert regularly), but he got tired of the ice cream pretty quickly and instead decided to show us that he was tired and ready for bed.
On Tuesday we ate a leisurely breakfast, packed up and checked out of the hotel. We then headed over to SeaTech, the campus of Florida Atlantic University that Kevin will be studying at to earn his Master's starting in the fall. That's the "exclusive" part of this post: we're moving to Florida! If you are an employee of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, please keep this to yourself until Saturday evening, when I promise to inform all Museum employees. (Yeah, right; I know you Museum people don't check this blog very regularly. Pretty safe gamble on my part.) If you don't work with me, feel free to tell the world.
How do we feel about Florida? Pretty good. Kevin loved the campus and is very excited about his program. I am looking forward to being a stay-at-home mom and maybe even having some time to work on my much-neglected music. Somehow I just haven't found much time for composing since Stellan was born and I have continued to work full-time. One of the saddest days in recent memory was when we moved to our two bedroom apartment and I realized we didn't have space for my keyboard, but it didn't matter because I knew I wouldn't really have a chance to touch it anyway. Now I'll get it back! If our new home is big enough, that is.
As I mentioned, we spent the bulk of our time cruising the area in search of affordable (meaning ludicrously inexpensive) housing not too far from campus. We have some leads and some applications in, but nothing's final yet. We'll probably be in Hollywood, but if we get really lucky we'll find a place in Dania Beach, which is where the campus is. Hollywood would be OK though; we spent an evening at a really awesome park right in the middle of town that Stellan loved.
We did have some adventures on our search, like the lady who gave us the wrong address, and when we finally found her, she stepped out of her car and had 3 monkeys on leashes hanging off of her. In fact, the whole interaction was kind of funny. While we were waiting for her outside the apartment building, I only needed one look to see that the whole thing would be totally roach-infested, and I told Kevin so. When we stepped into the door, there was a huge industrial-sized pump-handle bottle of roach killer; I whispered to Kevin, "Told ya!" We asked her if there was a roach problem and she said, "No, we just finished a remodel and they said it would be a good time to spray in all the corners to prevent any from coming in." Liar! While we were there, we saw at least half a dozen roaches boldly scaling the walls and ceilings. And there was a matching bottle of insecticide in every room. As we were leaving, she let one of the monkeys crawl on Kevin. (Tragically, no photos; the camera was in the car with sleeping Stellan.) She said that this particular monkey loved men and that she [the monkey] was her little whore. When another monkey (did I mention they had clothes on?) tried to crawl onto Kevin too, she explained that this one, a male, was her gay and that he loved men too. Yes, those were her exact words.
We saw of lot of properties for rent and for sale; the housing market there is one of the worst in the country. In fact, there have been many who have encouraged us to buy because we might find a cheap foreclosed property. However, we don't have much in the way a down payment right now, and since technically neither one of us will be employed (Kevin received a paid research assistantship - meager but hopefully sufficient), we wouldn't be able to get a loan. But if any of you are looking to buy, we'll be happy to rent from you!
How do we feel about leaving Santa Barbara? Sad, of course. Most of my family is here, and I will miss them more than I can express. Also, Stellan is very close to all his extended family here, and they are pretty much the reason Kevin and I have been able to stay sane with our busy schedules and our even busier baby. We'll miss the free babysitting very much. Also, I've been at the Museum for over 13 years now, and I will be heart-broken to leave my Museum family. And then there's all our friends, our connections, the weather, and Bangkok Palace on upper De La Vina. But we're ready for a change and excited about all the new things we'll be doing and experiencing. We'll be looking for some friends, and hopefully adoptive grandparents for Stellan, so if you know anyone in the area, tell them we're on our way. In the meantime, my nearest friend, Leigh Arnold, is only 600 miles away in Evans, GA. Stellan and I might have to go on a road trip!
By the way, we did get back safe and sound. The flight home was much more difficult because it was at the end of the day and Stellan wasn't sick anymore. But luckily we sat next to an incredibly kind woman who fell in love with Stellan instantly and was extremely kind to us the whole flight. She played with him and even walked him up and down the aisles when he got feisty. Thanks, Marisela! We got in at about 10 PM PDT exhausted but glad to be back in our smoky little Santa Barbara. (The Gap Fire is about 50% contained by now, and has moved away from our closer vicinity.) Stellan was especially glad to be back in his own house with his own toys and his own room and has been happily reuniting with his family.
This is probably the longest post I've ever written, and if you made it all the way to the end, you deserve to enjoy these photos!

P.S. Did I mention the lightning? There were thunderstorms every night we were there; awesome!


Becky said...

!! Wow, this post had quite the surprise twist, tucked away in the middle of it!

I wish you and your family the best of luck; the move sounds like a grand adventure and a smart choice.

I'll miss working with you yearly on our UCSB/Museum project, you really are one of the best colleagues I've worked with.

Let's keep in touch and one more thing: thanks for one of the weirdest monkey stories ever.

Warmest regards, Becky

D said...

Congratulations! I am sad that you are moving so far away (not that we've seen each other much anyway...we will have to see each other at least once before you go). Good thing you've started this blog. Now that you will be joining the ranks of us SAHMs I expect lots of updates! :) I am jealous you are moving to a place of low rent and home prices. I hope you love it!

Patrick & Leigh said...

Krissie, we will definitely need to get together. How exciting! I know it will be hard to leave S.B., but the southeast does have some killer thunderstorms-we've been getting them a lot in the evenings-it's my favorite part of the day!


Dana said...

Hey Krissie,
I'm finally catching up on reading your blog - the ocean looks beautiful there!! Enjoy!! Hey, I kept your moving secret all this time, aren't you proud? ;-) OK, back to the rest of the posts...