The drive from Virginia to southern California went better than we had any right to expect. The kids entertained themselves with trinkets and books and Kitty, our dog, enjoyed looking out the back window of our aptly named Honda Fit.
When we arrived we found our house to be in pretty good order–never something to take for granted after renting it out for 6 years–but we did have to immediately buy a new refrigerator and stove. Joy.
I waited a tortuous two days before finally getting in the water. Somehow it didn’t feel right to leave Lena unpacking the house and watching the kids while I went spearfishing. But at the first opportunity that wouldn’t get me in trouble I slipped away to the ocean.
The visibility wasn’t great, but just being in the water was amazing. I spent a couple of hours in a local kelp bed and emerged happily shivering as the sun dipped toward the horizon. Yesterday afternoon I went back out to the same location and shot a nice halibut for dinner. Actually, he was big enough to make about four dinners so we’ll be having fish for a few nights. After fishing in the Potomac (and not catching much) for a few years, it was really nice to harvest fish that we can actually eat.
Although we lived in southern California for almost ten years before moving away, this time it feels different. At that time we were on active duty. Life focused around flying out of Camp Pendleton and Miramar, gaining qualifications in our helicopters (AH-1W for me, CH-53E for Lena) and developing our professional military skills. Deployments became the way we measured time–we were always either preparing to go out, out, or just coming back from 6-months overseas. We lived in the glorious sunshine of SoCal but somehow it never fully penetrated our flight suits. At least it didn’t for me. I hesitated to set down roots or get too invested in this area because I was never more than one set of orders away from leaving.
But now things are different. Now that we’re off active duty and in more control of our destiny, I feel a sense of ownership, of being willing to devote time, energy and enthusiasm to becoming part of this community. Our kids will get to grow up here and we’ll get to know the people around us and share in their lives. And some of the men I flew with in Iraq are here, too–IKE, Gash, Count and BT (soon) just to name a few. Like lots of veterans, I don’t necessarily miss being in the service. But I do miss the men and women I served with. Living within five miles of several of my best friends in the world makes this location even better.
So, we’re still getting settled in, but this is where we want to be and it feels right. As the dust settles from the move, and I establish a routine, I will begin working on some fiction projects. I’ll provide more details on that as I figure them out. And I promise to start putting up pictures on this blog as well.