Thursday, July 8, 2010

3 Years in Vancouver, Washington Today - Hooray! - Part 1

Hello Aspierations Visitors and Returning Friends!!

Today is our family's 3rd Year Anniversary of the day we moved from San Jose, CA to Vancouver, WA.  WOW!  My husband John at Life and Times of John Krejcha published an excellent blog tonight while I was working that talks so much about our journey and our last three years in Washington.  I can't top it so I'll link to it and have you read it if you're interested in an upbeat, cheerful edition.

I say that last part because I'm admittedly a little grouchy right now and not as upbeat in my writing as I'd like to be.  It's been very hot today and our office is always at least 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house.  I am one HOT Momster!!

**BLOGGER has been driving me BONKERS!  Something is really going screwy when I try and compose and then edit html.  The formatting keeps getting all weird.  I'll try and fix it soon.  Thanks for your support! **

Truth is though, I've missed blogging to you the past couple of days.  I wanted to blog here but I told myself first, I had to take care of business at CYB and after I finished, I could blog here.  I've been working on a big project for Count Your Beans, trying to stir up some excitement with our 3rd Super Silent Auction for the Summer.  If you know anyone who collects dolls, we have some Artist Proof, First Production Sample and low Certificate of Authenticity numbered dolls in this group and our auction is running through July 14th!  Here is our Count Your Beans blog link!  Your referrals and/or bidding are appreciated!  

** End of shameless plug! **

++ Warning for rest of my blog posting  ++ (Editor's Note 7/10)
I was feeling a bit off when I wrote all this stuff below.  I'm leaving it because I know my husband John linked into it from his blog but in all seriousness, it's a trip to tangentville, a side road to rantdom and a path to plenty of punchiness... It's stuff that goes on in my head but I usually edit it a gazillion times before I publish it in a blog.  So I'm suggesting that you might check out one of my other writings instead!  There are some good ones listed on the side and I did a reflective and important one about myself on on 7/9 that really expresses who I am that you can visit through this link. 

Still here?  Well, I can't say that I didn't warn you! 

So....... 3 years ago today was a huge life-changing moment for me and the Krejcha boys.  On July 8th, 2007, we arrived in Vancouver, Washington and took ownership of our new home.   Wow!

I was born in California and raised in Mountain View.  I lived there or around that area for almost all of my life, except for the few years when I was away at college.  I grew up in the Silicon Valley, worked in the Silicon Valley, fell in love for the first time, fell in love for the second time, got married, gave birth to my boys... so many AMAZING memories.

I'm a numbers, patterns and dates kind of gal.  Ever since I was small, I've seen patterns in numbers and memorized all sorts of weird numerical stuff.  Dates are important to me and they seem to be important to my youngest son, Ryan as well.

Anyway, I have a knack for remembering what happened on a certain day of the year, "x" number of years ago.  This can be a blessing and also a nightmare.  If you read my blog on Saturday, June 12th talking about a 20 Year Anniversary I don't always want to remember, you know what I'm talking about.  If you haven't read that blog, it's pretty heavy and not for those looking for lighthearted reading.  (That includes myself.  I seem to be drawn back there as much as I try not to go back and re-read.  That was a life-changing moment as well, although with many adverse effects.)

Today though is a HAPPY anniversary day because 3 years ago, when we arrived here in Vancouver, we had hope for the future, faith in our ability to succeed here and pride that we were able to accomplish moving into a new home which would afford better schooling opportunities for the children and would be in a safe neighborhood.  Little did we know just how imperative it would be that we had strong schools!

I'll have to say, our timing was great for our move and our timing was yucko!  The great part was that we got our home!  We're so proud of that.  It was a long time coming and quite the uphill climb but we did it!

When we had visited Vancouver in April 2007 during Justin's Spring Break from 2nd grade, we looked at 21 homes over 2 days before we finally found this one.  We wanted a home that would have 4 bedrooms but also an office big enough to be able to run our business and it was hard to find the latter where the office was on the same floor as the bedrooms and big enough to hold me, John and watch the kids.  (Back then, Ryan was only 1).

This house was the last one we looked at and not even one our agent had located.  I found it online as we were up here as it had recently gone on the market.  After two very long days, I'm sure our real estate agent (who we initially met online, Brady Augustine, a great guy and a super agent) was quite relieved that we found the right fit.  

(Me and Brady... me, very hot after a long drive but so excited about our new home!)

We made an offer on the house while we were here in town and started the 60 day closing process as we were driving back home, stopping in Reno along the way to check out our Count Your Beans business presence we had at an antique and collectibles mall in Nevada.  We also stayed at our favorite casino in Reno, the Atlantis.

We had no real experience with this kind of stuff.  As usual when I want to learn about something I don't know much about, I go to the world wide web. I googled my heart out and tried to learn what I could on the internet about home-buying, mortgages, all that kind of stuff. I know I made mistakes along the way and was likely too trusting but I so much wanted to create a better life for our family that I knew I had to take a leap of faith.  I talked with John about this whole process and he wanted more too and especially for the lives of our boys.  After we placed the offer, we wondered what the heck we had done.  I'm sure my parents were feeling the same way!  (They knew we were driving up to WA on a house-hunting trip and knew I had a "get up and go" sort of instinct but I don't think they really thought we would place an offer our first time up!)

Being self-employed, we got our mortgage at just the right time because if we had tried a couple weeks later, the type of loan we applied for would have disappeared and we would have never made it into this home.  I truly thank God for all of that.... and actually for everything we have!  You see, we bought at the very PEAK of the market (i.e. we paid top dollar and that's the YUCK part).  

Fortunately at that time our business was at its peak too so we qualified. Neighbors around here were probably thrilled we helped bring their perceived property value up.  Record highs!  Unfortunately, as in many areas of the country, the value of our home dropped over 25% from what we paid three years ago.  Upside down cake for our family, yikes!  The economy, especially in our industry also slowed down considerably.  UGH!  Obviously, we're not planning on moving in the short-term, so we of course will wait the market out and hopefully someday, we'll see things rise again.  I mean it has to at some point, right?  (Until then, I will continue in my quest to plant money trees in the backyard even though the only green thumb I have is when I get marker on it when coloring with Ryan!)

I say the stuff above not to be negative but to say that we started out here in Vancouver with a challenge and on our own, not knowing anyone.  I do think it was all part of God's plan though. 

To be truthful, I've tried very hard to get to know my neighbors and "fit in" but it's seriously like a hippopotamus trying to fit into a chicken coop.  I'm pretty darn sure the hens know the difference between a hippo and a chick!

I've had "acting neurotypical" practice for many years so I can get by with friendly conversations that don't have incredible substance and if they do have substance, I know I can hold my own.  I can smile and wave and do the things I "think" other soccer mom / sorority type gals do.  (The irony is that I was actually a charter member of a women's fraternity in college at Cal Poly, SLO.  So out of my element!  It was like they were all of Baskin Robbin's 31 flavors and I was the 32nd...  What was I thinking?  I'll have to tell you the story someday.  Let me know if you're interested.  It's a great one for Aspie teens and women!)

Even though I would imagine they think I'm nice, they might also think I'm either shy or aloof.  I really couldn't tell you.  I really do have a very difficult time correctly perceiving what others think of me.  I do know, I definitely don't fit into the neighborhood social circle (BBQs, parties, play dates, women walking together) and I do feel bad about this sometimes because I feel like it ruins John's, Justin's and Ryan's chance for socializing opportunity.  Most women around here appear to be stay-at-home.  I'm at-home too but it's full time work-at-home and although I'd love to be financially independent and have that luxury, it hasn't happened yet so I will keep working until I can figure it out or until God helps me help myself make it happen in another positive way.

I'm sure our neighbors are great people but I just don't know how to connect.  I thought initially I could through the kids and I will still continue to try but most days, it feels like they're from one planet and I'm from another, socially speaking!  Yes, even at 42, I'm still working on my social skills and I probably will be until the day I die.  (By the way, I'm not sure how you perceive I come across but I'm not feeling sorry for myself; I'm just trying candidly to express the way I perceive things so that you can learn more about the point of view from an adult female Aspie.)

That being said, our Vancouver neighborhood is very family friendly and safe and I love that we have opportunity here for our children to have a better life.  I will work my buns off around the clock if I have to in order to make sure my family is provided for and we keep our home.  It's what I do... or try to...  I suppose winning the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes or having a fairy godmother drop a deposit into my PayPal or bank account anonymously would help too.   Hey, if you know any philanthropists who want to invest in someone with high Aspierations, just let me know!  :-)

Until then, I will work hard on Count Your Beans, continue to develop the dream and future of Aspierations, (the website and motivational business) in addition to my Aspierations blog, work on freelance writing when I have time (ha!) and seek out alternate revenue streams. ("Friends" in Nigeria, I've read your daily emails and have decided to take a pass...) I will also pray.  Prayer is powerful!

When we came here to Vancouver, it was like a comedy of errors.  We actually started out with a few challenges!  Our moving company that we hired had two trucks, one for our personal stuff (including baby crib, refrigerator, furniture, etc) and one for all our business inventory (dolls, bears, giftware).  When we drove up to Washington ourselves, the moving company trucks were supposed to bring up our stuff separately with the personal stuff coming first and the business stuff within a week afterwards.  

Guess which truck got here first?  DOLLS! Guess which Mommy, 1 year old, 7 year old and very disgruntled husband checked into a hotel for a week until our personal stuff arrived?

That's the stuff I can laugh about now.  Not so much back then...  I mean, it was a BIG change for us making such a big move and there was understandably stress involved.  John had lived in Wisconsin, Alaska and Japan before California but we did have 15 years there together so even though it was a HUGE move for me since my parents still lived back in Cali, it was still big for him too.  The hardest thing about leaving California was leaving my parents.  I also felt I left my bowling life behind and the few relationships, friendships and connections of significance that I had ever formed.  That being said, there really wasn't much of a choice. We were struggling and wanted a better future and we felt that this area of Washington offered it for us.  I had done a ton of research online in advance.  

As much as I appreciated Bay Area weather and would have loved to afford to raise the kids in a nice California neighborhood with good schooling, I handle all the family finances and knew we couldn't afford to buy a home in the Bay Area in a safe neighborhood for probably a very long time at the rate we were going.  Where we were living was just not the right fit for us, our kids or our business. (When a murder happens literally right across the street and you have identity theft from mail being stolen from your place in addition to drugs and theft issues nearby, you know you don't want to raise your babies there even if it was a fairly decent place most of the time!)

Even though I crave security, acceptance and commitment, I've always been a risk-taker and dreamer.  I just can't sit still with settling and to be honest, I have a lot of trouble understanding or "getting" people that do.  That doesn't mean I still can't like, care about or even love them.  I just don't relate to it, especially when I see people content with never making change, justifying it and especially, ESPECIALLY putting down or trying to sabotage those who choose to follow a different path. 

I mean, if someone is truly happy with their life, that's cool.  It is not my place to judge others and I am the last one to ever want to hurt anyone's feelings.  But how many people get into a relationship or career or home or whatever thinking it is what they want, then settle, stay in a wrong situation without trying to make it work or communicating and give up their dreams, aspirations and as a result, lose part of themselves in the process?  I know sometimes it can't be helped, especially when you're young and don't have the benefit of life experience, point of reference and Monday morning quarterbacking but what about when you are old enough to know better.  Or do you ever really know better?  I mean here I am at 42 and although I don't make the same mistakes I did in my 20s, I still find myself with tendencies to repeat patterns of history to try and appease others.  (I'm going to stop here because I know I am going off on a major tangent, it's hot and I'm tired and I seriously don't want to pontificate as a hyprocrite on a soapbox when I know there have been times when I have backed away instead of facing things head on.  Sorry, folks!)

I know we all have to make sacrifices.  I get that. I live with that daily more than I can or will ever talk about here and I'm sure that many of you do too but can't talk about it.  I want security and love and comfort and healthy relationships and communication and I definitely want and need to be able to take care of my children.  I also feel though that God called me for something more than what I have accomplished in my life so far and if he calls, goodness gracious, I want to make sure to pick up the phone and not let it go to voicemail!

I don't want to waste my life wondering "what if".  I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and have had a lot of failures and I know I'll have many more but I still have hope and faith. I'd like to think that as long as I'm alive, I'll keep trying to open new doors and let my light shine.  Of course, knowing my sense of direction and trusting, I'll probably continue trying some incorrect doors, picking some locks and going off the beaten path but at least I'll be traveling.

I'm going to finish my blog later because I'm getting looks from my husband like "HURRY UP!" so I will call this Part 1 and do Part 2 later.  Again, check out John's blog because it has a lot of really good stuff in it.

The song that we played on the CD player for much of the way up in our drive from California to Washington (me and Ry were in one car and John and Justin were in the truck) was “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.  Have you heard of it?  The lyrics of this song really spoke to me during my move in 2007 and I'm beginning to think that today, 3 years later in 2010, they are speaking to me again!  I tried to cut and paste the lyrics here but then Blogger said to me, "we'll have none of that without messing up the formatting of your entire blog post" so I deleted them again.   Darn.  It's a really good song too. 

Okay, here's something better.  Here is the link to the YouTube video / song.  Take that, BLOGGER!

Check it out and listen to the words. Tell me what you think.

This was totally my theme song back in 2007 moving from Cali to Washington.  If it had been around when I left my career in the Silicon Valley to go out on the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour, I'm sure it would have been my theme song then too!  Come to think of it, the more I listen to the song (and with my Aspie-ness, I tend to replay things again and again), I think it's time to bring it back as my theme song for the last half of 2010. 

Today is another page in your book of life... but the rest is still unwritten!  Make it count!

Letting my light shine in Vancouver – Now it’s your turn?
Where are you letting your light shine from???

Until next time!


  1. I can relate to you and your family moving from here. Living in the bay area is wonderful and Bob and I are very lucky to be here. We went through a similiar experience when my late husband and I moved (mainly because of our business)to Sacramento. Exactly one year later, my husband passed away and I was pretty alone. Due to working at home, I didn't know my neighbors all that well either. Anyway, you and John have your priorities straight---your own little family comes first. Kathy & Bob

  2. Hi Kathy & Bob,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! :-)

    Kathy, I can't even begin to imagine how difficult of an experience that must have been for you making a move to a new place and then finding yourself alone without your first husband after such a short time. You are certainly one strong woman.

    I am glad that you and Bob were eventually able to meet, find each other and fall in love. You seem quite happy together!

    John and I still think it is hilarious about how you were our doll customer one day and then all of sudden, another day, you were my parents' next door neighbor and Bob was telling us how you liked to collect dolls and little did we know, you had purchased before from CYB? How bizarre is that? :-)

    Thanks so much again for your nice comments!