So here we go. Off on a new adventure; new place, new job, new everything. As you may or may not know, I was working part-time as a dispatcher for my police department. Part-time sucks; good check one week, small pay check the next. With no sign of a full-time position opening up anytime soon, I had begun looking for full-time work. Out of the blue, a position was listed on the Forest Service site for a full-time Fire Dispatcher (the exact thing my wife does) in Fortuna, CA. I decided to apply and felt that I was highly qualified with my past fire-fighting experience. One day while working I got a call to see whether I was still interested in the job. I stated 'yes' and a few hours later a call came in stating I had been accepted for the position.
The wife and I had talked extensively prior to this about all of the ramifications: how would our kids do if I took this job, how would we do, etc. Well the job is a big pay raise from my police dispatching job, with full benefits and retirement (plus my 5 years of army service would count toward this retirement.) The big bonus I saw was that it got me out of the law enforcement field where I was quickly getting burnt out having to deal with all the dumb-asses that are typical of the law enforcement field. Needless to say, I accepted the job.
Now this would be a 'returning home' for me since immediately after high school I went to Humboldt State University where I failed miserably after one year, more interested in 'out-of-school' activities rather than school. But I always felt that Humboldt County was home; it fit my mind-set and lifestyle, as well as being close to the coast which always has been close to my heart.
Fortuna is about 10 miles from the coast, inland, right along the Eel River. It is about 10 miles south of Eureka right along Hwy 101. The population is about 10,000 and little bigger than Yreka. The first thing I had to do was find a place to live since upon accepting the job, I was set to start within a months time. So I set forth for a few days to look for places to live. Being a homeowner for the past 20 years, I've been out of the rental scene for quite some time. I had no idea that the rental market was so depressed in this area. After 2 days I had nothing, Craigslist posting had started and I was getting depressed.
Within hours of leaving Fortuna back home I got a call of a cute-sounding place. It would be an attached studio apartment to a families' house, just outside of Fortuna. The family was real picky about who was going to live next to them as they had a 10 year old daughter (as well as 2 sons already out of the house). After talking extensively with them, I agreed to take the place, sight unseen.
Now I really began shitting bricks. I would be moving out here without my family, all alone and I was really getting scared. As my son put it "why would you want to move, you got it made here, part-time job, everything you want, lots of time to do whatever". He didn't see behind the scenes in that we weren't getting anywhere. This job, even with separate locations, would get us ahead.
So a week before my job was to start, I packed everything I thought I needed into our one car, and headed to Fortuna with the wife. I had my bike which would be my sole transportation while over there. After a beautiful, nut terribly long, 5 hour drive, we pulled up to my new home. I couldn't have dreamed of a more suitable place to live. The family that owns the property is very 'earthy' (o.k. kinda hippy-like) and the studio is gorgeous. It sits on about 3 acres, was built in the 70s, has huge windows everywhere, a deck around the whole place, and everywhere you look are Redwoods and other trees (see the pics I posted).
The place is so perfect. My wife was wonderful help getting the place cleaned up (our idea of clean is definitely different than other peoples), took me grocery shopping, and got me set up. Than she left. 8( all alone, all by myself. What the hell am I going to do. Well, a big plus to this place is all utilities are included in the low price. As well as cable and the internet. I had a week before my job started to explore, time the bike ride to work, etc. So day 2 I set out. Now getting to work takes about 10-15 mins on my bike and is a breeze, all downhill. Getting back is one mother fucking hell ride ending in a craptastic hill sure to humble any bike rider.
Look out Trail Machines! After doing this hill for every day after work (even walking my bike as it stand now) you'll be running after me on any future hills we encounter! There is a bus stop at the bottom of my hill and the wonderful thing is the local transit goes EVERYWHERE throughout Humboldt Count, as well as over to Redding and up to Del Norte County; all with easy bike racks on the front. What more could I ask for?
OK big pluses about living over here: the Eel River Brewery is right around the corner from my job. "Be Natural, Drink Naked" is their motto. First US brewery to be certified organic. The brewery where they mass-produce their beer is just down the road in Scotia but in Fortuna they have a cute pub where they make specialty bathes and serve the most awesome food I've ever had. I had their beer-steamed sausage made with local-made sausage and steamed in their own beer. Mouth-watering bliss! This will be a regular hangout for me. I've already been there twice to have a beer and get a 6 pack to restock the fridge. Friendly atmosphere makes me feel like home.
I am home. Away from the red-neck mind-set of Yreka and back to where my true mind-set and heart belongs. Back to a much more laid back vibe, back to 'my neck of the woods'. Today I went into town to get some more cereal and tea. After shopping I went to the brewery to enjoy 2 tall glasses of their own stout, 9.5% alcohol. Perfect conditions for my bike ride home. I didn't even attempt the hill this time, I walked my bike up, got home, stripped off all of my clothes, and laid out in my birthday suit on the grass in the sun, with nothing but Redwoods surrounding me. !!!! Heaven!
Yes, my family is a long ways away; visits probably won't happen for at least 6 months or more, but somehow I am at peace. PEACE! This is for the future of me and the family. Everyone will survive and get through it. My job is no cake-walk and will be hard with long hours and more than the scheduled 4-on, 3-off schedule I have now, especially once fire season kicks off here. I'll be working the 6 Rivers Forest area dispatching all of the local fire stations, law enforcement officers (LEOS), as well as ordering from all over the US for resources. None of that bothers me, I know I am perfect for this job and will perform exceptionally as I always do. I am a confident person. The biggest bother of this whole thing is leaving the family behind. I worry most about my 15 year old daughter who I cherish dearly. I hope she does ok and lifts herself through this. My exceptional son will do fine and continue his 4.0 and be off on his own shortly. I really miss my dog and hopes she does ok without me.
So here I am in the middle of Humboldt County with nothing but a bike for transportation. There are a couple people in the area I've known from the past: send me a note, let me know where you are, would love to see a familiar face amidst the isolation I feel now. I'll start feeling much better once work kicks in (this Sunday) and I can focus on work. did I mention: no more graveyards!!! Feds work days and this will be a welcome respite from the past spastic schedule of graveyards and days.
I am scared, nervous, excited: every emotion rolled into one. I love the vibe over here and it really suits me so much more than Yreka. Really going to love it over here just wish I could share it. OK kinda sharing it in this blog and that alone makes me feel better. Home is where the heart is and my heart has always been over here. Be nice to see my transformation back to who I feel I really am vs who Yreka had been turning me into. Hugs and kisses to everyone, especially my family. Hang tough and we'll keep Skyping all the time to keep close an din touch. I'm staying strong and I expect no less from you.
Thanks for hanging through such a long blog. Will continue to post new stuff. Peace out!