Friday, April 23, 2010

The Accident...Part I: Prior To

I want to be methodical about the religious organizations about which I will be learning. I think it will help me. I don't know why...just do. So before I start diving into the details about my first choice, I have decided that I want to tell the tale of my accident. I shall organize the story into parts so that it isn't a ridiculously long post that no one has the time to read in one sitting; however, it is likely that each part won't be lickety-split short either.

I can remember almost everything about the accident itself, which I have come to find in my non-scientific analysis, becomes rarer with the severity of the injuries and accident. Something about the mind not wanting to remember is a big part of it, so I am told. Hmmm. Well, that’s not me, and I think it’s safe to say that my accident and injuries were both pretty damn severe, and I damn-well don’t want to remember any of it.

But I get ahead of myself. So typical.

To begin we must go back 14 months to mid-February 2009. I like to title this part "To Stay or Not to Stay...Not Really a Question". And yes, I am aware that I still have issues with appropriate titles, this being no exception. Nevertheless, this title does sum up the situation.
I actually started packing up the house in February and March, thinking that I was going to move back to my beloved San Diego—at least for a while anyway. My LA-based consulting business was really slowing down, and the rent on my house was becoming almost impossible to manage on my own. Unfortunately a roommate wasn't an option because I needed an office for tax purposes and well, because I needed an office.
Some additional background on me: I was diagnosed with clinical depression a long time ago. I periodically write about my experiences @, a site dedicated to eating disorder recovery and self-esteem issues (a project initiated by a dear friend of mine).
Moving on...
To be fair, my mom and a girlfriend of mine did most of the packing for me back then. I was so lost in a deep depression during that time period I couldn’t get the job done. Actually, I couldn’t even help myself off the couch or out of the bedroom. So we (they) packed away the things that I didn’t need to live, which when you look at your house, isn't a whole heck of a lot. You can get by with minimal stuff in your kitchen, none of your pictures (or certainly very few because, let's face it, pictures are important for many reasons, but they are not necessary when it comes to say, eating or sleeping), and none of the library of books on your shelves. In short, you can simplify a great deal from the mass collection of things you have to have surrounding and available to you “just in case”.

Just as I was more or less ready to go, I received a jolt in my consulting business in LA and became busy again. Well, busy enough to pay for the basics (food, pets, rent, gas). I was engaged in projects at this level (i.e. just busy enough) for the entire summer.

My plan in March had been to move into my condo in Del Mar (an investment property I had with another girlfriend of mine) and stay there until we could sell it. Our tenant of 4-years had moved out as of March 1, so the timing was perfect. However, my plans changed and I didn't go, and we sold the condo in late Spring, leaving me with no living-arrangement "safety-net".

Because of this, I knew I needed to start pressing my contacts for opportunities...and this time for an in-house position with benefits, etc. After all this time as an independent, I was ready to return to corporate structure for some work stability. But to get this I had to step it up, depression or no depression. That was when I, once again with the help of one of my most trusted mentor‘s assistance, found a lead that ultimately led to the decision to leave Southern California for New England.

Without getting lost in the details, let me just simply say that I was heading to my Mom's house to stay for a bit while I began a consulting gig with a company in Cambridge, MA. The idea was that as my projects and workload grew with the company, my working relationship with the company would change from consultant to employee when the workload made sense. 

Background: A well-qualified business efficiency professional, whether in-house or as a consultant, can boost the productivity and revenue of an organization’s business by a significant percentage. Most, if not all, top executives know this--whether it is feasible for them to engage a person who performs such an intangible service to the organization is another thing entirely, as these professionals often do not come at a bargain-basement price and can be difficult to justify because of the nature of their position in the workplace. This work is precisely what I do in my consulting practice, and to put it simply, I am rather good at what I do, especially for the rates I charge.  

That said, I was excited that the company was excited about me. It's always a great feeling to know you are a good match for the work that awaits you and that you will enjoy it.

So, once the house was final-cleaned and everything packed, donated, or chucked to the curb, we were set to go.

Now, as I made logistical plans to go across country, I knew it would not be safe for me to travel alone, as a woman. This would be my third time across in a car; the first trip included two male friends and myself; the second time I drove alone with a cat, but dressed in my brother's clothes and stayed in hotels each night. Therefore, being a bit seasoned in the task at hand, I felt it was best for me to have a male companion with me for a few reasons: (1) I was driving a 17' U-Haul Van, not a car...a different animal entirely, and one I was not all that comfortable with, though I had no choice in the matter; (2)The trip time would be cut in half because one of us could sleep while the other one drove, stopping only when we were both exhausted and needed a real break. (At that rate, I figured, we might make it in 4-5 days); (3) I knew that U-Hauls are easy targets for thefts because of their very purpose (they haul around your possessions, some of which are valuable, and most of which can be used by others), so it was a good idea to have a male companion to show that there were two of us in the car, and one was definitely a male. Not a full-proof deterrent, obviously, but a smart precaution nonetheless; and (4) if something happened in the back of the van or whatever...something that required heavy lifting and/or small mechanical abilities...I was not the candidate for these tasks at all.

So I started my search for a male companion.

Though I had a few in my mind that would certainly fit the bill, the person I decided to ask first said yes and ultimately came with me. He was the husband of the same girlfriend who helped me pack the house in March and then again in September.

Though he and I weren't exactly the best of friends, this was certainly a killer opportunity for us to become closer, which would ultimately make our three-way relationship (his wife, him, and I) better. I was certain that we would emerge from this experience with a new relationship that both of us would be able to name "friends" and really mean it.

And it was as if my choice was fortuitously correct. Not only did he agree with the on/off/stop plan for driving across the country, but his sister lived just about where we thought we would need to stop and really rest. Perfect.

We were to leave as soon as possible on Monday, September 28th, 2009, which ended up being right around 3 pm. Perfect timing for a one-last time traffic jam on the 210 East coming out of Pasadena. As you can see I decided not to memorialize that image, but instead grabbed a good one of the smog on my beloved San Gabriel Mountains...

The mountains...and also myself in my favorite of favorite hats. I sure do miss that hat, come to think of it.