Settling in to the Southwest

I really like change.

It comes with a lot of administrative duties, but luckily Dan and I are at a point in our lives when we can hire kind gentlemen to do the heavy lifting.

I also love lists.

Here’s a summary of what we’ve been up to since landing in Albuquerque on Thursday, April 25.

  • Get settled into tiny first Airbnb in Old Town.
  • Officially close on house in Saratoga on May 6! Pop the bubbly!  Dan having to snowblow for hours is now a thing of the past.
  • Find a home to rent.
  • Find a second Airbnb for two weeks until house is move-in ready.
  • Sign lease.
  • Unpack many boxes.
  • Find company to take away garbage from unpacking.
  • Take checklist to home rental company, make appointments with contractors for fixes, be home to let contractors in.
  • Hold down the fort while Dan works in Portland for two weeks.
  • Learn what light switches do what, what creaky floorboard to avoid near Maya’s room, and how to lock up house properly.
  • Go to DMV to get license, registration, and new plates.
  • Register to vote.
  • Meet neighbors, invite them over.
  • Sign up for Todd’s neighborhood watch spreadsheet.  Essentially this means we all look out for each other and call if we see something suspicious. (It’s such a lovely block.  The neighbors don’t report any trouble.)
  • Find supermarkets.
  • Take Maya to first dentist appointment.
  • Take Maya to new pediatrician.
  • Find doctor and dentist for Dan and I.
  • Take car for a three-hour detail-clean after our 32 hour road trip – Retrospectively, bringing Maya with me and entertaining her at the car place for three hours was not the best idea.
  • Find haircuts for Dan and I – refrain from cutting Maya’s hair again.
  • Find babysitter – Ms. Suzy, score!  What a lovely preschool teacher.
  • Go on a date with Dan. (But according to the French, this is a silly concept.  They think every evening once the child is in bed, the parents should have adult conversation and meaningful time together.)
  • Take Harriet to a doggie daycare assessment – she failed, c’est la vie!
  • Find a dog park for Harriet – USS Bullhead Dog Park – no rejections there!
  • Take Harriet to the vet, get her nails clipped.
  • Go shopping with (Aunt) Sheila for outside lawn sculpture.
  • Buy some furniture for home.
  • Learn how to use lawnmower and weed wacker. (Similar to the deep satisfaction I found using the hedge trimmer in Saratoga, I love lawn work here.  The front and back yard are small but look dramatically different when well-groomed.  The owners of our home installed an irrigation system so we have grass, which is not the norm here.)
  • Learn about the apricot and mulberry trees in our backyard from our six-year old neighbor Charlie who hangs on the fence chatting to us frequently.  Learn how to prune and care for the lavender and rose bushes in our front yard.
  • Get a Costco membership – bring home enough paper towels and toilet paper for a year.
  • Get NM speech pathology license.
  • Secure two part-time SLP jobs.  (I’ll spend my mornings at Manzano del Sol, a rehab facility 1.5 miles from our house.  This is the area I have most experience in. I’ll spend my afternoons with Christina Brown and Associates, seeing people of all ages in the home to treat speech, language, swallow, and cognitive deficits.)
  • Calmly go through piles of administrative tasks to become a private SLP contractor in NM as required for my afternoon gig.
  • Iron all our work shirts that got wrinkled from being packed away for a month.
  • Try to make some friends – getting there!  
  • Take Maya to every playground I can find – still more to go!
  • Get Maya settled into the Caterpillar Clubhouse – I’m enjoying the two-mile round trip stroller walk, four miles total in a day! Maya is enamored with a “classmate” Arthur, because she walks around the house saying “Artur”.
  • Encourage friends to come visit because we miss you.
  • Have customized address stamp made so I can keep up my snail mail game.
  • Make weekly flower arrangements with a Trader Joe’s now in proximity.

Here’s a short video of Maya’s time here:

(The password is Snug2019)

I’d like to conclude by sharing that a close friend of mine had a stillbirth in May.  She and her husband have been trying to have a baby for five years, and no one could have predicted this devastating event.  Somehow in her grief, she has met this unknowable situation with grace, transparency, and love.  I asked her if it would be easier to stay off our list for a while, as I don’t know if I could look at photos of children, but she asked to still be part of our CocciardiParty blog.  If you know someone who has been through this, or would like to read my friend’s beautiful writing, this is her website: Blooming with Care.  If you would like to donate, this is their GoFundMe to raise money for a surrogate.

7 thoughts on “Settling in to the Southwest

  1. Glad to learn of all your activities, particularly registering your cars. I recall visiting a friend from Detroit who had moved to CA and after a year, still had an MI plate, which had expired. He was just too busy…or did not care, to re register the car.
    Also pleased that you have registered to vote as there will be an Albuquerque City Council election for four of the nine districts, and also for the ABQ Public School Board. Some homework ahead to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Probably some bond issues and ballot questions as well, but they will be posted in late August.
    Keep us up on Dan’s life at Intel doing a new install of tools which will be challenging.

  2. I love your posts, I Love these photos and the sweeeet video, and I LOVE you guys! I’m impressed by your energy, organization, and all you’ve already accomplished. Can’t wait to come visit from PHX and meet Maya and have y’all visit us here – you’re always welcome!

  3. I am so glad you guys are settling in well! I miss Ms. Maya!! Also, our chats! She looks like she has grown so much since I saw her last.

  4. Sarah I miss you SO MUCH! What an amazing woman you are! Reading your list, watching the video and hearing how wonderful you are with Maya brought tears to my eyes! I love you my sweet cousin! Have the best time on this new adventure. xoxoxo, Cousin Rach.

  5. What positive, enthusiastic, assertive steps you have taken to meet this new phase in your lives! Congratulations on your amazing progress. Miss you💜

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