Simi Valley Is Your Midlife Crisis
We spent six weeks in Simi Valley, California. Yeah, you read that right: six weeks in Simi Valley, California. What is Simi Valley? It’s a suburb about 45 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Which sounds like it might be on the beach, right? But it’s not. And it might be in the San Fernando Valley, where rich sophisticates like the Kardashians live. But it’s not. So what is it? It’s a fer realz ‘burb – conservative, middle class drudgery alleviated only by strip malls, drunken black outs, and jello salads. It’s why midlife crises were invented. Oh, and it has the Reagan Presidential Library.
Where did we stay? Simi Valley’s nicest RV Park. It has one space and is run by Grandma Sally. Which is to say, we squeezed our 26-foot RV into Andie’s mom’s 23-foot driveway and called it a day. Or 45 days.
Living in a driveway is kind of stressful because, well, we’re pretty sure it’s illegal. So you have to stay on the neighbors’ good sides. But Andie’s mom isn’t all that neighborly. For example, she lets her two small, fat, spoiled dogs hang out in the front yard, where they have these pastimes: (1) threat-barking at every sweet dog, old lady on a walker, or small fragile child that passes by; and (2) pooping on nearby lawns. Again and again, we offered to drive those little a-holes far enough away that they couldn’t waddle their bloated haunches home, but it was a no-go.
At night, Lily would try to avoid sleeping by asking for food. “I’m huuuuuungry.” “Lily, you tried every snack in Grandma Sally’s House of Incredibly Caloric Snacks, and you refused to eat dinner, so no more food.” “But I’m SOOOOOO hungry!” “No.” “Pleeeaaaase, I’m so hungrYYYYYY!” “Go to sleep. It’s 2 a.m.” Hysterical weeping and claims of starvation at maximum volume. Mind you, we’re living in a driveway, which means the good, middle-class, church-going neighbors probably already suspect we don’t take this whole parenting thing seriously. And now Lily’s screaming into the night that we don’t feed her. Child Protective Services never showed up, but that’s on them, really.
So you’d think that we went to all kinds of exciting Los Angeles places, but we didn’t. We focused on spending time with the family – Grandma Sally, Uncle Ian, Auntie Susan, and all the cousins. Lily noticed that, by far, the cutest relative is Cousin Jarred’s new kitten, Mochi. Seeing how Mochi is adored, Lily decided to be a kitten. For weeks now, she’s insisted that her food be broken up into small pieces and placed in a bowl, so that she can eat with just her face. She meows all day, like, way more than a real cat actually meows. She begged and begged for a kitty bed until we broke down and bought her a dog bed big enough for her to sleep in. So, now, from all appearances, we don’t feed her and we make her sleep in a dog bed. She moved on to asking for a litter box for her birthday. We became so worried that we took her to a professional. But the vet doesn’t know what’s wrong, either.
The moment Lily opened her eyes up each morning, she began nagging to see Aunt Susan. Aunt Susan is like the Pied Piper; children will follow her anywhere. She is sweet and calm and will do anything to make a child happy. It’s why her children are hot messes. Lily was even willing to go to Susan’s Kingdom Hall for church services just so she could be next to her. That’s love. So Lily spent most of her time at Susan’s home – swimming, feeding kittens, chasing bunnies, and making Susan bake pumpkin pies for her. That’s at least some of what she did. We don’t know the rest, because Lily always asked us to leave once we arrived at Susan’s place. She phrased it “GTFO,” but we’re not hip to internet acronyms, so not sure what it means.
…. GOODBYE, JILL….
We tried hard to keep our girl Jill. One of the reasons we stayed so long in Simi Valley was to sell our little, teeny-tiny motorhome and buy a fifth wheel and a truck. We knew Jill could only take having a tiny bunk, with no room to sit up, for so long. Especially with Lauren’s summer vacation coming up, when Lauren takes over the bunk and Jill shares a couch-bed with Lily. So we listed our baby-sized, eensy, little cutie RV on Craigslist in several large cities and also on RV Trader. We had lots of bites, and a couple from Las Vegas made a deal with us.
But… on the morning we were to drive out and exchange our Sprinter for a cashier’s check, we realized we made a baby-sized, eensy, little cutie mistake. We couldn’t find the title. We looked and looked. We did not find. So DonMichael let the couple know we’d have to order a replacement title and come a few days later. Well, apparently, not having a title is a big deal to some Picky Percies, and they start worrying about “fraud,” whatever that is. So our couple bailed on us. And then we found out that replacing the title could take, not days, but months. So we couldn’t even hang on to our runner-up buyers. We broke the bad news to Jill. In return, she broke the bad news to us: f*&k your couch.
Susan not only appeals to young children, but older ones as well. Upon coming home, Jill ditched our fine 120-square-foot mansion for her mom’s 21-square-foot couch. She sank so far into its comfy cushions that she never came out. So… we lost a member of our crew. Jill decided that sleeping on a couch and working as a barista is better than hanging out with us in a mobile tin can. Andie mourned the loss severely, thinking about losing Jill’s humor, calm, and excellent Lily-watching skills. Jill has a magic where people come to believe they’re really close to her, even if they’re not. Andie fell under her spell and wanted to keep her forever. Andie also worried about Lily losing one of her only three continuous people, and the best one at that. We broke it to Lily as gently as we could. Lily shrugged and said, “Bye, Felicia.”