My First Job Out of College!
My dad did some amazing things for me. One of them is that he helped me move to Santa Barbara, California. I graduated at 21 years old in Finance from University of Illinois in ’97 when there was a big technology boom. I had five job offers as companies were hiring people like crazy. I remember the two best offers were from, EDS and Unisys. With the Unisys job offer, I could live in Chicago, my home town, but I had to travel Monday through Thursday. With the EDS offer, I had to move to the client site and I had to go on their two year system engineer development program. I said I would go with EDS if I liked the city that I was going to move to. They asked me about Kansas City, I said no. They asked me about Detroit, I said no. Finally they asked me about Santa Barbara, CA to work with the clients Delco and Litton. Delco makes turrets for army tanks and Litton makes rockets. EDS, also known as Electronic Data Systems was the company that Ross Perot started. I took the offer in Santa Barbara, CA and I was super excited!!! First thing that I had to do was look it up because I had no idea where it was in California. It was on the beach and I can learn to surf!!!! Hooray! The pictures of Santa Barbara were so beautiful. There was lots of fighting at home especially with my brothers and I was thrilled to get away. Far away. Santa Barbara, CA was over 2000 miles away from home for me.
My Road Trip Sidekick
The problem was how do I move my car there and my stuff? I decided to drive there. “Over my dead body”, my dad said. He was afraid for me. “Oh yes I am” I said. I was always super independent. My mom used to call me a GDI, God Damn Independent, because I had no fear. I wanted to see the world and I had a lot of excitement about doing it. “I’m coming with you”, my dad said. “Oh dad, you worry about everything”, I said. “You have no idea what kind of danger you can fall into”, he said. I was so happy! He really did do a lot for me, including driving me to my new home in California. I packed my Honda Accord up with as much as I could fit in the back seat and the trunk and we were off. I said my goodbyes to everyone including that boy that I was in love with in college. We were hugging and crying for a long time before I left. I was young and I wanted to explore. Adventure awaited.
We drove down the long winding driveway waving goodbye and were on the road. I love road trips!
Isn’t this the greatest dad? He just nodded his head. He was a good sport and we visited a friend for dinner in St Louis who made us huge steaks. This was before my vegan days. Then we drove some more from there before getting a hotel in Kansas City. We got breakfast and took off right away. All he could talk about was some horrible accounting job assignment that he was put on in Haines, Kansas. We hit the flat lands and saw nothing but tumble weeds for hours. As far as he was concerned, we could flush Kansas down the toilet. He had a crude sense of humor but of course this was only because this part of the drive wasn’t as pretty as the rest.
Next we went to see another friend who lived in Gunnison, CO where she went to college. I made my poor dad take the long way with all my stops. I was just so excited to see some things along the way. My friend worked in a bar and we went out all night while my dad went to bed early to prepare for the drive. The next morning I was cursing to myself that I would never drink again as I nursed my hangover with some water while I struggled to sleep on the arm rest trying to hide from the sun. My dad had no mercy to let me sleep in longer, “let’s go” he said. He would giggle at my misery. Actually this was the time that he really loved to tease me the most calling me a snake with a huge giggle. Next he wanted to go the four corners in the US. It’s where you can lay down and put one arm in one state and the other arm in the other state and one leg in a different state and the other leg in a different state. You have 4 body parts in four different states. You snap a photo and hit the road. We saw some beautiful colored rock formations in Arizona and spent the night in the Arizona desert. When we woke up we through Monument Valley. I was loving out trip.
The Grand Canyon
Of course we had to stop at the Grand Canyon on the way. When am I ever going to be in this area again dad? He agreed and we went. When we got to the Canyon, he told me about a joke where you could jump down from one rock to another and it would look like you were falling into the canyon. I thought this was hilarious so we took a bunch of pictures together “falling” into the canyon. He couldn’t handle watching me pretend to fall into the canyon any longer and walked back to the car. “What’s going on dad” I asked. He said that he loved me too much and he couldn’t stand the thought of me really falling into that canyon and getting hurt. I stopped joking and we take off. He has a real soft tender side to him. This was the part that I loved the most.
Before you know it we were in the Mojave Desert in the middle of the afternoon in summer. There is absolutely nothing to look at for hours and hours. “Are we there yet?” I kept thinking. They had call boxes every mile or so because so many cars break down in the desert. “That will never happen to me”, I thought. Putt, putt, putt…my car breaks down in the middle of the Mojave Desert! My dad was right in that dangerous stuff could happen and it did. We walk to a call box as it was pre-cell phones. “Watch out for rattle snakes” he said! “OMG, I’m going to die” I said. He just laughed his silly laugh. Ugh, we were so close!!! The tow truck driver picks us up and all three of us had to squish into the front of his truck. He towed my Honda to a mechanic in Barstow, CA. On the drive there he was telling us about his other job as a mortician and all about embalming bodies. Yikes!!!!! He talked frankly about it as if it was no big deal. Normally I wouldn’t have been scared by this but the fact that we were stranded in the desert listening to the details of a morticians job was scary. My poor dad, the things I put him through.
We made it back to Barstow where we dropped my car off at a mechanic. We had to stay at the hotel next door. It was crazy. We thought it would be a simple fix. My ignitor coils melted. The mechanic needed parts but had to go to LA to get them. We stayed in the hotel for about three nights waiting and then said let’s get a rental car and go. So we get a rental car and drive the rest of the way to Santa Barbara. I had to get to work on time and I spent too much time on the road. I didn’t want to miss my first day. My mom flew out and picked up the part they needed in LA then drove out to Barstow and gave the mechanic the part. “Here, fix it now” she said. She was upset and felt it was a scam to get you to stay at the hotels and use a rental car longer. Then she drove my car the rest of the way to Santa Barbara, CA. My mom saved the day.
Sunflower Beach Hotel, Santa Barbara, CA
My parents dropped me off at the most adorable beach hotel with a big sunflower room with kitchenette two blocks from the beach. The company was paying for me to stay there for a month until I found a rental. Santa Barbara, CA lived up to its gorgeous reputation. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful city in California. It has the only east west mountain range in the state of California, blocking the smog from LA. The city is on the ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains are right behind you. I ended up renting a room from a rooms for rent ad and started my first job out of college at EDS at 21 in Santa Barbara, CA. I can’t believe I’m here, I would think. This place is like a dream come true. And it was, for awhile. I have to offer huge gratitude to my parents who helped me so much with this move. They were the best. There were lots of happy moments. This was one of them. Santa Barbara was a Spanish city with white buildings, red tile roofs and flowers everywhere. It has the best sunsets and the most beautiful downtown with outdoor malls, plazas and yummy restaurants. I was in heaven! Much, peace, love and happiness you all. Does this remind you of any road trips? I hope it brings back fond memories!