I'll start by saying I moved away from the Central Coast in '92 so things may have changed a lot since then. My experience with 126 (which I drove every couple of weeks in a former job) was that you had to be VERY careful. I saw numerous head-on collisions and narrowly missed a few myself. People drove too fast for the conditions (fog usually) and constantly crossed over the the line or passed others when they did not have a clear view. To drive it daily, well ... I wouldn't do it! Now if they have improved the road and widened it to 4 lanes (2 in each direction) that would be a different story.
As to the distance ... only can decide what your confortable with. I knew of people that lived in Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, etc, that drove into Glendale (by Dodger Stadium) every day. They would leave home at 5:30AM, to beat the traffic, and get to the office at 6:30. If they waited untill 6 to leave they wouldn't get in until 8. Distance in So Cal doesn't seem to mean much, but TIME in the car.
I can't answer the question on Oxnard as I know that market has changed considerably since I was there. You might consider Camarillo? Still relatively close to the beach weather but an easier drive for your wife and more options for you to drive to SC.