Saturday, May 5, 2012

Eastbound and Down

I haven't blogged in ages, okay, months, but in social media time, that's like 12 years or something close to it.  As most of you know, we have moved. I guess, technically we are still moving.  We know the general location of our destination, just not the exact mailing address yet.  So, while some might say we are homeless, we like to say we are on an extended summer vacation, which explains in part, the lapse in my posting.

In an effort to completely complicate things even more so than necessary, we did a full DITY move rather than have the military move (read 'break') our things.  For those of you non-military folks, that is a "Do IT Yourself" move.  I began packing boxes literally months before our departure from Washington, but there was much that didn't get done until the "eleventh hour."  This was mostly unavoidable since Zach was traveling for work until the week before our move and had his "fini-flight" three days before our departure. We ended up leaving about two garage stalls worth of stuff we simply didn't have room for and our move became everything but "Do IT Yourself."  So many wonderful friends stopped by to help us; some for an hour or two, others literally helped me for days. I was blown away by the generosity of our friends!  The very people that were shedding tears over our departure, were there, giving of their time to help us get packed up and on the road.  I would be remiss if I didn't give a public "thank you" to Matt and Lindsey Lare, Ginger Karnes, Corey and Rebekah Henwood, Leslie Medved, and Jesse and Katie Ewell.  From packing our kitchen, to cleaning my closet, loading crap only to turn around and unload it that same hour, running to the store for everything from boxes and tape to pizza and beer, bringing our kids road trip goodies and lunch, listening to me have a total meltdown as I chucked an entire cupboard of plastic water bottles across my kitchen through my dining room and into the wall (Yup, that was a proud moment!), moving furniture, expertly packing our trailers and moving truck (My only complaint was that out of 3 trailers they packed my white upholstered chair right next to our lawn mower. Really?!  They assured me it was fine because the mower was in a garbage bag.  But seriously, really?! I think they were just trying to push my anal retentive buttons and give me the final nudge I needed to completely lose my mind.), vacuuming carpets, packing boxes and basically anything else you can think of, they did it.  With giving hearts, gracious spirits, and smiles on their faces.  We have AWESOME friends!  Thank you!  We love you!  And we miss you all!

We had a surprisingly enjoyable trek across the country, staying one night in each of the following: Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois before arriving at our final destination at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH.  Our kids were amazing travelers and my in-laws kept their complaints to a minimum as well. (For the record, we could not have done this trip without them!!)  We took a memorable side trip to Mount Rushmore.  We were thankful for indoor pools at our hotels, and even a water park at one of them (holy sensory overload!).  Our mornings began with continental breakfasts that gave the "big kids" the opportunity to become expert waffle makers and allowed for some experimental cereal concoctions.  The open road, DVD watching, and mingling with truckers filled our afternoons as we caravanned our 26' Penske truck, Zach's F-150 pulling our 7x14 trailer, and my Suburban pulling a 5x8 UHaul 'eastbound and down' across our vast and beautiful nation.  We arrived each evening to a new hotel, ready for dinner, exhausted, and anticipating our family slumber party.  Miraculously, everyone slept through the night each night.  And we were on our way the next morning, exiting our habitation as quietly (or not) as we had entered.

After a solid week on the road, we have traversed approximately 2600 miles through nine states while hauling over 12,000 pounds of "stuff."  Six children and four adults had survived six nights in as many states.  We off-loaded our household goods into a 20x25 storage facility, and thus began our "summer vacation."  One of the three mornings we were at Wright-Patterson AFB, we went "house hunting," to check out the various floor plans available to us, and determine which one would best suit our needs. (Not that any of that actually matters because you end up taking pretty much whatever they can give you when it becomes available.  But, we all play along in this masquerade that is government housing with a smile on our faces, knowing full well that nothing they can provide us will adequately house a family of 6.) Anyway, the kids knew what we were doing and Grandma and Grandad stayed with them while we did so to minimize the distractions and chaos throughout the process. When we returned, we were enthusiastic as we optimistically explained that we had found "the perfect house."  Later that day, we stopped by the storage facility to get some things we needed.  When we returned to the truck, Sophia was crying.  I thought perhaps the reality of the move had finally gotten to her and she was missing her friends, etc.  So I sympathetically asked, "What's the matter, Honey?"  Through her tears she replied, "You were gone all morning, and that was the best you could find?!"  I assured her that the storage facility was not our new home, and the tears subsided.

Four weeks later and we still aren't much closer to having a home, but we are definitely enjoying our travels!  We have seen a lot of family and spent time with many friends in a variety of locations.  And, amongst all the things I have lost track of or misplaced along the way, I am keeping very close tabs on my sense of humor! If I don't laugh; I just might cry and I didn't pack waterproof mascara, so laughter it is.

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