Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thursday, June 25

Today we drove from Topeka to Colby.

The morning frenzy was about the same: get the boys dressed and to continental breakfast before it closed; get the huge variety of stuffstuffstufffffff into the many bags and boxes and downstairs and to the cars; get the stuff into the cars. Oy. Made worse today by the installation of the new car seat.

We finally got on the road around noon. The boys fell asleep and napped about an hour. We drove on until we got to Russell, Kansas. Mom and I wanted a scenic drive of a previously-unexplored interstate rest stop, so we did. A cute Main Street. Nice houses. Well done, Russell.

We ate at the Subway. Boys ate the meatballs out of their sandwiches well. It ended up that Ian met up with us; he needed gas and stopped at Russell and then came to the Subway. Yay.

Meanwhile, poor M2's sickly cold was getting worse. Gooey-runny nose, bleary eyes, cough. It's enough to wring a mother's heart.

We stopped at the Hays Walmart because WE ARE WORKS and drove on to Quinter for a little Memory Lane visit for Ian.

Had ice cream at the soda fountain.
Dropped the three fellas off at the town park.
The two ladies went to Dairy Queen to order food and bring it back to the park.
Drove back to the moving truck.

This may be the highlight for the boys:

Mom and I listened to part of a sermon on our way. We also stopped in Oakley at Mittens Truck Stop for gas and also WE ARE IVERTS. Hah.

Ian beat us to the motel in Colby and had a rough time unloading the boys and checking in and all that adulting by his lonesome. And so when we arrived, it was not a fun check-in. Yelling and passive aggression were involved.

The boys were finally washed down, pajama-ed, and asleep. I took a bath and longed for a better, faster, stronger, tougher me. I got out of the tub and fell quickly asleep...but still slept poorly as I was on M2 duty. His mucus problem was pretty problematic and he coughed and cried intermittently.

Wednesday, June 24

Woke in St. Louis a bit more rested (a tiny bit) but didn't get to continental breakfast very fast. I left Ian and the boys and ran to the airport to get my mom, who flew out to help with the butt load of adulting and responsibility we have foisted upon ourselves.

The truck parking was a bad deal for us here, and Ian had had to drive the second car off the tow dolly, u hitch the tow dolly, and park the truck in the regular parking lot the night before. This morning it all had to be re-hitched; I decided as we were pulling out of the parking lot that poor weary Ian could use help in a job to make it more than twice as easy. So he hitched the tow dolly and I drove the car onto the dolly and helped him with the tire straps and frame-chain. A scant five minutes for me; a huge 5 minutes for him. Glad to have heeded the Holy Spirit's lead and served my dearest friend in this way.

Mom had gotten up at 2:30 am. She was super tired too! But it was good to have her company in the car as I drove. We visited and talked, and she helped me come up with things to entertain the boys.

We spent about an hour at a rest stop in Western Missouri and had just the best time. We pottied (of course), had some snacks, changed M2's diaper, lay on the grass and looked up at the blue-sky-and-green-leaves dappled pattern, picked clover flowers, examined the day lilies, and finally got back in the car.

We arrived in Topeka after Ian and the Penske; he had parked by the time we got there. We got the car unloaded (oh, for the chance to have packed just one travel bag!) and the boys' swimmies unpacked, and Mom and I went on an outing.

First, Sam's Club, for a new car seat for J4. He had been complaining of sore legs and his old seat was just plastic frame covered with fabric cover. Poor guy.

Then, to Wendy's. At the drive through window I made my usual Work Family Order, then Mom ordered--the whole thing took a long time. 5 minutes at least. But they were patient. This 5 minutes was longer than the 5 minutes I took to help Ian with the car-towing this morning. Funny how that works.

We all ate in the continental breakfast dining room. I think this was the best eating-dinner-arrangement of the whole long trip. We did dishes (threw the paper plates in the garbage whoooo!), got back to our room, dressed the boys into pajamas, and as Ian was doing bedtime, I took our dirty clothes to the laundry. Washed the swim clothes and some of the worst clothes--stains and road grunge--and by the time I was done, it was late (1 or so), and I fell into bed.

So in retrospect, the grueling exhaustion part of this day was still quite present, but I found it easier because my mom was there to help entertain the boys. We made better time because she could put out fires while the car keep going; Ian even beat us to the motel which was great.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tuesday, June 23

Started day just south on Nashville in LaVergne. Ian didn't sleep well in old bed; I didn't sleep well because of THIS DING-DANG CONGESTION THAT WILL NOT CLEAR UP. 

Breakfasted after crankiness in hotel room during preparation to go out of room. 

Breakfast edible. But not tasty and rather a disappointment. 

Working to load two cars and Penske again; M2 crying every time Ian walks out of door with another armload of bags. Finally he calms down. I start loading car as well. 

Ian loading the in-tow car and locks his keys in the car. I walk back to room to get my keys and have both boys (and keys) but get locked out of hotel room. (May have something to do with poorly mounted door handle.)

Walk boys to Ian then go get new key cards. Load last of stuff into car, drive to Ian and boys (at adjacent lot; we were promised truck parking but were misled). Ian loads boys. I go check out. 

Driving, finally!! But only to truck drop. Find out hassle of two vehicles and one credit card. Finally get on road after 20 minutes at gas station. 

Drive to Paducah with only 2-3 stops on side of road to pick up messes, hand out busy bags, and enforce obedience. Meet Ian at a Chick-fil-A in Paducah. Boys playing well in play land. Eating moderately well. 

Ian attaches portable DVD for boys. M2 repeatedly removes earphones as we drive. 

Make it to St. Louis with 3 or 4 stops. Not as smooth a drive as morning leg, in which boys napped for a good 45 minutes. 

Met up with Liesl and her two sons 7 and 4 to play in hotel pool. Good conversation but getting everyone to pool was rough. 

Kids bedtime was rough. 

After they were bedded, we had a heap of wet swimmers to manage. Took them to hotel laundry room. Went to car again to clean up. It was a steaming hot mess. 

Still awake, waiting for laundry. 

So. Tired. Too. Tired. To. Do. Much. Besides. Get. One. Last. Thing. Done. 

Monday, June 22

Again, just the bare events:

Breakfast in hotel dining room went better as we were better prepared. 

Boys and I went to Jessi's house to play and visit. We visited and prayed together and I cried. The boys ended up staying and lunching there so I could drive van back to hotel for Ian to load it. He had stayed at hotel to organize and pack all the stuff in peace and quiet. 

Loaded van and car. 

Back to house to pick up lock box & key and had a big cry. Tough. It was tough. 

Ian and boys went...I'm not sure where...while I went downtown to the North Shore to Milk & Honey to lunch with Hannah. I cried. 

Meanwhile, the tension level was amped up by:
*waiting to find out total needed for cashier's check at closing
*waiting on tenterhooks to find out time of closing...or if we would even have it Monday. (We had found out Friday that it needed to be delayed. commence nail-biting tension and phone-book-tearing frustration.)

That's what Ian and boys did! Go to bank to make a deposit. We didn't have secure wifi anymore, so no banking-by-app till we're back secured. 

Hannah and I moved our party to the other Milk & Honey location, dusntown next to Miller Plaza. Gelato. A Cosmo,  a buttery nipple, and iced mocha were all consumed. We laughed. We cried. We emoted. 

I ran late and RaCeD to Ian's former employer to trade cars. Drove boys to St. Elmo to drop off at play date and back downtown to closing at 4. Ian raced to bank to get cashier's check and to closing. We made it. 

Signed all the papers. Left the title company. Cried. 

I drove back to boys at Susan's house and she and I visited, laughed, cried. Kids played. 

I loaded up the boys and drove to church. Ian had been at former employer doing one last walk-the-halls and dropping off his keys. We met back at church, hitched up the tie dolly, loaded up the car, pottied the boys, and finally were ready for dinner. 

What is the saddest possible dinner place to eat your last meal in your home city? McD? The Subway inside the Walmart? Nope. We did worse than that. 

We ate at the Sam's Club snack bar. Hahahaaaaaha. But here's the defense:
*we had both cried several times that day. Sam's has two choices for dinner; making it simple for tired people such as us. 
*easy access to interstate for the Penske + car

Finally finally loaded up to get on the road. It was late. We drove together as far as the beautiful Moccasin Bend in our dear river. The water! sky! ripples and currents on the water! More crying. 

Drove to LaVergne, TN (south of Nashville) with only 2 or 3 stops. One was for bottled water. 

J4 notable quote, upon realizing WE ARE LEAVING AND WILL NO LONGER LIVE HERE:
"I will miss <friend J> and <friend T>!" Cried. "Oh Mommy, my heart is breaking inside me."

(I am crying just writing that.)

We finally arrived in motel in LaVergne. So tired. Sleeping boys woke upon my parking/checking in, and fussed and cried at the indignity while Ian worked to park Penske + car. 

Finally, finally, finally all 4 asleep. 

Sunday, June 21

Events, and I will process later:

Woke in our hotel room weary, which showed in our sluggishness and emotional fragility. But we pressed on and made it (late) to church. 

Attended church. Had potluck lunch then visited and chatted and talked till too late. 

Returned to our room for pm nap. I deduced that the pillows were feather! Ew. I'm, of course, allergic to down. 

Went to Chili's for dinner. Stopped by house to put out trash toter; dropped books off at library; bought some last few things (ie, I couldn't find my cough syrup so I bought more of that). 

Back to room to drag boys through pajama time and story time and bed time. Fell asleep ourselves...way too late. I slept on couch so as to avoid down pillows. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Moving-Truck Day (Part Three)

Still reading? Wow. Thank you.

The last installment ended with our goodbye to Ian's sister, Alice. She was instrumental in getting this move done as well as it was; she was a mainstay in our move to our Chattanooga house; she's been a friend and confidante and cheerleader and wise counselor to us both. Of course this won't end, but in entering a new chapter, we are leaving certain things behind, and the geographical closeness and regular visits are definitely going to be sorely missed.

So. Back to Wendy's. We all drove to the church to pick up the little car and went straight to our hotel: Country Inn and Suites near Shallowford Road. It took a while to check in. It took us a while to unload the things we needed. We were both dragging and the boys were wired.

But we are so thankful for our hotel room, which is where I'm writing from right now. It's a true suite: a bedroom with two queen beds, a window, a TV, and a door that closes. The second room is a living room with a pull-out couch, a mini-fridge, little wet bar, microwave, and desk. The bathroom is a bit cramped but -- oh! the shower! The water pressure is intense. The massaging shower head is so strong that when you put your head under the spray, it sounds exactly like being in a propeller plane. Mmmmmm.

But I had a surge: Ian took J4 with the luggage trolley back to the van while I cared for M2. I gave him a bath! Seems like a strange thing to do? But I needed to entertain him. I needed to help him calm down. He needed to get clean. So in he went.

When Ian and J4 got back, he got in the bath too. He loved it. They both got clean and fresh and got to play a bit. Water refreshes, and they were refreshed, clean, and ready for jammies.

Ian dressed them, read to them, prayed with them, and put them in their beds (J4 in the second queen bed, M2 in the pack and play. Ian had to sit in there with them for a good while before they settled down and fell asleep. While he sat with them (not so bad for an introvert: sitting in a dark, quiet room, reading a book on his iPod), I showered in the aforementioned shower. Blissful. Ian had his shower (another perk of hotel showers? So much hot water!), we watched Blake Shelton on SNL, and went to bed.


Though I didn't write as much, this part of the day was taxing. But how many times can I write "we were worn out" "it was a long day" "so many moving parts to manage" or "emotionally draining to see our home denuded of its furnishings" without sounding trite and repetitive.

But we were provided for, as always. I find it extremely helpful to shorten my view. Instead of imagining I need strength for the next 10 years, or the next year, or month, or even day, I shorten the timespan to something short. "Just get the luggage trolley to the elevator." "Give the kids a bath!" "Just help the boys get into their beds, and put effort into keeping them calm once they are lying down."

Not only did this provide stamina for the end of a long day, but the provision came from Christ himself in peace, calm and safety throughout the day, tenacity and stamina, and long suffering at the tail end.

And the blessing of this hotel room -- nay, hotel suite. The massaging shower. So much hot water.

And even without all the stuff (1st world blessings, to be sure), there is the true, sincere blessing of so many friends willing to help us in Moving, Muscling, and (for those unable to join in the physical labor), Praying.

Moving-Truck Day (Part Two)

The boys and I headed over to Walmart, bought M2 a new toy (yaaaaaay new toy new toy yaaaaaay), some packing tape and post-its, and 5 dozen cookies for everyone's lunch. got back to the house right on time for lunch (our dear pastor's wife provided lunch. What a gift!!). The Muscles had finished at the church and were now getting ready for beds, dressers, and other big things, but we're in the meantime eating.

During the workmen's lull, I allowed J4 to get his toy grocery cart and drive it up and down and up and down the truck ramp, which was set up as a bridge from the front stoop to the truck. Oh, he enjoyed it! Finally the Muscles were back to muscling, and J4 was getting pesty, so I made him quit. Pretty soon after that, Doug, the fellow doing most of the up-high truck-loading, needed something about the same size and shape as the cart. So--off it went. Once J4 realized he wouldn't see his cart again till Colorado, he lost it.

I took him out of the main room and just let him get the tension out. He cried, calmed down, and let himself be led to the dining table to eat his lunch.

The Muscles were working so efficiently that they were ready for table and chairs before we were done eating, and I got the giggles at the thought of them just taking the table and leaving us three sitting there, holding our plates. Hah! Hah!

But we finished (the boys ate mostly chips for lunch. But at least they drank milk, not lemonade or coke or sweet tea, so there's that at least), cleared off our plates, finally got ourselves into the car, and headed over to church for nap time. Now that the Muscles were gone, it was quiet and peaceful and the library couches are fantastic for napping and (after a few disciplinary encounters) they finally fell asleep.

We woke, and the next hour or so was a melange of texting Ian, pottying and shoeing the boys, and finally getting all of us back at the house. We borrowed the church's toy baby buggy for J4 to drive on the truck's ramp while we tied up the very last loose threads at the house.

While Ian sorted and situated the higgledy-piggledy mess of car luggage, Alice and I sorted the freezer and fridge food: throwing away some, saving some, and getting some ready to take to church for the folks to take as they want.

This was a rough patch of the day. They boys were getting hungry, Ian was hungry and extremely tired and worn out, and we had to figure out so many variables: getting all the vehicles where they needed to be, getting Alice's car full of garbage to the other end of town to a dumpster (including/especially the two bags of melting freezer food), getting the cooler of food to church, and trying to get downtown for a last dinner at a local restaurant. In the end, I took the car to church to drop off the cooler food, Ian and Alice finished off at the house and drove the cars to church. From there we took the garbage to the dumpster and had dinner at....Wendy's.

Hah. It was getting late, we were all worn out (especially Ian), and needed someplace familiar and easy. So Wendy's it was--we have been there so many times and it was a comfort, though not a local place. A compromise? A come-down? A disappointment? Nope. It's just the way it happened, and considering all the needs of all the players, it was the best.choice.

We bade adieu to dear Alice. We have lived near her, here in Chattanooga, our entire married life we will miss her greatly. It was a sad goodbye, made all the more so by our weariness.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Moving-Truck Day (Part One)

This is a long account, and so I'll just write to record what happened, then write to ponder and process later.

First, we woke after not-enough sleep. We dressed and got to McDonalds for breakfast. J4, my son, was thrilled to go inside the McD; we had only ever gone through the drive-thru before. He could see the INSIDE of the drive-thru from the restaurant and was very excited.

After our McBreakfast, we went to Hixson (north of Chattanooga, about a 10 minute drive) to rent the Penske. Ian's sister (I don't know if she wants her name on the interwebs, so I'll call her Alice for the purpose of this blog) watched the boys while we went to rent the truck; Ian then drove the truck to church while I followed him so he could get the feel of the thing.

We parked Penske at church, disconnected the tow dolly, and all drive home.

When we arrived, there were already 6 people waiting for us. What a delight it was to our weary selves! In a trice, all our road-trip luggage was loaded into our cars, the volunteers were divided into Movers and Muscles, and the work had begun.

The Movers stayed at the house and sorted/packed the last of the stuff: pantry items, spices and baking things, linens, that sort of thing. Ian and Alice had stayed up the night before till 3 (yes, that three!), and Ian told her absolutely everything he wanted done for the rest of the packing. So Alice directed the Movers as they packed boxes.

The Muscles caravanned over to the church (there's a spare room there we used for free storage....we love our little fellowship, because the facility is there for us all to use and we use it!) to start loading that stuff. We had moved about 2/3 of our things out of our house for staging, and this was that stuff. Our second dresser, extra desks, boxes and boxes and boxes of books, many bookshelves, etc.

Meanwhile, I was to leave with my sons, J4 and M2. We were going to go to the Creative Discivery Museum but the Movers needed more packing tape, so I was going to make a quick Walmart run. I got there and .... couldn't find my wallet.

I looked in the car. No. I texted Alice, back at the house. No. I called the Penske place. No. I went back home, the Movers stopped their packing and helped me look on all the surfaces. No.

Don't panic. J4 (trying to be helpful) said, "Just buy another one, Mommy!"

I explained that my wallet has my money, my debit card, credit cards, insurance cards, HSA debit card, AAA card....immunization records for the boys...and my drivers license. And my provisional license too. (Inner alarm: squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Imagine a high pitched squealing-brakes sound. Yep. That's the anxiety in my head.)

(Because I NEED MY LEGAL IDENTIFICATION for closing the house in TWO DAYS.)

Trying not to panic.

I drove over to church where the Movers had already emptied the storage room and were loading the truck tickety-boo. Ian saw that they were clicking right along so he came to the car and helped by starting to unload all the luggage heaped in all higgledy-piggledy.

Found the keys and wallet in the Be Sure It Makes It To The Car And Sort It Later box. Whew.

Having seen the Movers and the Muscle making huge strides in such a short time, and having not lost my wallet and all its contents after all, I started to relax.


End Part One.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Quiet Goodbyes

A week ago I came down with a cold. Since then I've stayed home from a MOPS playdate, from Sunday worship, from various other playdates.

I missed out on all the formal, purposeful goodbyes, and this is hurting me.

I wanted to say an actual goodbye to my MOPS friends, and to my church friends, and to my neighborhood friends. But I'm quarantining myself to keep them from getting this terrible cold. And so it turns out I've already had my goodbyes: they were normal, quiet, "see you later!" goodbyes instead of purposeful, heartfelt, sincere, well-spoken.

Having slept poorly (this cough! it slays me!) and been sick for several days, and helping little children who are also sick get back to sleep...and having every lady's Aunt Flo coming soon for her visit and sending her advance guard of Hormonal Moodiness and Cranky Fatigue exaggerating the emotions that are already there--I am weepy today.


I lived in Colorado Springs until I was 18, then I went away to college. Covenant College was on top of a mountain, overlooking Chattanooga. Then I graduated, moved (Colorado, Hawaii, Pennsylvania) and THEN I got married and moved back to Chattanooga.

I've lived here almost half my life. I've certainly lived here my entire adult life.

I've acclimated to the heat and humidity. There are many more bugs here, but I've either learned to live with them or learned how to defeat them. The winters are short, the springs are astonishing, the summers are hot but there's air conditioning, the falls are crisp and beautiful and long. 

Come to think of it, it's not just acclimation. I really love it here. 

It's a really pretty city. There's so much beauty here. The river, the waterfront, the mountains, city parks, downtown, southside, main street.

Also, I learned to be a wife here, made two babies here, birthed the babies, learned how to be a mommy here. Learned roads and shortcuts and back roads. Dealt with depression and joblessness and grew a lot here. Bought a house. 

I'm moving to Colorado Springs in 4 days. Moving out of my home day after tomorrow. 

And so this is a blog about leaving my adopted city and moving back to my city of origin.