Saturday, June 18, 2011

Welcome Home, Family. Welcome Home.

And then there was the end.

As one would imagine (or you might have suspected) we do have a home to call our own. OH but it wasn't easy.

Where do you start? How do you solve a problem like moving? I guess I should start from the beginning. (Side note: As I re-read this and spruce it up for (finally) posting this it feels like this happened in another life, not 3 weeks ago. DAMN. This all happened 3 weeks ago?! DAMN.  The following was (mostly) written on our plane ride home... our new home in the STL.)

The only way to move, is to be moved. Having people come in, pack you up and move your stuff is as amazing as it sounds.  I thought it would be stressful, but for real. The. Only. Way. To. Move. (Side note: I've started writing in one word sentences. Get. Ready.) When the driver (of the mack truck, I neglected to take a picture of) showed up, he said he'd be to the STL by Sunday.  Little "thing" about that fact; our flight isn't booked until Tuesday. At first I scrambled, saw about having a friend meet our stuff or one of us changing our flight, but then I realized. HEY. Wait a minute. While I appreciate the fact that this guy hasn't seen his family in weeks; we were moving away from our friends & family for 2 years. Why did we need to reshuffle our lives? I'm thinking when he got into the truck driving business he knew about the travel.

Other than that, even with the husband gone, it was fine. He came home, as scheduled, on Thursday night and did a kick arse job cleaning up.  With his hustle, we were quickly on our way on a 4 day trek across the Northeast.  Our tour was a final "goodbye" to the last of our friends & family that we didn't see over the course of the last few weeks.

Truth: next time we are just going to get on a plane and go - the days of road warriors, not sleeping in our own bed and trekking from home to home is not a good idea. It's the opposite of a good idea. Now? As I write this - on a plane on our way to the STL? It was nice to see as many people as we were able to see.  That said I'm freaking exhausted and frankly I was a crappy guest from house to house, party to party. Whoops. Guess why? I was freaking exhausted. Vicious cycle. Maybe now that it's over, I get that it was a good idea. Maybe. Maybe it's the fact that the ridiculousness of the last few days has already softened a little bit. Maybe.

: 3 weeks later? Nope, still exhausted, that was a crazy ass idea. Next time we'll say come on over if you want and leave it at that. Here's how the few days before we moved went.

Friday, we went to the kid's school for her last day. They threw her a goodbye celebration, post lunch snack.  We came and brought ice cream cups to celebrate her last day.  The kids got ice cream and I got a punch to the gut.  The kids put together a scrap book of L and her time at school.  I cried within 2 minutes, husband dearest says 1 minute. I say, I'm busy making a human over here - sorry I couldn't time it.

Sweetest. Present. Ever. 

I don't know that I can thank the parents & teachers adequately for capturing the years she spent there in a little scrap book.  It's always going to mean something special to us because that school is where she became a little girl. She went in a baby, barely speaking, and has come out a curious, smart, funny, precocious little girl.  In addition to an awesome scrap book, the teachers made her a tie dye shirt with everyone's hand print and name.  Lastly, a troll.  The story of the troll, goes a little like this:

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who went to a magical school with creative teachers that would use innocent relics from the 80s like a troll to entertain all the little children.  One child in particular, Princess L, was especially enamored by the troll.  When he would show up in her lunch box, cubby or in the class unexpected it always made her scream & giggle in delight. On days the troll would find its way to her, she would come home more excited than she could contain.

The troll was magical, indeed. Her teachers asked her to take the troll with her to St. Louis, and the Princess was happy to. Her parents were excited to offer up pictures of the trolls adventures as well. L is excited to keep in touch with her class, they will be pen pals for the rest of the school year.  We thought it would be fun to maybe take the troll to the Arch or along on our adventures. It's only been a few days, and I'm thinking Hartford (the troll is now named after his hometown - best we can tell - other than the Made in China tattoo on the bottom of his foot) is going to be a permanent fixture in our everyday.

After presents, we left L at school to nap (she didn't - shock) but she had a better chance at school than she did at the house with no bed. We picked her up (and of course) cried (me, not the kid).  Why did I cry? We were greeted by one of the aids at L's school - she doesn't spend a regular amount of time with our child.  She approached us with tears in her eyes, sincerely, and said, "I just want to thank you for sharing your gift with us. She is a special person."  We said our goodbyes, continued with the tears (behind my sunglasses) and
set off for our first stop in our tour: Liza's house.

The kids had an amazing time, despite having to give at least one 'talking to' per child in the 15 hours we were there. They are going to miss each other, as much as their parents will. Shock, I cried. But we did a good job, still, to keep the drama shielded from the kid.  Me more so than Liza.  Sorry girl - you screaming "Isn't this TERRIBLE?!" isn't shielding. I will say, in front of L we talked about how cool our adventure is, as we have been doing for weeks. I'm sure she felt something, but at this point it didn't seem to show for her.

Next stop? Nana Lu's. We headed over to my Aunt Mary Lou's who hosted a BBQ. All was fine & good until the word watermelon came up. True story detour here.  A few short hours later, we were off to Laguardia Airport (which is 30-40 minutes away from where we were) to pick up a rental car.  We had 2 more "glorious" days of our road show and needed a car that went in both directions to complete the mission. We had to go 30-40 minutes away because it was a holiday weekend and it was the closest place open. When we get there? They didn't have our reservation and on the way home, I get lost (surprise). Aren't you exhausted? I was exhausted.

The next day we took a few hours to visit friends we hadn't seen in foreva and while it was excellent to see them - it was sweat your ass off hott and I was F this cranky. Between not sleeping for DAYS, it being one thousand degrees, pregnant, about to move half way across the country and ETC, I was D.O.N.E. The kid had an out of this world time and we did get to spend time with a ton of great friends that I always love seeing and always wish we lived to closer to.  There were wins everywhere - but the weekend is waring on us.  Most certainly me and even the kid. I can tell, at this point, she's starting to feel it all.

We were in the husband's home town now and got to spend some quality time with the family there.  Grammy & Papa time galore, cousin fun, aunts & uncles - all good things. The day after the visit with friends was a lovely day filled with swimming, barbecuing and laughs. Then it was time to leave and say goodbye. I did NOT see this coming.

We go to leave and it's like a scene worthy of a makeover show. People are crying, huddled over, there are tears, fears and DRA-MA.  I half expected someone to fall over in tears,
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition style. We were soldiers who have enlisted and are now going off to war. That kind of scene. Like end of days, the world is over, we will never meet again. Grammy & Papa are upset. Aunts & uncles are upset. I'm upset. The husband is upset. And the kid is SO upset... why? Because Dad's upset and as he opens the car door to get the kid in, he smacks her in the face with a steel car door.

Everyone. Is. Crying.

This is NOT the 'let's keep it low key for the kid' kind of goodbye I saw coming. And now, we've physically harmed our own child in the escape process. We head to my mother's house (again) to pick up our damn dog (and get a bite of watermelon, if I'm being honest) and say our goodbyes there. I anticipate she is going to LOOSE HER MIND. Since we just left our departure fit for a warrior (or someone on death row) ... I didn't know how the next hour would go. 

Good news? Nana Lu pulled it together. There was a tear or two, but nothing major. My brother was there, to keep the mood lite as he played "Hero" by Nickleback as we drove off. Bad news? We were not even CLOSE to being in St. Louis yet. We still had to get to a hotel, near the airport. It was estimated to take 45 minutes to get there. It took us close to 3 hours because we kept getting lost (no, I was not driving). At one point my OWN husband told me to, and I quote, "OK, stop talking. No talking, until we get there." 
We eventually got there. The stupidity really didn't stop yet, but I'll break it down fast:
  • We unpacked our completely packed vehicle. 
  • Got the kid to take a bath, get ready for bed & ordered dinner.  
  • Dinner never came, despite several calls to follow up. 
  • We canceled the order, got chips for dinner and at 11:45 pm dinner showed up.
  • No one could sleep. Not the adults. Not the kid. Not the dog. 
  • We didn't fall asleep until at least 1 am. 
  • The alarm went off at 4 am. 
  • We put our dog on a flight. I cried. 
  • We saw one of L's teachers (from school) at the airport. I nearly cried. 
  • We got on the plane & L was the best passenger on the flight, other than Hartford (her troll). 
  • We never received a call from our move's truck driver but when we land, I get an angry message from him. He was angry he's been there since 7 am (CST) and it's now 9:30 am (CST). I'm angry he's angry. No. One. Called. Us. To. Confirm. 
  • We get moved in and are home. Home sweet home.


Crashing Napping on the couch the day we moved.
Wearing the same thing today, by the time you read
this one of us are doing the same thing.
Three weeks deep and I can say, we love it. The air is different (when it isn't forming wind tunnels of tornado death) - everything smells different, tastes different, it's different. Even Abelle is different (she survived the flight).  She fell a year ago, and if you didn't read then and want to now, here's the story. The long and short of it is: she fell, we were told to put her down or invest in a 10K surgery and post-op therapy.  We chose neither and she started to heal as much as she would.  A year later she is almost back to normal but still has a bit of a limp and a bit slower than she was a year ago.  She's happy, not in pain (as far as we know) and alive - so it's a win. Here's the thing about Abelle, post flight: she doesn't limp. I thought, at first, it was just the adrenaline from the flight. 3 weeks later, I think STL agrees with her. She loves the space we have (Ditto: our house is 2x the size of our last apartment), she loves our fenced in yard (Ditto: we have spent more time in it over the last 3 weeks than we did in the last yard we had for 2 years) and she likes the central AC (how wouldn't).  We miss a lot about the Northeast, and where we lived, but by in large, change is good. It was needed and it's suiting us well. I think we're going to like it her. We're just EXHAUSTED.

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