Warning: LONG post ahead. Not for the faint of heart.
On Friday, February 24th, Joe and I woke up bright and early, just as planned, to prepare for the day ahead: moving day.
The early hours of the morning went smoothly. My hours passed quickly with packing up the remainder of the kitchen. Joe spent those first hours (and many more) tying up loose ends on house maintenance to satisfy the conditions of our recent home inspection, not exactly moving tasks, but essential for the sale of our home.
The kids woke up around 7AM and within minutes the smooth, productive course of the morning changed. Xandra had pink eyes and complaints of a very sore throat. By 8AM we had decided that I would take her to the walk-in clinic and on our way to the clinic, we would drop Joe off so he could pick up the moving truck and associated supplies. After the doctor and truck pick up we would all reconvene back at the house and carry on with the day as planned.
On the way to the doctor and while waiting to see the doctor, I made several phone calls to those planning to come help us for the day. With strep throat and pink eye in the house, it seemed unlikely that all of our friends would be bringing their kids over to play while they worked.
The doctor confirmed that Xandra had pink eye and strep throat. We waited for our prescription to be filled and then set off for home.
Once we arrived back home, Joe informed me that the truck company didn't have the car dolly when he got there. They told him that when they found one for us, we would have to come back to that store, fill out the paper work and then drive approximately a half hour to another store and pick up the dolly. I met this idea with a fair amount of resistance and immediately called the people at the truck rental store. After some haggling we had it arranged for them to pick up the dolly at the other store and bring it to their store for us to pick up. Just minutes after hanging up the phone with the rental company, they called me to inform me that the car dolly was now at the store. We decided it would be best for me to run and pick up the car dolly, as Joe was still working on home inspection items and I hadn't started with packing duties again. With this behind us, we could get back to the many tasks at hand.
After driving the 24 foot moving truck across town (it was kind of fun!), I arrived at the rental store only to find that the car dolly was, in fact, NOT at the store. It was on its way, but not there yet, and I have no idea why they told me otherwise. After waiting over 30 minutes for the dolly to arrive, they finally provided the promised car dolly, hooked it up and sent me on my way. I stopped at the store to pick up a few lunch items, for the crew that had arrived at our home in my absence and was already busily at work. While checking out I was overcharged by $16 for two cakes I bought for dessert. After lots of waiting and two trips through the line, everything was set right and I headed home, all the while working to keep my attitude in check.
After two failed attempts to park the moving truck on our narrow cul de sac lined with cars, I abandoned the truck, let someone else park it, and headed inside to finally get down to business.
When I arrived back at the house, friends were cleaning kitchen cabinets and drawers, wrapping pictures, tearing apart furniture, feeding kids, and otherwise doing all the things I should and would have been taking care if the day thus far had looked differently.
Among the friends and helpers, Beth, was there watching the girls and entertaining them. I have no idea what they did all day, as I didn't see much of the kids (aside from a small episode of coaxing a dramatic and unwilling Xandra to take her medicine), but we did snap this one moving day photo amidst all the chaos. They were watching a Veggie Tales video on the computer propped up on a moving box.
One favorite memory of the day, aside from the above photo, was sitting in our girls' bedroom for a few brief moments, with four other ladies organizing clothes and items that would travel in our van. It was a sweet time working beside them of relative quiet and fun. There were not many of these types of moments throughout the day.
In the mid afternoon it started raining, just as some men began loading items from a back storage shed on the truck. The rain was coming down forcefully and the walk through the yard to the truck became muddy very quickly. This put a temporary halt on loading duties.
At some point in the chaos of the afternoon, it was reported to us that my dad's flight was delayed and later cancelled. When we got a hold of the kind individual sent to pick up my dad at the airport, he was already almost to the airport. At this point, we decided I would retrieve my dad from the airport, a different airport than the first, when his plane actually arrived.
Before leaving to retrieve my dad we said several goodbyes, gave away the remnants of our stockpile of groceries, cleaning supplies, and personal care products, stuffed random items from around the house into boxes and bins that had extra room (these are always the best boxes to unpack!), sent friends to run random last minute errands, and ordered pizza for the troops for dinner.
Around 6PM I left to retrieve my dad from the airport. Our friend and neighbor Ms. Carol accompanied Xandra and Theia and I to the airport, which as another favorite time of the day. As I was pulling into the passenger retrieval lanes to get my dad, Joe called to report that we weren't going to be able to get hardly any of our furniture onto the moving truck. It was almost full already and they'd only just begun to load furniture. After a brief moment to take that information in, I told him to do what he could and that would be fine.
After returning home successfully with my dad in tow, I quickly put the kids to bed and then set to work going through the house and choosing the items I most wanted on the moving truck. There are many times in one's life when having furniture that was purchased primarily at thrift stores comes in handy. This is one of them. It makes it easier to part with one's possessions, as you know replacing them will not be difficult.
We said goodbye to the last of our friends around 11PM, closed up the truck, loaded the jammed packed Civic on the car dolly, and sent my dad off with all our worldly possessions around midnight. He wanted to get a few hours under his belt before sleeping and assured us that he would stop when he got tired.
After my dad left, we sat on the sofa in our front room too exhausted to move for a long time. We knew we should sleep, but the events of the day had been so crazy that we just needed some time to decompress. After awhile, Joe had a burst of energy and tidied up the room while I just sat and talked.
It's an odd feeling knowing that you've just said goodbye to so many loved ones you won't see again for along time, that you've just packed up the moving truck with your possessions and sent them across the country, that you have much to do before you can actually pack your van and drive away yourself the following day, that in one day, your cell phone made/received 91 phone calls (how is that humanly possible?), and that you're about to spend your last night in a place you've called home for nearly four and a half years.
We also spent sometime reflecting on God's grace to us. We were so humbled by those who, once again, came to our rescue. They cleaned, packed, loaded, smiled, chatted, and kept us going. At then end of the day we felt confident of two things: 1. We never would have managed without them. 2. They had to have been glad to see us go. Surely no one has ever pushed the bounds of friendship so strongly upon their departure as we did on that day.
The smooth productive hours of our early morning long forgot, we blew up our air mattress, crawled into bed, and spent our last night in Maryland as a mirror image of our first night: sleeping, exhausted, on an air mattress in the middle of a very messy room.