Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fragile - handle with care

A very good friend of mine described her state of mind after they moved out of state.  Fragile.  I think that's a pretty perfect word for my state of mind these days.

During the last two weeks before the house closings, I focused on getting through the next day.  Seriously.  I took it one day at a time because if I didn't, it was all too overwhelming.  You've heard this all before...  Moving Hannah into a college dorm just down the street from our old house doesn't sound like much of a task, but that just means you don't have to plan very well and end up making 6 trips instead of one.  A couple days later, getting all of the stuff Jim took to school into a U-Haul van, driving 5 hours to school, unloading (with only me, Jim and Abbie getting the big screen TV, a couch, big chair, queen size bed and other little stuff into his new house) and driving 5 hours back just about did me in.  Two days after that, we rented a larger U-Haul and loaded the rest of our stuff.  We closed on the Normal house Thursday morning, I drove the U-Haul to St. Louis and John drove his car.  We closed on the St. Peters house Friday morning.  We unloaded everything from the van Friday, unloaded all the big stuff from the van that was stored at John's work Saturday morning, drove the U-Haul back to Normal, picked up my car and the Miata and the pugs.  We had everything relatively under one roof by Saturday night.

I only lost it once during this whole thing - on the phone with John late Tuesday afternoon.  I was supposed to have everything packed and ready to be loaded onto a van Wednesday.  John was coming home that afternoon and we would load the truck that night. Tuesday afternoon, I looked around at what still had to be done and freaked.  John must have heard the fear and panic in my voice, because he left work and came home that night instead of Wednesday night.  Thank goodness he did, because time and space where WAY too tight.  We literally could not fit one more thing on that van, and both of our cars were packed so tight we couldn't take all of our stuff.  We gave some stuff away, stored a couple things at friend's houses and kicked other stuff to the curb.  The last things were thrown in the cars and the house pronounced clean 15 minutes before our buyer's walk through.  Without good friends helping with the packing and moving some heavy stuff, we never would have made the deadline.

So now, I'm slowly getting the house together - and I do mean s-l-o-w-l-y.  It takes more time to figure out where everything is going to go than it did stuffing boxes.  The good thing - no hard deadline.

What stinks is that I wanted my last few days in Normal to be good ones, with time to relax and enjoy friends and family.  But I was always so pressed for time, I didn't have time to say goodbye the way I wanted.  Not like we won't see anyone from there again, but it's the principal of the thing.

So here we are.  We've met one neighbor and I've had lovely conversations with guys from 3 fence companies who came by today to give us quotes.  I Skyped with Hannah today - my first time.  I'm trying to get the master bath and closets together.  Our sweaty, smelly moving clothes are starting to take on a life of their own, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's delivery of our new washer and dryer, and after a visit from the Dish Network guy, we'll be able to watch TV again.

I know things will be good here.  We'll make friends, welcome a lot of visitors and I will learn where things are beyond my current 1.5 mile radius.  In the mean time, I guess it's OK to be fragile.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Here we are

I was up at 5:00am this morning, and hit the ground running.  Deflated the air mattress, put the last load of laundry in the dryer, packed up all the miscellaneous stuff we had laying around, took a shower and Swiffered as we walked out of the house for the last time.  I admit it - I cried.  I won't necessarily miss that house, but I will dearly miss the location.

We closed at 10:00 and were on the road by 11:00.  We literally could not fit one more thing in the U-Haul and cars.  Packed to the nth degree, John drove his car and I drove the U-Haul.  There were some white knuckle moments, but I made it and had a nice discussion with God along the way.  New beginnings have a lot to offer and I need to be reminded of that.

So here we are.  We are officially homeless.  Our last night of taking advantage of the Mark and Shelly's hospitality.  The next couple days will be a flurry, and then I am going to unpack and take a bit of a breather.  Not even going to think about a new job yet.

And after this week, I don't want to see the inside of a rented moving van for a freaking long time.

But the calendar will soon be back up on the refrigerator and reservations are now being taken for Hotel Krajewski.  Hotel K-town?   The Krajew Inn?  It's all down hill from here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Last Normal Night

These are our last few hours as residents of Normal, Illinois.  As of 10:30 tomorrow morning, we will be homeless and heading toward Missouri in a cram-packed U-Haul van.  We will be leaving Hannah here and Jim will be at school in the middle of the Iowa corn fields.

Jim.  Jim has been my rock this summer.  With John in St. Louis during the week and Hannah at camp for most of the summer, all my crazy fell on him.  I hope and pray it only came in waves and his last summer at home was tolerable. But he worked hard at the radio station, worked hard at home, loved the pugs as much as he could and was an all around pleasure to be with this summer.  I could not have made it through this summer without him, and I know we would have never gotten the house packed without his effort and brawn.

I took the pugs to a friend's house for a few days before he got up this morning and he didn't get to say goodbye to them.  Then he helped so long packing our U-Haul that he was late leaving for school.   And then it was not him and John, but Hannah and John who got the last photo in the house together.  Not fair to Jim, and I am truly sorry the day turned out that way.

Do kids ever know how much you really, truly love them?  I don't think they do - until they have kids of their own.  So I hope Jim has kids, and I hope they are soft hearted, kind, witty, intelligent, talented boys like him.  And then I hope he will know how we love him.

And I hope they like dinosaurs, sharks, planets, and Star Wars, (and in that order) because they will have Jim's old toys to play with when they visit Grandma and Grandpa.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's getting random in here

Random thoughts at 6:30 on a Saturday morning.

Went to happy hour last night with work buds, to celebrate me, Lily and Megan leaving work.  We sat outside, the weather was perfect, the beer was cold and the company was awesome.  Except for one or two people, everyone I care about from work was there - and the irksome people stayed away! How lovely is that??!

Moved Hannah into her dorm room on Thursday.  Even though I got after her big time for not being prepared as much as she should have been, I felt much better leaving her there than I did leaving her at Millikin this time last year.
Last year...

This year.

I have countless bruises all over from packing and moving.  Someone gives me a stern look and I bruise so this isn't surprising, but it's embarrassing.  I have a welt on my forehead after building two lofts (see right and left in the above photo) but so far it's not that lovely black/blue/gray/yellow color that seems to linger with me for a couple weeks.  My bruises look like different types of clouds - I have a stratus or two, a few cirrus, a couple cirrocumulus (those were from carrying the loft for 2 blocks) and a couple major cumulonimbus.  Between those and the bug bites from going outside with the dogs, my skin has taken a real hit this summer...  so to speak.

Maybe I have Hemophilia.  I should look into that.

And I'm sore.  Really, really sore.

I'm SO sick of packing and moving stuff.  It's worse for John.  After moving 75% of our stuff onto a trailer from work and thinking we could leave it there until we move into the new house, they actually needed the trailer.  So he and some other guys moved it onto another trailer.  And then they needed that trailer.  So they moved it into the warehouse.  Yes, we saved a lot of money this way, but this is just getting stupid.  And I worked for hours upstairs yesterday, and it looks like I didn't do anything.  1 week from today this will all be over.  Then I will sit in our house in Missouri, miss the kids, and be sorry that I was so psycho their last summer at home.

Today is National Radio Day.  Give NPR a listen.

After everything is packed, staged and ready to go on a truck on Wednesday, I am going to take the camera and explore Bloomington/Normal.  There is a building that collapsed earlier this summer and it's just screaming to be photographed.  That's assuming I make it to Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

From my kid

Hannah gave this to me today.  It made me cry.

My girlfriends are coming over tonight.  There will be LOTS of crying.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2:53 am

Can't sleep.  

This is my typical pattern lately.  I come home from work, have a drink to decompress (I realize this is not a good habit to get into), take care of some stuff that has to do with selling the house/buying the house, fall asleep on the couch, wake up, go to bed, wake up again around 2:00 am and can't get back to sleep.  And now my allergies are kicking in.

The stupid stuff that runs through my brain at this hour is a little disturbing.  Where can we put a doggie door in the new house for the pugs?  How much does a stacked washer/dryer combo cost?  How would I look with straight hair?  Gotta call the dentist in the morning.

Then there are the deep thoughts - and not the Jack Handy kind.  How can I move away from here?  90% of my friends are here.  Family is here.  My church family is here.  Hannah will be here.  As much as I gripe about work, I will miss some people there in a big way.  My kids grew up here.  Bloomington-Normal Illinois makes be crazy (State Farm City) but it's home.

I've been so stressed out with this move I've often felt like a rubber band about to snap.  I'm going through so many emotions, I forget what the kids might be going through.  Poor Jim has been stuck with me all summer.  I honestly don't think I would have made it through this without him.

The worst part is that the kids won't have a "home" to come back to.  They will come to St. Louis to visit their parents.

I know this is the right thing to do.  John loves his job down there.  I will find something I like to do there.  At this point, I can step back and see that things have fallen into place quite nicely.  But I will grieve the loss of this place and time, and pray that friendships can grow even stronger regardless of proximity.