Thursday, April 28, 2011

Closing Day

Up early, back to the house for the final mad dash. Steve kept saying we were fine, but I will admit that I was feeling a bit of panic about how there was still stuff left to be done...more odds & ends, more cleaning. Moving is hard work! A baby who needs to eat, a toddler who has no problems going behind you & unpacking all that you've packed. Closing was at 10, and I had wanted to take a couple final pictures on our swing out in the backyard. It wasn't looking good. At about 9:45, we realized it wasn't all going to quite fit, and there was a bit of tossing of items in our neighbors' garages, a couple of very rushed pics of the kids on the swing, shuttling the kids off to the neighbors, & in the car to the Title company. A few more tears pooling up in my eyes as we're on our way, but trying to hold it together. Just about 30 minutes of signing papers, & it is a done deal! In the parking lot with our realtor, she gets the call that it has funded, and we rush back to the house to make sure we haven't forgotten anything. And lo & behold, Steve gets choked up! By this time, I'm okay, but it is hitting Steve that this house full of memories is no longer ours. I think somehow that the bathtub where our last two kids were born set him off, but either way, we really did make the house what we wanted---every wall (except closets) repainted, every floor replaced. Lots of blood, sweat, & tears, lots of love, joy, smiles, and laughter. Our realtor is totally awesome. She & her husband took our pic in front of the house, prayed with us, & encouraged us on our journey.  Another chapter in our lives closed.

After going back to get the kids, we went out to lunch, and then we headed back to the house to meet the new owners & walk them through & tell them a few things about the house, okay, maybe a book!! Steve was cracking me up with the detail he was giving. I was praying he didn't say too much. I'm sure they were overwhelmed, to say the least! But, it was great for Steve, me too, even. It gave great closure. In the end, even though there was so much life lived there, it doesn't feel like my house anymore. And that is saying a lot, because we are such good friends with our neighbors that we will visit our old neighborhood often, driving right by our old house.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Final Days & Our First Fiasco

The last week in our house was well, taxing. Remember how I mentioned that it felt like our belongings were reproducing overnight? Not only that, but Steve worked Monday & Tuesday. That left me & four kids & a house to empty AND clean. The buyers had not asked us to clean the house in the contract, but when we had moved into our house nearly nine years ago, it was dirty, and I was annoyed. The buyers offered full price on the house, and they requested that we do a walk-through with them to give them some home-care tips, and I really wanted them to be happy & me to not be embarrassed...& I'm pretty sure we were exhaling dirt because my work was multiplying, it seemed!

Wednesday rolled around, Steve was off, and we had the house to finish emptying, clean, AND we had to go get the RV from storage, drive it to Hickory Creek, and set it up. We arranged babysitting for the girls and headed off to get the RV. Crazy busy & stressed, off we went. I decided to bring Jake because I
didn't know how long things would take, and he's still little & totable. Because Steve had the back seat of the truck filled with our stuff, I drove the traverse with Jake & followed him. We arrived at storage, and of course, the owners were not there, and we needed to check out & get our deposit back. We called the owner & proceeded to the RV.

Upon arrival, there was a guy parked immediately behind us bemoaning the hail damage on his RV. Not only were there dings on his, but skylights had busted, as well. Of course, that had us on edge, but when Steve investigated, our RV had fared just fine. On to getting hitched...of course the battery had died since the about 3 weeks prior use, so I pulled the Traverse around to give it a boost so we could actually hitch up. Steve was annoyed to say the least. And we were having trouble. First we hadn't raised the RV enough to hitch properly, then we raised it too much. A couple of attempts to hitch with no success, and then finally, I saw it go in. Steve responded that it had not made a big enough noise, but of course the truck was running, the traverse was running, and I figured that had made it difficult to hear well. I called him out to look at the hitch, and we decided that it was indeed hitched. Steve hopped back in the truck, put it in drive, and the RV slid out of the hitch & landed on the truck. Yep, you read that correctly. Major flub number one. Seriously, who makes the mistake of thinking they have hitched their RV properly when in fact, not so much??!? Inner panic ensued as well as fervent prayer. Umm...I did tell him I saw it go in (& I did) & the little “lock” come across behind it (& I did), but it was NOT properly hitched, and we were suddenly in a bind. Should have taken a picture, & I even thought about it, but I didn't have the camera, and well, you can just imagine it in your mind, right? The RV was resting on the siderails of the back of the truck, and the tailgate was pretty well crumpled. We had already raised up the jacks, so we attempted to raise the RV back up & lower the jacks, but in our panic & inexperience, we didn't do it properly, and we couldn't get it to raise up off of the truck. More panic & prayers, & we jumped in the traverse & headed to the RV lot just around the corner to ask for help. Yeah, the guy in the service department was sure we would need a forklift to lift the RV off of the truck, and he told us we'd have to wait until someone returned from lunch that could help us. 

I sat with Jake in the lounge area while Steve went out to look at other 5th wheels to see if we he could figure out what to do. I stayed & prayed, and a little while later, he called & told me to come. Back in the traverse, back to the RV, and this time, a little more clear-headed, we lowered the jacks properly so that we could raise up the RV off of the truck. And shockingly, the RV appeared to sustain no damage, only one side rail of the truck ended up with a dent in it, and the only real dilemma was how to open the tailgate & remove it so that we could actually pull the truck away from the RV. More prayers, lots of inner turmoil, tears sliding down my cheeks, texts to my dear friend watching the girls, screams from the baby, and yet...miraculously, Steve & I worked together & we got the tailgate removed from the truck. We did not yell at each other, nor did we blame each other for what happened. I'm going to call that victory!! We hitched once more, and yes, we tested it with the jacks still down (lesson learned!), and off we went to our first campsite. And yes, I shed a few more tears as I drove behind Steve, looking at our new home bouncing along the road.

At our campsite, we unhitched, unloaded more of our stuff into the RV, hopped back into the Traverse, and back to the house to try to finish the last “easy” loads of laundry in the comfort of our own home, more purging of the final bits of stuff, more never ends. Then we got the girls back, loaded up, back to the RV to discover that we only had power in the middle of the lights in either of the bedrooms, and there was this strange loud humming sound...turns out the problem was blown fuses, but at the time...well, we were exhausted & due to our earlier adventures of the day, we hadn't finished all we needed at the house. We fell into bed somehow, amidst all the stuff everywhere that we couldn't even see since we had no lights, and called it a day! A memorable one at that!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Purging

On the one hand, getting rid of things feels great, liberating even!  After all, sometimes our "things" weigh us down.  On the other hand, it's hard!  I'm amazed really by how much I hate to "waste" things; my mother taught me well, I guess!  And I've realized that I have an especially hard time getting rid of something that was given to me...even if it is something I don't particularly care for, or if it is something I know I'll never use.  The fact remains that it was given to me, and therefore there is some value attached to it.  Not sure why that is...but it adds another challenge to the process of figuring out what to take with us, what earns a premium spot in storage,  what to donate, and what to just toss.  And all the while, I can't help but have a feeling of panic about how all that stuff that we think we need to bring with us is actually going to fit in the RV...and I am certain that even after we close on our house next Thursday, we'll still be purging more as we adjust to life in our new home on wheels. And I'm frustrated that I'm such a visual person; I can't even remember what has already been taken to the RV, so even though I'm convinced that all of us have brought far too many clothes, I have to wait until it is all in one spot before I can lay it all out & sort through it AGAIN!  Feeling a little weary, but hoping that the progress I made today is tangible to someone besides myself. ;)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Uncanny Ability of Your Belongings to Reproduce

Considering we close in the morning on Thursday, the 28th, that means we really only have 9 days (including today) to remove all of our belongings from our house.  I can't adequately describe how much we have removed from our house & yet how much still remains in our house; it really does feel like the more we get rid of, the more stuff we have at the end of the day!  After a hard day's work of sifting, sorting, & removing, I feel like I've made good progress, and then Steve comes home & is irritable about how much still remains.  If you're thinking that creates a bit of conflict, well then you're right!  I see what he means though because I go to bed & wake up the next morning & feel discouraged that there is STILL so much left to be done.  Of course it doesn't help that a certain charming two year old does indeed like to go behind & mess up stacks that are sorted & folded as well as remove items from the donate pile & leave them randomly strewn throughout the house.  And there is a handsome little three month old that still needs to eat & sometimes just needs a little interaction, and he of course has NO clue that I have much, much work to accomplish & little time to do it! next Thursday, it has to be done, and so, done it will be...maybe not done well, but done all the same!  Off to work on the upstairs some more... 

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Mixed Sort of Day

You know the Charles Dickens' quote, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."  Today kind of felt like that.  We all went to church together this morning.  The highlight was praise & worship, "Forever Reign."  I kept getting a visual of my two year-old running into my arms with gleeful reckless abandon when she thought I was gone but she's found me.  Almost nothing in the world sweeter than that!  A few lyrics stood out, "You are peace when my fear is crippling."  I admit that there have been moments in the journey where the fear of the unknown has threatened to cripple me, and I have to choose to rely on & trust in the One who is leading us on this journey.  Some days, some moments, this just feels incredibly adventurous & exciting, and other moments, it feels scary to leave all that is familiar and live in a tight space with my amazing family that admittedly sometimes drives me batty. ;)  Other lyrics that hit home were, "The riches of your love will always be enough."  That is at least in part what this is all about, putting our trust & security in him & not in all of our things & all that we can control.  The riches of his love will ALWAYS exceed the riches we can attain in this world, and yet sometimes we get caught up in the rat race of life & strive for riches that we feel we have earned or deserve.   

So back to the best of times, worst of times...after church we attempted bluebonnet pictures with the kids.  Seriously, 4 kids, sun & plenty of wind...well, it was challenging, but I think we still managed some cute ones, though certainly not perfect ones!  Then back home again to work in the kitchen to help make feeding our family this next week and a half more manageable amidst that chaos that is beginning to ensue as we MUST finish up the emptying of our house.  Yes, the tension is beginning to build.  And as tension builds & things must get done, children will ALWAYS need you & your time.  Hence the request from child #1 to redeem a birthday coupon from child #2 for a hot chocolate date.  Yeah, I didn't really have time for it, but really, I'm so glad I made it happen.  Beautiful day, beautiful girls, and fun times listening to what is on their hearts.  I don't just love my kids, I genuinely like them, too!  We talked about three favorite things we liked about each other, and it was a great affirming time for everyone, plus lots of funny stories & laughter, which we all needed!  Apparently, I really needed to spend time with my kids to help redeem the major blow-up that ensued later after dinner.  Totally lost my cool over silly stuff, and had to snuggle my sweet eight year-old on my lap and sing "You are my sunshine" ten times over to refill her love tank after yelling at her for shirking responsibility earlier.  But oh, God is good, and while I so very much wish I hadn't lost my cool like I did, I was grateful for the opportunity to snuggle her close on my lap in the rocking chair & sing to her to make it all better again, like days gone by.  Sweet of times, worst of times...

And still, the day wasn't over...Cheesecake Factory to celebrate my belated birthday with two of my dearest friends in the whole wide world.  And back home again to a hubby who is starting to stress about all that remains to be done & my ability to do my part...yeah, I admit, I didn't appreciate that line of communication.  Best of times, worst of times...ten days left to get it all done, and it is not going to be easy.  Praying for supernatural strength, endurance, & patience to get it all done...and supernaturally helpful kids, too.  But for now, praying for good rest...

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Inaugural Night

We felt like it was important to take RV out at least once before we actually move into it.  Seriously, who moves into an RV without having ever stayed in one before??  Steve has spent the night in a friend's fifth wheel before, but I hadn't! closing date approaches, we realized this past weekend was our only chance!  Off we went, all 7 of us (Belle & cone included).  Steve did an awesome job driving!  Boy, is it ever a big load!  All four children were even cooperative about staying quiet so he could concentrate--definitely not a given!

Sooo...of course it wasn't without adventure!  We didn't have water at first due to some glitch related to the really hard freeze we had in February.  But...after a trip to Chicken Express for dinner, Steve found an O'Reilly's  where he got a part to fix things enough for us to have water.  Not too bad, I say!  Good thing I married a smart man. :)  And, kids made friends in a flash, which was so great to see!  They had fun playing tag, hide & seek, & feeding horses.  People were super friendly.  I was amazed at how many people were living there, not just staying for a week or two, but had been there for a month or more and would be there for the next while.  But, all in all, a good first experience, and Steve even managed to back the RV back into the storage parking space without too much ado.  Can I just say that I am sooo glad it is him & not me having to learn that now?  Not saying that I will never ever drive it because it's not smart to say "never," but I am happy that it is not my responsibility right now!

We also learned that if you put a bag of ice on the bottom of a freezer that isn't yet cool, the ice WILL melt and then as the freezer cools, it will re-freeze into a big chunk of ice on a solid sheet of ice that is hopelessly stuck to the bottom of the freezer.  Then, when you return the RV to storage, you will have to chip away at that big chunk of ice in order to remove it, so that it doesn't melt into a big pool of water that drips out of the freezer & results in water damage.  Definitely do-able, just a big old pain in the butt!  Lesson learned: Always put bags of ice on the rack in an uncooled freezer.

The synopsis...oh my goodness, I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that in just over 3 weeks, this will be home.  There will be no more coming back to 2521 Delaney Terrace at the end of the day, the end of the weekend, or the end of vacation.  Change is daunting--exciting, but daunting, no less.

And the update on how ready we are...the formal dining room furniture is now gone!  Another empty room (formal dining) in the house.  After this weekend, our bedroom furniture will be gone, and around that time, the formal living room furniture will also be gone.  Fortunately, the buyers are buying our family room sofas, tv, fridge, washer & dryer, so we'll get to keep those until the very end.