Thursday, January 08, 2009

Rewind back to moving day...

Rewind back to moving day...

As the snow plummets to the ground outside my window where I sit typing this, I am awed by the beauty of the winter season with the fresh build-up of snow mounting around our new home property. I feel a sense of mourning, a pang in my heart shall we say, for our home we just vacated mostly for all the many memories experienced there during our stay. Surely God has rendered our time complete there and it is time to move on.

Surely God has ordained our journeys, even with tears and laughter they will continue...

Oh sure I am also simultaneously experiencing a sense of anticipatory excitement as I wonder about our life here in this new home in the future to come. I feel better each day about life and how it has been unfolding for our family. I trust and know all is well; all is just very fine indeed.

The day the moving truck arrived and when we opened the front door to greet our appointed packing crew, the smiles on their faces told me, without words necessary, they would prove to become blessings to our family in no time at all. Oh yes, they sure were!

Upon our initial first move to eastern areas, we were assigned a five man packing crew for a swift and unbelievably smooth move. When we noticed there were only three in the crew this time, we wondered for a second of their scheduled arrival and departure, but chose to remain quiet about our thoughts, thinking “nahhhh”, all will be well....

Seas of boxes, cardboard vessels I have come to loathe

Later in the morning of our first day of packing, the driver of the crew (a packer also) announced he would be losing half a day the next day when he had a scheduled delivery to make three hours away from us with a load already in his truck. I could tell by the look on his face that this wasn’t sitting right with him. Eventually I found out, the entire crew was feeling the pressure also when they took their coffee out to the interior of their big truck to have - what they called; “a union meeting for strategy purposes”.

Terrific protection on the wooden flooring, great packers overall!

Over the course of day one and two of packing, by day’s end of the second day, most of the truck was supposed to be loaded. Loading wasn’t even begun.

A little sustenance along the way, and invoking

St. Nicholas to help us during the move

As the deadline loomed overhead, this packing crew was suffering from fatigue like us, finding muscles we never knew existed. There was work from sun up to sun down – lots of work! Unexpectedly we had a telephone call from the carpet layers working on our new home. The basement was being finished and they had originally delayed their arrival date, but now, they were free to come ahead of schedule. This required our very own “union meeting” at home and the plan born was for my hubby to head up ahead of us with two of the children, a van filled with necessities, and both rabbits in temporary boxing with their unassembled temporary cages in tow for reassembly once arriving at the new home. Oh, yes, he was going ahead of me the day of for sure as I’ve mentioned before, but not two nights ahead as was the plan now.

We chose to have our older son and youngest daughter remain behind, both having end activities to participate in during the evening hours, and our son was able to control both dogs whom we would be escorting on our trip the final day.

Initially I never worried about anything other than grinning and bearing the packing process at hand. And then, as time wore on I realized the crew was short-handed and they knew it as well as us. With a sudden fury, all hands were on deck as we all pitched in over the duration of the days to assist at keeping our safe zones from being packed up, those items we had to include in our driving vehicle for the drive ahead.

One of two "safe/no pack" rooms the packers couldn't touch!

One thing we feel adamant about is having total appreciation for any work crew assisting us in our home at any time. I discovered our crew liked their coffee, a fresh pot brewed throughout each day for them then. Cases of bottled water, cold drinks and juices were on the cold garage floor to keep them happily hydrated. “Grazing food” lay on the countertop and meals were provided. All appreciated the hospitality so much and told us stories about some resident folks not even allowing them so much as a glass of water or the use of a washroom while they worked diligently at packing up their homes safely and swiftly for their benefit. Unreal! I truly abhor this type of treatment on service industry folks! In fact, any type of service in our home gets at least an offer for a cup of coffee or cold drink. Just the way it should be in my own way of thinking here...

By day three, the truck was supposed to be heading out by noon. It didn’t. In fact this great and most fantastic crew of men worked valiantly to get that truck loaded because they knew I was supposed to head out onto my own trek over four hours away. We listened intently hour by hour at the weather forecaster as he told of the snow squalls in areas I would need to drive through on my way to our new home.

Day one was cold, Day three was freezing cold and snow was falling

As the final hours of the last day ticked away, beds were still in bedrooms, the last items in there to be loaded. Trouble was I was on a countdown to legally depart our home, and travel a wintry road trip. I thought I would have a half day plus to clean the house up. I didn’t. By day, the house became slowly drowned in a sea of boxes. When the crew completely twelve hours of work (or more), I rolled up my sleeves and began to clean some more. I have a certain standard of how I like to leave my former homes. Likened to spring cleaning, windows are squeaky clean, all blinds and/or curtains left behind are freshly washed or scrubbed, bathrooms hygienically detailed, floors and carpets left as good as expected and finally all dusting on doorways and windowsills and all cupboards/drawers and closets detailed. Over the weeks before I did get a head start working on all these items, but hadn’t expected the race during the final hours to get clear rooms to work in with the lagging loading of the truck at hand. In the end, all worked out fine, that is, until the truck ran out of room! Ahhhhhhhh

Day 3, loading the family vehicle, preparing to leave.

But, that wouldn't happen by noon as preplanned,

rather at 7pm, dark and icy!

A second truck was summoned who just happened to be empty and heading our way the next morning from another unload a distance away. Most of the garage and the entire barn (less animals who were in temporary shelters) with both lawn tractors still needed to be loaded. Obviously we wouldn’t fill another truck; however the last minute shelving in the garage only amplified just how much was still left to do.

Freezing cold we donned our jackets because the doors

were wide open for the movers to haul everything to the truck

Our son’s three friends wondered over during our last afternoon to hang around and help out if their assistance was necessary. It was. I put them all to work, and all were grateful for those cold drinks in the garage. (wink) They hauled all the remaining items from the garage to the barn so we could lock up the home. Over the course of our years living in this home, guests and the children’s friends had noted down their names in one particular part of the basement under the staircase. As I vacuumed the bottom floor top to bottom, entering into this same space filled my heart with the warmth of memories stored there for me to ponder. A rush overcame my general senses, and I found myself wanting to also scribble a brief notation with our names, offering hopes for the new folks to find the same happiness we had while living there. And then, I dated it. Just as the sidewalks of the newly poured concrete from our initial arrival is filled with imprints from each of us, and our family bible verse for our time there, this stairwell area holds proof we “were there”.

As darkness fell, there was still much to do. I noticed the crew had begun sipping energy drinks, and I coffee while fearing the fatigue taking over my body for the continued long evening trek ahead.

Before setting the alarm system for the last time, I stood in the center of the main floor all alone, finding myself desperately wishing to drop to my knees, overwhelmed with complete thanksgiving for our time in this home. Truly this had been a journey for our family and now it was time to journey on again.

I prayed for our life to come in our new home and the medical road to come for my hubby. I prayed for the new folks who would make this their home in the near future, that they too would find much happiness living, at least some semblance of the same we had experienced living here.

It was a sublime moment, a heart rendering stillness lingering with me long into the rest of the night deep within my soul. I felt peace overcome and wash over me.

I felt wrapped in love, knowing many were praying for the next leg of my journey with many petitions for a safe passage until the keys in the ignition were turned off and I could find rest at the end of the road trip.

With wet mop in hand, I worked as I headed out the door, washing the floor before me until it was time to step out after pressing the alarm code for the last time. Locking the door behind me, I traded mop for broom and began to sweep out the garage as others worked frantically about me to empty the garageitems and take all out to the barn. Our son emptied the built in vacuum bottom, dragging the remains of the garbage outside.

As time progressed, all three men took us under their wing always offering to take the load off when I carried anything anywhere. They kept the sidewalks clear of snow themselves, emptied rooms in priority order for me to get cleaning, and even helped get my van packed with the final items for our journey. If there was ever a time when everyone was required to work as a team, this was it! The moving truck company promised the crew more man power for the unloading to come. I hastened to allow them to leave without offering each a tip for their heroic services, and the way they were so kind to the children during all the packing and loading. Grateful was a mutual feeling upon completion of the task at hand.

Day three was a brutal day for all of us! Our son

broke his big toe the night before playing hockey and

crashed on the couch in the early morning hours.

Two things remained before we could depart. The dogs were administered calming pills earlier in the day, but they needed to be walked before our trip. Our son had enjoyed an evening of ball hockey back to back with ice hockey the evening before with his buddies, but as fate would have it, he broke his big toe in the process and had immense difficulty hobbling around the final day. Our youngest daughter had attended her last Girl Guide evening where they had surprised her with a goodbye party. Teary eyed, she cried for much of the evening while settling down into her bed for the last time in this home. Emotions were high the final day as we all had difficulty with fatigue, stiffness, and deadlines. Complete exhaustion is more like it for me, not ever remembering feeling so wiped out in my entire life before such as this last day. Had I known the full gamut of what was to be, I surely would have called in more troops to help out. The crew too felt they had cheated us without extra man power. The learning curve was grand. All worked out fine in the end.

We all had bumps and bruises near the end of Day three.

Here are hers...

In order to get on the road before the hour became later, and knowing we would drive right through what could be treacherous territory, we removed the center seat and gave it to the movers to pack in the truck. The dogs jumped up into the back of the van. Both son and daughter sat in the back seat to attend to the pets, and i knew I required more weight distribution around the vehicle. I gathered many bricks (leftover from our driveway changes) in a crate and loaded that into the very center of the floor between the two in the back. I had two full water bottles for our water stand to load on the floor of the passenger front seat and placed a heavy box of “camping supplies” on the seat itself. A bale of straw had arrived from a farmer down the road just in time to transport to our new home for the dogs, and the packing crew wrapped it up in one of their blankets, taping it tightly for storage in the van. Dog food and treats were on hand, and drinks for the rest of us. Suitcases and other items were stacked in the back and the food from the refrigerator in coolers came with us. (My hubby brought up a cooler filled with items from our freezer two days before, already unloaded at the new house. )

One of the major problems I had for the trip was the plummeting thermometer reading minus 19 the entire trip. Ice became a factor on the windshield most of the way, building up greatly as I drove. The sky was so beautiful, crisp, and clear and filled with a full moon and zillions of stars shining brightly. Even with the heat inside the van blasting full speed ahead, still my ice issue was a problem and my legs were cold the entire way. We stopped twice for the dogs until they became groggier and began to sleep peacefully. I entered a snow storm and barely recognized the lines on the road anymore, choosing to follow closely behind a semi-truck for most of the inclimate weather ahead. It became a saving grace to do so, believe me as patches of ice were noticeable and signs were brightly lite offering warnings to beware of ice on the roads. Between the ultra fatigue I was under, the chill of the drive, and the vehicle i was driving which wasn’t great in winter weather at the best of times, I became so focused on the road and barely lifted a hand for even a sip of water the entire time. I feared losing control of the vehicle or getting into a poor position with everyone on board. Remembering I had a bottle of Peppermint essential oil in my purse, I was able to open it up during one stop and rubbed it all around my forehead, temples and the back of my neck. A natural stimulant, the oil became fresh and cold on my skin, waking me up to attention. I reapplied it a few times and felt it was the biggest asset to keeping me sane on the drive up here. Truly...

With my hubby on the cell phone every hour, we paced ourselves well and made it here under five hours. There were a few other concerns I hadn’t thought of before. Sure I knew where to drive to. Sure I had been to this area a few times before, but never in the dark (which was altogether unexpected at the onset to be driving at night)! What if I took the wrong turn off? What if I got lost? What if I got stuck somewhere? What if my cell phone didn’t have reception in some of those rural spots along the way? Oh brother......Yikes!!! Honestly, that was a great concern right at the end of the drive once I had arrived in the general area. When I realized I had taken the correct turn off, recognizing the town I would drive through, I decided to pull over and call both sets of parents to ensure them I was safe and almost there, knowing they were worrying at the other end and praying for our safety. I called my parents first and encountered their answering machine. Teary eyes and a lump in my throat hit hard as soon as I began to leave a message for them. I had trouble composing myself so decided not to call anyone else right then.

As I rounded the bend onto the closest intersection, with clear skies above, the roads were loaded with packed snow, and a hedge of three feet of the white stuff was walled up on each side. Everything had a fresh white dusting on it, the trees looked beautiful in the moonlight. Everything looked like a winter wonderland. I began to slowly sip in my surroundings, awed at the gorgeous feeling out my windows. The white knuckler drive was surely behind me now. I lamented to myself if I got stuck here on this road, I could easily walk the duration of the distance to our home and fetch the vehicle the next day. Smile...

But, it was when I could see the house in the distance all lite up, I began to have leaky eyes, my heart soaring with so much joy and relief that the end of the journey HOME was almost over. No one could comprehend what was enveloping me exactly, no one except for my husband whose arms I collapsed into where a fresh new round of tears spilled.

Our younger son ran out hooting and hollering for us, waving his arms all over as he bound towards the road to greet us. My hubby had a sense of relief in his face and as our eyes met, he knew I was beyond exhaustion. So was he worrying as we drove towards him. I walked from the van and into my hubby’s arms, tears falling hard and my legs barely holding me up. We let the children unpack much of the vehicle, settling their animals down for the rest of the night. Everything foreign to them, the dogs had quite a time for two days getting used to their new abode. The rabbits could care less. Laugh

And so it began...

Our camping IN time was in session, sleeping areas ready to collapse onto, camping chairs from my van were unloaded and placed near the fireplace for warming up. A glass of wine was in due order. Our piƱata celebration was just not going to happen though, no way. We toasted to our new home, new life in another part of our country, and family together again.

Come along. Make haste. You are all cordially invited to come along and join in the hubbub as we embark on further adventures together; those we will slowly discover here “in the east”. This geographical location is all new to us too, and already it has become a place with a new home filled with hopes and dreams for work, family and medical purposes. We thank God for leading us here. Let the journey continue...

Thanks for reading.....and stay tuned for part two - The truck arrives and unpacks.