The Drive

After our moving day, we had a restless night in a Sprinhill Suites. The children slept ok, but Matt and I had trouble shutting off our minds even though we were physically exhausted. We got up the next morning to begin the better part of our ten hour drive.

In the future, I will try not to begin a move halfway across the country on the morning of a winter storm which brings us through Pittsburgh the day of a post-season Steelers vs. Ravens game. Icy rain was our companion for a good part of the morning. I70 was closed due to trucks de-icing and spreading sand on the road. There was also a three car pile up. Seeing a minivan fully loaded with belongings, missing doors and hauled on a flatbed gave me pause. That could easily have been us.

Despite the poor driving conditions, the ice made for a pretty backdrop to our drive. The trees and grass were glistening and the freezing rain made the otherwise brown vegetation a pretty mauve color. The soundtrack of the 80’s helped keep me awake and alert as the highway passed me by.

We took our time and made it as far as Toldeo, OH (Maumee, really) on the second night. The traffic, weather, and loaded vehicles did not make for an easy drive. We checked in to another Marriott property and headed to the Outback just through the parking lot. It was the only restaurant that did not require driving. We waited for quite a while on “date night” but enjoyed our dinner.

We found a better position for Goldie on this leg of the trip. Buffered by a prized bottle of homemade smokey jalapeƱo sauce, the bowl didn’t leak at all. Goldie even got to see the inside of several rest areas due to the frigid temperatures in the parked car.

Back at the hotel after dinner, the kids swam with a bunch of other kids staying in town for a hockey tournament. The exercise was great after being cramped in the cars all day. I thought I would sleep better the second night, but my mind was still whirring. I ended up in the small roll away and got a few hours of sleep in the wee hours.

We were all excited to be on our way Sunday and made it to Michigan in good time. Unfortunately my GPS took us on the scenic narrow route to our rental home and my van and lapsed winter driving skills did not quite make it up the narrow winding hilly road. Thank goodness for a good friend with a Ram truck and a tow rope.

We finally and happily made it to our new temporary home. The setting on the lake is lovely and the house is cozy and warm. Even both of our cars have a space inside the garage. We are adjusting to cold and snowy weather, but are happy to be among old friends.

The moving truck is due tomorrow and because of the narrow road, adjustments were made for a shuttle truck rather than the semi. The boys begin school and all three will be in full-time Spanish Immersion. We have enjoyed “camping out” on air mattresses but are all excited to get furniture and belongings tomorrow. We will also get to reclaim out dog who has been living at friends since Thanksgiving.

Henry has plans to move back to Maryland soon and he surely speaks for us all when he says he misses our old life and house and friends. Change isn’t easy but we are all doing well with the challenge.

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Week Twelve Time to Refocus

Day 1 – Today I got up and got everyone out of the house earlier than usual. I am a co-chair for the elementary school book fair and needed to meet my partner. The fall book fair is a mini-fair and will run today and tomorrow from 8:30 am until 8:00 pm. We got everything set up and had a few customers. It is a half day both days because of conferences so I arranged for child care for the boys until 4. I then went home to get the organized for swimming, homework, dinner and a sitter before heading back out for a conference and to help close the book fair for the day.

Day 2 – Today is a repeat of yesterday but I could only stay at the fair until 1:30 when one of my boys had a well visit and the second had an appointment to check out his sore ear. One ear infection and a successful well visit later and we headed home for homework. We then took Nate to the pool and headed to Target for an antibiotic. The sick child had tubes but they are both sitting on his ear drum, so I hope this isn’t the start of many ear infections. Luckily our ENT is conservative so he won’t rush to do a second tube surgery. After the boys went to bed, I got my “run” in on my trampoline. Aerobically, I work harder outside because I sweat more and seem to get my heart rate higher, but I think I work my muscles harder on the trampoline.

Day 3 – Jack and I took a nice walk in the woods. It was beautiful and no squirrels bothered me so it was a successful outing.

Day 4 – I got back outside for my run which felt great. My pace has slowed, but as long as I keep getting out, I am not going to beat myself up about it. The goal is to move my body and get fit any way I can.

Day 5 – We walked in the woods again and my nearly ten year old dog was more playful than I have seen him in quite a while. We ran into many other dogs and owners enjoying the day. I am starting to panic slightly about the ten people I am hosting for dinner tomorrow. My house is still littered with camping gear and detritus from our New York trip, but I am making progress one step at a time.

The walk today was so good for me as I am also thinking about the two deaths I learned about today. One is the mother of a close friend whose cancer ended her life and the other is a young man from our summer pool who was killed in a home invasion. I am thankful for my health and every day I have. I am trying not to take anything for granted.

Day 6 – Today is a big day. I probably should try to get out for at least a walk, but the piles of laundry to put away along with the dusting, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning is stressing me out too much to leave the house. I got a bit of exercise running through the house. I enlisted the help of all family members and we got it all done. We were ready for dinner group at 6:00. I even delivered my oldest to his swim meet and transferred him to one of our very capable teenage babysitters. I will leave dinner at some point to pick him up.

Day 7 – After church this morning, I wanted to go for a run or at least a walk, but I spent a lot of time on the phone making arrangements for a wake and funeral early next week. My middle son got invited to a last minute party and my oldest had part two of his swim meet. I may not have gotten all the exercise I wanted in this week, but I am making healthier eating choices and have stepped back from the Halloween candy. As long as I don’t gain my usual “holiday ten” I will be happy. I also plan to refocus on my goal of doubling my 2012 bike mileage. I have about 120 miles to go so I need to fit about two rides in per week.

Snow watch

IMG_1998We are on “snowquester” watch. I am not joking, that is the name the weather people have made up for the latest snow event that is due to hit our area later today and tomorrow. We haven’t had a good snowfall amount since “snowmageddon” in 2011. My kids are keeping their fingers crossed and are planning to wear pj’s inside out so they can have a day off from school tomorrow. If they don’t have school, they will somehow know it ahead of time and will bounce out of bed before the sun rises to make the most of a free day to watch tv, play Legos, and get in some outdoor time.

I have my own plans for a day off from carpooling and errand running, not to mention working at the preschool consignment sale. I dream of catching up on laundry, housework, cooking, planning for our Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet and squeezing in some reading. My kids will not be happy to learn they are included in some of my plans, but a day off from school should take the sting out of a few chores. Perhaps I should wear my pj’s inside out too. It will be a perfect day if the power stays on.

When I was a child, I don’t remember ever knowing ahead of time that a snowstorm was coming. I definitely don’t remember my mom being as excited as we kids were for a day off from school. I suspect that was because there were so many of us at home. I do remember the magical sight of big fat flakes falling from the sky and watching it from my classroom windows. The cheers that erupted when we learned we would have an early release day were almost as joyful as Christmas. There was at least one occasion when the buses had barely released the students in the morning, when they loaded them back up to return them to the surrounding farms. For those of us who were walkers, we often broke into spontaneous snowball fights and games of king of the mountain. It was a beautiful time. At some point, I began to help my brothers with their snow shoveling business and then snowfalls were not quite as magical.

The best blizzard ever in my memory was sometime in the 1970’s when feet of snow fell and drifted shut the streets near our house. The piles were so high we could walk right up the mountains to the roof of the apartment buildings across the street. By the time, the plows finally cleared our street and we kids went back to school, my mother was probably ready to erupt into a few cheers of her own.

A few years ago, my husband called me from work to say that our area was expecting a big storm and he was thinking of purchasing a snow blower. In reality, he had placed it on hold at Sears, but the call was to prepare me. I told him he was crazy, that we rarely got measurable snow here and that it was gone almost as quickly as it came. He argued that we had three small boys at home, and I would not be able to spend much time helping him shovel for us and our elderly neighbors. When we got dumped on that time and several more times that winter, I was forced to utter those three little words that always get stuck in my throat, “your were right”. It took a huge burden off us and several neighbors and we have come to rely on the snow blower when we get more than an inch or two. Last night, Matt moved the snow blower from the shed to the front of the house and along with our full fridge, we are ready for “snowquester”, but this may jinx the whole thing. We are too prepared and we want it too much.

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