We are here! The kids and I arrived on campus Saturday afternoon after a long week of final packing, cleaning, and last goodbyes. I do not recommend it.
Thursday and Friday were probably the hardest days (both physically and mentally). Although I never got to the point of hopeless exhaustion, I was definitely tired. I had nine wonderful helpers over those two days, plus Tom and Emily taking the kids for one last zoo trip and Rainey around the corner taking care of the kids from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday morning. (She worked the hardest of anyone…thank you, sweet Rainey!).
During those last days, everywhere I turned there was something to pack or clean or throw away. I had “reminder stacks” all over the place. Library books to return, receipts to file, dishes to return, DVDs to pass along, bags of last-minute donations to drop off, and prescriptions to pick-up. My mind felt like it was in constant motion trying to remember everything. I found myself muttering out loud like Rain Man. There was so much in my head, I thought it might explode. To-do lists were no longer useful and a waste of time. I believe I might actually have been on the verge of insanity. (At least to the casual observer.)
Friday the Penske truck was loaded. It took a painful four hours of loading and reloading and then loading again to get everything to fit. It was the only true moment of panic. But Wayne (our packing MVP), James, Orville, Robin, Rainey, and Al made it happen. Against all odds, they fit a houseful of stuff on a 26-ft. moving truck. On the inside, Alice, Juan, and Anne cleaned my entire house in just a few hours. Baseboards, walls, floors, windows, carpets. I absolutely could not have done it without them. And then finally, Paul showed up at just the right time to pack the last few supplies into the van.
And then, it was over. The truck was gone. My helpers headed back to their homes. The house was empty and big. I quietly laid the keys on the counter and shut the door for the last time.
Our wonderful neighbors drove down with me, taking an extra vehicle to tote bikes and kids. The drive was uneventful, save horrible summer construction and traffic. When we arrived, the moving truck had already been and gone. What took four hours to load, only took 10 seminary volunteers and our friends 45 minutes to unload. There were only a few causalities in the move. A coffee carafe, two plates, a coffee mug, and a small mason jar. A few friends stayed to unpack as much as we could until dinner. Our friends in town, Chris and Rick, came to help and Chris made dinner and snacks for an army. She even filled my pantry and refrigerator with groceries and meals. (Still haven’t needed to grocery shop!)
The apartment is just about settled. We are within spitting distance of the community playground. We have library cards and a garden plot. I’ve been to the thrift shop and have plotted a map to the local grocery store. I know where the hospital is and the nearest pharmacy. We hope to go to the zoo this week and research health insurance and driver’s licenses. I’m trying to take it one step at a time. I am happy to have my family back together. Believe it or not, I can even feel the slow signs of contentment beginning to soak in.
And with that, we are here.