Sunday, May 25, 2014

Going Out West (Updated)

Take your pick for the reference: Either Greeley’s advice or the Rivieras’ ode to the California sun both work. All we know is that we’re on the road west after leaving friends and work in Michigan. Sometimes, as Hallie put it, “Adventure is a four-letter word.” Nonetheless, we are on another adventure with another set of stories to remember!

Monday, May 19 – On Mike’s second-to-last day of work at Wayne State, he had a series of meetings in between packing boxes before teaching the night’s class. 
He's going to miss this view.

Landon’s school had a spring concert across the road from his school in the middle school auditorium. At the last minute, he decided he didn’t want to go, but with a little persuasion, he did go, and afterwards remarked that he really enjoyed himself, even if he couldn’t find Mom in the big crowd. 

Sam and Olivia stopped by in the evening with a yummy hot meal. Thanks so much!

Tuesday, May 20 – Mike took Fergus to the airport in the morning for his flight out to LA. The poor kitty had no idea what was going on, and he complained the whole way to the airport warehouse. Once at the warehouse, he got suspiciously quiet. Nonetheless, all ended well for him. Mike and Granny O. were able to track his flight, and once in LA, Grandpa picked him up, safe if a little rattled from the trip. He spent the night cozy in the bathroom.

On the home front, it has become a story of boxes, boxes everywhere. Some items that we meant to keep out got packed away, including a sock holding our Canadian money. After a fruitless search, we had to give up and reconcile ourselves to the fact that our last trip across the border was our last (at least until we get back to Nova Scotia. Now we have a seed fund for that trip!).

We signed papers with our realtor, so our house is officially on the market. Sigh.
Every mark tells a story. 

Earlier in the day, Mike went over to Landon’s school for his recess volunteer time. Rain clouds opened up enough to force indoor recess, but Mrs. Humphrey was prepared. She has a set of DVDs called Fit with Fred that are made up of brief workouts to get the kids’ blood flowing. Mike participated with the kids, and they seemed to enjoy watching another adult besides their teacher running in place and doing jumping jacks with them.

Wednesday, May 21 – Mike had one last day at school to meet with students and visit with staff and colleagues before bringing more boxes home to add to the pile.

By the time he got home, the first of our two PODS had arrived. Hallie had to leave before Mike arrived, so that left Loretta holding the fort and directing a couple of zealous volunteer movers. Thank you, Loretta, so much! Missionaries came by later on to help with some more heavy lifting.

Landon had his last class at Extreme Gymnastics. Thanks, Shane and Jesse, for all your work and encouragement. Landon has made so much progress!

We had a visit from Nate and Anna and their kids. Anna brought a batch of her molasses cookies for the road. Wow! Yum! Thanks! 

Thursday, May 22 – The PODS driver came to pick up the first unit earlier than we anticipated, so we had to scramble to get items we knew needed to go out into it before it left. Also, because the driver didn’t bring and drop off the second unit when he came to pick up the first, we had a long block of time where we couldn’t load anything. 

But the second unit did eventually arrive in a way that was well-timed for the available help. Throughout the morning and afternoon, friends came by and helped Loretta and Mike load boxes and other material into the storage unit while Hallie, missionaries, and other friends packed up remaining loose items. Special thanks to Deloris, Ryan, Nathaniel, Sean, Tony, your families, and everyone else who we have forgotten to mention by name for helping load the storage units, clean house, and otherwise be there with us in person or in spirit as we muddled through this process. 

Although our trusty Buick has crossed the continent with us twice, we knew we would not be taking it along with us on this trip. We left it in the care of our friend Nathaniel, and we hope the car will give him at least as much good use as it gave us over the years. Special thanks to all those who offered and provided help, especially Loretta. We would not have made it out of here without you!

We said our goodbyes to Eliza's teachers at Barnes. Eliza has become a regular chatterbox over the last few months thanks in part to their efforts.

Grandma and Grandpa O. have sent status updates on Fergus, and he seems to be adjusting well to his temporary digs.

Friday, May 23 – Now comes the hard part. In the morning, we said goodbye to our next-door neighbors Dawn and Mark and their family. Our neighbor Don came down and helped load the very last items into the second unit before we shut the door and left our material goods to the hands of Providence. Gaby from next door came over and visited and looked after the kids and otherwise helped all day. After Gabrielle and Chris brought Eliza home from school, we all had lunch together. While Mike got a last haircut with Bill the Barber, the driver came and drove the unit off. Landon had a Field Day with lots of fun physical activities for his last day as a kindergartner.

After some goodbyes to friends and his teacher, he came home. Finally, the time had come to go. 

Goodbye, old home!

After tearful goodbyes to wonderful neighbors, we hit the road for our first stop in Grand Rapids. By the time we got there, the adults were too tired to do much beyond sit. We ordered some local Chinese and ate and fell sound asleep.

Saturday, May 24 – We got off to a bit of a later start than we hoped, but we made up time along the way. Leaving Grand Rapids, we drove over to Holland and the farmers market there. 

After the farmers market, we continued on to Schaumburg, Illinois, by way of Indiana, where we had lunch at Jersey Mike’s and then Mom, Dad, and the kids went to the Legoland Discovery Center while Loretta went window shopping. We invited her, but somehow the idea of two hours of quiet time seemed more appealing than two hours surrounded by marauding kids and frazzled parents. . . . 

From Illinois, we crossed over to Onalaska,Wisconsin, by way of the interstate, moving from urban to ever more rural surroundings.

Along the way, Eliza REALLY had to go potty, so we found an exit with a service station somewhere past Wisconsin Dells and pulled her out of her cocoon to get some relief. Hallie flatly stated, “She will not go pee in her car seat.” Period. Of course Eliza was barefoot, and of course the gas station looked seedy, so Mike carried her across the parking lot first to the adjoining Subway restaurant – bathroom for paying customers only – then to the service station minimart, all the time the girl chanting, “I gotta go! I gotta go!” Fortunately, the door opened. Unfortunately, the stall was occupied, so Mike did what had to be done and took the girl and held her over the urinal. He mostly avoided getting himself doused. Mostly. Then he had to go, so he set Eliza on the sink while she complained that people don’t sit on sinks. Well, they do when the floor is grimy and covered with who-knows-whose bodily fluids, at least some of which are yours, Little Miss. Bladders empty, they both got back to the car, which is when Mike felt the “mostly” was a little less than what actually made it to the toilet. After the move and the road and the multiple days’ straight wear and now the urine, these jeans might just be able to walk by themselves or, at  the very least, hold themselves up.

We five broke out the swimsuits and took over the pool, which was surprisingly warm for a hotel pool, a perfect soak for muscles made stiff from long days hauling boxes and sitting in a cramped car. The kids have sat through hours of driving generally with a smile all the while.   

(Technology helps.)
(As does finding places outdoors to burn off steam.)

Sunday, May 25 – We had a long road trip today, covering as much territory today as we did in the last two days combined. We crossed the Mississippi River at La Crosse, leaving Wisconsin for Minnesota. We crossed the rolling hills of southern Minnesota, stopping at the Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth.

From there, we kept moving west into South Dakota, and the rolling wooded and farmed areas gave way to flatter grassland. We’re not sure whether it was just our good timing with the spring, but everywhere we looked was covered in a carpet of green.  All along our path, billboards advertised different attractions, including the Corn Palace and Wall Drug. We pulled off the road to find the corn palace. Cool! 

After passing through a rainstorm in the Badlands, we finally got to the store. We saw that it closed at 8:00, so we rushed over only to find out that we had an extra hour due to the state being roughly split between the Central and Mountain Time Zones.

We got to Rapid City pretty late by Eastern Time standards, but early enough for a late dinner. The kids have traveled really well, and we hope to be able to reward them tomorrow with lots of active time at Mount Rushmore as we celebrate Memorial Day.  

1 comment:

Cynitra said...

Oh my, I love y'all blog. I am sadden that I did not come by to see y'all before y'all left. The children has grown so big. I remember Landon was just a baby. I am in the Rochester Ward now, and love my dear sisters and brothers. I am so proud of y'all accomplishment.