Saturday, July 30, 2011

Farewell California – July 2011

At the end of June we said our farewells to Hanford and our family. We headed down to Orange County for a final week with our friends. I expected to have a calm week with nothing to do but lounging with friends and with Jon who was done working. I was wrong. Jon’s back went out right at the beginning, and in a really severe way. I had felt like I had been a single mom for 4 months and I had to consciously adjust my expectations, because I thought I was going to have a reprieve, but Jon was laid up for most of the week. Once I adjusted my expectations, I did a lot better. We had our farewell party the day after we arrived, so we got ready for that as soon as we arrived. The farewell party for me was anything but simple. Aside from all the work to be done in preparation, it stirred up a lot of emotions for me: it was taxing to fit all of my visiting with everyone from all walks of my life into a few hours, it was extremely heartbreaking to say my good-byes, and it was super joyous to get to see everyone after 4 months away. It was a very mixed bag of emotions. The rest of our week was good; tiring, but good. It was very busy, full of activity, kids and dogs everywhere, late nights working on wedding invitations for a friend, final outings with loved ones, and long talks. Thank you Tracy & family for putting us up and all the work you put into blessing us! Thank you Amber and family for letting us use your home for our good-bye party, especially when you are such a sick pregnant lady right now! Thanks everyone who came out to see us before we moved! We love you all so much!

Both boys had taken all of the changes in our family in stride, up until our Orange County week. Ben, all of a sudden, needed lots of extra reassurance, which expressed itself in more clinginess and whininess, but also more affection and snuggles, especially with Jon.

The next day was the BIG day. The day we were going to drive away. We impulsively decided to not get an early start, but to have one final hurrah. We went to breakfast in the park with dear friends and I’m so glad we did. I needed that more focused and peaceful time with my friends! I thrive on peace. I can’t hang for too long with hectic craziness. The kids got to run around in the grass while we adults got to lounge and sip our coffee. I was really sunburned from the day before, loading the moving truck. I hadn’t planned on staying to help with loading, but I did, and I got really burned. We had a lot of help loading all of our stuff from our storage unit into our moving truck. Thanks all you burly dudes for your manly help, it meant a lot! Anyway, we lingered at the park as long as we possibly could. But then it was time to go. Bye my beloved California (which really means bye my beloved friends and all that I know and am used to and am comfortable with)….ahhhhh….I can’t believe I’m moving to Texas. I’m crazy! I’ve never lived anywhere but California! I love it there! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! And I’m sunburned.

So we pulled out, Jon and Caleb in the moving truck, pulling our car behind them, and me and Ben in Jon’s van. We had to rig the van’s floorboard by putting a phone book under the gas pedal. My heel didn’t touch the floorboard otherwise. And off we went!

We had 3 ½ days of driving. I’ve never driven that much by myself. I did though! Yay me! Our days were full of ups and downs. I decided that it’s okay to see the ups and the downs of things. It’s part of the charm of the adventure. I tried to write down what I could in the moment. Here’s just a glimpse of our few days.

DOWN: My guts weren’t working right all week in Orange County, stress or whatever. So much so, that I had to take laxatives. And of course, the laxatives didn’t hit until we were on the road!
UP: We made it to a McDonald’s in the middle of nowhere, just in the nick of time. And bonus, I got to see my first awesome Midwest hairstyle of the trip – a combo mullet with rat’s tail :)

UP: Kids enthralled and completely entertained for 3 days with the car kits Granny put together.
DOWN: Melty crayons all over everything.
UP: Ben, a five year old, entertained himself so well the entire trip. He poured over books, worked on an alphabet turtle puzzle, and colored picture after picture. I was so impressed by his focus, perseverance, and newly acquired longer attention span. He was really developing a want to learn, so much so, that he got very disappointed that he didn’t know how to read, but I got to encourage him and tell him that was what I was going to teach him to do in kindergarten.

DOWN: Sunburned shoulders don’t mix with seat belts and sun in the window
UP: Jimmie rigging a sunshade in the driver window to protect my sunburned shoulders

DOWN: The A/C in the van only blows air when I take my foot off the gas pedal and it stops blowing when I press on the gas pedal. It’s a very hot summer so A/C is very important.
UP: Jon’s moving truck that I’m following goes really slow, so I get to take my foot off the gas pedal a lot :)

DOWN: Missed a photo opportunity with a really cool cactus (for some reason I was bummed about that – so say my notes – weird how you feel in the moment of something, but looking back seems kind of ridiculous)
UP: Found a giant dinosaur in the middle of nowhere – great photo

UP: Free library audio books that I downloaded in the hotel room onto my iPod and unlimited music on Pandora.
UP: Caleb and I listened to “Inkheart” for hour upon hour when it was his turn to ride with me.
DOWN: I couldn’t keep listening to “Inkheart” when Caleb was riding with Jon. I didn’t want him to miss any of the story.
UP: Bob Marley’s “One Love” song played and it resonated with me in that moment.

One Love (Oh, Lord!)
One Heart (Wo-ooh!)
Give thanks and praise to the Lord
And I will feel all right;
Let's get together and feel all right.
Give thanks and praise to the Lord
And I will feel all right;
Let's get together and feel all right.

DOWN: Blown tire on a busy road in Arizona
UP: God’s hand of protection! God miraculously kept us from an accident even though my van swerved severely into the other lanes on a busy road when the tire blew!

DOWN: Severe traffic due to a flash flood in Arizona
UP: We finally got to the front of the line of traffic and got our turn to drive though the flooded out road after a very long wait. It was kind of fun :)

DOWN: Having to find a pet friendly hotel, late at night, in whatever town we landed in after a full day of driving. One night was especially bad because we had to drive way past the point of tired, in the dark, in a storm, until we even found a town. I’m terrified of driving tired because I know I’m not immune to falling asleep driving (I did it once a long time ago)!
UP: Always finding one despite the odds. Yay God!
UP: Ben was ecstatic with the continental breakfasts at the hotels. He was in snack heaven!

UP: Writing these notes while driving the van on a deserted long windy road in Texas.
DOWN: occasional veering off the road due to writing while driving.
UP: glad for wake up tread to help me notice I’m veering off the road.

UP: Our new Texas neighbors called while we were in a hotel the last night and they said they put food in our fridge and will assemble a team to help unload our moving truck. I can’t wait to get to know these loving and generous people! I’m very excited!

We finally arrived late evening after 3 ½ days of driving. It was a long journey. We were met by two different neighbors, a stocked fridge, a nice note on our counter, and a crock pot of stew. The next day a crew was ready and unloaded our moving truck in the crazy Texan heat! What a blessing! Especially since Jon’s back was in horrible condition. What generous, kind, and wonderful people! Thank you Hamiters!!!! And thanks Tellors for the soup, it was tasty!