For those who don’t know, my husband accepted a new job in Midland, MI, which meant moving from our longtime home of Colorado. We left Colorado two weeks ago yesterday, so I figured it was time to put together a bit of a synopsis of where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed. This is perhaps a bit more detailed (and long!) and personal than a normal blog post, but so many people have asked to be kept posted about our move details that I felt the blog was the best place to contain the information. Plus, I don’t want to forget the crazy adventure that was our move.
After our house in Arvada had been on the market for three and a half weeks and we had had around 47 showings (I lost track a little at the end but that’s very close to accurate), it seemed good to accept an offer from an investor who was willing to pay cash and close in 12 days. Despite the fact that he paid somewhat less than we had wanted to sell it for, it was apparent that 46 other people weren’t willing to buy it for what we wanted to sell it for. That, and it’s really hard to pack and move when you have to leave your house for several hours each day, and keep it looking beautiful at the same time. So, we gratefully accepted and we closed on our Arvada house on December 23, with my mom acting as power of attorney.
The week of our move was busy. Monday, December 14 I was gone half the day at Bible study and an overdue lunch with a friend and then mostly packed the rest of the day, with some help from a friend and my mom. The girls were out late at zoo lights with my brother and sister in-law. That night brought a big snow storm which cancelled school for the girls. It was kind of nice for them to be able to sleep in after having been out late the night before.
However, that also meant that Tuesday morning I spent an hour shoveling the driveway. I then left for 5 hours to go train my replacement for my former job at the Independence Institute. My mom packed my pantry and some other things and then I came back to pack some more. That night, Naomi was up off and on for two hours vomiting. I was up with her for most of that, doing laundry in addition to everything else.
Wednesday, my mom helped with some more packing, shoveled the driveway more, and then begrudgingly left, though she felt that perhaps she should stay and help. But I had three friends come and help pack up the kitchen and some other things. The kids and I left the house night to go to our final AWANA at church.
That night I slept from 11 until 1, then got up to pack some more, tackling the walk-in closet, which was my nemesis, then went to bed at 3:30, slept until 6, got the older kids to school (who would be picked up from school by friends so I could stay at home to over see the movers), came home and packed more and waited for the movers to come. As you can see, my house wasn’t quite ready.
I had planned for Naomi to go to a friend’s on Thursday as well, but she couldn’t go since she had been sick, so she spent most of the day huddled by a heater in her room with the iPad and eating corn dogs, until the computer and wi fi were unhooked and then she watched videos on my phone the rest of the time.
The movers were running late, so they got to the house around 10:00. They were booked for five hours. I figured I would still have time to pick up kids from their friends’ houses, go get Ben from the airport, and maybe make it across town (from the airport to Hampden and Sheridan) in time to sign power of attorney papers so we could leave first thing Friday morning. Sometimes I’m a little too optimistic!
The first thing the movers moved was the piano. They spent at least 45 minutes maneuvering it out of the house and onto the driveway, then trying to figure out how to push a piano made of steel through 6 inches of ice on the street, up a metal grate ramp at a 45 degree angle into the truck in 20 degree weather. They did finally get the piano in and began working on the rest of the house.
I still had a few things that were not packed, but I didn’t think it would take long to finish those up. But things always take longer than you expect. So I was packing, they were packing, another friend came by for a little and she helped pack…. It’s amazing how much stuff we have!
In the midst of this, one of the movers asked if he could warm his hands in my oven because he has muscle spasms and was trying to unclench his fingers. In that process he broke a finger.
By 2:30 I realized that I was not going to have time to pick up the girls. I called the moms and asked if they could drop off my girls at our house, which they were able to do, thankfully!
The movers told me at 3:00 that the guy with the muscle spasms and broken finger was slowing them down so they wouldn’t charge me past 3:15. They ended up staying until 3:40 and even then, there were still a few things in the garage to put in. But I needed to leave because Ben was already at the airport and they were past their time limit.
We went and got Ben, spent the next hour or more in traffic (glad to be moving away from all the traffic!), and went back home to finish packing the trailer and our van.
I think it took almost three more hours to pack the rest of the stuff and get the trailer bulkhead in to secure our things. We ended up using 24′ of trailer space. Yikes! And I thought we had pared down! We left our house right before 8:00 and headed to a friend’s house for a late dinner and a warm and comfortable night’s sleep. Ben asked how I felt and I said, “Amazing!” Even though it had been a stressful and exhausting week, it felt good to have accomplished so much… Though only with the help of many people and God’s strength.
Friday the 18th we drove from Arvada to Littleton to sign power of attorney papers, then headed out of the state.
After an uneventful 10 hour drive, we stopped in sleepy Stuart, IA. Kyria woke up not feeling well, and while I was out in the car moving things around, she vomited right in the hotel entrance, fortunately on the tile and not the carpet. We continued on the road, armed with vomit bags from the mom who was going to watch Naomi before she got sick. Fortunately, Kyria was the only one who was sick in the car.
We made it to Ben’s parents’ house, our temporary home until our house in Midland closes, by dinnertime Friday night and were thankful for a place to rest.
I was finally able to rest and my body knew it. I barely ate any dinner, then collapsed in my bed and dissolved into a puddle of tears. That night I had the stomach bug that Naomi and Kyria had. A friend at church asked at AWANA how I was able to be there the night before we were planning to leave. I said I wanted to end well. I wanted to finish what I started and be faithful to the end. God gave me the strength to do that, but it doesn’t mean it didn’t come at a cost. I’ve been paying the price for the last two weeks through illness and tiredness.
And I didn’t do everything perfectly. Part of me felt like a failure for not having packed more earlier on so that the last week wouldn’t have been so crazy. Life isn’t always tidy and neat. But through it all, God gave me strength to do what I needed to do.
Two days after we arrived at Ben’s parents’ house, I dragged (almost literally) the kids on the 1 hour and 40 minute drive to Midland to see Ben’s office, drive by the house and check out the library.
The rest of our time here feels like it has been marked mainly by illness. Ben’s mom had a respiratory virus when we came, we shared the stomach bug with her on top of that and Kyria and Naomi picked up the respiratory infection. Lizzie also finally succumbed to the stomach bug. We rounded out the craziness with a trip to the ER Tuesday night for Naomi, who was writhing in pain with an ear infection. She’s better but not quite herself yet.
We have had good times too though. We had a nice Christmas and were thankful to spend time with Ben’s brother Brad and his wife and two kids earlier this week (and thankful that it doesn’t seem that we shared any illnesses with them!)
It’s been a very low key atmosphere around here and the girls are enjoying time to sit with Grandma and play word games on her kindle or just sit and chat. I’m enjoying sleeping in. Especially last week and earlier this week, I took on most of the responsibility of planning, shopping for and preparing meals so Ben’s mom could rest. Not only was it a blessing for her, it gave me purpose and something to do.
Ben has yet to work a full week between traveling to and from Colorado and the holidays, but that will change next week. While we wait for our house in Midland to close, he has been staying with us at his parents’ house on the weekends and driving to Midland Monday mornings and staying at a hotel during the week. It’s not ideal, but we’re hopeful we can close on the house the week after next and get settled in up there. (You can see pictures of the house here if you’d like to look.)
We’re thankful for all of you who have helped us on our adventure whether by word, deed, or prayer. God has good things in store for us and you’re all part of that. Hopefully it won’t be as long before I write the next part of our story as it took to write this.
One reason I didn’t write before now was because things were just not very fun, and seemingly not very interesting. On Tuesday, the (In)courage blogger Angela Nazworth wrote about the gift of being open and vulnerable. During some hard times when she had closed herself to hard truths and many of life’s pleasures she writes, “I branded myself a fraud . . . After all, aren’t Christian writers supposed to always be brimming with feelings of joy and words of encouragement? . . . I’d chastise myself, adding shame to my sadness.” I appreciated her honesty and felt similarly. I couldn’t muster the joy and encouragement I wanted to bring to this blog. I’m not sure I have yet. But I was encouraged by her words of wisdom, “Being open allows you to pour yourself out while you’re being filled up. Open leaves us vulnerable and fertile for change. It’s the open places in ourselves where hope roots and thrives.” I know life isn’t always joyful. Sometimes it’s just hard. But when we open our hands to those messy areas, and invite in God and others to speak life into us once again, we have the opportunity to heal and hope.