Sunday, February 19, 2012

The long road home (a Part 2 of sorts)

So, I obviously didn't intend for more than a month to pass before I wrote part 2. But, in the words of a former supervisor, "Such is life in the big city." I don't understand it, but somehow it works here.

Anyway, to recap: My toddler, my 14-year-old dog, my sister and I are living in a room in my friend's house before making the 10-hour trek to Mississippi. Why didn't I fly? Why didn't I drive? Well, in a misguided attempt at big-heartedness, I told my mom I would bring her a bedroom suite. All we'd do is rent a U-Haul, hop in, ship my truck ahead to Arizona and be on our merry way.

Except: Those ads that promise a U-Haul for 20 bucks? Doesn't work like that for a state-to-state trip. The cost of the rental truck was quickly promising to eclipse the value of the set. Plus, all but the hugest trucks had just two seats, which means there was no way all of us would fit. So one of us had to drive the moving truck, while another drove my SUV. After finally finding a truck that wouldn't completely break the bank (I settled on Penske), my sister and I loaded things up. That night, we prepped everything so we could leave by 7 a.m. Of course, things were looking TOO good because put the lock on the truck the wrong way and had to resort to buying bolt cutters and chopping the whole thing off.

Putting that frustration behind me, we got on the road the next morning, prompt as ever. My sis had gotten a chance to drive the moving truck around the block and felt comfortable taking the first leg in the truck, while Cam and I rode together. Ten minutes into the trip, not even out of Columbia, Cam has to poop. I pull into the nearest gas station (which actually turns out to be closed down, but that's OK because it was a run-down restaurant and the owner just so happened to be there to let us in.).

Sis pulls into the "station" behind me and rolls past me to wait. The next thing I know: Boom! She hits me! Needless to say, we swap vehicles. About 12 hours, 4 stops, one audio book (for me) and several Korean music CDs (for her) and we FINALLY made it to moms.

And that, my friends, ended my life in Columbia, SC. But of course, it just made way for my new life in Arizona.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The misadventures of a new Reserve spouse - Pt. 1

Today, on the third day of the new year, I'm sitting outside on my back porch sipping coffee. Both I and my son are wearing shorts. Whether South Carolina state employees believe it in true that in that state, I can say without a doubt, it's a good day in Arizona.

Granted, his play is being just a bit hindered by the fact that his shoes keep getting stuck in the rocks that make up our back yard. And forget that I've come outside in part to escape the moving boxes and packing paper that seem to be somehow growing. What matters is that for the first time in several weeks, I'm in a place at which mail is delivered in my name. I'm at peace.

Here is our bedroom in the midst of the move.
All the scattered belongings on the floor were put into
"keep" and "trash" piles before the movers came.
At the beginning of December, I began getting our South Carolina house ready to be rented. To catch up those who didn't know, my hubby officially left the active duty Army this fall and got a job in Phoenix. After a whirlwind weekend in Phoenix, we chose a house in nearby suburb Surprise (yes, that is actually the name of the city). He moved there in October, and soon after, I had nearly all our belongings shipped to our new house. For almost a month, my son and I camped out in the master bedroom, which was the one room in the house in which there was furniture. Soon, I'd moved some of that furniture down too, leaving me sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and he sleeping in a sleeping bag. I'd rushed it in anticipation of the renters who wanted to move in mid-month. Renters who, days before I planned for them to move in, decided that they had changed their minds.

Since the moving dates had already been set, I saw no reason to change them. Then the real adventure began. I, the boy and the dog moved from our one room at our house to one room in a friend's house. I thank God for her, because I don't know anyone else who would take on two people and a dog while waiting for her husband to return from a deployment.

Despite the comfort of having a place to live for the next few weeks, I still had a few qualms. The house had not yet been rented. I had no job prospects in Arizona. The house needed major cleaning, holes needed to be filled and marks on the walls needed to be touched up with paint. And, if I had not already grasped the reality that the Army safety net I'd learned to depend on was now gone, seeing money for the mortgage come out of our own pockets did the trick.

Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me. And then, my sister moved into the room with us.

To be continued ...