My family recently embarked on a cross country(ish) move. In fact, as I write this post I am sitting in a hotel since we have yet to close on our house. I’m not going to lie, the idea of moving with a toddler and an infant terrified me. Up until the day the movers came I was living in a state of denial. In the weeks leading up friends and family would ask for details. Have you found a house yet? Do you know what you’re going to do with the boys when the movers are there? Are you excited? Are you ready? And the questions went on and on…
I had no definitive answers for any of them. Most days I’m lucky if I still feel sane at 8 pm when the boys are tucked in bed, there’s not a whole lot of room (or desire) planning beyond the next day. To add to the challenge of this move, we decided to squeeze in a quick trip to visit family immediately prior to the movers coming. By immediately, I mean we got back about 7 hours before the movers got there. And just in case that didn’t up the interest level enough, J somehow caught a terrible cold on the way home from our trip. But nonetheless, we made it through without any
major irreversible casualties.
Now, I hope and pray that you and yours never have to go through this particular experience, because it just plain sucks. That being said, it did have some pretty funny moments. Let’s take a few minutes to visit those highlights shall we?
For example, I bet this was the first time the movers ever got chased around by a naked toddler, wielding a stuffed animal horsey, screaming, “NEIGH, NEEEEIIIIGH” while trying to convince our 12 pound dog, Ginger, to play along. And you can’t beat feverishly cleaning carpets and appliances with your spouse, while each of you is wearing a child who is LITERALLY feverish in an attempt to complete the four page cleaning check list before your move out inspection, only to have the property manager show up, glance around and declare it, “good enough” without even looking at half of what you cleaned.
Yes, yes this move was full of little gems. Those moments where you laugh at the sheer absurdity of what’s going on around you in a manic sort of way because if you don’t laugh, the only alternative is to cry and yell. When given the choice our family always tries to embrace the insanity and laugh it off knowing it’ll make a good story to tell later.
The day of the move took it to a whole new level, though. Picture if you will, two cars crammed full of all the possessions we’d need for a month of living in a hotel, our children, pets, valuables, and anything the moving company wouldn’t transport. As we’ve already established, the children were sick and I’m sure you won’t be too surprised to hear the parents were sleep deprived. Thus began our 700 mile trip. We had been on the road just long enough to turn out of our neighborhood when the first problem arose.
My husband called me to tell me the cat (who was riding in his car), had already gotten sick. I mean sick -sick,as in all over her kennel and the back seat kind of sick. As much as I wanted to stop and help my husband clean up, both kiddos were getting some much needed sleep so I pressed on while he addressed the clean up with the plan of meeting up later.
Fast forward two hours later, and the hubs had stopped two more times to for our poor sick cat and the kids had just woken up. I pulled off at a podunk gas station to care for my little lovebugs and wait on my hubby to catch up. There were some challenges during this pit stop. For example, how do I nurse one child while cleaning up the older child’s vomit? What can I convince my oldest child to eat/drink? How do I go to the bathroom with two kiddos, a dog, and no stroller? I’ll give you a hint to the last one, it involves tandem babywearing, a handicap stall, and A LOT of balance.
Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing all of the above mentioned things and feeling ready to hit the road! After waiting for my husband for an hour and some change, I finally managed to get a hold of him. Turns out, all of my calls, voicemails, and texts had been going into a cell phone service abyss and he had passed us about a half hour prior. That’s OK, I was on such a high from my victories I strapped everyone in and hit the road ready to knock out a few more miles before we joined up.
Apparently A was not aware of this plan though, because about 5 mins in he started wailing. Not to be outdone, J joined in. I managed to pacify J by passing him my cell phone and letting him watch “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Don’t judge, people, we’ve all been there and if you haven’t you either a) aren’t a parent b)haven’t been through a road trip with children or c) are a saint. If you’re a saint you probably won’t appreciate this blog, so feel free to move it along. Say hello to the Big Man for me, if you would.
Anyhow, A was not appeased by singing or passing him toys so I pulled off in a designated rest area, RAN around the car, gave him his pacifier and a kiss, and we were off again. I was on fire! We were going to demolish this road trip, and nothing was going to stand in our way! Can you feel the energy? Can you sense the high I was on? With everything going wrong I was only all the more convinced that things were going to start going RIGHT.
Bless my foolish little heart, the proverbial “other shoe” was about to drop. We finally stopped and joined up with my hubby and the sick kitty about two hours later. Eager to see the kids, my hubby opened the door. After a few minutes of talking to them he turned to me and asked, “Hey, where’s Ginger (our dog)?”. I stared at him blankly, and informed him Ginger was in the back seat. To which he informed me she was not…
My first reaction, I’m ashamed to say, was acceptance of sorts. OK, Ginger is not here she’s MIA and that’s that. My second was frantic horror. My poor little Ginger, my first baby, was lost somewhere and I wasn’t even sure where. How could I do this to her? How could she do this to me? How were we ever going to find her? She had probably been run over in the process of chasing us down. Or maybe she had been abducted by some kindly old couple who had stopped at the rest area after us.
In any case, I was sure Ginger was gone forever. Enter my husband. He’s always cool under pressure and quick to act in crisis situations. He jumped in the car and dashed off in the general direction of the rest stop. I say general because I literally wasn’t sure where it was. All I knew was it was closer to the gas station I had made my first stop at than where we were currently.
As my hubby took off, I took inventory of the kids. A seemed to be doing OK, but J was a hot snotty mess. His fever was waaaay up and he was refusing to drink anything. At this point, I was feeling pretty low. I lost my dog, and my poor little J was miserable and sick. I spent a few minutes tearing up and sprang into action. I medicated J, bought two or three drinks I thought might entice him, and sent a text to my friend Julie asking for prayers.
Don’t let the action fool you though, I was still in a state of despair. After J refused to drink anything I gave him, and a creepy redneck man spent way too long staring at us, I decided we should probably find somewhere else to hang. So we went to Sonic in the hopes that J would drink some artificially flavored icy deliciousness. I had just ordered a grape slush when my husband called to tell me he had found Ginger and was headed back our way.
Apparently, after growling and snapping at several travelers someone called animal control and when the animal control agent tried to catch Ginger she took to the woods to evade capture. Not only did my hubby trek through the woods to find Ginger, but he also had to explain to the animal control agent that we weren’t negligent pet owners and he shouldn’t give us a ticket or remove her from our custody (which yes, he threatened to do both of those things).
Of course, at the time he didn’t give me the full story at the time. He just told me someone tried to catch her and told him she had ran into the woods. Out of consideration for my shattered ego, those details were withheld until well after Ginger had been safely returned. Instant relief washed over me. Ginger was found, J was drinking his slush, the world was on its way to being right again. I let out a sigh of relief, kissed A, and smiled over at J- who happily splashing spilled grape slush all over the table…Eh, you win some you lose some, what can you do?