We also realized that Mick's calculations for time have been based on our former road trips, which went from Atlanta to New Hampshire -- about two hours shorter -- and were pre-kids. Since we now have to stop more liberally, and our stops tend to be longer, our former 10-hour drives are now closer to 12, and so our "gauges" are off!
This was Phase II of our move. A few months ago, Mick took up a trailer load of stuff to help us estimate and/or better understand just how much STUFF we have in this house. We have a full (but unfinished) basement, and it's over the years become the household version of suburban sprawl. Stuff we don't know where to put? Basement. Books? Basement. Holiday decor? Basement. Hunting gear? Basement. And since we had all that space, our stuff was sprawling everywhere. PLUS, of course we have those "childhood stuff" tubs we've been toting around, and then at least 4 or 5 boxes of stuff from previous moves ... stuff that's been on the "to do" list to get "gone through" for years now. So, the basement was a giant "we need to get this place cleaned" mess, and to begin the attack on it, Mick and I packed as much as we could of the holiday and other non-essential stuff, and he made a trek north. That was Phase I. If I were writing a book, I'd name the chapter "In Which We Learn We Are Gateway Hoarders."
Actually, that's not fair. The basement is a disaster, but the rest of the house isn't bad. Our master bedroom is a disaster area only because our former closet stuff doesn't fit in the closet here, and we've never really figured out an alternative. In turn, our clothes don't fit quite right in our room (and I have a chronic laundry problem). But our house, albeit a bit too small, is pretty nice and nicely kept, for the most part -- if you factor out the master bedroom and the basement.
For those of you reading along who have been here and are thinking, "I've been to your house. What about your office, Jen?!" well, okay. Since you asked and all... My office is a combination home office/craft room, and it's supposed to be a formal living room. Translation: there are always a million projects going on, and there is no closet. So it's cluttered, but it's actually VERY organized. And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!
Okay, so back to this little trip of ours. THIS TIME, we had boxes, and we packed. We cleaned, organized, and packed. (To be clear: by "we," I mean "me." I did it. ALL ME. Okay? Okay.) Everything was wonderful for little old Type A me. We've also been selling some of our bigger stuff here and there. Stuff like our dining room set -- which I previously mentioned we won't need in our new house, and which I learned came across overly negative. So let me take a detour (what? Another one?!) and explain: there is not a formal dining room in the house where we're going. HOWEVER, unlike my office furniture, which I might well strap to my back and try to carry out with me if our house were burning down, our dining room furniture was nice, but nothing special, and -- shhhhh -- was even mismatched, just to try to make it look put-together. We sold it because (a) we don't need it right now, (b) we're not super in-love with it, (c) we will one day buy a new set that we like better, and (d) it was one less GIANT thing to have to move and then pay to store.
I wasn't so much upset about selling it, or not needing it, as I was a little thrown by the fact that it made the move all the more real. That's all.
Anyway. So. We packed the bulk of CAM's room, WHM's room, the living room, the coat closet, the playroom, the back deck -- which is to say, our patio furniture and some big outside toys, the contents of the dining room, and the guest bath and the linen closet upstairs. We got a lot of stuff neatly packed and organized and loaded into the trailer. What remains are my office, the master bedroom/bathroom/closet, the rest of the basement, the garage, and the kitchen. (Yes, it's a lot. But I already packed a lot and I survived, so please play along and tell me this will all be okay. Please?)
This, of course, made the trailer somewhat heavy. Mick drives a diesel pick-up truck, which is made for towing, but it's still something to actually tow. The drive was fine, with the exception of the many people who have no concept of the fact that it's not good to cut off someone with something in tow. These are probably the same people who cut off tractor trailers going downhill on a narrow road, though, right? :)
A few things about the trip North:
1. WHM did not get car sick. Of four possible opportunities (up and down), he did not get sick once. Surely there was an angel riding along with us for this to be true.
2. The trailer and truck both made it! We had been a little worried. If you remember, we had truck trouble going to Florida a few weekends ago, and we did have some trailer trouble on this trip -- the roads in Pennsylvania and North really tore it up, and we ended up needing $400 in wheel/brake/bearing repairs, but the trailer was fine and there was no "damage," per se, and certainly no major catastrophe.
3. I think, but can't swear to it, that we accidentally stopped at the single worst WalMart in the universe. It was somewhere in rural Virginia, and we picked it purely because it was a big store near the highway. We needed to get diapers. It was not a diaper emergency, but I knew we'd need them almost immediately once we got to Maine, so we looked for a big-box store close to the highway and this was the first one we came to. We thought finding a store would be a nice way to stop, stretch our legs, get drinks and snacks, and sure, pick up some diapers. Unfortunately, it was also gross. Not just old and run-down, but also downright disgustingly filthy and everyone we encountered was rude. Mick got flipped off by two different people just trying to turn into the parking lot (one woman was on her phone and not paying attention, and Mick went around her -- trailer and all -- to get into the turning lane and scared her to death so she flipped him off; another guy saw that happen but was ticked that Mick couldn't (because of the woman on the phone) pull ALL THE WAY to the white line, so HE flipped Mick off for taking up too much space. Really? Really?!) Now, we left on this trip in the middle of that brutal heat wave last week, and it was roughly 74365436 degrees out. While we were standing in line at the register, CAM asked me if she could get Daddy a Diet Coke. Our cashier said, "Well, they in that cooler, but that cooler don't never work. You'll get you some warm Coke if you do." Oh, and apparently everyone in the area was beside themselves because no one anywhere in town had ice. Like the scene in My Cousin Vinny. The whole place had the flu? Yeah, no one in the entire town had ice. And let me tell you, the townsfolk were vocal and unhappy. STRANGE. Mick has a mental note of where this place was, and I'm 100% confident we will never get off that exit again. Ever. Ever, Ever, EVER.
4. Whenever Mick talks about where he is from or where he is going, he says, "Boston." Which is fine and all, but Maine is a solid two hours north of Boston. He cracks me up when I listen to him on the phone. Not that long ago, I was watching a show on PBS -- maybe Antiques Roadshow? I don't remember -- and they were talking about an artist who was actually one of the world's best art forgers. He used to say he was born outside of Paris. Which was quite true, since he was born in Brooklyn! That's kind-of how I feel about Mick and his little "Boston" thing.
(On the other hand, we are in suburban Atlanta, and we just tell people "Atlanta," but it is not at all uncommon for two people to be from "Atlanta," and quite literally live two hours apart. So maybe it's not so wrong for Mick to tell people "Boston." I'm not sure. I still think he could safely say "Maine." and if people didn't know where it was, they'd at least still know it was FAR from wherever they were. What do y'all think?)
Actual conversation in the car (keep in mind I can only hear one side of it):
(blah blah blah -- insert Charlie Brown's Teacher's voice here)
Mick: Well, North ofBoston.
(more Charlie Brown's Teacher)
Mick: Well, Maine.
Mick: Well, north of Portland, actually.
Okay, friends, a lengthy and tragically photo-less post. If you've gotten this far, you're a saint.
More soon, and next time with pictures.