I never remember how much work it is to move until I do it. Packing, organizing, getting rid of stuff we don’t want, shredding/destroying all that junk mail with personally identifying information (like those awful fake check things that credit cards send), and, of course the cleaning – it’s all hours and hours and hours of unfun work. We spent weeks trying to get rid of things for money and then a couple of weeks trying to get rid of things for free, and some stuff still ended up in the alleyway or given to my cousin across the street or our upstairs neighbors.
My last day of work was a Monday, and that evening I packed and organized and cleaned while Dan deposited the cats at his parents’ house and retrieved his dad’s big truck for hauling things. Tuesday, we loaded up the truck with boxes and assorted things four times, and Dan drove it up to the place where our 9 feet of trailer to be hauled by ABF lived, unloaded it, and played a life-sized game of Tetris to figure out how to fit everything into the allotted space in the best way. While Dan was out doing his bit, I stayed in the house doing more packing, organizing, and cleaning, fielding emails from craigslist from people who for sure wanted the stuff we were selling but never showed up to buy, and feeling totally weird because we were LEAVING the place we lived for over four years, and the state I’d lived for nearly 8 years, and the state Dan had lived in since before the age of two.
We worked late into the evening on Tuesday, and got takeout pizza, and saw Julie and Steve for a few minutes, but were otherwise too tired to do anything. Wednesday we were up early and spent nearly an hour trying to figure out how to get the couch through the front door. After removing the feet, we finally got it, but it took some serious doing and both of our brains and brawn to accomplish. We did two or three more truckloads of furniture and random assorted stuff, and then Dan came back to help me with the remainder of the cleaning. And oh, internet, there was so much cleaning to be done – carpet shampooing and wall scrubbing and all manner of other surfaces that needed to be cleaned. (I was ridiculously glad that we’d already done the heavy kitchen cleaning like the oven and the greasy walls/cabinets and the fridge and all the blinds in the house the weekend before.) I scrubbed and wiped and washed and generally kept my hands in graspy claw position or squirt bottle trigger pose all day long, with the exception of when I helped load the truck. We were due for our walk-through with the landlords at 5 PM, and of course it rained that day (OF COURSE) and then the mop broke and we were just terribly behind and so we had to call them and tell them to push it back until 6. (I cleaned the laundry room floor, the kitchen floor, and the hallway floor ON MY HANDS AND KNEES WITH A RAG AND SIMPLE GREEN due to the mop incident.)
They showed up sometime after 6:30. We still had to drive up to the truck center and finish playing life-sized Tetris with our stuff and tie it all down with rope but of course we had to wait for them, and then they wanted to chat about something or other, but finally Jenny wrote me a check for our pro-rated rent, we shoved all the stuff that would be going in the car with us into the truck (much of it going into a pillowcase that seemed to triple in size; the more we put in the more it held) and got goodbye monkey hugs from the 9-year-old next door and got in the truck and drove north.
It took us until after 9:30 to finish loading the truck. I stood on things and lifted things and shoved things and finagled things and silently thanked myself for all the times I’d gone to the gym to lift weights in the last several years, because if I wasn’t regularly lifting 40K pounds in a variety of ways using a variety of muscles, I don’t think I would have been able to do everything I had to do in that dark truck in the rain late at night after days of lifting and twisting and bending and cleaning all the things. Finally, we managed to get everything into our allotted space, and tied down with rope so as not to have it move around too much, and finished the drive up to Dan’s parents house. When we got there, I’d stiffened up and felt 120 years old, but we had one more job to finish – we’d traded beds with one of their guest beds, and so we brought our old mattress and box spring out of the truck and into the guest bedroom. The kitties were noticeably wigged out, and we each took some painkillers, ate some dinner that Dan’s mom had kept warm for us, and fell into bed, completely exhausted.
We got up before 7 the next morning in order to get all of our stuff out of the truck so Dan’s dad could go to work, and it took us about 2 hours to figure out what all we’d be able to fit in the car, what would need to be mailed to us, and what could wait until spring when Dan’s newly-retired parents come to visit us in California in their 5th wheel. After several calls to our vet, we’d finally gotten our hands on some kitty valium and hoped our car ride wouldn’t be too miserable (if Loki can emit 3 fluids in a one-hour car ride, what can he do in 10 hours?) So we dosed the cats and shoved ’em in their carriers, made one last stop to Target and Petsmart for some road supplies, and officially began our trip to California around 10 AM.
Somehow, the kitty drugs and the kitty calming spray we’d picked up seemed to do the trick, and Wyoming and Utah passed with only one poop incident, no pee, and no barf. There wasn’t even much yowling after the first hour or so, just two really high kitties. I didn’t take any photos, since we’ve done the drive several times, and mostly we just listened to music, checked on the cats, and only had to stop a couple of times for gas/pee/$5 footlong. I’d planned to do some knitting on a baby blanket for an October baby, but my hands and forearms hurt so much from the overuse of the previous days that I couldn’t even grasp the needles without yelping in pain, so I did nothing but do my best to entertain Dan, who did all the driving. I tried to get the cats to drink some water and use the box during one of our stops, but neither of them were interested in either option, so we just let them be until we pulled into the Motel 6 in Wendover, UT, checked in, sprayed some kitty spray in the room, and let ’em out. Luckily, the drugs were wearing off right around that time and so they both spent time exploring, eating, drinking, and using the box we set up in the bathroom.
We set out early on Friday for the remainder of our drive, only to realize that the car was making a funny noise and the lights were sort of flickering, which scared us. Serendipitously, Wendover has a plethora of places to get your car looked at, since it’s right next to the Bonneville Salt Flats (where people come to drive cars really really really fast). We had to wait until 8 AM for one of them to open, and when it finally did, the guy poked around under the hood and declared us OK to drive. “One of the police cars in town was doing that for years,” he told us, and surmised that our alternator (the one we just had replaced), while functional, was responsible for the noise and the flickering. I figure that once one of us is employed that we’ll have it swapped out again for a different one.
Friday’s drive was quite a bit hotter than Thursday’s, and because we didn’t get an early a start for the actual drive, the cats were drugged for a good chunk of the morning that wasn’t drive time. They protested quite a bit more toward the end of the drive, when our only accessible atlas steered us in a weird direction when we were trying to avoid rush hour traffic on highway 101. We ended up coming up the back way, through Napa Valley, and across to Geyserville on 128, where construction stopped us for 10 minutes at one point (after we’d been in the car for over 10 hours, and the kitty valium had worn off, and the sun was in our eyes and it was still really hot). Finally, just as the sun went down, we made it to Cloverdale.
So here I am again, sitting in the Cloverdale Public Library using the free wireless. It’s hot; yesterday it was in the mid-90s here, and I am more than ready for summer to be OVER. I haven’t lived here since 1996, and I’m kind of having a difficult time not feeling like a failure. We tried to make this move for over a year but had no luck finding jobs, so we hope that being here will make that part easier, even if we are currently 90 minutes away from where we’d like to be living. We’re doing some things to help my mom fix up her house and yard in order to get it in saleable or rentable condition, and the cats seem to be enjoying exploring the new space. My mom left some of my things from high school and earlier times (dolls, stuffed toys, my baby book) in the house, which I guess I’ll have to decide what to do with when we leave. We’re both going to be job hunting like mad after we finish the painting portion of our time in the house, and our stuff will arrive sometime this week, after which we’ll have to rent a truck for a day to clear it out of the trailer and haul it up here. And in a couple of weeks, I’ll be doing flowers for a high school friend’s wedding, which I’m really excited about. For now, it’s kind of like we’re camping in a house – we don’t have TV or internet, and we have two chairs which are only sort of comfortable to sit on. The table isn’t really an eating table, and we’re limited in our cookware, but we’ll make do with what we have. And so far, we’ve been playing a lot of gin in the evenings.
Anybody out there who’d like to put out some good thoughts in the universe for us, that we find jobs in the Bay Area soon and get to move into a place of our own, they’d be much appreciated. In the meantime I’ll be exploring the county where I grew up, and trying to find the good in our situation. At least we’re in California now, right?