I flew back east on June 5 arriving to the girls greeting me at the airport in Charlottesville. I thought I would be swift to surprise them by hitting the facilities, taking my time, even going to the trouble to squat down to sneak around the corner before they could see me. But it was too late. They knew what I was going to do before I did and caught me.
The homecoming took me back to 2000 when I had my first business trip with Adelphia and the girls, who were younger than kindergarten age at the time, took it fairly hard. They picked me up at the airport that trip and you would have thought that they hadn’t seen me for an entire year. So it was fitting that my last trip into Virginia for a while would start with my girls greeting me off the plane. Kind of a full circle kind of thing.
We spent Wednesday running errands and a visit to the Artley Ranch. John had a couple of racks of ribs in the smoke and ready for eatin’. Some beer and cocktails got the evening started off right. John even picked up an A-ward (see below). Sure wish the Artley’s were closer. The Artley smoking lounge will be ready to roll in just a few weeks here at HQ just in case.
Moving is always a pain but this time it was made easier by the relocation support from my current employer. Tracey had done a ton of leg work by cleaning out the garage and basement, turning off utilities, etc. When the packers showed up on Thursday morning bright and early, seven years was packed and out in just a little over 24 hours. The packers packed our entire place in less than five hours.
Our truck driver Dave came to the house early to start inventorying items. He was a nice fellow, from Ohio with a family himself. His goal was to get out as fast as he could to add some more stops on his route to help pay for his impending Disney World vacation. By himself, Dave loaded half of our home on Thursday.
Friday arrived early as Dave and some helpers were ready to start at 8am. The kids had already loaded the school bus for their last day of school. In just three short hours Tracey, the cats, and I were sitting in an empty place. Dave was headed to many points between Waynesboro and St. Louis, our stuff in tow.
The real emotion of the move started to hit all of us around noon. Hale was the first to arrive home. I saw her walking down the street from the bus stop raining tears. She walked in and saw the emptiness and let it go more. Taylor is always one to act tough. But thirty minutes after Hale I saw Taylor walking up to the front porch crying too. Walking in was another story – as soon as she saw me in the living room she tucked her emotions back in.
After a quick lunch we had all the cats and suitcases packed in our caravan to make the trek to Kentucky for an overnight stay before making it the rest of the way on Saturday. The drive out of Virginia wasn’t without its surprises. Tracey’s car was making some funny noise and we noticed water in the floorboard of the passenger floor. She got a thirty minute head start to hit the Honda dealer. It turned out to be a simple fix that the dealer didn’t charge us for – a gift for “being good customers.”
Our other little surprise was our driver telling us as he was about to leave that “oh by the way I’ll be delivering your things on Friday not Tuesday.” Of course this set off a chain of events and logistic work-arounds that turned out to be a blessing. Our contractor at the house wasn’t finished with the remodel – another posting indeed – so the extra time was much needed.
We drove into St. Louis on Saturday around 11:30am CT on June 9. Taylor was riding with me and was clearly excited as we went over the Mississippi River. I managed to snap a shot of the big neon Budweiser sign off the interstate downtown. At night this sign is lit up with the eagle being animated flying through the large “A”. I think there’s one of these in Newark, New Jersey too if memory serves me correctly.
We drove straight to the house because our intention was to put the cats in the house. The contractor was to have the utility area of the basement clean and ready for the kitties but it was far from it. Not only was the area not clean but the hardwood floors were two days behind and the polyurethane had just been applied that morning. The fumes were too much to manage much less to subject the cats to. Needless to say we weren’t pleased when we saw how behind the house was but were happy to have an extra week on home delivery.
The cats lived one night at the apartment. Good grief, it was tight in that place with four people and four cats. We were fortunate to find a reputable place to board the cats and decided they would stay until our things arrived. So the kitties were packed up another time in their carrier and carted off to a “pet resort” They didn’t seem to be excited to live the high life. I was cheap and chose not to add on all the extra fru-fru spa treatments to their stay.
June 13 was the day I was supposed to be out of the apartment but our belongings weren’t arriving until June 15. I had a full work week ahead of me along with moving out of the apartment, into a hotel, and then into our home. It turned out we did ok as most of my apartment items went to the house and I just packed a suitcase for the hotel. Tracey and the kids lived it up (deservingly so) – the quiet before the storm: swimming at the pool, drinks at poolside, shopping. There’s the summer vacation they were hoping for!
Finally Friday June 15 came and while I was busy away at the office, our things arrived. In less than 4 hours, everything was in the house. Thus the real move in was about to begin.