I can’t sleep past 5:30 a.m. yet. I hope that changes reallllllllly soon.
It’s ok though, because Gavin is up to keep me company. He trots into our room anywhere between 4:30 and 5:00. On the other end, he falls asleep between 7:15 and 7:45. He actually laid himself down on the couch and fell asleep last night. First time ever.
Kenny and Grace are fine. They adjusted quite well. Kenny hops out of bed around 6:30 – 7. Same with Grace. I really love this big girl bed thing – she just sleeps and then gets herself up and out of bed. She doesn’t wake us with her calls in her best soft whine – “Moooooommmmy – get me out of my trrrriiiiib’. (Such a pleasant greeting, no?) Not that it matters anyway, because I’ve been up for at least an hour before her since we moved. But I anticipate this will be a bonus once (if) Gavin and me ever adjust to Pacific Time.
Gavin’s also disturbed by the long darkness in the mornings. It’s only about 15 minutes behind when the sun came up in Philadelphia; but for some reason it feels much, much darker for a longer period of time in the mornings. (There may be sound reasons for this, but science was never my thing. It could also be that we awaken just past the middle of the night.) Nonetheless, he’s exasperated by it and asked yesterday – “Mom, is the sun EVER going to come up here?” It did … first light around 7:35 a.m. – woo hoo for crisp, sunny fall days in Portland!
Our digs are pretty nice – it’s clean and bright and fit all of us comfortably. Don’t get me wrong – we will absolutely get cabin fever if we have to spend rainy weekend days cooped up in this space, but it’s definitely workable.
It’s really close to work for Kenny and school for the kids.
There’s a Starbucks and Walgreens right across the street.
It has a little deck, and a garage.
Gavin’s first reaction: “Whoa! Check out these palace tables! Do you like these palace tables, dad?” There are round, glass top tables. He apparently finds them *quite* fancy. Grace was just excited to have a room AND a big girl bed.
The kind folks at SuiteAmerica had a few welcome gifts for the kids – that was such a nice touch.
But my very favorite part is that Gavin gets lost. Everytime he goes to his room. Still. We’re two days in.
Monday, we were asking him to put things in his room and he’d literally open every single door. (And, since this is a one-floor condo, there are quite a lot. Eight, to be exact.) Yesterday I told him to go to his room for a rest. I was cleaning up in the kitchen. When I went to tuck him in, I couldn’t find him. He was in our walk-in closet, sitting on the floor. He wasn’t really fazed by the fact that that was not his room. He was resting. Tonight, I asked him to take his sneakers to his room. He stood at the split at the end of the hallway – clearly pondering what way to go. He went left. Wrong! His room is on the right. It’s so funny. This is not a guy for change!
Our 7:15 a.m. Monday flight came really quickly. We were exhausted – all of us. I was especially cranky. I attribute this to a few things:
- I really couldn’t see because my eyes were so swollen from all the crying I did the day before.
- I am insanely bloated because I have been eating nothing but junk for pretty much a week straight due to our lack of kitchen facilities. I really can’t remember the last time I had a substantial serving of vegetables. My digestive tract loves me. Loves.
- Oh, right. And I am kind of scared about the road ahead, leaving me with little patience for anything, especially being in an airplane all day.
Luckily, my family never disappoints and always lifts my spirits. We arrived uneventfully in Portland, picked up our rental car and headed out to our temporary housing. But not before this giant stack of everything currently in our possession came tumbling down in the middle of the cross-walk leaving the airport in front of four cars who stopped to let us pass. Boy, I’ll bet they were sorry. Hopefully, none of them YouTubed it.
By the way, rounding out this tower was me pushing our double stroller, which contained two kids, my purse and a bag. Oh, and I was pulling a carry on bag. Ridic.
When I say Portland, almost everyone gushes about the wonderful great outdoor activities Portland has to offer. Philadelphia Bridget wasn’t really into the great outdoors, but Portland Bridget is pretty open minded and willing to try new things. (Within reason. I will probably not start hunting or eating game meat, for example.)
So, I decided to practice. Sure, it was more out of necessity than wanting to practice, but it still counts, right? Yes, yes it does. Here goes…
Kenny and I camped out on our bedroom floor the last night in our house.
Sure, we were protected from the elements and there were no wild animals scratching at the bedroom door to get in, but I did crack the window so we felt a little bit of the outside. I woke up cold with stiff joints and a stuffy nose – quite how I imagine I would if I slept on the forest floor under the stars. This definitely counts as camping. (Checking the box!)
Over the past two weeks, we’ve literally said “see you soon” to practically everyone we know and love. (Goodbye = way too ridiculous. I can’t say goodbye. I hate it. Always have. I’d much prefer to ride off into the sunset on a horse with my back to everyone so I can’t see them cry and them, me. You know, good old cowboy style.)
This weekend was especially tough. It was the final hurrah. Our parents very kindly threw a little get together at Chickie’s & Pete’s – a Philadelphia staple – on Sunday afternoon. Kenny was taking the over / under on the time at which I would first cry. Considering that I already cried three times the morning of the party, any time within the first 15 minutes was a pretty safe bet. I did really well. I didn’t cry until the party was almost over. And then, pretty much didn’t stop the rest of the day. I didn’t cry continuously…but when I would stop to think, the waterworks started.
The enormity of what we’re doing set in. When I think of all the wonderful people that have helped shape and continue to make a mark on who we are today – all of us – me, Kenny, Gavin and Grace – the fact that we’re moving 2,866.8 miles away is overwhelming. Parents, family, friends, bosses, co-workers, acquaintances, favorite check out gal at Giant…it’s just nuts. And kind of brave. I don’t really feel brave, and never thought of it that way, but someone said that to me this weekend and I think they are kind of right. It’s a little bit of a brave thing to do. I think I will learn alot. And do new and different things I never have before.
So far, I’ve learned:
- I hate crying with my immediate family. I can cry with Kenny. I can cry with my in-laws. I can cry with relatives and friends. But I simply will not let myself cry with my mom, dad or brothers. Other than Kenny and my best girlfriend Megan, these should be the people I most comfortable crying with. Nope. I won’t let myself do it. Who’s a freakshow? This gal. This gal with the two thumbs (points to self). I’ll blame this stoic personality glitch on Grandmom Risnychok, my great grandmother from the Ukraine.
- I like to think of this in chunks vs. moving across the country for ever and ever amen. It’s much less daunting if I think, OK, great, we’re going to Portland for a few weeks, then I’ll be home for Christmas. Who knows when I’ll be home after that, but for now, this way of thinking works. Haha!
Leaving our house for the final time on Sunday night was the pits. Really. It was so incredibly emotional. And it was just me, Kenny and the kids there. This was our first place, the home to which we brought our children, and started raising them. So much had happened there…
We put the kids in the car and spent a moment alone – as we had first come into this house – hugging each other. We cried. And cried. And cried. And held on to each other and hoped we were doing the right thing. Only time will tell. We walked with each other to the electric blue rented mini-van and hugged our kids. Hard.
And Gavin – our ever poignant four-year old – looked at his father and said, ‘Dad – are you scared?’ and Kenny said ‘Yes, buddy, I am scared.’ Gavin replied, ‘Dad, when you are scared, just give someone you love a big hug.’ and he reached his little arms up and wrapped them around Kenny’s head. (Yes, his head. Not his neck. If I said neck, you’d probably think I was pulling your leg because the moment would have been almost too perfect.) Regardless, he nailed it. His wise four-year old soul nailed the moment. And it’s the way I will always remember leaving our first home.
So, it’s Friday before we move. Last day of packing.
I really can’t imagine what else is left to go…other than our beds, of course.
I mean, I was already working on the painted hardwood floor in my office surrounded by dustbunnies and fun little items that had taken up shop underneath my desk, behind my filing cabinet, next to my printer cart, etc. I would have swept or vacuumed them up, but you guessed it – no broom and no vacuum. Gone! Kenny was working on the floor in our bedroom, which was at least carpeted.
In hindsight, we should have taken the day off. I love how we both try EXTREMELY hard to keep our normal lives going. We’re kind of mean to ourselves – we should have given us a break!
Today was just. nuts. NUTS. Naturally, we overbooked ourselves:
- One of our cars was in for service, which meant Kenny was out the door before 7 a.m. to drop it off, then jog home. (Don’t ask. I offer to take him, etc., but he’d prefer to run around the neighborhood. Literally.)
- Last day of packing which meant we had to be absolutely sure we had our ‘take with us or ship’ stuff really really organized (or at least in a designated safe zone) so it didn’t end up in storage. And we needed to be available to do endless tours of each floor of the house and outside making sure the packers took everything we needed them to.
- Kids’ last day of school, and then their last day at the babysitter’s house.
- Our cars were being picked up by the car carrier between 1 and 4 p.m.
- Grace’s last dance class.
- Aaaaaaand, we needed to find a place to sleep since our beds were leaving!
By about 12:45 p.m., the house was empty, and the last moving truck pulled away. It was pretty emotional…kind of a relief, eerie to have so little of our personal belongings actually in our possession, terror, excitement… you name it, we probably felt it at that moment.
We were quickly snapped into reality by Kenny. We needed to pick up our rental car, grab our car from the shop (and wash it because it got drips of who knows what from the overhang of the 30th Street Station garage all over it the day before) and be back in time for the call from the car carrier, who was set to come at any point between 1 and 4 p.m.
So, we set out. Yup – 10 minutes into the drive to Hertz, we got the call from the car carrier who was about 15 minutes out from our house. Kenny floored it, I shoved him out of the driver’s seat at Hertz and did Mach 4 (Slight exaggeration. Slight.) back to our house so someone was there to meet him.
Kenny drove his (our) rented electric blue mini van back to our house, then jogged BACK to the car dealer (to pick up our car from a seven-hour service appointment even though it has less than 5,000 miles on it!), and headed back toward home.
Hilarity ensued…but let me set some context first.
About a week after we moved into our house, Kenny rolled through a yellow light at the corner of our street. The friendly neighborhood police didn’t take to that too kindly to that and we got pulled over. In our driveway. Welcome to the neighborhood!
We live a across the street from what was then a bank with ample parking, so the fact that Kenny pulled into our driveway instead of the bank raised suspicion with the police officer. He thought we were trying to make a get away, and jumped out of his car with his flashlight blazing, asking what we thought we were doing. Kenny replied that we just moved in, so he thought that would be the easier spot in which to pull over. He escaped with a warning. Of course, I found getting pulled over in our own driveway hilarious. First, it was our driveway. Who gets pulled over in their own driveway? Second, we literally lived in the house like a week. Our neighbors were probably questioning who moved onto the block. Third, this is Kenny we’re talking about here; he was once dubbed ‘Safety Sam’ by some of our friends.
Fast forward to Friday. I am sitting in my makeshift office (petting dustbunnies while answering email, of course) and I heard some police activity out front. I didn’t think much of it, because we live on a busier street, so it’s not unusual for someone to get pulled over out front.
Ten minutes later, Kenny comes bounding up the steps:
Kenny: “Did you get pictures?”
Clueless, I replied: “Of what?”
Kenny: “Of me and the cops.”
Yea, no. I missed the whole thing.
Here’s what went down:
Kenny was pulled over by one of the township’s finest. Across the street from our house in the former bank parking lot that is now a temporary storage space for the local car dealership. Full deal – siren beeps, lights flashing. Not a scene at all. He later commented that he would have just pulled into our driveway again, but there were cars blocking it.
The officer approached the car and told him he was going a little fast through the school zone and was on the phone. Kenny had nothing to say yet – but he did have a smirk. He proceeded to hand requested documents to the police officer and explain (deep breath – this is a long one!) that he was on the way home from a service appointment which reset his computer system so his hands free feature was disabled and he was on the phone with the guy who was waiting in the Acme parking lot to load the car on a flatbed to move it across country, because – oh by the way – we are moving to Portland – aaaaaaand he lives right there (points across the street). The officer himself seemed overwhelmed by the chaos of that afternoon and told him “I’ll be right back”. After a mere moment of verifying the info Kenny presented, he returned and said “Be careful of the school zones and good luck with the move…”
Hahaha. Proof that everything – clearly, everything! – comes full circle!