We made it.
That part was never truly in doubt; the question was not whether, but when. There were times while loading that truck that it felt like we were moving in slow-motion, our hands and feet weighted down, our minds playing tricks on us, throwing off our perceptions, making us lose count of boxes and lose track of rooms. The house continued to disgorge its contents and we continued to act surprised at how much stuff we had accumulated in three short years, as though elves had snuck it in while we slept.
Again, from my journal:
We went from morning until morning, almost, me not getting to bed until 2 am…or was it 3?…Sleeping on an air mattress with my beloved, our last luggage strewn about us; wrinkled, dirty, sore, and confused; but together, at least. Misery’s no fun unless you can share it...I awoke that second morning, awaiting consciousness like the mail, and…I-could-not-move! Every joint in my body, from the knuckles of my toes to the knots in my neck, was locked up. I felt like a model kit, badly glued together by an incompetent child. I took close to ten minutes breaking the surface tension of my own body, cautiously flexing and cracking, rotating and loosening, before I was satisfied that I could properly move again…Nineteen hours later I took my final shower in that house, then sat down on the air mattress -not an easy thing to do- with a turkey-and-cheddar-on-a-bagel sandwich and a cold can of beer, and finally drank a toast to our impending success. The end was not just within sight, but within reach…at least, the end of the beginning.
Morning came with a sigh of relief. The truck finally loaded, the house swept again and the keys turned over to the rental agent, we headed out of town shortly after 10 a.m. for the six-hour drive across the great state of Washington. Naturally, it took us just a bit longer; eight hours, door-to-door, which for us is pretty good time. My Dear Wife and I once managed to stretch that trip out to 12 hours, but this was no time for dawdling.
Driving a 26-foot moving truck without air conditioning across high desert in summer is not for for the faint of heart, but it’s fine for the hard-of-hearing. My ears rang from the wind noise, as shutting the windows meant certain suffocation. My son and I, riding together, could barely hear either one another or the tinny radio. We managed to work out communication through pointing and gestures; he also had my mobile phone for contacting the rest of the party. Those pioneers on the Oregon Trail never had it so good!
We arrived at the new house that evening, met by two excellent friends who already lived in town. We all proceeded to empty the truck’s contents into the garage, to be sorted at a later date. Two moths later, it feels as if that process is still ongoing, but in fact we have settled into the house quite nicely. Settling into our community? I think that is going to take a while.