I’m actually not dead. Nor have I abandoned writing here. It’s just that…well, moving sucks.
In fact, moving sucked even worse this time than it has in a very long time. You see, despite how definite I was that we wouldn’t be moving for some time…
The issue this time is that we have a house, actually. Not one that we had ever really intended to live in, but one that Karen had owned before we even met. We had kept it as a rental property, but, as it was comfortably situated in North Carolina and we were comfortably situated outside of Boston, we decided to sell it. Except, work needed to be done. After all of the factors were added together, moving back into the house made sense. So, in the span of a few weeks, we planned and executed our second major state-to-state move in three years. That’s a total of four moves in three years, all told, if you’re keeping score.
We were sort of on our own this time, at least for the front end of the move. Where we had been blessed with an abundance of friends that helped us before, this time it was just us. We hired movers to pack the truck that we had rented, and launched into a week-long trek from New England to the Dirty South.
And, thus began the comedy of errors. Well, except…not so comedic.
The morning of the move was tightly scheduled. I was picking up the truck at 9:00, appliances that would be needed at the “new” house were being delivered at 9:45 to be loaded onto the truck, and the movers were arriving to take over packing at 10:00. We were to be on the road by 2:00, on our way to the first stopping point.
Except the truck that was reserved for 9:00 wasn’t returned by the previous renter, and this particular rental company apparently doesn’t keep contingency plans, so I didn’t end up with a truck until nearly noon. Livid didn’t quite describe me. After doing an interesting dance of coordination with all of the parties involved, I eventually received a moving truck. A much larger one than I had reserved. They were giving it to me at no additional charge, though, so I thought it would be good. We could make use of the extra space.
Then I drove it. It was a big truck.
A very large, very long, very tall, diesel truck. A truck about which I will continue to have nightmares for years.
Then, the movers managed to pack the bag containing Karen’s wallet and keys inside the truck…somewhere that we couldn’t locate. So, we had a choice: trust that we would find them during un-packing, or un-pack and re-pack the truck again ourselves. We chose the first option.
Then, on our second day of travel and after a respite with family, we realized a very troubling fact. That wonderful navigation app on your phone, or the GPS on your dashboard? It doesn’t know that you need a commercial route. It doesn’t know that you’re driving a truck that requires 13 feet of overhead clearance. It navigates you the shortest route because that’s what it does. Except that route through New York state involved a parkway with only 8 feet of overhead clearance.
Did I mention that you get cited for driving a truck that large on a parkway in New York state? Especially since the police had to stop traffic and close off a road in order for me to get out of that mess?
Then, I broke my coffee press.
The next day, I had to figure out how to navigate over Maryland and West Virginia mountains on our way to pick things up from other family members without burning out the brakes on that truck.
When we finally arrived in North Carolina (and after we had managed to back that monster into our driveway), and our friends began helping us un-pack, we discovered that the so-called professional movers had, in fact, not secured anything in the truck, and that several items of furniture had been broken during the move.
You may be familiar with the theological concept of providence. We can debate the miraculous manifestations and definitions thereof, but I can tell you that, from a practical perspective, I prayed more in the week I drove that truck than I likely had in the two months preceding. While that’s a problematic indicator in its own right, my point is that each time I was at a distressing juncture, the providential happened. The cop in New York had another call and let me go with a warning. I encountered another police officer who gave me advice in which ways to go to avoid low clearances. Some family members helped re-organize the truck as best we could to avoid further damage before arrival. Oh, and Karen found the bag containing her wallet, safely tucked away as we un-packed the truck.
The stress of this event isn’t over. We now have a home to repair and get ready to sell. I’m still in a new career with a 2-year-old. This is going to be an interesting few years.
I’ve learned to not plan life too carefully, because it has a way of turning out differently than anticipated. We’ve been in North Carolina for less than a week, and I already miss New England terribly. The mental and emotional adjustments required for this phase of life are going to be huge, and they’re going to be exhausting. What I’ve learned from that one-week experience, however, is that placing my faith outside of my own capabilities is what is necessary just to survive life. I received a much-needed reminder of God’s presence during this move. I’m going to require more of it to handle whatever unexpected adventure life throws at us next.