catching our breath

This morning I woke up at four o’clock, tingling with excitement because it was not yesterday anymore.

At our house: the last rain.

Bad analogy: yesterday was a beater semi truck and today is a dancing fairy in blue ballet slippers.

Translation: yesterday was rough and tough and today is not.

furniture: sold

I hate packing. And being weak and woozy from four days in bed didn’t help matters. Normally, we are helter-skelter and frantic when packing (is anyone not this way? never mind. don’t answer that), but yesterday was off-the-charts bad. We did everything backwards. Like getting rid of the furniture before we packed up the clothes.

Wrestling. Always wrestling.
Our landlord: my daughter called her “mamá” and she called my daughter “hija.” 
I got to be the tía.
While posing, fighting over the ball.

The neighbor’s house help: the friendliest woman you ever did meet.
(Notice the height difference. Or lack thereof.)

My husband had a bizarre method for coping with our crazy. He swept the mess from room to room and then from side to side. For hours. I alternated between 1) pacing, wringing my hands, and whimpering and 2) blaming him for not getting everything done sooner (you know, while I was busy being sick and he was just whiling away the time taking care of the house, four kids, errands, etc.) And then—miraculously—everything was packed!

We’re such a team.

But then came the loading-the-truck part. There was no way, absolutely no way, it would all fit.

Just a fraction…

I watched my husband jiggle and juggle, push and shove, and then I offered an astute observation.

“Honey, you know that feeling you get when you’re watching a sport team that you really, really love and you can see that there’s no way they can possibly win? That’s how I feel about you packing this truck. I’d rather not watch.”

Just the beginning…

He got everything in, though (humph), and soon after the sun set, we squished into the truck and bounced down the driveway.

The nighttime ride to the city was mostly uneventful…except for our older daughter getting carsick and puking out the window. Upon finishing retching, she sat back and declared, “Wow! I’ve never thrown up from a moving car before! That was awesome!”

And then, “Um, it’s all over the side of the truck…”

Her sister: “Well, it’s good you didn’t throw up facing forward because it would’ve hit you in the face. I tried to spit forward once and it got all over me.”

Also, at one particularly desolate stretch of road, I inconveniently recalled that sometimes whole buses got pulled over by gangs and we were just a little truck barreling down the road all by our lonesomes. I kept my useless thoughts to myself and no one stuck a gun in our window.

Now we are at the guesthouse in the city, resting, shaking off the dregs of the illness, letting the dust settle, and trying to get our bearings.


  • beckster

    I hope you have an uneventful journey home from this point on. I can imagine how awful the past few days have been, but I hope it is over. You are a team!

  • Margo

    You sound better. I'm SO glad. I abhor packing, too, and I would cope worse than you did (is that possible?). I'm probably never moving again in my life unless someone forces me to. Your goodbye pictures are sweet- you've got the important stuff!

  • Anonymous

    So glad your troops rallied and you were able to pack up and leave in a timely manner — even if the leave-taking wasn't in the way you had imagined. One question: where are you taking all that furniture? ~Sherry

    • Jennifer Jo

      We sold all our furniture to the friends who are building that ecological school I mentioned. There was another, bigger truck, too.

  • Suburban Correspondent

    Oh, I remember this feeling from when we had to leave Newport, RI, the same day that my husband graduated from the War College. I jumped out of bed at 5 AM and DID NOT STOP MOVING the entire day until I sat in our car at 5:30 PM to drive it 3 1/2 hours to NJ, where I staggered off to bed in my parents' house and slept like a log on a rock-hard futon. I didn't even get to go to my husband's graduation ceremony. We spent the entire next day in NJ doing exactly what you are doing now – resting, letting the dust settle, and trying to orient ourselves before traveling home the next day. It's hard to describe the feeling. Good luck!

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