Drew here. I would hate to let our readers down – I’ve pledged to write once every two years so I’m going to make good on that promise: reporting on our first week in Lexington.
We were so proud to show my parents how much we had already packed and prepared when they arrived on Thursday evening. Compared to our move from Toronto (which they graciously helped us with just two years ago) and by our own somewhat dubious standards of organization, we were miles ahead of where we thought we would be. Of course, our version of preparedness was a nightly routine involved packing 2 or 3 boxes while burning through at least as many episodes of Alias. When my parents arrived we realized all that we had not done (clean out the fridge/wash and paint the walls/collect all scattered nonsense and pack into a remaining 35 boxes) and how quickly it could be accomplished when one has a netflix-unencumbered work ethic.
My parents set a breakneck pace for any and all manual activities so we should not have been surprised by the enthusiasm and focus they brought to our Friday morning, but after working through life with toddlers for a while you forget how much can be accomplished when you are unencumbered by them. My workhorse dad volunteered for the hotbox job in the back of the truck, Tetris-stacking our ever-growing collection of crap into inconceivable configurations to fill every available inch of storage space. Meanwhile, my mom collected the remaining debris around our mostly empty apartment and carted it out to the curb. She also did a fair bit of Rowan carting, entertaining his curiosity about the huge truck and lawn full of treasures. Julianne spent the day shepherding the kids out of harms’ way, including the daughter of our friend Eric (who kindly offered his loading services for the heavier pieces). It was exhausting but quicker than we expected and we cooled off together that evening in Oma and Grandpa’s hotel pool.
Saturday morning my dad rolled down the giant Penske door and led our staggered caravan (also including me in my parents’ van and Julianne and my mom with the kids in our car) from Illinois through Indiana to Kentucky.
I know I played some role in all this, but I mostly felt like the eye of the hurricane, especially getting an afternoon drive to myself (with an audiobook on the remarkable history of debt – did you know that nearly every economy in history began not with a calculable barter system, but rather with complex, incalculable communal obligations?).
Despite feeling like I hadn’t really pulled (pushed?) my weight during the load-out the previous day, my body ached and I was really hoping that we wouldn’t have to unload that evening (a plan I figured my industrious father would prefer). A small part of me rejoiced when we discovered that the electricity was not yet on and we couldn’t begin our arduous task. (such a let down.) Apparently, unlike our previous residences in Illinois, Kentucky homes require a several-day lead time in utilities hookups. Live and learn. We regrouped and my parents offered to put us all up in the nearby Red Roof Inn for the next two nights; the power wouldn’t come on until Monday and the kids (okay, the parents) are too fussy to sleep without air conditioning. And to be honest, getting a hotel during a move really is the way to do it (on someone else’s dime, anyway!) – no need to worry about having enough space to sleep amid your myriad packaged possessions.
With the relief of the AC and the hardest part of the move behind us we were finally present enough to realize that Evelyn’s assumed teething fever had turned into something much more. Our poor sweet girl took a turn towards some kind of stomach bug and was refusing all food and drink. On Sunday morning, Julianne and Evelyn got a not-cheap tour of the very fancy and incredibly well staffed UK Pediatric Emergency Room. While they were carefully assessed my Dad and I unloaded the van and my mom introduced Rowan to his new backyard park and made some neighborhood friends. Thankfully, our little girl was pronounced dehydrated but otherwise healthy enough to let the bug run its course, with a little help from some anti-nausea drugs. Nothing prepared me for the awful kind of torture that is listening to your child cry and shiver in pain. It’s especially sad to recognize the lack of joy and spunk where it would usually be abounding. I’m curious as to how our cautious, curious girl would have weathered the move had she not been so miserable– it was certainly a confusing first week being shuttled between hotel and house and on all manner of errands. Thankfully, the last few days this week have returned Evelyn to high spirits and she has embraced her new home with new sounds, goofier giggles, and stronger steps (she’s so close to walking!)
But back to unloading the truck. We managed to finish in just over two hours – by lunchtime on Sunday we had hauled everything into the (still powerless) house. The next several days consisted of errands to procure a used washer and dryer, a baby gate for the top of the steep basement steps (we have a basement!), a new bookshelf, gel stain for old bookshelves, a temporary dryer lint trap kit (the dryer vent was finally repaired today by a kindhearted Willie Nelson lookalike), and a host of small but vital components of our new life in A HOUSE! WE HAVE AN ACTUAL (rental) HOUSE! As Julianne exclaims every time she heads downstairs to do a load of laundry or retrieve a box, “We have so much house!”
In the days that followed my Mom organized and unpacked most of our kitchen while my Dad fixed up our back porch and together we built counters for our laundry and work rooms. There’s still plenty to be unpacked, organized and made homey but we’re well on our way. If only the grandparents could stay another few weeks we might have a chance at getting it all finished before school begins! Of course, if it were that easy what would we spend all our evenings
arguing about working on?
Seriously though, it feels really good to have all of these little projects that will help bring this space together and make it feel like our home. After so many years living in apartments with too much stuff and too little space it is so nice to feel we can finally breathe here as we settle in. We haven’t yet driven past the twins’ future elementary school but I’ve been thinking a lot about what our family will become in this house over the next five years. Our toddlers will be backpack-toting first graders before we move on (or not – who knows!) and we will be 9 years into this marriage mystery. Here’s to the start of a great adventure!
Well. Thus ends my biannual blog contribution. Consider these typed words the digital form of my bottomless praise and gratitude for my ever-loving, hard-working, patient, skillful, and glad-hearted mom and dad.