Sunday, June 29, 2014

Arrived in Texas

Wed, June 25, about 10:30pm we pulled up to our new home in Glen Rose, Texas. I hadn't realized it had been two solid months since I last posted, and I wanted to remember the last couple weeks. Hopefully more regular blogging will resume. We'll see. In the meantime, here's what we've been up lately.

Early June Joy and I dropped the older kids with her sister Fran and enjoyed our 9th anniversary trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We raced back to get our baby to the hospital when he developed a fever. Joy and he stayed in the hospital while I watched the kids that weekend. That pushed our move back a week, which we used to good effect packing, cleaning, and letting John-Thomas recover before even more very long drives ahead. Monday two weeks ago I surprised Joy by dropping the older kids off with some cousins while we went out for a last dinner date in what I assumed would be quite some time while we had babysitters we knew.

The last 10 days have been quite intensive. First thing Wed morning (June 18) we rented a 22' truck in Orem and I started driving to CA. Our original plan had been that I would fly to my parents' home and rent the truck there to drive to UT and then to TX. That would have run us about $2600 before taxes and gas. Then we discovered that renting the truck in UT cost us only $1050 before taxes and gas. That's worth a day's driving!

So Wed I drove 14 hours (trucks are slow) to the coast. It took about 30 minutes before my heart rate got back to a normal-enough range that I felt comfortable putting in some music to calm me down the rest of the way. Those trucks are BIG, and you sit WAY up there!

Thur I scoured their house for every last thing Joy and I had been storing there the last 15 some-odd years. Our home in UT had about 80-85 boxes and a dozen large suitcases. I wrapped up another 20 boxes in CA. Then I attended my grandmother's funeral - she had passed on the week before. I played piano to accompany my brother's solo of O Divine Redeemer, a violin on Lead, Kindly Light, and my father's eulogy which drew heavily on the testimony of our hymns give of the eternal nature of the family and the hope we have in Christ of a resurrection. It was a beautiful service and I was very thankful I could make it. That evening 4 guys from church eventually showed up to help me load up the furniture, including Joy's hope chest, my self-refurbished piano, and a 2-manual organ into the truck. Then they followed me downtown where we donated the organ. What a day's labor!

Fri I drove back another 14 hours back home, arriving around 11pm. Thankfully while I was gone my aunt visited and watched the kids while Joy worked on the last of the cleaning.

Saturday I was exhausted but started loading up the truck anyway. I did that by myself or with brother-in-law Doug's help until 1pm when 4 guys from church showed up to expedite the rest. Joy and I kept on packing and cleaning until midnight, then spent the night with her cousin's family. We had a wonderful time with them Sat and Sun. It made us wish we had spent a lot more time with them this year.

Monday Joy and I went back to the apartment to finish the cleaning and packing and drop off the keys to the place. We finally got on the road about noon. We didn't caravan closely because my truck drives slowly and Joy needed to stop every so often to feed the baby or let the kids go potty. I particularly enjoyed having Superstar in the truck with me through southern UT. We chatted about geology, road laws, math, and a host of other things of deep interest to us both. We sang and had a wonderful time. Around Moab, he realized that the landscape looked like he had seen in a church video we had watched from Elder Holland about a time when he moved his family from St. George, UT, for 34 miles, only to have his car break down TWICE in the same spot. Since most of the road is desolate and has no cell phone connection, we were worried when we arrived in Monticello before Joy. She eventually caught up to us. We arrived in northern NM late that night and went straight to bed.

Monday was also Princess' birthday. We celebrated the week before a little, and will celebrate some more on the 4th. Joy had prepared the car with a suitcase full of toys - a new one for each 2-3 hour stretch of driving. They worked wonders on everyone's patience. We had planned on driving 2 hours and pausing for 1 (not literally, but effectively) and rapidly realized even that was optimistic. So we were glad we had decided to plan on only 6 hours of driving time each day.

Tuesday we just drove through New Mexico to the TX border. It was a fairly uneventful day if I recall. We arrived while it was still light out and slept well.

Wed (25th) was much more interesting. The dry ice we were packing our frozen baby milk in had melted. I scoured town for dry ice and couldn't find any. I added 10lbs of ice to the little dry ice remaining an we prayed. We drove to Lubbock (population 230k) where we were assured by a dry ice manufacturer I called on the phone that every Walmart and supermarket had it. I called every Walmart also, and only one claimed they had any. When we arrived, they admitted they had been out for 2 days. The nearby supermarket had been out for a week, and so had every other store they had been calling all week.

Giving up on the dry ice that had now taken 90 minutes already, we discovered our car wouldn't start! Superstar excitedly reminded me of Elder Holland's story. We got a jump and Joy vowed she would not turn the car off the rest of the way home. At one stop she forgot, though, and needed to get another jump. We finally pulled in, as I said, about 10:30, unloaded suitcases and mattresses and had a nice sleep.

Thursday morning bright and early, three of my new colleagues from TSU showed up to help us unload the truck, followed by a couple families from our new church in Granbury. We were very pleased to have finished the entire process in record time. They also helped us work on the car battery so it would start on its own again. Then we returned the truck to Fort Worth and were very tired people who were immensely grateful when the Relief Society President from our church brought us dinner.

Friday the car didn't start again, so we got that fixed. Meanwhile I had my regularly scheduled breakdown. After that much push and stress, I usually get very sick. This time it hasn't been an illness (yet), but I spent Fri and Sat very weak and tired, and my right arm has been tingling almost constantly whenever I use it. It's ... kinda hard to not use your right arm when you are shifting furniture and unpacking boxes. I'm doing much better today having unpacked my wrist brace. Saturday we took a wrong turn in Granbury and discovered the Granbury Opera House (!) is putting on the play 1776 this week. We may be dropping off the kids for a date sooner than expected!

Today at church was lovely. I can't remember ever being so enthusiastically welcomed. At least two people have said they will run to the bishop to put us to work in callings. Our kids are already adored. We attended a child baptism after church, and in the reverent hush after she came up out of the water, Princess' voice was heard, "My turn now?" Superstar cried in the bathroom because he was only six and couldn't be baptized yet. Coming from someone who in times past has been afraid of needing to be immersed in the water, these were wonderful tears. He cheered up when he realized he would at least be baptized here in Texas. I enjoyed singing our patriotic hymns in church today and the bishop's counselor starting the last meeting by reminding people that this last week marked the 170th anniversary of the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph Smith. That made me feel at home.

I am also, lastly, happy to report that the many, many travels to which poor little John-Thomas has been subjected have not harmed him. He has grown another pound and a half since his hospital stay, bringing him up from below the 5th percentile at birth to 25% at the hospital to 40% today.

And that's the news from Glen Rose, Texas.