Needless to say, much has happened since then. At the end of July we finally got the house on the market. This was the one absolute fear I had about the whole move back to Iowa. I was scared that we would be holding on to this house for a year and end up bankrupt because of it. Not because of the house, it was a wonderful house. Because of where it was, East Central Illinois.
Nine days later, on my last day at work, Willie showed up at the counter. "What would be the one thing that would make your last day perfect? He asked. I looked at him, and thought.
"If the house sold......" I said in a hopeful, but not expecting it way. He looked at me in a knowing way. That look that most times makes me crazy to the point of nearly slugging him. "Really?" I asked. He slowly nodded his head. I started jumping up and down and clapping with pure glee!
My pharmacy manager looked over, not sure what to make of the crazy woman jumping up and down. I turned around, still jumping, "The house sold! The house sold!!!"
Days passed, Willie headed to Iowa, Bazinga, Mia and I stayed behind. I didn't want to deal with a dog and a cowardly cat in a hotel room for weeks until we could move into our new house.
We went to Grimes for Kahlen's birthday party. She turned three! She is growing up so fast. It is so much fun to sit down and have a long conversation with her. She loves books and Barbies, and pink and purple. She is such a little girl. No longer a baby or even a toddler. A little girl.
One of the best things about her birthday is that it is right at fair time! So, taking a few days off for her birthday also means getting to got to the Iowa State Fair! I love the fair. Getting to go with the whole family is even better. We met everyone there. We spent most of our time at the animal displays. We got to see the horses and ducks and sheep and pigs. I love watching Kahlen as she looks around. I think I spend more time watching her then I do looking at anything else. Next year, Baby Brother (since Shane and Alyssa are keeping the name secret) will be along for the day, too.
Kahlen dabbled in spin art with Caitlin and Josh, making, of course, the most beautiful spin art I have ever seen. There was plenty of time to climb on tractors, look at cars and trucks, and EAT. What is a fair with out every kind of deep fat fried food on a stick. We ate bacon wrapped corn dogs. We ate fried pickles. We ate fried cheese curds. Ice cream, chips and root beer were also on the menu for the day.
The day was perfect, not too hot, which was amazing considering the summer was so awful! It was a perfect break from the long hot summer. You know the summer with no rain, the summer of extreme drought. The summer that it only rained TWO days all summer. TWO days, one of which was the day we were at the FAIR! I don't think anyone cared though. It was raining and everyone was fine with it. It didn't start really raining until late afternoon. Alyssa, Shane and Kahlen left once it looked like it would rain a lot. It was a good thing they did. Willie, Caitlin, Josh and I decided to stay a little while longer. We got wet. Not just a little wet, but big time soaked to the bone wet! We got to the shuttle bus stop, and it started pouring down rain in bucketsful. The streets began to flood and as the buses pulled up large wakes formed in the drowned street.
The funny thing about it all, while everyone at the bus stop was dripping with the water being pelted at them from the wind and heavy rain, no one, not one person, complained. There was almost a party feeling with it. The long, hot, dry summer had given us a reprieve, even if only for one night. No one was going to wish it away.
So..... I found stuff to do. Bazinga and I went on several photo taking adventures around Illinois and Indiana. That helped fill part of the time. I worked on the head board that I'm making for the bed we are putting in the room for the grand kids in the new house. I worked on a cross stitch, that I had been working on for about a year. I just needed ways to fill the days.
One weekend, I joined Willie in Iowa City to go house hunting. We looked at what seemed like 1000 houses. We found two we really liked. One was a little smaller, but cost more. It seemed a little more practical though we liked the other better. We had a hard time deciding which one to put in an offer on. We decided on the smaller one. Until we thought more about it. We emailed the realtor the next day our minds changed, luckily she hadn't worked on the first offer yet, and wrote up the other.
There was another trip to Iowa City the weekend before Labor Day Weekend. It was mostly just to spend time with Willie, and we went to Des Moines to see the family. It was a good weekend. UNTIL....... As I was driving back to Illinois, I got a phone call. My days would no longer need to be filled finding things to do. Our close date on the house in Illinois was to be on September 7th. The loan company for the buyers hadn't sent their appraiser out until August 27th. On August 29th I got the phone call that would come close to causing Willie and I to either divorce or kill each other. Luckily, with him in Iowa City and me in Rossville, killing each other was not an option.
The appraiser for the loan company decided we needed to..... put in smoke and CO2 detectors on all three floors, scrape and paint the entire basement floor, scrape and paint the ceiling in the bedroom downstairs, scrape and paint all of the trim in the house, scrape and paint the soffits, and the cherry on top, scrape and paint the entire outside of the garage, all of this needed to be done before the close.... in ten days! Oh but no, not just before the close, but in time for her to be able to come out and check it again. With the holiday weekend, that would be Tuesday. Which meant we really only had SIX days to get this all done. Oh, and did I mention, I needed to be back in Iowa City, with the cat and dog along, on the THIRD! We were closing on the new house on the fourth. Now six days were down to four.... on a holiday weekend. How many handymen do you think want to work on a holiday weekend?
Luckily, Willie knew someone from the Danville store that did handyman work. I don't think there would have been anyway in this world I could have gotten everything done in that amount of time all by myself. Willie had to work the whole weekend, he had traded so that he would have the time off for the move in Rossville and be there for the close. The handyman was a God send! He and his son, worked fast and hard. I helped with the things I could. I bought all of the boxes that I had packed, up form the basement, I moved boxes from room to room as things needed to be painted. I scraped and tried to help prep for paint. I filled with wood filler where I needed to, and sanded and painted a cover for the opening under the built in oven, another project that was added on a day or two later. After a lot of hard work, and a lot of stressing by poor Willie from Iowa City, and I am not being sarcastic here, I felt really bad for him. I know how much he wanted to be there to help out and he couldn't. All he could do was stress out about it, and stress he did, which in turn stressed me out even more. In other words, the almost divorce.... only, I love the man too much.
By Sunday afternoon we were done. I was packed, and had a plan for how to get Bazinga to Waukee to stay with Kurt and Tammie, Mia to Des Moines to stay with Valerie and then me back to Iowa City, all in one day. The next morning I got up, I packed up the car, litter pan and all. I made Mia pretty much her very own little apartment in the back of the car.
Expecting the worse, I tried to figure out the best way to keep Mia from panicking. I thought about putting her in her kitty carrier, but the last time I did that she peed all over it and then ended up getting it all over me. I decided to harness her up in Bazinga's walking harness. (is it wrong that I have to let my dog's harness OUT to be able to get it on my cat?) I got Bazinga's tie out and hooked one end to the passenger seat. I put the other end by the back passenger door. It was time to get Mia, but should I get Mia in first or Bazinga? It was a perplexing question. If I put Mia in first, would she try to dart when I put Bazinga in. If I put Bazinga in first would he try to jump at Mia, scaring her, making her scratch me, and then she darts away. (One time, when my daughter Valerie was moving, she lost a beloved cat because she got scared and darted while Valerie was putting the other cat in the car, I didn't want that to happen to Mia.) I decided Mia first. I left the car door open, I went into the house and grabbed her up. I held on to her as tightly as I could. I we went out the door and to the car. I put her in, and while practically laying on top of her hooked her to the tie out. I kept a hand on her as I stood back up, and quickly closed the door. SUCCESS!!! Now to get the dog in. He of course was more than ready to go bye bye. As if knowing exactly what I needed him to do, he hopped in, left Mia alone and sat in the front seat. The worst part of the journey was already over.
As it turned out, my worry was for not, Mia loved the car ride. She was nervous at first, but settled in quite quickly. She decided there was nothing in the car that was going to eat her, her food, water and litter pan (which she used, no cat pee on the car seats or on me) were all right at hand. She loved watching the windshield wipers as when we hit a bit of drizzle in western Illinois.
Next question, who to drop off first. At first I had decided to drop off Mia first. Again, visions of Valerie's cat Dizzy, were spiraling through my head. I figured, get her out first, less danger of her darting. Plus I could hit the interstate and head back to Iowa City pretty easily from Waukee.
As we drove along, and Mia was so content I started rethinking. Plus Valerie had invited me to dinner and the rest of the kids would be there, too. I decided to take the chance of dropping off Bazinga first. The thing that worried me the most was getting the kennel out of the back with out Mia panicking. It all went very well though. I just re-hooked her to the tie out, Got the kennel moved out quickly and all was well. I spent a few hours with the kids and then headed back to Iowa City. A long day, indeed, but now we wouldn't have the animals underfoot as we moved, that was a relief.
We closed on our new house in Williamsburg and waited for the call that all was ok with the Rossville house. And waited and waited. We spent the night in the Williamsburg house and headed back to Rossville the next day. Willie drove. Still no word on the appraisal. We got back to Rossville, and in his stressed out condition, all Willie could see was what he thought we should have done, but hadn't. Now he was close enough to kill, he was very lucky that I loved him. We finally got the call, all was good, except the loan company delayed finishing the paperwork until the work was approved.... the close was put off. Luckily, all we had to do was go sign a limited power of attorney so they could do the close without us there. Now, we just had to wait for the movers.
The day the packers came was a hot but clear sunny day. I had packed a lot of stuff, the less personal stuff you have out while showing a house for sale the better. The packers got done quickly and seemed to do a good job. That night was spent sleeping on the couches, our bed deflated and taken apart. We got Casey's subs for dinner and relaxed.
The next day came. The movers showed up on time, and so did the rain. Yup, that was the only other day it had rained all summer. The movers, unlike the packers, were not good. I shouldn't say that. Two of the movers were great, they worked hard and kept moving constantly. The third mover, and the driver however, were HORRIBLE! The driver was supposed to be keeping the inventory, but kept disappearing. When he would disappear, the others would have to wait on him. I believe to this day it took two extra hours because of him.
Then it started looking like everything wasn't going to fit. For those of you who have never used an over the road moving company before, they don't just put your stuff on a truck. There were already two other families stuff on the truck. They send someone out to look at your possessions and calculate how much room it will take up on the truck. Apparently, one of the people calculated wrong, and now our stuff might not all fit. The driver started calling around to see what he should do, Willie called his move coordinator, to keep her in the loop. Suddenly, the drive gets a call from his people, and starts moving faster and starts working harder. Lowe's it turns out is one of that company's VIP accounts. With his sudden work ethic, came also carelessness. The driver and the not good mover started cramming our stuff on the truck. Just sticking things in wherever they would fit. Shoving and pushing our things into crevices. Eventually, everything was on the truck. Willie and I finished cleaning as they finished packing. Finally, at 7:15 that night we left Rossville, Illinois, for the last time.
Arrangements had been made with the driver for him and the movers in Willimansburg to be at the house at 8:00 am. Willie had to be at work at noon, and I needed to be in Boone for a ceremony partly honoring my mother at 2:00 pm. The driver knew this and made sure the next set of movers knew it, too.
7:45 am, Willie and I are up and ready for the movers. The movers show up, they had trouble finding the house, they were looking for a big moving truck to be parked outside. They wait in their car, we wait in the house. 8:15, Willie's phone rings..... The drive "overslept", he was still ONE HUNDRED MILES AWAY!!! The movers left to go get breakfast. Josh, who was on his way to be here when Willie and I had to leave, planned on being here by 9:30, got here before the driver with our stuff. Willie, was pretty pissed off. I was just getting ready to leave as the driver pulled up and the movers started unloading the truck. Willie, stayed for a little while longer. Josh said that when Willie left, the driver just disappeared again. He wasn't checking the inventory, he wasn't doing anything. When I got home that night, we already knew for sure we had one broken lamp, and a shadow box that the kids and I had gotten for Willie to display his dad's army uniform had been destroyed. Luckily, the contents were fine. Over the next days as I unpacked more and more things were found crushed and destroyed. It was, by far, the WORST move we had ever experienced. That includes all the times we had to move ourselves in our younger years. You know, the borrow pick up trucks and pay your friends in pizza moves. Yeah, it was that bad. So, Atlas Van Lines, I am naming you here because, well, you sucked!
The weather that day was gorgeous, though. It was the perfect day to make a trek back to Camp Sacajawea. A few years ago I made it to go to a bench dedication ceremony for my former Girl Scout leader Jan Russell. Benches are built honoring Girl Scouts, or Green Angels who have passed away. A ceremony is held someone tells a story about them and the bench is placed in the honor circle. A book is kept in the main lodge that has the story told at the ceremony in it as well as photos of the Green Angel. The benches are paid for by donations from family and friends. The last time I went it was in honor of Jan, this time, one of the honorees was my own mother. My mother was an artist, her choice of medium was needle and thread and her canvas more often then not were blue chambray work shirts. She made many, many of these over the course of years. All of her friends were given the gift of at least one of them, and most had several. She also made wall hangings and quilts, which were also often gifts for friends. There were many people there wearing a shirt embroidered by my mother. Many brought other works my mom had given them. All said how much they missed her. Shirley Beakler, had bought, and been gifted many shirts by my mom. She loved making dapple grey horse shirts for Shirley. Shirley owns a horse stable and most of the shirts made for her has the stable's name on them. Shirley's granddaughter, as it turns out is quite a quilter herself. She made a quilt out of the many shirts, which Shirley also brought to the ceremony.
Three of my Girl Scout friends, including Jan's daughter Jo Anna, and Julie Williams, and Nancy Lohmeier, were there. My best friend Kelley, my oldest daughter Valerie, and my sister Stacey were all there as well. It was a beautiful day full of memories and people wearing my mom's creations.
Then it was the time of the unpacking, and unpacking and unpacking. This went on for days and days. One morning a break was offered to me and I grabbed it with gusto!
My phone rang very early the morning of September 11. It was Alyssa. Her babysitter had a sick child and couldn't babysit that day. Since I now lived only an hour and a half away, I jumped out of bed got dressed and headed to the rescue! I loved it! I hadn't been able to help out like that for years. I drove to Alyssa's house and hung out with Kahlen and Valerie. Ok, yeah, Valerie was there and they didn't really need me to come to the rescue right away. Valerie needed to leave to go to class though, so I really was needed.
While Valerie was there, she and Kahlen created a birthday card for Alyssa. Yup, BONUS, I got to see Alyssa on her birthday!
The card turned out beautiful, duh, as did Kahlen's hands, hair and face. All of which she tried very hard to clean after she was done, Most of the paint washed off of her hands but her face and hair had other ideas.
A little soap, and a little unappreciated scrubbing by Nahma and we eventually found skin again. Kahlen also helped clean the kitchen and do laundry as her birthday present to Mom.
What in the world is a birthday without CAKE! Kahlen sent Aunt Valerie to the store to get a cake mix and frosting. She told her to get yellow cake mix and chocolate fudge frosting. That is her mom's favorite. Kahlen worked very hard making the cake. Most of the cake got into the cake pan.
Most of the frosting got on to the cake. She was very careful to spread it evenly and not get it everywhere. After all, this was for her mom!
Okay, well like I said, MOST of it got on the cake...... Hey, the baker has to check her recipe.
Oh, yeah, here's the new house.