June 24, 2011

It's Not #@!% PMS!

You know what I hate? I hate it when you're having a bad day or maybe you're just a little grumpy and the man in your life just assumes it has to be PMS. Like you're not allowed to be less than chipper. If you aren't a glowing ray of sunshine than it must be some kind of hormonal thing. How incredibly sexist is that?

You know what I hate more than that? When they're right.

Yesterday was not the best day for me. I had to get up at 6 in the morning so I could take my cat in to get spayed. My philosophy is that no one should be up before 8 o'clock so I wasn't the most pleasant to begin with. When I lived in WA, I think I was the only person who didn't drink coffee so there was no shot of caffeine to perk me up. But at least I was by myself so there was no one to inflict my morning-induced grumpiness on.

Remember my thermostat problem with Suzy? It's a fixable problem but one that has to wait a paycheck or two. So in the meantime, I have to drive with windows rolled down in place of having the A/C on. At 6:15 in the morning, it was already pretty warm out and I got to drive 45 minutes through Dallas in rush hour traffic. Because I got to the clinic early and then had to wait in a long line once I got in, Suzy had plenty of time to cool off. That didn't seem to matter much when I finally got back on the road to head home. The car started to overheat pretty quickly and then I not only had to drive with no A/C, I also had to turn the heater on in an effort to pull hot air away from the motor. Having the windows rolled down when it's 90* doesn't do anything to cool you off, it just blows around the hot air. Add in the heater blowing on high and I was one sweaty girl by the time I made it back home. Hot and sweaty Slacker Mom = grouchy and nasty Slacker Mom.

Back at the house, I got the kids' breakfast and made them do their chores before they returned to their morning ritual of killing off brain cells by way of video games. For the last week or 2 that's pretty much all they've had to do. It was too hot to go outside for about 4 days and then the men started reroofing the house which dumped all kinds of debris into the pool and nails around the grass leaving them both unsafe for the kids. As much as my kids love video games, they just can't handle that much "unstructured" fun. It makes them a little...snappy. It didn't take long before I had kids growling at each other and dissolving into tears and then I had to listen to 5 variations of "He's being mean to me!", "That's not fair!", and "I called it first!"

Most of the time, I can tune out the kids. I try to let them work things out themselves unless it dissolves into fist fights or wailing that makes the neighbor dogs howl. But there are times when my nerves feel like they are already stretched beyond capacity and the slightest tweak will make them snap like a rubberband. It's times like these that my voice comes out a little harsher and a little louder than normal, usually at the smallest provocation. So when there is a bigger than small provocation--such as 5 kids all having serious meltdowns--Mommy crosses over into the Dark Side. I needed a break and I needed it NOW.

I made an announcement that we were going to the movies. That earned me cheers all around. After we figured out how to split everyone into 2 groups so that everyone could see what they wanted at the same time, things were good for awhile. Lunch came and went and then we started getting ready to go.

That's when I remembered I still needed to pick up the cat. At the exact time the movies started. And I was the only adult at the house. That meant I was going to have to pile the 5 kids in my non-air conditioned van and drive 45 minutes in afternoon traffic to pick up the cat and then another 45 minutes home. Instant downer. I had great plans for our movie excursion. I was going to park myself on the back row of the theater with my pocket size flashlight and lose myself in a book for an hour and a half. Great plans? Ruined.

Oh, and by the way? MC informs me that there was a problem with the check I deposited in the morning and MC and I couldn't pull out any money to pay for gas to get him home from work and me to the vet and back. So I needed to make sure I got to the bank and got it straightened out. Now. Heavens to Betsy, are you serious?

I pull in the bank and unload all the kids; it's too hot to leave them in the car. Honestly, I probably would've brought them in with me anyway. I find that nothing gets you helped out faster than having a whole herd of kids trailing after you. The only thing worse than a hysterical customer is a hysterical customer with kids. I spent some time explaining my situation to the clerk. When I made the deposit I was told the funds would be available right away. They weren't. Now I was about to drive out to West Dallas without knowing how I was going to pay for gas to get home and my husband was going to be stranded at work, also 45 minutes away. They couldn't do anything.

I almost cried right there. I loaded everyone back up into the van and came up with a great alternative to at least one of my problems. I drove over to my brother-in-law's house and announced to my nephew that he was babysitting the 5 kids. Thanks and good luck! See you in 2 hours!

That was one weight off my shoulders. The bank teller did have one suggestion for me to try but she wasn't very confident that it would clear up any money for me but I figured it was worth a shot. It worked! Again, I almost cried, this time out of relief as I filled my gas tank and called MC to tell him that he could get gas on his way home. Then it was just a matter of driving out to get the cat.

At 2:30, my van said it was 101*. When it's that hot, it's just gross. Sweat just rolls down your back and there is no cool breeze to make it easier to breathe. Driving with no A/C presents a unique challenge. How do you drive but still manage to keep from soaking your clothes? The first thing you have to remember is to not sit back against the seat. This will only make your shirt stick to your back. Then you have to drive with your elbows up to help get some airflow going in those pits. And thighs are not to touch under any circumstances. Be sure to mop off your top lip occasionally. You don't want people to think you have some kind of weird mustache going on. This is really all that can be done. Unfortunately, there isn't anything you can do to prevent the embarrassing butt rings--the spots of dampness under your cheeks from sitting in your own pool of sweat.

So I arrived at the vet on time but it took them an hour and a half to get my cat signed out, go over her meds with me and finally, bring her out to me so we could leave. Then I got to repeat the whole process of trying-not-to-look-like-an-NFL-linebacker-after-a-game ordeal. And yes, I had to have the heat on the entire drive home. I swung by and picked up the kids who were--thank the PlayStation angels--very good for their cousin. We got back to the house just in time for me to start dinner.

Really? After all this I still have to cook dinner? I hate to cook on a normal day. But on a day like this when I had a bite like a velociraptor and I was hot, sweaty and completely out of Dr. Pepper, the thought of cooking had me close to tears. (Yes, again. Do you have a problem with that?)

I called MC and said I was thinking about taking the kids up to the pizza place. He made the observation that not all of our kids were particularly fond of that restaurant. My response? "So?" He answered with a forced but cheerful, "Okay then!" So my sister-in-law, who was in the same why-do-we-have-to-eat-dinner-EVERY-night boat that I was, loaded us all up in her car and we went to dinner. Sometimes all you really need is some breadsticks and cinnamon rolls to make things better.

There was some more bickering in the evening but I managed to get all the kids bathed and in bed without killing any of them (or myself). I did, however, make a run to WalMart at 10pm to stock up on Dr. Pepper.

June 22, 2011

Adventures in Moving: Part 5

Beware Readers: I am determined to finish the saga of our cross country move today so I may be more long-winded than usual. :)

Short recap: Driving through El Paso with the 3 kids, the dog and the cat I decided I couldn't handle the stench of the former and didn't relish the thought of another night stretched out in the front seat of my mini van trying to get a few good hours of sleep. So we pulled into a cheap hotel for much needed showers and mattresses.

As this was our 3rd day of literally living in the van, it now resembled a college dorm room. Snacks, blankets, wrappers, books and CDs were strewn everywhere. The dog was buried underneath a mountain of bedding, the cat had taken up residence in the middle of the dozen plants I insisted on cramming into the van, and napkins and papers had been blown around the van in the whirlwind caused by driving with the windows open due to the lack of A/C. After shuffling the kids into the hotel room (as well as stealthily smuggling in the dog and cat), I set about unloading half the car. I carried all the plants in so they could get watered. I brought in clean clothes so we could peel off the ones that were now growing on our skin. And I brought in our box of snacks so I could dish out a dinner buffet at 10pm that consisted of Goldfish crackers, Fiber One granola bars and Pringles--all washed down with tap water.

After the boys showered, I stuck Sassy in the tub only to realize that I didn't have any hair conditioner. Her hair is to the middle of her back--it NEEDS conditioner. But what are you going to do? She had to go without which meant her hair was not tangle free when we started out the next morning. After a good night's rest and de-funkifying, we set off--Texas or Bust!

We made a lunch stop at a Dairy Queen that had a playplace and I let the kids out to burn a little energy. Driving along the highway at 80+ miles an hour (relax, Mom, the speed limit was 80), the wind whipped through the car and caught up Sassy's hair in a tornado. I had Howdy take a few pics and we all thought it was pretty funny. (Yeah, until it took me half an hour to comb all the tangles out AFTER doing a deep condition on it.)

The scenery in west Texas is pretty boring--fields as far as the eye can see. And considering it's all flat, you can see pretty far. I started to feel like I was back at home when I saw oil drills randomly dotting the landscape. It was a bit surreal driving through Texas and realizing that I was actually moving back. It seemed like another visit to see family. It could've been just another road trip with the kids except for the fact that every inch of the van was loaded down with all our stuff.

We pulled into my brother-in-law's house in Mesquite at 9:30pm. I unloaded the bare necessities and the kids let loose with all their pent up energy as they saw their cousins. I felt a sort of greeting from Washington when I had to step over a huge slug that was making its way across the sidewalk leading up to the door.

It was a long, exhausting trip but I did learn some interesting things along the way. For instance, I learned that sod is actually grown on a farm.

I learned there is a city in CA called Los Banos which, for those of you who aren't up on your high school Spanish, means "The Bathrooms". Would you really want to tell people that you live in the bathroom? Who chooses to live there?

I learned that the fine for littering in CA is $1000 while in NM it's only $300. I find this ironic since the strip of highway I drove in CA is the dirtiest I've ever seen. If they actually enforced that law, they might bring in enough revenue to hire someone to pick up all the trash
I learned there are some very interesting street names such as Smokey Bear Road, Sore Finger Road, Stink Creek Road and Noodle Dome Road. (What exactly is a Noodle Dome?)

I learned that Stanton, TX is home to 3000 friendly people and a few old soreheads. At least, according to their welcome billboard. I wonder if those soreheads know they are the soreheads or does everyone just assume it's someone else?

I also learned that a change of state does not mean a change of life, only a change of venue. I was a disaster magnet in WA, I'm a disaster magnet in TX. My knack for attracting crises will follow me wherever I go and all I can do is laugh it off.

As far as my kids go, I hope they learned that there is always something new to see. I hope they learned that when bad things happen, you mourn and then you keep moving forward. I hope they learned that in a time of crisis, you just have to go with the flow. Panicking or crying doesn't change anything. I hope they learned that being stuck in a van for 4 days with your siblings is actually kind of fun. And I'm pretty sure they learned that if they don't want to hear mommy sing at the top of her lungs and most likely off-key, they should never put "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks in the CD player.

So here we are, residents of Texas. We are adjusting (some of us quicker than others) and looking forward to the day that we move into our own house instead of relying on the goodwill of family members. It's a whole different world down here and I will be blogging my observations as the days go by. Trust me, you don't want to miss it!

June 11, 2011

Adventures in Moving: Part 4

Ahh, Day 3. We're making good time and the kids are doing great. I should've known that things were going too well.

In Benson, AZ we pulled over at a McDonald's to get some food and cold drinks. When I was waiting to get my food at the drive thru window, my A/C suddenly stopped blowing out cold air. Just as I noticed that, my "Service Engine Soon" light came on and started dinging repetitively. I grabbed our food and pulled over as quick as I could. I rolled down the windows and turned off the engine. I doubled checked to make sure I had everything shut off and then I started up the engine again. The dinging continued.

Two days before I left WA, I had my A/C checked and I was told there was a chance that I had a leak in my system. They filled my freon and assured me it would last at least until I could get to TX to get it checked out. Apparently they were wrong.

I started laughing. I couldn't help it. It just bubbled up and I couldn't hold it in. Howdy looked at me like I was a few apples shy of a bushel and wondered why on earth I would laugh when our car wasn't working. I was laughing because that was just one more thing to chalk up on our list of disasters. I was laughing because I should've seen it coming. I was laughing because the alternative was crying and I just wasn't up for anymore tears. We were in 93* Arizona heat with no air conditioning. And in case you didn't know, there are no trees in AZ so it's not like we could sit in the shade for awhile and cool off.

I called MC and he suggested I call AAA, which we were now members of, and see if they could do anything to help. Their suggestion? Get it fixed or roll down the windows. Thank you AAA for stating the obvious. Not that I blame them. I mean, what else was there to do? We didn't have a choice. I couldn't afford to take Suzy to a garage so we rolled down the windows and got back on the highway. The good news is the dinging eventually stopped so we were saved that annoyance.

When you're driving down the road at 75 miles per hour with the windows unrolled, it sounds like the ocean is rolling right past your ear drums. It's too loud to listen to music and it's too windy to read so we pretty much stared straight ahead while we drove on to New Mexico.

We got pretty hot and gross without our beloved A/C so I promised the kids ice cream. I pulled into a McDs in Las Cruces, NM for ice cream sundaes. As I was waiting for my turn at the window, I looked down at my gauges and saw that my thermostat was almost in the red. That needle had climbed up to point to H and my car was about to overheat. (Maybe this was a sign that we shouldn't keep eating at drive thrus?) I thought, if I could just get back to the freeway and get that air blowing over the engine again, it might cool down. Unfortunately, I missed my turn for the freeway and had to pull over to figure out where I was. While stopped, I called MC again and he told me to check out the coolant. It turned out I was a little low so I put some water in and then just sat and waited for awhile before trying to head out again. In an effort to cool things off, I turned on the heat blower as I wound my way back to the freeway. Turning on the heater while it's 95* outside is a great feeling, let me tell you. The good news is, once I got up to freeway speeds, Suzy's temperature dropped back down and I was able to kill the hot air.

It was a long day of filling up the gas tank and our bellies and then driving until both were empty. It was evening when we hit the TX border. While I was happy to be that much closer to the end of my trip, I have to admit that I had a minor panic attack when I crossed into Anthony, TX. I can't say this has ever happened to me before. My heart started to beat erratically and my breaths came faster. Tears welled up in my eyes as I acknowledged that this was real. We had moved to TX and there was no going back.

Let me be clear. I love my husband's family. I think of his siblings as if they were my own siblings. His brothers are the brothers I never had and I even love all the sisters-in-law. They are good people and so much fun to be around. But they are the only good thing about Texas (um, no offense to all you Texans out there). While I get sick of the rain in WA and wish we had more sunny days, I LOVE living in WA. But this was a decision months in the making. We took a lot of time to pray about it, discuss the pros and cons and basically stew over it before deciding to commit to moving halfway across country. I knew what I was getting into and fully agreed to it so I didn't let myself panic any farther than the Anthony city limits.

It was dark by the time we got through border patrol and into El Paso. We were hot, filthy and stinky. We hadn't changed our clothes in 3 days. I had changed out of the clothes I wore while carrying my dog into the vet but the kids hadn't changed at all. The car smelled of feet, dog and armpits. There was some serious funk going on. We were up to our ankles in fast food trash, books, and tossed aside pillows. My plants were wilted and suffering damage from where the cat had been gnawing on them. We only had one more day before we made it to Mesquite but my sanity had reached its limit. I needed a shower and a bed. STAT!

I called up MC and sweet-talked him into finding us a cheap hotel (which turned out to be not as cheap as we thought since we didn't book it a day in advance but was well worth the money).

There is more to this story, of course. I thought I would be finishing up the tale of our travels with this entry but I find I have a way of making a short story long so it looks like I will have a Part 5 after all. Stick with me because we're almost there.

June 10, 2011

Adventures in Moving: Part 3

After the trauma of having to put our beloved dog to sleep, I am happy to report that the trip improved. That doesn't mean the rest of the journey was without incident. Hello? Remember who was on this trip? That's right--yours truly.

Day 2 of our trip found us driving through Oregon and into Northern California. The curves heading into Grant's Pass didn't agree too well with Sassy and we had our only incident of car sickness. For lunch, we pulled into a Burger King. That night, I had pulled into a rest stop for a 5 hour nap and was now feeling tired again so after we ate, I slept for an hour or so while the kids watched a movie and a hummingbird played outside the window. The rest of the day was just a blur of highways and long stretches of farmland.

Our excitement for the day came as the sun had almost set and we were close to our next fuel up break. As I was driving along, I heard little "pings" hitting the windshield. It sounded like it was starting to sprinkle but I didn't notice any rain drops. And then the storm opened up. Only it wasn't rain. Our car was suddenly being pelted by...BUGS! We were driving through some sort of bug metropolis and the whole front of the van was being swamped by insect carcasses. My vision was quickly blocked by the grisly scene on my windshield. I turned on the wipers to try to clear them off but between my useless wipers and the sheer number of bug splatters, all I managed to do was smear them a bit. I was only able to see through the one clear spot in the glass that measured about 5 x 5 inches.

At the first exit, I pulled off to get gas and attempt to de-bug Suzy. It was not an easy task. All I had was the dirty water the gas station provides for you to clean your windshield and a small squeegee. I washed off as many as I could and tried not to be sick as I could feel the squeegee breaking through the built up wall of guts and insect pieces that were glued to my car. I managed to scrape off the first layer, getting rid of the biggest chunks but there was no getting off the stickiest layer without some serious soap and a scrub brush. The funny thing was, every other car in the gas station was doing the same thing. We all bonded over the disgusting job of cleaning insect guts off our cars.

Once the tank was filled and I was satisfied that I had knocked off all the loose bugs, we were back on the road. Here are my directions for how to get to Texas from Washington. Head south on I-5 through California, then take a left and drive to Texas. That's it in a nutshell. California and Texas are both so big that you feel like you will never leave either state. And from the time you take that left in CA to the time you get to Dallas, everything pretty much looks the same. I have to tell you, it's not a very exciting drive. Luckily I had a good stockpile of CDs to listen to and having the 4 of us singing at the top of our lungs helped to pass the time.

As the kids settled in for the night, I told them they would wake up in a different state. I was wrong. I drove for quite awhile the next morning before I realized that we were still in CA. I was so disappointed! And it seems that somewhere between CA and AZ I lost my ankles. From all the sitting my ankles had swollen so much that they now resembled pale tree trunks. Now, in addition to making sure I was awake enough to drive, I also had to worry about preventing blood clots so I wouldn't die mid-trip (have I mentioned my hypochondria?).

We finally made it to AZ and had to stop to refuel. While at the gas station, a man was asking around for jumper cables. I had some and I like to be helpful so I offered the use of mine. Then he mentions his car is down the highway and can he use them and bring them back? What do I say to that? I want to be helpful, I mean, I would hope someone would help me out if I was in the same situation. Then again, I don't want to have to explain to MC that he no longer has jumper cables because I was being naive. I took a chance and told them I would be around for a little while and he could bring them back to me.

As I fueled up, took the dog and the kids to go potty and got fresh drinks, I noticed that the stranded man had a friend and they had collected a gas can as well as my jumper cables and now they were just hanging around the gas station. Oh yeah, this was a scam. The friend eventually came up to me with his guitar in hand and explained that he was trying to make his way to Hollywood where he was going to make it as a singer. I didn't have the heart to tell him that with the way he butchered "Hey There, Delilah" he'd never make it past the "bad" auditions on American Idol. He finally came out and asked if I could give him a ride to that so-called broken down car. Stranded friend joined him in trying to look really sad and pathetic but even I know when to draw the line. I told them in no uncertain terms that NO ONE was getting into the car with me and my kids. I took back my cables and we took off.

That was the start of Day 3. And it just got more interesting from there. Part 4 will pick up where I left off.

June 9, 2011

Adventures in Moving: Part 2

We left Tacoma late but we were off. There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "The Great Adventure" and the words were running through my head as we were loading up and heading south. "Saddle up your horses, we've got a trail to blaze." I found that if I didn't think too much about all that I was leaving behind, I could get really excited about a chance to start all over, a clean slate. This was actually going to be fun!

That attitude lasted as far as Tigard, OR where we made a stop for dinner. We pulled into an empty Burger King parking lot and got out to stretch our muscles. It was then that I made a monumentally bad decision. I decided that since we were parked right next to a flower bed and there were no other cars around, I would let the dogs out for a quick potty break...without their leashes. Things went just fine until the boys ran inside for their own potty break. That's when the dogs ran after to join them. What transpired next didn't happen in slow motion exactly but I was completely helpless to stop anything. All I could do was stand there and watch. As we realized the dogs were trying to follow the boys, Howdy and I both hollered for them to stop. They turned to run back to me but then Romeo (my Yorkie) stopped as he saw a car turn into the parking lot. Rocket (our half Chihuahua/half Schnauzer who is definitely the kids' dog) never even slowed down. He ran full out for me, right in front of the oncoming car. I watched as the car that was turning into the parking space ran over my dog with his front tire. Rocket yelped and tried to scramble out of the way but he wasn't fast enough. He was run over by the back tire as well which actually left tire tracks on his fur. Amazingly enough, he got up and ran over to me. The driver got out and asked if Rocket was okay and I said I thought he was. Satisfied with that, the man went in and got his burger.

I checked Rocket out and I could see some scrapes on his foot but no other obvious injuries. Then he threw up. And he peed--and it turned pink, then red. As I watched, his lower abdomen bulged out and I knew we were in trouble. The kids were freaking out a bit but they felt better when they saw Rocket seemed okay. They had no idea that I was now thinking internal injury.

It was after 7pm, I had a dog who needed immediate medical attention and at that moment, I didn't even know what city we were in. Luckily, the restaurant had Wi-Fi. Rocket managed to get into the van on his own and I settled him in on a blanket before grabbing my laptop and herding the kids inside. I looked up a 24 hour vet, called for directions and then we drove the 15 minutes to the office. I kept petting Rocket the whole way there and not once did he try to lick me. That's when I knew for sure that things were bad. See, the kids are always joking that Rocket has a Lick Attack. He will physically force his head under your hand so you can pet him and he can lick you. When I was petting him, he never moved. Not good.

I made the decision to tell the kids that it wasn't looking good. I wanted them to be prepared in case the doctor said they couldn't fix him. Sassy cried, the boys became silent. When we got to the vet, I wrapped Rocket up in Sassy's hoodie since it was the only thing around and we went in. It hit me while I was sitting there that I was probably holding my dog for the last time and I started to cry. I got myself under control before the kids noticed though. As the mom it's my job to be strong in this situation. We were shown to a room where an assistant weighed Rocket and looked him over while I explained what happened. She decided she wanted to take Rocket back to see the vet instead of waiting for her to come see us. Again, not a good sign.

After taking some X-rays, it was determined that, somehow, Rocket had managed to get by without a single fracture. But he had a massive hernia. Everything in his abdomen, all of his major organs had dropped through the muscle wall and were now bulging out. It could only be repaired through major surgery and some serious recovery time. The vet's recommendation was to just let him go. She was kind enough to show the kids to another room while we discussed this but then the kids had to be told. She gave me a moment to collect myself while she broke the news to them. I joined them quickly and I found them all crying. I explained to them that he was in a lot of pain and it was better for him but that didn't make it any easier on any of us.

We were given time to hug on Rocket and say goodbye, although he was pretty doped up on pain meds. They gave us a lock of his hair and made an impression of his paw print for us to take home. I apologized over and over again for letting him go without a leash but there's not much you can say to make up for a pet dying.

We had a moment or two of levity, thanks to Bubba. You see, this is our first lost pet. Death is new to our house so Bubba has never had to deal with it. As with other things, he takes a lot of his social cues from what he has seen on TV and apparently he learned mourning etiquette from National Geographic. He did have some tears but mostly he did a lot of wailing. It got so bad that the rest of us couldn't concentrate enough to mourn. I finally had to ask Bubba if he could please cry quieter which got Howdy and Sassy giggling.

Eventually we got ourselves together and went back out to the van where we had to face our other dog and our cat who had to be wondering where their dear friend was and why we were leaving the building without him.

It was about 9:30pm when we left and we had yet to eat dinner. We picked up some food and then the kids settled in for the night. I did the only thing I could do. I drove on.

(Part 3 coming soon...)

June 3, 2011

Adventures in Moving: Part 1

My deepest apologies to my 2 followers for being blog AWOL for 2 months (and barely there before that). Life has been a bit...unusual lately, to say the least. After making the decision to move the herd to TX, we've been living in an odd combination of limbo and chaos. My big hunk of Man Candy moved to TX in March to begin his new job only to have them tell him they decided not to do any hiring and too bad for him. And so began his search for a new job. Meanwhile, the kids and I stayed back in WA to "get everything ready to move". Which essentially translates to Mommy going into hibernation and avoiding anything close to reality. If anyone asked, I said, "Sure I'm ready to go!" and truly believed it. The weather didn't cooperate for a garage sale (we were living in WA after all) but other than that, I was good to go.

MC found a new job and then flew back up for a quick pack up and send off of the family. It just so happens that he came during the ONE week we finally had nice weather. I threw all of our stuff out on the driveway for a garage sale Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I picked MC up from the airport on Wednesday night and brought him back to Ground Zero. He was speechless. I would like to say that he walked in and was so impressed with all that I had accomplished that he was stunned, but you know that wasn't the case. He was a bit...overwhelmed, to say the least, at all that still had to be done. I couldn't figure out what the problem was; I was still patting myself on the back for all that I had done without him there to ride herd on me. As the hours progressed and the day of our planned departure loomed closer, I could practically hear the panic attack coming on. MC was actually stressing and if you know anything about him, you know that never happens. I found myself in the rare position of trying to calm HIM down. Unfortunately, all it really did was succeed in making me realize how delusional I'd been over the past 9 weeks. (Yes, I said 9 WEEKS. That's how long we lived apart. Let me tell you it was not fun.)

It was actually a blessing in disguise when the rain came in on Saturday. While working the garage sale, I couldn't help MC get anything done around the house. Once we cleared out the garage sale junk, I kicked it into gear and helped move and pack boxes. The stress of having so much left to do and the reality of leaving my family, friends, and the place I love finally caught up to me on Sunday and I lost it for a bit. Let's just say there were some tears and not a small amount of yelling/freaking out on my part--you know, the usual.

As with every other thing we've ever planned, things did not go as scheduled. The kids and I were supposed to leave in the minivan (that the kids and I have dubbed "Suzy") after church on Sunday and MC was going to fly out on Tuesday. We both had to be in TX on Friday evening for MC's sister's wedding rehearsal (the wedding being the reason we were so rushed to begin with. I adamantly REFUSED to move until we had a house of our own to move into but then Sis had to go and get engaged and plan a May wedding. I might have been able to miss it and live with the guilt but she asked me to take photos and Sassy to be the Flower Girl. We now had a deadline we weren't prepared for. Surprise!). Instead of leaving Sunday, we aimed for Monday morning. Again, it was a nice idea. At 5:15pm on Monday the 30th, the kids and I left Tacoma to make the long journey to TX. Let me amend that. It was me, the 3 kids, our 2 dogs, and our cat stuffed into Suzy along with enough clothes, shoes, toys, schoolbooks and toiletries to live on for the next couple of months until we shipped our belongings from WA. Oh, and about a dozen plants that I refused to leave at the mercy of my family members who are cursed with black thumbs when it comes to houseplants.

After working day and night for the next 2 days, MC decided that he wasn't going to make it on time either. He changed his ticket to arrive in TX at 9pm Friday, after the rehearsal. That meant I had just under 4 days to drive Suzy and her cargo 2800 miles across country so that we would be there for the wedding rehearsal. No problem!

I would have nothing to blog about if things went the way they were supposed to so let me assure you that it was a typical Slacker Mom trip. One good thing about having to do so much at the last minute is that I really didn't have time to wallow in regret and pity. I said goodbye to most everyone with dry eyes and made it all the way to the TX border before there was any time for sadness. Unfortunately, it was only hours into our trip before our train jumped its track. That will come in Part 2.