Saturday, August 27, 2011

SUCKERS! (8.15.11)

Our goal is to explore something each day while our schedules are slower. So, for our adventure today, the girls and I decided to plug in the address to the bank. We made our way to the other side of town and found the bank. I filled out the slips, handed it to the teller and waited for her to double check my math. To distract the girls from their impending boredom, I thought it would be a good idea to get them interested in a counting game. We counted to the bank tellers. We counted the computers. We counted the “this window closed” signs. We counted the money counter machines. We counted the cameras. At this point I began to wonder if the employees were considering me and my lunch-stained preschoolers a potential threat to their safety. Don’t all bank robbers take inventory of the possible items to confiscate or demolish before they strike? (This has absolutely nothing to do with my point, other than the fact that my kids were involved.) 

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the teller came back with my receipt. My youngest asked if she could have a sucker. (We also counted the sucker storage devises in our game, so we KNEW they had them!) So, I asked her to ask the teller if she could have one. She looked at the teller and said,

“Can I have a sucker please?”. 

And with the biggest, most sincere smile in all history, the teller looked at me and asked me what she was talking about. Like an idiot, I repeated the child’s question, “she’d like to have a sucker, please.” 

Again, big-smiling-teller, still had no idea what we were asking for. Then it clicked. Perhaps we are using Virginia lingo in a Connecticut bank. If so, we have just sounded like the biggest hicks ever to arrive this far north successfully. I quickly flipped through my mental thesaurus and grabbed another term. 

“Lollipop?” 

“Oh, sure!” said the bank teller with the big smile. 
Connecticut vernacular lesson #1: Assume the term “sucker” means something other than the sweet confection on a paper stick. Use “lollipop” next time. 

A Counter Full (8.13.11)

When I had approached my nearness-to-nature limit, my new friend called and invited us to come into their home a date earlier than we expected. 

Perfect timing. 

They had been traveling and arrived home just a few hours prior. The girls had been begging to swim, so we took them to the pool for a bit, packed up camp and made our way- via a pitstop at Panera- to our temporary accommodations. My family, included Judah, was welcomed into their home and given a tour of our space. It is more than sufficient to meet our needs. Our hosts had even thought to provide for us a supply of snacks and drinks, new bedding for the girls, cleaning supplies and other necessary items...a counter full of blessings. This melted my heart. 
We settled in for the evening. I took a long, hot shower to disinfect myself from any camping thing that decided to use for for a free ride. The girls enjoyed their fun beds. Lastly, we went to bed for a long, deep sleep and rested well...for the first time in a very long time. 

Engaging the Mind (8.12.11)

After many days of hard work packing our house up, then loading the truck, driving for 10 hours with two adults, two kids, an 80 pound dog, and a packed van, I was just plain tired. Too tired to think. Too tired to process all that had happened. My lists had been completed. Everything that needed to be accomplished before we pulled out of town had been and now my mind was left to churn. 
   
During the first few days in Connecticut, I was unsettled. I cried easily and at the most unexpected things. For instance, I was standing at the counter in the local post office registering us for a PO Box. While filling out the form, I had to officially change our address. Duhh! That’s why I was there...but this hit me hard. Right there, in front of the lady that would sort my mail for the next chapter in my life, I lost it. Laughing as I think about it now, I tried to cover up my face with the sun-is-in-my-face-so-I-turn-my-hand-into-a-lame-visor move. I didn’t think she noticed my volcanic emotions until she asked why on earth we would move from lovely Virginia to here! (Spoken with a stinky face and all!) I couldn’t even speak thanks to the knot in my throat the size of basketball. What did she think my reason was? What would cause some random woman to start crying in the post office? Was I running from someone? Had I obtained a new identity and sad for the loss of my old one? I wanted to talk, but that basketball just wouldn’t dislodge. I had just moved myself to Connecticut. (Again, duhh! Where had I been for the last 4 laborious days??) However, something about officially changing my address and forwarding all mail from Farmville made this more permanent in my mind. This moment was life changing. Right there in front of my new mail lady. Nice. Priceless. 

So, what did I learn from this scenario? There are things inside my head and heart that have been forced to be put on hold, but must come out. Whether it’s to the mail lady in Chaplin, CT or to my husband late a night in a tent. Eventually I have to think about it, or who knows who will be my next meltdown observant. It might be you! 

An 18-Wheel Blessing (8.9.11)

After weeks of packing and saying long, hard goodbyes to people we love and friends that have changed our lives; an 18-wheeler from Missionary Transport, Inc. arrived at our house to haul our things from Virginia to Connecticut. An army of friends helped load the truck. Jim, our driver packed the truck as if he was playing Tetris. He built walls and new floors inside the truck, encapsulating our beloved belongings in a safe way. His attention to detail was amazing. He draped quilts over each piece of furniture and secured things to the walls of his truck. He taught me about E clips and the strategy of loading and driving a moving truck. 
    
Mia came to play with the girls during the load. She treated them to the royal-tia-mia-treatment. Swimming, breakfast and lunch out, mini mani & pedi’s, and time with one of their favorites. She comforted their concerns of us forgetting something important to them and brought them back in perfect timing for a nap in the car. 
    
In 3 hours, my entire house was packed and Jim drove away. His plan was to get to northern Virginia, get dinner and sleep for the evening at a truck stop. He would arrive in Connecticut Thursday morning. Until then, everything we own (minus what we stuffed in our car) was in his care. While Gil and I grabbed a slice of pizza in the kitchen, Ginger and Diane began cleaning my house from the back to the front. They were amazing. And despite my pride crumbling at the thought of someone else cleaning my nasty bathrooms, I needed the help and was thankful for true friends. 
    
Long hugs were given to my helpers and we jumped in the car. We sat, with the car running, in the driveway. It was hard to put the car into reverse. We just sat there for a few minutes of tortured love. We loved that house. We needed to say goodbye, but didn’t want to. Gil prayed for us, for our safe travels, for our house to be used for God’s glory and for the things God had before us. Driving away was so hard. Can I say it again? It was really hard. I cried for the first 15 minutes of the drive. After 15 miles, we stopped to make a turn and Emma asked if we were in Connecticut yet. Her innocence and unawareness as to the impeding magnitude of change in her life was what we needed at the moment. 
    

We drove to a friends house that evening. After a good meal and nice shower and some great conversation, we headed to bed. A few hours of sleep later, we hit the road again at 6am Wednesday morning. 
    
With all my planning, I failed to remember to charge the laptop battery for our on-board movie viewing. My computer only lasted about 45 minutes. Ha! For our lunch and long leg-stretch, we stopped at Cabela’s in PA. We were even able to put Judah in the kennel in the parking lot so he could stretch his legs too. Gil made a few calls and checked some emails while the girls enjoyed the excellent animal displays they have around the store. Our one hour stop was far too short, but we had places to go! 
We arrived at the campground around 8pm, tired and ready for a hot meal. It was nice to get out of the car finally. Gil set up the tent and I started dinner. Adison burned herself on the cooktop. Despite her grit, the pain from the burn was too much. She cried herself to sleep as I held her hand against an iced water bottle. Her pain was gone by morning. 
 As promised, we met the truck Thursday morning around 10 at the storage crate. Christian Life Assembly provided a space for us to store our things until our home becomes available later in September. Six sets of hands met us there to unload and 90 minutes later, the truck was empty. Jim told me that our things weighed 9900 pounds. With his formulas, I had estimated that we had 9780 pounds, just a few pounds difference! It was a little sad waving goodbye to Jim. We had only met him 48 hours prior, but we felt like he was a true friend. Before he left, Adison and I checked out the cab of his truck. Maybe one day, I will see him again. 
Matt Kitchie met us at the storage crate to help unload. Seeing a familiar face was heart warming! Plus, he smelled clean and fresh- a rather different fragrance than the rest of us were wearing. He stayed with us for the afternoon and we enjoyed lunch with him. 
We went back to the camp ground and decided we needed to find a different place the next day. Friday, we found a better, more pleasant camp ground, Salt Rock State Park in Berlin, CT. We also got our PO Box, visited campus and showed the girls the house we are hoping to get. While saying a few prayers over the property, I nearly stepped on a snake. This gave me a good case of the willies and was convinced that Judah needed to take control over all critters around the property once we move in. 

Enough writing for now. More to come later.