So we moved to Montana. It’s a little like, “We bought a zoo,” except that we actually bring the zoo with us. The how and the why we uprooted our whole family is another blog post, but I feel like I need to document how the trip up actually went.
The week leading up to the big move was pretty brutal. We had to pack the entire house into boxes, sort what needed to go, what could stay, find a short term rental in Montana, say goodbye to 17 years of friends, and all the other good stuff that comes with moving. I (Kara, the wife), was pretty emotionally, physically, and mentally spent, as evidenced by my complete lack of interest on where we were going to live once we got here. I completely turned that over to Tim, once I realized he was completely useless at helping me pack.
On Saturday, our good friends the Balls, who also have 5 kids our kids’s ages, threw a big bash for us. I was very humbled and overwhelmed with sadness as I looked around at the 200+ people who showed up to say goodbye. I cried a lot that night. It was great to see the impact we had on all these people, and to think about how they had influenced and affected us as well. One of the most difficult parts, was watching Jack Ball (age 14), talk about Josh, and to see them both hugging and crying. All of his friends were quite emotional, and it was painful to see, especially knowing that Josh is by far our most reserved and anxious kiddo in new situations.
Sunday I spoke in church, and again was pretty emotional as I said goodbye. We had little time to relax on Sunday afternoon. We visited with some friends we missed on Saturday, and then had a stream of last visitors Sunday night. When the last of our friends left, I had to have a good cry. I was just worn out. I felt like what I really needed was 4 days by a pool somewhere, but that was not going to happen.
Monday we got up with the intention to start driving before noon. That did not happen. It took so long to pack the last little things, tidy up the house, get the car towing thingy-ma-jiggy hooked up to the moving truck, etc. We finally pulled out at about 12:30, I was in the van, and Tim and a couple of the kids were in the 17 foot U-Haul, towing the car. I knew it was going to be somewhat slow going, so I tried to be very zen about the whole thing. Any of you have actually ridden in a car with me, know that I am not Zen in the car, and that I actually like to drive fast.
We stopped in McCall for a late lunch, when I realized that my 11 year old packed all her shoes, and was barefoot. What the?? So she traipsed through all the gas stations, restaurants, and gas station bathrooms, barefoot. Uh huh. It’s okay to be totally grossed out.
The road through Idaho is beautiful and winding. Luckily nobody got carsick. Tim felt he really had the rotten end of the deal, driving the truck which incidentally smelled like an ashtray, but a strong case could be made that I had it worse. Here is why: Tim, though driving a smelly truck, had the 2 low maintenance children. I had the 3 others. Plus the dog. Just some samplings of the conversations I had to endure:
“You were pinching my neck SO SO much.” (Preceded by yelling)
“Mom, have you been to London?” ME: “Yes, I have.” “Did you see Paddington?” ME: “Um, no, I sure didn’t.” “Did you see his people?” ME: ” I don’t think so, though maybe we rode the tube together, I didn’t recognize them.”
“Don’t drink that water SO GROSS like that.”
“I don’t want to move anymore.”
“I want to ride in the BSU truck.” (Otherwise known as a UHAUL).
And a whole lot of other nonsensical conversation, but mostly a lot of whining, fighting, and screaming. Loud, loud screaming and talking. Because it’s more fun that way.
At one point after cruising along the Clearwater river for a while, I decided to pull over, walk the dog, and let the kids stretch their legs. Tim pulled over, when seeing us sitting there, and then asked where the car key was. “The car that’s getting towed? Well I locked it and gave the keys to you.” I say. Then he says, ” I gave the keys back to you.” Me, starting to panic a little, ” Um, no, you didn’t.” And then, he remembers. He went up to the post office to get the mail, was standing on the grass, dropped the key on the grass and didn’t pick it up, because he was too busy saying goodbye to someone. I tried to maintain my zen, but let me tell you…I was pretty stressed. The keys to the car were sort of a big deal. Without the keys, we could not unlock the car. There by making getting it off the dolly impossible, and unloading the truck impossible.
This little discovery only led to more frustration, as we realized that neither of our phones worked, and that it would most likely be several hours before we were back on the grid. I fretted in the car, and decided that zen was overrated. I sped for 2 more hours until I had cell service. By then I had worked up a scheme to get the keys. As long as Hailey could find them in the grass, I could call Tim’s sister who works for Delta, and ask her to hop a flight and bring them to us. Sounds pretty crazy, but everyone agreed to it. If you know Tim’s sister, this isn’t a surprise.
Hailey, Tim’s assistant remembered the dropped key and luckily found the key. She drove it to the airport, so that as soon as Tim’s sister finished work, she could hop a flight up here. In the mean time, we were all starving, and decided to eat dinner in Missoula at about 9:30 pm. We found an IHOP and I went in and ordered, figuring that by the time Tim and the kids caught up to us, we could have our food. WRONG. So it took about 20 minutes to get water and menus. Let’s just say it was a long stop.
Tim had his own little adventure, because shortly after we stopped at the river, he hit a deer. Or rather, a deer hit him. It didn’t do much to the 17 foot U-Haul, but it did slightly traumatize everyone. After dinner, he convinced himself that the radiator was leaking, and it was the little deer’s fault. I convinced him that was an idiotic idea, and we proceeded on our trip. (Luckily I was right, though even I had my doubts that the truck was mechanically sound to begin with)
At about 1:00 am, I drove up a dirt road, or trail rather, to our little log cabin in the woods. I was 90% sure at the time that we were staying in a serial killer hide out. The kids did count 24 dead animals on the walls and beams in the main living area, so I guess you can come to your own conclusions on that. The next steps in this adventure will documented as we go… stay tuned.
PS. On a side note, I happened to luckily find the spare key in one of the tubs in my car, so we were spared the whole fly up the extra key debacle. Tender mercies and little miracles people.