And so the trip begins! Monday the international movers came to pack up all our precious belongings. It was both a lot harder and easier than I thought. This is the first time I’ve ever had someone pack for me, which in general is a much more relaxing process, but since most everything was going, it was hard to keep directing them as to what to take while hauling other things to the Plane or Charity pile. There were five of them onsite and while Michael was there to help me me manage, I also had Walter literally underfoot. He took it way better than I expected. I mean, this is the kid who freaked out when I donated so unused furniture to Habitat for Humanity, stuff he never interacted with, and he started wailing “Hey! That’s my lamp! Gimme my lamp!”. For some reason having all of his earthly possessions shoved in boxes wasn’t as worrying. I hadn’t calculated on the TV set up being disassembled and so shuffled Wally between the bedroom and the basement. He spent a lot of time playing iPad games, “night-night” on the bed and photographer in the basement with an empty tripod. Around noon Issis came with his brothers to take away our bedroom set. It felt really good to give it away. All the furniture was new, the wardrobe and dresser only about six months old, but all of it was flat packed stuff we got online for very cheap and not worth shipping. It was good to get it out of the house and to friends who will get great use out of it. Mike helped them, while I hung out in the yard with all the kids. We fished into my dry goods bags and transformed my flours and give-away kitchen utensils into a grand cooking game that all the kids ages 2-6 could appreciate, while we snacked on the humungous bag of gummy bears we were also getting rid of. We spent the night at the Dows’ house. I was impressed that Walt put up no fuss at sleeping in a crib, a strange one at that! Instead he just hugged his cup of milk (don’t get on my case, I know he shouldn’t have anything but water in bed) and conked out.
There still felt like so much to do, so Tuesday I called in all my favors with Ivone (she’d been offering for months to watch him while I got in a pregnancy exhaustion nap, which I’d never taken her up on) and left Wally with her, Heidi and Hayden for the day. Mike and I got to the house at 7 AM. He went to get us hand cut doughnuts up the street and I went back to making sure we didn’t take junk to Denmark or pack things we needed in the first month. All in all I was 95% successful in this, accidentally letting them pack Walter’s Miracle Cups (ended up ordering more sent to Mike’s parents’ place in Jersey), his constellation nightlight turtle (also ended up buying a second, so now Mystery Sibling gets his/her own) and Chase, his favorite stuffed animal. Thank goodness my son is adaptable. As a fun hiccup in the process, the company doing the move shut down the international department and fired the guy who was running the move. I had been shuffled around to 4 or 5 people new representatives and none of them seemed to really care. Hallelujah the crew itself was great and even the fired rep still was running the move from his house, actually called to make sure everything was going well, the company was meshuganah to fire him. The workers ranged from young Americans to a lot of Eastern Europeans on work visas. At noon Mike went to sell our Honda and pick up the rental. Because of bank weirdness we ended up with half of the proceeds in cash, which I then had to take to the bank and switch from 20’s to 100’s and a cashier’s check so that it was actually a wad small enough to travel with. This was awkward as we’d just closed our account, had to open and re-close it to get it done. Anyway, by 4:30 PM the movers were gone, the cleaning lady dustball deep in the house and we were ready to pick up the boy and go. I suppose I should have been sentimental about it and I am sad that I never got to see my plantings grow to maturity or sled on the hills or generally use the yard to its full potential, but the house we’d always planned on selling eventually and while it was a cozy nest, it wasn’t our dream home, so the accelerated moving schedule wasn’t that distressing.
Anyway, the drive was uneventful. The rental, a Chrysler Town & Country made us instantly miss our Honda CRV with its extra wide side mirrors, comfy fabric seats and all sorts of thoughtful little features, but while the mini van was loud, clunky and generally annoying it got us to New Jersey with no incident worse than my legs sticking to the horrible leather seats. Now we can just relax until Sunday when we fly out!