This blog by children's book author Melissa Wiley originally appeared at ClubMom.com. All posts and comments have been moved here, to this archive. Comments are still open, so feel free to chime in. For new posts, please visit www.melissawiley.com.
We're in Colorado! No web access all day yesterday, but loads of fun. Really. The Prairie Museum of Art & History in Colby, Kansas: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Super fun even in cold rain. More on that later.
More on everything later! For now: Pike's Peak or Bust! OK, not really. We aren't going to Colorado Springs. Grandma's House or Bust! Only a few hours to go before we descend upon my parents in a noisy, rowdy, riled-up bunch. You sure you're ready for this, Mom?
Cracker Barrel east of St. Louis. Full dish of cocktail sauce in baby's fist. All over my jeans! Not my favorite perfume. Now at McDonald's Play Place for some exercise. Is this what they mean when they talk about seeing America?
Next up: the Arch. (Singular and not golden.)
Belgian waffles! Sausage and bacon! All you can eat for the five of us who eat table food, included in the price of the room. Gotta love that. We are breakfasting our way across America. It was the Ramada in Charlestown WV that had (as icing on the cake) blacklights above the table. The kids loved seeing their milk turn blue.
This morning we're in Dale, Indiana. I swear parts of southern IN look like the Shire. Except, you know, for the Denny's billboards.
(BTW, no worries about the pinkeye. My awesome VA doc got a scrip phoned in to the Rite Aid in Winchester, KY. I'll be fine.)
One case of conjunctivitis, two Belgian waffles, three states, four stuffy noses, five chocolate milks, six "Are they all yours?" queries, seven pieces of salt water taffy, eight choruses of Big Rock Candy Mountain, nine bridges, and I literally just fell asleep while trying to think of ten, so it's time to quit thinking and go to sleep.
We're in Charleston WV, not-sleeping in a hotel room. This morning was hard: the goodbyes. Then the Blue Ridge slipping away behind us. But oh the gorgeous views. We saw autumn progress by the hour: so many more reds and goldens in the trees here.
Stopped for a long break at the New River Gorge visitor center: awesome. Kids had a ball hunting the answers to nature mystery exhibits. I stopped there on a whim and we wound up staying almost an hour.
Oh hooray. Wonderboy is finally nodding off. Me too.
Well, here we are. Loading day. The girls have spent their last night in this lilting house. Tonight they'll stay with our dear friends, the friends we moved into this town and this neighborhood to be near. The little ones and I will sleep here one last night on a borrowed air mattress, and tomorrow morning we'll hit the road.
But that's tomorrow, and first there's today. The truck will be here in a couple of hours. We are ready. After all the frenzy of the past week, yesterday brought a bit of a lull; the packers finished early on Monday because we'd done so much of the packing ourselves (and by "ourselves," I mean me and a dozen-odd friends and neighbors, some of whom drove all the way down here from northern Virginia and New Jersey). (Amazing.) So we had yesterday afternoon to spend with some friends we met in our first weeks here but feel like we've known our whole lives. Eileen, the mom, is Wonderboy's godmother, which means I get to keep her forever no matter where we live. Her six boys and two girls chased my gang around the boxes, and we dug up a clump of the mint that I planted from a sprig Eileen gave me when she was moving out of her old house. Her clump had come from her mother, and now she'll start it at her new house on the other side of the mountain. I had saved some columbine seeds for her from my flower garden this year, too, and I like to think of those blooming in her pretty farmyard next spring.
Anyway. Lots to do this morning. I'll probably be back to blubber on the keyboard tonight, though, me and my empty house.
Meanwhile, Scott has moved into our rental house in San Diego (where "moved into" means "carried in his bag of clothes and his guitar, which is all he took with him") and is eager for us to get out there and set it lilting.
The packers are here. I am sitting still long enough to nurse the baby, but I will take great care not to convey excitement or frenetic activity because PEOPLE WANT TO TAKE AWAY MY DR. PEPPER. Oh, look, I blew it already. Ah well. I'm a woman in labor, remember? Right about now Dr. Pepper is my equivalent of a nice hot bath. (Says the woman who spent most of her last labor in the tub. NOTHING beats a hot bath during labor.)
Anyway. Jane thinks you should entertain yourselves with her favorite website today: Absurd Math.
Much better, wrist and knee-wise! So that's good. Knee still gets me whenever I forget and kneel or squat, but we can work around that. And by "we" I mean me and the small village of people who have assembled to help me through this last push. Push! The pushing! I think that's where we are! Four days of pushing ahead! I think I want an epidural.
(When Alice reads this she will be saying "Those are words I never thought I'd hear Lissa say." Ha! I am all about running a metaphor into the ground, baby!)
So: yesterday. Got a call from a realtor Friday night. She wanted to show the house yesterday morning between ten and twelve. I left her a message asking her to just call when they were heading into the neighborhood because there was no way I could vacate the unpacked premises for a two-hour chunk of time. Never heard back from her. We tidied up as best we could and my mom took all the kids to the playground. Lisa came over with her vacuum because mine is kaput. (Nice timing, Eureka.)
House readyish for showing, we turned to the dreaded Loom Room closet. The Loom Room is so named because it's where we stuck my table loom when we moved in. I have done no weaving here and for months at a stretch the loom itself moved to the girls' room (named the Blue Room because of the lovely coat of paint Lisa's husband Dave gave it as a housewarming gift to us the week before we moved in—how awesome is that?)‚ where it (the loom, if you lost track during my long parenthetical) served as a combination playhouse/pirate ship when the mood struck. It sits upon a little stand, see, just the right size for draping with silks and hiding under. It's hard to beat a playhouse with cool levers to move up and down and a beater bar you can bang really hard.
But good golly, how I digress. Anyway, the point is Lisa and I packed up the craft closet. During which time I learned a couple of things about myself, which were: 1) I am not the sort of person who should stock up at sales (case in point, the twelve boxes of crayons I bought for a quarter each at Staples two Back-to-Schools ago, ditto the fifteen packages of loose-leaf notebook paper); and 2) I really really love Waldorf-type crafts. Various people had mentioned to me the FlyLady rule of thumb regarding Stuff, which is that you should only keep those things which make you really happy. And every time I happened upon a ball of wool, a tuft of doll hair, or a box of that gorgeous translucent colored beeswax, my heart went pitty pat. So I kept that stuff. But I passed most of the loose leaf on to Lisa.
By noon I was pretty much clued into the fact that the realtor wasn't coming. (Because that's how sharp my deductive powers are.) Later in the day I discovered she had left a message at ten thirty, which I probably missed during the vacuuming. They are coming TODAY instead. "Between ten and twelve." Ha!
More darling friends (including Hank's mom, Holly, and our longtime online pal, Sue) showed up after lunch to fetch the other loom, the one that lived in the basement, and to be at my general beck and call. Which was fabulous. Plus I got to meet Hank! Who is an absolute charmer! And who dazzled me with the boatloads of English he has mastered in an extremely short time.
So the rest of the day was work work work pack pack (nurse baby) pack sort sort sort (nurse baby/eat slice of pizza) pack sort pack (eat a brownie and then one more) call Scott with questions every 45 minutes (keep this? toss that?) exclaim over old picture at top of box but do not look at the rest or else blog commenters might scold you for slacking off but oh look how cute she was!
Everyone cleared out around dinnertime, my mom and I got the kids to bed, and I went back to the basement to work until around midnight. Which: thanks Alice, Chari, and of course my Scott for the phone company while I tackled those last boxes. I made it to the bottom. At last.
Crawled into bed between sleeping baby and toddler, tried to sleep but couldn't because, well, THE PUSHING. Then DID sleep because I woke up at 3 in a panic: RAIN. Oh noooo. Ran outside (blessing the child who carelessly left her umbrella on the porch so I didn't have to hunt one up because I think the rest are packed already or else are in the van) and moved all the Freecycle stuff I'd left in my driveway up onto the porch. Stupid move, the "leaving in the driveway" bit. Whoops.
Fell back into bed, rather damp but too tired to bother finding dry clothes in the dark, sank (I think) instantly back to sleep. Woke up at five because Wonderboy was, I don't know, annoyed about something? That's the best I can explain it: just a random toddler sleep-gripe. Then the baby woke up and thought about staying awake, but I drugged her with breast milk. Good stuff, that.
And here I am at sevenish, awake again for the next contraction. I can't believe the packers will be here tomorrow.
Today's adventure: sustaining bodily harm! Picture me up on a stepstool, teetering on tiptoe to reach boxes on a high shelf, crashing to the ground under an avalanche of pink dresses. And then erase the picture, because that is NOTHING like the way I managed to hurt myself. I leave all the high-shelf-reaching and heavy lifting to my friend Lisa, who (amazingly) loves me anyway.
Nope, I was doing something even more dangerous, more foolhardy: I was walking.
To my driveway.
And I tripped, because I am Grace personified, and fell hard on my knee.
And my wrist!
Plot thick enough for you? Seriously, did someone sign me up for Survivor: Suburbia and not tell me? Is it like a Truman Show thing and there are hidden cameras in our mirrors and stuffed animals? I really hope not, because I am nursing the baby right now and taking no pains to be discreet.
Anyway, all the teddy bears are in a box, so that'd be a really boring show.
But the sidewalk cam got quite the little scene: the quintessential pratfall. Walk, walk, walk, splat. No reason. Shoe caught on, um, air? I don't know.
I am fine. I think. It sort of hurts a lot when I walk up and down stairs. Or kneel. But there's no kneeling in Packing, right? Oh bwah ha ha I crack myself up.
Okay, yes, I may be getting a teeny bit punchy right about now. (My poor mother, who is here to help: THAT'S the person to feel sorry for.) But really, I don't think there's anything to be alarmed about. I think I bruised my knee and it'll be fine in a few days. Say by the time I hit Indiana. I'm pretty sure I'm going through Indiana. As I recall, the route I'm taking goes through some spectacularly beautiful hill country in southern Indiana. Anyway, it's not like I'm going to be CLIMBING those hills. Just going oooh pretty between rousing choruses of "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile."
But back to my Hard-Knock Life. The wrist, hmm. It's sore. Don't think it's sprained or anything. Just ouchy. I took the precaution of wrapping it with an Ace bandage just because I'm doing all this box-lifting, but I really think it'll be fine in a day or two.
Which is good, because a day or two is all I've got left. Packers arrive on Monday! MONDAY! I am doing the MOVE version of cleaning up for the cleaning lady: madly packing before the arrival of the packers. But I have to, of course, because I don't want them to take all the wrong stuff.
Okay, the baby's asleep now and I'm going to go put her to bed. And then I am totally going around the house and checking the appliances for cameras.
You'll excuse me for being scarce today—it's almost time to start pushing. In the comments to my "moving is like childbirth" post, Jennifer remarked that she'd be happy to be my virtual doula, and I thought, WHAT A FABULOUS IDEA—seriously, there's a business for a big-hearted entrepreneur. Doulas for people who are moving. Oh oh oh. I'd hire one in a snap. Someone to catch the little details that keep falling through the holes in my brain, someone to take my by the shoulders and say, You do NOT need flannel sheets in southern California!, someone to make sure I remember to eat, and also! The backrubs! Doulas give backrubs, right?
Now lest you get all sorry for me, I want to make it very clear that I have TONS of help here. TONS. You would not bee-leeeeve how amazing everyone, EVERYONE, has been. Meals arriving every other day from lovely neighbors, more (or sometimes the same) lovely neighbors spending hours helping me pack, lovely neighbors reading my blog and showing up with MORE Dr. Pepper!, lovely grandmothers (my children's own, I mean) also reading the blog, and not to be outdone by a son/son-in-law, supplying chocolate and more chocolate, lovely friends sending amazing gifts in the mail (of the sort that you are VERY happy to have on a two-week-long cross-country odyssey), more lovely friends driving ALL THE WAY FROM NEW JERSEY to pick up a beloved loom that wants some babysitting while we're on the west coast (and volunteering to run errands in town as long as they're here), and dazzlingly lovely friends taking care of Wonderboy for hours upon end, and hauling countless boxes of Stuff to the Goodwill, and giving up a billion afternoons to help me weed through what's in my basement so that I don't wind up like this.
I have lots and lots of help; it's incredible. I just thought a doula for moving sounded really cool. When we were in the hospital with Jane, I used to think a doula for mothers with very sick children would be a great thing to have too.
P.S. Lest anyone scold me for taking the time to read blogs on a DAY! LIKE! THIS!—this morning I only read three. Two of them, chosen from the yikes almost 250 feeds I sub to at Bloglines, I linked to above. The third was of course Alice's, which made me sputter my tea, too too funny, and then when I clicked through to the earlier post she referenced, I got choked up all over again.
The posts on these pages originally appeared at The Lilting House, my ClubMom blog about home education, fun learning resources, and special needs children.
When I decided it was time to wrap up my work at ClubMom, I moved all the Lilting House posts and comments to this archive. Comments are still open, so feel free to chime in on any post that interests you. I love to hear what my readers have to say!
These days I am doing all my new posting (including on many Lilting House topics) at my primary blog, Here in the Bonny Glen. There you will find posts about my books, other people's books, my family, home education, and many other topics.