The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful except for having to stop every two hours to make Little Man use the restroom. (Mind you he would say "I don't have to go, MOM!" I finally listened to him, only for him to have an accident. Thank goodness for vinyl seats.
It was a very long drive, but I am used to driving it in one shot. However, I never drive a 20 foot truck and trailer so I misjudged how exhausting it was going to be. (I am very thankful to gummy bears, skittles, and coke.)
We, of course, hit Dallas at rush hour. This is the point where I started calculating how long it will take to make it home if I drive x-miles per hour once we get out of the city. I visualized how far it was from one city to the next since I was finally nearing my stomping grounds.
Hmmmm, I think it is about an hour to the outlet mall. from there, I believe it is 30 minutes to Waco. My mother lives at exit 300 and from there it is another 40 miles....and so on and so forth.This mental math was both helpful and detrimental. It kept me occupied but also gave me the sense that this trip was NEVER going to end.
The one thing that was the true lifesaver was the frequent phone calls from one of my friends who eventually volunteered to meet me at exit 300 to take over driving the truck because, by that point, I had HAD IT!
You might think this is the end of my adventure, but really and truly, the adventure had just begun:
I still had to "farm" my children out to different houses so they would have decent places to stay (Thanks ABW and RAA) because my house is still rented out.
The next morning after a good night's sleep, my phone buddy and I pulled the truck and car up to RAA's house. Mind you, this house has sat empty for two years, or so I thought. Come to find out, along with her brother who had tried his hand at remodeling and quit midstream, critters (kakerlakker for mine norske venner) had taken up residence in the "vacant" house. The grass was a foot long, and two years of debris had gathered on the driveway and backyard. The garage door wouldn't open because the ceiling had fallen in. The brother's "remodeling" left a couple of walls bare to the unprimed sheet rock and ceiling tiles lay in pieces on the floor. After seeing the house, I began questioning my decision to leave Missouri and the solid roof I had over my head, albeit a miserable existence, to come to this "I don't know what."
Mind you, I was very thankful to have any roof over my head, but I had never lived in anything like this before. All I could see was plaster, bare windows, missing trim, critter remains and a place where a big puddle of "I don't know what" had evaporated in the kitchen.What had I brought my kids to? What should I do? I truly considered turning the truck around, but my phone buddy assured me that we could make it alright and that I had made the right decision.
The next three days were spent unpacking, shopping for slippers and hardware and storage and furniture (I had no bed or anywhere to sit), hanging curtains and mini blinds, assembling furniture and cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. (Thanks again ABW.)
But that's not the end folks!
I moved the kids into the house on day five of this adventure. We wore slippers for the first time ever because we were afraid of what we might step on. (I ordered an exterminator.) We continued to unpack boxes, boxes and more boxes. (There still unpacked boxes in the immense laundry room that will stay that way until we are in our real house.)
Since we had no cable, we watched VHS tapes and DVDs and rented from Red Box, which the kids just loved. Every night I had to convince James that it would be okay.The best thing about the whole thing was that he now had a regular bedtime, took showers without arguing and now brushes his teeth without being told. These are all things that never would have happened in our chaotic life back in Missouri.
So despite the craziness of the house we had moved into, my children had found something they had never had. They found stability.
And that folks is how Annemarie came into her own; how she gained control of her family; how she realized that she is stronger than she ever imagined.
Maybe one day I will share with you what happened on day seven - it involves a failed attempt with a plunger, a plumbers "snake" and a weekend long evacuation. But for now, I am happy to say, I am slowly finding happiness.