Lesse...Why don't we start with...
1. lice, Lice, LICE. We've made tremendous progress. Our extremely thorough nitpicking is now netting only 1 or 2 nits a day on the girls, none on me, and only 1 or 2 on Mulletman. Nonetheless, my head itches constantly and I am on the verge of total paranoia. A simple piece of lint is enough to make me run for the mayonaise and the tea-tree oil! It is absolutely unbelievable how all consuming an infestation can be. As you read the following, keep in mind that through ALL of this I was nit picking my own hair twice a day and worrying whether MM was doing his own head as he traveled and whether Grammy was doing a good enough job on the girls' heads.
2. Scout is gone now - all alone in his new world at Ft. Hood. He and Mm had a good trip together, but we still worry about him. We're praying for him to be wise financially, to work things out one way or another with his wife and children, and for God to raise up Godly men and/or families to take him under their wings.
3. The Big Move. I never, EVER want to do that again!
First was (were?) all the semantics of where Mom would live - I had to find her an apartment. Could she afford it? Would she like the one I picked? Was the landlord reliable? Was the neighborhood safe?
I found an apartment and went in the day before I was flying out to clean it up a bit and put in some housewarming gifts. I ended up working there for over 6 hours and finding SEVERAL things wrong with the place. It was so much dirtier than it had appeared at first and many things were not working properly. I was SO upset!
Then there was some marital discord as Mulletman struggled with being "tied down" even more than before (He REALLY wants to sell our house and go somewhere and DO something...but now his folks AND my mom are here and all of them need assistance.)
Then there were the ever changing plans: Who was flying where and driving where and doing what with whom and when and how and no, let's reaarange it all and pay more money for tickets and...ugh!
Four different men volunteered to help my mom load her truck. Only one showed up and that was after it was 95% done. Notcon4med, JessieU and I did ALL the loading. The next morning there were still quite a few odds and ends to clean and pack up, so Mom and I didn't even get on the road until noon. We had a fully loaded 16' truck and a full trailer with a van on it.
The kitties were so upset and stressed that they were hyperventilating and foaming at the mouth. Naturally this had a rather negative effect on us as well!
We only managed 5 hours the first day because there were SO many hills. The truck could only go 40-45 mph up the hills and we had to brake alot going down the hills so the trailer didn't go caty-wampus on us. We ate supper at the coveted Cracker Barrel, but both of us had upset stomachs and couldn't really enjoy our food.
We stayed that first night at a very mediocre Days Inn. We SNUCK the kitties in and then neither of us could sleep because we felt so guilty and because we still had so far to go and because we were so strung out and because the cats were stressed and kept fighting with one another.
We woke up after our fitful night and I had a complete meltdown. I had been trying so hard to be strong for my mom, but I was at the end of my reserves. I cried and cried and cried and cried!
After lots of hugs and reassurances, we smuggled the cats back out to the car (they were riding in their carriers in the back of the van) and went back in for the hot breakfast buffet waiting for us in the hotel restaurant.
It. was. awful.
Lumpy, lukewarm grits, hard biscuits, cold eggy casseroles, greasy potato whatever-it-was. The only edible food was the mixed fruit - and that was all canned! All this bounty was ours - all we could choke down -for only $9.95 EACH!!
Mom drove the whole second day. Our plan was to get past Hartford so we'd be past cities and traffic jams before we got another hotel. We decided to let the kitties be and just get as far as we could before dark. (They only seemed to get more upset when we went back to check on them, and they wouldn't eat or drink or use the litter box. They just hissed and growled and cried.) It was a great plan.
Unfortunately, Nothing ever goes as planned!.
We were right on target and looking forward to finding a hotel in the next 30 minutes. My mom had been driving the whole day and she was doing great. Then we hit the traffic-jam-from-Hell between Danbury and Waterbury, CT.
3 hours on a Sunday evening of either barely moving or sitting completely still. Mom and I were both already exhausted, but we worked hard to encourage each other. We sang songs, we prayed together, we told jokes. We prayed again in case it was an accident - that God would minister to all those involved.
Finally, around 9:30 at night things started moving again. We tried one exit that promised a hotel. Nothing.
We tried the next exit and after more stress and difficulty than I could ever manage to relate (picture an overwhelmed, exhausted old lady with cataracts driving 15 mph up and down poorly lit roads with steep hills searching, searching, searching...), we finally ended up at an extremely nice Microtel around 11pm. This time Mom was up front about the cats and we got a great price and the FREE continental breakfast was among the best I've ever had.
We had both been extremely worried about the cats. They'd been in the back of the car without food, water, or a litter pan for 16 hours! I actually had visions of opening the back and finding one or both of them dead. But they were both just fine. In fact they seemed happy as could be! They explored and played and ate and drank and didn't fight at all. Mom and I just collapsed.
In the morning, Mom had a meltdown. She cried and cried and cried and cried. Now it was my turn to hug and reassure her!
We didn't get out until after 9am. We needed the extra rest and we figured there was no use in leaving until rush hour was past. We found out that one person had died and that two people were in critical condition from the horrific accident that had caused the traffic jam...
Now we were in MY territory, so I drove. The hills weren't as severe, so I picked up the pace and in some places I actually went the speed limit! While pulling a trailer! With crosswinds! While my mom held onto the truck dashboard with white knuckles!
I didn't want to stop at all. I just wanted to GET TO MAINE!! I could smell the pine trees, but Mom wanted to stop somewhere to eat. We had a lovely meal at Ninety-Nine's -although I couldn't eat much of it and then pressed on.
We finally made it into Mom's new town around 5:30pm. We unloaded just enough stuff so that she and the kitties could sleep and have some food and then headed over to my house.
Now we faced an interesting conundrum; Where could we park the truck and trailer? I had the brilliant idea to drive it across my lawn and then pull it facing outward in my driveway.
Nothing ever goes as planned!
It had rained quite a bit while I was gone and the truck sank in the mud in the yard.
We. were. stuck.
I can deal with this.
The van is heavy. If I just unload the van from the trailer, then the truck will rally and work its way out of the mud and everything will be dandy. After all, how hard could it be? I had watched the guy hook it up and load it...
Nothing ever goes as planned!
It was dark, I was beyond exhausted and I forgot one very necessary step for unloading the car ie. Jacking up the front of the trailer. Sooooooo, I got the car body STUCK on the frame of the trailer.
I cried and cried and cried and cried.
Then I called Mr. Tom, our very good friend and asked him to HELP ME PLEASE! because Mulletman wasn't back from his trip to Texas yet and I was a damsel in distress. Mr. Tom said he'd come frist thing in the morning.
In the meantime I took Mom back to her apartment and
Mr. Tom was here before sunrise. I could see his flashlight bobbing in the front yard and I could here him laughing out loud.
He jacked up the trailer, unloaded the car (which, Praise God, was not damaged at all), and coached me as I rocked the truck out of the mud and up onto the driveway. We had it all taken care of in less than 15 minutes.
Then I put out a whiny, tearful plea on our church's prayer chain and within 2 hours time I had eight volunteers ready to meet us at Mom's at 3pm to unload. Mulletman returned from his visit to the holy land (ie. Texas) and helped too. I kissed him everytime he got to the top of the stairs :-) Those sweet folks had the truck completely empty in less than an hour!
My sweet friend, Dawna (http://blue-mysterious-crayon.blogspot.com/) brought my mom a sweet little welcome basket full of fruit and chocolate. She's expecting a new little bambino soon, so instead of hauling boxes, she stayed upstairs and chatted with Mom and put shelf paper on the shelves. Then, once the truck was empty, her husband, Matthew, "borrowed" the truck and came back with a surprise for my mom; A new bed! Mom's been sleeping on an air matress on the floor. The matress is comfy, but the floor is a tough place for someone who isn't as limber as she used to be. He carried all the pieces in and assembled the bed. We were especially touched when we learned that the bed had been Matt's late mother's.
Mom cried and cried and cried and cried!
After all the work and insanity, Matt and Dawna had all of us over to their house (just around the block!) for homemade pizza. It was a nice end to a rough trip and a tough day.
Now we're on the downside of all the stress. Mom's place is still a mess, but it's beginning to shape up and she's beginning to unwind a little.
Scout has been safely delivered to his new post and the lice are almost comletely irradicated.
We'll start school again on Monday...
Speaking of Monday, check back then for my post: The Effects of Stress and the Blessings of God where I will wind up this tale of extreme insanity. Maybe by then I'll even be funny again...