It's been one week since driving cross country with my two favorite dogs! Sadly my husband and son in my rearview mirror...were left with the monstrous adventure of packing up our worldly belongings with the moving crew and then cleaning our military quarters to the satisfaction of the housing representative on duty.
Now, neither of these tasks --my driving cross country or the menfolk packing out the house-- would be a daunting task in and of itself but then you throw in a few unwritten obstacles and Voila!! you have quite the adventure!...
By now you're wondering: "Why did she leave with the dogs?? That doesn't seem quite fair!". In all honesty it is not a fair trade. Guilt keeps tapping me on the shoulder as I recover from the 13 hour trek. I did stop every 1 1/2 hours to take the two faithful companions out for short walks but that was for my sake as much as theirs. The old man, our 14 year old cocker spaniel Bullet, bones and joints creaking and moaning in protest, dutifully clamored in and out of the van as best he could. Our little girl, a rescued abused Sheltie, Molly, managed to contain her terror of riding in a car to minimal foaming of the mouth. She too dutifully climbed in and out of her kennel as if she were an old pro at this moving business. The two dogs recuperated relatively quickly compared to my 5 day-downing with fibromy-aching body-algia!
Now that we're in Alabama...it doesn't seem quite so bad. The last 5 days have been devoted to acclimating to the humidity, the mountain, the steep terrain not only in the yard but also in the house with staircase after staircase to maneuver baggage, pets, and my aching knees, joints, and general stuff that comes with the aforementioned physical challenge. Getting up early would hardly be called my forte...somehow, it has become an unwelcome necessity. The beasts won't "go" in the steep yard covered in periwinkle...their little bums are tickled to distraction. I am now taken for a minimum of three walks a day up a steep flight of stairs to street unlevel (sarcasm intended as even the street is at an angle!)!! Not only are my current companions "walking me", they are teaching me fortitude, humility and duty -- every time I have to bend down, hand inside my recycled Walmart bag, to pick up the sizeable, malodorous offerings or walk, limping, up and down the street until their "gifts" are bestowed. Truth be told, I am thankful for my sweet companions, gifts and all, and would be quite lonely without them.
!on the other hand, Thank Goodness for friends and family who live nearby. They rescue me from total overwhelming lack of human interaction! My dear friend Alice brought her two sons over to help unload heavy boxes from the van...I managed to get one in the house then became a ball of knees-gone-bad. We then went to lunch at a restaurant I haven't eaten at in years (Oklahoma had lots of restaurants--more mom&pop establishments than well known modern venues). Lo and behold! While walking in, I ran into Laura, a sweet neighbor I met and enjoyed at Ft Stewart 5 years ago! The next morning I met another dear friend Jo at Starbucks -- ah! the good life-- for coffee and yogurt. Then, Friday night, David's little brother and his good-cook-wife Jennifer had me over for dinner. So lovely!!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, or military housing...Jon David, our 22yr old, and David were hard at work. Monitoring the packing crew...supervising the loading crew...and also being a packing/loading crew themselves. Moving our son to his new digs in Auburn, AL later this summer requires a separate truck of household goods. Not to mention a certain someone (she will remain anonymous) who didn't want her art supplies to be packed by any hands except her own or moved by anyone other than family members. Spoiled rotten! I'd say. The packing crew didn't show up the first day scheduled -- and it created a frenzied level of work as two crews were sent to complete the job "on time". Starting at 8am and working until 10pm makes for an exhausting day both mentally and physically. Then the loading crew arrives bright and early the next morning. Working from early morning until 8:30pm. Are you following this tale? My poor menfolk are worn out! But their adventure is far from over...sadly, they must load the rental moving van...then clean out the house. I would say, justifiably so, that those dear men deserve accolades and showers of flowers as well as a hot meal and cozy bed awaiting them when they finally make it to Alabama!!
Hopefully, that will be in the very near future! A day more? before they drive moving van and car along my previously traveled path. ...to begin our "new" lives as military retirees. Though my son & I have not been "in" the military, it has been the guiding force of our lives -- where we live, where I work and how long, our community, our friends, even our identities -- tied to our wonderful provider: my husband of 25 years, and my son's father.
For our family, "retirement" is a new adventure. A new path with lots of choices to be made and enjoyed. Foibles to be chuckled at....New sunrises to view in awe. Fish to be reeled in. Successes to be celebrated. Unions to be rejoiced over. Breaths to be taken. Oh, what an adventure!