Wow, where to start? These last ten(ish) weeks have been a real whirl-wind for us all. I apologize in advance for the length of this post. It feels necessary to tell this story before I move on to projects and ideas now that we are here in Texas.
Let’s see. February in Colorado. We found a buyer for our house almost immediately. My bestie in Colorado has friends in our neighborhood that buy houses as rental properties. Although I originally didn’t want to purposefully turn our home into a rental (being conscious of our good neighbors), the couple are involved landlords, met our neighbors and introduced their tenants to them as well. And we didn’t have to show our house.
One of their tenants, a reader of this blog, had actually come to a potluck in the past. He’s in the solar industry and was happy to inherit compost bins, garden beds and chickens.
Our good friends, Jen and Chris took the bees (at night), hive and all, to their new home. If you remember, Chris is the one that caught our swarm for us originally and had been mentoring me on keeping bees.
We were feeling like everything was going perfectly.
Then I got a call that my uncle in Illinois had been hit by a car while walking across the street. On the same day that I had thought to call him and then decided to wait because I was “busy” and thought it’d be easier to leave a message later. He died from his injuries, which were extensive. My other uncle and aunt (from Nashville) flew up to Illinois to handle his affairs. After talking to all of his nieces (we’re his only family), they decided not to do a memorial in Illinois. We were on the verge of this move, my sister was in the middle of a move from New Mexico to Amarillo, and my aunt was finishing the last of her chemo treatments in Tennessee. They had him cremated and shipped a small portion of his ashes to my sister and I, and a portion to Nashville. The rest they left in Illinois with his dearest friend.
I was pretty emotional for almost all the remaining weeks leading up to the move due to this. I felt pretty guilty about not calling him, because I would have been able to talk to him one last time, and instead, waited out of selfishness over my time.
We had a little trouble finding a house to rent. We had a place that we were really excited about. We found it online and Rick drove past it and met one of the neighbors but had not seen the inside. We signed a lease and then flew out to pay the deposit and do the walk-through. But when we saw the inside… well although it wasn’t terrible, it was small. And if I’m saying it’s small, than it’s really, really small.
Our house was 1300 square feet including the basement, the boys shared a room and we all used one bathroom with no problems. This place… well, it had two bathrooms, but there was no way to put both boys in one room. Although we can bunk their beds, every room had a ceiling fan. The carpets smelled like dogs. The stove had a glass top and I do most of my cooking in cast iron (problem!). But besides all that, the washer and dryer were outside. Knowing how much laundry we do as a family of five… I just couldn’t do it. So we didn’t pay the deposit. Rick made an excuse, and told him we’d get back to him before the weekend was over.
Then we panicked.
We had a miserable dinner where Rick told me that I’d have to suck it up and figure out a way to squeeze our boys into one of the tiny rooms, and where I spent the entire meal on my phone looking up places for rent, arguing that it wasn’t too late and that we could find something else and that we weren’t stuck because we hadn’t paid any money. We drove around in the dark, stopping at For Rent signs, calling realtors and leaving messages. We went back to the hotel feeling really discouraged. Neither of us slept well.
I finally gave up sleeping at 3:00 am, searching, searching, searching on my phone. Thank goodness for my phone. I went five or six years without a cell phone, but when we found out we were moving, I insisted on one that had GPS and could help me find my way around a new city. And internet, thankfully.
By 6:00, Rick was up and I had a list of about fourteen places that might work out. At 7:00, I couldn’t stand it any longer and started calling. Most of the places were listed by realtors, and I figured I’d either leave a message or they’d be working already. By 8:00, we had ten showing scheduled, with just enough time for breakfast before the first one. By dinner time we had applications in on two places (our first choice and a back up choice), and I had told the landlord of the place we had a signed lease with that it was a no-go.
I flew back to Denver that Sunday and Rick stayed in San Antonio the rest of the week to work. I called the landlord of the first place everyday, deciding to be the squeaky wheel. And it paid off. We let the back up place off the hook, and Rick, since he was still in town recovered our deposit and signed a new lease.
With the house in Denver under contract and a lease signed in Texas, we didn’t have much left to do but kill time. I had hired a moving company (Rick’s company paid), and they did all the packing. I mainly just sorted through things, took a lot to the Goodwill, and sold a few items at a garage sale or on craigslist.
We had a going away party about two weeks before we left. I had friends make prayer flags for us. I loved the flags my friends had made before I gave birth to Cora, and I wanted a little piece of our loved ones to go with us to Texas. I’m so grateful for all the love and support from our friends and family.
Rick’s aunt and uncle who delivered us Rick’s deer head so we could take it with us, and gave us a Whole Foods gift card so we could get groceries right away in Texas. Robin who brought us homemade granola the day before we left, which proved to be essential in feeding the kids before we could get to the store. Amy who offered countless times to run to the store in the weeks leading up to the move, or just to bring me a coffee. Dan and Jody for trekking down from Johnstown to see us before we left. Kristen and Geoff for being some of our closest and dearest friends and who supported us even though they didn’t want us to go. Julie and Gavin for meeting me at Wahoo’s so many times when Rick was out-of-town. Beth from my homeschool group who hugged me at the library after I got the news about my uncle. All the old friends and new ones that came to our going away party. Honestly, just too many small and large acts of kindness for me to name here.
The week before moving day, my uncle’s ashes arrived. My sister had come into town and the two of us, along with our mom, took the ashes up to the mountains and spread them near where my dad’s ashes we spread. My uncle was a Colorado native, and very sentimental, so we knew he’d like to be in the mountains with his big brother.
The closing on the house was stressful (as is typical, so I hear). We had written the contract with the buyers, no realtors. And I didn’t sleep well for a week, afraid I had left some loop-hole or something, leaving us vulnerable. Although we saved the cost of a realtor fee, I didn’t much enjoy this stress, and we will probably never sell a house “by owner” again. Realtors are worth their fees, just for peace of mind alone, I think.
The move itself went off without a hitch. If you can pay for a mover to pack you for your next move, I recommend it. They were so fast and packed everything carefully. It would have taken me weeks and weeks to do what they did in one day. I panicked a bit the morning of the packing (I don’t know why), and my mom came over and just hung out with me while they boxed everything up.
They loaded the truck the next day. For some reason I imagined that they’d be loaded in a couple of hours, but it took them all day, and didn’t finish until almost ten at night. It was so strange to see the house so empty. We stayed in a hotel that Friday night.
Saturday morning we hit the road. We drove down to San Jon, NM to stay with my sister and her boyfriend, Jason, at his ranch. It was nice to see my sister on the trip, and the kids loved the ranch and seeing the cows and horses and deer out there. Jason’s parents live at the ranch as well. They are very sweet, and gave the kids a cowboy hat. Perfect welcome to Texas.
Sunday was a long drive, but we pulled into San Antonio while it was still light outside. Rick had to work Monday, and it would be Wednesday before the movers arrived with our stuff. So I killed two days wandering around San Antonio with the kids. These were the hardest days of the move for me. They were lonely, and kind of boring, and very long.
Rick had Wednesday through Friday off that week, so we unpacked fairly quickly. By the next Monday there were only a few boxes left. They are still left. Most of them contain books and craft supplies. Stuff that was on that wall of shelves I had in the basement. We left all those shelves in Colorado, and there is no basement in this new house, so we still have to figure out storage for all of that stuff.
Since being here, I have found incredible freedom. Not knowing anyone means I have a completely open schedule. We’ve all been really relaxed. No demands on our time at all. So far, it has felt much like a vacation. We are starting to figure out a routine, and a week after we arrived, there was a neighborhood picnic where we met a few people and I signed Rick and I up to volunteer at the community garden here. So far so good, I say.