Here in Kansas
The pack out went as well as can be expected. Not the best I’ve had, but not the worst. The packers started last Tuesday (8 July) and continued on Wednesday and Thursday, although Wednesday was the only full day of packing. The moving trucked showed up Friday and loaded everything up – that took all day. We got to have dinner Friday night with Margot and Joel as well as their neighbors, Nan and Pat. I worked with Margot when I was at Fort Monroe, she has since retired. Margot and Joel looked after the XYL (Christa, KI4ODI) and Sarah while I was gone last year – having them over to dinner, babysitting Sarah (our 2 year old), and about a million other things. It was a wonderful dinner and Sarah got a bunch of presents for the road trip from her fan club (Margot and Nan). Friday night we spent on air mattresses – cat, dog, Sarah, Christa, and I all camped out by the fireplace.
Saturday morning came early – we had to load up the car and truck and do a final cleanup prior to the arrival of the landlord at 0800 for our final clearing of the Hampton house. Cleanup was quick (as the house was empty) and all the stuff we elected to take with us for the road trip fit either into the trunk of Christa’s car or into the bed of my truck. A quick breakfast at McDonald’s and we were off: Christa with Sarah and the constantly meowing cat (not at all enjoying the ride in his cat cage and somewhat drugged with kitty Valium and me with the dog riding in the front passenger side on the floor (without issue – the dog loves riding quietly on the floor).
Day One (Saturday): we had an nice drive to Charleston, West Virginia, arriving around 5pm. We lucked out with a bottom floor room near the side entrance. Our criteria for the hotels we stayed at on the road trip was that it had to allow pets and it had to have a pool (for Sarah). After a takeout dinner from the Texas Roadhouse (I had an appetizer of jalapeños stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, with a touch of BBQ sauce – amazing!) we hit the pool. Sarah is becoming quite the swimmer. She’s not soloing yet, but she is making great progress.
Day Two (Sunday): a little bit of rain as we traveled west between West Virginia and Louisville, Kentucky. The weather cleared and we had a nice drive through Indiana and into Illinois. We stopped an hour east of St. Louis in western Illinois. This time it was a 2nd floor room, but we were able to use those wheeled baggage carriers to move are stuff upstairs (with Sarah riding aboard). We hit the pool after an early dinner and Sarah swam without her floaty vest, doing a few laps with some help.
Day Three (Monday): the truck driver told us that he’d arrive in Leavenworth between 0830 and 0930. Therefore I had to get up very early (0300) and hit the road with the dog. I was able to move quickly through St. Louis not getting tied up in commuter traffic, past the Arch , across the Missouri River and into Missouri. The local news on the radio was buzzing about the selling of Anheuser Busch (based in St. Louis) to InBev, a Belgium company. It was also the topic of conversation at the McDonald’s I stopped at for breakfast around 0530. A quick fill up of my gas tank ($87… ouch) and the dog and I continued west, passing through Kansas City around 0800. By now, Christa had rounded up the cat and Sarah – making her way through the St. Louis Monday morning commute. I arrived at our rental house in Leavenworth at 0845, wondering if I’d see a big truck out front. But our cul-de-sac was empty. The driver had had mechanical issues east of Kansas City and now would not arrive until noon.
The moving truck did finally show and the unloading commenced around 1230. Who’d ever thought we’d have so much stuff – box after box… it seemed like the boxes never stopped coming off the truck. Christa arrived with a bag full of hamburgers and Cokes for everyone. This was good because (1) we were hungry and (2) Christa could direct were the boxes went in the house instead of me (up to this point, I’d been funneling most of the boxes into either the basement or the master bedroom… I don’t really know why, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time). Problem: the dryer would not fit through the door into the laundry room. I set about disassembling the back in an attempt to get it through. Still wouldn’t fit. We were able to swap our fridge with the existing fridge (ours has a water dispenser) and put the existing fridge in the garage. We finished with the unpackers by around 7pm, exhausted.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Unpacking, boxes, up and down stairs. The house here is two stories with an unfinished basement. Upstairs are three bedrooms (Sarah’s, guest bedroom, and Christa’s office). Downstairs is the master bedroom (big bath and walk in closet = happy XYL), dining room, family room, kitchen (bigger than our last), and laundry room (I did finally get the dryer in after the use of a hacksaw and some more disassembling… I still have a few extra bolts). There is a small deck off the kitchen and a small fenced yard up against the oldest cemetery in Kansas (…spooky!). The unfinished basement is huge and is where my ham radio and office stuff is. Lots of work down there to do.
Today – Sarah gets to visit her preschool, which she starts on Monday. We’re continuing the unpacking… even hope to get Christa’s car in the garage today. I have this next week off to continue getting the house in order before I need to show my face over at Fort Leavenworth. Saturday we’ll hit the local farmer’s market and head into the big city (Kansas City) for some shopping. Next week our new couch and Christa’s desk arrives. Lots more to do (like setting up the ham shack)… but I am looking forward to the arrival of the couch!