Well, it all started out fine. We finally left California on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Our plan was to drive through Dallas, drop off our moving trailer at our U-Haul storage site, and make it to Arkansas by Thanksgiving to spend with Vince's family. We were still getting the last of our crap out of the house all morning long. It's a good thing the closing of escrow got delayed. Not everything would fit in our trailer so we packed a load of stuff in my mom's garage to come back for at Christmas. We got a late start on Monday, not actually hitting the road until about 1 in the afternoon. Me with the kids in the minivan, and Vince in his truck pulling the trailer with the dogs in the back of the truck. We only made it as far as Tucson our first night on the road. The kids were actually pretty good, I think it was more stressful on me than on them. Vince and I slept in one bed, Sophia and Harrison in the other. We got Annamaria set up in her pack&play and Francesca slept in her car seat. Poor baby. The second night we made it as far as Pecos, TX. On the third day, Wednesday, we were making pretty good time until we hit stop still traffic just west of Fort Worth. I actually pulled Francesca out of her car seat and fed her while stitting at a dead stop on the freeway. We were stuck there so long, Harrison ended up pooping his pants. Couldn't really blame him, his butt was probably numb from being in the car for so long. We thought it was Thanksgiving holiday traffic, but later found out they were doing construction and had lanes on the freeway closed down. Not too bright on a holiday. Anyway, by the time we made it to Dallas we decided to just drop off the trailer and get back on the road and make it an all nighter. If we didn't we would have missed Thanksgiving. So the kids slept in the car and we drove, drove, drove. We stopped for a "nap" just east of Dallas for about an hour. Then about an hour from Vince's sister house I just couldn't take it anymore and had to stop for another "nap". Vince's family lives in a really rural part of the country, so we ended up stopping at a small church/graveyard and slept for another hour. We ended up at our destination at about 9am Thanksgiving morning. It was nice to be out of the car. My whole body was buzzing. But of course in all the excitment of actually making it to our destination, none of us went to sleep until bedtime that night. Talk about exhaustion.
Thanksgiving was fine. Vince's sister did a nice job. It's just not Thanksgiving to me unless I'm with my family though. And of course we make everything from scratch, but I'm not complaining. The kids had fun playing with their cousins and playing in all the crunchy fallen leaves. Something we don't have in San Diego. We got the dogs set up, but I was very very sad to leave them. We got back on the road for Texas on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. And as usual, didn't hit the road until after noon. Now Vince's sister lives off a dirt road about a half a mile from the first paved road. Vince pulled out first and took off down the road. He drives much faster on dirt roads than I do, so I lost sight of him and figured I'd catch up with him on the pavement. I pulled out of her drive and went around the bend to find Vince had driven off the road and his truck was sitting at a 45 degree angle on the embankment dropping off into the forest. The only thing that stopped his truck from rolling was a fallen log that was wedged into his passenger's side door. Seems he got distracted trying to plug in his hands free device in his cell phone and ran off the road. And he was stuck. So I had to go back to his sister's house, get his dad, and they had to tow him out of there. Luckily they all drive 4x4's. And his fairly new truck now has a nice dent in the passenger's side door.
To off to Texas we go. It's about an eight hour drive and we wouldn't be getting in until late at this point. So we drive, drive, drive again. We stopped at a Walmart at some point to take the kids in to go to the bathroom and Vince came back with mini-blueberry muffins, bar-b-que chicken nuggets and milk for the kids. Not the healthiest dinner, but at this point, whatever. We get back on the road and an hour or two later Harrison starts throwing up. No warning or anything. So we pull over in the driveway of some business that was closed and Vince gets Harrison and his car seat as cleaned up as he could in the light of the parking lot. Now I can handle poop, but vomit I cannot. I can't see it, hear it or smell it without gagging myself. So I'm pretty much useless at this point. We get back on the road and about an hour later Harrison starts throwing up again. Ugh. So we pull off the freeway and stop on the side of the road, and Vince gets things cleaned back up as best he can.
We finally make it to Dallas and of course get lost. Their freeways are so freaking confusing! And the signs of what is coming up are posted right before they come up. And I mean right before, not much warning at all. Barely time to get over. So after getting separated in downtown Dallas (I got over, Vince did not) we finally find our hotel. Separately and covered in vomit, but in one piece. Thank God for cell phones is all I've got to say.
On the bright side, Vince's sister works at a Residence Inn, so she got us a great rate at a Fairfield Inn for only $35 a night until we could find somewhere to rent. So after ten nights in a hotel we finally moved into our new home. At least for the next year. It's brand new, in a new neighborhood, two story, four bedroom, two and a half bath. And just around the corner is a drive-thru Starbucks and a Cold Stone Creamery. What more could I ask for? The kid's bedrooms are upstairs, they have their own bathroom, and there is a great playroom for all their stuff. So they can be upstairs playing and making noise, and Vince and I can be downstairs away from it all. At first I was concerned with Annamaria and the stairs, but she took right to them. To come downstairs she flips over onto her stomach and ooches down safe and sound. Sophia has actually had more trouble with the stairs than anyone else. Just lack of paying attention.
Now for the most unfortunate event. Just before we moved in, we drove by the U-Haul storage facility to check on our trailer, and guess what. It wasn't there. And no, it wasn't towed. Just the day before, one of the U-Haul employees saw a women in a blue Dodge pick-up back up to it and start to hitch it up. He thought nothing of it because it was four in the afternoon and thought we just came to pick-up our trailer. We dropped it off afterhours so no one knew we drove a white Toyota. Stolen, in broad daylight, and by a woman. So Vince called the police and we made a police report. They checked the security camera, but they didn't catch anything. Figures. So it's been over two months and no word. Our most essential things are gone. Most of our furniture, our mattresses, sheets, towels, my jewelry (the only thing I have left it what I was wearing when we left California), Vince's tools, our wedding albums, all of Harrison's train sets, other toys, dishes, silverware, glasses, pots & pans, the kid's birth certificates, baptism certificates and savings bonds. Our computers with over fours years worth of pictures of our family stored on them. And the back up disks of the photos, software games, all my catering business records, recipes I developed stored on the computer, tax records, 5-disk dvd player, surround sound system, etc, etc. You get the picture. The only thing that saved my sanity was that Vince forgot to cancel our home owners insurance when we sold our house. Aparently the trailer itself was covered by our automobile insurance, but the contents are covered by the home owners insurance. Something they never told us. So the money we planned on putting aside for a down payment on our next house is going to things like beds, towels, sheets, clothes, a new computer. But because not everything would fit (Thank God), we found some stuff that we thought was stolen in my mom's garage. Our life had become a series of small joys at finding things we thought were stolen, but were not. But of all the things I miss the most, my wedding albums and our kids pictures. And I'd take my jewelry back too.
So here we are in march, we're still putting togething our list for the insurance company which is good and bad. Good that we will be getting something back, but bad knowing that we're going to get screwed because there is no way they're going to give us what they should. They've already told us there are caps on Vince's tools, my jewelry, personal data (i.e. wedding albums, personal photos), and our computers. So we haven't filed anything, and already we know we're being screwed. I hate insurance companies. And of course they tell us that receipts are "helpful". We tried to explain that any receipts we may have had were in the trailer that was stolen, but they act like we're speaking some foreign language or something.
Vince is still looking for work. The company that he interviewed with in November has had a hiring freeze that was suposed to be lifted in February, but we haven't heard anything and he hasn't been able to get a hold of his contact there, so that's looking dim. In the meantime he's been looking elsewhere, but nothing solid has come up.
So I'm sorry for being gone so long. I think we've been handling it all fairly well, but at the same time it's very depressing and I think subconsciencely I've been putting off blogging about our life. But I will try to steal away more often and keep things more current. Thanks to my friends who have contacted me to see if we are still alive. Yes, we are, and it's nice to know people care. And congratulations to Jessica on the birth of her second little one, Hunter. I'm sure he'll be as brilliant as his big sister.
Our little Texas girl in her new pink boots and ducky PJ's. She can barely walk in them, but loves them anyway.
Franny Fannie - 5 months old