Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
The ups and downs- a really, really long blog post
I like Texas a lot. I really do. I’m surprised I haven’t felt more culture shock, or more a sense of displacement. I remember moving into our last house. It was only a 2 mile move, and although I wanted to be there more than anything and was super excited, I still cried the first night because we were in a stranger’s house. It didn’t feel like “ours” yet. There was no sense of “home.” It took months for me to go into the basement and not feel like I was in someone else’s house.
That hasn’t happened here. It could just be because I was pregnant then and I’m not now and there were hormones involved. But I don’t think so. I feel very much at home here. And we’re *renting* this house. It’s not even ours. Weird.
BUT, jeez, some things have been hard. Like the dishwasher not working for the first week+. Just got fixed on Monday. And the washer and dryer taking a week to be delivered, then flooding the upstairs laundry room twice and having water pour through ceiling fixtures downstairs. The unbelievable process it took to get the kids registered for school over several days and attempts.
Or Monday, the first day of school, when Nate was in California on business (still is) and Liv and Veronica see a head on collision at their bus stop. I had gone into the house for a second and heard it. A million horrible things flashed through my head as I ran back outside to make sure they were ok. Then I walk down to the bus stop to stand with the kids and Veronica passes out cold and hits the sidewalk hard. I think she hit her head. She’s unconscious but her eyes are open and vacant and she has no color at all. She looked dead. People around us start freaking out and I try to rouse her. She comes to just as the bus pulls up. So a protesting Olivia gets on the bus to go to school and I help Veronica back home where she lays, weak for over an hour.
By way of explanation, Veronica has a history of passing out when she sees blood. And it doesn’t take much. It’s a consistent thing with her, but it hasn’t happened often so I wasn’t expecting it. One of the drivers in the crash was hobbling around with a bloody foot, crying on her cell phone. The other driver didn’t get out of the truck, and neighbors were over there. A boy climbed out of the back of the second truck and I think his face was bleeding, but it was a split lip, he was more or less ok. So it was awful, but not as bad as it could have been. One truck had jumped the curb and was against a house. Fortunately it was the opposite side of the street from the bus stop. The other truck had completely spun around. Both trucks ended up facing the same direction. It was a hard hit in a neighborhood. Someone was speeding.
Veronica took several minutes to go down, and I just wasn’t thinking. I got there, hugged them both, asked them if they were ok, and then we all stood there. Kind of in shock, not knowing what to do and she went down.
It was awful.
So, backing up, the move itself went relatively well. Ok, the driving went relatively well. Loading up the house was awful. Work had been unbelievably crazy for Nate the several weeks before the move, so we were never able to do a dump run to get the garage cleaned out and I had to do almost everything myself. I had a list of things to wait before loading ’til we knew if we had enough room. But our truly wonderful group of helpers moved so fast, I wasn’t able to communicate that. As ready as I thought I was for them, I wasn’t. There was more still to pack then I thought there was. Things came that weren’t supposed to, and we had to leave some things I didn’t want to leave. Only a few.
But it’s ok. The important things are here, and they survived the move without damage. I’m so grateful to my sister-in-law and friends who have gone back to the house to clean up, finish up and take care of the stuff we had to leave behind. That is SO not how I wanted it to go, but I’m humbled and grateful to those that have and are still helping me there. Kirstin.
The truck….. oh, boy. We sat and waited for it for an hour and a half on moving day when I had a zillion other things to do. I would have been much more ready for our friends and family to load up if I’d had that time for my mom and I to finish getting organized. Then once we were on the road the next morning, all loaded up, it was NOT driving well. Very jerky, no power, it was ridiculous. And the gas gauge kept going nuts, beeping at us, the dial would move up and down and we’d have no idea how much gas was left.
Come to find out, through time and deduction that there were many things wrong.
1st- the truck was late because someone had put gas in it instead of diesel, and they had to drain the tank. But they didn’t TELL us that. It ran much better after our first refill. MUCH better.
-Oh, and did I mention that right as the gas gauge went nuts the first time with really loud beeping and such, when the truck was still jerking around and difficult to even keep in our lane and we didn’t know what the heck was up, we saw a motorcycle go down in front of us. A big dust cloud and a bike down and we couldn’t even see the driver. We pulled into the next gas station (a car had already pulled over and we were going downhill and there wasn’t much shoulder for a 26 foot Penske, so we couldn’t stop) and called 911. I was so traumatized by this point, I didn’t know how we were going to make it.
2nd- the gas gauge was mental. But consistent. We came to expect it’s craziness at certain points of gas consumption.
3rd…… Ok. So we were told that in the State of Washington, we’d have to stop at weigh stations. We didn’t hit any while still in Washington, but we stopped at all of them that were open the whole drive because we didn’t know if we had to or not. We hit one in Colorado that signaled us to pull over and come in with paperwork. So I did. He told me that my truck was rated for 26,000 lbs. We were weighing in at 30,000.
He wanted to know what in the world we had in there. Honestly, I have no idea. We have no heavy furniture. No one REALLY heavy thing. Our elliptical weighs a few hundred pounds, but honestly, that’s it.
So, because we weren’t commercial, he said he couldn’t enforce anything. He said, “it’s not serious. Well, it IS serious, but I’m not going to do anything about it.”
That explains the complete lack of power and braking issues.
But we made it. It was fun driving a big ol’ semi truck (when it wasn’t overly windy) with a bouncy air seat, air brakes, all those crazy semi truck noises, looking other semi drivers in the eye because we were just as big and tall as they were. For 2200 miles. And the drive was gorgeous.
Mom and I were driving the big truck. Nate and the kids were in our Expedition with his scooter on a carrier off the hitch. (That’s its own story. Getting that thing strapped in….. Oye).
It was tiring. The first day, since we had no clue what was up with the stupid truck, we were constantly on the phone with Roadside Assistance (which was worthless, btw). We pulled over a couple times in different towns waiting for a mechanic to come have a look. They didn’t show up the first time in Cle Elum, because there wasn’t actually a MECHANIC in Cle Elum. We stopped in Richland, WA where a mechanic was expecting us, but apparently didn’t think he had to be at the shop when we arrived, so we sat waiting for another half hour or so before he came. And he said nothing helpful.
We lost a ton of driving time the first day. The second and third days were insanely long. New Mexico is shockingly beautiful. I had no idea. We arrived in Buda with an hour to spare before our prearranged help to unload was to arrive.
And it’s been the typical craziness since then. Plus the appliances not working, and the school district making life incredibly difficult to get the kids enrolled.
But the neighbors are SO nice. People at church are SO nice. I love the sunshine. (Got completely fried going out for 40 stinking minutes one afternoon a week and a half ago. I’m still peeling). We’ve had fun in the neighborhood pool. We’ve had fun with my sister, mom, and nephew. The kids are liking school.
So, the school schedule is opposite here from Washington. The elementary kids go first. 7:30 am. Middle school is next at around 8. High school starts last.
The school day is an hour longer here. In first grade, Clark only has one, 20 minute recess as opposed to a morning recess, lunch recess, and afternoon recess. He gets out at 2:45.
Liv and V are supposed to get home around 4:15, but their bus hasn’t figured out its route yet, so they’ve been later.
Abby gets home around 4:30, and doesn’t have any physical education at all. None. WHAT??? A super long school day like that and no physical ed? Great. So I’m going to have to figure out how to squeeze exercise into her day.
Liv got in trouble on the first day for responding to a question with “yeah.” It’s “yes, ma’am. No, ma’am” down here. I actually think that’s cool, but it’s different for us. In Washington, they’d think you were sassing off if you said that to a teacher. And in our elementary school, at least the program we were in, the kids called teachers by their first names.
Surprisingly, my two year old is having the most difficult time adjusting. I think it’s mostly the weather. Max is very sensitive to the heat and flushes and wilts right away. I hope he acclimates soon. I’m really enjoying it. The air feels different. It’s soft, somehow.
It’s so incredibly beautiful here. It’s late August, we’re in a drought, and it’s still green. We’re in a rural area that’s still close to a lot of shopping. Our neighborhood is humungous, but on the edge of the wilderness, and we’re on the edge of the neighborhood. The view out of my kitchen and family room windows is stunning. Just land. Grassland, with smallish trees. Bushes with little white flowers. The land has some rise and fall to it. And flocks of birds seem to mimic that as they fly around like schools of fish. Rising and falling, swooping and turning. It’s peaceful and beautiful and I love it. There’s a big old water tower a few streets behind us that I also really like, and I can’t even say why. Maybe because it’s something tall? I don’t know. But I like it here.
Some weird things….
So far, the birds I’ve seen are ugly. They look scruffy, unkempt, and like they’re starving to death. There’s something that looks like a crow down here. It’s black and has a long tail. They’re obviously scavengers, but unlike our beautiful fat and smooth crows back in Seattle, these are scrawny, rough looking and they hold their beaks open like they’re thirsty. The only other birds (aside from the black birds that soar like hawks all over the place) I’ve seen are an unremarkable brown and also look rough.
I can’t find any cool houseplants. I know that sounds silly, but I figured with all the natural light we have down here, it would open up a world of awesome houseplants. Something beyond the philodendron. Not so. At least not that I’ve been able to find. I had to leave my houseplants behind and I MISS them! I think Max and I are going into Austin today to get a mouthpiece for Veronica’s french horn, her textbook, and while we’re there, we’ll visit a nursery. Hopefully, a dedicated nursery will have more than the asparagus ferns and philodendrons in the little gift shop in downtown Buda, (it’s a tiny town), and the garden department of WalMart and Home Depot. If not, I’m going to look into mail order. I only need a few, but I do need some decent houseplants.
My car is sticky every. single. morning.
My built in windshield washer is broken, so I bought a squeegee and a bucket yesterday. Like a gas station, I will have windshield washer fluid at the ready because otherwise, I CAN’T SEE! The sun hits that windshield and I’m completely blind.
We washed the car late last night and this morning, there was stuff all over it. And white water spots. Apparently in Texas, or at the very least this PART of Texas, you have to dry your car after you wash it.
Once the sun starts to go down, it’s goes fast. Weird.
Little, bitty ants. Ew. They haven’t ventured INTO the house yet, but they’re EVERYWHERE outside. And apparently, they eat grasshoppers. Because we’ve seen them do it. Ew.
Grasshoppers are HUGE down here.
There are really large frogs and lizards on our driveway every night and early morning. Frogs don’t hop away in a straight line. They zigzag all over the place so when they catch you by surprise and you have arms full of stuff and can’t really see anyway and you try to hold your foot up in the air mid-step ’til you see where the stupid thing is going so you can step down safely without squishing it all the while trying not to fall over…………
well, they don’t make it easy on you.
Ok, that’s enough for today. Love it here. Things are different. I’m sure I’ll have more to tell in the future. Now, I’m going to get dressed and venture into Austin with Max. Something I haven’t done yet. I’m looking forward to it, and I think I finally need an iPhone, ’cause I’m going to get lost.