I’ve thought off and on about updating this blog…but I guess I’ve lacked motivation because so few actually know that it exists. I’ll do my best to catch my loyal readers out there up to date! :)
As soon as we knew where we were moving, Stephen and I prepared the next step. We called a realtor, looked for homes near Chillicothe, and started packing. I can’t even begin to describe the chaos that started to unfold in just a few weeks.
By the end of March, we were prepping our house for a total revamp to get it on the market. By April 6th, our house was officially on the market. We did an entire week of deep cleaning, taking down most personal items that hung on the walls and touched up paint on the walls. Within two weeks, we had 14 house visits. I worked through the entire process and tried to keep the house clean while Stephen finished his last rotation. At the end of two weeks, we were told that a young family had fallen in love with our home and wanted to buy it. It was great news! But…? They haven’t sold their house and don’t even have it on the market yet. So they made a contingency offer on April 18th and we dealt back and forth. The next night, they decided to stop negotiating. So we were back at square one. After much thought and a long weekend, Stephen and I agreed to extend another final offer. It was a little less than we wanted, but much more reasonable than what they wanted to pay for our house. We knew that we wanted someone who loved our house above all else and these people showed the most interest and that was important to us.
After accepting this contingency offer, all the house visits stopped. During this time, we had found a nice neighborhood in Circleville, a small town between Stephen’s work in Chillicothe and Columbus. Yes, we chose a house we had never seen before. And yes, we were taking a risk. We were going through a really chaotic, exciting and maddening time in our lives. We had people who were excited for us yet sad to see us go, we had family who acted like they could care less, people who raised their eyebrows and questioned us and we had people who begged for so much last minute time from us that it drove us to the brink of insanity. The lack of support and help we received through this difficult time further reassured us that moving was the BEST thing for us. Our families worked, yes…but evenings are free and there are always weekends. Not once was help of any form offered. We left messages on Facebook providing dates of when our moving truck would be there and only our closest family and friends came to our aid. I shouldn’t be surprised, right? But I was. I was hurt and angry at the same time. What the hell is wrong with our families? Is it that easy to play dumb like you didn’t know? Or are you so selfish that you didn’t give a crap enough to remember? Stephen and I are not without fault in this situation – we are not good about asking for help and we are not pushy enough to send constant reminders to beg for help. We were left disappointed with more work than we anticipated.
During the day while Stephen was away, I continued to work, take care of the boys over my breaks, answer emails, chose interior options for the inventory home we had decided to purchase. At night, Stephen and I cleaned and packed into late hours of the night often times forgetting dinner until one of the kids told us they were hungry. As our things moved from their places in our house into boxes, it was more and more difficult to find stability. We ate out and brought home dinner a lot. Noah and Evan are as carefree as ever, but Liam grew increasingly difficult. It made life so miserable and he became more and more clingy.
Meanwhile, our contract was about to expire because the Focklers had not sold their house yet. We started becoming frantic thinking that we had wasted 30 days when our house could’ve been active and possibly sold to someone else already. But of course as it would happen, the day after our contract expired, the Focklers receive offers on their house. So we extend our contract for another week hoping that would be all to seal the deal. At this very time, Stephen is graduating from Medical school – this should be the most exciting, monumental time of our (or at least HIS!) life (lives), but we’re so frantic about everything that we just things to be over with. We cancelled his graduation party and Evan’s 5th birthday parties because really….why were we trying to throw this party ourselves in a house that we were taking down??? HINT – families…step up your game!!!! NOOOO – of course not. “Why did you cancel your party?” “Are you going to have a get-together for Evan’s birthday before you move?” ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? Get our head out of your own butt and rethink your selfish questions!
My sister Gwen, who adores Evan as her own, was the only one who put any thought into taking over the responsibilities of throwing him a Golden Birthday he’d never forget. We were even crazy enough to agree to watch my 3 nephews (while their parents went on a shopping trip to Chicago for the weekend) just so they could be there for Evan’s birthday party. Yes, you heard right. We took on 3 kids, the week before we moved so they can attend a party some of our family was missing for a shopping trip to Chicago. That’s just how some of my family works, ya’ll!
For those few weeks, I caught glimpses of what having a sister truly meant…or what I wish relationships among my siblings and I could be like all the time. It made me appreciate her, but it also hurt me because it was maybe too much all at once and came a little too late. She gave me a final pedicure and we had a dinner out together. She even surprised me with a massage – something I never expected or imagined I would get…because I’ve never (NEVER) felt loved in this way by her EVER (or maybe for as long as I can remember). It left me vulnerable and weak – because I had craved this for so long and this was how we were going to leave things. I’m glad that they were happy and grateful memories. Oh trust me….there were a few moments of crazy in there as well (a few tears and lots of yelling).
That same week, everyone went back to their lives while we worked tirelessly with a few family and friends to load all our belongings onto a 28 foot truck. With everyday, it became more and more evident that our lives were about to change. The few people who helped us will never be forgotten. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for their hard work. We know we couldn’t have done it alone.
We spent a few nights sleeping on the floor in the living room in our empty house. At first with the mattresses until they were put on the truck, then on the floor in our sleeping bags. Every night, Stephen and I sighed another breath of relief, counting our blessings for the people who helped and yes…we even cursed those who didn’t. During those final days, we made lots of effort to have last minute get-togethers with friends and family, wanted and unwanted. We found time to help Bethany and Daniel move into their first home together and even more time to help them paint and mount their television. We wanted to…because Bethany and Daniel were the closest family we had that never let us down. There are never pretentious offers from them or ulterior motives.While they had their house to put together, they managed to set aside two evenings to help us move. THAT is family. THAT is love and respect. I honestly thought it was going to be the hardest to say bye to them – but the last time we saw them was our last night there and I think we were all too exhausted to let the pain surface. Oddly, the only time I allowed myself to become weepy was when a long time friend, my car salesman of all people, stopped by to say goodbye. It just goes to show – you can meet the most amazing people in the most unexpected places. James and I have been friends for at least 8 years and he’s been to more of my kids’ birthday parties than my own brother.
Enter my next door neighbor, Karen. Stephen has adopted a name for her…Care Bear. We had lived in that house 4 years and she has always been the most thoughtful, loving person we knew. Knowing we were going to leave, I kept diving in where I could to spend time with her. We exchanged food, recipes, inspiration and our love for gardening. She introduced me to card making/stamping and I was instantly hooked. I spent so much of my free time obsessing over my small and hopefully growing collection. Stephen and I even spent and entire week building a shelf to hold stamp pads, markers and ink refills – one for me, and one for her. We presented this gift to her on Mother’s Day. She cried and I was overwhelmed with love for her. And I weep now as I type because I miss her so much, it hurts. Our last weekend there, she came over with food and left her door open for us to have breakfast while she attended church – nothing our families would think of doing for us. She cried each time she said goodbye, telling us it would be her last because she couldn’t bare another. But I told her…she had to see us again the morning we left. We left plants we couldn’t fit in the car with us with her and promised we’d be back for them and ever since we’ve moved, she has been the only person who has really kept in touch on a consistent basis. We haven’t gone more than a few days without a text. She has this dream that one day, we’ll own a piece of land together and be neighbors again and to be quite honest…I’d rather live next to her than anyone else on earth! I simply love her to pieces!
As if our lives could not be anymore hectic…we have to stop at the pediatrician’s office for Evan’s 5 year old shots on our way out of STATE! Yes…that happened. But he was a trooper and the kids did well in the car. We stopped in St. Louis for lunch and got back on the road again. With each state border we crossed, we were looking forward to a new life away from all the crazy. ALL of it – mostly our families (hehe).
We spent four days homeless at the DoubleTree hotel in northern Columbus. Such a beautiful area. People here are SO friendly. The morning after we arrived, I had to attend a board meeting to get my Ohio Pharmacist license – so Stephen took the boys to visit COSI – the Columbus children’s museum. They liked it so much, we got a membership and came back the next day. I can’t even recall now what else we did with our time, but it seemed like forever ago and I remembered it lasting too long with a cranky, clingy baby.
We visit the house for the very first time TWO days before we move in. Was it what we expected? Well…we didn’t really know what to expect. Up till then – we had only chosen the house based on the floor plan and a sketch. We were updated once during the framing process with photos. We chose all the house colors/options via email. There wasn’t much else to do. At first glance, the kitchen is small and the master closet is tiny (the only walk-in closet in the house if you can even call it a walk-in). But we’re determined to make it work because there’s not much choice at this point int he matter. We had one week to settle down and Stephen and I both had to begin our jobs. My oldest nephew, Tai, brought two friends in one of our cars to help us unload the truck and made a trip of their visit. We are so grateful for their help – we really couldn’t have done it without them here – in a place where we knew no one.
I was fortunate to be able to able to relocate with my same job…but I also knew I couldn’t continue to work with Liam in the house. His world had changed so much in the past few months and he didn’t know where to find comfort but with me and it made life so difficult for me. We arranged for him to start daycare – but it wouldn’t start until he turned 18 months old, which was last Wednesday. It was hard for us both, but he’s been doing great despite the normal separation tears and I’ve been so much more focused with work not having to worry about him.
We’ve been here 6.5 weeks and it feels like it’s been months. We’ve settled in for the most part keeping the minimal on the walls in case we need to move again in 10 months. Every weekend that Stephen is not working, we’ve driven into the city and have kept ourselves busy with projects. We’ve rearranged the kitchen lighting, installed all the appliances ourselves (which is a fiasco itself!), installed storm doors and a water softener. I say “we” but I can’t accomplish anything without Stephen’s strength and perseverance. I’m merely his support. Our next project this weekend is adding backsplash in the kitchen and we are working on getting a patio for the backyard. Phew…then I’m sure we’ll be done!
Stephen has one more ER shift. I’m so glad because I don’t like these odd hours and I know he doesn’t either. When he didn’t match into Anesthesia earlier this spring, he had high hopes of getting into the ER residency at the hospital he is at now. After 2 weeks, it was pretty clear to him that it wasn’t the lifestyle he wants. So much of his decisions about it had to do with us – not wanting to make our lives rocky again possibly with another move and how much time he’d be able to be home with us. I love him for it – but I don’t want him to regret a career that will also affect us in the long run. So the decision now is to go for Anesthesia again. We hope that everything will work out the way want this time and that he’ll get accepted into a program in Columbus so we won’t have to move again.
Noah and Evan are starting at a brand new school in a few weeks (they’ve consolidated the schools here and a new school was built) and I will not know what to do with myself-being in an empty house while working for the first time in 3 years. But it’s going to be nice not having to change diapers, preparing meals or cleaning up after them anymore!
Our lives have been very low-key here. We’re anticipating a bump soon since people are already asking us when we’re coming back and demanding our time and others who have planned to visit without even asking if it’s ok and just assuming that it is. And in honor of my friend, Jessica Phan, who is getting married soon – in preparation for her wedding next May, I’ll be wearing her mandatory 7 inch pumps daily during my lunch breaks to “break” them in. I will plan to wear my dress and hair the way she wants and address her invitations to perfection!
During my free time, I’ve made lots of cards and have mailed out a few (mostly to Care Bear)…but I need to do more soon because it’s been an entire week since I’ve created something! I’ve baked a few things not worth mentioning but I think it’s because I haven’t been motivated enough – I don’t have many people to share my goodies with here. My new neighbor, Jean, across the street is a nice single Korean lady who I’ve been sharing everything with, thinks she’s going to gain 10 lbs before Christmas. Jean’s great, but every time I share something with her, I think of Karen and miss her all over again. I think every time I say or type her name, I feel a little pang in my heart. Then I feel guilty that I’m not thinking of my mom in the same way – who I also miss as well but could never express it outwardly the way I do with Karen. Then there are other mothers who I would love to outwardly express my distaste for. LOL. I’ll leave it at that.