Family

Moving Day

Last weekend we moved into our new house. Since there are boxes everywhere that need to be unpacked — plus my bicycle is calling as spring has finally arrived — I’ll keep this short.

First, we’re grateful for the friends who helped, including Stephen W., John W., Brian D., and Jake A., as well as Barb for providing lunch on moving day. Others helped pack before moving day, including Jamie W. and Vanessa B.

Moving day was uneventful, aside from the constant drizzle and rain showers at time. Originally, we’d planned to move in on Sunday, but earlier in the week the weather forecast called for thunderstorms all day. So we moved up the day to Saturday. As it turned out, Sunday was beautiful: sunny and in the 70s. What’re you gonna do? Well, we slept in on Sunday morning, my having taken the day off, and then went out for breakfast with the other heathens (see my post).

Given I have no interesting stories to tell about moving day, here’s a re-post of our moving day over six years ago, when we moved from Toledo to Lewisburg …

The day we packed up the truck in Toledo was a long one that started for me at 6 am and extended through the following day until 3 am. Our helpers completed the task quickly, arriving at 9 am and finishing before noon. We still had to pack some miscellaneous items, whatever we could fit, and do some cleaning. We’d also wanted to prepare the home a little for Laura. So it was nearly 9 pm when we finally set out for Lewisburg. The U-Haul truck we rented was a 26-foot behemoth, behind which I towed my minivan. Because our street wasn’t a through-street, I decided to park it behind Applebee’s, about 50-75 yards from our house. We departed from there, Cindy in the Sienna with the kids and whatever else we could fit safely. I decided to exit onto Monroe Street, but the Applebee’s parking lot was crowded; it was a Saturday night. I realized I wouldn’t be able to make the turn out of the parking lot without hitting at least one car. I couldn’t very well backup, because the one thing I remembered from the U-Haul guy was, “Don’t get yourself in a situation where you’ll have to go in reverse. You could damage your car.” He might as well have been a prophet.

Applebee’s shares a parking lot with a vacant Rite Aid building, which features a sharp driveway that originally led to their prescription drop off/pick up window. It seemed my only option, so I proceeded cautiously. I became rather proud of myself after navigating the sharp U of the driveway until I realized I wouldn’t be able to clear the small canopy intended to protect drivers picking up their medications. That blasted canopy became my greatest obstacle, an object of much scorn, at which I lashed out at least once.

I refer you to my rudimentary drawing I sketched on the whiteboard in my office. Notice, my original plan would have taken me safely to Monroe Street with ease, if not for the cars of Applebee’s revelers. Instead, I was now stuck on the east side of Rite Aid, cursing more like a sailor than a pastor—thankfully far from earshot of anyone else. (Strangely, at one point a car came pealing around the same drive that now held me captive. The driver stopped upon the sight of the truck and without much difficulty backed out, probably commenting to his passenger the peculiarity of happening upon a huge moving truck.) To my right was a 2-foot drop, which I could have easily leaped if not for the furniture and boxes in the back of the truck, which was the whole purpose of the truck anyway. There was no way I could back out the way I’d come in, especially not with the minivan behind me.

Cindy arrived back at the truck, having wondered why I hadn’t made it to our meeting place, the McDonald’s where we’d grab food for the journey. We devised a plan. We’d unhitch the minivan and the car trailer. The Plymouth Voyager we’d bought used six years ago featured a hitch we’d never had a use for, the same one I’d regularly hit my shin on while loading and unloading the rear. It came in handy that night. I had to back the Voyager out of the drive then back it in the opposite way to retrieve the trailer. This was not an easy task considering the sharp angles, one that led me to believe backing out the truck was a hopeless cause. Perhaps because my wife had arrived, my curses had changed to desperate prayers. I hopped in the truck and Cindy remained in view of my mirrors. I offered up countless petitions for literal guidance over the next 30-45 minutes which consisted of shifting from drive to reverse repeatedly and making quick bursts left and right. Many times I had to jump out of the truck to examine the situation behind me. At long last, I was excited when I steered the truck out of the drive into the clearing of the parking lot, an exhilaration the captain of the Titanic would have felt had he been able to avoid his obstacle.

I drove the truck to the north side of Rite Aid where we’d planned to hook the minivan back on. I needed Cindy for one more chore, making sure the tires of the Voyager were aligned with the ramp of the trailer. Directly behind the truck, she moved from side to side to make sure I was set when she apparently forgot the trailer attached to the truck. She suddenly hit it and immediately flopped to the ground on the other side. She let out what the girls, who were sort of observing, said sounded like the first syllable of an incomplete sneeze. I was horrified thinking I’d lost my bride on the eve of our move. She was okay, though. Certainly angels cushioned her fall to the asphalt, the same angels who likely guided the truck out of the Rite Aid drive. We would further need them to safely escort a sleepy family in two vehicles on the 180-mile drive. Cindy would head to Eaton, and I would stop in Lewisburg after driving 55 mph the entire way.

James 2 says to consider troubles as an opportunity for great joy, because they develop our character. That great trial behind Rite Aid was just what Cindy and I needed. We’d been squabbling all week, little spats primarily about what needed to be packed, what needed to be thrown away, what should be saved, and what should be given away. Our nine years in Toledo shouldn’t have ended in conflict on our last night there. I realized that almost instantly when before we departed we embraced like Super Bowl victors.

We never quite know what God has planned, and the future can seem as foggy as the past couple days here in Eaton. But two things are certain: I don’t want to see a U-Haul truck again for a long time and I’ll opt for the inside of the store to pick up a prescription—and it’ll be a Walgreens.

We’re looking forward to many wonderful years in our new home. It’ll take at least a decade to unpack everything.

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