We began the day by folding all the towels – then putting them in the back of the carport so that the guy with the truck going to charity could pick them up. No room for towels on the trailer.
Jim moved out his LP records, looked at the trailer space remaining, then put them next to the towels. He did the same with his boxes and boxes of photos that he always said he’d do something with but never did. He then added his boxes of VHS tapes. He let go of his million-year-old film camera (I held in the cheering). He also let go of his father’s manual typewriter, which meant as much to him as that Snuggy meant to me.
It was a live game of Tetris, getting all that on there. Jim probably still hears, “WATCH OUT FOR THE DRUMS” in his nightmares. I had already proven my mad spacial skills to him in packing boxes, now I am the undefeated champ at trailers. Even being mindful of the “heavy stuff towards the front” and extra things that came up at the last minute (our personal files? How did those get left out???) – I am pretty proud of my efforts. Yessir. Mighty proud.
The stuff was all wrangled. What was going, was packed and on the trailer. Basically, all we had left to do was sort the donations from the junk, clean the house, and clear out.
This could take all day.
It’s sad to say so late in the game, but we had, bar none, the world’s sweetest neighbor. This darling woman came over in the wee hours of the drizzly, cold morning to ask if she could help clean – and if we’d like her to make a coffee run. She left her two young sons behind to help us move the rest of the stuff out of the house. She left behind a bucket of cleaning supplies and rubber gloves. This was her favorite part, she told us – she loved to clean, really! She never once offered to help us pack. God bless her beautiful soul.
Meanwhile, when the boys found out that all the stuff in the carport was up for grabs – they started shopping.
We were so embarrassed that we didn’t make it out yesterday that we told no one we hadn’t left yet. No big sendoff or crocodile tears. We just hugged everyone last night as they left one by one into the dark, rainy night and told them we’d call when we got to Vegas. Love ya, bye bye. We were too tired to realize what we had done.
So, when an unexpected friend just showed up out of the blue and offered to help – it was a miracle. Better yet, she wanted to “garage sale” some of the stuff that we were leaving behind. We needed the gas money, so we happily let her and her boys shop as we moved it out. She even talked us into selling her some things that we thought were going to make it on the trailer. Her boys worked pretty hard – carting our things over to their house. She’s a single mom and happily got all the contents of our fridge, too. I guess it all worked out.
Before noon, two more friends showed up – they were smart enough to realize that we’d never make it out alive that last night. They wanted to garage sale, as well, and between them and our neighbor we made enough to fill the tank. No small feat in this economy!
Jim and I danced in each empty room (a moving tradition which warrants another entry some time), and we got down to cleaning. Our neighbor was almost done with the kitchen, everything else I had already done, so all that was left was to vacuum.
Then the vacuum would go to charity. No room on the trailer.
It took a bit of muscle, but we got the trailer door closed. That’s it. It’s all in there. This time I did let out a cheer. Everyone on the block did.
Then I realized that I didn’t get that unopened 50-lb bag of dog food in there. Sigh… I called the animal food bank. No room on the trailer, but a happy pooch somewhere.
Loading the cats into their traveling condo was easier than I though it would be. They took right to it, most likely happy to be close to their “stuff” and their dog. As you can see, they aren’t very upset about the trip (yet). Max is usually pretty happy if he has his pink dragon. Jr. Barnes (the grey one in the back) spent most of the trip on top of the litter box, perched like a lion. Maggie has always been the easiest, and she kept the rest of us calm with her indefatigable purr.
Abby and the cooler got the rest of the back. We bungied the camping gear to the roof, then strapped it down with lots and lots of plastic. It was only drizzling, but we know this state. We were prepared.
Our friends who did some extra shopping needed to get to a cash machine, so they followed us up the street to the nearest one. Two blocks out of the driveway, the Check Engine light came on.
I burst into tears. I may have screamed a little. There might have been some obscenities and maniacal laughing. I can’t say for sure.
Our friend, Paul, ever supportive, told us he knew how to fix it. Just cover it with a strip of electrical tape, he said. Of course, then we’d have to watch for the “Check ‘Check Engine Light’ Light”…
In a melancholy mood, we drove off into the partly cloudy horizon, headed across those vast mountains towards our new home, our destinies.
Engine light be damned. We made it. We’re on the road – and we aren’t stopping until we are out of Washington State!!!!
Written by Mélanie Hope