Friday, August 10, 2007

Tetris Mania

Wow was I carried through the last few days in Utah by the friendship of my Salt Lake friends. We had a really nice barbecue on the Sunday before departure (August 5th), that was attended by about 50 people including the kids. Thanks to all who came; it was really nice to feel the love that everyone expressed toward us.

The rest of the week we also had our Texas family, as well as local friends come each day to help with a different project. Packing the garage, packing the kitchen, cleaning the corners, finishing up the last minute details of the house that constantly needed more attention. Salvation Army came on Monday to pick up the bulk of our furniture that we knew just wasn't going to fit on the truck.

Wednesday the 8th was loading day. What ended up to be the friends we have been closest to while in SLC were the ones that showed up to help load the truck. In two hours they had loaded probably 80% of everything. We had a nice pizza party to refuel and thank everyone for participating.

Thursday we had a lot of work left to finish that last 20%, in addition to continuing last minute repairs to the house. All I can say that I remember about it now is, it felt like an incredibly long day. When our friends the Ecksteins showed up at 5, I could not believe how the hours had flown by, and how much was left to do. But we worked together for a short while then all went out for dinner at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese place. No matter how hard you have to be working, you still have to take a break sometimes.

Before bedtime Justin and I took the kids to the Build-a-Bear Workshop to pick out a new friend for the trip. Jesse chose a huge furry brown bunny, which he named “Boing” but calls “Bunny.” Maren found a Husky, which she interpreted to be a Coyote. Of course she did, since I suddenly remembered that at Preschool graduation she was given a special award for being the Coyote Pack Leader. Apparently every day at recess she would gather all the other children and climb to the top of the slide, and they would all howl at the moon together. What a riot! She started to name her coyote “Baby Howler” until I showed her part 2 of the present, a tiny pup designed to go with the bigger one. The girl was speechless with delight. Man it is so fun to do special things for those kids when they are appreciative!

Friday was truth day, and was the hardest day of all. The final 2% had to be fit into the truck like a game of Tetris gone horribly wrong. We started unpacking boxes, bagging the contents, and stuffing them in the cracks. As it ended up, we had to make some choices about what to take. I had to choose between my refrigerator and my mattresses. Not sure I did the best thing, but I chose the refrigerator and gave the mattresses away. There are a couple other things I think I regret leaving, but it's hard to say what else would have been left if I had included them.

We left behind all of our computer chairs, a dresser, and several other things I probably won't even fully realize the impact of until we move into our next house. That was hard, but I have had to console myself with the reminder that trying to hold on to material things in life is sort of like trying to hold on to sand that flows between your fingers. It's not really mine anyway, and there are no guarantees from above that I get to keep any of it even through my life. The important things, my family members, came with me. Other important things, photo albums and keepsakes, wedding gifts and other treasures, made it too. Lots of other slightly less important things, like computers, clothes, hard-to-replace items, even made it. And the most awkward piece to survive this move, my glass top table and chair set, was graciously provided a spot on the truck as well. It will probably take years and thousands of dollars to replace the total of what we donated and gave away, but we will be okay. And the people at the Dream Center, who will receive the final items that just wouldn't fit, I pray that they will be blessed by receiving these things that felt more like a sacrifice to me than the first load of donated items.

By Friday the 10th of August, at 2:30, less than 5 hours behind schedule, we closed and locked the truck, waved goodbye to Maren's neighbor friend Kyra and her dad, and were on our way.

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