The drive to NC was one that we have made many times; I wanna say 10-12 times over the last few years. We don’t even need to look at GPS anymore because we know the route so well. I have only ever contributed a few hours of driving to these trips, so when we rented the truck and I realized that somebody (me) would have to drive the Jeep I was a little apprehensive especially considering that I would be the one to tote the kids to NC. The trip has become a 12 hour one and with a huge Uhaul that can only go about 60-65mph safely and with single drivers I knew that it would stretch into a 15 hour drive and it did. We decided to let Noah ride with Jason and the girls rode with me. This made for a much more pleasant trip.
We had hoped to leave early in the morning, but we ended up leaving about lunchtime. I remember dripping with sweat as I watched Jason load up the Kia on the Tow Dolley. I was crying with the knowledge that we were leaving the place that we had made a home. It didn’t matter that it was too small for us and that the house we were headed towards was more perfect for our family. Until that moment it all seemed simple and I felt ready, but I’m sure those tears were just part of the process. The further we got on our trip the more excited I became. We had the bright idea to put the cats in the Kia for the trip. We would roll the windows down and they could meow until their hearts were content. At the first rest area we thought to put the air on for them while we went pee and stretched our legs. Jason went to do just that and found the cats panting like crazy! They were covered in drool and sweat and making the most HORRIBLE meows! Rosie, our gray somewhat long-haired cat, had laid down in the carrier with her mouth wide open probably on the edge of heat stroke and Jason just poured water straight down her throat. We moved some things around in the Uhaul and the Jeep and cranked up the air for the cats. They settled down in about an hour (thankfully) and I only heard faint meows periodically throughout the rest of the trip.
About halfway there I saw a sign for Starbucks. Knowing it would be my last I rushed ahead of Jason and went off the exit intending to meet up with him going my usual 80mph while he went 55mph. I grabbed my yummy coffee and was figuring out how to get back to the interstate when I saw Nora shoving her hand down her throat!! I slam on the brakes, turn around asking her what was wrong while she is kicking the seat and then starting to cry. I’m looking for signs of choking and touching her neck and face to see any clue as to what just happened. I had just given her a snack of cheese, so I figured maybe she swallowed wrong, but when she could talk she said she swallowed a coin! What?! I had given her a few pennies earlier from my change and she had obviously put it in her mouth! Why? Pennies taste gross, seriously? It doesn’t matter that I have told her many, many times to NOT put things in her mouth, this is the girl that swallowed one of my necklaces when she was two. Sigh. Maybe she is starting a metal collection. lol She was fine and laughed when I told her it would be coming out in her poop!
From there we just kept driving. It was kinda fun because we were using walkie talkies to communicate while changing lanes and such with our code names being Mama Bear and Papa Bear. :o) Late into the night we were talking to each other to keep awake and it was really nice and quiet, until the baby woke up screaming for an hour or two. By then we decided to pull off and take a nap just after midnight. I fed and cuddled the baby and about 130a we hit the interstate again. We were on the home stretch and made it to our road about 4am. The dilemma at that point was how and when to get the 26 foot Uhaul to our house down a one lane, winding hill. It was pitch black. Country pitch black where there are not any city lights or street lights near our house. We knew we would have to back the Uhaul to the house because there was no way we’d be able to turn it around once we got in there.I so wanted to do this after getting some sleep, but there was just no where to park the Uhaul safely. At first we thought to park the Jeep facing the Uhaul and leave the kids asleep while I helped Jason back the Uhaul up. We thought (naively) that this would be quick and simple. Then comes Nora screaming, barefoot and utterly terrified running towards the light of the Uhaul while the alarm on the Jeep is blaring through the neighborhood! Okay, let’s regroup. I went back to the Jeep and grabbed the no longer sleeping baby, telling her that Daddy is crazy and wants to back the Uhaul down the road to our driveway at 4am. Jason and I are on our phones, the walkies long since dead and Noah and Nora are in the cab of the Uhaul with Jason and Rosie.
I position myself behind the Uhaul and like a freakin’ traffic controller lead Jason the however many feet (500? 750? 1000?) to the top of our driveway. “Straighten out! Little to the left. Keep coming. You’re doing great.” I am freaked out. Did I mention that I am scared of the dark? We are no where near bears, but I’m thinking one is about to jump out and get me at any moment! I just concentrate on the task and before we know it we are there. Yay! We wait for Jason to unlock the house and then we cart the kids to the porch, me with the baby and Jason with Noah and Nora who are barefoot. It was quite comical.
We had not seen the house since Charley finished the floors and the counters, so we walk in to what I have been imagining for weeks. It is huge and beautiful and I love it! The kids go a little crazy running around and we are all excited (a little “I’m so tired I feel a little loopy” excited) and then we crash for a few more hours knowing we will have to get up and unpack the ridiculously full Uhaul tomorrow…er…today.