Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Move of Epic Proportions

We are home. As I sit at the counter of my new kitchen -- surrounded on all sides by unpacked boxes, mind you -- this reality still doesn't seem quite to have hit me. There's a reason for that. Let me explain. No, there is too much; let me sum up. No, wait, the only way for anyone to understand is to lay it all out for you, so bear with me. Okay? Okay.

Friday, May 28, 11 p.m. - Bryan and I had made a deal to finish our respective packing projects by 11 p.m. so we could go to bed at a reasonable hour, for us at least, so that we would be well rested for packing the truck. This deal worked out remarkably well, and we were indeed in bed and dozing off by ten after.

Saturday, May 29, 7 a.m. - Bryan's alarm went off. Thirty seconds later, mine went off. We both hit snooze.

7:15 a.m. - My second alarm went off. I got up. Bryan got up. The boys got up. We continued packing and organizing.

9:30 a.m. - Bryan went to pick up the Uhaul truck. I packed and cleaned the last bathroom frantically.

10 a.m. - Bryan brought the truck in, and we realized that Uhaul's idea of a 17 foot truck was much different than ours. Ours was actually 17 feet. Theirs was more like 12 feet plus the cab. Regardless, we began the daunting task of packing our apartment into it.

To note: Our apartment is on the third story of the building. There is no elevator. There are thirty-six steps; I counted them.

Also to note: Since we've moved into this apartment four and a half years ago, we have added an entire person to our family plus the various furniture and accoutrements necessary for that fourth person. We've also added a couch, a coffee table and more books than I would care to detail.

Now that you've noted this, consider how many times we had to walk those thirty-six steps with our furniture, boxes, suitcases, appliances, et cetera. A hundred, you think? More? We're talking four thousand steps to climb, down and up, approximately speaking.

I wish I could put a time on when the truck was half full, three quarters full, but I honestly don't know. What I do know is that I thought we would have the truck loaded by five in the afternoon. I would take the packed car to Whole Foods where I would purchase a picnic lunch and little cake for our dinner, dessert, reward and rest. Bryan had estimated six. We were both being starry-eyed and optimistic.

7 p.m. - We shoved our mattress in the truck, cursing Uhaul and our apartment complex and our lack of friends, and Bryan informed me that we would have to make a second run with the truck. I may have wept.
Bryan may have as well.

I took our packed car to Whole Foods, picked up a few slices of pizza and cookies and headed for the house. We ate. We unpacked in record time, patting each other the back for being to unpack so quickly.

10:30 p.m. - We drove back to the apartment. Bryan tasked me with making a Dunkin Donuts run, but Asher fell asleep five minutes from D & D, and there wasn't a single parking space to be found, and I was tired, and my hands hurt from carrying heavy crap, and my feet and my legs hurt from climbing the stairs, and I was scraped and bruised, and my baby was sleeping in the car, for crying out loud, and I arrived back to the apartment, carried Asher up three flights of stairs, went in and realized exactly how much more there was to do.

10:50 p.m. - Bryan showed up with the truck. I burst into tears.

11 p.m. - We emptied the boys' room, laid out a couple of comforters and set the boys to sleep. We continued packing. I moaned a lot, wept a little, complained way too much, and once or twice completely lost my gumption to pick up my end of whatever needed me to pick it up.

Sunday, May 30, 1 a.m. - Bryan assured me that he could handle the rest and I should go lay down with the boys since I was the one who had to be up to work nursery at church in the morning. Feeling despondent and mortified with guilt but so defeated I wasn't exactly helping anyway, I agreed.

1 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. - Bryan packed the truck. I did not sleep. I laid in the room with the boys, listening to every noise of my husband coming in and out of the apartment, wondering how well he was doing, was he coping, if he had fallen down the stairs, if he had grown despondent and defeated and angry with me for abandoning him, but I didn't sleep. I couldn't make myself wake enough to actually get up and help him, and I really did have to get up in the morning and present a decent front for nursery, so I remained where I was.

4:30 a.m. - Bryan came to bed. He promptly went into a sound sleep. I still didn't fall asleep.

5:30 a.m. - Our alarms once again went off. We both hit snooze. With the second alarm, I roused Bryan -- who later informed me that he had no idea where he was or what was going on or what I was talking about -- and we gathered the pillows, went out into the living room to discover that my amazing, astounding, unbelievable husband had cleared the entire apartment. By himself. Empty.

6 a.m. - Dunkin Donuts. Plenty of parking.

6:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. - Bryan, Elijah and I (and Asher, a little) emptied the entire truck. We even took most of it into the house, rather than simply dumping it all in the car port, though we did essentially dump it in the kitchen, den and dining room as they're the most accessible rooms from the car port.

We returned the truck, fully gassed as per the contract by 10 a.m., and I even managed to take a side trip to our church and inform the nursery coordinator of our situation. She was gracious and generous enough to tell me that they'd find me a substitute; take my family home to sleep.

10:30 a.m. - We sat down to breakfast, all four of us exhausted and in tremendous pain (neither Bryan nor I can fully clench our fists at this point, our hands are so swollen and damaged) but we were relieved because we were done.

We spent the entire afternoon napping in the new house. I never fully fell asleep then either, and at this point -- 9:21 by my laptop clock -- I'm so tired, I'm barely thinking straight, but it did my boys well.

And my boys... to the world, I would like to declare that my family is amazing.

My husband did everything. My husband carried the heavy stuff. He packed the truck like the most insane and meticulous game of Tetris EVER. He stayed up all night in order to clear the apartment, and he did all of this with a very sweet and patient attitude, assuring all of us we were doing fantastic.

And Elijah? Dude, that kid carried as much as I did, though to a lesser degree weight-wise, obviously, and he kept a cheerful, helpful attitude the entire day. He never complained. Not once. Can you imagine?

Asher couldn't carry things down the big stairs, so he couldn't help us load, but he did help us unload, the little bit that he was able. However, my little boy waited patiently these last few days while the three of us came and went, telling him that we were busy, that we would be working a long time, that we couldn't turn on a movie or game for him because the TV and XBox were packed, that his toys were packed, that we didn't have more than a few minutes at a time to spend with him. He was unbelievably patient.

This has been the longest weekend of my life. I still can't bring myself to say that the move went well because I think we were slapped silly by how huge of an endeavor it actually was, but I'm so proud of my family, I can't begin to even express it. That means so much more to me than the house or the yard. They made it worth it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Today, The Day Before Tomorrow

Today can only be expressed with this picture (sorry about the quality):

This is exactly how my brain feels right now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

T Minus Two Days and Cell Phone Pictures

The pile, it has swelled...

... and spawned...

... and begun eating the Very Important Appliances.

Not that Asher knows the difference:

That's just one more great perk of being three.

(Asher: "Mommy, take a picture of my sword." Lays it on the floor at my feet.
Me: "Uh huh." Ignores the toy sword on the floor at my feet and snaps a picture of my sword-archer-ninja.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

T Minus Five Days and Counting

I've been counting down the weeks/ days to our move, and, to any who might be interested, today -- Monday, May 24th -- is five days to U-haul. Oh, and my birthday.

Yeah, we're moving on my birthday. I don't want to talk about it.

I have honestly considered, again and again, taking pictures of the piles of boxes/ empty bookshelves, but I've yet to actually seek out the camera. Plus now I'm lacking the perspective of last week's pile of boxes to show exactly how much we accomplished over the weekend. Take my word for it: it was LOTS.

In the same way that no woman actually looks forward to labor & delivery, but instead looks ahead to the baby that'll result, Bryan and I are trying to avoid thinking about the actual moving pains, but we're freaking out-excited about living in a new house. With a yard.

We've discussed where we'll be putting our future grill and future hammock, talked about monitor systems so we can hear the boys downstairs while we're upstairs, and broached the idea of painting at some point, as the dining room and kitchen are kind of laughable. Not gross, not even old and peely, just ever so slightly humorous.

In my own mind, I've begun arranging and rearranging furniture, debated the direction that the boys could throw a ball in the yard so to best avoid hitting the house/ windows, considered how/ where Asher will play while Elijah work on schooling, and yesterday I found myself ridiculously giddy to arrange my etsy prints on the exposed-brick wall that separates the kitchen from the living room.

It's all very exciting. Daunting and exhausting, but very, very exciting.

Oh, you know what? I have a cell phone right here... that takes pictures...

Yep. Most of those boxes are books. It's ridiculous.

More books. (Among other things.)

But having the books in boxes will make moving these easier at least.

... I hope.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stains of Time - Common Children

When the sunshine burns the darkness
Remove the veil that lingers on Your face
The stains of time still mark us
Standing in the aftermath of grace
Standing in the aftermath of grace
Do you want to hear these stories
of love and our mistakes?
Will you show us all Your glory
to soothe and to erase
The stains of time

Do you want to hear these stories
of love and our mistakes?
Will you show us all Your glory
to soothe and to erase...

Tell me me you don't love Common Children. I dare you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When life jumps out at you and yells "HA!"

I and my little family are packing up our apartment of the last four and a half years and moving fifteen miles to an actual house surrounded on all sides by actual yard. This is a first for us. Bryan and I have lived in apartments our entire marriage, and our boys haven't ever had a place to simply go out and play on a nice day. We're stoked.

However, that means that I am trying to pack a few boxes day by day, the stuff we won't need for the next three weeks, which isn't a problem, but I'm also juggling Asher (he's the equivalent of three balls, all by himself) as well as Elijah's schooling, standardized testing, church nursery duty, Bryan's cold, and my own. And that's only the simple stuff.

So, I find myself watching a lot of music videos these days. Sounds counter productive? Yeah, probably, but it's my coping mechanism when napping isn't an option.

In the last few days of packing and cleaning and summer weather, I've been turning to Our Lady Peace pretty often. It's my happy music. They're my favorite.

The above song is from an album (Spiritual Machines) I would call an actual masterpiece, without a weak track on it. Plus, dude, Raine's hair. It might be my favorite ever.

Yes, I am that shallow.

Sometimes. Not often, but sometimes.

This is not my favorite song on its album (Happiness... Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch), but it is my favorite video, possibly of all OLP's. Melancholy and poignant and perfect. Though I would call Spiritual Machines a masterpiece, Happiness is my breath of fresh air. Every song is fun. Every song makes me happy. I think... yeah. Yep, every song.

Did I mention that for our ten year anniversary, Bryan got us tickets to see Our Lady Peace in Boston? My favorite band was actually playing in Atlanta on the date of our anniversary, but we, of course, were in New England at that point. So, when they played New England four days later, we prolonged our anniversary-weekend and drove to Boston (yikes!) and caught the show.

Amazing. Worth it. Completely. Holy cow.

Bryan's the best. Clearly those tickets proved he loves me. Right?

This video creeps Elijah out, but the song is amazing. That bass line... mmmm.

Now, I know these songs are pretty dated (2000, 1999 & 1994, respectively), but like I said, this is what's keeping me motivated this week to keep on the annoyingly good fight of packing and mothering. It's my happy music.

Love OLP? Hate 'em? (Hi, Beth!) Leave me some love and tell me about your happy music.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Christian Music - House of Heroes

I have to be honest: I had no idea that House of Heroes was Christian initially. You see, their three-song sampler was a free download from Amazon, and I liked it, so I downloaded the full album and did my usual research (wikipedia, etc.), only to realize after we had the music and liked it, that the band is considered under the Christian genre, under a Christian label (Gotee Records), and is on tour with two very well renowed Christian artists (Skillet & Toby Mac). There was much squeeing in the Punk household that day.

House of Heroes is feel-good music. That was my very first impression, and I firmly believe it's the best way to describe it. However -- here's the twist -- the lyrics are not... always. Sometimes the lyrics are downright gruesome and shocking, but, then, I've learned that surprising is exactly the quality I look for in music.

That said, holy moley does my nine-year-old love House of Heroes. I say, "We need music. What should we listen to?" Elijah says, "HOUSE OF HEROES!" (Asher says, "Our Lady Peace." I turn on City and Colour.)

It's a little daunting that he likes House of Heroes so much because the lyrics are a little intense. There's nothing quite as alarming as hearing your beautiful, sensitive chahead singing, "I'm thinking of you when I kill a good man to keep myself from being killed by him." I mean, yikes like whoa.

I do recommend House of Heroes. They are musically solid, lyrically off-beat but clean, and who doesn't love a band that can cover The Beatles and not suck?

(Postscript to add: A much more comprehensive and eloquent review of this particular album can be found at Jesus Freak Hideout.)