It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, to say the least.
I cleaned out the property we were renting in Illinois. We left a lot behind. There was a sense that maybe there was a lot of stuff hoarded that didn’t need to be, and a sense of shame that the rental property hadn’t been taken care of better. In fairness, much of that wasn’t on us the renters. But some of it was. I am not sure I’ll get a positive endorsement from my previous landlord.
I had been working right up until the Thursday graveyard shift, which was a surprisingly joyous affair. I had bought a cake that said “My condolences for your loss” because who doesn’t like free cake and a good joke? But the joke was kind of ruined by the very sweet gesture by my coworkers that bought me a “three milks” cake with a message about a happy voyage in Spanish.
We all ate way too much cake that day.
Friday I found myself packing what we could in my brother’s 7×14 trailer. He was gracious enough to drive all the way out with his high school friend, lend me his trailer, and then take that trailer back into Montana for me. Then we loaded up a few important objects into our 2014 Chevy Captiva (a retired fleet vehicle because what else could we afford and our previous 2005 Town and Country could barely take me to work) and made our way to Utah, where we would be house sitting for a week.
I made it a point to power nap for all of three hours before leaving at 10:20 at night. In retrospect, I should have found a way to just keep us all there until morning – but I didn’t. Thus, I started a drive that was suppose to take 21 hours in an exhuasted state. I wasn’t too worried though, becuase we’d be driving at night. We’d have no traffic to fight with!
And then we hit rain, and fog, and I started to fall asleep.
Thus begun our long trek from the midwest to the west proper. I discovered that the vehicle I had did not have child safety locks, as my youngest son managed to open the door FIVE TIMES during our trip. FIVE! Stop opening the damn door. We had to keep stopping every 3 hours or so for bathroom breaks. Several times the family stopped at rest stops so that they could run around and I could nap for 30 minutes or an hour.
I documented the trip on my Facebook, and someone mentioned that I’d be a lot less tired if I tried something called “Stackers.” These are pills that, I would later learn, about as much caffiene per pill as 5 cups of coffee and an herbal supplement similar to ephidrine to boot.
I took three of them at once, immediately crashed for an hour, and then could not stop shaking for the next eight hours. So uh, don’t take three of them at once.
The last leg of the drive, which had me driving in the middle of construction in Utah in the middle of the night, was a special kind of hell. There were points in the trip where I found myself slowing down because I was seeing double. I was fortunate there weren’t many others on the road with me.
Eventually though, I made it. I was finally in Utah.
After passing out for an average-for-me 6 hours, my children got to spend time with their grandma and I-guess-grandpa (since they married after I was grown up, haha) and they were also able to meet up with their great aunt and their great-grandma. I hadn’t seen either of them in twenty years; the opportunity to meet them with my kids made the reunion even sweeter.
My mother and her husband left the day after, and things were smooth until the last day of house sitting when my daughter accidentally broke a window.
Come on kid.
Anyways, my brother relieved me of house sitting, and that had us starting the 6 hours from Utah to the Bitterroot Valley in Montana, which is where I would be staying. My youngest son demanded three potty breaks, my daughter was cranky, my oldest just wanted to sleep, but I had gotten a full night of rest at least. We ended up stopping in a restaurant in Leadore, Idaho where one guy was taking the orders and doing all the cooking. The food was good even if it took a while, and it did seem like everyone was a lot more calm and ready to travel after that.
Which was good, because Lost Trail Pass was a god damned nightmare. The road conditions were mostly fine, outside of some fallen rock debris, but the drivers were impatient and no one knew how to turn their brights off for oncoming traffic. It also took some doing to be reminded that when a mountain pass says a turn is 40 miles per hour, that’s… not a suggestion! My not-quite-an-SUV simply don’t like hitting turns like that very fast. It’s almost as if the speed limits and the warning signs were there for a reason.
So now I’m back, outside of my home town. It’s amazing what has changed, and what has almost arbitrarily stayed the same. I’ll probably share more on that later. I have this nasty habit of seeing someone and going “I saw you twenty years ago!” And they will respond in the most respectful version of “that’s great; I don’t care.” Maybe some day I will learn.
I am working again, and trying to carve a name out for myself besides. It always feels like an uphill battle though.