The Year of the Drunken Albatross, Part 2: Flight

When last we left our heroes, the moving van had arrived to carry the Viertel family into The Great Unknown.


Okay, maybe that’s a bit over dramatic. We actually did know where we were going and where our stuff was going.  But by moving day, there was not yet a signed sale agreement on our new home.  There was verbal acceptance by the bank and a lot of foot-dragging in terms of getting the papers signed.  But that was a job for our friends to handle.  As for us, we were moving in with my mom.


But first we had to move our stuff, and it was not comforting to see the loading ramp on the moving van break.  The movers used duct tape to keep it in place long enough to do the day’s job. They were also concerned about space on the truck, which was a bit of a surprise.  We were actually ridding ourselves of our couches, as they did not fit the new space. We had planned to cut down on the unused items we were keeping in the garage.  Our goal had been to have the garage usable as a garage before we moved again, but that goal had been set when we had hope of a multi-year living arrangement.


We did end up pulling the trigger on an idea that we’d been discussing.  We got rid of our bedroom set.  More accurately we left the bedroom set with the intent of disposing of it via Craigslist.


Ultimately, we got everything in the truck that we needed to and set off for the storage unit.   Actually, the movers took off while I was closing up the house and took and hour lunch break.  That would have been fine had they told me they were going to do that.  I would have done the same.  That got resolved when I learned that the moving van could not get in the front gate of the storage facility.  In fairness, the place is built on a relatively steep hillside, so it’s understandable to a degree.


That was pretty much all the drama for moving day.


My mom’s condo is on the middle of 3 floors and faces west without shade.  Naturally, this was the hottest week of the year.  So we had 5 tired people sharing a condo that has 3 “bedrooms” but is set up for 1 permanent resident.  In short, lots of futon and couch sleeping. I’m sure many of you can understand how that situation would call for lots of love and grace and evenings in parks and such, especially after her water heater died, leaving us without hot water for several days.


Of course the week after moving day was all about disposing of the stuff that we didn’t move with the movers.  Bikes and mowers went to visit our landlords.  Stuff went to the dump and Goodwill and to happy Craigslist buyers.  It was also about cleaning and yard work.  We actually hired people for that stuff, and I felt it was money well spent in pursuit of getting our security deposit back.  If nothing else, it alleviated some of the stress.


And then we were done with our old house.  Aside from eagerly awaiting the aforementioned deposit and final utility bills, we were no longer residents of our old home.


If you’re wondering, that first week also saw a signed sale contract and a move-in date, so we could see something resembling a finish line.


Still there was a lot to do.  We got to give our input on the new kitchen cabinetry and counter tops.  We had to find a couch and a bed.  In particular, the aftermarket market for couches failed us and we ended up paying full price at Ikea.  But that’s okay.


Then the door fell off of my SUV…


Well not completely, but a really stupid design flaw in GMC trucks that had been giving us trouble finally decided to force our hand.  So, in the middle of all this other transition, we bought ourselves a new car.  The rent-savings had to go somewhere, after all.


It’s actually the nicest car I’ve owned, so I’m not complaining, but it would have been nice if we could have waited until after we moved.


Still, in the middle of all the stress and chaos, we were afforded a glimpse of the future that would make this all worth while.


One day, early in the process of waiting for the sale to be approved, we stopped by to visit the house.  Alissa saw a van, driven by a woman she’d seen at church park in a neighboring driveway.  The memory had stuck with Alissa, and we wondered if we would be neighbors with a family from our church, a thought that we liked very much.


Months later, while I was talking to other parents at an organizing meeting for VBS, a woman said she knew Harry from Sunday School.  Alissa strongly felt that this was the woman in the neighboring house.  Her husband was also volunteering, so I asked him and we were, in fact, going to be neighbors. As it turned out, one of their daughters was in my group and another was in Annie’s.


So it was that one evening, a couple of days before moving day, we were at the house.  We reviewed the progress on the floors and the kitchen remodel, and dropped off a few items.  The kids brought out their scooters, which had been residing in my trunk and were riding them around the cul-de-sac.  Before long, the family from church came over. The kids of the friends buying the house came over.  The little boy across the street got home.  Before we knew it, there were seven kids running and scooting around the cul-de-sac as we parents chatted and began getting to know each other.  Someone even brought out rice-crispy treats.

As the evening ended and everyone started working their way home, I heard the girl who had been in my class ask her dad, as they walked home beneath a setting sun, why her teacher (from VBS) was here.  That’s when I realized that this would be a new season for us, one of community and connectedness.  If we could make this work, it would be everything we’d been wanting for ourselves, and for our kids for a very long time.

We were two days from moving in.


About Andrew

I'm a Christian, American, liberal, geeky, thoughtful, Northwest-transplanted Angeleno husband, father, and pundit who writes about anything he can think of.
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