Adventures in moving cross country- Volume 17: I guess we're home?

We arrived at the house in Lansing Friday afternoon. It had been a long journey and we were very tired. Having the trip behind us was relieving, but when we stepped inside the giant barn styled house, it was obvious that a new kind of journey was just beginning. 

We're heeeere!!

I thought I was prepared. I really did. There is a significant difference, however, in saying the words, "We'll all just live upstairs in the apartment until things are ready." and living them. 

Having James and Bucky go out ahead of time was intended to serve a couple of purposes- getting Bucky out of the way of the heavy house purging and cleaning, and allowing James to settle in for us ahead of time so that there would be some kind of home to arrive at. Being in the midst of a construction project, however, made any kind of settling impossible. 

While James and Bucky were away from the area for a few days, the renovation crew took advantage and did some necessary work up on the 3rd floor. The aforementioned polyurethane was the biggest piece and required that all of the stuff that had been set up, like a bed and James' computer, be stashed away in closets and covered in plastic. 

Although all we wanted was to crash out and stretch out after days on the road, we had to find the places where things were stashed in order to be able to have somewhere to actually stretch. We also had to get the Sonar, Judar & Ned into a relatively comfortable space, so that our stuff wasn't soaked in animal piss by morning. 

Yeah guys, just keep your paws off the wood, ok?

We only had one mattress on the floor, for James and I to share, and a large and leaky air mattress for the boys. But it was enough and we were able to sleep, even if it was still a foreign environment that smelled of chemicals and had no real sense of home about it. 

In the morning, I got up and navigated the chore of leading a blind and deaf dog down three sets of stairs and through a construction site. I surveyed our house, that I had only seen in the snow and noted the corroding roof tiles, the garbage in the lawn from people walking by, the wooden steps that were falling apart and needed to be sanded and painted. I marveled at the amount of damage that the beautiful snow had covered in February.

I swear there were stairs here. I guess that's just the way the snow falls.

After putting Ned upstairs, I wandered back down to the first floor, with the intention of getting pictures of the progress on each floor. I made it through most of the first before gagging down some vomit, starting to cry and having a full blown panic attack. 

This will be the Unicorn Room.

And this is the bathroom attached to the Unicorn Room.

And this is the overwhelming sense of failure and defeat!

Throughout this experience, I have been aware that this is a HUGE house and an OLD house and there was A LOT of work to be done. I continually chose to look at the positive parts and have faith in it all working out in the end. Now, with reality staring me directly in the face, it wasn't just hard to be optimistic, it was hard not to feel that I might be trying to destroy our whole lives by chasing this crazy dream. 

James and Jerome allowed me a day of being bed ridden and anxious. They unpacked the Penske, for the most part, while I unpacked my fears and concerns and tried to reason with them inside my head. 

Then we went to a very metal local music festival, so that helped!

Later that evening, as James and I took our first of many dates away from the boys, in a local tavern, (there's about a million of them in walking distance) he held my hands as I sobbed that I was sorry that I put everyone into this position. And as we walked back to our house and I gazed at it's hulking outline and questioned everything, he patiently listened and assured me. 

"It just reminds me of Oregon so much! Sob!"

The next day I woke up with a sore throat and all the tired that is found at the end of a long run of burning the candles at both ends and an anxiety attack. James assembled my work desk as I slipped in and out of consciousness. We still had the washer, dryer and freezer to unpack and I was so grateful when our super nice and helpful neighbor saw us at it and offered his help. 

This next day, with all the feels offloaded and nothing but exhaustion left, it was easier to accept that this was our life now. We were 4 humans, one elderly dog and 2 cats living and working in a one bedroom apartment. The apartment, however, with it's vaulted ceilings and gorgeous wooden accents, was still a step up from the basement apartment we lived in for 6 years. I was finding my optimism again. 

Now only 75% haunted, it's not so bad!

The boys are spending quality time together, all the time!

The third day was Monday, and that meant back to work! In my stressed state, my body's defense let in that stupid cold that James had had for weeks, but it didn't distract me from getting up early and plugging away at finding some normalcy in working. Of course, my newly forged job still hasn't found it's stride quite yet as I was only 2 weeks in when I took the week off to move. It was still more normal to sit in front of a computer and talk about systems, processes and tasks with people I had known for years, than it was to walk around the house and dwell on things that I had no clue how to fix. 

That first week of work flew by and by the next weekend, I had developed a little routine of putting Bucky to bed and then sitting on the porch and watching the fireflies come out. As neighbors walk by, we say "Hello!" and most nights James and I will take a walk, or go to a local bar for a drink just to get out of the house and let Jerome have some space on his own. 


Now we're on week 3 and it's getting even better. We've worked out laundry days and grocery days and our evening routine is nice and relaxing, but not as sedentary as it was before. It's definitely hard to watch a lot of TV when there's nowhere comfortable to lounge and relax. The renovation team is making a lot of progress, which is very noticeable every day, and that means we'll soon be able to move into a situation where we don't have everyone sleeping in the same room and working/playing in the other same room. 

The progress of a kitchen.

I feel more confident than ever that this was a great choice for our family. Not because of the joy that the children have with the fireflies and the lush nature, or because of all the great food and social scenes that we've already been able to enjoy- but because of the fact that my anxiety has shrank to levels that it hasn't been at in years. It's not that I'm no longer anxious, that would be weird in it's own way. But my stomach isn't clenched in knots on a daily basis, and I don't have to take medicine to make sure I sleep through the night without an endless circle of thoughts trying to keep me awake at 4am. 

This feels like the right place, even though so many things are still up in the air. 

We're gonna be just fine.


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