Friday, June 10, 2011

Moving Days: A Barfing Pup, the Bates Motel and Cross-Country Adventures

Moving Day. After all this time.. it's here. We woke up as early as we could to finish packing our final things in the car and truck before our final apartment inspection. We had been a little anxious for the inspection, knowing that after 2+ years of heavy wear on crappy apartment carpet, there was a chance we'd have to pay for carpet cleaning. Thanks to our friend, Melissa, we were able to pre-shampoo the carpet before the inspection, to hopefully get most of the pet stains out. I couldn't believe how amazing the place looked as we pulled the last couple things out of there.. it was like new. 

Of course, the Leasing Nazi would be doing our walk-through. We had become pretty good buddies with the women who worked in the leasing office, including one girl, around our age (whom we really liked!), the manager (whom we rarely saw) and then a newer, abrasive woman (the 'nazi') whom we've slowly grown to appreciate, because she's blunt and seems to get the job done. Honestly, she scared the tar out of us when she first started, but she's lightened up a little over the past few months. Justin came up with the idea to "butter up" the ladies, to thank them with some sweet flower bouquets as a 'thank you'. I had a few extra vases that were perfect for our little gifts. 

The few friends that came to help with the heavy cleaning (including the day we packed the truck!) worked their little buns off to make our moving process 10x smoother. Oh my word. I honestly can't believe how much there was to do.. there was no way I (or we) could have done it alone. The abrasive leasing woman arrived at 9am (on the dot!) to do our walk-through and we were all soaked in sweat, thanks to good ol' SC humidity. The walk-through went much faster than we thought and we ended up with an extremely small fee for a stain (that wouldn't come out) that a plant had left a year ago. What a relief!!

Finally, we made sure everything was packed and the boys hitched up my car to the truck. How in the world, does Uhaul expect people moving cross-country to survive without any CD or mp3 hookup?! C'mon, Uhaul.. what century do you think this is?? The poor guys had to rig up an ihome player, buckled in and all. 

So cute! One of the few photos of Jordan smiling.. I tricked him. Mwaahh haa haaa..  (Sorry for posting this, Jovdar.)
Praying the hitch was hooked up right..  What an ordeal!
Goodbye, little apartment!! We will miss you.. (But not you, Albanian creepers on the second floor!)
Ready to go
Pulling out of Brighton Park was definitely a surreal moment for me. All of the packing and cleaning took so long, but it also went extremely fast. I couldn't believe it was actually happening.

Since the boys were in the truck, hauling my car on the back, Lanae & I followed in Justin's Element and maintained some strategic blocking-traffic-to-change-lanes action. Even Justin said he was proud of me for maneuvering the Element, since it's such a beast compared to my car.

We were about 10 minutes on the road, when the adventures really began.

Lanae was on "dog duty" for the trip.. bless her heart. We weren't even out of Greenville, when she was holding Romeo on her lap and he ralphed everywhere. Aughhh! Poor Lanae!! Barf on her and everywhere, pups freaking out, the smell was indescribable and there was no chance in pulling over. We had to deal. She and I laughed and gagged as we did our best to clean up the mess in the fastest way possible. Sick.

We made it through my most dreaded part of the trip.. the Blue Ridge Mountains (I think?) just past Asheville. 20 minutes of no exits and tons of tight roads and curves with semi trucks in every direction. Noo thank you. Lanae and I had no problem keeping ourselves entertained with music and playing with the puppies. We were laughing SO hard at how Coconut was sitting in her kennel/house in the farthest possible corner as if to say, "Can't touch this!" Augh! Just the way she was perched had us laugh-crying for a good 20 minutes.

Coco! Quit sitting like a person! HA
Romeo, constantly needing attention.. Little punk!
Heading for the mountains..
She did so well with them!

Stopping for gas.. Such a blast to fill a 30-gallon tank. Hmmf. 

Proud Wisconni boy.. He was actually wearing this shirt the night we met!
Back on the road!
Coco kept doing the funniest things with her arms.. she REFUSED to bend them!
Naptime in traffic.. 
Everything had been going so smooth. No car trouble, no detours, no problems. We were getting closer to Louiville, KY where my dad had set us up with a decent hotel, so we wouldn't have to drive through the night. Aughh, I was so excited to shower, relax and eat something after 8 or so hours of intense driving.

We decided to GPS somewhere quick to grab food to take up to the hotel, so we wouldn't have to deal with the dogs or leaving once we were there. We made it into town later than we hoped, seeing as it takes much longer with a huge Uhaul and a hitched car on the back. We found a Taco Bell supposedly right next to the hotel and Lanae and I got the giggles as our GPS was taking us through the most random, freakishly ghetto area. We were watching groups of strange-looking people hobbling around, dozens of homeless people with signs, approaching cars for money and this one looney guy who we could swear was in a straight-jacket, kicking along a hot pink suitcase. It had to be wrong.. We knew the hotel was in or near downtown Louisville, but we couldn't imagine the woman (through my dad) who arranged everything for us would organize for a huge Uhaul and hitch - with 4 people and 2 pups - to be trekking through a downtown area. It was difficult enough to maneuver at a gas station, but downtown Louisville?! Are you kidding me right now??

At about sunset, we pulled into Taco Bell - barely squeezing the truck into the entrance and totally unsure how we would get back out. It is literally impossible to describe the emotions and stress at that moment.. Realizing our hotel was in a booming/creepy area, people on bicycles swarming the TB parking lot and eyeing the lock on our truck.. It was scary. We decided to skip the food and go straight to the hotel after we realized how hard it would be to move around in the downtown area. We all had to use the bathroom so bad, but unfortunately.. we had no access without buying tacos first. Cheapest.

Poor Justin had to Austin-Powers his way out of the parking lot and find the simplest way to get to the hotel. Sure enough, we found it just a few blocks away. I don't think I started crying until about an hour of waiting. Seriously.. the emotion and stress of moving and road-tripping alone was heavy on me, saying goodbye to our friends and Justin's brothers.. It was a lot to deal with. Then the hotel.

Justin went to check in and ask about parking, since the miniature lot was overflowing with car jams and people. The hotel had a tiny parking ramp with a 6-foot clearance.. we needed 11' feet. Great. Lanae and I had to park across the street since there was nowhere for us to go. We waited and waited. It was hot, we were exhausted and hungry and the dogs wanted out. Justin called me to tell me they couldn't accomodate our moving truck and that we would have to park it several blocks away. Uhhmm.. No thank you? For the record, I wasn't the only one paranoid to leave our entire lives in a truck in the middle of the ghetto, blocks from our hotel. Jordan tried going in to talk with the front desk. No help. I tried going in. No help. Honestly, I thought we may have been able to squeeze into the lot in a "no parking" area, but the front desk lady said no. Apparently, the hotel wasn't pet-friendly either, so that would have been a whole other story.

I was afraid to tell my dad that we couldn't stay there, since they wouldn't accommodate our parking situation. I called him to tell him the situation and he encouraged us to "call the police" for parking assistance. Ohh, right. I'm sure the cops would love to aid us in finding a "nice, safe place to park our Uhaul".. No way! He had done a lot to make it happen for us and the hotel seemed really nice despite being in the creepiest area.. I left it up to the boys and we decided to continue driving as far as we could and find a cheapy-cheap hotel just to crash at.

Chaos of deciding where to go and what to do. 
A few hours later, we rolled into a decent looking hotel community with about 10 to choose from. Where do the boys pull in? Oh yes. The "Allstate Inn" with a sign that said, "39.99". As if the price wasn't an indication on what kinda place it was, they gave us the go-ahead to park. Long story short, I was pretty emotional and frustrated. We grabbed our suitcases and fumbled up the stairs, past the "caution-tape" and went to our room. Of course the key didn't work. Justin went back down to the office for a new key as we awaited our doom.

We finally unlocked the door and entered a fierce odor of feet, hair and 120+ degrees. Why yes, it would only make sense to seal closed a nasty hotel room without the AC running, so we could enjoy muggy, 99 degrees and then drag ourselves into a ball of heat and stench so-strong-you-could-chew-it. Why, Lord?? I was already pretty upset from having to explain to my dad that we passed on staying at the $$$/per night hotel he paid for us to stay in, to pay for our own safety - although I didn't feel the least bit safe at that Creepotel. Ew. I could keep complaining, but I think you get my point. It was a crummy situation that was no one's fault but my dad's broker who set it all up for us. Too bad she failed to consider we were moving cross-country and had a Uhaul, a hitch and 2 puppies to accommodate.

One of the 2 beds was broken and lopsided and it wasn't worth switching rooms over. We bore the stinky sauna until we passed out in puddles of our own sweat. The room finally cooled down around 2:30-3am. Typical.

Yay for Bates Motel!
Our truck made it through the night..
We parked next to this luxurious cement/debris/rubbish garden, complete with a janky swingset. 
Are we in Mexico?
On the road again. Chicago-bound and change for the tolls ready to go. We definitely praised God for fairly clear skies and decent driving weather. Still pretty hot!

Before or after Indianapolis (I think?)
Hello, tolls! Little did we know, moving trucks are 12x the cost. Cheapest. 
Yeeee 94!
The Windy City
We hit some horrendous traffic, but dealing with Midwest-drivers (vs. crazy Southerners) was well worth it!
About 4 hours still from home, we realized we were headed for a really bad storm. I did my best to suck it up and focus. Man, I hate driving in rain. Semis were weaving everywhere and the roads were slick. Lanae and I rocked out to Lady Marmalade 3x in a row, at the top of our lungs (not even kidding). I was ready to punch her in the tooth when she refused to turn off Disney sing-alongs that she kept turning on as a joke.. all I wanted was MUSE! We were ridiculously lucky though -- We just so happened to be traveling with the storm - making better time, actually beating it as it followed us.

I just wanna live!
Getting a little worse.. 

The worst finally behind us..
C'mon sunshine! Just get us home!
Fantastic sunset
Romeo loves to fall asleep in awkward positions
We rolled in around 11pm.. Exhausted to the max. It was so good to see my parents after our 25-hour journey.. We passed out, so we would wake up the next morning to unload the truck and decide which boxes would be stored where. It's so good to be home, just doesn't feel like "home" quite yet..

My dad was really helpful in getting the truck unloaded quickly

{More blog posts to come.. I can't believe how backed-up I am!}


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