Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reality Squared

What can I say about reality and coming back to it?   Hmmm....There are a few choice phrases I'm thinking of, but I'll just say: Ugghh.

Sure, we were all tired and somewhat grimy by the end of the trip, but aside from a few sleep issues and the general grouchiness that comes along with heavy traveling, things were peachy.  It was peaceful not to have to deal with the everyday mundane and just look out the window and watch the world go by.  It was fun to eat at different/weird restaurants and explore life close the interstate.  It felt like old times, traveling with my Dad, but now with my own family in tow.

The trip ended all too abruptly with the departure of my father.  I white-knuckled it to the airport in an unfamiliar city and pleaded several times with my  boys to keep silent or I might crash (horrible, yes-but at the time, it did seem absolutely necessary and not all that inaccurate).   I cried as I said goodbye and tried to dry my tears for the next hour or so in order to navigate the directions to our new home.

As the next seven days went by in a furious blur of activity, each and every task appeared to move painfully slow to us.  Unpacking was difficult with two boys running around and made even more onerous due to the diminished square footage that our rental provided us in comparison with our previous abode. Many items went into a storage facility and I never knew how much I would dearly miss all of  my kitchen cabinets.  If I could write them a thank you note expressing my unwavering love, I probably would. 

Overwhelming. There has just been so much to do.  First and foremost was unpacking, then endless amounts of paperwork from the rental company, initiating accounts with public utilities, selling our house (yay!), finding a notary, registering Boy O for school, getting pool passes, library card, cancelling utilities and home insurance, rental insurance, choosing new health insurance and I still haven't managed to tackle car insurance, getting new driver's licenses, car inspections, etc...  So much for my giant folder.

Things feel like they are getting back on track-Daddy O started his new job, Boy O started Kindergarten (more on that later), I joined a local Mom's group, and Baby O is enjoying more one on one time with me during the day.  But sometimes I find myself focusing on silly things like why the light switches are on the outside of the bathrooms, why ceiling fans were not designed for short people, why our rental agency doesn't care that our house is infested by ants and why this part of the country seems to have an excess of feeder roads and super targets...I guess it's all just new.  I'll be honest-besides our friends that we left behind, the thing I miss most is how comfortable we were in our house and community.  I haven't quite found my groove yet and I keep reminding myself that it has only been two weeks and it will take at least a few more to get my mojo back.  The kids on the other hand continue to demonstrate their plasticity and seem to have transitioned much more smoothly than Mommy and Daddy O.  Get them on their regular bedtime, a couple of familiar toys and they are good to go.

We have been soaking up the endless sunshine and spend most mornings at the neighborhood pool. One unfortunate side effect of the dry weather has been the onset of ants and they all decided to take over a couple of rooms late last week.  I would like to add that I am not one to balk at the sight of a few ants in the bathroom, but when they take over a closet, crib, queen size bed and all the additional bedding, I hit my breaking point.  As the exterminator explained that the ant activity might not subside for a few more days even after his toxic remedy, we decided to hit the road and stay at the beach for a couple of days while things died down.  I can't think of a better place to be. 

Note to self: write thank you note to the ants for wonderful weekend at Mustang Island filled with swimming, sandcastles, tourist traps and fresh salty air.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 6

We got off to an early start this morning, expecting the last leg of the trip to be long and...long.  After visiting several national parks in the last few days, I was disappointed to learn that we had arrived too late and we would leave too early to visit the Roswell UFO museum during our brief visit.   I know it doesn't measure up to the Grand Canyon, but I had envisioned it to be a fun, guilty pleasure kind of stop along the way.  So I made everyone stop for a picture on our way out of town.  At 6 o'clock in the morning.  I figured it was the next best thing.

There seemed to be quite a few bathroom breaks today and we had to communicate via my Dad's cell phone today between cars due to the fact that I left my phone charger somewhere in Arizona.  For the first pit stop, I asked my Dad to call Daddy O who was driving in front of us to pull off at the next gas station.  My Dad dialed the number, and as soon as he heard the phone pick up said, Hey we need a potty break!  Unfortunately he had dialed the wrong number and the person on the other end let him know it.  We had a good laugh about that!

Today was full of entertainment from my Dad or Chief as the boys refer to him-he told all the old stories I remembered and a few new ones.  The hours were filled with different forms of I spy and other games and I'm glad that the boys got to experience my Dad in fun 'travel mode'.  We will all be sad to see him leave tomorrow.

Here is Boy O in Pecos, Texas-he is fascinated with cactus and this was right next to the gas station where we made a much needed pit stop. 

We ate lunch in Ozona, Texas where there was a Davy Crockett monument.  Boy O is a big fan of the old Davy Crockett movies (thanks Dad!) and this was the highlight of the day (besides the pool later on). 

Even though we were on the road for eight hours, the miles seemed to go by fast and before we knew it, Hill Country was upon us.  In the blink of an eye, our road trip is ending and although I will be so excited to see our washing machine and dryer tomorrow (hopefully), I will be sad to say goodbye to my Dad and the break from the ol' grind.  It's been a great ride but it's time to go back to reality, I guess. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 5

On the road again.  And again and again.  Today seemed to never end.  The morning flew by from Flagstaff to the border of New Mexico, but by the time we hit Albequerque, time seemed to inch backward.  It's getting to that point where we are all tired of sitting and driving, the dirty clothes are multiplying fast and stinking up what's left of the clean ones and the entertainment center of my brain has been exhausted.

Despite the monotony of the drive we still managed to stop briefly at the petrified forest.  In all reality,  I needed a potty break and it coincided perfectly with exit 311 and literally the only place to stop was the national park.  Perfect timing. 

Boy O at the petrified forest:

Baby O at the petrified forest:

We have made our way through the painted desert and the bleak landscape of the New Mexico desert and are staying the night in Roswell, New Mexico. Surprisingly, I do not have any pool pictures because we didn't even go.  It was just nice to sit here in the room, do nothing and walk across the street to have some dinner.  The boys are doing really well with the lack of routine from day to day, they seem tired of sitting all day as well, but are enjoying all the amenities the hotels have to offer (ice machines and shower caps really do provide a lot of entertainment) and take full advantage of exploring all there is to explore at various rest stops and emergency potty breaks.

Onto Texas tomorrow!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 4

We took a welcome break today from all the heavy driving and set aside the entire day to see the Grand Canyon.  A day really isn't enough to really explore and see everything, but I think it was a good introduction until we can make a longer trip sometime in the future.  

Words and pictures cannot describe the Grand Canyon.  Wow.  I think we stopped at every scenic view point to oohh and ahhh.

As we sat down to eat at the Canyon Cafeteria (going on hour 4 of ooohing and aaahing), Boy O plunked himself down at the table and said very matter of factly, You know Mom, I think we should just go to a hotel and go to the pool.  That just about summed it up and I knew we were on our way out soon. 

On that note, instead of posting pics of all the national parks and scenic view we pass, I should really just do a post on the variety of pools from state to state.  Here's Flagstaff, Arizona:

Back on the road tomorrow and hope we can make some headway through New Mexico!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 2 and 3

Once again, I'm behind.  It is harder than I had imagined to find the time to sit down before we collapse on our hotel bed at the end of a long day of being on the road. 

We left Boise early in the morning on day 2 and drove into Utah until the end of the day.  Although very beautiful, my general impression was that the department of transportation had somehow made the decision to put every major highway under construction in one summer. It seemed as if traveling in one lane of traffic would never end.  We found ways to entertain ourselves and Boy O has been enjoying playing musical chairs between the two vehicles.

At the end of the day we found ourselves in Fillmore, Utah and unpacked at the Paradise Inn.  The grounds of Paradise also included a Garden of Eat'n (seriously) and a good sized pool.  After looking at what the area had to offer in the way of food, we decided to try the restaurant:

I wouldn't say the ol' garden was even a small slice of paradise, but the experience and the picture alone was worth the trouble.  After recovering from the pork chops and garlic toast we hurried on over to the pool to get some much needed energy out and headed off to bed.

Today we continued to travel South through Utah and were pleased to discover that the entire state was not reduced to one lane of traffic.    The scenery was breathtaking and we made an unscheduled stop at Bryce Canyon to look at some of the scenic views.

From Bryce Canyon, we made our way all the way through more amazing sights into Arizona and are staying just an hours drive from the Grand Canyon.  Tomorrow should be exciting....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 1

Technically it is day 2 of our trip, but I'm the only one up and it's only 5 in the morning so this is a good time to give an update.  Everything has been on schedule so far-my Dad arrived without a hitch, the packers seemed to do a good job (I'll wait until we see how much made it in one piece), and the movers were done by 4 pm on Tuesday. 

 I was surprised at how well the boys did, mostly just good natured all day and no meltdowns.  We made good time yesterday and arrived in Boise, Idaho late in the afternoon. After a couple of minutes unpacking we ate a large dinner and hurried back for the most important part of the trip: swimming.

I am hoping that today goes just as well.  Happy travels!