while ben was pursuing the job opening in owatonna, we had been pretty attentive to organizing, downsizing and packing what we could in preparation. so the getting everything packed was kind of a breeze really - even to the end of it when i was still packing those last remaining odds and ends while the truck was being loaded. i think the only issue there was that i kept running out of boxes, so we had to keep scavenging for more.
the nightmare part of moving was the *ahem* minor(?) fender-bender that i managed to pull off just two days before we were supposed to leave. the details are embarrassing, but let me just say this: a parked car was hit (at a very low speed), and mine was not the parked car. i was completely fine, i called my doctor to see if i needed to come in to check on little baby mushroom, and was told that "the baby is so deep down in that pelvic girdle, there's nothing to worry about."
so okay, his car had a bit of a gash in the back bumper. my car? the hood crumpled like a piece of tinfoil, the wheel-well was torn up and troubled, the front right headlight - while still working - was now smashed in, making my car shine a little lazy-eyed, and the right blinker was obliterated. they sure don't make cars like they used to. but the tow-truck guy said that they could "rough it out" and i'd be able to drive it just fine. i called the next day to check the status on the "roughing" and was told "this car is not drivable whatsoever."
insert total sobbing freak-out.
if we couldn't drive my car, that meant we would have to drive ben's truck, which is a stick shift, which i can't drive. (thankfully - one of the many blessings of the trip, one of our friends and ben's former college roommate, chris, came out to help us move and drove the whole way back so i didn't have to. he could drive stick, so at least it was an option.)
but ben's truck, while sturdy and (most of the time) reliable, is not a creature of comfort. the fabric on the roof is sagging and sits on your head unless you're short or scootch down in your seat. the air conditioning and radio are no longer functioning, and while the cd player does work, there's only one cd he has in the car, and it's some country mix he made way-back-when. the seats definitely don't recline, and leg space is also limited.
we drove this car out last summer when bringing ben to wyoming, and it wasn't the most luxurious ride, but i did fine. i also wasn't 6.5 months pregnant at the time, i was much more flexible and compactable, and lacking the body temperature of a furnace.
i did not want to ride in ben's truck for 18 hours, and the u-haul, while having AC, didn't look much more promising in terms of comfortability, plus it would have meant chris having to drive the entire trip by himself in ben's truck, which i wouldn't have been a joy-ride for him, and i'd have felt badly for it.
i had called my mom at one point for some moral support, but that didn't really help matters... (although i can definitely laugh about it now, so no harm done?) i was explaining the situation to her, i was tense, and her being the mother bear always looking out for her cubs, started to go in defense mode, worrying about my safety in all of this. apparently, u-haul's "jiggle your insides too much" (her exact words), and i shouldn't be riding in one. (sometimes she can be a little over-protective, but i always know she means well.)
more stressed-out sobbing ensued. i'm pregnant and hormonal, it's to be expected.
then, when the insurance lady called to get the scoop on the accident, i started bawling as i'm telling her all the details, and she gives me a glimmer of hope: "whether or not the car is street legal doesn't concern us as your insurance providers. it's a risk you have to decide whether or not you're willing to take, but it's your right to make that decision. as for whether or not it's drivable, get it checked out by another place, and see what they have to say about it."
so we did. i was informed that my airbag-trigger was within inches of being set-off, that got me a little paranoid for a day, but ever so grateful that it didn't go off (another blessing). also, my tires needed to be realigned, which they did. that was it. as far as they could see and tell, my car would make it to minnesota (probably the most relieving blessing of all).
so with the help of some fabulous friends, ben and chris finished getting the u-haul loaded up. we got ben's truck on the trailer, and my car macgyvered with a wire-screen type barrier to keep the cat in the back trunk area of my subaru forester. cats are not good travelers, they do horribly with any change to their living environments, and mine could be the poster child for said attributes. she twice managed to finagle herself around the makeshift fence, and proceeded to secure herself under the driver's seat. we finally forced her out, and chris found the winning set-up to keep the wire screen in place and the cat at bay.
the drive itself wasn't bad at all. we left by about 8:30 a.m., though ben left earlier, and we didn't meet up with him again until our resting stop for the evening in chamberlain, south dakota, which - due to the hour and a half we spent over lunch and multiple stops along the way - chris and i finally reached at about 9-ish. my legs would start to cramp a little from sitting so much, and my feet were imagining themselves to be puffer-fish, minus the spikes, but again, it was so much better than if we'd had to ride in ben's truck the whole way. the next morning we left chamberlain by 8; once again, ben left earlier, so we didn't see him till we reached albert lea at about 1:30/2 p.m.
chris and ben and ben's dad unloaded the u-haul into the storage unit that we reserved while we wait for housing to go through (more on that another time), and then we drove up to red wing that evening so we could get chris to the train station the next morning so he could get back to chicago.
by sunday evening we were back in albert lea and finally getting settled into ben's parents' house. (we've taken over his brother jonathan's room for the time being. with jon working at camp most of the summer and then going back to college after that, it works out pretty well.)
so now, here we are. everyone is working but me - and seeing as i only have a short time left that i'll be able to work, it's pretty pointless for me to look for anything right now. i'm okay with that.
[next in my series of baby-blog novellas: "ode to wyoming!"]