Despite the INSANE competition, we did eventually find a house. It's tiny, but it'll do for now. We closed right after our trip to Acadia. Celebratory Pacificos were arranged and cut using a pocket knife and a makeshift cutting board.
We decided it would be fun to spend the night in the new house and brought some air mattresses. It was hot.
When you move, you have to say goodbye. Our first was to Terry, the beloved Outback.
We'd been through some times together. Terry was the one that moved us to Potsdam in the first place! And despite the occasional dead battery, slow leak in the tire, or disconcerting grumble, she'd been a reliable ride. Mike at Potsdam Tire always used to say "You're going to be driving that car to 300,000 miles!"
We didn't make it that far, but it was close. She was getting tired and we figured she'd prefer retiring over another move.
The early stages of packing and getting the house ready for showing did not go so well.
Otis and June were packing up fridge magnets (see Ziploc bag) when Ol' Dad figured he'd try and save time by picking up the whole wine rack instead of moving the bottles one at a time. One of the bottles bumped Otis's toe on the way down, but nobody was hurt.
Thanks to the sagging kitchen floor, most of the wine streamed right under the fridge and this goddamn nightmare ended up taking hours to clean.
Once the packing got seriously under way, we converted to a life of chaos. The children adapted well. It's hard to tell from this picture, but they've constructed a vast network of caves and tunnels using empty boxes and totes. (I should've taken a video of them poking their heads up like meerkats from between the lids.)
When I took Otis's bed apart, I knew there was a good chance I'd lose the bolts forever. So I put them in a bag inside a basket with a bunch of other Otis treasures and took a picture to remind me.
Here are some pictures of the state of things as truck-loading day approached.
We set up one staging area in the dining room.
And another in the hall. (This was dumb, of course, since we were planning on carrying all the furniture right through this now-even-narrower passage.)
Furniture went in the living room.
I can't tell you how many times I had to repack that blue box of K'nex.
A fairly tidy pile in the back room.
We put a LOT of stuff out front in the Giveaway Zone. Most of it disappeared pretty quickly. We soon realized our annoying neighbors were watching the pile like hawks and pouncing every time we put out something new.
(I'm writing these captions in December, at the end of the busiest semester I can remember. Now I'm thinking, "Damn! I wish we'd kept that tall shoe rack...")
"Hey, Sarah! Smile!"
(OMG, the amount of dust that had accumulated under our bed...)
After weighing our options (and despite Sarah's feelings to the contrary), we decided the best bet was to rent a truck and move our stuff ourselves. Pods didn't make sense for a number of reasons and hiring movers wouldn't have given us the scheduling flexibility we needed.
So we got the biggest goddamn U-Haul available.
I didn't take any pictures during the actual packing of the truck. I was frantically trying to coordinate everything. This might sound crazy, but I actually had a really good time. We had the Grateful Dead going and despite the heat, got everything loaded pretty quickly.
To Tim, Jerod, Christi, Foster, Allan, Katie, Casey... We couldn't have done it without you! What wonderful friends!
And then U-Haul called us and asked if we wanted to add a free trailer. "What's the hitch?" I asked (punnily). Turns out they just wanted to move the equipment to a more populated area. So we also got their biggest non-covered trailer.
I thought the trailer was going to be overkill...
I was dead wrong! We filled it right up and still had to leave a bunch of stuff behind.
Empty house photos...
Our room... (Look at that beautiful floor!)
The garage looking out...
The living room... (And even beautifuler floor! And I'm going to miss those built-ins...)
The workbench... (And the vice that I fucking forgot to pack up...)
Shockingly, this is all the garbage we generated during the packing and loading. Not too bad, actually!
The truck was full, the trailer was full, even the cab of the truck was full. I put all of our houseplants in the back of the Prius and sealed them in with a bike rack and a canoe.
Driving this thing was terrifying at first, especially with the prospect of navigating a gas station with a trailer. I kept an eye out, though and pulled into a station in Malone when I saw a perfect opportunity.
This picture, though, is in Vermont, at the Maplefields on Grande Isle where I stopped for snacks and to take a leak. Interestingly, Sarah and the kids (who started quite a bit later than me) drove by right after I took this picture!
We'd been a little stressed out about where we were going to put the truck the night we arrived. Fortunately, our GIGANTIC TRUCK fit perfectly in our GIGANTIC DRIVEWAY. (Sarah for scale.)
Chaos at both ends of the move.
Remember my bed bolt idea? It worked! Putting the kids' beds together was one of the first things we did in the new house and I knew exactly where to find the hardware!
Mom and Dad's bed, on the other hand, wasn't ready quite so quickly.
Our Life in the House of Boxes.
Settling in, we went to register the car at the Kittery town hall. The lady asked what kinds of plates we wanted (without mentioning that some of them required an extra fee) and I said "We'll take the duck!" She corrected me and told me it was a loon and I sat there trying to remember if loons had green heads or not.
On my first run in our new home, I explored the park on Pierce and Four Tree Islands. There's a statue out at the end of a spit of land overlooking the river and downtown Portsmouth. Here's the plaque.
The statue above is of a mother carrying a small child. I found it very fitting.
(I just hope we don't get covered with shit!)