Thursday, April 26, 2007

Refugee, Part 2 (The Promised Land)

We had made up our minds that the area we had lived in for almost 12 years was not going to be a right fit for Livie. Now came the epiphany that we had about 4 months to find a new house, prepare and sell our old house, pack and move!

We made about a half dozen weekend excursions to Monmouth from before Memorial day until just after the 4th of July. After a dozen or two views, we kinda settled on a slightly smaller house in favor or a fantastic location, on a cul-de-sac with a family with four kids across the way! Even better, 4 of the 5 schools our kids would be attending were less than 1/2 mile from the house; that compared to 15-45 minute bus rides at the old house. I suffer the greatest with the commute, anywhere from 55 minutes if there is absolutely no traffic, upwards from 1.5 hours all the way up to the current record of 3.5 hours when a major artery is closed.

Meanwhile, we interviewed a couple of real estate agents. The first one, I wish I could have recorded! Your typical upper-middle age real estate with an aversion to germs. We found this out when she came to the door and I announced to her that we had a cold going through the house. Actually, it was Strep, I think. Me with my best Eddie, from the National Lampoon Vacation series saying "Yea, she's got a lip fungus they haven't quite identified yet." Her hands shot up like a surgeon who had just sterilized, she would touch NOTHING! She walked around the house like this sterile surgeon, not touching a single surface, she made ME open all the doors! I think she went through a half bottle of Purel. Clearly she wasn't a match for our 'infestation'.

The next lady was quite nice, smaller agency, but she seemed like she could sell. Before we signed though, Linda remembered a fleeting comment one of our ABA therapists had made. She had loved our new addition (my new addition, I LOVED my new addition ) and had said "let me know if you ever want to sell." As those who go through early intervention with therapists coming into your house, you get to know each others' lives pretty well, and we weren't sure if her and her husband were ready for the financial burden of a house yet. Long story short, we asked and she lept at the chance. What friggin' luck! Selling our house with no agent, no commission, sight, all-too-often seen!

OK easy part done now comes the NIGHTMARE! A house full of stuff accumulated over 10+ years. We are NOT organized, we hadn't intended to move not 3 months ago. We had recently expanded the house and commensurately the junk had grown (clutter is organic and expands as does other things in our household as I have previously explained). We had begun to clean up in anticipation of trying to sell, but now it was a full scale emergency.

We rented a self store, filled that up in a heartbeat, got a 20 foot dumpster, had to jump on that the night before to get more stuff in. Remember, through this Late July through August, Linda STILL has and infant, a pretty hectic 20 hour a week ABA habit, and three other kids to boot! I'm taking days off when I can, but I'm saving most of my time for the big move. We hired movers and had them help us pack. Registering for school, getting closings ready, major project going live on Jan 1 for me at work. Our lives were this cyclone of MADNESS!

The day of the actual move was the zenith of the craziness. More like, it was the spot on the roller coater where you finally hit bottom and you are just deciding that this was about twice as fast as you wanted to go...but there ain't no going back now. The movers were late and kinda underestimated the time needed to pack up the vans and get down there (I'm STILL packing stuff while their moving boxes etc out). Luckily we did not have to have the place completely
The caravan gets down to the new home around dusk. I can remember making snap decisions about where things should go, no tools to remove doors, something about not being able to move our fridge into the kitchen, vague memories about being talked into having the vast majority of the boxes loaded into the two car garage (note, the garage is STILL half full with boxes nearly TWO years later!). I just wanted it done, and the movers out of my new house and new life.
We survived that day, night and most of the ones since. Liv did have some pretty major regressions over the months before, during and after the move. The other kids have learned to adjust. Aly, in particular is slow to warm up to people and make friends. She had a few friends in Sussex Co; now she had to start all over again. When her one friend here moved away recently, both she and we were heartbroken. Dillan and Jason now have four boys to play with in the family across the street, another just a fence jump away. I envy the endless summers they are having and will enjoy in the future; they have the run of the cul de sac, a football sized playground from our backyard across the cul de sac into their backyard.

Well, there it is. I cannot do it justice, the absolute insanity of that summer; but here we are with twice as much as we could ever dreamed of as far a services for Liv compared to our old house. For that, I'll never regret the move...

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