​What Moving Has Taught Me

Part Two

When you think you have packed everything possible under the sun—you haven’t. Believe me.
Look again. There will always be something more.
Even if you have no room. Especially if you have no room.

Getting three BIG dogs in the car requires all the strength of a 14-year old every time.
Dogs will not go to the bathroom without grass.
Grass can take the form of dry, pitiful weeds, when a dog is desperate, but gravel won’t work.
The smell of dogs for hours does not encourage eating all the great snacks in the world.
Country dogs, unaccustomed to being inside, are afraid of stairs. And must be dragged, pulled and almost carried down them.
It is guaranteed that the motel will give you the room on the third floor so you must drag each dog up and down the stairs. (Don’t use the escalator, that really freaks them out.)
Dogs, who adamantly guard your house from intruders, are weanies when they aren’t at your home.
When a dog whimpers to stop, there are no exits for a long time.
Given all those defects, the dogs still do well traveling across country.

If you didn’t know already, sitting in the car for 10-12 hours a day is painful.
Stopping every three hours only reminds you of your pain.
Drinking to stay awake may seem like a good idea at first, until you realize there isn’t another exit for a l-o-n-g time.
You can only crunch on carrots so long before they don’t help you stay awake.
Confessions from others share how chewing on too many sunflower seeds rips up your mouth.

Having four drivers with three vehicles is essential for the weakest driver.
And for the mother (same as the weakest driver) who worries about the beginner driver, who just passed his driver’s test a month before the trip.

GPS must be followed to help you reach your designated destination.
Trusting GPS is hard.
Signals are lost from GPS over mountains and even in plains.
It helps to have a piece of paper with directions in your hands as you drive. 
It helps more to have that paper in all three vehicles, in case of separation.

Remember all that money spent on snacks? I can’t find a thing I want to eat!
Why is that?

Clean bathrooms from ID to Limon, CO are rare.
Finding one with the door that shuts becomes appreciated but not expected.
A uni-sex bathroom with a wet, smelly floor is VERY suspicious. 
The ID billboard, “Skid marks are for the road—We Have Clean Restrooms.” Has greater significance now.

After the first day of driving/riding, when the car’s “service engine soon” light comes on, pretend it doesn’t exist, even though for the next 12 hours of driving you must see it staring at you. Trust your mechanic who said it was “fine.”

Should I find it comforting that most of the road construction started the minute we crossed the OK border? 
Signs like: “When flooding, TURN AROUND, Don’t drown.” Actually exist.
There are places on the highway where they will shut down because of snow and ice. Plan your trip earlier.

For those in CAL, here were lessons that may enlighten you.
Other state’s highways are not littered with trash and surrounded by fences. Watch for deer crossing.
Toilets are supposed to flush with a WHISH— quickly and with lots of water. Brace yourself. 
(For those not in CAL, we are required to have low-water devices installed.)
It is wonderful to take a shower with water actually coming out of the shower head with a blast!
Schools and school buses are still in use in other states.
The sun doesn’t shine every day.
It does rain in the world.
Construction speed: Slow down to 70 mph.
Gas attendants can be nice and pleasant.

Reaching your destination after two days of 22 hours of driving is great, especially when friends have cleaned the house and left beds with fresh sheets and towels.
Simple Delights!!

The essentials that you thought you’d need can’t be found once the vehicles are unloaded. And why did I think I’d need ______?
Finding anything is conditional upon the need: If you need it, you won’t find it.
If you won’t need it for 50 years, you’ll find it. 
If you unpack it, you still won’t remember where you put it.

Attach your car/house keys to your purse and hang it around your neck until you find a permanent place to put it.
Wear something with a pocket big enough to put your phone. 

Batteries for trucks are important—mine was replaced the day before our trip when my car didn’t start, Josh’s was replaced as soon as we arrived in OK, but not before his truck didn’t start several times.
Carrying an extra battery is a good idea. It’s worth the space.

Eating a good, unrushed meal makes everything better!

Even though we brought stuff to make sandwiches, making them on the road is too much effort.
And now that we have reached our destination, just the thought of sandwiches makes me think I’ve eaten them for weeks!

Renting a U-haul to haul all your belongings from a pod an hour and half away is a good investment.
Renting the largest U-haul available enables you to pack without pressure to make it all fit in one trip.
Having a brother-in-law willing to drive that big U-haul is essential.
Having strong and willing sons is an asset when lifting boxes, but essential when moving pianos and safes.
It's great to have your husband available, too!

When you are just moving into a house temporarily, your list of essential needs changes from what will fit in the vehicles to what may make you comfortable. 
Having your son decide what is essential is different than you determining it.
Once it is determined, it is hard to dig to the back of the shed to retrieve that one item that you deemed essential.
You must enforce that school books are essential and must be accessible.
What is essential changes when the temperature drops from sunny and 85 to rainy and 35.

Reminding yourself that “This is only temporary” can minimize that OCDC feeling that things aren’t in their proper place and boxes are everywhere.
Who wants to unpack and pack again?
Or would that be better?

Most of our stuff is stacked in the shed behind the house. 
If I remind myself it is “not available” I can make due with what I have.
Or Walmart is 10 minutes away. My son goes every day now for something to do.
I guess it wouldn’t hurt to buy another band-aid---until I find my box.

So much for decluttering before moving—why did I keep this?
Should I go through those boxes in the shed?

How does a person who works full-time, all the time —DO all of this?
How do you remember to take your vitamins? 
Where did the day go?

Where’s the post office?
A bank?
The hardware store?
Where do you get this?
How do you turn on the heat?
Why is it sooo cold?
It rains here.
The sun doesn’t shine every day.

How do you find a church like ours? We won’t….but I miss it.  A LOT.

We eat earlier and go to bed by 6 PM!
(At least until Joey starts to work)

When the day gets overwhelming, drink tea and sit on the porch, until its too cold.
Get your perspective back to the important things. And forget about the boxes that surround you.
And not things, but people.
Tears help, too.
You’ve lost some things.
And mostly people.
Lots of changes.
But God is there.
He has promised.
I will trust.

Displaying all 3 comments

Miss you all ...already! Love the writing and the reality of it all. Enjoy the adventure!

I'm with you, when everything is packed, things are still coming out of the woodwork! How can there be SO MUCH STUFF! Oh, Sonya, I so appreciate your sharing and so feel for you, having gone through this a few times myself. When we left Jamaica I cried until we landed in Miami, it hurt so much to think I'd never see Jamaica or any of those friends again. Good-byes are simply bitter-sweet, more bitter at first but gradually the sweet grows in you as the Lord leads you to a church, helps you find your way, and over time the new place becomes home. (It usually takes a year or so for that to happen, so go easy on yourself in the meantime.) I'll be praying for you and do hope to see you sometime in the coming months, though it won't be this Fall as I had hoped. But it will happen. God bless and hold you up in the days ahead, Anne

You always give me a great big belly are so real and honest, it is painful! :) And you always end right side up! Love you, Sonya. Keep writing, please. I need a dose of reality from you with all the fake everything out there. xoxoxox

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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