* Gratuitous Cliff Arquette/Charlie Weaver reference. If you don't understand it, don't worry: it just means that I'm old and you're not..
Well, here we are in sunny Florida! It was an effort to get here but I think it will be worth it in the long run.
Christina and Walt left on Saturday (the day before we took off) but were not able to get on the road until after 4 in the afternoon. Walt had ordered a small trailer for his truck and it turned out to be much smaller than he expected, so a lot of boxes were left behind. As a result, we did not have a chance to stage their house properly. And, as a result of all that, their house will go on sale a week later than planned; this will allow Walt (who will be back in Maryland on Sunday) a chance to put the finishing touches on their house.
Their drive down was fun. They took Rte. 95 South to Rte 85 to cut diagonally across to Pensacola. Christina drove the car with Erin riding shotgun and the Kangaroo safely buckled in his car seat; Duncan, the smallest dog, rode with them. Walt took Mark and the two big dogs. ( I'm not sure who had the snake, the bearded dragon, the tortoise, the hedgehog, and the three cats.) The first night they stopped over in Charlotte, NC (after a couple of cat escapes and an emergency stop at Walmart) to the sound of gunfire as they pulled into their hotel. Police helicopters were overhead. A lot of noise, a lot of confusion, not much sleep. We're not sure what had happened but there was an item on the news later about a nine-year-old girl who had been shot. Sad.
After that, things went fairly well except for the torrential rainstorm that reduced visibility to zero, during which downpour the Kangaroo managed to open his door. Erin jumped across the front seat, simultaneously trying to close the door and to keep the dog from jumping out while Christina pulled over to the shoulder. Once on the shoulder with dog and Kangaroo safely ensconced and door locked, it took a long while for the storm to abate enough for Christinas to see well enough to get back on the highway. Oh, they also got lost somewhere in Alabama.
Meanwhile, we managed to re-home our two cats. The day we left an appraiser was scheduled to come by and inspect our house -- a condition of the buyer's lender. The day after, the buyer was going to have a handyman stop by a do a few small jobs that she wanted. All that could be done without us. So off we went.
We packed up our car Sunday, leaving small spaces for each of us to breathe and no room to wriggle our toes. We got off to a great start, courtesy of Mapquest, which screwed us up royally and had us searching for a road that did not exist. Lost half a day's traveling time. On the plus side, we saw some really remote places. The first night was spent in a not-quite five-star motel. There was a four-inch crack below the water line in the toilet bowl. On our second day, we blew the tread on our right front tire. We limped the car to Walterboro, SC, found a Walmart and had new tires installed. Interesting fact: The only places that seem to be open on Labor Day were Walmart and Dollar Tree. Another interesting fact: Dollar Tree neither sells nor installs tires.
During our two-hour, $400, Walmart wait we struck up a conversational with a very nice lady who also had a tire problem. She was an associate pastor at her church so I was blessed an extraordinary amount of times over 120 minutes. (Truth to tell, I probably need all the blessings I can get.) When she was a little girl, she had an imaginary friend called Mahalia Jackson and they would sing together; in her imagination they both sang equally well -- and loud. It was a pleasure meeting her.
That night, our motel had mattresses with absolutely no support. From my side I kept rolling downwards to the middle; from Kitty's side she kept trying to avoid rolling off the bed completely -- gravity was not her friend that evening. Not much sleep. The next day, those torrential rainstorms that bothered Christina and Walt decided to amble down to Rte 10W across the Florida Panhandle to pay us a visit.
We finally made to Pensacola, crossed Pensacola Bay, and found Christina's new house. Our pod had been delivered there and Christina and Walt emptied the contents into their garage. We emptied our car into their garage and finally had room to breathe and to wriggle our toes.
Christina's house is beautiful! Roomy. Big. Empty, because her pod hasn't arrived and they have to sleep on the floor until it shows up. And it turns out the washer and dryer did not convey so dirty laundry is piling up. And Jack locked Christina's keys in the car. Fun times. Walt is busy building up a fence in the back yard for the dogs. Slowly things are getting organized. Cable television and internet will be hooked up tomorrow. (Or not...if Cox Cable is anything like Comcast, our rightly-despised Maryland cable company. Put this one in the believe-it-when-we-see-it column.)
Erin and Mark started school today. Erin's happy because she made a friend! The school does not offer a Spanish II class on her grade level so she will have to take the class online. Mark is not able to join the track team because all twenty slots have already been taken; there's a chance he may be able to practice with them, though. His running time is better than those of the teams captain, and no one on the team has ever run a half marathon as Mark has done. He will be able to try out for the soccer team later. The high school does not separate its band and marching band so there may be some adjustment there for Mark. Oh, and Mark missed the bus on his first day. Oh, well. Jack will be starting pre-school tomorrow. He's excited.
We are haphazardly finding our way around Pensacola, which is very confusing for newcomers. We were using Google maps on Ceili's phone until it ran out of power. We got lost several times.Much of the territory we covered was probably not necessary. We did find an apartment with a six-month lease. (Yea!) This will allow us enough time to find a permanent spot, an apartment or a house -- although Kitty really does not want the hassle of a house right now. If all goes well, we will move in next Wednesday.
On the schedule for the coming week are 1) familiarizing ourselves with the area, and 2) furnishing our new place.
The sunsets on the Bay are beautiful. Tomorrow we'll check out the sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico.
*Update to the Update: Christina and Walt's pod landed in New Orleans for some arcane reason that defies explanation; it should be here Monday. We had ordered a bed and mattress for our new apartment so they are using that now instead of sleeping on the floor.