Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Pile it On! June 10, 2011

Filed under: Family Life,Moving — leighj @ 2:57 pm

We’ve dropped off the face of the earth. Or more precisely, we’ve entered a zone where the internet is slow, the kids are busy careening around one big room, and the end it always in a couple of days. Let me explain.

Two weeks ago and some we were on our way to a big New Orleans wedding. Super fun! There is the way stuff is supposed to work out—and then there’s the way things actually work out. The wedding had lots of highlights. I sat next to John Lithgow on the plane (story to come), I met lots of great people who I hope to stay in contact with in DC, I caught up with some old friends, and the boys swam in the hotel pool every day. My brother stopped by for a visit, Patrick and I had coffee and beingets in the French Quarter, we at several meals at Harbor Seafood, we had excellent food and drink everywhere, and well, two really amazing people promised to spend their lives together, and we got to be there to celebrate with them!

Things started to unravel before we got there. My parents air-conditioner went out on the way to New Orleans. That was going to make for a long, hot drive back to Franklin. So we opted to leave at night. As those of you who correspond with my father already know, I “hit the wall” that night and was not able to fulfill my end of the driving obligations. I did pretty good while I had Chex Mix to eat, caffinated Vitamin water to drink, and Dad to pick an argument with me. But all of that has a limit. So we recovered for a while.

The edges of time zones are interesting in that the light is extreme to early or late. On the eastern edge, you get more morning light. As I mentioned, my parents’ house is more or less, one big room. All the light comes in early. Gil hasn’t slept past 5:30 but once. So we’re all kind of tired, including him. Yes, we’ve been at my parents’ house for almost two weeks. I mentioned on facebook that my parents are teaching the boys bad habits. I’m hesitant to say what all those are, in case someone is looking for tips on teaching my children things that irritate me.

So I went back to ABQ to load up the moving truck with P. The hours on the plane by myself were pretty sweet. However, they did lose my luggage and somehow messed up my reservation, so since I had some time, I called customer service and scored a few vouchers. I also read much of the Mary Matalin & James Carville book, All’s Fair. Review to come, if and when I finish it.

The moving went slow. How on earth did we have so much stuff accumulate in five years? Oh yeah, we bought a house and had two babies. We slept on our mostly empty house’s living room floor Friday night. Saying goodbye to our wonderful neighbors was kind of sad. So was saying goodbye to our friends. On the road on Saturday. We made pretty good time, despite the fact that we were driving a 24 foot truck and towing a car. Until the tire blew on the car trailer. Three hours later we finally left Erick, OK. The tire truck driver had his daughter with him. She was cute and talkative, about five years old, but she was wearing a diaper that needed to be changed. We were pretty freaked out by that.

Driving the truck at night is super scarey. P was exhausted. We had inquired about an hourly rate at the Days Inn in Erick…but we decided against it. The woman quoted us a price and then when we were leaving asked how much we were looking to pay. I’d not heard of that before. Bargaining for a room in the US? Sounds like Romania to me. We ended up at a nice little place in Clinton, OK.

The next morning was MOTS (more of the same). Nothing eventful until Nashville, when I almost killed us due to very BAD signage on the Nashville freeways. Just hot, humid, and boggy through the deltas.

Unfortunatley, my parents had to work on Monday, so we got up early and worked on the truck. Got a few things unloaded, and very quickly and successfully reattached the trailer, but getting it out of the driveway turned into a bigger challenge than we could handle. That’s what tractors are made for, I guess. P dropped the trailer at the dealership in Bowling Green and was on his way.

Until Huntingdon. Very exhausted, he picked up a green handled dispenser and unwittingly put gas in the diesel engine. So he spent two nights in West Virginia. Wednesday, he got to Charlottesville, unloaded the truck, and reloaded it with some of his mom’s stuff to go to her new place. Tonight he flys back to ABQ to pick up our other car, clean up the house, and tie up any loose ends. I feel bad for him, because he’s only gotten to see the boys for a few hours in the last two (coming up on three weeks) and they’re getting so funny. He’s handling the least fun aspects of a move. Soon though, I hope we’ll all be able to relax.

I’m glad I got all this off my mind. Now I’ll be able to tell you all the stuff the boys have been doing, more details on the wedding, and some thoughts about my classes starting in the fall. Someone (Malcomb Gladwell?) says when something bad goes wrong, you can pinpoint 7 things that lead up to that event, that if any of them hadn’t happened, the event itself might not have happened. Can you find 7 things in this account? We feel pretty lucky that it wasn’t worse. And if P had kept going to C’ville until one in the morning, he might have encounterd something worse. As our favorite singer/songwriter reminds us, “It could always be worse!”

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2 Responses to “Pile it On!”

  1. jt Says:

    This is pretty good. I’m glad you guys made it. Now John lithgo please…

  2. Linda St.Clair Says:

    Moving is usually filled with more adventure than you need at any one time — too bad you can’t store them up for a more boring moment in your life. We made 4 U-haul runs when we moved to Houston! How stupid was that? Why didn’t we sell stuff? Because 6 months later we hauled that stuff right back to UC (some in boxes never unpacked) — only we wised up and used a moving comany that time.I

    I am glad you have avoided injury and only have funny stories to tell. Be careful — you will be even more exhaused by the end of this.


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