Tuesday, June 20, 2017

goodbye Cottage Grove, WI

I traveled to Salt Lake City on Memorial Day weekend after Church on Sunday, May 28. Eric was already up in Salt Lake, but Berenice and I met up with him at Nick and Kaylee's house. Mike was fishing in Canada (different Blog Post).

That little Logan is sure a cute little baby. Rachel is so talkative and funny. Cute kids. Good thing I had just seen them a couple of weeks before.  I just spent the night there (didn't even get to see the kids because they were already in bed!) and had Nick take me to the airport early on Monday morning, Memorial Day.  Eric took Grandma to the cemeteries and home to Cedar. I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin. Katie and kids picked me up at the Milwaukee airport and we got to Cottage Grove in the afternoon.

The goal:  Help Katie and family get their house ready for the moving company to move them to Denver May 26.  That's the day the Movers are scheduled to come.  There is just one small glitch. They aren't moving into a home quite yet. Nor are they renting (so much wasted money to rent any longer...they need a home).  They will be in corporate / temporary housing for the first month they are there, hope to extend it to two months and in that two months, they will hopefully be able to find a home to make an offer on, purchase, and move in.  Sounds like a plan, right?  Well, it's more complicated, but that's the gist of it.  Two months maximum is all they can stay in corporate housing.

When Gail and Seth moved "temporarily" into their corporate housing for the basically same reason (the employer is nice and gives them a place to stay and time to get adjusted to the housing marked and decide exactly where they want to live, etc.), their temporary corporate housing is a bit different in that they can continue on for however much longer they need or want--they just have to pay rent instead of living for free.  That certainly saves on MOVES and MOVES are a big pain, are they not?

We made some good progress. By the time my two weeks were up, most rooms were sorted and cleaned out, Katie did a lot of donating and we packed up for a trip across the country to spend a few weeks in Cedar City with three of the four kids. Hayden and Casey stayed behind to wait for the movers.

Pack for a two to three week vacation, or pack for a three month stay in temporary housing in Denver? Yes to both. The van was full.  We hit the road on Sunday after church, but not till about 4:30 pm.

One rest stop in DesMoines, Iowa.  How far to drive?  How long would they last? How long would WE last, driving? (or, how well does Red Bull and Mountain Dew really work?)  We lasted until about 1 am and got a room in Lincoln, Nebraska.
 Here is the Facebook version:
THIS kind of a day is worthy of a blog post, but FB is easier from this hotel spot. Three years ago when Katie was driving alone across the country in the summer (with two little boys ages 6 and 4, so not totally alone), her car was struck by lightening while driving through a severe thunderstorm ouside of Lincoln, Nebraska. Today, we find ourselves in Lincoln, Nebraska while driving across the country from their old home in Madison to stay in Utah for a bit between moves. We had a lot of wind yesterday on the drive, but clear skies. After driving a mere 8 hours with three kids and a dog this time, we wake up from a somewhat restful night's sleep in Lincoln with SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNiNGS AND ALERTS. Yeah. Even my "dumb" phone sent me an alert to warn me of flash flooding in the area. Needless to say, Katie still cringes in lightening storms. A severe storm in lincoln? Yep, we are staying put till it passes this time. We did look at doppler radar after looking out the window when we woke to what I thought (hoped) were airport noises at 7 :30 this mng. There are about three blips of small areas of activity NATIONWIDE, and Lincoln , Nebraska is one of them. So much for hitting the road early today. It was so tempting to just keep on driving last night while they were sleeping in carseats last night at 1 a.m., but we knew we would ALL need to get some rest and comfort of stretching time. One day down, two to go. More or less.

What you need to know about the Lincoln hotel room was that
1) they didn't say they allowed pets, so we basically had to sneak Caillou in
2) they had no rooms with a king and a pull out sofa, so we took a king, Katie brought in one pack and play and the hotel provided another pack and play (port-a-crib). It should have fit everyone just fine, right?

Well, neither of the babies would get into the cribs, so ALLof us were in the bed. I mean ALLof us. I was perched on one far side, Katie on the other with a variety of small bodies in between or on top of ...or under. All. Night. Long. Once, Hailey fell off the bed. Eventually Quintin fell asleep so he could be put into the crib. Corbin is a snuggler and he crowded me all the night long. Do any of you remember the children's song, "There were ten in the bed and the little one said, I'm crowded, Roll over" Then there were nine in the bed and the little one said....etc. etc. It was like that. Kind of. But at least we had a long to rest in the comfy bed.

The hotel also had laundry facitlites which we desperately needed to wash baby blankies. We'd brought some, but they had been stuffed in a corner with the Dog Bed which had NOT been laundered before departing. Ewww, stinky dog, stinky blankies. So Katie got all those laundered while we waited for the thunderstorms to pass by. We also enjoyed their complementary breakfast.

Day two begins! Driving across Nebraska and on into Colorado. Uneventful drive EXCEPT that Corbin didn't feel really well. He said he had a headache. Our first stop was a hot and dirty tourist place with a Wild Bill Cody museum or something. Where I accidentally locked the keys in the van. Oops. Diaper changes, potty stops. So hot. Luckily the van had windows down a bit so that Katie could reach through and unlock the van and retrieve keys. It's really hard to keep track of kids and dog! I can see how people leave children behind by accident! It's tricky to orchestrate all of this.

Our second stop of the day was outside of Denver where we found a Target Store for bathrooms and food. We knew it'd be air-conditioned, too. They have family toilet rooms. AND they have some areas of the store that do NOT have breakable stuff to toddle past. The cart we used was one that held lots of kids, and they just all wanted to sit in the fun cart and not walk and get their wiggles out! So Corbin and I took the cart and kind of played hide and seek while avoiding Katie and the babies in the sheets and towels department (non-breakable, right?). Corbin still had a headache, he'd been sleeping much of the way, so I told him I'd take him to the bathroom, but please drink three big gulps of water first (because it was so hot and I'm sure he hadn't had enough water!). While walking through the isle, I slipped on something wet on the floor! Yikes, I nearly fell. I had been pushing Corbin in the cart backwards with him in the front --because he was keeping a lookout around the ends of isles for babies--, but then I hit ANOTHER puddle of something slick and wet and looked at Corbin. He was the source! He'd thrown up those three gulps of water I'd just made him drink, poor kid! He was really feeling bad.

Oh, I forgot to say that we'd snuck the dog into the store with us, in a pink paper "Victoria's Secret" shopping bag because it was way too hot to leave him out in the car. Soooo, I needed to get Corbin to a bathroom, I needed to let a store employee know about about the mess on the floor, all while keeping the dog out of sight. Of course, he didn't want to stay in the bag and kept trying to get out...

Corbin, Caillou and I made it to the bathroom. He went in, I cleaned up the cart, I tried to keep the dog out of sight while reporting the vomit to clean up in the aisle, I texted Katie to let her know what was going on. Ugh. What a fiasco! The employee was so kind--he gave Corbin a ring pop to get the bad taste out of his mouth.

The eatery in Target was Pizza Hut, so Katie ordered some bread sticks and a personal pizza. Corbin was feeling a bit better, so he ate some. And threw it right up, this time in the Pizza Hut restaurant area! Sooo, we let them know again that there was some more vomit to clean up. Luckily, the restaurant was totally devoid of customers, but the babies got a chance to run around a bit more, eat a bit (which they, thankfully, held down!).

However, during this stint in Target *I* was making multiple trips in to the ladies room. I was having some little bouts of . . . uh, lower digestive tract difficulties. And I can never spell that "D" word. EVER. But that's what I had for the full hour or more that were were there, cooling off, using bathrooms, running babies and cleaning up vomit (or avoiding it, as the case may be). Interesting day at Target. We were loading kids into the car on our way again, complete with a barf bag or two for Corbin while I made one last trip in to the bathroom. Ugh. Luckily, it was sufficient and I made it the rest of the way without mishap.

But wait! There's more. We were really considering just powering right though to the end and driving through the night to get to Cedar City in the wee hours of the morning, but it would have been like 4 of 5 am. Kids were sleeping, but how long would that last? Would they be uncomfortable and start screaming again? Who knows? Our own sleepiness made the decision for us. I simply couldn't stay awake and neither could Katie, so we opted for a hotel in Grand Junction Colorado about 1:30 in the morning. Or maybe it was 1, I really don't know. All I know is that I was tired and so was Katie.The babies woke up from SOUND sleep when we took then into the second floor room (with no elevator at this Ramada Inn). They were so stinky and sweaty and dirty, we bathed them quicklly, put on clean jammies, Katie set up one crib and crawled into one of the two queens with me and a very tired and sleeping Corbin in the other.

And the fun begins. Those babies would NOT go to sleep! We were trying. Really we were. But they were either crying their eyes out, screaming or --get this--giggling and laughing. I really messed things up when I went over to try to help and proceeded to wake one further, but the one was almost out...it was a mess. I'm so sorry! Then it escalated. They were jumping and crawling all over Katie. At one point they were playing with each other and just laughing and giggling with each other. We couldn't get the room to be totally dark because of some exteriour lighting and not-very-efficient drapes...oh my goodness. We laid there for 2 hours, listening to these babies bounce and yell and cry and laugh. We found ourselves laughing into our pillows. Partly from exhaustion and partly from being just plain slap happy and entertained by their escapades. Finally, we just said, "Why try? We're not sleeping. We may as well be driving!" and as soon as we got on the road again, they fell right to sleep in their car seats and slept for HOURS. I drove into Salina and pulled over for gas and then we parked and slept in the car for another couple of hours till the sun came up.

And we got to Cedar in the morning around 8:30 a.m. or 7:30 am on Tuesday. We made it. All in one piece. Tired. But alive and that's what counts!

I wish I had photos of
Kids running around in bare butts at our first rest stop--they really needed to air out
Caillou in the Victoria Secret shopping bag
The state of the van at the beginning of the trip and at the end. Yowza.

beautiful Wisconsin farmland and country side.

Crossing the Mississippi

First rest stop. We found a great play area, and later we did let them run diaper free (but not go down the slide!)

Yes, there were Six in the bed and the little one said, "I'm crowded. Roll over." They all rolled over and one fell out. There were five in the bed and the little one said...

The Target cart.Katie's phone had a progression of photos of Corbin who had a forced smile, then a grimage, then NO smile as his condition deteriorated.

Free at last!

He SAID he felt better and was hungry...too bad it didn't last.

SUU Hammocks in the Student Center. Katie and kids came to join me for lunch on Wednesday or Thursday that first week back.

One of the down-sides of moving across the country from humidity to near-desert conditions--possible nosebleeds.  Poor Corbin.  At least his tummy is feeling better by now!

Those poor Target employees. We are so glad the Pizza Hut was a place out of the way of traffic and devoid of customers.


Donna said...

Yikes! What an adventure! THAT. Is why I love McDonalds play yards!! I would take mine in and let them play, plays play when we traveled :)

Kaylee said...

Oh. My. Goodness! That was quite the trip. Someone must have been praying for patience...You two are amazing for making it through alive!!!