The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ from Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
I can’t decided if this weekend has been extremely long or lightning fast. I think it might have been both.
Thursday afternoon I painted our master bedroom. I originally considered doing the ragging technique to make the walls look like parchment paper. However, I decided that might be too much for the room, so we decided to paint it a sort of off-white color called “vanilla wafer.” When I first began to apply the paint, I thought maybe we had gotten a too-yellow color, but as it dried it faded to a soft golden glow that is really nice. It’s almost the color that was already in the bedroom, but it’s more warm. I got the room all painted except for the wall behind the bed. In our old house, the floors were wood so I could move the bed. In our new house, the floors are carpeted and I can’t even budge the bed. I will need EJ to help me and there hasn’t been time yet.
The furnace guys were scheduled to come Friday morning to install the new furnace so we had to be at the old house by 8 a.m. Because we had to be there so early, we decided to leave as soon as EJ got home from work at 2 a.m. I went to bed early on Thursday night in the hopes that I would get some sleep. I really just sort of dozed, but it was better than nothing. EJ texted me as soon as he got out of work so I had time to take a shower and pack a few things before EJ got home…and then we left for the long drive south.
EJ and I enjoy the drive through the beautiful countryside, although physically it’s difficult–especially with little or no sleep. We stopped for breakfast along the way and got to the old house before the furnace people did. They worked for much of the day getting the furnace installed. About noon-ish, we left to get the u-haul truck and drive it back to the house.
Later, our friend Cris stopped by to pick up JJ’s port for the Michigan Search & Rescue dogs to train with. She gave us a house-warming gift of some of the wonderful soaps she makes and sells through her business A Touch of Eden. Her soaps are very beautiful! When JJ was going through chemo, she made a special soap in his honor–and did the same for her other friends who were battling cancer. Cris is such an incredible person. She stayed to visit for a while. I always enjoy chatting with her. We could talk for hours and it feels like only minutes.
After the furnace guys and Cris left, EJ and I went to a restaurant to eat. (We hadn’t eaten since breakfast.) We have recently discovered an incredible restaurant in the next town. The food is delicious. We are sorry we discovered it only after we are in the process of moving away. This is the second time we’ve eaten there. The first time we visited it, the owner told us that he grew up in the Emerald City. Small world.
As we pulled into the driveway in our old home, we saw a rabbit feasting in our yard. In all the 20+ years we have lived at that house, we’ve never seen a rabbit in our yard. I don’t know if we just didn’t notice any or if the rabbit is enjoying the long grass. We are trying to find someone to mow our lawn for us, but haven’t hired anyone yet.
EJ had been awake for over 30 hours–and I hadn’t had much sleep either–and we were exhausted. Knowing we had to load the u-haul the next day, we decided to go to bed early. We put our air mattresses in the mostly empty master bedroom and lay down in our sleeping bags. Although I had swept and mopped the floors, the house was dusty, and the spiders were already beginning to move in. We had sleeping bags, but I had forgotten pillows. I was wistfully thinking of hotel rooms, when EJ said, “We could go to a hotel. We deserve to have a good night’s sleep.” I eagerly agreed so we got into the buggy and drove to the nearest decent hotel. It was more expensive than those we usually go to, but we were too tired to go any further. The bed was king-sized and so comfy that it felt as if we were sleeping on a cloud. MUCH better than an pillow-less air mattress in a dusty, spidery, empty house!
Our alarm went off at 6 a.m. this morning. We got dress, had breakfast in the hotel cafeteria, and drove back to the house. It was raining.
The area has had a LOT of rain in the last couple of weeks. All over the area there were lakes in places where there had never been lakes before–like fields and yards. They really didn’t need more rain. And we certainly didn’t need rain on a day when we were trying to load a u-haul.
It rained and rained and rained. Every time we commented that it was raining hard, or that this was NOT a good day to be moving, the rain got worse. We were soaked. We had to slosh through mud and through puddles that kept getting bigger. EJ slipped and fell in the mud twice. Finally, after we had sloshed through the puddles, he got a pallet and put it down as a bridge. The only good thing about the rain is that as long as it was raining hard, the mosquitoes were not bad. When the rain lessened, the mosquitoes swarmed like a Biblical plague. Ugh. At our home in the north, there are almost NO MOSQUITOES. I have not been bitten–NOT EVEN ONCE in the north.
I went to the little party store to get us something to drink and eat. A neighbor works there and she told me that one of EJ’s co-workers at his old job was seriously hurt. Some sort of electrical accident–the guy was blown back about 10 feet and his face and hands were badly burned. The company didn’t want anyone to call an ambulance, but had one of the employees drive the injured man to the hospital where he is now in critical condition. The company is being seriously investigated and many employees high up in the company are quitting. I’m so glad EJ is out of there.
EJ’s sister’s husband and two of their boys offered to help us move. They planned to arrive early, but they were unavoidably delayed. When they were 2 1/2 hours late, I called to make sure they were ok because we were worried about their safety. Finally they arrived. By this time, EJ and I were already exhausted. However, with the extra help, stuff got loaded faster. Also, their family has moved many, many times so they were experts at loading u-hauls, which was a BIG help.
One thing I found interesting is that no one–not the furnace guys, not my friend Cris, and not our brother-in-law and nephews–asked why we have a big rock in the middle of the dining room. There is a story connected to it. Years ago, EJ was at his friend’s uncle’s property in the north when he saw what he thought was a good-sized Petoskey rock in the ground. Petoskey stones are a fossilized coral, the state stone of Michigan, and is commonly found along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in the United States. It was formed by the fossilization of ancient coral, hexagonaria. I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve heard they are found nowhere else in the world. People enjoy hunting for them and they are beautiful and unique when polished.
Anyway, EJ went to dig it out the rock at his friend’s uncle’s property, but it was bigger than he thought so he dug a little bit more, and a little bit more, and then he became determined to get this rock out, so he kept digging. When he finally uncovered it, it was huge. He took it back to his parent’s farm, and then when we married, he took it with him to our apartment, and then we took it to our first house, and now it’s a tradition that it goes wherever we go. When we began to pack to move north, we took it out of the garden. EJ was afraid someone would take it so he put it in the house until we could move it. Now it has journeyed to our new house in the Enchanted Forest. That is the story of the rock.
About 4 p.m. we declared that we were finished. We got all of the house packed except for the treadmill and killer exercise machines. We got most of the garage packed, and part of the basement. We will have to make more trips to get the rest of the things. Sigh. But we will stay north next weekend for the July 4th Independence Day celebrations.
We still had room in the u-haul, but we were absolutely exhausted and we still had a long journey north to make. Our brother-in-law had planned to drive his van to the new house filled with books. With the late start, I offered to let him and his boys spend the night, but he had to get back because there is a family gathering about 90 minutes from us, and he had to be back to his home to get the rest of his family and drive back north to the gathering. That would have been hours and hours and hours of traveling, so since there was still space in the truck, we decided to unload the books from his van and put them in the u-haul and save them the trip. He will help us unload the truck after the family gathering tomorrow. I thought that was nice.
EJ drove the u-haul truck while I drove the buggy. Before we left the old house, I changed into yesterday’s shirt and socks–which, though dirty, were at least dry. I had only the wet jeans I was wearing. EJ changed into old coveralls that was still at the house. They were striped and he said they made him feel as if he worked for a circus. Neither of us could do anything about our wet shoes except wear them. Yuck.
Meanwhile, JJ had stayed at the new house because he had to work. Also, he takes care of the animals while we are gone, which is a BIG help. He told me that yesterday evening he was startled to see a deer walk right by his bedroom window, pause to look in, and then continue on. JJ also said that the weather at our new place has been absolutely gorgeous!
I have twice followed EJ north. I have noticed that the first part of the trip I am always very tired and I struggle to stay awake. But once we leave the farmland behind and enter forested land, I am no longer so tired. There is just something about the beautiful forests and clearer air that energizes me. The further north we drove the more blue the skies were, the more beautiful the scenery, the happier I became, and the morning rain, and mud, and mosquito swarms, and exhaustion were almost forgotten.
I love the north.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
And there’s no more miles before I sleep,
No miles to go before I sleep.