We have been driving downstate every weekend to finish emptying the old house before we sell it. On the days we drive down, we usually get up at 5 a.m. drive for hours, work really hard at the old house, and then drive hours back, empty the vehicle so EJ can drive it to work the next day, and then we fall exhausted into bed and struggle with aches and pains for several days afterward. It takes us longer and longer to recover after each trip.
One week (or was it two?) we drove downstate in the suburban. The next week EJ drove the sub while I drove the Xterra. This last week we drove down in the suburban, picked up a rented uhaul trailer in a nearby city, filled it, and drove back.
On the way down, we were really groggy even after drinking the coffee we had made at home. So we decided to stop at a bakery called Cops and Donuts in Clare, Michigan. (There is an excellent video about the bakery at the Cops and Donuts site.) EJ and JJ had stopped there a few times last year when they were living in the motel and I was still at the old house but this was my first time there. It has a unique history. The original bakery/donut shop had been in constant operation since 1896. It was within weeks of closing when the members of the Clare Police Department came to the rescue. All nine members of the local police department banded together to save the historic business. Cops and Donuts really took off and they now have a total of seven locations. It’s an awesome place and I love that the employee “uniforms” are t-shirts with “Inmate” written on them. We ordered delicious coffee and donuts, took a couple of pictures, and then continued on our way.
I told EJ as we continued on our way that Clare is the furtherest south that I ever want to go. I think that Clare is where “Up North” begins–or ends–depending on which direction a person is heading. Clare is where the scenery changes from mostly fields (to the south) to mostly forest (to the north). Many people agree with me: Clare calls itself “The Gateway to the North.”
We had a lot of very heavy items to load from the basement of the old house, including a heavy, heavy lathe. EJ pulled it up the basement steps while I steadied it. When we were almost finished, our elderly neighbor came home and we ended up talking with her. She just recently lost her husband of 68 years. She brought us pop (which is what we call “soda” here in Michigan) and insisted on helping us load the uhaul. I worried about her carrying things but she stubbornly insisted. I tried to give her lighter items and, fortunately, we were almost finished by the time she decided to help. She also made us sandwiches so we didn’t have to stop anywhere to eat on the way home. Another neighbor also stopped by and he helped load some of EJ’s weights. Then we were off for home.
We got home at about 9:30 p.m. EJ’s back was “on fire” and he had to get up early the next day to go to work, so I insisted that he shower and go to bed. I shut the chickens and ducks up in the garage; it was late enough that they had already settled into their coop inside the garage and I just had to close the big door. It makes me laugh that they put themselves to bed at night when I’m late getting to them. After I had cared for the birdies, I unloaded most of the Suburban so EJ could unhook the uhaul and drive the sub to work the next day. Early the next morning, though, we changed our plans and decided that I would drive EJ to work in the Xterra, then later drop off JJ at work and pick up EJ. That way we didn’t have to unhook the uhaul. I only got slightly lost twice–once after dropping EJ off at work and once when picking him up–but I quickly realized I had gone the wrong way and I was able to turn around and get where I needed to be. During the day I unloaded the uhaul except for the lathe, which I couldn’t even budge.
One of EJ’s previous co-workers from downstate was vacationing in our area with his family, so they stopped to visit on Monday afternoon shortly after EJ got home from work. They have three adorable little girls who were very gentle with Danny and our cats. After they left, EJ got the lathe out of the uhaul and then we tried to return it to the uhaul rental place up here (which was at a lumber yard), but it was already closed for the night. Since we had to return it on Tuesday morning or pay late fees, I had to return the trailer the next morning. I was nervous because I have never pulled a trailer, and I wasn’t sure if it would be easy or hard, and I didn’t know how to unhook the trailer, and I knew that I certainly would be unable to back up while pulling a trailer. But early the next morning I called the lumber yard to let them know I was returning the trailer and asked if there would be someone there to help me. They said yes, so I drove there and a guy unhooked the trailer for me, and it all was easy. Whew!
We close on the house next week. The realtor called with questions from the buyer, such as were we going to remove the old freezer, did it work, etc. I don’t think they really want the freezer, but they are willing to let us leave it there, which is great because it’s heavy, and I don’t know how EJ and I would have been able to get it out of the basement by ourselves, and it wouldn’t fit in the suburban, and we are running out of time, and we really can’t afford to rent another uhaul. The buyer doesn’t want the wood stove so we are going to stop and get it and the bags of trash we filled before we head to the closing.
I will be so, so, so glad when we close on the house because we are so exhausted. I feel as if it is taking more and more sisu to keep going downstate. Yesterday I was so tired that I took a nap when I got back from dropping off the u-haul trailer and then took another nap after lunch, and then went to bed extra early. Just one more trip downstate and we are DONE! Then we are going to REST and just putter around home and enjoy our beautiful Northern Michigan. I can’t wait!