If you frequent this blog the way I frequent board game stores (always) then you’ll know that this past weekend my husband and I made the leap from the big apple to the house of mouse. We packed up a truck, drove it South and prayed for daylight. While we’re most definitely not unpacked or ready to have guests for tea and crumpets, I thought it might be fun to share our journey thus far.
My husband Carl is a collector, or some might say hoarder. He has tons of stuff. And I mean tons. While we lived in NYC, he was originally from Connecticut and when we decided to move, it became apparent that we would need to also ascertain all of his belongings in storage at friends and families homes up North. While a moving company might have been easier, we quickly settled on renting a truck and doing the deed ourselves in order to save money. This meant picking up a truck in Connecticut, gathering belongings and then stopping by our apartment in New York City, before heading towards warming weather. With our plan formulated, we took a bus to Connecticut and grabbed our Budget truck, a character in this story that would soon become the Christmas to our Grinch, pre heart warming lesson.
The truck itself was 16 feet long, an upgrade from our originally reserved 12 foot, which we started to doubt would be enough room for our belongings. Carl was going to drive the entire way, since he had driven one before and also due to the fact that the mere thought of driving it gave me anxiety to the point of chest pain. After a couple easy stops in Connecticut, we headed towards NYC.
Our first hiccup came in the form or where exactly to park the truck. We found out as we entered the city and did some research that these trucks can only be parked on commercial streets. Parking being what it is in Astoria Queens at 9PM, we were forced to settle on parking in a residential area and praying we wouldn’t get a ticket. Despite not having a great relationship with any higher power, it worked! We returned to the truck to find no ticket. However, our celebration came too soon. As we tried to park near our home, we were yelled at by a woman for stopping in front of a driveway to plan our next move and honked at multiple times. This all came to a head once we tried to pull into a driveway. As I stood outside the car, directing Carl to back up, a man and his family approached us, claiming we had hit his car, which we hadn’t of course. I turned to talk to the man who was being extremely aggressive, but in taking my eyes off of Carl and the truck, I wasn’t able to tell him to stop and he instead backed into a car behind him, causing the initial man to claim that we were making the neighborhood unsafe.
After calming the man down, we were finally able to park and then go in search of the other man who’s car we had hit, in order to give him our info. And while it was a very minor scratch to his car, our tensions were at an all time high. Luckily, hope was on the way. Our friends began arriving and packing the truck commenced.
As the day wore on, our team started to believe that everything would not actually fit in the truck, but I never once gave up hope. Carl is quite skilled in the art of packing and he has a knack for tetrising boxes into place. As we hurried away, trying to fit everything, one final snowfall descended on us. Between the accident, the neighbors yelling and the snow, I felt that New York was giving us the middle finger and not so gently asking us to get out. We obliged. At long last, we finished the truck, with little to no space to spare, but at least everything was packed. We waved farewell to our friends and set to work cleaning the now empty apartment and finishing last minute projects. This, however, would set us up for our next big challenge.
Our plan was to leave early in the morning, around 1AM, but as the hours slipped by, we were starting to realize that this was less and less of a feasible reality. At midnight, we finally tried to sleep, but with no more bed, the ground was hard and cold and after tossing and turning and maybe actually sleeping for an hour, we threw in the towel on rest and decided to head out. With our dog Izzy and a huge truck full of stuff, we set off in the middle of the night, bound for warm weather. This horribly taken picture was all I could manage as we waved farewell to the city that never sleeps.
The trouble soon became the very little sleep we had gotten. The trip, non-stop from New York to Florida is about 16 hours, or so my phone foretold. However, only a couple hours in, we found ourselves pulling over to nap. We awoke and headed out again. But soon enough we needed another nap. We quickly found that we were so tired, we could barely make it an hour before needing to pull over. It was during one of these phases of exhaustion, as we searched for a rest stop, that we hit a rough patch in the road and the truck began to rock back and forth ominously. Despite our best efforts, we had not balanced the truck correctly and now we were concerned that given the right conditions, it might actually tip over. It was about this time that Carl and I threw in the towel and gave Izzy the wheel.
Okay, we didn’t actually do that, but we did realize we were going to have to be very careful. As the sun rose and we passed Washington D.C. we started to feel like we might be able to carry on for a bit.
We drove on through the day, stopping now and then to rest. Though our plan was to drive straight through, it became apparent as the sun set that we wouldn’t be able to make it. As we passed the Southern boarder of North Carolina into South Carolina, we threw in the towel and stopped at a very peculiar rest stop called South of the Border.
The only way I can describe this place is to site a landmark from my hometown back in Denver. It’s sort of like this restaurant called Casa Bonita, but in reststop form. Lit up in Neon, South of Border edges on the side of racist, but it’s just so kitschy and fun, I found it hard to really be mad at it. We hunkered down in a motel for the night and quickly passed out.
We awoke once again at 3AM, but this time with a full night’s rest under our belt. We were ready to finish the journey. We headed into South Carolina. The darkness was overwhelming. With little to no light on the roads and a fog that assaulted us from all sides, I couldn’t help but think that we were entering the realm of ghost stories. As we commented on this fact, we passed a sign which read “Black River” and decided that we’d prefer to not break down here. Fortunately we didn’t and before long, the sun rose as we entered the beautiful state of Georgia.
And soon after that, as mid-day crept up on us, we finally made contact with our new state of residence.
We drove onwards and eventually made it in one piece to our new home, which I plan to post pictures of once it looks like less of a hovel. Oh, and don’t worry, Izzy made it here safely too.
And despite not having toilet paper or hand soap right off the bat, I was all too happy to place once piece of new furnishing, as it fittingly turned up in the first box I opened.
We’ve had lots to do over the past couple of days, but a prevailing theme has been the kindness of everyone we’ve come into contact with. Everyone has just had this warmth about them and every great interaction has made us feel that much more at home. After hours of converting licences, dealing with car insurance, signing leases and other general business, last night I decided to do something to really make me feel like we’d made it. Like this was all real. We headed down to Disney Springs to pick up Annual passes which I’d purchased while waiting in line at the DMV. This had the happy accident of running into my new workplace, which was already sitting there, waiting for us to build it and make it as amazing as possible.
There’s something to say about all of this. Something deep and moving. But at this point, I’m just tired and grateful to be here. It was a long journey and the months leading up to it were even longer, but we’re finally here. We have a home to ourselves and we’re starting to learn the ins and outs of the neighborhood. There’s a lot more adventure ahead, and I’m willing to bet a few pitfalls. But we’ve kept our chins high this far, and I can’t imagine any challenge we can’t face head-on at this point. While this singular dream of ours has come true, I can only imagine what wonderfulness lies in store for us next. After all, there’s still a store to open, a house to unpack and Disney passes waiting to be used. It’s going to be a wild year for sure!
To all my readers, don’t fret! New chapters of the Kingdom, blogs on the parks and our visits and new DMK posts will be rolling out very very soon. In the meantime, thank you for checking in!