Saturday, April 30, 2016

Four people, two cats and are we there yet?

Parents do some crazy things for their kids. Take last weekend, for example. Spouse and I helped First Born and The Groom relocate from Philadelphia to Atlanta, Georgia. Little did we know that our simple plan would become such a fiasco.

We flew to Philly last Thursday. The plan was to help the couple pack up that afternoon, stay in a hotel close by while their two cats spent their last night in the apartment, and be on the road bright and early Friday morning with a loaded mini-van. Estimating the trip to be 13 to 15 hours, we figured we would get to Atlanta before midnight on Friday.

The first complication was that arrangements couldn’t be made to access the alley behind the apartment building, which meant lugging everything to the rented vehicle in a garage - two blocks away. I’m sure this sounded like a piece of cake for a couple of 20-somethings, but not so much for the mid-lifers trudging down Philly sidewalks with carts of boxes and miscellaneous gear.

Because The Love Couple lived in a one-room apartment and had already driven a load of their things to Atlanta, they estimated the amount of stuff to be moved as one-vehicle worthy. Let’s just say they were a little off. By Friday morning the mini-van was completely filled and at least half of their belongings remained in the apartment. The only solution was to rent a second vehicle. The size of the Chevy Impala I ordered online was laughable. Well, as close to laughable as things had gotten by that point. We switched it with a Nissan Pathfinder, confident this would resolve the issue.

Oh yes, we were delusional.

After jamming both vehicles to their threshold, we ran into one more little glitch that Friday afternoon. The Groom locked the keys in the mini-van.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

While we waited for roadside assistance it was time for a little pow-wow about our plans. We agreed that the Love Couple’s two cats would stay one more night in the nearly empty apartment and we would all stay at the hotel again. The vision was to hit the road Saturday morning bright and early, maybe even by six, my son-in-law and I mused.

The reality was that we said goodbye to Philadelphia around 11 a.m. and arrived at our final destination 2:30 Sunday morning - almost a day and a half later than originally planned.

During our road trip Spouse and I were reminded that we’re not young anymore. Since the plan to have four drivers in one car was thwarted by needing a second vehicle, we each had to drive for some long stretches. We resembled wet dishrags by the end of the trip.

We also learned that our daughter and son-in-law are a great team. It was interesting to watch them work together to resolve issues. I was proud of both of them, knowing that first year of marriage is often when a couple is most tempted to throw each other off the island.

We also discovered that the Waffle House is decent and dirt cheap, truck drivers love to take over the highways later at night, and rest stop vending machines aren’t the worst source of late night snacks.
First Born and The Groom will be taking over his parents’ home while his dad’s job takes them to Costa Rica. After a little sleep, Spouse and I had a chance to enjoy their lovely home and the wonderful hospitality of The Groom’s mom who will soon be joining his dad. I spent a considerable amount of time on the wonderfully airy porch with my mug of hot coffee.

We flew back to Portland Monday afternoon, leaving Atlanta’s 75-degree weather and coming home to a forecast of snow the next morning.  Really, Maine?

The whole weekend became an insane undertaking, but it was still valuable time with family. I wouldn’t change a thing… except the part about renting a U-haul from the beginning. And maybe setting up use of the apartment building alley for easy access. Oh, and getting to Atlanta a day earlier.

You’re right. I’d change a few things.

Simba not making moving easy

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