Thursday, August 09, 2012

what follows is the full story of an amazing journey, a single family of my wife, me, two young boys, two large dogs and three cats in a van, a sixteen-foot moving van loaded completely full, from carbondale to our new home in lubbock texas. we had great apprehension about moving and not only did we get the van late, but it took us most of a day and part of another to move stuff into it, so that instead of leaving sunday morning as we'd planned, we didn't get on the road until sunday at about six in the evening.

there were several casualties of the move; not everything made it onto the van. toward the end we realized that if we left the wicker furniture behind we could get lots of boxes and other things on the van, and we did. we left a table and a chair, and the cubby; we'd made a deal, hours before leaving, with a friend to take the house, so we willingly left stuff for him that wouldn't fit anyway. we left behind a hose, a bed, a few other things; we tossed all our food and spices. we got on the van both bicycles, the sports bucket, and virtually everything else we owned. sunday afternoon it rained long and hard, and we couldn't get the moving van up the steep driveway, so much of that move was done in the rain, one thing at a time. the van was so full that when you opened it, you could barely get anything out of it, because everything was lodged against everything else, and we had to put the dolly back in it at the last minute. hello dolly!

so sunday at about six we set off toward the bootheel with every intention of making it to little rock by maybe midnight. but at a rest stop in the bootheel, this would be steele missouri, near the arkansas border, the mosquitos were so bad that the boys got eaten up and even got eaten up when they got back into the car, because they'd gotten in the car in the minutes we'd stopped. one boy had thirty welts on him and was in extreme pain, though the best i could figure, the pain was mainly the pain of the mosquito bites representing every single anxiety he had about moving. this became crucial right around little rock where we were both exhausted, there was road construction, and we'd been on the road six or seven hours, it now being about one, and the kids not asleep at all, but rather melting down, exhausted, upset, etc. we'd chosen super-8's to stay in because they are notoriously pet-friendly, but they are also seedy, and the one in little rock was very urban as well. nevertheless it was good for the dogs, both dogs and cats, all of whom were good, and tolerated the trip well as long as we minded their needs. the younger lad got into hotel breakfast waffles. the older one recovered from the mosquito welts and learned to charge his phone in the motels. the next night we were in dallas at another super-8, this one a little more upscale. but here my wife saw the largest cockroach she'd ever seen in her life, and we fled in a panic; now we'd lost all her makeup (it had been the site of the crime). we misplaced a number of things en route. dallas was a monster of a city but the west side, going through fort worth, was considerably easier to take than the east side. and we could tell, coming out of dallas to the west, that texas was opening up and becoming wide, sunny, dry, and scenic, even a little mountainous in parts, though it seemed we'd go up a wide, dry, long slope and never really come down. we were in fact rising up into the higher elevations and this accounted for some of the dryness.

somewhere west of dallas we saw a sign that said, el paso 565, and i thought, whoa, but we went through abilene and somewhere west of there cut up twoard lubbock. we came to some beanfields and agricultural areas, but then back out into the llano, the craggy dry "escarpmented plain" where nothing really grows anyway. finally we landed in lubbock and the truck had a flat, though it hadn't affected the trip much. took us a day to unload stuff, the van pulled up in front of our new house in the middle of lubbock. another day was spent in exhaustion, getting beds for the kids and fixing a bicycle. even today we are lying around, basically recovering. we did it though, got everything down here, three days of driving, and everyone in reasonable shape. my wife, driving with the boys, dogs and cats, claimed that the animals were fine, only the boys got a little testy once in a while. for me, alone in the truck, which rattled more as i got to west texas, probably due to the flat, i was able to key into the radio, and noticed immediately that texas is far more conservative than i'm used to. at one point there were two stations with rush limbaugh, and a third had glenn beck. commercials for a tea-bagger named cruz, who won, claimed that "every newspaper in texas called his opponent a moderate, using the word as if it were an insult, like you might call someone a liberal elsewhere. one talk show host was so rude and contrary to ordinary logic and decency, i had to change the channel. but it was just radio, there wasn't much else. there were a number of spanish stations. silence wasn't a bad option either; it was wide-open country.

the house we're in is at a corner one block from campus, on a busy through-street that will probably get busier once road construction abates. it's the old neighborhood of lubbock; the oldest tree in town sits in our back yard (shared with a neighbor); it's dying, and other trees have died also; the drought last year was hard on every tree in the state. i make plans to do tree husbandry, figure out what grows and how to make it do well. it's 105 or something outside, but i'm already more or less resigned to it; it can only get better, and, it's already better than the 99/99 that southern illinois is used to, since the humidity here is down at a much lower level. you learn, i think, to stay in in the afternoons, much as you would avoid chicago traffic. the boys, a little traumatized by the move and the heat both, would rather hang around in the morning (when i really should get them out) and i let them; later, who knows what will happen, after it cools off a little? we have exploring to do, but it's hard getting out from under our air-con and fans.

the neighbors sent their kids over to play, but they were all girls, which, hate to say it, probably doomed it from the start. the boys went out, played a bit, but came back in; whatever they were doing, it didn't take. the girls pretty much admitted they were here because their parents sent them over. they did their best; i can't blame them. it's good that our boys at least know them; hopefully they will also remember their names. give them 5-10 years; then, everything will change, and they will be ready to notice.

it's a somewhat urban environment; bikes cruising by regularly; a fair number of cars; blazing heat. it reminds me of las cruces in its ag-college town nature, its southwestern architecture, its mix of local character and college-town activity. so far, i'm thinking i can handle it. time marches; i'll keep you posted.


Blogger J-Funk said...


Thanks for the good story. I'm glad you all made it! What a looooong trip. I am also glad everyone has had a little chance to recover. I hope you all like your new home and Lubbock!

Love, josie
PS I'll call this weekend. When are you free?

3:34 PM  

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