Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last post of the old year

Greetings from Huntsville, AL! We've been in our new home for just over a week now. A lot has happened since my last post. I attended the last CRNA resident graduation of my husband's military career, flew here and back from CA, attended/participated in my husband's retirement ceremony, threw a dinner party (catered, thank goodness) for 75 or so of our closest friends and Brian's work colleagues, rode over 2500 miles in the RV from CA to AL, celebrated Christmas, and hosted another dinner for 15 here in our new home.

Brian's retirement ceremony went well, even though not all went as planned. Originally, my sister and I, along with her husband, were going to sing the national anthem. I contracted some kind of upper respiratory bug on my way here a few days before the ceremony and lost much of my voice. Pam then seemed to pick up the same thing, so that by the day of the ceremony, neither of us was in much shape to sing. Thankfully, Emily stepped in and saved the day by singing with Kirk. They received compliments from several people, many of whom said it was the best they'd heard at a military ceremony. It was a decidedly unique ceremony, in that we opted for a non-military chaplain to deliver the invocation. Our dear friend Jim prayed only as he could, and it meant so much more to us to have him praying over Brian than someone who would not have known us as well. There were appropriate amounts of solemnity, tears, and laughter... the latter especially coming at the music played for the recessional: Sweet Home Alabama.

That night, we had a catered dinner at a local banquet hall. The food was great and the room was packed. I had ordered a custom cake from a great place in Vacaville (think Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss) and I was thrilled with how it came out, and it generated a lot of conversation. I wouldn't be surprised if the bakery gets some more business based on that cake. (BTW, it tasted great as well!)

We left CA Saturday morning (the 19th) and made it to the Palm Springs area before deciding to stop for the night. It was after dark and neither driver (Emily was following in her car) had really had a full night's sleep the night before, so they were ready to call it quits. The next day, we traveled around 800 miles through AZ and NM and on into TX, stopping at a KOA in Van Horn, TX. That was one long day! We passed through 3 time zones and were into Central Time when we stopped, so it was 2 hours later than we realized... 11:30 pm! We crashed quickly that night. The next day we left around 8am. Brian and Emily were bound and determined to make it to Huntsville without staying over another night. For anyone wondering, the distance from the KOA in Van Horn to our home is 1244 miles. And yes, we did it. Emily actually took the lead after lunch and beat us to the house by about an hour, but the RV pulled up in front of the house at 3:15 am on Tuesday. We were delighted to see that elves (my sister, her husband, and at least one of their sons) had been at work in our house in expectation of our arrival. They had put the kids' beds together and set them up (ours was ready already) and also dug out some of our Christmas decorations and had hung our pre-lit garland on our fireplace mantels. And they'd turned up the heat as well!!

Unpacking seemed to be a slow process. I was still recovering from whatever I had; Brian had contracted it as well. But we managed to get the kitchen put together by Christmas Eve. The night before that, Pam & Kirk came over and helped with some unpacking. Kirk and Halle got our Christmas tree put up and decorated. On Christmas Day, we had a big lasagna dinner here. Pam & Kirk came, along with 3 of their sons and 2 of the sons' girlfriends, plus another young couple who are good friends with their family. Our table extends to 10 ft. long, and that was just enough to hold all 15 of us. I envision a "kids' table" in our future some day!

So here we are on New Year's Eve... nothing big planned, just a night of Beatles Rock Band or other video games, movies, and pizza with Pam and Kirk (and maybe some of the boys?? Don't know yet if any of them are coming.). Still lots of unpacking to do, but it'll be there tomorrow... and the next day.... and the next...

Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The now and the not yet

And so it begins. The packers (5 men) arrived yesterday on time (a first, I believe). They set straight to work and worked without stopping. In what has to be a record, they had our belongings boxed up and ready for tomorrow's truck in about 5 1/2 hours. We had bought them lunch, but they were so close to finishing, they kept working and took it to go. I'm sitting here in the house now, waiting for a mattress delivery (the 3 younger kids are getting new ones; all moving up to full-size beds).

We have all of our necessary goods for the next few weeks with us in the RV, which is set up in the base RV park. Sure will be an interesting time between now and when we arrive in Huntsville! The dogs are happy to be there; they love it in the RV. The younger kids do as well. Emily... not so much. But she will do fine, I'm sure.

I am planning on flying to Huntsville to meet the moving truck when it arrives. I'll be able to see that the furniture is placed in the right places and maybe even get the phone/internet/cable installed while there. Hopefully I will get back in time for Brian's students' graduation dinner on the 11th.

We are here for just 17 more days. Brian's retirement ceremony is the 17th. My sister and brother-in-law are flying in from AL, Brian's sister is coming from MO, and our friend Jim is flying from Omaha the day before. We'll head out on the 19th to make our way across the country. The last time we drove between Huntsville and here, it took 5 days. Hoping it doesn't take any longer than that, this time. Praying for good weather and safe roads!

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