You really can't appreciate quiet until you've experienced noise.
It's quiet now.
All I can hear is the rustle of leaves and the whisper of wind through the evergreens (or Christmas trees, as I call them), and an occasional bird. The windows are open, there's a cool breeze blowing, and a beautiful blue sky to compliment the sun beaming through the windows.
My children are both asleep. BOTH asleep. At the same time. You'd have to have been with us the last few days to know how precious this is to have during the day.
We had planned on leaving Wednesday morning around 10-11am, with the Mechanic and the dogs heading to Kingsport to take care of some business before moving out of state, and the girls and I making a stop in Kingston to meet my friend's newborn baby. The Mechanic made it out by 11, but unfortunately the house was in a such a state that I didn't leave until after 5pm. Only seven hours behind schedule! If it hadn't been for my brother-in-law/sister-in-law helping me out, and my mother-in-law's grace of not requiring her renters to remove all personal belongings and clean the house before leaving, I'd probably still be in that house.
I'm a lousy housekeeper. I know that. But this was beyond lousy housekeeping. This was taking all the stuff that took a 26 foot truck, filled to the brim, plus multiple SUV/car load fulls to move down, and reducing it to what would fit into a single UBox and two SUV's, with three warm bodies in each. That's quite a reduction in space.
I have no laundry baskets. No hampers. No hangers. No food. My turkey platter, which I just got this last Christmas, was left behind. I had a lovely set of glass bowls which were left. My Rubbermaid canisters for flour and sugar were left. I no longer own a mattress. Or a bedroom suite. Both cribs were left behind. The couch was left. My grandmother's rocking chair was left.
It's just stuff. I kept reminding myself of that while trying to cram one more thing into Patty the Pilot. But it's my stuff. And it's hard to let it go. It's hard to trust that you can live without it. Or that you can get another one later. Especially when you're moving to a place 277 miles from the nearest Walmart. And having grown up in a home where you washed the ziplock bags and let them air dry so you could reuse them, leaving behind perfectly good things went against every fiber of my being.
But anyway... Ladybug slept most of the way to my friend's house an hour away, and then after a short visit there we carried on in hopes of catching up with the Mechanic at the hotel we'd made pet-friendly reservations at. Not so much. The plan was to be an hour south of the MI border when we stopped for the night. Instead, the girls and I stopped half an hour south of the OH border. I was tired, and Ladybug had screamed for most of the last 2 hours. But the Hampton Inn staff was very helpful and had two pack and plays set up complete with sheets by the time I got the girls and teddy bears up to the room. (It's more complicated than you would think to travel alone with two small children, especially one that can't walk.)
The next morning is when things got really ugly. It had rained some the night before, and it continued raining much of Thursday. Here's what I learned. If you have two small children, and you realize after strapping them both into their car seats, that one's pacifier is nowhere to be found, take both children out and go back to the room and search it. The extra 45 minutes of searching and re-buckling is far better than nearly 16 hours of screaming. To add to the no pacifier problem, my power adapters in Patty the Pilot went on the fritz and so my DVD player wouldn't work. So that lovely easily accessible shoebox full of DVD's did absolutely no good. So Ladybug screamed. And screamed. And screamed. I tried toys. I tried new toys. I tried magnets. I tried music. I tried singing. I tried taking a long break at Cabella's. I tried threats. I tried pleading. I tried distraction. I tried food. She took one nap, about an hour long, the entire day. The rest of the time, she screamed.
It was ugly.
I also learned there are some roads in northern MI that aren't on the US Atlas. And they don't believe in putting signs pointing towards the interstate in small towns. So I drove 32 extra miles because I headed south on a highway instead of north; it was cloudy, I had no compass, and I missed one single turn. It still got me to the interstate, just meant I drove one very boring 15 mile stretch twice. But for driving over 900 miles alone with only an atlas I think I did pretty darn good!
I hit The Bridge (Mackinac Bridge) at around 10pm, in the rain, so it was dark. It really wasn't impressive at all to me. Maybe because of the rain, maybe because of the dark, or maybe because I'd been in the car for 13 hours with a screaming toddler. Who thankfully, by that time, because I'd given her her sister's paci, was asleep. Then I followed the text directions from my mother-in-law through the wilds of the Upper Peninsula. I drove along the shores of Lake Michigan, which I couldn't really see because it was dark, but figured was over there since there were signs along the road saying "road may be covered by sand." Then I hit the wall. The wall of custard fog. The very white wall. The wall that makes your eyes feel like they're going crazy because all you can see is one and a half orange lines. The wall that makes you think your family is pulling your leg and there really isn't a cabin in the woods and this road is just going to dead end into the lake. Or, even worse, you're going to miss a turn because the fog has covered the signs on the side of the road and you're going to keep driving clear into Wisconsin. The wall that also occludes deer on the side of the road (thankfully they stayed on the side of the road) and raccoons the size of a large bear cub that aren't staying on the side of the road.
Thankfully, I didn't miss any turns, and at 1215am I saw the headlights of the CRV in the dirt driveway of the cabin. MI was not in my good graces at that point.
I promise, though, it gets better. The children are still quite grumpy, but Ladybug likes the beach and Turkey is sprouting her two top teeth. The next part of the story needs pictures, though, so that'll have to wait till a better internet connection. The side effect of a quiet cabin in the woods is a slow internet connection. And both my children are screaming again.
To be continued...