Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our Moving Story...or Why I Need a Summer Vacation

When the economy went belly-up in AZ, my amazingly talented contractor husband and I decided to switch roles for a while!  I went back to work, after being a stay-at-home mom of three little ones for 4 years, in the Spring of 2009.  Since then, I have taught up to 10 to 11 composition courses a semester for three to four different colleges/universities, while hubby became Mr. Mom.  

To make things more interesting, in April, we decided to move 1000 miles from Camp Verde, AZ (where all my family lives) to New Braunfels, TX (where we know NO ONE) in the hopes of finding work for my husband and getting me back home with my kiddos.  The first hurdle?  Ryan needs a truck.  (Unfortunately, he had traded his truck in for a smaller car with smaller payments in December!)  Deciding to be 'wise,' we buy a 1999 Chevy utility truck we find on Craigslist with our dwindling tax refund and sell Ryan's car for what we owe to my cousin.  We will drive to Texas in two vehicles--Ryan pulling a trailer of our belongings behind his truck, while I follow in my little Corolla with our three kids (ages 3, 5, and 8). 

With no leads on buyers for our home, we decide to rent it.  The people renting the house are wonderful, so we know they will take care of our home.  And they even drop hints that if they like it they might decide to buy it.  Hmmm.  We bend over backwards to make them happy--including agreeing on a June 1st move-in date on May 25th and leaving ALL of our furniture.

With one week's notice, we pack up our house, putting only what we really need in my father-in-law's trailer.  On June 4th, we pack the kids in the car & leave for Texas.  Less than 20 miles out of town, Ryan's engine blows up.  A tow truck and $350 later, we are back at Ryan's parents' house trying to come up with a plan.  The good news--There is a flood in New Braunfels this week and we missed it!

We end up trading in my Corolla for a 2002 Chevy that can pull the trailer and hold all 5 of us. I will be without a vehicle in TX, but at least we'll be there! A week later, June 12, we are on our way again.  About 90 miles later, just outside of Phoenix, we decide to get some gas & snacks before heading across the desert.  Ryan notices that all the tread on all the tires of the trailer is completely gone.  Four new tires later, we are back on the road.  Thankfully we were just minutes away from a tire place, instead of stranded in the middle of the desert! 

We are now 2 hours behind schedule on our 14 hour drive.  About 4 hours from our destination (11pm Texas time), Ryan decides to stop and rest for a few minutes.  So, we pull into a Wal-Mart in Ft. Stockton, TX.  Where we sleep all night.  In the truck.  :-(

Finally, we get to our destination--some friends of Ryan's parents whom we have never met, but who have generously asked us to stay in their casita (a one bedroom, one bathroom guest room) in Bandera, TX.  We arrive Sunday around noon, and, with an appointment with a realtor to scout out rentals on Monday, I know we will be in a house by the end of the week.

Unfortunately, a huge flood in New Braunfels, which we thankfully missed with our vehicle drama, has created a run on the rental market.  Any house or apartment immediately available has been snapped up by the 100 families put out of their homes by the flood.  We stop at house after house, only to have the realtor call, shake her head, and say, "They just got a contract." 

Finally, after about 8 hours of searching with all the kids and no lunch...we pull up in front of a cute house downtown--right where we want to be!  She calls...and the house, which had been under contract until 5 MINUTES ago!, is now available.  We sign papers that afternoon.  The bad news--no house until July 3rd. 
Our New House!
We spend three weeks in a one bedroom, one bathroom guest room with no kitchen, no toys, no books, no transportation.  The good news?  Ryan gets a job!  The bad news--the job requires that he spend money to get tools, that he be gone from 7am to 9pm, and he won't have a paycheck for 3 weeks.  The good news?  We really love the Embrees, and they love us!

Finally, it's July 3rd.  We leave Bandera and head to New Braunfels.  20 miles into the 60 mile trip, Ryan hears a strange noise and looks out his window, only to see a tire bouncing down the road.  Pulling into a parking lot, we find that it, is, indeed, our tire--one of the brand new tires from the trailer has completely separated from the trailer and bounced into someone's car.  Good news--no damage to their vehicle.  Bad news--there is no way to fix the wheel and we are stuck in Boerne, TX, with all of our stuff on the back of a trailer that we can't move. 

What now?  We rent a U-Haul.  After about an hour of confusion,  we finally find one that's open and has a truck--the biggest one they have.  We have to unload the trailer onto the UHaul before we can get on our way.  Fortunately, the 3 weeks we spent with the Embrees made them like us a lot!  Mr. Embree came, with his son & daughter-in-law, to help us load the U-Haul and to haul the empty trailer back to their place.

Finally!  We make it to New Braunfels and our cute little house.  Where we have absolutely no furniture--well, except for the two card tables and 5 chairs I managed to squeeze into the trailer and the three blow up mattresses we bought for the kids to sleep on at the Embree's. 

What happens next is the miracle of Texas hospitality.  One neighbor comes over with 3 camp cots for the kids.  Yay!  Three beds.  (And that means that Ryan & I have blow up mattresses to sleep on!)  And the other neighbor brings us a real, live kitchen table with 5 chairs!  Even better, on Sunday, the real estate agent brings us a full tray of Subway sandwiches to enjoy--that feeds us for 3 days! 
Megan in the kids' room with their cots
July 4th--we spend with our new friends and neighbors watching the fireworks in New Braunfels.  Truly a day of independence and hope for our family. 

Ryan left his first nightmarish job two weeks ago and is now working with one of the finest builders in New Braunfels, TX, and I am, of course, still teaching my online classes.  Still busy, still struggling a bit, but knowing that there is hope, a light at the end of the tunnel.  Through it all, we saw that God was watching out for us.  And we realized that we may not have a bed to sleep on, but we have each other, and that's what counts.  Is it any wonder that my favorite Bible verse has always been Romans 8:28:  "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose."

So, why do I need a summer vacation?  To celebrate that God is good.  To celebrate my beautiful family.  And to celebrate a new beginning.


lou said...

very touching post karen. i'm glad you guys finally made it alive and well! what an ordeal! we hope new braunfels is a good move for you.. sounds like the neighbors are awesome!
and you most definitely need a vacay sister!

worryfreemom said...

Thanks, Aubrey! :-)

Diane said...

WOW! Isn't this a much better story than, we loaded the truck and moved to Texas. It took a long time and we were hot and cranky, but we made it. You will be telling this story forever. I am grateful that you and your husband traded "mom" duties. It provided me with a great class and I got to know a little bit about a great person and her family.
Thanks for sharing this story and the new house is ADORABLE!

Kelly said...

Wow-that was a lot to go through! Did you lose your temper even once? Sounds like you're happy with the move.

worryfreemom said...

Kelly-I had to keep calm and be positive for Ryan. He was not a happy camper. It was really interesting because each time something happened, he would say, "are you kidding me?!" then question God's faithfulness. Towards the end, I honestly was right there with him, but I did my best to stay positive, "All things work together for good" "God has a plan" etc. Interestingly, (as you can maybe tell from the story), everything bad that happened spared us from something much worse. Cuz God knew the tires were bad, but we stopped outside of Phoenix, not before, so we could notice them, and we were able to replace them before we hit the middle of the desert. He also knew the wheel would break off, so he made sure we stayed a good long time with the Embrees so they would come help us. And He even knew how lonely and homesick I would be, so He made it so I would be so happy to be in a house of my own that I would forget about everything (well not quite) I left behind. He is faithful and good to provide for us. As Jesus said, "in this world you will have trouble." But He has overcome the world. And our trip sort of illustrates that for me. :-)

Kelly said...

Besides comforting and supporting Ryan, I'm sure it was a wonderful example to your kids! You can call me any time when you get too homesick. Oh and guess what? The hen you gave us that I thought disappeared showed up a week later!

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