Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gerry & Annie's Excellent Adventure



Up at 2:30, I was worried about not being able to move the dumpster and Relo-cube because of the sleeting snow and upcoming NOR'EASTER. I sent an email to our attorney and real estate agents outlining a few scenarios which would allow us to deal with mother nature in a graceful way.

I started packing up both cars around 7:00 am, put our Plan B into action (Plan B: Hiring a garage clean out company to clean out the garage after the dumpster is able to be moved, after the WINTER STORM is over) and let the asbestos removal guys in at 8:30. By 10:30 we were just about good to go - and let me tell you there ain't NOTHIN' as much fun as packing two cars and rooftop storage units in a NOR'EASTER. My hands are still red and burning two days later.

Of course, the folks buying our house made sure we knew that they expected to have their noon walk-through AS SCHEDULED, at NOON. Apparently they were terribly annoyed at the snowy footprints in the house. It's refreshing to see that they won't let a little thing like a WINTER STORM get in their way of moving. Of course, we'd moved the closing back a day to accommodate them so they could be in the house to celebrate Shabbat by sundown on Friday, but the possibility of giving us a few extra hours in the middle of a WINTER STORM to pack the cars wasn't even open for discussion. What am I missing?

We stopped by the pediatrician on the way out to arrange innoculation records, stopped by the bank to arrange the wire transfer of funds for the closing of our St. Paul house, stopped by our attorney's office to tell him NOT to put $1,000 into escrow for our buyers (which they wanted because they were upset that the dumpster couldn't be removed in the middle of a NOR'EASTER - oh, f'chrissake, just WAIT A DAY. Oy) and then we left.

Gerry and I have agreed that for my blood pressure and sanity, our exchange of work for this move will be as follows: I do all the heavy lifting, and HE does all the dealing with our attorney and real estate person, mortgage folks, etc.

In retrospect we probably should have just checked into a motel in NJ, but we were packed and thought that if we could get to PA, we could outrun the storm. Famous last words.

The roads were pretty iffy-but-good from NJ to PA then they suddenly got TERRIBLE 50 miles into the state. We sat in bumper to bumper (just us and trucks) for almost an hour, waiting to get off at an exit for a hotel (just before Rt 80 & 81 meet - the same point where many folks spent 17 hours in their cars...)
We both almost had accidents; at one point Gerry spun 180, then later I spun 240. Luckily traffic was going about 5mph, so it was more of a ballet with cars than potential accident.

When we finally made it off the highway (the exit ramps were worse than the roads) we limped to a Holiday Inn Express and we were told that we just missed the last room. We almost cried. Actually, I did cry.

Then the REALLY nice guy at the desk told us they were cleaning another room and we could have it. We REALLY got the last one. Later Gerry and I wondered if he said that to everyone...

No food - the hotel didn't have a restaurant and the town officially closed at 6:00 so no Wendy's or Micky D's or even 7-11. We scammed all of the instant oatmeal and old bananas from the breakfast room we could carry, and brought the pets in with tacit approval from the nice guy at the front desk (he said he'd already let one dog in, so as long as we promised they'd stay in their crates, we'd be okay...)

Luckily we were in the last room next to the exit at the end of the hall, so all we had to do was walk through a 2 foot snowdrift 4 or 5 times to get the dog, cats, luggage, litter box, etc. moved into the room (oh, I'm sorry, it took me 4 or 5 trips...)

But we felt like the luckiest folks in the world.


We left our safe haven at 10:00 and drove V E R Y S L O W L Y until about 12:00, when the road magically became clear and we were able to go the speed limit of 65 mph. A few stops for grub and we pretty much determined that we'd drive until one of us called the other on our cell phones and said, "UNCLE!"

It's 11:00 and we've just checked into Motel 8 - woohoo! They take pets and they have jacuzzi rooms. Of course, they said we couldn't have a pet in the jacuzzi, which we said we didn't, but then they explained that there are PET rooms and JACUZZI rooms - so we're in a PET room. Gerry says that Atticus OWES him big. BIG.

We're in Indiana somewhere. We almost stayed in Toledo, but I protested and de-registered us from the fleabag that had no internet (Gerry hadn't arrived yet, it was just me and the kids so we did a quick in, "yuck!" and out) and went back on the road. The Motel 8 is light years ahead of the fleabag. Speaking as a native of Toledo, sometimes this part of the world is a little odd.

I also got pulled over by a cop on the access road to the fleabag. An isolated, empty, country road which dead ended into a "no outlet" road. I stopped at the stop sign, turned left at the dead end, and immediately a cop was on my butt with lights flashing. Apparently he felt I hadn't stopped. Yes, I had. Oh please god help me.

But he let me go with a warning to "be more careful, ma'am"

I will be more careful. I'll avoid fleabags in Toledo from now on.

Tomorrow we should arrive in St. Paul. Woo. And if all goes well I'll be signing books at the Mall of America at 4:00 on Saturday and 2:00 on Sunday, and perhaps some time on Friday. Who knows?

I got a call from the Sterling publicist as I was in bumper to bumper traffic asking if I could be in MN "tomorrow" because Vickie Howell was trapped in a snow drift in Vermont. I guess it makes sense that the knitters would be where the snow is...


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posted by Annie at


Anonymous Ann said...

As our ice storm down this way closed in, and then I heard about the PA Turnpike being a parking lot to the extent that they called in the National Guard, I added your journey to my prayers. I'm glad to hear you made it as far as you have and sure hope you have smooth sailing from now on. Since our power is now back on (top of my prayer list for 2 days) we can hope someone up there was listening.

Safe travels!
Give Atticus a hug for us.

February 16, 2007 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This brings back memories of times when I had to do physically taxing tasks (like moving) without enough rest. I almost ache for you. I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your life. You are one amazing lady.
Punkin in Oregon

February 16, 2007 12:32 AM  
Anonymous Lynne E. said...

Golly, Annie. You folks are amazing.

February 16, 2007 1:15 AM  
Blogger laura gayle said...

hugs around and wishes for safe travels the rest of the way. You're brave to do a move in winter.

February 16, 2007 8:14 AM  
Blogger Cursing Mama said...

I'm going to miss your arrival in MN & your signing at MOA (big anniversary weekend away) but I'm looking forward to your 1st class (and many more to follow).
Welcome to MN! We're awfully glad to have you :)

*Hopefully this isn't a double comment, I'm having a heck of a time getting used the the whole new blogger thing...

February 16, 2007 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Chris in MN said...

Annie - Your trip sounds like you're settling the old west. I'm glad you're going to make it without having to eat the horses!

February 16, 2007 10:23 AM  
Blogger Kim in Oregon said...

I was wondering how it was going for you. EVERYONE needs a good moving story that you can tell years from now, shake your heads, and say "can you believe we did that?"

February 16, 2007 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girl, you have got spunk! and don't it figure? After this mild winter and every knitter bemoaning it, you travel through the mother of all snow storms!

Goodness, your family will be talking about it for generations! And I must say, all in all, it could have been a worse outcome at several points.

Trudge on! All the best!

February 16, 2007 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Luise said...

Was just talking with someone about life's being an adventure, so the title of your post resonates. You and your family are beyond amazing -- resilient and resourceful come to mind. Throw in a lot of love and a sense of humor (and perspective), and that about sums you up. I stand in awe of you all.

February 16, 2007 11:13 AM  
Anonymous anne marie in philly said...

I am sending good thoughts your way that you and Vickie Howell will meet on sat. at the warm mall of america!

think of all the memories that will come flooding back when the kids are grown and you say "remember the time we moved to MN in the nor'easter....."

as for the buyers of your previous residence, they DON'T deserve it. they are rude, inconsiderate, @#$%^&* (insert other famous words here). I would leave them the asbestos as a present! but then, I can be a vindictive bitch like that....

February 16, 2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Bless your heart. Safe journey and skip the book signing if you can't get there or even if you just need an extra night with a jacuzzi!

February 16, 2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad things are no worse than they are. Spins are so frightening. Hope the rest of it goes safely.

February 16, 2007 12:51 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

We moved from Oklahoma to Duluth, MN in a snowstorm a few days before Christmas over ten years ago. My daughter was 3 and my son was 1 and they had never seen snow. The initial jump down from the U-haul van was a bit of a shock for them. I don't know if my son ever recovered.

Sometime down the road you'll be all cozy in your home and this will be a very funny memory...

It might be quite some time down the road though!

February 16, 2007 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you, Annie, and best wishes in your new life in Minnesota! Moving is such hell!

February 16, 2007 2:48 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

May the Force (and the weather) be with you on this trip! Oh, and, as I'm sure you know, just because someone is Sabbath observant doesn't mean he/she is unreasonable. It's just those people moving in your old house? Totally unreasonable in a scary way....

February 16, 2007 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Amie said...

Oh Annie, what a busy few days you've had! That back up on Rt-78 was insane. Glad to hear you weren't one of those caught up in that for hours upon hours.

February 16, 2007 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anne said...

Oh it's good to know you're getting a little much needed rest in between what sounds like a harrowing journey! I'll keep you in my prayers - the ice and snow must be a lot to deal with. Safe travels the rest of the way.

Now back to convincing my boyfriend to go to mall of america saturday and get a book signed for me :D

February 16, 2007 5:38 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

The buyers of your house were really something else! I've never bought or sold a house where I didn't feel like I was getting screwed by someone - I think it's the nature of real estate!
I'm glad you are making your way safely - when you mentioned being in PA, I immediately thought of the article in the paper of people stuck on the highway for 17 HOURS! I'm so glad you all weren't stuck there too.
Can't wait to hear your tales of moving in. Best of luck to you all. 12 years ago we moved from California to Connecticut and never looked back. I know you'll feel the same.

February 16, 2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

wow! Quite the amazing journey. And I have to say that your buyers seem particulary self-centered!

February 16, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger stephanie said...

All in all I'm glad you got there safely. have fun "housewarming" in MN!

February 16, 2007 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

I hope you are here in the Twin Cities safely now, and I hope I get to see you tomorrow at the Mall of America! By the way, do you know you are on the MOA website scheduled to be at the author's table at 11:30 a.m., not 4:00? I would hope they would tell you the right time, but I bet there will be lots of disappointed people at 11:30.

At any rate - WELCOME to a great place to live.

February 16, 2007 8:17 PM  

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