Whirlweek

Our moving week went by so quickly and there was so much to do, that I didn’t have much time for reflection and writing. Now we’re situated, at least temporarily, and things are starting to stabilize, so I have time to tell the tale of our move.

Our graduation/farewell party on Friday night kicked off the week in grand fashion. Jenny did a great job preparing most of and coordinating the rest of the refreshments. She also planned the decorations, but we have the crew of Miriah, Sam, Jason, Adam, and Brandon to thank for putting them all up. Still, the guests were what brought the party to life–we felt a great sense of love and belonging in seeing so many good friends who came to wish us well.

We spent much of the rest of the week saying goodbye to close friends in a more personal way. On Saturday evening, we had dinner with Sam, Jessica, and daughter Mckensie. It was great to get out of the apartment after a day of packing suitcases. After an excellent dinner we all went swimming; the warm water felt so pleasant and refreshing that it made the heat almost bearable on the walk back to their condo when we were done. Elena enjoyed having an audience–recently, when we’ve gone swimming she hasn’t wanted to go underwater, but when she realized that everyone would clap for her, she couldn’t get enough of it.

After a quiet Sunday at home, things picked up on Monday when we made our final trip north to get together with Jeremy, Amy, Ben, Jean, and all their kids. I had over-scheduled my last few days at school, but figured out a way that I could take the commuter bus to a convenient location where Jenny could pick me up. That meant that she had to deal with terrible traffic and a fussy baby without any help, but it was all worth her while. Jeremy outdid himself working the grill, and we admired their new patio and pergola late into the evening, until the time came to say our goodbyes. We gave and got lots of hugs; they’ve been an important part of our lives ever since before Jenny and I started dating.

Tuesday turned into the hardest day of the week. Our packers arrived in the morning, took one look around our apartment, and immediately started commenting on how much stuff we had. It took them until late into the night to finish packing; their company probably should have sent three instead of two. I dropped off our remaining car with the auto transport truck at noon, and after that it was just the three of us trapped in an apartment, unable even to help them.

In the morning Elena had no place to nap because they were packing her room. In the afternoon when it was done, she was overtired and couldn’t fall asleep. I eventually got her to relax and close her eyes by holding her on my lap and rocking her, but foolishly tried to transfer her and woke her back up. We eventually resorted to watching the Barney episodes I had copied to my computer for just such an occasion. Eventually Brett and Carrie came to pick us up for dinner, but I stayed with the packers just in case they needed something. The dinner was again lovely–they brought some back for me–and was prepared by their mission-bound son Zack, who is learning to cook. Brett was sad that we couldn’t have a final nerd discussion, but everyone else was probably thankful.

On Wednesday we tried a new strategy with Elena: we sent her to spend the day with the grandmotherly Carol. We can’t thank her enough, because all of us had a much better day. Elena loved playing with all her grandchildrens’ toys, and we tended to affairs without always having to be mindful of keeping Elena happy.

We had expected the movers that day, but didn’t know when they would arrive. I called our coordinator, but she said that a scheduling mixup meant they wouldn’t be there until the following day. A little while later, she called back with the good news that they could make it that day, but what was supposed to be early afternoon turned into late evening; it was after seven when they arrived. The loading task was straightforward so I helped, but it still took us until late at night. I decided I was done after damaging one of our bookcases. There’s something very lonely about a completely empty apartment. We left Jewel there and headed down to stay in John and Karina’s guest room, picking up a very sleepy Elena along the way.

On Thursday we left Elena to play with her cousins while we returned to clean the apartment. Jewel had perched atop the kitchen cabinets–it was either the same loneliness that we felt, or a refreshed sense of adventure. Carrie and Zack came to help clean (more mission preparation), while I went in search of new mini blinds. Early in the summer we put a reflective emergency blanket in the window to keep our room cool and the electric bill lower; apparently it trapped enough heat to warp the blinds between it and the windowpane. After two unsuccessful attempts I deduced that it was a non-standard size and gave up. Aside from that, the apartment was cleaner than on our first day.

We picked Elena up for lunch on campus with Caroline. We met her and left her at the table where she was working to recruit a new class of novice rowers. We filled lunch with the usual small talk, but the final goodbye was probably the most tearful of all our farewells. We do get to see her again soon, when we return this winter for her wedding!

Jenny and Elena had their last playdate with Michi and Mason. They returned to the Hoppin’ House. Mason has learned to say ‘Lena whenever he sees her, but will they ever see each other again, and will he remember? This time, no older kids invaded the toddlers’ play area.

At dinner we said goodbye to my former student Ben at a very fitting location: Pluckers, the excellent wing bar that he introduced us to. We’re sad to say goodbye to both of them, but while we might find another place to eat hot wings, there will never be another Ben. He has a bright future ahead of him, and we hope to see him someday, but don’t know when or where that will be.

On Friday we finally removed Jewel from the apartment and turned in the keys. I had to take care of some final business on campus. I attended the group meeting for my summer project team, met with my advisor one last time, and had a final tutoring session. My student had never taken Calculus before, but wanted me to help him learn it well enough to test out of it. He worked hard, but I still had my doubts. I was pretty happy when he emailed me yesterday to say that he got the score he needed!

With all the running around, I was unforgivably late to our final dinner with John, Karina, and the cousins. The restaurant was also running behind; they were packed, which is to be expected on a Friday night, but seemed understaffed. Our waiter was certainly working hard, but it didn’t make the food come any faster, although it was good when it got to us. We finished the evening with playtime at a nearby playground. Elena loves her cousins and will really miss them.

Saturday was our travel day, but that deserves its own post. I promise to put it up soon. I also have a lot to say about Elena and how much she’s grown in the past few weeks. I need to get it all down before I forget.

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