It’s time to reminisce once more and share stories from our moving adventure. If you haven’t already, you can read about our choosing Idaho, road tripping, selling our old house, and house hunting. What happened next was a whirlwind few weeks of packing, tearful goodbyes, and a celebratory arrival. By God’s grace, we made it safe and sound! Here’s what happened.
The U-Pack Trailer
Not gonna lie, securing a moving truck was a stressful ordeal. The first time I tried to reserve a U-Pack trailer, the rep had to break the news that the last one was booked as we were talking (I would’ve gotten it if I had booked instead of asking a bunch of questions first- it was that close!). Learning my lesson, I booked a couple of different companies, knowing that I could cancel once I figured out what I wanted!
Then a miracle happened- I was looking at U-Pack’s website late one night after kids were in bed and saw there was an opening a week earlier than our move. The wheels started turning in my head, and I’m sure I had a bit of crazy in my eyes as I tried to convince the husband that this was a good idea. While he had his doubts, my super amazing better half agreed to busting butt and having our stuff ready to go in a matter of days. Compared to all the other trucks and pods, we got a bigger truck for less money that we didn’t have to drive! With U-Pack, a giant trailer is dropped off in front of your house and picked up a few days later and delivered to your destination. There are measurements inside the truck and you only pay for the space you use – the rest of the trailer is used for transporting commercial goods. This option is similar to pods or containers but way cheaper! Just beware of the steep ramp!
Packing the trailer early was awesome for a few reasons: 1) We had more time to relax and say goodbye to friends our last week, 2) We “camped” at our old house instead of the new one with sleeping bags and folding chairs – making it easier to leave behind when it was time for final goodbyes, and 3) Our stuff arrived in Idaho before we did, so we didn’t have to wait around for it.
There are many options for moving besides hiring an expensive moving company. My parents moved recently and did the opposite of what we did: while we loaded ourselves but didn’t have to drive, they hired help to load up a U-Haul truck and then drove it themselves. I’ve also heard of people saving money by renting a truck from their new state and driving it back and forth. (This may be less desirable with rising gas prices, but the reason being there are far more trucks available in red states than blue states! Interesting, isn’t it?) Just do your research and book it as soon as you think you know! (And I just have to say, we have INCREDIBLE friends who were willing to come and help us pack that thing!)
A Week of Goodbyes
Our last week in California, I made sure to meet up with some of my closest friends. I’m so happy that I had a couple of lunch dates, a ladies’ night out dinner, and some play dates for the kids. Maybe I’m too old for selfies, but I loved grabbing my phone and side-hugging a friend every chance I got. As I look through these photos, I’m reminded of all the amazing people God brought into my life and I’m thankful.
I helped to organize and host the girls’ final “Court of Awards” with their American Heritage Girls troop, where they gave us an amazing send-off. We had spent the better part of 3 years with this troop and had gotten to know the families well. They surprised us with a beautiful blanket that had a photo collage of the troop printed on it. We also got to spend time with my sister and her sweet family on their acreage property just outside of town. That special time with my kids’ cousins will always be cherished!
It got a bit wearisome towards the end of the week, and my kids (who were absolutely amazing about this whole thing) finally started showing signs of goodbye-fatigue. But we pushed through it with much prayer, hugs and tears. We even attended church the very morning that we left. A sweet friend told me that it meant a lot to her that we were there that Sunday, when we could’ve easily skipped it and slipped right out of town.
While I do understand that sometimes people don’t have the time (or bandwidth) for lengthy goodbyes, I’m such a sensitive and deep-feeling person that I felt I needed it as much as they did, if not more. I sobbed through most of the music but also found myself smiling. And while I certainly intend to visit soon (and hope they all visit me!), the reality of the situation is that it will never be the same. At that time, many families in my church were also planning their moves, but to different red states. And it’s already proven to be quite the challenge to stay in close contact without that weekly routine of worship together. But I also know that someday we’ll all be reunited in heaven and that thought gave me peace. (More on long-distance friendships here.)
It can sometimes feel like choosing to move away from friends and family is like running away or desertion. It might seem that we are choosing, say, a bigger house over the people, as if we love the house more than them. Maybe it would be the case if we actually did despise the people we were leaving behind. But we whole-heartedly love our people, and we will keep on loving them – now from a place where we can thrive as a family. Our children and their futures are at stake and is of utmost importance. Friends and family who take the time to know and understand that will be true and forever friends that actually want the best for us. We treasure them. And of course, they are welcome to move here with us (like my parents decided to do)!
Interestingly, we also got several “congratulations on getting out!” from strangers- our notary, cat-sitter, U-Pack driver, and more! Some of them even added, “I wish I could go with you!” What a sad thing for California, but ultimately reassuring that we weren’t crazy for believing in this dream of ours!
The Final Road Trip
Having set off street fireworks with the neighbors the night before (out with a bang!), attending church in the morning, and frantically stuffing our cars to the brim in the afternoon (leaving one pile of junk behind which our neighbor kindly took care of!), it was time to hit the road. We caravanned our two cars, loaded up the four kids, two cats and a fish and headed to Sparks, Nevada to stay at my in-laws (love them!). The cats had some drugs prescribed by the vet to supposedly keep them calm. There was a bit of meowing but overall, they did alright. After a few days in Sparks, we made the final trek to Idaho. It warmed my heart to hear my 6-year-old son keep on saying, “I want to go home! When do we get to go home?!” referring to our new home in Idaho! So sweet!
My husband had a morning meeting for his job, so we were unable to get an early start. We caravanned again, making stops together (though few – we like to power through!). The drive was cheery and beautiful until… the sun went down. That last hour was a nightmare, with heavy fog, a small 2-lane highway, and big rig trucks with blinding lights. I know that God sent an angel to protect me when an oncoming truck came right into my lane (it was going around a stalled truck on the side of the road) and I had the sense to get onto the shoulder just in time.
When we finally pulled into the driveway, it was a relief like no other. Our realtor had picked up the key for us and put it in a code box so we could just walk right in. I love that I took a little video of us walking in, though slightly embarrassed by the sound of my own scream as I saw the big purple bow on the kitchen sink. We shot off a confetti blaster and celebrated with DoorDash Freddy’s burgers and frozen custard. I was so thankful for delivery service because I did not have an iota of interest in getting back in that car!
Then, much to our surprise, our realtor texted to ask if we needed anything from the store. I thought, how kind, and mentioned maybe some milk? He and his wife went on a shopping spree and delivered bags and bags of groceries that very night! They included toilet paper, paper plates, a frying pan, pancake mix, frozen pizza, salt and pepper, snacks and more! What a blessing and great welcome to Idaho!
The next day we had internet set up and our U-Pack trailer delivered. Once again, we were blown away by the Idahoans’ hospitality. A good size group of moms, dads, and kids from our future American Heritage Girls troop came to help us unload all the crazy furniture, including hooking up our washer and dryer upstairs, and moving an upright piano! We had only met one of these families before, the rest we were meeting on that very sweaty day! We also had the next-door neighbors come out to play and happily shared their toys and trampoline with my kids.
It is quite evident that we were very blessed on our trip! How fitting that just last Sunday we were encouraged by a sermon to reflect on God’s work in our lives! All praise and thanks be to Him!
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.”1 Samuel 12:24