This will be easy, we thought. No problem. We’ve done this before. We last moved across the country in 2010, unexpectedly and with only a few weeks’ notice. I was 27 and all at once hopeful, tearful, excited, and anxiety-ridden. I simultaneously couldn’t wait to leave and didn’t want to go. After the move, Chris and I were both struck by how easy it ultimately was to pick up our lives and relocate them to the opposite coast in a matter of weeks. “It’s so easy!”, we told everyone, and we’d meant it. “You just pack up your stuff and go! No big deal!”
It turns out that when you’re 35 with a kid who’s recently potty trained and a dog you won’t put on an airplane and a house to sell and a house to buy, it’s not so easy. It’s actually not easy at all. It’s HARD, you guys. And exhausting. There is So. Much. Coffee. And. So. Little. Sleep. Lesson learned: your 27-year-old self is not to be trusted when it comes to the perceived exertion of major life changes. Or starting new fitness regimens, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, here’s a quick summary of things that are making this coast-to-coast move a bigger pain than the last:
- Potty training. Any book you read on potty training will tell you not to even think about embarking on the sacred journey near a vacation, road trip, or major life change. So naturally, exactly one week into potty training we found out that we’d soon be relocating. Thankfully, potty training was much faster and less painful than the books led me to believe. However, I’ve yet to find one parent of a young child that thinks a sane person would drive 44 hours, largely through the middle of nowhere, with a newly potty-trained child strapped into a car seat and limited access to laundry. My acupuncturist (yep, any and all advice is welcome!) sent me an Amazon link to a portable potty for the inevitable emergency side-of-the-interstate-in-Montana pit stop. It “opens quickly and easily for on-the-go potty emergencies” and “soft, flexible flaps hold disposable bags securely in place.” Hold on to your gag reflex, friends. Parenting is a glamorous job. Stay tuned for related mishaps. Or, run for the hills. Either way, we’ll understand.
- Lodging arrangements. In the past, road trips have included a mix of hotels and camping. However, with a sure-to-be-out-of-sorts two-year-old in tow, we’ll be exclusively sleeping in hotels this go around. (See note above on exhaustion.) Zoe is just at the tipping point of being too big for a pack ‘n’ play, yet too crazy for a bed made for regular humans. This means hotel rooms will include two beds: one for Chris and one for me to be punched in the face and kicked in the kidney all night by Zoe, while hanging off the side of the bed to accommodate the big mutt all the way under the covers. This is the stuff sweet dreams are made of, folks.
- Movers. “Ok, so we’re picking up your stuff on May 29 and you move into your house on June 8. That means you should expect to have your stuff by, oh, June 22 or so.” In short, it sounds like aside from what we can carry in our car, we’ll be living sans clothes, furniture, household items, toys, etc. for several weeks after we get to the new house. But really, beds are overrated.
- Housing merry-go-round. We rented out our old Richmond house when we moved to Seattle and waited six years to sell. It turns out that was the primary reason the last move was so easy! Who knew that getting a house ready to sell, living in it while it’s on the market (also known as having a lot of long mid-day picnics in public parks), and buying a new house long-distance would be so much work?! Well, probably you. But not us. We optimistically over-simplify everything. Don’t be us. Luckily, the Seattle house sold quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I’m writing this from a piece of patio furniture that is now in our family room… the only piece of furniture in our family room.
Thankfully, things are moving along about as well as it turns out you can expect when you’re uprooting everything. Our realtors in both Seattle and Richmond are nothing short of miracle-workers and deserve most of the credit for keeping this crazy train on the tracks. Our house in Seattle is under contract and on track to close May 30. We’ve accomplished our two most immediate priorities in Richmond: Zoe is registered for preschool and we’re under contract to buy a house on June 8. Our Seattle house is already just about empty because we staged it for sale, meaning movers picked up almost everything we own in April and took it to storage. Now, we’re just enjoying our remaining time in Seattle, visiting our favorite places and relishing time with friends. See you soon, I-90 rest stops, Hampton Inns, and small town Dairy Queen bathrooms!