It seems like life goes much like the economy with rises and falls, sprints and mere strolls. I don’t believe that I’ve had a crazier two week period than the one leading up to our move and I’m going to recount it here. We’ll start with Thursday, July 31st.
Thursday (7/31) – Laura and I flew to DC from Tallahassee to house shop and for Laura to interview at the company she now works for. This included a 60+ minute drive to Stevensville, MD for her interview.
Friday (8/1) – We saw a number of houses throughout the Virginia area, including our current place. Laura had an interview in the morning with her former company in Reston, VA. In the evening we went to Texas de Brasil for dinner in Fairfax, VA and then spent the evening walking around DC looking at the White House, Washington Memorial and World War II Memorial – it was the first time for Laura seeing all three.
Saturday (8/2) – We put most of our life savings down as a deposit on our new house, aye yi yi. We then went to the National Zoo with Lindsey and Ivan and then head down in Tysons Corner with Adam, Mike, Lindsey and Ivan. The evening ended with my first Wii experience at Adam’s place – I must have one!
Sunday (8/3) – At the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. we woke up to fly back to Tallahassee. I would have loved to spend more time on Sunday, but I had a business trip. After some delays, we arrived in Tallahassee about noon. We grabbed lunch, got home, I changed and packed for an overnight trip. I was at work by 1:15 p.m. and left for Orlando at 2 p.m. with some co-workers. Got into Orlando around 7 p.m. and met up with our contract staff, set up our meeting room and retired to my awesome room on the concierge lounge floor at the Renaissance Orlando. One of the perks of scheduling the meeting was a fruit and cheese platter with a bottle of wine waiting in my room!
Monday (8/4) – I had my 2nd biggest event of the year for my job. We conducted a statewide workshop that was focused on strategically organizing training and exercises that we do around the state. It was my baby and something I had been pushing for almost a year. It went very well. But the day also included a trip back to Tallahassee and that meant arriving home after 10:00 p.m. and then completing the last assignment of my college career – an online, open book, multiple choice comprehensive exam. Honestly, at this point, I didn’t care about much except a B- to graduate. I got a 78, and then found out a day or two later that the exam would be curved…gotta love graduate school!
Tuesday (8/5) – The day was spent wrapping things up and setting up for the biggest event of my year, the annual Governor’s Tabletop Exercise. I spent the day over in our Emergency Operations Center making sure all of the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed. Our fearful bureau chief spent the day trying to nag as many people as possible – he expects us to fail, and people wonder why I left that job…The evening was enjoyable as we had a going-away Happy Hour with Laura’s work folks at Rubie Sky.
Wednesday (8/6) – I arrived at work at the bright hour of 6:00 a.m., yay! The next two hours were quite eventful and productive in ensuring all of the final details were in place for our exercise. The morning began with our Bureau Chief coming up to me and starting the morning off questioning my boss and I’s ability to successfully coordinate and pull off the event. I had had enough – there were a number of other events leading up to this. I looked at him and said, “(Name Edited), we have this under control. All of us know what we are doing and this is going to go well. You need to have confidence in us, we know what we are doing.” His retort – “You need to shut up!”. What a great way to start the day…but it had it’s benefit, he didn’t say a word to me for almost 3 hours. Around 9:00 a.m., I ran into him in the hallway and he said, “Things are going well” and I responded, “Uh-huh”. He then said, “I was wrong, you were right, you had it under control”, I said thanks and went on my way. Vindication is great. Part of the problem with the bureau I was in is that no one was willing to cross him when he was out of line. I understand the respect for leaders, but there comes a point where if you never say anything you’ll be walked over for all of eternity.
The exercise itself went off beautifully. I shook hands with the Governor and Lt. Governor on their way into the event. Everyone had positive things to say about how it went and both of our State’s top executives were happy – mission accomplished. When I finally retired to my office in the afternoon, our director came by and thanked me for the work done on the exercise, told me how well it went and gave me a challenge coin which the reserve for special accomplishments in the division.
That evening we went over to the Travis and Jennifer’s to play rock band and hang out.
Thursday (8/7) – This was our last day of work. I had lunch with some of my co-workers. We had dinner with Jes, Josh, Bryan, Rachel, Lois, Erik and Lori. Through out the week prior there was also a lot of packing going on.
My parents arrived late Thursday for the weekend.
Friday (8/8) – My dad and I got up early to play Southwood, a local country club golf course. It was beautiful. The weather held up and the course was great. I shot an overall dismal 111, but can’t wait to play the course again, it was wonderful.
We spent Friday afternoon packing, cleaning and hanging out. We had make your own chef salad Friday night and watched the opening ceremonies for the Olympics.
Saturday (8/9) – Another early morning for graduation. I walked for at the ceremonies for my Master’s Degree from Florida State. All of the Icardi family was there as well as Laura’s parents. We went out to Mozaik for lunch afterward. It was highly disappointing. Don’t go there, you’ll waste your time…
We did more cleaning and packing on Saturday, which was followed by a final round of disc golf at Tom Brown. I shot a 53…from the back tees…and missed about 5 putts for 2s and made 3-5 2s as it was – best round, ever. We then ordered pizza and hung out with Jill and Michael at their place, watching the Olympics, because our place was a wreck.
Sunday (8/10) – We went to the early service at Four Oaks and said our good byes to a number of folks. I’m not sure there is a better all-around church than Four Oaks. If you live in Tallahassee and don’t go, I ask why?, GO! Joking :), well not really, I mean if you’re not actively involved in a church, go there, otherwise, you can ignore the run-on sentences.
We had lunch at Fusion, which was pretty good. Lois and Grant joined us.
I then spent over an hour at U-Haul to get our truck. That may have been the worst run operation ever. Now, provided they were busy, but it was terrible. The guy pulled up my reservation, spent 20 minutes getting it ready, came back, did 10 minutes of paperwork and had the wrong total. It was $150 more than it should have been. I protested, he tried to explain incorrectly why it was wrong until we realized they had the wrong tow package in the computer. Annoyed he spent another 20 minutes getting the truck ready and finally came back and we were on our way.
We had a group of wonderful folks help us load up the truck. Thanks to Jeff, Drew, Jessica, Michael and Jill. It made life a lot easier having extra hands. We drove the truck with Laura’s car in tow to her parents to stay the night and have a “last supper” of sorts.
My brother joined us on our travels to help with driving and unpacking. It was a major blessing in the whole process.
Monday (8/11) – Getting an early start, we were moving by 8 a.m. I was concerned about the 55 mph limit that the tow dolly listed, though I found it was merely a suggestion. We stopped about 30 minutes north of Jacksonville for a quick lunch and then got back on the road. About an hour later I get a call from Laura informing me that Matthew didn’t want to leave Florida and instead of driving north, had gone back south toward Jacksonville. Mind you he waited until he saw the Welcome Florida sign before waking her from a nap to question his directional capability.
This detour turned out to be irrelevant in the long run. As I entered South Carolina I began to observe truckers passing me and staring – never a good sign. I looked in the rear view mirror to see chunks of rubber bouncing behind. I pull off and find the back wheel of Laura’s car absolutely decimated. After putting on the spare and backtracking about 15 minutes I made it to a Walmart who quite quickly changed the two back tires and Laura and Matthew joined me there – having finally caught up.
We finally made it to our hotel at 10:30 p.m., 14.5 hours of traveling wears on you. When I got to the room it was warm and I turned the thermostat down to 70 without thinking. Come to find out Laura and I were fine under the blankets in the bed, but Matthew slept under a single couch cushion on a bare pull-out couch mattress. In fact the kid had on 2 pairs of socks and jeans…ooops, forgot to turn up the air and find sheets…
Tuesday (8/12) – Another early start and we arrived in town, rather uneventfully, around 1:00 p.m. I found out that the tow dolly can actually withstand speeds approaching 70 mph. Upon arriving at our new place, before meeting the realtor to get our keys – I wanted to drop the truck off, I’d had enough of driving it. We find a pair of cleaning ladies still tidying up, most of the landlord’s stuff still in the house and her cat. We met our realtor, had lunch and returned to find all of that stuff still there, minus the cleaning ladies. A bit frustrating, we had to wait until 4:00 p.m. until we could really move in. It took the three of us about 1.5 hours or so to unload the whole truck at which point we basically collapsed from exhaustion.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed, but those two weeks were about the craziest I’ve seen.