The craziness is mostly over! It’s hard to believe that’s it’s only been two weeks since the last time I wrote because so much has happened! Loo Hoo graduated from high school; Jay Pea moved to Florida; and I went on a week-long road trip…
The week before Loo Hoo’s graduation was a fun relaxing one – we had time to hang out as a family, play some computer games, get ready for the graduation and open house, and work. Mema and PawPaw came up on Thursday, May 29. They stayed at a local hotel as our house was pretty full and completely out of order as Jay Pea and Loo Hoo were staging stuff for the grad party and their move to Florida!
Friday night the giant bounce house was delivered for the party on Saturday, and we had some friends over to jump early. Saturday, May 31, was party day – we spent the morning getting the house ready and watching the weather forecast to see when the rain was due in. We had great turn out for the party – lots of family and friends to help celebrate Loo Hoo’s big event.
The big event was on Sunday afternoon in Woodbury. It started with church and then a drive to U-Haul to pick up the trailer we would use to pack Loo Hoo and Jay Pea’s stuff for the move to Florida. We then headed across town for grad practice and the ceremony. It was over very quickly, and we were suddenly parents of a second high school graduate! We went to Red Robin for dinner to celebrate and unwind!
The next day was loading day – after work, I helped PawPaw and Jay Pea load the tailor before driving Mema and PawPaw to the airport. Hubby came home from work then, went with the girls to Goodwill to find a couch, and helped finish the trailer loading. That night, Doodle and K-Cat had their last dance practice for this season!
Early Tuesday morning, Jay Pea and I hit the road for Florida. We had planned to go through Cincinnati to see the Skyline Dealers and other friends and then continue on to Savannah, Georgia, to see Juliette Low’s birthplace (Girl Scouts), but… we learned Monday night that there were big storms forecast for that area on Wednesday and Thursday so we decided to go another route. We were sad to tell our friends we weren’t coming, but it turned out to be the right choice!
Tuesday, we made it to Maumelle, Arkansas, with a short stop in Carthage, Missouri, to see the Precious Moments Chapel. I definitely recommend seeing the chapel if you are passing near that area; it was pretty amazing and definitely a refreshing stop for the body and the soul. We ended up getting a sub sandwich and Veggie Straws at Walmart for dinner that night as we stopped fairly late and didn’t want fast food or to drive the trailer anywhere for “real’ food. After about 16 hours on the road, we were blessed to have a well-lit parking space (actually four of them as the van and trailer were fairly long) in a quiet area of town.
The next morning, we were up early – not nearly as early as the day before, but still early. The weather was beautiful again – we did learn that the area we had passed through on Tuesday in Iowa and Missouri had gotten baseball size hail and very high winds a few hours after we went through – exactly as forecasted. Wednesday was only an 11-hour driving day; we ended in Dothan, Alabama. We had dinner at Cracker Barrel (dumplings!!) and stayed at a hotel with a hot tub which was a great treat after two long days in the van. Our big excitement on this day was seeing a tire explode on a tractor trailer that was just about to pass us – we were grateful that it popped BEFORE it passed us so it ended up pulling over behind us and we didn’t have to avoid flying tire pieces on the road.
Thursday morning, we were on the road again – this time filled with excitement that it was a short day on the road and that we would end in Orlando! We called Jay Pea’s apartment complex and found that we would not be able to get keys for her place until Friday morning – that left us with a dilemma: figuring out what to do in Orlando from 3 p.m. until midnight!? What’s a girl to do!? Well, if you know us at all, you know that it was probably a pretty easy thing for us to answer… we took advantage of my annual pass and headed off to Magic Kingdom where we got to ride the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Car roller coaster and spend time imagining where Jay Pea might be working in less than a week! We were there until the park closed – it was a little strange to see the fireworks and to realize that Jay Pea could likely be seeing them every week or more for the next seven months!
Friday morning, we were in the apartment leasing office at 10 a.m. sharp to get apartment keys. We parked the U-Haul in front of her unit and began unloading furniture! When the U-Haul was empty, we decided we needed a break before unloading the back of the van so we headed out to return the trailer. The U-Haul service person informed us upon our turn-in inspection that we were very lucky to have survived the trip down from Minnesota as one of the tires on our trailer was worn through and split in several places… both Jay Pea and I thanked God again for protection and safe travel. It’s a little scary when the first thing they tell you when you turn in your trailer is, “We are going to have to take that one completely out of service and off the road!” It was a very strange feeling to drive the van without the extra load, but it was also very nice to not have to think about extra length when turning corners or changing lanes!
We spent the rest of Friday afternoon unloading the van, going grocery shopping, and even headed up to IKEA for mattresses so we’d have a place to sleep! We got the television set up and working with an antenna – no Internet at her place until later this week, but we were able to get good late night TV so we kept unpacking well into the early morning hours. I think we finally went to sleep around 3 a.m.
It was nice to sleep in until 10 a.m. Saturday morning, but, eventually, we had to get up to do some more shopping and unpacking. We had coffee on the patio – such a treat – while Googling how to deal with cockroaches (yes, we were surprised by one the night before while unpacking in her kitchen). Jay Pea put in a service request to have a bug person take care of it, and she ended up buying her first roach motel to keep the one she saw contained. I’ll jump ahead a little to tell you that the bug guy came today and told her that the bug was likely there because they had recently sprayed outside and some of them try to come inside to get away from the spray. He did see the roach motel and the food storage containers she had also bought and assured her that no cockroach would live long her in place if they came in again. He also found the one we saw – it had died behind her refrigerator… gotta love living in the South!
Saturday late afternoon, Jay Pea drove me to the airport where we said good-bye. She made it home long before I actually got on my flight. I did pretty good on the flight home – only a little crying, mostly fighting off a feeling that I had abandoned my daughter in a place so far away with no friends… In my head, of course, I knew she would make friends, she has family in the area, and, above all else, she is old enough to live on her own and handle any situations, but the head and the heart do not always talk to each other! It was good to get home to the rest of the family on Saturday night and to hear from Jay Pea that her first night alone down there was going great.
Sunday morning, I stayed home from church with Doodle and K-Cat as they had to be at Eden Prairie High School for a dance recital early that morning. There were a couple of hours of practice before the big three-hour dance event began. They danced first and last; I had volunteered to be backstage, so all of my pictures are from that angle… Hubby, Loo Hoo, and Nana and Grandpa got front row seats so I’ll have to get some of their pictures saved eventually! After the recital, we headed down to Shakopee for the Race Fans’ oldest son’s grad party – it was fun to see family since I’d missed them Friday night at another cousin’s wedding. Loo Hoo went to a second grad party later that night while the rest of us went home to lie around and enjoy a quiet Sunday night.
Yesterday and today have been busy work days and trying to catch up on emails and errands at home. Hubby hung a real rope swing for the girls, put the pool up, and they are now all out back with a campfire… guess I should head that way and enjoy the fun!