Day 1

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Day 1:  Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio

Distance traveled:  500 miles

Time:  9 hours

Song of the Day:  “Piece of Clay” (Marvin Gaye)

It was an early start on Tuesday morning.  I set my alarm for 6:30am so I could say goodbye to Ella before she left for school.  At 6:26 there was a knock on my door, and I heard, “MC!  It is time to get up!”  I awoke quickly, and told Ella to come in.  I was moving slowly, and Ella said, “I woke up just like it was no trouble!” (I later found up that she had been up since 4am very saddened by my impending departure).  I sat with her as she at her breakfast, and then it was time to say goodbye.  Ella cried and cried.  I held it together until the car pulled away.  My heart was breaking!  I knew that she would recover quickly as soon as the distraction of school appeared.  I got myself together, and packed up all of the last minute items.  I was on the road by 8:45am. 

Pretty quickly into my drive, I decided that I should memorize the lyrics to “Life is a Highway.”  Whenever I take a road trip (or drive of any length), and that song comes on, I always call my cousin, Leslie, and leave a message with me belting the chorus. I decided it presented a good challenge to memorize the lyrics (Won’t Leslie be thrilled?).  Or perhaps I would discover open mic nights all over the country.  In the middle of this challenge, I was flooded with the memories of a cross country drive I made 15 years ago.  When I moved to Denver, my dear friend Maggie drove with me.  We set-up a similar challenge.  We tasked ourselves with memorizing “One Week” by The Bare Naked Ladies.  It was at that moment, that I decided this memory was good blog material.  It was also at that moment that my phone rang.  It was Maggie!  I am still a little weirded out by that.  Not that Maggie called, but that she called AT THAT MOMENT!  And, yes, we did revisit the lyrics to “One Week.”  Quite successfully, I might add.

My stop for the evening was at the home of Ben & Katie Kerrey and their kids Will, Evelyn, and Thomas.  Katie and I were college roommates from freshman year on (excluding the year that I abandoned her to nanny in California).  Simply put, Katie is the best friend a girl could ask for.  For 20 years, she has been one of my biggest supporters, and has ALWAYS (and I mean always) been there for me, especially at one of the hardest times in my life.  Ok, enough of that (love you, Katie!).  Oh, and Ben is pretty great, too.   

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Evelyn, Will, and Thomas

I arrived at the Kerrey’s just in time to go to Thomas’ (3yrs. 9mos) soccer “practice” with Katie.  Ben took Will (4th grade) and Evelyn (1st grade) to their soccer practice.  After we got back there was a rush to get every child showered and fed a post-soccer snack before going to bed.  Katie quickly made 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (like a pro!).  Thomas played cars and at his sandwich. Then, as he was escorted upstairs to begin the bedtime ritual.  Will and Evelyn came downstairs to eat their snack and visit with me before they had to go to bed.  Will shared a YouTube video with me that he promised would be hilarious.  It actually was pretty funny (Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”).  Then he hurried up to bed.  Evelyn was still finishing her sandwich, so we had a chance to chat.  She asked me if I was her mom’s sister.  I said, “Well, technically we’re sorority sisters.” When I caught a glimpse of the blank look on her face, I said, “Well, we have known each other for 20 years, and we are like sisters. But, I’m not her sister like your Aunt Christine is her sister.”  Evelyn said, “Oh yeah, that’s right. You’re my godmother.”  Then she wanted to know who Will’s godmother was. Ben and I told her that Aunt Christine is Will’s godmother.  Evelyn said, “I want Christine.”  I dropped my jaw and said, “What am I? Chopped liver?” She giggled and said, “Well, I really like Christine.”  I replied, “Are you trying to trade me in for a newer model?”  She laughed, but was sticking to her request.  I told her it was too late because I already signed the papers and everything.  Why did I tell that story?  No marriage request from that girl.

The kids went to bed (or pretended), and we started our dinner.  Katie bought a lovely tenderloin, and decided we should grill it.  After consulting the recipe, it was determined that we needed a meat thermometer to make sure the meat was cooked properly.  Ben and Katie realized that they didn’t have one.  I said, “I have one.  In the car.”  Katie laughed, and wondered if I could find it amidst the treasures.  I said, “I’ll be right back. I know exactly where it is. ”  And I did.  I walked to the car, moved one laundry basket full of spices and other kitchen necessities (why start over with spices?) and one bag.  I opened the lid of a shallow rectangular plastic storage container.  Voila!  There was the meat thermometer.  Those of you who know me well (or have worked with me) probably are not surprised to know that 1) I have a meat thermometer, and 2) I knew exactly (and I mean EXACTLY!) where it was.  I gave that meat thermometer to the Kerrey’s.  If you were around me while I was preparing for this move, NO ONE GOES AWAY EMPTY HANDED!  We stayed up way too late, but had a great dinner (Thanks, Katie!), and as always, a great visit.  I said goodbye to the kids in the morning, went back to sleep, then got myself ready for Day 2. 

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I’m Off!

The car is not fixed, but I can open the trunk now.  I am a little concerned that the kind man who “fixed” it may have caused a little more damage.  However, I am hoping that he figured that most of it would have to be replaced. 

One of the many perks of being delayed a day, was being able to have lunch with my wonderful sister-in-law, Kate.  Yet another perk was the delicious mango lassi I enjoyed.  Image

I spent some time this afternoon packing my car.  I arrived in North Carolina with my car filled to the gills, and a car top carrier stuffed with clothes, towels, and anything else that was in a Zip-loc tote or bag (thanks for helping me load the car, Mindy Kelly!).  My brother was convinced that I could put everything from the car top carrier in the car, so that I would get better gas mileage.  I am pleased to announce that he was right.  My car is well packed, after playing a mental game of Tetris with the items.  I can even see out the back window (insert backing into a telephone pole jokes here).   I was able to finish that by the time Ella’s after school play date left.  Then our fun began!

I got to have my “special time” with Ella (that is what she kept calling it).  This was so entertaining.  Most of the time she wanted to play school.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her that playing school was NOT on my agenda.  I was the teacher, but she wanted me to introduce her to my class and explain that she was the leader for the day.  I gave her the task of taking attendance and making sure that all students were in their assigned seats.  Then she kind of took over.  There was lots of, “Ok. Now guys…”  The funniest part was when she told me that one of my students, Emma, was climbing on her desk and eating everyone’s lunch.  I was then directed to send Emma to a time-out, and then the principal.  I think it ended with Emma poking Ella in the eye, so I had to call the parents.  Then the police were called.  It was a rough day at “school.”

Dinner discussion was mostly about our future.  When Kate and I were walking Ella to school the other day, Ella asked me if I was married.  When I told her no, she replied, “Well…I know someone who you can marry.”  I turned to her and said, “Oh yeah? Who is that?”  She took both hands in the thumb’s up position, pointed to herself and said, “Me!” Kate told her that she couldn’t marry me until she turns 18.  Ella then decided that 19 was a better age.  She declared that boys can marry boys,  and girls can marry girls.  I did let her know that aunts marrying their nieces was frowned upon.  I think it is adorable.  Don’t worry, I will have to let her down gently soon.

I am sad that my time in North Carolina has come to an end, but I had a wonderful visit.  I am so proud of my brother, and all that he has accomplished.  I was so glad to spend so much time with Kate – we had a great time.  I love Dave and Kate’s new house and their neighborhood.  I also loved my new “quarters” (thanks D & K).  Of course, I love seeing my Ella Bella.  She and I have a great time – I love to hear that girl laugh. 

Now, the next part of my adventure begins.  Today it occurred to me that I will be visiting people from all stages of my life.  I will see a high school friend, a few college friends, relatives, a friend from my time in Denver, and a friend from my days as a nanny.  What a wonderful way to move on to this next adventure.  So, tomorrow, I will stop in Cincinnati to see my college roommate, and a WONDERFUL friend, Katie (DiMasi) Kerrey.  Looking forward to seeing the Kerrey family! 

Travel Delay

My plan was to leave tomorrow (Monday 9/9). Of course, when you plan things, they don’t always go according to plan, right? Well, Friday night provided some excitement for me. As I was backing out of a parking spot on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill (with my sister-in-law, Kate, in tow), and CRUNCH!!! A telephone pole appeared out of nowhere. The reality is that, of course, I saw it, and was trying very hard to avoid it, but with the hoards of college students walking behind me (refusing to let me back out), I moved when I had my opportunity. I did not hit anyone, just the telephone pole. I was VERY upset, and I am pretty sure all of the expletives I know were unleashed. Kate listened to me swear like a sailor, and tried to reassure me that it was a dumb parking lot, and accidents happen, and it could have happened to anyone, and so on. After few minutes, Kate said, “I’m not sure if you are ready to find the situation humorous, but it will be good material for your blog.” That helped to put a smile on my face.

The bottom line is that the damage that occurred appears to be minor, but has prevented me from opening the back of my car. I stopped at a body shop on Saturday, but they asked me to come back on Monday. I will attempt to take care of that tomorrow. My plan is to leave North Carolina on Tuesday, but I will know more tomorrow.

Thank you for all of the votes on a blog title (Blogtle?). I am going to consult with my brother (“The Doctor”), and make a decision tomorrow. There is one good thing about not leaving tomorrow…my niece was very excited! I will be glad to have more time with her.

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Who’s got a good title? Looking for suggestions!

As some of you already know, I am moving to Oregon.  I was encouraged to start a blog to document my move.  Well…my extended drive West to be exact.  I begin in North Carolina.  Yes, I do know that is the wrong direction.  However, it was a great time to come and visit my brother, David, and his family.  Ella started kindergarten last week, and Dave started his new job today!  Kate is throwing a party for Dave on Saturday, to celebrate the completion of his PhD.  What an accomplishment!  I will depart Monday to head West.  More blogging to follow.  Suggestions/comments (I guess) are (sort of) welcome as I am new to this.