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California Girl moves to the Midwest

August 6, 2013
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Well we did it! We have officially relocated to Springfield, Missouri!! It was an ordeal (understatement) with tons of last minute changes. My dad got sick and had to be hospitalized so I drove the 4+ hrs each way to visit him in the hospital. Then on the way back, my car started acting up. Jake’s car was in the shop anyway, which meant he would likely have to stay behind and get it fixed. Instead, we made lemonade out of our lemons and traded the cars in on a Ford Escape. The Escape was really the kind & size of vehicle we needed anyway. It fits us, the baby’s car seat and both dogs. Most importantly, it got all of us from CA to MO in one piece. Then, my grandma who was previously going to make the drive with us, decided on that morning that she didn’t want to go after all.

Ready to go! The cooler did not stay there the whole time. We met up with my sister about an hour down the road to give her all of our extra food.

We left CA on Sunday, July 14th and arrived in MO on Wednesday, July 17th.  We stopped overnight in Vegas and picked up my best friend (aka Jake’s sister) and her daughter, who completed our Troop of Traveling Thomases. Final count was 5 adults, 2 kids, 3 dogs, 2 vehicles, a trailer of all of our stuff and a partridge in a pear tree.  Me, Jake, Annabelle and our two dogs were in our Escape and his parents, sister, her daughter and his parents’ dog were in their F-350 pulling the trailer. From Vegas, we drove all night with just a quick stop for a nap somewhere in New Mexico. I use the term “we” loosely. Jake & his dad did all of the driving and the rest of us slept whenever we felt like it. Well, I guess I can’t speak definitively on what happened in the other vehicle, but that’s what happened in ours. Oh and we got DRENCHED in Arizona! Who’d have thought we’d get caught in a storm in Arizona in July?! Not that I’m complaining. I’ll take rain over 120+ any day.  Anyway after our nap in New Mexico, a broken leaf spring was discovered on the trailer.  Oh and while I’m at it, I will say that the Escape did AMAZING on this trip but…it’s really not comfortable to sleep in. Are you listening Ford? You need to make the Escape more comfortable for an entire family to crash in when they’re in a hurry and don’t want to stop at a hotel. Hmm…maybe “crash” wasn’t the best term to use when discussing a car.

Somewhere between here & there. I’m guessing New Mexico.

Still guessing New Mexico.

This was our view for most of the 1900+ miles from CA to MO.

We got 40 mpg for the majority of trip. AMAZING!

So back to the broken leaf spring. We limped from New Mexico to Amarillo, TX. We had a lively debate in our car about the definition of “Amarillo by Morning”. I still sticking with my answer that Amarillo before daylight would have qualified. It ended up being a moot point, because I think we got into Amarillo around 9 or 10. We got the trailer in at a repair shop where it was discovered that this wasn’t a standard spring. However, the owner was very nice and pulled a few strings to have a new spring custom fabricated for us that day. The downside is that it took ALL. DAY. So the uncomfortableness of sleeping in the car was for naught. We had lunch at the Big Texan, where crazy people can attempt to eat a 72oz steak, baked potato, roll and salad. If they succeed, the meal is free. If not, it costs $72.  Then we went back to the trailer shop to wait. The trailer was fixed that day as promised and we were on our way around 4 or 5. We drove a few hours and stayed the night in a hotel in Clinton, Oklahoma. This was after attempting to stop for the night in Elk City and being told there wasn’t a single room to be found. Oh and driving across the panhandle of TX and that area? It’s ridiculously flat. You could look WAY out into the distance and there was no smog or mountains or anything to obstruct your view. It was just weird. I’ve lived my whole live in CA, staring at mountains on both sides of me! I think it will be a long time before I stop looking for the Sierra Nevadas on the horizon.

See? Crazy flat!!

We stopped at many Love’s Truck Stops along the way, which prompted conversations involving “What’s Love’s got to do with it?” and “Looking for Love’s in all the wrong places” when we missed our exit for a pit stop and had to turn around.

The last day, we drove the rest of way across Oklahoma and into Missouri. We stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel (my first time at a CB!) in Joplin and headed into Springfield. We made it! We drove to the house we would be moving into in Springfield, then went out to his parents’ farm. I got to see fireflies for the first time ever and then we settled down to relax. Right as we were heading to bed for the night, I caught Gandalf eating mouse poison. This prompted some frantic googling where Jake’s mom discovered that hydrogen perioxide will make dogs barf. So, he got a shot glass of peroxide, barfed up a TON of the poison and then we immediately loaded him up for a trip to the ER vet.  It was around 12:30am. They gave him a round of charcoal and a prescription for Vitamin K twice a day.  I’m pretty familiar with s how most ER vets work & their general price range, thanks to Angel. She hit us with a few expensive bills, because she wasn’t considerate enough to get sick or hurt herself during regular business hours.  When I got the total for Gandalf’s treatment, I was pretty sure they forgot to charge us for something. It was the cheapest ER vet bill I’ve ever had. Instead of asking about it, we paid and got out of there before they changed their minds. For the record, Gandalf does not like having liquid charcoal poured down this throat. The doctor was talking with us after he’d already been taken back for his treatment and the vet tech came out and looked at the Dr and said “We could really use your help in here.”  Then when they brought him out, they handed Jake the end of their leash and said they would let him take it off the dog.  I’m guessing he displayed his less-than-charming side to them. We followed up with a regular vet the next week and he’s still on his vitamin K regimen, but he’ll be fine.

We slept and relaxed on Thursday, then on Friday, July 19th I had my pre-employment physical, range of motion test, medical exam & work simulation test. Holy cow, I have never had such a thorough medical exam. EVER. They were literally looking at each of my vertebrae to decide if the space between them was normal or not. The guy doing the test complimented my wedding ring. It really is gorgeous. =) Then they had me do a couple “pre-qualification” tests before the work simulation test. This included picking up a 50lb box. FIFTY POUND BOX. Really, MoDOT? I have no upper body strength. If I’d known what the test would entail, I would have been doing some lifting! At any rate, I picked up the box but not correctly. So I had to do it again and he still wasn’t happy with it.  Then, they wanted me to lift a 40lb box OVER MY HEAD.  That didn’t happen. That’s when he told me that the test actually only requires 38 lbs.  Really? So why start at 40?! Not that it really makes any difference because my  next attempt was 35 and I could barely do it. We decided that 35lbs was my max but since none of the actual work simulation test required overhead lifting, they let me continue to the actual test.

So lets recap. They made me lift a box over my head, and I barely succeeded. This was a prequalification exercise for a work simulation exam that DID NOT INCLUDE LIFTING OVER MY HEAD. The actual work simulation test included picking up the 50lb box off the floor, walking 15 feet and setting it on a shelf. Then lifting it off the shelf and setting it back down where I got it. Then doing it all again. Plus a bunch of squats, then I had to go up & down a ladder 4 times, skipping the bottom rung each time and lastly, walk a mile.  Then I had a standard eye exam, a hearing test and a medical exam. The Physicians Assistant doing the medical exam also complimented my ring. He said that my husband did a good job. I happen to agree, which I’m sure doesn’t shock anyone.  Finally, after all my hoop-jumping was complete, they let me go home. It was over 3.5 hours of various testing!!

On Saturday, we unloaded the trailer into one of the storage buildings at the farm and sorted it into piles of stuff to take to our new place and stuff that would have to be stored for a while. Right as we finished that up, it opened up and began raining cats & dogs. My first Mid-west summer storm! I loved it. In fact, we’ve had several storms since then and I still love them. I’ve gone outside and ran around in a few. It’s awesome that it’s still warm out so you can play in the rain without freezing to death. Anyway, that was our first week of this new adventure! We’re slowly getting unpacked and settled into our little yellow house. The dogs are doing really well. They did awesome on the drive out and Piper loves running around the farm. Gandalf, who has a history of getting car sick, didn’t get sick at all. YAY! The baby continues to be amazing. Seriously, we totally won the baby lottery. She slept through the night consistently at around 3 weeks. She only cries when something is wrong (hungry, needs a diaper change, etc), and she’s just adorable. She is so so so close to turning over and has an appointment with her new pediatrician next week for her 4 month check up and shots.

I’m also challenging myself to take & post 7 pictures each week of our first year in Missouri. It averages out to a picture a day, but I’ve never had any luck with those 1 picture a day things. Invariably, I miss a day for whatever reason. And really? Some days are flat boring. I promise you’ll get much more interesting pictures by me just choosing the best 7 from each week. I also don’t guarantee the pictures were taken by me, although most will be. If my husband or anyone else happen to get an awesome picture, then I’m going to use it. There, I think I’ve given myself enough wiggle room that I might actually be able to accomplish this one! You might notice that there are 7 pictures posted above so Week 1 is done, but just because I’m nice, I’ll add one more.

The view from the front porch of the farm.

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