Moving Mom Part Twenty – or The Last Leg of the Road Trip

March 20th – part 2 – We checked out of our hotel at 10:00 fairly certain that we’d waited long enough for the heavy fog to burn off.  By and large it had but as anyone knows who’s driven through the mountains on I-75 in Tennessee or Kentucky, fog is serious.

About the time I noticed my ears pop, we’d reached higher elevation and I had to drop our speed as the fog created pockets of no visibility as the cars and semis in front of us seemed to disappear.  As had been our rule on this road trip – no talking if we hit 1) rain 2) heavy construction 3) fog or 4) heavy traffic.  Once through the fog, the roads were drier than we’d expected and traffic was not too bad until we neared Cincinnati.  Never a fan of driving this stretch of intense traffic, multiple bridges and exits while crossing the Ohio River, Mom had volunteered (as she did with Atlanta) to drive this leg of our road trip.  As mentioned, she’s a very safe driver and while I could have done it, it is her car.  We arrived at our third Country Inn and Suites by closer to 4:00 (this night in Dayton) and dragged our stuff into the hotel (this part was getting old for both of us).  My plan for tomorrow is to rearrange so that everything of mine will be in the backseat making for easier unloading tomorrow.

I set up our now-traditional cocktail hour:

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We chilled for a bit and then headed to The Chop House for a celebratory dinner.  At 2:30 my iPhone had gone off (Bruno Mar’s Uptown Funk ringtone does get one’s attention) and I handed it to Mom. We expected a call from her realtor and indeed, the closing had happened, giving finality to the sale of the house.

With Rocky as our server, we ordered more wine – a Pinot Grigio for Mom, Malbec for me.  Lots of toasting – to the closing, to the last night in a hotel, to being home for me and to the move into her new home for Mom.  And to Peggy – her realtor.  And to family, dry roads (you get it right – lots o’toasting)

I ordered the appetizer Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes for my meal having had this before and recalling that it was a big plate of food.

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes  with chipotle mayo, pico de gallo and avocado.  Amazing.
Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes with chipotle mayo, pico de gallo and avocado. Amazing.

Mom ordered the small plate Crab Cake with Sugar Snap Peas:

Mom proclaimed this,
Mom proclaimed this, “Delicious”

Served along with these plates was a half loaf of crusty bread, hot from the oven, and honey butter. It was a perfect place and meal to celebrate.

Back to the room, we were exhausted.  Tomorrow, we’re home!

March 21st – After rearranging the car and checking out, we got on the road with about four hours to go.  Traffic not bad, little bits of rain but mostly dry roads.  We turned into my driveway at 2:30. Home, sweet home.  I nearly tackled Spence with a hug before unloading the car and then hugged Tipper and Biscotti.  There really is no place like home and nothing like arriving safely, we are blessed.

This is the end of the “Moving Mom” series for my blog.  I’m grateful that so many enjoyed this journey with us.  It’s been a gift to chronicle our experiences; thanks for sharing it with Mom and I.

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Moving Mom Part Nineteen – or The Day Mom’s House Officially Changes Hands

March 20th – Yesterday’s drive in the rain was physically draining; both Mom and I were gripping the steering wheel, shoulders tense. Add to that the mental exhaustion of safe driving while watching for drivers taking less care and for road signs to make sure we didn’t go wrong on our route. I’m grateful we broke this road trip into 4 days/3 nights.

After a great dinner at locally owned Cabin Restaurant (we both had variations of a hickory smoked pulled pork sandwich – outstanding), we came back and polished off the bottle of Malbec (maybe that was just me?).  Mom read her Kindle until she could no longer keep her eyes open (8:15).  I made it through Grey’s Anatomy, read for 5 more minutes and was out!

This morning we woke up at 6:00 and turned on the local news only to see what I’d expected, HEAVY FOG.  With all the rain yesterday, the local weatherman called the air “JUICY” which must be a meteorologist term for “wet air” (as he later explained that comment). On a positive note, while roads will be wet it would appear that the rain has shifted to the east and that we won’t be driving in rain today (fingers crossed).

At 2:00 today, the new owner’s close and Mom’s house officially becomes their house.  Her realtor will text me to let us know that the trigger has been pulled and the $$ will be wired.  And so that chapter has ended and a new one officially begins.

Here's to what comes next........
Here’s to what comes next……

Moving Mom Part Eighteen – On The Road Again…..

March 19th – Our hotel room at Country Inn and Suites in Tifton Georgia was very quiet and comfortable.  We were “lights out” by 9:00 p.m. having left N Ft Myers at 8:20 (and up for hours prior) a long day of driving and a couple of glasses of vino.  I woke thinking it was around 2-3 a.m.  I quietly tip-toed to the bathroom and as I snuck back to my bed Mom says “is it about 3:00 a.m.?”  I looked at the clock – 10:55 p.m.  I advised her and I think we both said “what??” – and fell back into a deep slumber.

Mom woke around 3:00 a.m. and just laid there knowing it was way too early to think about getting up but at 5:00 a.m. when I woke up, she said “good morning”. We decided to get up, have breakfast and get on the road.  The parking lot was wet but it didn’t appear to be raining at that moment.  By 7:00 a.m., we were on the road knowing that the forecast for the day was RAIN.  The first 17 minutes were perfection, no traffic and no rain.  Then, as it would be for most of the day, it started raining.  Sometimes heavy, sometimes light and sometimes a couple miles of no rain and then repeat the pattern.  I drove 2 1/2 hours, then switched as Mom (age 81) said she’d feel more comfortable driving through Atlanta.  Since it is her car after all, I said “go for it”.  And she did.  Traffic now (of course) was intense and the rain (of course) picked up.  But she went for it and is an excellent driver.  Around 11:00 we were ready for lunch and I saw that we were approaching a Cracker Barrel.  Never one to miss a Cracker Barrel on a road trip, we stopped.  The temp had dropped and out came the jackets and we ran in, in the rain.  Country Fried Steak with mashed potatoes, sawmill gravy, fried apples and pinto beans for me with a diet Stewarts Root Beer (hey a gal has to save a few calories right?). Mom had the Thursday lunch special of turkey, stuffing, gravy, biscuits and jam, sweet baby carrots with a milk.  Delicious – and then we went into a food coma.  More driving in and out of rain but we already had our reservation in Loudon TN and it wasn’t too long before we were pulling around 2:00 p.m.

While Mom checked in, I grabbed the cart and unloaded the car.  Got into the room and set up our new afternoon tradition:

Cocktail Hour for the Road Warriors
Cocktail Hour for the Road Warriors – well deserved I might add!

I thought we might need a nap but we chatted for a bit, checked emails and drank our wine.  Now we’re off to a local spot, The Cabin Restaurant for what promises to be a lovely home-cooked kind of meal.

Signing off for today,

Spence’s Girl

Moving Mom Part Seventeen – or Point the Car North

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One last parting shot of Mom’s street sign

March 18th – This is it!!

Both of us were up at 5:30 without the benefit of an alarm and feeling well-rested.  Moving right along, we loaded up the coolers and after a final walkthrough, closed the garage door and left Sabal Springs at 8:20, headed due north.

Ready to roll baby!
Ready to roll baby!

We had incredibly good roads – low traffic for the most part, sunny and made good time.  I ate lunch while Mom drove 2nd shift.  She ate when I took 3rd shift.  We stopped in north Florida for a bag of grapefruit, a jar of Honeybell Marmalade and a pecan log (hey those billboards are persuasive okay?).  We arrived in Tifton Georgia at 2:45 and checked into our hotel.

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Yes I’m aware I already shared this picture in an earlier post today but it’s just how I roll.

Then with the aid of Trip Advisor and Mom’s suggestion “how about ribs tonight?”, I found the well-rated Hog N Bones.

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We both got the Pork Ribs, served with garlic bread and two sides – we both chose Mac and Cheese, I had the BBQ Baked Beans and Mom opted for the coleslaw as her second side.  Delicious.

Back to the room for a bit more wine and calling it an early night as tomorrow it seems that we will be driving in rain up to Loudon Tennessee.  But I’m wearing my Guardian Angel Pin so who knows?  I’m preferring to think positive.

Riding on my shoulder, this little pin is my travel buddy.
Riding on my shoulder, this little pin is my travel buddy.

Moving Mom Part Sixteen – or It’s All the Little Things

March 17th – Today I’m in Florida while Spence is home in Michigan.  I call to wish him Happy Anniversary, 24 years together!  Celebrating will need to be postponed for a few days, he understands (love that man).

Today is the last day that Mom and I have to pack the house and the car.  Tomorrow morning when we close the doors behind us, that’s it.  If we don’t have it, we leave without it.

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It’s hard to say goodbye….

I disconnect the DVR, Mom drives it out to Cape Coral for the return.  She fills the gas tank.  I clean and pack what I can, but a lot of little things fall to Mom. Her neighbor Arky stops by with fresh baked toffee pecan scones and an assortment of candy for the road (yummo).  Mom still wants to get across the street for a goodbye with neighbors Jeanne and John.  She calls as they’ve tried to have us over for the last few days but when he answers, John says “our refrigerator just died”.  We’ve all but emptied Mom’s fridge and she offers “you could use mine if you get everything out on Thursday” (new owners arrive to take possession on 3/20).  They come over with a giant cooler taking her up on the offer and then are off to buy a new fridge. Once back, they invite us to come for a little farewell at 4:00. Joining us are another couple who are neighbors and good friends. We have a lovely and spirited conversation over several glasses of wine, cheese and crackers finally walking back around 7:00.  Worth it but we still haven’t eaten and have a good 2-3 hours of work left (and are slightly buzzed…).  Nevertheless, we power through.  I’m in charge of anything electronic from her clock radio to disconnecting the phone, modem and router (crawling around on the floor and under her desk.  Multiple trips to the trash and recycle bins.

Loading the car is a bit tricky as I’ve padded her flat screen TV and her computer monitor and must push them into the back of the trunk on top of blankets.  I’m six feet tall and to do this am nearly inside the trunk pushing up with my two bum shoulders (will pay for this tomorrow…but whatcha’ gonna do right?)

At this point Mom is dragging like a balloon with just a bit of air left and starts referring to me as “General”  “You’re the General, just tell me what to do – I can’t think” she mumbles and so I have to revert to military precision to get everything into the trunk and backseat and keep her moving forward.  We finally reach a point where we can do no more as the coolers will wait for the morning.  We crawl to our respective “racks” and I think I hear Taps playing in the distance.

Moving Mom Part Fifteen or Nearing the Finish Line, Ready or Not

It's all about staying positive.
It’s all about staying positive.

March 16th p.m. – This afternoon, Mom took the car to be detailed at a car wash just a few miles away (Spence had discovered this place).  For $26, they did a phenomenal job including bringing her $50 in cash ($20 and 3 $10’s) that she must have stashed under the seat in the past and never missed.  She was stunned, tipped the young guy $5 and was so happy with how clean the car was.  With the POD gone, she could park in the garage for the first time in a week (I’d been moving it each night to the clubhouse). She stopped over to say a quick goodbye to long-time friend Don and his family, who are visiting and know her well.  Her neighbor, Arky, invited us for tea, coffee cake, pineapple and candy – and a short goodbye visit.  Back to the house, she went back to work on cleaning those shelves in her bedroom closets and bathroom.  This on top of having sprayed any little driveway weeds with weedkiller and picking up all the old hibiscus blossoms from under the tree.  Needless to say, I got dinner ready and she flopped down to the table, ate, requested another glass of wine (so I opened another bottle) and then crawled off to the living room to catch a few minutes of the evening news.  She asked me to clean up the kitchen.  “Including loading your dishwasher?” I asked incredulously.  “Yes”, she replied (nearly comatose).  My Mom loads her dishwasher with a shoehorn after first nearly scrubbing them till they are 95% clean.  I’ve NEVER been allowed to load her dishwasher.  Clearly, she was tired….really tired.

She just took her shower, in hopes of reviving herself enough to get through at least the first hour of Dancing with the Stars.  You may laugh (but don’t judge) that we planned the return of the DVR to Comcast to fall the day after the Season Premiere of this much loved show.  If she doesn’t make it till the end, we’ll watch it in the morning, then unhook it and back it goes, no more TV for us.

Stay tuned….

Moving Mom – Part Fourteen or Minutia & Adios to the POD

March 15th – Today Mom is up before me yet again, cleaning the white open metal shelving in her bedroom closets – with a toothbrush.  I have to admire her ethics and attention to detail, she just wants the new owners to be happy when they walk in. After I finish breakfast, I take one hour at the pool, almost certainly my last.

The POD is picked up tomorrow and I’ve moved everything that will go into the car onto the lanai so that we get a visual of what we’re dealing with. That leads to a decision put some of those things into the POD rather than cram the car.  I do a final vacuuming of the entire house so we can pack the vacuum.  We’re now in the “final stretch”.  Every drawer – emptied and wiped out, every closet – a double check of the shelves. Important papers for her new apartment – lease, POD contract etc. must be packed in the car as we’ll be back in Michigan before it’s delivered.  The computer and her flat screen TV are padded and will accompany us in the car so that I can hook those up when we get back as Comcast will come 3/27 to hook it up, deliver her DVR and cable boxes.

We have lunch with our take-out Tiramisu from Bianca’s last night. Excellent. Mom takes a well deserved power nap after lunch while I prep dinner – tacos, guacamole and chips. Using the one cutting board, large saucepan and a paring knife (left for the new owners) I chop the romaine, tomatoes, avocado then brown the ground beef and onions.  When Mom gets up we decide to have our Root Beer Float Break (this is now our mid-day treat and most refreshing).  More packing and before you know it, it’s time for our Mexican Fiesta.

Having not received an email from the POD people about pick-up tomorrow, I check online.  Scheduled but no time indicated, Mom calls but after waiting forever, can’t hear the guy when she does get a human then the call disconnects.  Operating on telepathy, we look at each other and head to the garage, load those final items in the POD, tie them down, lock it.

It’s a beautiful Monday morning….

March 16th – We’re both up early, I check email – nothing from the POD people.  As I pour my second cup of tea I hear something – the beep-beep-beep of a truck backing up.  Running to the front door, I see that the truck is here at 7:30 a.m. to pick up the POD.  Hurrah!

Buh-bye POD, happy trails to you…..