Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Round About

The easiest way for me to recap my day is to first copy & paste an email that I sent to Nina - my rock -  this afternoon:

Here's what's happening here:
My dog has diarrhea again - had to go get meds for her - while I was gone she got the bag of dog food down and ate way more than she should have.  THAT will help the runs for sure.  Not.
It's 3:30, and my skylight isn't in yet.  The place I have to get it from is an hour away, and they close at 5.  Um...
My house is moving tonight.  But James' day has fallen apart, so he doesn't know who is driving it (probably not him) or when.  I'm trying to coordinate picking up the skylight and escorting them into the same trip, but it's becoming challenging.
My car brake pads dashboard light lit up.  I called Mini.  I can drive the weekend, but am dropping my car off for overnight service on the way to Austin on Monday.  $700.  Awesome.  Because I'm only spending SIX GRAND in the next 3 days.

I need to go to Lowe's and pick up supplies for the roof vents.  The brown piles of poop (pipe vents, see previous post)  I ordered haven't come in yet.  I emailed the company today for a tracking number but they haven't replied.  Guess I will buy gray that will not match my roof.  Sigh.
I must get brave and drill huge holes in my house to install said roofing vents.
Roofer is coming to install skylight.
I hope to stain/seal my exterior siding. 

Roofers come!
I have that 12:30 phone call with I Killed the Joneses.  Supreme timing...
Wrap the house in plastic for rain on Saturday.
I signed up to work a shift at the Butterfly House for the State Fair.  That was REALLY DUMB.
But, I guess if it's raining I can't work on the house anyway.
Drop car off for brake pads replacement.
Drive to Austin with Boss for dum-da-da-da Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday (hope we win!!)
Drive back from Austin
Pick up my car
Buy supplies for window installation
Windows will be delivered and I get my installation lesson (need to nail down videographer)

I am so drinking tonight.


So. The follow up?  

The afternoon:
Dog meds? Check.
Fuel in my car?  Check.
 Liquor store stop for wine & vodka? (A poor version of self care.)  Check.

I got home at 8:30.  I walked the dog.  Fed her.  Showered.  Ohhh I was disgusting, somehow, from doing nothing but driving.  A shower felt so good.  Then, a Subway sandwich.  I opened a bottle of Alamos Malbec, and watched an episode of Castle, and unwound.  Ohhhhhh.   I might live.  Then I texted with Amy, and she came down, and we downloaded our days.  All kinds of news - I love my girlfriends!  

And now:  Ahhhh.  I'm ready to recount my afternoon.

At 4 p.m. I got on the road to FW.  I arrived in decent time, and Joel & cohort loaded the two large skylight boxes in my car.  Top down.  Beautiful day for a drive, by the way.  But the boxes in the backseat made the air flow go a weird way and I had to put my phone ear bud in my right ear to prevent my ear drum from being blown out of my car.  But it was a fun drive through some small Tarrant County towns, with great sing-along music on the radio.

Arrived at James' and before I could finish a conversation with his wife, James was hooking my house up to a truck to head out.  James' day had disintegrated, but he was sending a trusted employee, "Smiley" with my house.  I really wanted to follow Smiley for part of the drive, to snap photos, but he really wanted to follow me.  Okay.  I tried to snap a couple of photos with my phone at a red light, but the sun wasn't my friend.  Too much glare.

We set out across the metroplex at 5:30.  If you live in Dallas, or if you have spent any amount of time in Dallas, here is a phrase for you:  "rush hour on LBJ."  And then, if that isn't enough to make your head explode, let's add, "slow moving heavy load that is the totality of your new life behind an enormous truck" to that phrase.  Add to that the fact that I had neglected to have the "this is your clearance" with overpasses conversation with Smiley before we left, and you can add "heart attack at every overpass" to the mix.  I almost broke my neck every time he followed me under an overpass.  We passed all of them without incident, though.  Except, well, I am going to live a considerably shorter amount of time.
We started traveling in daylight but we were well past dark as we continued to navigate 635. Along the way, I watched Smiley in the lane behind me.  In construction zones, with those big cement walls to our left.  With the cement walls on the left, and a cement truck on the left, and an 18 wheeler on the right.  He cruised flawlessly.  I could see both of the trailer wheels in my review mirror, and he was dead center in the lane.  A goal for me (maybe even in my Mini Cooper.)  He was fearless.

OH!  And I have forgotten to mention this:  About about 20 minutes into the drive, I saw Smiley put on his turn signal and start flashing his headlights at me.  I had noticed he had slowed down, and I wondered if the load was out of balance or something (don't ask me why that was my first thought.)  I slowed and signaled to take the next exit.  But no - he meant he was stopping on the shoulder RIGHT NOW.  And so me, with the brake pads which Mini had told me just a few hours prior had about 3 mm  (?) remaining on them, STOOD ON MY BRAKES and pulled over.  All afternoon I had been downshifting to stop, to strategically save my brake pads.  Well, throw all of THOSE efforts to the wind in a single stop.  I pulled over, and backed up to go back to where he was.  By the time I got there, his hood was up and he was chest deep in the engine.

Reminiscent of Daniel moving my house in LA*, I asked, "Is it too hot?"  Yes, he replied, in between heavy conversation with someone on the phone.  I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of our life threatening** situation:

My house is beautiful.  I can't even stand it.
After a few minutes, Smiley hung up the phone and announced, "Sometimes the AC makes it hot.  I will just ride without it."  Dubious but willing to believe, I crept back to my car and we got back on the freeway.

White knuckled through the remaining miles, we finally reached our exit.   We had only driven a few blocks when I realized my error in choosing a semi-residential route versus the freeway:  the overhang of the trees was extremely low.  I called Smiley and we negotiated a pull over to evaluate.  Except that I didn't even do that well -- I should have gone straight and then turned in, miscalculating that I could turn right and then left into the parking lot.  OH NO -- not without a u-turn!  I pulled into the u-turn lane, turned on my hazard lights, and sprinted back to Smiley who had followed suit.  I had my cell phone with a map in my hand, and was apologizing profusely.  He had no problem getting out of the truck and standing around on the median with me, evaluating the options.  This was trial and tribulation number 893 and he was still cool as a cucumber.  "Yes, I can do the u-turn.  Yes, no problem.  I can dodge around the trees."  Ohhhhhh kay.  Let's go.

So for 3 miles we crept down a semi-residential street, mostly blissfully without traffic.  When trees overhung to low, Smiley straddled the two lanes, driving down the middle.  We reached the left hand turn for the destination street.  I saw an odd sign in front of me... it seemed to indicate... a round about.  Seriously?  We are in Garland.  I haven't seen a round about since I was in London.  Granted, I had never taken this particular route to our destination, but -- who would have thought??  I looked in my review mirror:  Smiley was creeping up behind me, with many many cars lined up behind him. I had no where to go but around the round about.  Cringing, I went around the round about.  I peered into my mirror behind me.  Smiley slowed.  And then, after a moment of evaluation, carried on.  I don't know HOW he made that sequence of turns, I really don't.  But he did.  And.  Onward.

We were in the home stretch now - about 9 blocks to go.  No traffic whatsoever.  Wide streets, nothing overhead.  Creeping along in second gear, I opened all my windows.  I opened the sunroof.  Ahhhhh.  A quiet night.  Crickets.  Stars.  Moonlight.  Speed bumps.  We crept along, the sounds of Smiley's diesel engine purring behind me.  We were truly bringing the tiny house into the neighborhood under the cover of darkness.  I liked it.

I put on my turn signal for the gravel driveway.  I bumped over the soft curb and turned down the drive.  I drove down close to the final destination and stopped, and popped out and ran back to Smiley to explain the plan.  He got out and we walked the area ahead of us, illuminated by our headlights.  We discussed the best parking spot.  Smiley walked the area, checking out where the small trees were, and where the railroad ties were that marked off the garden.  And then said, "Well, where do you want it?"  I had an immediate, definitive answer.  That I changed about 7 times.  Every time I said with confidence, "I want the front door facing here (gesturing) and the trailer tongue pointing this way (gesturing) he would repeat it back to me and then say, "are you sure?" And then I would change my mind.   He never got frustrated with me.  He just laughed and kept asking, "are you sure?" 

Part of it was, I knew HE could park it anywhere.  But at some point, I was likely to have someone else*** come to move it, who perhaps may not be quite as adept at trailer maneuvering, and so I wanted it to be easy for them.  At the same time, I didn't want my front door to face the sheds.  Or the main house.   We went round and round. Meanwhile, my friend's house remained dark and quiet despite the idling diesel engine and two sets of headlights.

Finally, I made the final decision, and he lined it up to match the line of the garden, and we were done.  He unhitched the trailer.  I got the skylight boxes out of the bed of his truck.  We stood in the dark, staring at my house.

"Are you going to live in this alone?"  

"Yes.  With my big dog.  I have a 70 pound dog."


"It's going to be amazing.  My move in deadline is December 12th.  You'll have to come back with James, for the housewarming."

Then, "I will. "

We hugged.

And then we started recounting the harrowing parts of the drive.  

"The round about!  I swear, I didn't know that was there!  I've never driven here from that direction!  How many curbs did you have to jump?!"   

A moment, and then, "Two."  

"There was no where for me to go!  I had to just go. I"m sorry!"  

"You!  I sat there, just looking, and thought, okay, lots of cars behind me,  I'll just go.  It wasn't too bad."

A dubious look.

"And you, on LBJ!  A cement truck on one side, and an 18 wheeler on the other -- you were a pro."

"Ohhh." (Totally non-plussed.)  

"I hate to do that just in my Mini..."

Finally I said, "Do you know how to get out of here?  Follow me to Northwest Highway.  I'm taking a different way out:  a better way."  And then 20 minutes later, a honk and a wave as he turned right and I went straight.  Thank you James.  Thank you Smiley.

Today started with me being such a bundle of nerves. I literally was so anxious about the next few days that I couldn't breathe.  Now I feel better.  I've conquered a few things:  my skylight arrived and I picked it up.  I got my house moved to Garland without major incident.  And I have a talented friend from Habitat coming to help me tomorrow:  (A HUGE thank you to John.  Thank you, thank you, John.)   Today reinforces for me that just taking things in small steps makes it all manageable.  It's scary, but it's doable. I have amazing people in my corner that want to help me and I can totally do this! (I totally nailed my "scary thing of the day" today.  LOL

I cannot WAIT to see my house tomorrow morning in the daylight.  Let the games begin.  My house is finally home.

*     I like Smiley, but this wasn't nearly as fun
**   The passing traffic was literally blowing my hair back
***  Perhaps ME

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