We did it. We loaded everything we own into a trailer being towed by my in-laws, and we have officially moved out of our Tallahassee apartment. We are now on our way back to Utah, spending our first night as non-Tallahassee residents at a hotel in Lucedale, Mississippi. This is all becoming very, very real.
Melanie’s parents arrived in Tallahassee at about 11 p.m. last night. We started loading the trailer they brought out from Utah at about 7 a.m. this morning. It was rough—I was running on about 3.5 hours of sleep, and it was extremely hot and humid from the moment the sun came up—but we had lots of generous help. I tell you, it’s some amazing people who will show up at 7 a.m. on a Sunday to help you load a trailer. God bless ‘em. I was sweating like a pig, but it went really well and quite quickly, all things considered. I’m grateful. If you’re reading this and you helped, thank you.
The heartbreak is finally settling in. We gave up a lot of good things to move from Tallahassee. Part of me can’t help wondering if we made the right choice. It’s an understandable reaction. I’m in mourning. It’s funny the little things that can bring on the heartache. I never felt sad looking at my apartment as it became increasingly, and eventually totally, bare. I didn’t feel sad pulling away from our apartment, knowing it was the last time I’d be there. What caused a twinge of sadness was seeing Eddie’s Spider-Man bike sitting in the donation area of Goodwill when we stopped by to drop off our couches and computer desk. We’d left the bike there a few days before, and its appearance this morning seemed a symbolic reminder of change and the fleetingness of childhood and certain periods of life. (The bike is several years old at this point.) Just seeing it there, all alone and abandoned, seemed too appropriate. Loss. That’s what it felt like. And then greater sadness hit when we finally pulled onto the freeway, officially departing Tallahassee. That solidified the fact that Tallahassee is now largely a memory. It was a very somber moment.
Obviously, there isn’t much to say about our journey thus far. We didn’t spend nearly as much of our day driving as I thought we would. I thought we’d get a lot farther than this on our first day. But Melanie’s mom was going insane being stuck in a car, which makes total sense given all that she’s been through over the last several days. She couldn’t handle it when the GPS system we were using to guide us today diverted us onto smaller highways rather sticking to major interstates, which is part of the problem my in-laws faced on their way to Tallahassee. So, feeling a little stir crazy, she asked us to stop, and we stopped. The kids were excited to get to a hotel, so they were totally fine cutting the drive a bit short. I’m a bit concerned about how long our days of driving will be over the next few days, because I don’t think anyone is up for extending the amount of days we spend in transit. I wanted to get the longest day of driving out of the way first. As it turns out, today will probably be our shortest day of driving. Considering my lack of sleep, I’m rather surprised that I myself wasn’t desperate to call it a day, but I was actually enjoying driving the back roads of Alabama. It was pleasant and low-key, and I felt like I could’ve gone a lot longer. I’m worried I won’t have that sort of stamina tomorrow. I’m worried my lack of sleep will hit me then, since it obviously didn’t impact me much today. (And, truth be told, I think I’ve only had about 8 or 9 hours total sleep in two days. That’s definitely going to bite me soon.)
As I look forward to tomorrow, my hope is that we’ll find something new to eat, food-wise. Excluding breakfast, my last three meals have basically been the exact same thing. On our last night in Tallahassee, we used a gift certificate to go to Flying Bear, where I had a bacon mushroom burger with fries. This afternoon, for lunch, we stopped at McDonald’s. I had a Big Mac and fries. And tonight, because our hotel is located next to a single gas station and a single food place, I had a country fried steak sandwich—essentially just a fried burger—and yes, some fries. I also had some jalapeno poppers, which were a nice touch and spiced things up a bit (although more figuratively than literally).
My goal has been to chronicle this journey back to Utah, but I’m realizing there probably won’t be much to talk about. Aside from driving, we’ll eat. It’s kind of embarrassing to write about nothing but food. But if that’s all I’ve got to go on, so be it. Stay tuned.