The last few weeks in Memphis were pretty hectic. There was a going away party at work, complete with bar-b-q and all the trimmings. (Thank you, Phyllis!) There were projects to complete at work. There was a week spent with the guy who will be pinch-hitting as the president of the campus until a permanent president is named. There were many, many private conversations with students and employees who had warm things to say to me.
Meanwhile, there were conversations with landlords (attempts on the Memphis end and success on the PA end), utility companies (both ends), and moving companies (estimates, then the actual planning with the company selected to handle the move). There was a new home for Scamp, the little dog that I found back in December. (Thank you, Marcus!)
Then the last day of work was upon me! More conversations with very special employees and precious students. I turned over my keys to my wonderful Office Manager and carried the last of my belongings out to the car. I drove away, not feeling sad about my departure. It felt right.
Saturday and Sunday, I flew through the house like a tornado, packing up all remaining crap that I did not want. All kinds of people came by in response to my three new Craig's List ads. More books and clothes and furniture went out the door. All of the empty boxes from my move to Memphis were picked up by a young couple moving to Texas. (I had held on to them, just in case I was financing my next move. You never know!) I also packed up my belongings that were going with me in my car, including my Grandmother McClarin's Limoges.
On Monday, the packers arrived. They worked fast. I finally heard from my Landlord, who gave me phone numbers for carpet people and cleaning people. I warned him that I might not be able to get everything done. He reassured me that he could put a lockbox on the door and the people he had recommended could come and go even if I wasn't there. Monday night I stayed at a hotel since everything was packed. I left Joe at the house because I figured it would be less stressful.
On Tuesday, the truck arrived and the movers carried all of my stuff out. The carpet guy came and I paid him almost a thousand dollars to replace the carpet that Scamp had damaged. (That was an expensive stray!!!) Then 1-800-GOT-JUNK arrived to pack up all the remaining crap in the house and garage. Whew!
On Wednesday, I did some cleaning at the house. Then I visited Comcast to turn in my cable box and the post office to complete a change of address. I took Joe to the hotel and he immediately burrowed under the bed covers.
Thursday, I hit the road! Joe was not a happy camper to find himself back in the cat carrier. Like a fool, I decided to drive all the way to Staunton, VA on the first day. I was trying to aim for the halfway point, but I couldn't find a cat-friendly hotel, so I kept getting further down the road. I didn't make a reservation though. Instead, I left it open. I figured if I got tired enough, I would be willing to sneak him in to a hotel that was NOT cat-friendly. But I did make it. The last 45 minutes was really hard. Ten hours was TOO MUCH for me for one day.
I thought it was appropriate to listen to gospel music while I traveled through the mountains of Tennessee. Joe's meows punctuated the music as he sang the kitty blues. It sounded kind of like this:
"I am a poor (meow!) wayfaring stranger, traveling through (meow!) this world of woe. Yet there’s no sickness (meow!) no toil or danger (meow!) in that bright world to which I go."
The hotel I ended up at was a but dumpy, but it was serviceable. Joe did not like it at all. He was jumpy the entire time we were there. I've seen lots of stories on bedbugs lately, so I was VERY paranoid and checked the bed closely. I called Daddy and he said that I really needed to go have breakfast at Mrs. Rowe's. I carefully set my alarm so I would have time to do that and still get into the Philly area before rush hour. I went to sleep with visions of Mrs. Rowe's spoon bread dancing in my head. Unfortunately, I forgot to change my clock from Central to Eastern time, so I got up an hour later than I intended. Sigh.
One visit to McDonald's later, I was on the road. My car's GPS routed me through Washington, D.C. When I ran MapQuest prior to my departure, it routed me through Harrisburg, PA. The D.C. route was a killer, with tolls galore. Maybe there would have been as many tolls going the other way. I will have to reactivate my E-Z-Pass account now that I am back in toll booth country!
Now I am safely esconced in my hotel room in PA. I called my mover after I arrived and was told my belongings won't be here until some point next week. That means I need to get comfortable in this hotel room. Joe is happy here. He is sound asleep beside me.
Since my stuff is not going to be delivered tomorrow, I plan to drive over to Allentown to visit my Dad. But my first task for tomorrow is to go to my apartment complex and pay the deposit and pick up my keys. I can't wait!