Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to North Carolina

All was going amazingly smooth with our transition up to North Carolina. Way to smooth; the house closing, packing and loading the 26 foot rental truck (which just fit our stuff exactly). Our two friends Luc and Greg were there to help load the truck and all the heavy boxes and furniture, and we departed the house ahead of schedule on the 24th of February.

Houston, we have a problem…
After departing our home our plan was to drive 3 hours north to Deltona, Florida and spend the night at Jane’s, my sister-in-law. The truck handled surprisingly well seeing as it now weighed some 75,000 pounds (best guess-I have the tendency to exaggerate). Our ETA was about 5 pm and we called Jane to let her know. She informed us that the last Discovery Space Shuttle lifted off recently and traffic may be bad. Our trek was to take us past the Kennedy Space Center so we figured we would be delayed a bit. It took us an extra 1 ½ hours to get to Jane’s. No big deal.
(E) – and that included a very fast stop at Skip’s Boots so I could cash in my gift card and get another pair of boots. A girl can never have too many boots! Plus it also gave Jane some time to make some corn bread to go along with the amazing beef stew she made us. Yum!

The next day we traveled to Jay’s, my brother-in-law, to drop off some furniture and spend the night. The 9 hours went well.
(E) – And Jay made us pork ribs – yum again. You may be thinking I’m only interested in good food and fashion.

The next morning we were to caravan the last three hours up to Franklin. I was to drive the truck, Edrianna was in our car and our nephew, Ben was in his car (the recipient of the furniture and gratefully tagging along to help us unload our stuff at the storage unit and then at my brother Tom’s place. This leg of the trip should be a piece of cake.

Did you know that I am peripherally vision challenged?
Well I started off that morning by beaning myself on the top of my head when I went to scrape ice off the windshield. You see, the truck had overhead storage just above the cab and in my haste stepped up and BAMM! It was almost a TKO. When the ringing stopped and my vision cleared we were off and running (with a nice headache).
(E) – I saw the whole thing happen and it hurt from a distance. I thought he was going to hit the ground; the bang was so loud. I was so glad he didn’t break the truck. We were warned about damage and took out extra coverage just in case. Glad we didn’t have to use it. So now he had a bump to go along with his small cut that happened when he walked into the garage light when we were packing the truck. He didn’t mention that one, did he?

GPS’s can be your friend or a nightmare.
We had set the voice on our GPS to be Karen from Australia. She has a calming demeanor and is very polite. However, I think she is setup for people who live in the remote outback with no major roads. Atlanta is not Australia and Karen sent me (the lead vehicle) on the wrong road as we traveled thru the city. At least that is what I’m claiming. We all had walkie-talkies for communication that only worked with a connection to Edrianna and me. We discovered early on that Ben’s radio had some kind of voice scrambler that converted our normal voices to the language from the planet Whattheheckisthat. I radioed Edrianna and let her know of our dilemma and told her we will exit the highway and turn around. She called Ben on her cell and gave him the update. I found the nearest exit, and when I drove up the overpass to reenter the highway I found the entrance was blocked with a barrier and a Georgia State trooper. Darn! (or something more colorful). I headed down the road and pulled into a parking lot with my puzzled caravan companions in tow. I got out of the truck and informed everyone of my Plan B, which consisted of standing dazed in the parking lot scratching my aching head. I returned to the normal calm person I am and said, “Let’s get back on the road and get more lost and off our path and try to find another turn around opportunity.” What a leader! Ben looked at me with as if I was the supreme leader from the planet Whattheheckisthis, but agreed willingly. Off we went. We tried the next exit and discovered the same thing – blocked road. We turned around yet again and proceeded to get more and more off our path. Our third attempt was successful.
(E) – Three times a charm!
We were finally heading back to find the proper highway.
(E) – This is when Ben phoned me and said in a slightly concerned, confused and very nice tone, “Edrianna, we are heading back toward Atlanta.” I assured him that Jim, our supreme leader, knew what he was doing - RRRRRRIGHT! I’m not sure Ben believed me.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
We got back on the proper road north and everything was going fine – for a little while. The truck hit a bump in the road and the GPS dislodged from its place on the windshield, sending Karen violently tumbling across the dash board and crashing to the cab floor. Somewhere during all this her calming voice was muttering, “Turn left – NOW.” I didn’t actually hear her but saw the sign to Franklin. I frantically swerved from the right lane to the left lane (of course after checking to make sure no one was in it – sort of) and just barely caught the edge of the exit. I really wasn’t conscious of my fellow caravaners behind me as I made this crazy maneuver.   
(E) – Of course I need to chime in on this one! I saw Jim take the turn and Ben follow as if he were attached to the bumper. There was a car next to me (the last in line) so I couldn’t pull the same “let’s ditch ‘um” tactic. I grabbed my walkie-talkie and calmly asked, “Jim, sweetie, what are you doing?” Ok, that didn’t happen. I yelled out like a football coach interrogating his quarterback after a stupid play, “What the Hell was that!!!” Get the picture? I clung to my walkie-talkie as if it were a life line as I watched Jim and Ben drive out of view. Oh, I have a cell phone, thank God! Only slightly more calm at this point I phoned Jim, my honey, and explained my situation. Long story short I finally caught up with them about an hour and fifteen minutes later when they stopped for gas and to pee.

We’re almost there!
We finally made it to Franklin and met Tom and Kathy at the storage unit. We unloaded the bulk of our cargo and headed to their house and cabin. We had lunch and then began unloading the last of our combined 25 year collection of possessions. I had done an excellent job of packing the truck and securing sections with some fancy ratchet straps (lots and lots of straps). I was very proud of my work because nothing shifted during all the mayhem. The last section of the truck was secured with a strap against our mattress and box spring. Let me tell you that these straps work really well until you have to release them. You have to simultaneously press two release levers on the ratchet mechanism and then you release all the tension in the strap; the force that is holding all your stuff in place. This is a very important point. I had perfected my skill at releasing the straps and began working on the last one. Again, BAMM! But this time REALLY BAMM! I felt like I got hit with a baseball bat and the next thing I saw was Edrianna’s desk stool bouncing off the floor of the truck. Much later Kathy told me she heard me mumble, “Ouch, that hurt.” I reached up to my forehead and felt a warm ooze. Blood was running down my arm, into my eye, across my face and rapidly covering my sweat shirt and pants. Tom turned around and asked what was up. I could tell by the look on his face that he was thinking, Oh great, I get to use my first aid kit.
(E) - Let me tell you about Tom, he doesn’t do anything half way. He was totally equipped for the bloody mess Jim had created. He is prepared for any tragedy and I mean ANY. He even had a defibrillator on standby in case Jim had keeled over from a heart attack – shock can do that! The people from FEMA could learn a thing or two from Tom. I’m completely serious! I felt reassured that Tom was taking care of Jim and I knew that he was in good hands. I’m actually surprised he didn’t put the stitches in himself; he probably would have done a good job.

How to get out of unloading a UHaul
Needless to say, Tom rushed me off to the emergency room while I held several large sterol pads and an ice pack to my forehead. Let me say that Angel Medical Center is the friendliest hospital I had ever been in in my life; but when the physicians’ assistant approached me with a staple gun I got really nervous. I’m familiar with using a staple gun to fix a broken screen door but not having one shot into my forehead. At least she was honest and told me it would hurt instead of soft soaping it with the familiar phrase, “This will pinch a little.”

How to get stuck unloading a UHaul
(E) – As Tom drove away with Jim, Kathy and I looked at each other and thought – Break Time! When Tom called to check in with us we told him we opened up the hammocks and were having some beers; but actually, we were unloading the truck one very heavy oversized bulky box at a time. Did you know that wardrobes are quite unstable and can completely flip over while you are carrying them? Sadly it took two attempts to perfect the proper technique. You may be asking yourself – “What happened to Ben?” We had released him from his indentured servitude because he had plans to visit his dad and we knew he still had a long drive ahead of him. We had almost unloaded the entire truck when Jim and Tom returned from the hospital. Kathy and I were quite impressed and very proud of ourselves. I think Jim and Tom were relieved.   

Moving right along
Despite this little “bump” we settled in to our new digs; enjoyed an evening meal with Tom, Kathy, and their 3 dogs; and hit the sack early. I fell asleep with an ice pack on my head and feeling a bit like Frankenstein. Gee, I hope when I get to Asheville I don’t scare the villagers!  
Bad chair!

Our temporary home in Franklin


  1. Love your description of the festivities and adventures along the way, however, I must take exception to the "temporary home in Franklin"...a storage unit? Can we get a photo of the two of you and Luna in the guest cabin? Just sayin

  2. Staples...???
    Man that ER must have thought you were drunk.
    Did they give you the staple remover so you didn't need a return visit.
    Despite my lapsed license, I could have done that.

  3. I have tried very hard to keep metal fastening devises out of my bogy my entire life. I would have trusted you to do a good job!

  4. Okay, so time to stop with the head injuries. Love the story so far. How exciting!