We are finally almost completely settled in the Quad City area of Illinois!
We loaded up the Uhaul truck on the last day of July with my parents, slept on air mattresses in the empty apartment, tied up the loose ends in the morning, drugged the cat, and were on our way!
My vet gave me a tranquilizer since Kitty has not been handling stress very well lately. It was supposed to knock her out and make her sleep all day. Instead, she was wide awake the entire 8 hour drive! But it did help keep her calm, which meant she was quiet. (She normally howls in the car like a dying animal.)
The drive took longer than expected. First, we hit construction traffic. Then we hit a nasty storm. It was raining pretty hard when all the sudden, I could tell that farther up the road, the wind was strong; the rain changed to a gray mess, and the trees were bending. We were heading straight for it. I was driving our blue car with my mom behind Frank, who drove the Uhaul and towed the red car. My dad was driving their car behind me. As soon as we crossed what seemed like an invisible line into the storm, the wind rushed us loudly. The Uhaul rocked and almost tipped over. But just as suddenly as we drove into it, we drove straight through and out of it. My guess is that we had driven through a downburst.
After that, we hit more traffic and construction. It seemed like we would never leave Indiana. We had to keep calling the church and telling them our arrival time was getting pushed back later and later.
Finally, the road cleared of traffic. We had smooth driving once we crossed the Indiana/Illinois border. I was excited, because many single-cell thunderstorms were building. I got to explain to my mom all the components of a thunderstorm… where the updrafts were, where the precipitation would start, what an anvil cloud and overshooting top are, and where the wall cloud forms that is capable of producing a tornado. It was like watching The Weather Channel, only the sky was our “big screen.”
After eight hours, we finally arrived at the parsonage house. We met three guys who were there to unload the truck. One guy was super sarcastic and in his 30s or 40s. His humor woke us up and got us going. The other was about my dad’s age. The last guy was elderly, and while I was terrified he would get hurt doing heavy lifting, I found he loved to talk and is very knowledgeable. It was fun to listen to him.
The truck was unloaded in less than an hour, and we said goodbye to the 3 congregation members, then got to setting up the beds and getting dinner on the table. Kitty was happy to be released from her crate, and she explored the house by doing several laps around each room, meowing every few seconds as if playing Marco Polo. Once she had the floor plan memorized, she quickly resumed her position of queen of the house. I’m so glad she handled the stress well. This is her fourth big move with us, and it was her best yet.
The house is beautiful! It was designed and built in the 1950s or 60s by one of the church’s members. The main floor has three bedrooms, which we are using as the master bedroom, guest bedroom, and an office. There is a dining room next to the living room. On the other side of the dining room is a breakfast nook, and then the kitchen. I have never had this much counter and cabinet space! I am loving it!
My favorite room might be the sun room. It has two doors, one leading into the dining room and one leading into the breakfast nook. The other three walls are all windows. It is a perfect room to do my reading and writing. Kitty appreciates it too.
Our first night here, I opened a door expecting to find a closet. Instead, a dark staircase led upstairs to an attic. A window at the top of the stairs allowed the moonlight to shine through and cascade down the steps. It was so creepy; I loved it. Quickly, I closed the door and got my dad. I told him to open it. When he saw the staircase, he said, “Ooo, creepy! I have to explore!”
As he reached for the light switch, I told him, “The bulb is burned out.”
Then we said together, “Even more creepy!” and climbed the stairs.
Sometimes it amazes me how I am practically a clone of my father. I definitely get my love of exploring scary places from him. When our church bought an abandoned psych ward to turn into their campus, my dad and I went crawling through a tunnel we found in one of the basement walls.
Later that night, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to get a better look at the basement, since I had only used it to throw empty boxes down the stairs as I unpacked. I found the basement to have five rooms. Four of them are small, maybe 12×12. One of these is the laundry room. The one across from it has the furnace and water heater. The other two small rooms were empty aside from a desk and a couch. The main room in the basement is very large, and it has some very dated furniture. I couldn’t believe how big the basement was! I was about to leave when I realized one of the walls had a doorknob sticking out of it. I tried to twist it, but it wouldn’t turn. I pulled on it, but nothing happened. I finally gave it a good yank, and a door opened up from the wall. Behind it was a dark closet the size of a room with a child’s high chair that was perhaps new in the 1950s. It was super eerie. I felt like Nancy Drew.
The next morning, when I went to put some stuff in the basement, I realized I had missed the bathroom downstairs, which was hiding behind the furnace!
The house is almost set up. My anxiety is under control at home, but once I go out somewhere, even church or a restaurant, it spikes. I think as time goes on, that will naturally go away. I’ve had to leave two restaurants because the anxiety was bad, but I’ve been able to keep it controlled at two others. The first Sunday wasn’t too hard since my parents were here, but yesterday was difficult since I knew almost no one, and Frank was busy. I almost had to leave, but I thankfully had some Rescue Remedy gum (it’s a mix of herbs that helps calm anxiety I found at CVS), and I was able to talk myself through it. After awhile, I found the pastor’s wife and sat with her for Bible Study. The congregation is mostly comprised of senior citizens, but there is one person in her 20s. She saved me a seat at church, and that helped quiet the anxiety. Today or tomorrow, I am planning on exploring the town on a bike ride.
I still don’t know if I plan on working this year. One of my professors in college encouraged me to turn one of my 40 page papers about my faith and my experiences with depression into a book and publish it. I’m hoping to work on that. I’m also looking around for volunteer work. Tonight, I am going to a homeless shelter. I really, really want to get involved with Right to Life. But if I do decide to work, there is a Christian bookstore down the road that I might apply at. In any case, I am really excited to be here, and I’m excited that Frank is finally able to focus on his talents rather than working at Meijer. It’s going to be a good year!