It took us four days but we finally decided to stop and have a day that made this trip feel like it was a vacation. Welcome to what was our fourth and fifth (and final) day of relocation with kids.
We woke up in Dodge City, Kansas, the city that made Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday famous.
A city that also made the fictional Marshal Dillon and Miss Kitty famous, via the hit TV show Gunsmoke. It also made me realize who exactly Toby Keith was singing about in his hit “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.”
An old west town that in the late 1800s made gunfights a hobby, featured gambling saloons and brothels, and became a pit stop on the Santa Fe Trail.
For some reason I’ve always been enamored with the old west so when I planned out our route from Washington to Texas I was eager to find out if Dodge City would be on our way.
It was – sort of – and we made it a point to spend some time learning about the history and people that came from this historical town.
We walked through the museum, which features a replica of the old town, a few original buildings, the Boot Hill cemetery where a few gunslingers were buried, artifacts from the old west and watched an entertaining mock gunfight.
Dad met Buck Taylor, Newly for 174 episodes of Gunsmoke, who was signing autographs on the paintings he had painted himself and Levi was deputized, he’s now Marshal Levi. Best recognize!
After a brief lunch at Applebee’s, conveniently located just outside the gates of the museum (actually kind of odd and makes you wonder, is this what Wyatt Earp would want?), we were back on the road for more windshield time.
JOHN HUGHES’ REFERENCES
Three posts in, I can’t leave a John Hughes’ reference out.
We passed through Wichita (“Kansas?”) which prompted a few Planes, Trains and Automobiles references; none better than one of our favorite lines, “Train doesn’t run out of Wichita, unlessin’ you’re a hog or cattle.”
That evening we decided to stay in south Oklahoma knowing that we were already late to pick up our keys and that if we stopped, relaxed, ate and got a decent night’s sleep we’d be better rested for what was for sure moving day.
I know, I know, another movie reference but anytime Lis and I hear ‘Waffle House’ we think of this clip from Ladykillers.
We crossed into Texas about high noon and when we stopped for a bathroom break I tried out Pee Wee’s “Deep in the Heart of Texas” schtick. It didn’t work.
We arrived at our new home shortly thereafter and as we rolled into our complex a car passed by and asked, “Are you Ken?”
Confused I answered, “Yes” but then listened as my dad continued conversation with them.
He had hired movers for us which brings me to the …
TIP OF THE DAY
After 4-1/2 days of nearly non-stop travel, pay for movers. We got two dudes, for two hours, and after nearly two hours everything that had been in the U-Haul was now in our apartment … on the second floor.
I’m not going to say we couldn’t have done it without them but … it would’ve sucked and taken forever. A half-an-hour in my knees were starting to feel like jelly, and the heat and the exhaustion from the road trip weren’t aiding us either.
They handled all the large stuff while Lis, Lukas and I ran boxes up and down the stairs.
The couch Lis didn’t think we’d be able to get into the second-story apartment? Well, we didn’t have to worry about it. The only thing we did have to worry about was whether or not one mover was going to flip the other over the railing by shoving the couch down his throat.
Seriously, the dude bent in a way that only Gumby could. It was part remarkable and part scary.
To my defense, they asked me not to help, that they were professionals and do this all the time, but still check out my hesitation (and a bit of fear) when he nearly pushed the dude over the railing!
They got it up and I got to tell Lis, “IN YOUR FACE!”
We celebrated with Chick-Fil-A and then started unpacking.
I’ll forever be grateful for the help and support my parents gave us on this trip. I know I yapped about how my dad stressed me out (well he did!), but having them around to help drive the U-Haul, get great discounts on hotels, take us out to dinner, and then the aforementioned movers was great!
But to have them there for us … you can’t put a price on that!
I can’t imagine if it was just Lis and I driving the van down, and then Lis and I unloading the truck. Again, I don’t think we couldn’t have done it, but I don’t want to think about if we could’ve either. If that made sense.
I know it was tough watching us move farther away then we already were. We have an incredibly close relationship with my parents. My mom would visit us almost monthly when we lived across the state, and her bond with both me (have always said I’m my mother’s daughter) and more importantly her daughter-in-law (that’d be my wife) is almost unheard of these days. It also doesn’t help that my daughter is a mini-Grandma, and adores her grandparents (they all do, but you know…girls).
Money can never repay all the time and work they took to help us move down here and I’ll forever be grateful to them for it.
That’s kind of why I write these silly blogs. It’s just a future reminder, or a bit of our family history book, reminding me that, “Dear Journal, Mom and Dad were amazing in helping us move to Texas and we’ll forever be grateful to them for that.”
Thank you Mom & Dad!
As much as I have to give props to my parents, there were three little champs that were incredible during this five-day adventure.
Part of it was poor planning on our part, part of it is that we just don’t do the technology thing, but the kids handled 10-12 hour days in a vehicle like champs.
Our 12-year-old Lukas did bring his nine-year-old Nintendo DS, but other than that the kids had nothing else but the DS and built-in DVD player to keep them busy. Sorry but our kids are so underprivileged they don’t have Smartphones or tablets. Heaven forbid!
Other than Levi, our 6-year-old, there were hardly any complaints. The only time Levi did complain was after Lukas had put away the DS and Levi felt he should have a turn. The boys don’t do well with motion, so we prefer a limited time of that and DVD watching.
Lukas spent most of his time listening to his music. We also listened to Zig Ziglar and a fantasy football podcast.
Looking for advice? My 12-year-old says, “Nah” to Jeremy Maclin in Baltimore, Eric Decker in Tennessee, and LaGarrette Blount in Philadelphia. He gave a “Maybe” to Marshawn Lynch in Oakland and was real hesitant to buy-in on Adrian Peterson in New Orleans.
Levi doodled, told us he was hungry, watched a couple of movies (Space Jam anyone?), told us he was bored and asked to play the DS for days (even had to hide it from him since every gas station break he was scouring the van for the device. He actually found it that final day, but we didn’t have the guts to punish him then. He was both quiet and extremely deceptive about it, so we figured we’d give him the win – for now.). Oh, and he had to stop and pee a few times.
Our 8-year-old, Lia, well, she was kind of remarkable.
She spent the entire time in the middle seat of the U-Haul. She would color, read, join in on conversations or spend an hour just staring blankly (I’m guessing daydreaming) with no complaints about lack of music, movies or digital entertainment.
I even think Lukas missed her.
Every time he saw her he’d say, “Lia butt!” I told her that in annoying 12-year-old language that means, “I love you sis!”
In the U-Haul Lia would get her stuff out of her backpack, do her thing, and then neatly put it back into her bag. She commented about the beautiful skies in Montana, mentioned sightings of gazelles or deers, would help my dad find hotels for the night, and worked as the in-between for snagging water and snacks out of the minivan. No adjective can truly describe how well she did. She was amazing. Best I could do.
And really all three of them were, and have been since this decision to move was made.
It’s not easy, and often the kids can get lost in the shuffle. We as parents stress, worry, and get excited, and we forget that, though young, these little people are going through the same things.
The kids never complained about the move. Did they want to? No, but they didn’t complain or fight us on it. They know that the five of us are family and we’ll stick together no matter where we end up.
One of the questions people asked me before we moved was, “Are the kids excited?”
My response, “No, but they’ll come around somewhere in Wyoming or Colorado.”
Funny cause it was in east Colorado where Lukas started saying, “I’m ready to go home.”
Hearing those words from him meant so much to me. It’s not easy to pick up and move your family, especially seven states and 2,300 miles away from friends and family. For weeks I’ve felt scared and guilt, wondering if I had made the right decision, if this was the right thing for my family.
“I’m ready to go home.”
Home … the words Lukas muttered were the most important words I heard all trip. Home is not a building, and it can’t be bought.
Home is where the five of us spend time together. Where we eat, sleep, pray, watch TV and get frustrated with each other. Home is my favorite place. Home is now Texas.