Monday, September 6, 2010

A Moving Experience

At noon on Friday Jim and I picked up our Penske moving truck and brought it back to our house. One of the young guys from his office brought a friend over to help Jim get Katie's bed down from the 3rd floor and our old couch up from the basement. They ended up staying and in 40 minutes we had all of Katie's stuff loaded into the truck. At 4:00 we met up with Lauren's family to pick up the IKEA orders we had placed from a warehouse in Webster Groves. After placing those in the truck, we went to Lauren's house and got all of her stuff on board. By 5:30 Katie, Jim and I were placing our order at the Trainwreck Saloon for a last St. Louis family meal together.

Saturday morning Katie and I left our house at 8:00 to take Kirby to Cahokia, where my niece would take care of him while we were in Chicago. Jim called when he in the Penske truck and the DeGroots in their van hit the Poplar Street Bridge. Katie and I jumped back on the highway and we were on our way. We made really good time until we were about 80 miles outside of Chicago, which is when I-55 shut down. Both northbound lanes of the interstate came to a complete stop. As sirens blared and lights flashed behind us, all the cars and trucks crept as far to the shoulder as we possibly could, considering construction was going on and the shoulders were mushy roto millings.Several members of our group walked towards the accident scene, and as I stood by our car I saw the medi-vac helicopter approach. At that point southbound I-55 was closed as well so the helicopter could land.

I began to chat with the couple in the pretty Lexus ahead of me, and learned that they were returning to Naperville after attending a 50th anniversary party at the Whitmore Country Club in St. Louis on Friday. When I commented on how great it is that the couple has been together that long, the woman told me that she and her husband have know each other since they were 15. But both of them had married other people (in fact her first husband was in her second husband's first wedding!) - wow, you need a score card to follow all that. Her first husband had died of a heart attack at age 55, and her current husband's first wife had died of breast cancer 7 years ago. They had then become re-acquainted and later married.

I explained that our three vehicles were heading to Chicago to take the girls back to Columbia College. The man said that two of his children had graduated from there as well. Small world... By now our surveilance crew returned from the accident scene and said that they had seen body bags on the pavement, with at least one of them containing a body. There was also wet substance smeared across the highway, and this was before the fire department had done their job. Don't even want to speculate there. By the time it was all said and done, we spent an hour and a half stuck on the interstate. We called the apartment complex as we were scheduled to use the loading dock from 3-6, and there was no way we were going to be there by 3. They were very accommodating and said we could have extra time. As it turned out, we arrived at 4 and had everything moved in from the truck and the two vehicles by a little before 6 anyway. We started putting furniture together and at least had Katie's bed ready for her when we finally took off for our hotel room at 9:30 that night.

At the Hyatt, which offers a great rate for customers of Katie's apartment building, I heard the front desk clerk say something about executive room, and I assumed it is because I have a Hyatt customer card. But when we got to our room, we had a corner suite! Windows facing downtown and windows facing the lake, a whole living room area with a t.v, king size bed with another t.v., bathroom with two sinks, a large desk area, and a kitchen completed the suite. Very nice! After quick showers we fell into bed anxious for a good night's sleep after the stress of the day, but that was not to be. Let alone hearing doors slamming all night long, there were the most obnoxious people out in the halls. Different groups throughout the night laughing and talking loudly. At 5 a group of men coming in from their night on the town decided to hold a conversation in the hallway, followed shortly by another man who locked himself (or was locked out) of his room. Brother... This was not good as we were driving home on Sunday as soon as we finished putting Katie's furniture together and got her room to a reasonable stopping point. I did not want us to be another statistic on I-55 due to falling asleep at the wheel.

We started back on the apartment at 10:00, took a break to eat lunch with the other family at noon, and at 1:30 Lauren's family left to drive back to St. Louis. We stayed with Katie until 4:15 and then took the truck key back to the Penske rental place. (The guys had dropped the truck off Saturday night, but the lock box was broken and they were afraid to leave the key lest the truck be stolen.) By 4:35 we were on the road, and got home at 9:45.

The apartment really is lovely, and I hope that the three girls all have a great year together in Chicago. Meanwhile, I'm going to fluff my feathers in my empty nest.

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