Saturday, March 14, 2015

June 2014, week 3

This was it. It had all come to this. Our last week in our house. While we couldn't leave Oregon until Friday, 6/27, we were closing on the 20th and had to be out of the house by then.

*Sunday, June 15th--Father's Day--I was actually dreading this day. It was the day Jared was going to be released as 2nd Counselor in the Bishopric. He was also speaking. It was the release I was dreading. I've heard many people say they feel sorry for those families whose husbands and dads get called into the Bishopric or similar leadership positions and after Jared was called, I received similar condolences. However, once the initial shock wore off that the Lord wanted Jared to serve at this phase in our life, I LOVED every.single.moment. First of all, you can't serve someone else without also serving the Lord. And there are blessings that come from any service you do. Jared and our family were going to be blessed for whatever sacrifice this calling required of him and us. But looking back I just don't see the sacrifice. Okay, well, he was gone A LOT on Sundays. Getting 5 kids up and ready and to church, including an 8 month old baby...yeah, I could see that as a bit of a sacrifice. But most days, it was just what we had to do and nothing more. We got our routine down and it worked.

Secondly, I LOVED hearing about the doctrinal and scriptural insights that were shared during Bishopric or Ward Council meetings. Bishop Nelson is amazing and I LOVED that Jared could serve with him and for him and rub shoulders with such a great man, even if just for a short couple of years.

Third, I LOVED the example that Jared was setting for our boys and even Karcyn. Sure we missed having him sit with us in the pew each week (though the McCullough's company more than made up for that!!), it was fun being able to watch him on the stand and smile at him and even glare at him when he nodded off "briefly" :) and listen to him conduct the meetings and share his testimony.

Fourth, I LOVED how Jared interacted with the ward members and really get to know them and love them through his service. (I'm happy to report he didn't misplace ONE tithing envelope!! :)

Fifth, I LOVED the confidence the Lord had in Jared and our family that allowed him to accept this calling in 2012. It came out of nowhere. In fact, Jared was convinced the stake leaders were coming to talk to me about a calling. I knew that wasn't it at all, but neither of us could imagine what it was they wanted. There were so many other amazing men who could have easily served in this capacity but for some reason the Lord said it was Jared's turn. Which is interesting considering he had to be released with our move. He was only able to serve a little over 2 years--kind of like a mission :) But those were some great two years for our family. I wouldn't have had them any other way. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

So, considering all the changes associated with our move, this is the one I was the most upset about-- Jared being released from the Bishopric. I cried. I had only cried once up to this point regarding the move (which I thought was pretty impressive for me--cause I'm a crier). But they were happy tears too. Happy and grateful for the journey and opportunity Jared had to serve and the things our family learned and gleaned from that journey, as well.

And yeah, Jared was one of the speakers during Sacrament meeting also. Poor guy had been a little busy trying to get things arranged and done for the big move in addition to all the events we had attended. He didn't have a ton of time to prepare a talk. But man, he gave what I would say is one of his best talks ever about how to be a good dad. He thought of six points that he jotted down on a piece of paper. He shared a scripture or quick personal story with each and kept it all short and succinct. (An art I haven't mastered yet). One of the stories he shared was about following the Holy Ghost and making sure your children know when you do. He said the experience he was going to share wasn't his but mine. (That really got my attention :).

He said that 4 or 5 years ago, Jake and Cooper wanted one of those handheld gaming systems (a Nintendo DS). We told the boys that we weren't going to buy them and Santa wasn't either, so if they wanted one, they'd have to buy it themselves. Well by golly, they saved up their money and they each purchased one. However, they were still subject to our rules and regulations. One night, as Jared and I were getting ready to retire for the evening and talking, I jumped out of bed all of a sudden and went to the boys' room. [Jared said he had no idea what I was doing because I had just left.] But I came back in a minute or two later with a game console in my hand and a small smirk on my face. Jared asked me what was going on. I told him that out of nowhere I had this thought to go to the boys' room because Jake was on his DS. When I got in there, Jake had his covers pulled over his head. I just stood there and said, "Jake, give me your DS, I know you've got it." A few seconds passed and then this hand poked out from underneath the blanket with a DS in its grip. I took it from him and said, "By the way, the Spirit told me you were in here playing on it." Jake had poked his head out just barely, but enough for me to see his eyes bug out when I said that. And I turned and walked away.

I had TOTALLY forgotten about that experience. Jake and I were quietly laughing in the pew next to each other as Jared related the story. I asked Jared afterwards when it was he recalled that story in order to share it. He smiled and said, "When I was up there just came to me." :)

I was touched by all the things he shared and I'm kicking myself for not trying harder to take notes and write them down. I'm also bummed he didn't have time to write out his talk either. That's something we usually do so that we can keep our talks as testimonies for our family and posterity of the things we believe and treasure. Ah well, it'll just have to remain as the awesome talk that was never recorded.

Our friends, Josh and Meagan Swenson, had invited us over for a Father's Day dinner that evening, for which we were so grateful. Josh was our home teacher and funny enough, Jared and Jake were their home teachers ;) It was a blast to enjoy their company one last time before we took off. And it was one less meal I had to plan and cook--and far exceeded anything I would have thrown together anyway.

*Monday, June 16th--Swimming lessons started for the three littles. Karcyn went at 9:30 and Calvin and JJ were at 10. I was a little worried about JJ, but he did so great! I was very pleased because it could have easily gone in the other direction.

The ABF moving trailer arrived at 12:45pm. It was a lot bigger than we had imagined!

We did have a few guys from the ward come over and help us load up the piano and a few other things that evening. The piano was the first thing to go in. And it's a BEAST. A 100 year old upright grand. What was SO challenging, aside from the bulk and weight of the piano, was the blasted ramp. It was metal and GRATED so you could have a good grip as you carried things off and on the trailer. Not cool at ALL when you're trying to push a massive piano UP the ramp. Brad "Muscles" McNeil decided he'd just push that thing up by himself and he just about did. The few guys on either side were balancing it (there wasn't a ton of width to the ramp) and I shoved a flattened cardboard box underneath the piano dolly wheels, a couple of times, so they'd have a smoother surface in which to push against. I was certain Brad was going to herniate himself or worse. But the blessings of service were upon him because that was not the case. I couldn't believe it!! He is a man of steel! We were so grateful. The piano has no special meaning to us except that it was free and we aren't in a position to replace it, so it goes where we go!

*Tuesday, June 17th--This was PACK-the-TRAILER day. I packed up our suitcases and bags for the next two weeks and set aside the things we'd have in the suburban (like camping gear and cooler) because everything else in the house was going into the trailer later that evening when Jared and friends were home from work.

Calvin and JJ getting creative in their play--with a roll of packing tape!

Karcyn finding solitude in the bottom of a bookshelf while coloring. Enjoy it while it lasts, Girlfriend! The house will look a whole lot different when you go to bed!

Tuesday evening, I took the 3 little kids and fled to the McCulloughs. I had no desire to watch the sum total of my belongings being loaded on the trailer with crazy kids underfoot. So away we went and I tried not to think about it.

This is what WE did...

JJ played basketball with Wes.

Karcyn and Calvin had scooter races with one of the teenagers there who came to see the older McKids. The munchkins were giving him a run (or scoot) for his money!

Karcyn read stories to Adia. 

Wes changed into his real play clothes and they jumped on the trampoline.

And then we went for a walk around their property and walked over to a neighbor's house to see and feed their animals.

After a couple hours, I got the "all clear" text from Jared and we headed back home.

This is what Jared and friends were up to while we were away.

I'm SO glad I wasn't there. This kind of stuff gives me anxiety.

If you've never used ABF before, it's a company where you pack, they ship/move. We pay for the trailer based on how much space we use. We were offered a $5000 reimbursement package for the move from Jared's new employer. Based on mileage and the outrageous cost of gas at the time, we knew we'd be spending close to $1,000 just on gasoline for the suburban. We were going to camp out instead of staying in hotels to eliminate that cost so that gave us about $4000 for the trailer. You pay by the foot. The price based on 17 linear feet was $3648. Then you added or deducted $107 per foot you used or didn't use from that. Jared was hoping for no more than 17 feet. I told him he was dreaming and said I'd take anything LESS than 24 feet.

They actually got it all in at 21 feet! I was impressed! And so grateful. We couldn't have done it without the great brains and brawn of our ward family.

Jared needed a post packing snack and Cooper felt the need to do a photo bomb. Notice Jared's packing injury on his face?

The empty living room (AFTER I picked up the garbage and vacuumed the mess that had been trapped under our sectional over the past two years!)

Let the camping begin!! Karcyn--the ever book reader. And Calvin--who is out within minutes of not moving.

It was STRANGE being in an empty house. But didn't take long for us to crash.

*Wednesday, June 18th--This was actually a pretty busy day. I had a dentist appointment at 8:30. Jake took Karcyn to her 9:30 lesson, but we skipped the lesson at 10 for the little boys because Jared and I wouldn't be around. We were going to be at our signing at 10:30am! Holy cow. That was the EASIEST thing, related to a really BIG thing that we've ever done (minus our temple sealing :). It took no time at all--a piece of cake compared to when we bought the house. We were asked if we were going to stay in the house until 5pm on Friday, 6/20 when it closed. We didn't want to be greedy, but yes. We wanted to make sure we had all the time we could get before being homeless. We were told the money we made on the house should be in our account first thing Friday morning. We were so excited!! That would be the largest deposit that we've ever had!

We called ABF to let them know the trailer was ready to be picked up before noon.

I took pictures to prove we had gone only 21 feet. Each ridge in the wall where you hook the divider, represented an odd number of feet and the spaces in between were even.

I'm sure our neighbors were glad to get that beast out of there! And then our allotted time allowed for the trailer to travel would begin on Thursday. We had 7-9 business days. They don't count the weekends, which saved us since we were leaving a week later and didn't want to have to pay a storage fee beyond the free 3 days. Thursday 6/19 was day 1 and that got us to Wed. 7/2 as day 10, when we would arrive. This was one of the trickier things to plan because there were only so many days we had and a short window of opportunity in Texas before the 4th of July. We crossed our fingers and prayed that our trailer made it there in time and without any harm or accident.

After the signing, Jared headed to work and I continued cleaning now that there was nothing in my way. It was sometime this particular afternoon that I had a HORRIBLE realization. All the warranty info and extra house keys, and notes with "good things to know" for the home buyers were in a neat, organized folder I had created for them. That I had put in a drawer of the filing cabinet so it wouldn't get lost, which was now buried on that big trailer in the front of my house, soon to be bound for southeastern Texas! I was mortified. I texted our realtor Cari in a panic. What would the buyers DO to me?? Cari actually left a message for me saying I was in BIG trouble--then laughed and said "Just kidding!" We had a house key for the buyers and they'd have our garage remotes, so they could at least get in and out of the house. They just wouldn't have the shed keys or extra keys. Or any of our appliance manuals, etc. ARGH!! All that organization to be prepared for nothing! We told Cari we'd mail it back to them as soon as we could. And then realized, Jared was flying back to Oregon. He could just take it back to Oregon with him and deliver it to them himself. Fortunately the new buyers were understanding.

That night, we enjoyed a riveting game of UNO in the big, empty living room--mainly to teach JJ.

*Thursday, June 19th--Swimming lessons in the morning.

More deep cleaning the house and weeding the side by the driveway and cleaning the windows. The kids were a huge help!

The BIG event that day was Jake going on his SECOND small airplane flight with Richard Gorton from our ward. He even got to bring his friend Asa along!

His FIRST flight was on May 26th--Memorial Day. He flew with Brother Gorton and Wid Payne--another former ward member and our independent contractor who helped us get all our repairs done on our home inspection list.

In this picture, Jake is standing in front of Brother Gorton's 112TC/A Rockwell Commander -

Jake and Wid Payne.

Wid up front, Jake in the back, and Brother Gorton's arm! (I'm so grateful for these pictures!)

Jake soaking up every minute of this dream come true for him!! He was actually able to pilot the plane himself--even before getting to drive a car by himself :) They flew from Hillsboro, Oregon to Salem at 3500' - and had 10 minutes of unassisted flying.

The dream came true again on Thursday, June 19th. Brother Gorton was such a doll for giving Jake another chance to fly before we moved. (Jake was SO bummed, as was I, that we were leaving this opportunity behind...) They flew north this time around the Stubb Stewart and Vernonia areas. Jake even executed a banking turn! He had to keep eyes on the horizon and turn the yoke the direction he wanted it, ever so slightly, while pulling out at the same time to maintain altitude.

Here he is in complete control :) Sooo COOOL!! I asked him if he was freaking out. He said, "Just a little." He learned you don't want to fly "white knuckled" with both hands squeezing the life out of the yoke or you'll be stiff and every movement will be jerky. So he had to hold on to it calmly and loosely with one hand. Once he was home he began devising up all the legal ways he could save up $100,000 to buy his own plane! So much to do, so little money...

*Friday, June 20th--our last day living in the house at 20829 SW Rosa Drive. We got up and began packing away our sleeping bags, pads, air mattresses and camp chairs. It was a huge blessing that Jared had Fridays off--especially THIS one :)

I had plans to pack up the truck and finish emptying/cleaning the house early in the day and then take the kids to play at the pool. Except the pool was closed! Something was wrong with the water and chemicals. No lessons and no open swim. Drats.

As it turns out...we didn't have time to swim anyway. I don't know HOW it happened, but we were in that house, wrapping things up, taking out garbage (borrowing our neighbors' bins because ours had been collected already), making several trips to take food and other things we would need to the DeGraws who opened their home to us for our week of homelessness, doing several checks and rechecks, taking pictures, sweeping the garage, cleaning out the fridge, mopping the floors, leaving a note and keys for the buyers, and packing up the burb all up until 4:35pm. It's a DARN good thing we were over generous and gave ourselves the full day in the house until 5pm because it came down to the last few minutes!

Packing the burb took a few tries and some creative thinking. Even if we WANTED to take our cat with us, there'd have been NO place for her, let alone a kitty box or food/water. We took pictures of the burb in stages so we'd remember how we did it because unfortunately we'd be in and out of it every day after the 27th. The rest of our camping gear was up in the car topper!

Finally, it was time to take one last look and say goodbye.

Goodbye front closet with an awesome organizer. I will miss you!

This is a picture of a plane Jake sketched free hand on his bedroom wall (without permission, I may add). It is good though and I wanted him to be able to remember it.

Goodbye living room and our awesome front window.
 Goodbye marble-tiled entry way.
 Goodbye dining room.

Goodbye kids' bathroom with a great big closet for storage and 1970s giraffe print shower tile and mustard yellow tub.

Goodbye little kids' room.

Goodbye big boys' room.

Goodbye master bedroom (good riddance icky, gross carpet).

Goodbye small master bath.

Goodbye big kitchen with lots of solid cabinets and counter space. I was looking forward to redoing you!

Goodbye family room (good riddance popcorn ceiling!)

The kids were hanging out at the DeGraws for the last couple hours before we vacated. I wish I can say I shed tears of sadness as we closed the garage door, locked the front door and drove away from the smurf blue house on Rosa Drive. But I actually skipped away with a smile on my face! I was giddy and excited to see what Texas had in store for us!

But first..dinner. The mighty McCulloughs were hosting a farewell BBQ in our honor at their home that evening. It was perfectly timed as we had no dinner plans and after all that we did that day and the fact that we were homeless, being with friends and good food sounded wonderful!

Jared went ahead with the kids, while I stayed back and showered.

Here's Wes--manning the grill.

We had friends and ward family members and food galore!

By my count, I calculated that there was a minimum of 125 people in attendance! It was seriously like a ward function! And while it's nice to think people came to support the Hough family, I guarantee you that was only PART of the motivation. You don't ever NOT go to something that the McCulloughs are hosting or have invited you to. It's a local social rule. I could not believe the crowd that came. It was a beautiful day and holy cow...lots of prep work for the McCs--never mind the fact that Bev was driving with Nikki to Utah early the next morning and then driving back on Sunday! (That's just crazy talk!) We felt so loved! I hope all the work was worth it!!

JJ and his buddy Wes.

Adorable banner that hung out side the McCullough home. It read: "We [love] the HOUGHS!"

Karcyn and Robby :) who had just arrived that day, I believe, for a visit. He also helped man the grill.

One last bedtime story from Wes.

*Saturday, June 21st--Believe it or not, we had been assigned to clean the chapel this day, so that's what we did! And afterwards, I went to the store for groceries for the upcoming week with the DeGraws. (I insisted on providing and cooking dinner if the DeGraws were going to room us for the week and with actual beds!) Jared and Jake went and bought some hiking boots for Jake's upcoming high adventure since this would be the only chance they had to do it together before we moved. We were hoping to swim at the pool again but they were still working on it. I definitely did NOT anticipate pool issues in my "last week in Oregon" plans.