Our less-than-graceful first exit from Columbus

My previously super-busy resident husband took TEN weeks off after residency before starting work in Oregon.

We planned to finish packing up our moving trailer on a Thursday, clean out our apartment and pack for our ten weeks of crazy plans (including a major roadtrip) on Friday, and fly out of Columbus, Ohio at the crack of dawn on Saturday on our way to Seattle.

Did I mention that we have three small children, Scott was still working until the day we left, and that we had lived in Columbus for seven years so there were quite a few loose ends to tie up?

I’ll admit that this plan was not particularly well thought out, but we are nothing if not optimistic. 🙂

The Final Weeks

The final weeks in Columbus were a blur of late nights taping up boxes, surreal goodbyes to great friends, and trying to capture every last ‘last’ we could.

I felt like I was living a double life. One one hand, I was going about business as usual. We went to the Columbus Arts festival per tradition, hit up the local science museum, picked strawberries, continued with our regular soccer pickup games, spoke in church, attended goodbye gatherings for other families who were moving out.

But then there was our own goodbye party. Our awesome friends all potlucked HEALTHY food in our honor so it was an amazing spread.

A partial shot of the babies in attendance

And the day came when we had to say goodbye to “our” temple.

Scott was determined to be 100% ready for our friends to come help us load the truck on Thursday. We came pretty close, but only because along the way I tossed every “for the summer” item into a closet and shut the door.

The Truck and the Closet

I thought packing our ABF trailer would be the hard part, but with many friends helping it turned out to be only minorly painful. We closed it and locked it Thursday night, telling ourselves that dragging the process out wasn’t an option.

It was a good decision, and it left us with just an apartment to clean and a summer to pack for on our last day in Columbus. Of course Scott had to go into work and we had errands to run and some goodbyes to say… but a day has a lot of minutes in it!

First thing Friday morning, I opened our “summer” closet and groaned.

It was a total hodgepodge and I had some tricky things to pack for:

– We needed suitcases for a 2 week trip to the west coast. This included a flight to Seattle, a ferry to Victoria, a weeklong stay at a cabin, and then leaving our kids with Scott’s sister (along with frozen breastmilk for Daniel) in Washington for a few days while Scott and I drove down to Oregon for a wedding.

– We needed to leave behind our car, cleverly packed for a 7 week road trip across the country. It needed to fit lots of camping gear because we are foolish and imagined we’d spend “at least a week” camping along the way. We bought a soft rooftop carrier to stash the tent, sleeping bags, and pads in, also because we were foolish and too cheap to spring for a hard carrier. With three car seats filling up the back of our Subaru Outback, there was limited space for extra stuff.

It was a logistical nightmare. But, ever the optimists, that did not deter us from making the most of that last day in Columbus by squeezing in a trip to the zoo, stopping by our friends’ house for in-person goodbyes, and even indulging in some late night game playing with our next door neighbors before getting down to the business of packing and cleaning.

…which is perhaps why at approximately 3:00 am Saturday morning, Scott found me sitting on the side of the tub, toilet brush in hand, completely asleep.

At 3:30 am, we discovered our wonderful food processor had somehow been left out of the truck. After a quick, sleepy discussion, we concluded it would be hitching a ride in our car for the whole summer. Who knows, maybe we would have cause to whip up a batch of hummus on the road?

At 4:50 am, we discovered that our plan to pack my frozen breastmilk in dry ice in a styrofoam container may not work. I was nursing Daniel, while using my free hand to check Southwest’s website to see how to properly label the container we had bought for this purpose. The site stated that styrofoam containers were NOT permitted and we needed a rigid cooler with a vent. I had been carefully pumping and freezing milk for weeks to make this trip possible so this was a blow.

At 5:15 am, Scott was tearing down the aisles of Walmart, desperately seeking such a container. With Daniel looking on, I was running our road trip stuff out the back door and piling it up on the sidewalk to load in the car as soon as Scott returned. I was running our plane trip stuff out the front door to pile on our front porch to load in our friend’s car when she arrived to drive us to the airport.

At 5:45 am, Scott returned, triumphant. We added the new cooler* to the front porch pile, and he flung our stuff from the back sidewalk into the car. Forget careful packing, we didn’t have a second to spare. I hurried the sleeping kids to the bathroom and lined them up on the front porch as well.

*We found out at the airport that talking to the right agent made the fancy cooler unnecessary and we ultimately sent it back with our friend to return to Walmart.

At 5:55 am, our ride arrived, just as Scott locked up our car and the door of our newly-emptied apartment. He joined me on the front porch to survey the pile we were bringing on the plane. We shared a brief “We must be crazy!” look and then we grinned and headed to the airport.


About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Life as we know it, Trips. Bookmark the permalink.

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