Gone in 30 days

So I didn’t blog for most of October. A few astute friends knew that we were moving under short notice. Well, here’s the story:

We’ve lived in an apartment in Phoenix, Arizona for three years. Our lease came up for renewal in September. We signed a new one and went about our business.

Then the last week in September, we found a notice on our door. It went something like this.

“Your lease has been declined because you are over occupancy.” (I’d had a baby last year.) “You have until October 30th to GTFO. Have a nice day.”

After the initial panic died down, we sighed and figured it was a good thing. We had five kids in a two-bedroom apartment. We really did need to move up to a three-bedroom.

We started hunting. And we found that the housing situation in Phoenix is a joke. So many people want to live there, and they’re willing to pay anything to do it, that most apartments are either super expensive or have years-long waiting lists.

While my hubby has a good job, he doesn’t quite make as much as the apartments want. We hit this wall over and over. A realtor finally gave us a list of low-income apartments to try.

Talk about a low point. I looked them all up. With the exception of two (which had massive waiting lists), low income housing is packed into a single giant tenement building. Very little landscaping. Just a big ugly box to cram as many people into as possible.

I have five kids, all of whom like to play outside. Living in a place like that would be a prison sentence for all of us. Not to mention the waiting lists.

We despaired. I cried a lot. We prayed desperately. And suddenly a thought popped into Ryan’s head: why not try Tucson?

mount_lemmon_banner_panoramic_view_towards_tucson
Mount Lemmon panoramic from Wikimedia Commons

We started hunting apartments in Tucson. It’s not having quite as much of a boom as Phoenix is, and the income requirement wasn’t quite as high. We found a 3-bedroom pretty quickly, and with some mathematical shenanigans, managed to make the numbers work so they would let us in.

We drove down a couple of times, and each time we liked Tuscon better. Ryan has lived there a few times, and took us around to some of his old haunts. We also took the kids to a park with a man made lake and let them throw food to the ducks. The mountains are gorgeous. It was like balm to my soul to look at mountains and water again. I’m from CA and have missed both.

skyislandpkwy
Mount Lemon Sky Island Parkway from Wikimedia Commons

We began packing and cleaning and donating stuff we never use.

Among other things, the ceiling in our bathroom fell in and had to be fixed. During intensive packing. Yeah, that was fun.

Then we rented the truck and started loading.

We had planned to load the truck in a day, drive to Tuscon, and unload in a day. In reality, it took us two days to load and two days to unload. It was just Ryan, me, and the kids. While the kids helped when they could, they’re simply not capable of hauling around boxes and furniture.

On the second day of loading the truck, we had planned to be packed and on the road by noon. The new place’s office closed at 5 PM, and we had to be there in time to get the keys.

Noon came and went. Then one. Then two. We worked harder and harder, and our stuff seemed to multiply. Why do we have so much junk, anyway?

At three, we decided that cleaning the apartment could wait until the next day or so. We hurled the last few things into the truck and high-tailed it out of there at 3:15.

It’s a two-hour drive from Phoenix to Tuscon. We screamed down there in the truck and car. Ryan had called the office and left a message to say that we were running late, and could they wait for us. So we came screeching into the parking lot at 5:30. Thank heavens, the manager was still in the office, though she was ready to leave. We got the keys. We got into our brand new apartment.

And it was too dark to unpack anything. For example, beds.

We bought a Papa John’s pizza to bake in our new oven for dinner. But we didn’t have any plates or forks to eat it with. I pulled it out of the oven with two shirts wrapped around my hands. I had a box cutter in my pocket from packing. It cut pizza all right. I also cut chunks from the cardboard plate beneath it to use as makeshift plates. We turned over a box to use as a table.

Then we (attempted) to sleep on the floor. It was a strange, uncomfortable night.

The next day, we were so tired from loading stuff the day before, as well as not sleeping, that we only managed to unload half the truck. We were assembling beds at 7 PM. That night we actually slept.

The next day Ryan went back to Phoenix to clean the old apartment, finish paperwork, and turn in the keys. I was faced with the daunting task of unloading the rest of the truck by myself.

I had been reading the Song of the Summer King books to the kids. That morning, I told them that we must become Nameless if we were going to finish the job–just like how Shard the griffin made the long flight over the sea on the advice of an albatross.


“Now this.” Windwalker looked forward again, and Shard watched him. “This long flight, my lord, comes at a price. You cannot think. You cannot think, ‘Oh, how tired I am.’”

Windwalker stretched his wings, then settled them into a glide again, and Shard imitated him. Stars rippled above and the moon bathed them and the top of the storm clouds in silver.

“You cannot think, ‘Oh, how far I have to go.’ You cannot think at all. For this long flight, you must give up yourself. To journey across the windward sea, you must let go of your name, and become part of the sky.”

“My name?”

“But it will come back to you. In time. Son of Tyr and Tor. You cannot truly forget, you who parted the storm, and named me. I don’t think you can forget.”

“You don’t think? But are you sure?” Shard had forgotten himself once, briefly, after almost drowning in the sea. Witless, he had climbed to safety on pure instinct, and woken to remember himself just before meeting Stigr for the first time.

“Trust you will remember. Too many thoughts will weaken you. You must be a bit of wind and sky, like me.” Windwalker stared ahead, unconcerned. Shard watched him, breathless fear crawling forward. “Remember only to follow me, brother of the sky. Remember only that.”

“You are wind,” Windwalker intoned. “You are feather and bone, and hunger, and thirst. And wind.”

Shard focused on his feathers, loosing a breath. I am wind. I am feather and bone.

I am wind. Feather and bone.

Wind. Feather. Bone.

Flight and blood and bone. Anything else is death.

Hunger, thirst and hunt.

Flight, feather and wind was life.

Blood. Feather.

And wind.


I had that stinking truck unloaded by noon. So it worked.

Then I had to unpack a mountain of boxes in order to make room for furniture. I’m a bit OCD–I like everything neatly in its place. The chaos of moving is torture for me.

Ryan completed everything on his end, and we unpacked for two days. I didn’t do anything else–I just unpacked for hours on end.

Once everything was done and arranged, I was so tired that all I could do was sit in a chair and stare. “It’s Nanowrimo!” the Internet exclaimed. “Also the election is nuts! Did you hear the latest?”

I sort of stared at the Internet without caring. We just came through our own personal apocalypse. I don’t have the energy to care about big scary things. I barely have the strength to cook dinner and sweep the floor.

So that’s where I vanished to for the entire month of October. Hopefully life and regular blogging will resume now.

mount_lemmon_butterfly_trail
Mount Lemmon: butterfly trail via Wikimedia Commons
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8 thoughts on “Gone in 30 days

  1. It is really, really scary reading about it. I think you did it very well by yourselves. I love your view.
    I hope you are feeling much better now. 🙂

    Like

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