Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Away from home...but I still call it home

I love St. Louis. To me, it will always be home. Especially now when I feel so hopelessly displaced right now. I wish I had a place to go back (home base is a vitual wrecking ground) but for now, we're here. My kids are loving it. They're playing with their cousins non-stop. Every night is a sleepover. Every day another adventure. We doing fun things every single day.

I thought I knew all the cool things to do in St. Louis. I rave about the zoo. We go to the water park overlooking the Mississippi and go nuts until closing time. I don't know anyone who plays harder than my sisters, which can be frustrating and liberating all at the same time.

Because most of our regular activities are usually free, I don't always venture out. That's why I was dragging my feet for so long about trying out the City Museum. We went yesterday and wow! it was amazing. It was like art and creativity and no-rules all rolled into one. I've quite simply never been to a cooler place for kids in my life (or for adults for that matter). I was forced to go down all the slides (no pretending I don't want to be a kid again here), I picked up a piece of chalk and couldn't stop until I turned a complete chalk-board column into an elaborate sea scene, I climbed and slid and squeezed and twisted. It was so worth the money. I felt young and free. If there were no mirrors there, I probably wouldn't have remembered I wasn't a kid. Well, that and the two kids that were looking to me for help with things. We explored a labyrinth of caves, climbed into the tallest treehouse, went down a 10-story-tall slide (Portia chickened out at the last minute), played two hours in the arts center, saw the circus. I'm sure we could have spent another full day there.

Coolest. Place. Ever.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I've seen fire and I've seen rain

I'll never move again. Never, unless it's absolutely unavoidable like moving out of state. Moving day was the most stressful LONG (I was up for 21 hours straight) day of my life. And we had even hired movers for the big stuff!

The night before, I was taking a load of boxes over to the house, I heard a wild fire started in Herriman. It's been so dry and hot that Utah's a tinderbox, ready to flame up at the drop of pretty much anything. Half of Herriman was evacuated, and this kept us out of our house longer than we wanted. We had a lot of boxes to fill. The fire didn't last long though and we were back, staying up until midnight and for three hours of sleep.

Up at four the next morning, the packing resumed. Midway through the day, after showing the movers where to put everything in the basement (the only part of our new house that's inhabitable at the moment), I came back to Herriman, looked around what was still to be done, and nearly had a heart attack. There was no way I could finish. Especially in time. I wanted to curl up in fetal position and just cry, but alas, I continued packing and wiping down and some angels came in and helped. They weren't the people I expected. I thought with 12 years in the same house and neighborhood, there might be more people to help (I'll try not to mention the fairly large group of people from our new ward who were waiting there to help virtual strangers!) but it is what it is and fortunately, miraculously, all our stuff was packed pretty close to the time we needed it to be.

My poor cat was going nuts through the day, so I put her in the backyard. Once my car and the moving truck were filled to the brim, I collected the cat and headed away from Herriman for the last time. I don't know if it was the residual smoke from the fire that had so recently been put out or just the overwhelming feeling of emotion from leaving the house I'd lived in for my entire married life, but as I drove through the construction on 13400 (thank goodness I'm out of there!), tears started falling. My  eyes were hurting so bad, I could not see. I ended pulling into a gas station and sitting there, trying to collect myself while the cat was meowing (she doesn't like car rides) and Portia asking what was going on. I didn't know myself, but I knew I couldn't drive until I could control my emotions and not have my eyes stinging. Finally I composed myself and kept driving. We still had unpacking to do in Highland that night.

A little after midnight, I crawled into bed and gave my eyes some much needed rest, not to mention the rest of my weary body. Over the next day, I was surprised by how comfortable it was down there in the basement. We each had our own room, a pretty decent sized bathroom to share, and a nice family room. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

A couple days later, a fire broke out near Highland.

The Quail Fire from our new front yard
It seemed like the fires were following me. It lasted a while (through fourth of July which only made my distaste for fireworks grow) and what was a miracle to some, rain began to fall, helping with a lot of the fires still blazing throughout the state, the morning we left Utah. We were off to St. Louis for a month where I won't have to hear the sound of hammers banging late into the night or clean the construction dust out of my clothes. Or I hope.