Our lives are simply check marks on countless lists at the moment. All Joe and I talk about are what we got done (short list), what we plan to get done (long list) and stuff we need to add to the list of things we need to get done. It’s tiring, endless, and a little tiny bit exciting, because we are finally nearing GO time! Which immediately makes me switch from excited to TERRIFIED! Oh God, we are going to do this!
The biggest check mark this week? It wasn’t setting the Farewell Party date (but we did do that). It wasn’t staining our entire 3 story deck (we did that too), or trimming and mulching every plant in our half acre yard (done). It wasn’t having the van detailed and put up for sale either (cause that’s done too). Or the million tiny things Joe did like replace plugs, change locks, hang blinds, installing water filters, etc (done and done). The BIGGEST thing we checked off the list this week was, we withdrew Lou from school! So I’m officially a homeschooler. Except….her district is out for the next 5 days, so I’m not REALLY homeschooling until next Tuesday…officially. That means I have 5 days to figure out what the hell I’m doing. 5 DAYS! Maybe we should just start school once we hit the road? Yeah, that sounds good.
I will say, it’s SHOCKINGLY EASY to withdraw your child from school in Texas! Get this, I just sent the principal an email that pretty much just said, “I’m withdrawing my child from your school to homeschool her, starting immediately.” THAT IS IT! Done. That’s all you have to do. Hooray for freedom!
Meeting the requirements for homeschooling your child in Texas is also SHOCKINGLY EASY! All you have to do is 3 things (summarized in my own words):
1. Have an intent to teach your child.
2. Teach them in a visual format.
3. Teach them these 5 subjects: spelling, grammar, math, reading, and good citizenship.
That’s it. No tests. No one to submit work to. No portfolio to keep. Nada. Again, Yay for Texas! Now don’t judge me on any spelling or grammatical mistakes I have most definitely made in this post!
So that’s done. And we’ve even planned our first two destinations! 1. Rockport, TX (AKA: THE BEACH!) and 2. Pace Bend Park in Spicewood, TX (so we party it up with friends here for SXSW: a big music fest) Not too far from home; getting wet one toe at a time and hopefully just the right way for us!
So the plan this week is to finish up the work on the house and get it listed for lease. Then we have just shy of two weeks to finish packing and prepping the RV and head out!
Sounds awesome, right?! Now excuse me while I go throw up.
We all do it. Myself included. I say to myself, I can do this. I can pack us up, sell our stuff, minimize, and I’ll even do it in a way that doesn’t stress us all out to the max! I’ve always been a optimist! Well I can say now, being 2 months in, this is one of those times that being an optimist will bite you in the ass! Doesn’t matter though, no matter what your outlook, packing to leave on an extended trip will have it’s difficulties. Lots of them! Lets just come right out and say it, IT SUCKS! And here’s why.
1. Somehow, preparing to leave on a trip, and getting really, really sick (like dierehha and worst cold of your life at the same time) go hand in hand. So just plan on it. Not only will you be leaking snot out of your nose while you lean over boxes, but your kids will all take turns getting illness that will make you question leaving, cause they are so bad you may have to take them to a specialist to figure out what the hell is really going on with them! Don’t fret, as soon as you’re done packing up your entire lives and trying to leave, all will be well again.
2. There will be boxes everywhere for months! None of the boxes you take out will actually get packed with planned items and then moved to their new location like you planned. Bada-bing, bada-bang! No, no! You will place some items in the box you have created and then one of these things will happen instead….a. You realize that the box you have chosen is way too big to hold all the heavy stuff you plan to pack in it and you need a smaller box. For those of you that aren’t math wizzes, that means you now have 2 boxes out. b. Because that small box you made, won’t fit all the stuff you want to put in it, and you want to keep all your “books” together, you open a medium box. c. But by now, you’re tired of packing and it’s time to make dinner, so you just leave those boxes there and tell yourself you will pack them all when dinners over. You don’t. d. Now after some more thought (like days), you realize that you have more “books” in other locations and maybe two small boxes is the way to go. So you’ll just leave your boxes there until you can gather all your books into one place. Which will never happen because you have boxes freaking everywhere, and can’t find anything! e. Your kids will SEE the boxes, and knowing that their the most magical toy in all of creation, will steal them away from you immediately to play with. Now don’t go thinking you can just make another box while they play with those. Creating a new box, just gives them more ideas! Like, now we can make a train! Or, make one more Mom, and we can make a gigantic fort in the middle of the living room that we will demand stay there for days cause we put so much effort into building it! Shit.
3. There will forever be a box that is too small to hold all the crap you plan on taking too Goodwill somewhere in your house. But definitely in a place where the kids can access it and continuously take out the stuff you put in it, cause “it means so much to them”. Like this My Little Pony that doesn’t zip up or turn on anymore and someone has cut all of it’s hair off.
4. You will be tortured by the idea of giving away stuff that you haven’t used in years, cause it’s gone completely out of style, and lets be honest, doesn’t really fit anymore either. Like that coat you bought in NYC when you were 20 and you realize now would only be appropriate to wear to a 70’s party, but the one 70’s party you’ve been invited to in the last decade, you forgot all about it and borrowed your friends cloths anyway.
5. You will get obsessed over stupid little tasks and completely miss the big picture! Like collecting all of your kids crayons and pencils into one location. You will be on cloud 9 for days over this, do a facebook post about it, and continuously tell your husband what you did, as proof that you do not need to do any other preparations for leaving for at least a week (maybe a month)!
6. Even when your house starts to empty out and you think you may be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel, you will step outside into your waste-land of a yard and realize that you will NEVER have all the bushes shaped and trimmed, grass mowed, low spots filled in, trash picked up, husbands crap confined to the garage, scrap wood burned, deck restained, and toys put away. Fuck it. Who wants to go get a beer?
7. Every single item that you take out of your 4 year olds room, will create a fit so big and loud, that you will immediately unpack that item and tell yourself that you will just leave her room alone to pack up on the very same day you leave. Idealy, while she waits to leave, watching a movie in the truck.
8. Your snuggly little Chug dog will coerce you into just plopping down on the couch to cuddle with her all day while the kids are actually being cared for by someone else, by climbing on top of you and immediately going to sleep any time you sit down anywhere, instead of you actually getting shit done. Beware of the Chug dog!
9. Selling stuff takes WAY longer than anyone would think and is a huge pain in the butt to boot! Ever heard of Craigslist and all the crazy that goes along with it?! Goes like this,
CL Person: “Uh yeah, I want your thing.”
Me: “Great, when can you pick up?”
CL: “Uh, today?”
Me: “Okay, what time?”
CL: “I don’t know. I have to talk to my husband/sister/mom/dog.”
Me: “Okay, just text me when you’re on your way.”
CL: (Hours later) “OMG! I just checked GPS and saw that you are super far away (even though I put my zip on the ad). Can you meet me 45 minutes away so I can by that $5 item from you?”
And then after turning away other interested parties all day, you never hear from them again! This in turn causes you to become a super bitch on all selling sites and list things like this. “$10. Thing. First to pick up gets it. No negotiating. Posted on every freaking site I know of (so you best HURRY!) TEXT only (I don’t want to talk to you crazies.) I live in Lakeway Texas. Bring cash and a freaking TRUCK for God’s sake!”
10. There’s some stuff (way more stuff than you think) that you have, that no one else wants. You can’t sell it. You can’t give it away. You can’t even put a FREE sign on it and put it out front. And with no bulk trash pick up in these parts, it makes a girl get creative. So you just might do things like sneak trash into dumpsters in the middle of the night (that’s not illegal, right?), or text your neighborhood friends on trash day and ask if they have a little extra room in their trash cans you can fill up this week. Burning things all of the sudden becomes a reasonable way to rid yourself of certain items (I bet that old mattress would burn!). You take recycling to a new militant level. “You better not throw that popcicle stick in the trash can! Recycle!” You will become an expert on where to take hazerdous materials (Lowe’s’- light bulbs, Home Depot- batteries, Oil- Auto parts store, I even know where to take old paint and house hold cleaning chemicals!) You count the trash bags in the garage as a way to gage when you can leave on your trip, by how many bags you can fit in the trash can each week. At this rate, we should be able to leave in about 2 years.