Monday, April 6, 2009

Moving nightmare

Wednesday, April 1 was our official "MOVING DAY." Lesson to all of you: never plan a big event, such as a move, on April Fool's Day. Not a great idea. We were definitely the victims of some ridiculous cosmic april fool's gag ... read on ...

Our trouble actually started a little bit last Friday, when Wes was loading up our (first) Penske to make the trip with all the stuff. He was moving a metal filing cabinet and almost sliced off the tip of his pinky on a jagged part. I never knew so much blood could come out of a pinky finger. Wes went into shock. He was feeling ill, curled up in the bathroom in the fetal position. He really did turn green. It was bad. I called our friend Spencer, who is an ER resident who happened to be off work at the time (thank goodness!) and he came over, numbed Wes's finger and stitched it up. Three stitches in the pinky. Poor guy. Anyway, after the stitches, that trip went okay.

On Wednesday (Moving day ... April Fool's!) we started packing up early in the morning, hoping to get on the road in the early afternoon. We got on the road a lot later than expected, of course, like always. Wes had the remaining junk from our house loaded up on his truck and on a trailer that he bought on craigslist for $300 (Dixieland Special ... GRRR...) We pulled out of the driveway around 7:00 pm; Wes had to run to the church to do one quick thing; we picked up dinner in the Chick-fil-A drive thru, and we were fed and on the road around 9. Smooth going at first: Wes, Lillie and Harlan were in his truck, pulling the crappy trailer, and Sophie and I were in the car, which was also packed full of stuff (bedding and such), following behind.

The next sign of trouble came around 10:15, when I watched in horror as one of the junky old tires on the junky old trailer blew apart and shredded to junky bits in front of me. Luckily, we had borrowed CB radios from our friends (same guy who stitched up Wes ... they are great!) and I started screaming into the radio for Wes to pull over. We also felt very lucky that the blowout didn't cause the trailer to swerve more than it did, which would have caused the crappy trailer ... and the truck ... to flip over.

Wes pulled over and told me not to worry, that the tires were the same size as the ones on his truck, and he would have it changed in a jiffy. He was actually surprisingly cheerful. But after an hour, he had the spare off his truck, but the wheel on the crappy trailer was rusted on and he couldn't get it off. He had to find his hammer in our Clampett-style mound of junk on the back of the trailer and use it to pry the wheel off. Then he realized that his spare wouldn't fit; the holes were in the wrong places. I emptied the back of my car so he could get to my spare, hoping it would work. It would not. We called AAA, which would only tow us (not possible) or change our tire for us, had we had one. At that point it was after midnight. Something had to be done. Wes's mom booked us a Penske for the next morning so we could just do the 'safer' thing and leave Wes's truck in Jackson (to pick up at graduation time) and put only a few things on the crappy trailer to pull behind the Penske. I voted to dump the crappy trailer, but Wes wouldn't do it. We took enough stuff out of the car so that Lillie and Harlan could get in there with me, and we piled said stuff on the side of Hwy. 55 next to the truck, with a tarp over it. Wes spent the night in his truck near mile 173 on I-55, and the kiddos and I drove the 72 miles back to our empty house to sleep on the floor. The kiddos and I got home at 2:30 am.

I woke up at 6:30 Thursday and called our friends Jason and Christy, who were nice enough to alter their plans (and Spencer and Sonia were nice enough to also alter Spencer's birthday plans) to make it possible for Jason to help us out. He went all over the place searching for a new rim for this crappy old trailer that I just wanted to ditch anyway, but Wes wouldn't agree. Finally, Wes remembered that the guy he got the crappy trailer from had an extra wheel, which he gave us for free. While Jason had been running all over Jackson, MS and calling every dump and salvage yard looking for a wheel (yes it was that old and crappy), my best friend's husband Tim was helping me get our remaining junk together at the house. Around 11, we went to pick up the Penske, and Tim drove it back to our house. There was no way I was getting behind the wheel of that thing. (Phobia of big trucks, you know.)

So on the way to my house, through no fault of his own, Tim accidentally swiped some woman's car. I have no nice words for this woman. She informed Tim that she had just bought the car for $1100, then proceeded to demand $1500 to fix it. (Not the smartest woman.) He offered to buy it from her for $1100, and she refused. Then, although she was driving with a suspended license, she decided to call the cops. And, lucky me, since I rented it, it goes on my insurance. AAARRRGHHH!! (Side note: the cop didn't even run the woman's suspended license. So she just left with no problems.)  (I actually feel worse for Tim than for myself ... he felt awful about it.)

So, here's the scenario: We are sitting in my driveway, Jason and two missionaries from our church in the Penske, the kiddos and me in the car. We are loaded up and ready to go. There's a storm coming our way in less than an hour with predicted tornado watch and golf ball-sized hail. Wes is sitting on the side of I-55 with some of our stuff piled up on the grass next to his truck. Then it starts raining huge drops. I have to go save Wes! And we CAN'T LEAVE until the cop finishes his report!

We finally got to leave, and we drove to Wes. He had been sitting on the side of the highway for 15 hours by then. We loaded the junk from the truck (and most of the junk from the trailer) into the Penske, hitched the trailer to the Penske, said goodbye to Jason and the missionaries, and were on our way around 2 or so. We were exhausted, though, and falling asleep. Not safe. We decided to stop at our friends' house in Oxford (Sherry and Les Driggers), where we were sure they would let us take a nap and help with the kiddos. We walked in the door, and the kiddos immediately ran upstairs to play, and I immediately crashed on their couch. Wes went to buy another tire for the crappy trailer so we could hopefully avoid another blowout. (These tires were $100 each, by the way.) The Driggers convinced us during dinner that we should stay the night and sleep in their RV. It was my first night in a bed in more than a week. Very nice. We woke up at 4:30, and after Sherry stuffed us all full of toaster strudel and packed a huge bag of snacks for us, we hit the road. It was about 6. Friday, day three. We had two new tires (and a spare from Les) and we were good-to-go ... we thought ...

A little while after getting out of Oxford, the trailer started bouncing. It was small at first, and we figured Wes was just going too fast. He kept slowing down, and it kept bouncing. Then a trucker got on our CB and advised us to slow down more because the trailer was bouncing all over the place. By then we were going 45 MPH. Wes pulled off at the first exit ramp (Coldwater, MS), got out of the truck, and looked at the trailer. And I saw a look of disbelief come over his face. Why, you ask?? Because the trailer tongue had broken a little bit with each bounce, until it was hanging on by a thread. Literally. On one side it was only connected by about an inch of metal. On the other, maybe 4 inches. I estimate that after 5 more minutes of bouncing (or less), it would have come completely off the truck and smashed the kiddos and me ... and whoever else happened to be driving by ... into a tangled mess of metal. I am serious. THE CRAPPY TRAILER ALMOST KILLED ME.

We were only 175 miles out of Jackson at this point ... a day and a half after we first tried to leave. And it was all because of the crappy trailer. Sherry and Les came to our rescue, yet again, and helped Wes move everything from the trailer into the Penske. That was when Wes conceded to dump the crappy trailer. His mom found the number of a local salvage yard for us, and Wes talked to a guy there who said we could leave it in a nearby parking lot (since we couldn't take it very far without risking injury) and he would pick it up. Wes and Les took the tires off (thanks for the two $100 tires we can't use, we'll take them) and we left it there.

After the crappy trailer was history, it was blue skies and smooth driving. We arrived in Columbia at 7 pm on Friday, a full 48 hours after we had originally anticipated. For pictures of the crappy trailer, etc ... visit here:


Britt Family said...

CRAZY!! Sorry, moving was so horriable! At least y'all made it there safe and nobody got hurt. I couldn't help but laugh though when I saw the pictures of the trailer. :) Hey, its those crazy memories that you look back on later, laugh and think what the heck were we thinking!!

Nicole said...

That is a crazy crazy moving story!!! That trailer is very scary looking--I think I would have been with you on dumping it!!! Glad y'all are getting settled. I'm going to be driving thru Jackson this weekend so I'm kinda sad you won't be there to stop by and see!!

Camilla said...

Holy Cow!! I am glad you guys are okay. So sorry about the horrible move.

Shantel said...

Oh my goodness!!!! I am just soooo glad you guys are safe and that you finally made it! You've been in our thoughts and prayers and it's just a miracle you got there! We love and miss you already! What an incredible story... at least you have that! (:

Miller Time!!! said...

Honey, you both will be translated for making it through that crappy trailer experience. how is Wes' finger? hope you are settled well. love and miss you. liz