Then in June, my wife, Allison received an attractive offer in St. Petersburg, Florida. I had several potentials in the Tampa/St. Petesburg area but no offers in hand. Her offer had a pretty aggressive timeline, and we knew we had to make a decision and be ready to move quickly if she was to accept the offer. My Dad lives in Lakeland, Florida, so the idea of being closer to him was attractive not to mention we would be within 30 minutes of the beach. And to say the possibility of walking on the beach on a regular basis was not enticing would be a lie. We decided that she would accept the position, we would put the house on the market, and we would make the move to central Florida.
One of my major concerns was ensuring Feed Forsyth could carry on its work to supply food to the food pantries in Forsyth county after my departure. Our operations manager, Ginger Boyll had assumed the day to day operations. And, I had been handling grant writing and public speaking. We met with the board and resigned our positions of leadership while remaining on the board. We remain committed to supporting Feed Forsyth and the pantries in Forsyth county.
Knowing my day job was ending and cycles of layoffs were in process, it did not seem like a big stretch for me to resign and make the move without a new job secured. So, within two weeks, we packed up the house, loaded a Penkse rental truck and headed to Florida. It just so happened that we moving day worked out to be Allison's birthday.
Moving Day June 27, 2014
The trip was an adventure as all moving experiences seem to always be. We stopped at a rest stop south of Macon to walk the dogs, and Allison dropped the bomb on me that she had received a call while we were on the road and our rental house would not be ready for us to move into when we arrived. Peachy! So we would spend two nights in a hotel instead of one as originally planned.
When we arrived at the hotel the first night, I discovered the suitcase I had packed for the trip had inadvertently gotten packed deep in the truck and a suitcase full of winter clothes was in our car. So, clean clothes and my prescriptions were all buried in the truck somewhere. A desperate late night search of the truck in the hotel parking lot proved unfruitful, so I elected to take a shower and put back on my sweaty clothes.
Fortunately, my wife had found us a pet friendly hotel and parking that could accommodate a 26ft truck and trailer. Unfortunately, our two dogs, Sadie and Kramer had a hard time getting settled with the constant sounds of a hotel - doors closing, voices in the hallway, kids running down the hall, etc. So, we slept a couple hours, took the dogs outside for a walk, rinse and repeated for the majority of the night. Knowing our rental house was not going to be ready, we tried with all our might to sleep in late. A girl's softball tournament was in town and a couple teams were staying in the same hotel. When the softball teams got up to head to their tournament, our dogs were wide awake, and they wanted us up as well. I dressed, brushed my teeth and used my wife's deodorant. Ah yes, a nice melon/cucumber scent.
We loaded up and hit the interstate after a complimentary breakfast. Around noon, I found a truckstop and parked near a shaded grassy spot, so we could let the dogs out while one of us grabbed lunch. We ate under the shade of the canopy of live oak trees to the tune of cicadas. I had not heard cicadas since moving to Atlanta, and it gave me an unexpected sense of peace reminding me of earlier chapters in my life. I smiled and thanked God for a bit of peace and a sense of belonging amidst all the turmoil of the move.
Periodical Cicada (photo by Alex Wild)
Learn more about the Cicada at: nationalgeographic.com
Learn more about the Cicada at: nationalgeographic.com
We fueled up the truck and got back on the interstate, driving through Tampa and across the bay to St. Petersburg. I have been across Tampa Bay on I-275 several times in my life, and it has never gotten old. Even while driving a 26ft box truck pulling a trailer, I found myself enjoying the view of the bay and the palm trees. I could here a still small voice say "Welcome home."
My wife passed me to guide us to the hotel in St. Petersburg she had found for us that was again pet friendly. Upon arriving, I quickly noticed that the hotel had a tight driveway and small parking lot and there was no room to park the truck. I had to perform my personal version of truck driver ballet to get back out of the parking lot. The front desk clerk suggested parking the truck at a local grocery store. A quick call to our realtor sent us on another adventure to locate the real estate office where we could park the truck for the night. As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw three police cars conducting a vehicle stop one block away. I found it unsettling knowing I would be 3 miles away from everything we owned for the next 8 hours. So, we prayed for protection, peace, provision, and rest.
When we returned to the hotel and checked into our room, I discovered Allison had booked us a room with a jacuzzi tub. I still was without my suitcase and clean clothes, but at least I could soak sore muscles. We found a Chinese restaurant that did delivery and made camp. The dogs were still not completely comfortable with the noises of a hotel, but we managed to get some sleep. It was a huge improvement over Friday night.
We woke Sunday morning eager to see our rental house and get the truck unloaded.
(to be continued...)