Finally, we're moved in.
After several months of preparation and waiting, we arrived back in the US on our last, one-way ticket this past weekend. The last day in the UK was a mix of emotion and excitement, as we expected. Picking her up from school, it was th first time I saw the Critter in tears about moving. They lasted only about as far as it took to get to the hotel we were staying in for our final night, but about two hours into the plane ride, she turned to me and said, "It's weird that we're leaving England, isn't it Daddy?" Considering that it was the only home she really remembered, I totally understand where she was coming from.
Squirmy had his own seat for this trip, but insisted on climbing into my Bride's lap and sleeping there instead for the entire trip. But given that this meant the 10 month old was asleep for the duration of the flight, it was just fine with us.
We rented that most American of cars from Logan airport: A Giant SUV. Primarily because between our carry-on and our checked luggage, we were carrying enough stuff to supply and clothe a small-ish village in some countries. But you never know what you're going to need before our big box of worldy possessions arrives, we figure. So yeah, let's bring that screw-driver. And the extra three pair of socks. And a corkscrew. Because the unpacking is going to involve the drinking, I'm pretty sure.
Getting here was pretty magical, though. Every few miles, my Bride and I were shouting out "almost to our new home!" to the kids in the back seat, in a manic kind of crescendo. We pulled up, and there it was, our house. My Bride and I did a kind of rolling stop and hurled ourselves out of our Giant SUV and through the front door to tapdance our happiness in synchronized joy in every room of the house, while the kids watched us from the car, shaking their heads.
We've spent the last several days unpacking the giant, neatly stacked piles of boxes in our garage, exploring what we had left in storage when we moved from California. My assessment, after I had waded through the cardboard and wrapping papers and bubblewrap of my 63rd box was that half of the boxes were full of books, and the others were 98% crap. For example: one box contained a lampshade that had leaned against the bulb to long and sort of had a big deformed melted spot on one side. Glad we packed that.
In between dusty, crap-filled boxes, we've been exploring our surroundings. Partly because we keep realizing we need this or that little thing (I found the whole of the Critter's old crib, for instance, except the screws which held it together. That took me 3 trips to Ace Hardware to get right.) This past Monday, I made a sudden swerve in the Giant SUV when I saw the sign for the Bedford Farmer's market. Which turns out to be just a dozen stalls of locals selling whatever they grew on their allotment plot. But check out these tomatoes! I can get into a market with these kind of tomatoes.
Just to add to the crazy, day three of our new stay in America, we went out and picked up our dog. Or rather, our puppy. Our 14 week-old puppy. Our 14 week-old, St Bernard puppy. The whole way up to her New Hampshire home, I kept having buyer's remorse about the whole decision to get a dog. I mean, our house wasn't even unpacked yet, and Squirmy was having jet lag, and was pretty resentful of the whole "every room has wood floors" thing (which, if I had to crawl around on my hands and knees to get anywhere useful, would probably bother me too), and here we were, adding a puppy to the mix, what with the house-breaking and the fur, and the morning walks. Were we insane? Yeah. We were insane.
But then we got there, and we picked up Maggie, our lovely little puppy. OK, "little" is a relative term here, but she is absolutely beautiful, and sweet as can be. She had literally never been on a leash before we picked her up, and she was so nervous about her first car ride that she pooped inside the back of the Giant SUV before we had left the lady's driveway. But she's already become part of the family. It wasn't just a good idea to get her, it made me realize that we had been missing something essential, in not having an animal around. So far, Squirmy is the only dissenter. He wavers between interest in the big furry thing wandering around the house, and resentement that the big furry thing might accidentally be looking at him. Make it stop looking at him. MAKE IT STOP. But give it time. Loving the animals is pretty much a requirement in this family. Soon enough, they'll be sharing the same water bowl on a consistent basis. The Critter, on the other hand, has taken right to having a dog around. All that practice on Nintendogs must be paying off.
The list of things for us to fix, buy, address, or otherwise deal with keeps growing every day, but the weather is warm and the house is slowly filling with not just our unpacked goods, but our personality, as the kids and the dog explore every corner. And each evening, my Bride and I sit exhausted on the patio, nursing our scrapes and bruises and aching muscles from moving furniture around all day, and looking out at the woods and the evening sun, we talk about how nice it is to be home.