The house is empty. We’re on our way. The new adventure has begun. But getting here has not been a piece of cake. A dropped fire extinguisher (Carol’s shin) and a dropped TV (Tom’s foot) slowed us a bit but we got away relatively unscathed.
Once the house was officially taken off the market (i.e., no more showings) Carol created a master list of tasks we needed to complete by “T Day” (Trailer Day) July 22. Tom transposed the tasks onto to a calendar, which gave us daily targets. Rigidly adhering to the calendar made for some pretty long days. We often remarked, “Should we be working this hard? Aren’t we retired?”
But it wasn’t exactly ALL work and no play. We found time to host an “open trailer/retirement party” where over 60 people stopped by to help us celebrate. Although an open house venue tends to be difficult to speak with everyone as much as we would like, we had a grand time. A few days later our friends on the K-9 committee threw us a farewell party including APD K9 handlers, Matt and Lori, as well as APD’s chief of police, Dave Walsh. We were given various certificates, cards, and framed photos from Lori of her and Sryt – suitably sized for our trailer. Over the course of the weeks that followed we squeezed in several get together dates with family and friends. Our noses were not entirely to the grindstone (just mostly).
Our main plan was to try and empty the house room by room with specific groupings in mind. One day was “clothing day”. Another was “book day” (a particularly painful day). Then there was “kitchen day”, “basement day” and an “office day”. Some days were easier than others and some seemed to drag on forever. There was no shortage of pressure with many tough decisions to be made. Keep, store, donate, or sell. How could two people accumulate so much stuff in such a relatively short period of time?
While the house was being emptied we also kept focused on what we would need for trailer life. Tools for interior and exterior maintenance, dishes and utensils, file storage, computer and Internet access – the list seemed endless. Everything that was chosen had to be done with an eye to an item’s need as well as weight or bulk. We didn’t have the luxury of boxing things up to sort out later in a new location, a process usually associated with a more typical house move.
Somehow, someway, it all pulled together. The house got emptier day by day. We made several trips hauling belongings we wished to gift or store to Madison, Middleton, Lake Wisconsin, Plover, Green Bay, Menasha and Appleton. We held a moving sale. Items that did not sell were donated to local charities or given away. Craig’s List and the Freecycle Network were indispensable as was eBay. A port key or a flu network would have come in very handy but as we’re mere Muggles we did it the old fashioned way.
We towed the trailer out of the driveway on July 22 to Calumet County Park and on the 23rd we made one last mad dash to deliver or store belongings at Marge’s on Lake Wisconsin, Jerry’s in Middleton, and Melissa’s in Madison (along with a quick visit with Chris who was in Madison for the annual father-son fishing trip to Canada). We then drove quickly back to Appleton for a final 403 walk-through and cleanup. As we drove away from 403 for the final time the prairie was in full bloom with Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies. Orioles were coming to the grape jelly feeder, Chickadees to the sunflower seeds – everything was as it should be. Suffice to say there were a few tears shed. The next day, the 24th, the closing took place as planned.
Presently we’re at Calumet County Park, site 55. The weather has been pleasant with a constant cool breeze off the lake. Lots of interesting overflights of aircraft as the EAA is in full swing - nothing like a low flying B-17 to get us out of bed. Our end of the park has been quiet (camper-wise) and relaxing. However, we could do without the recent hatch of lake flies.
Looking back at our last blog post we wonder how the heck we pulled it off! We’re still in limbo as we continue to deal with bank accounts, changing snail mail addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, a myriad of online log-in account changes, and getting used to the daily routine of living in a 32-foot residence. Staying close to the Fox Cities has proved to be helpful as we continue to finalize our transition.
Hamish was with us until the 29th when we drove him to his new home in Green Bay. Tom’s ex-wife generously offered to take Hamish into her home. She already has a cat so Hamish will have a new playmate once he adjusts. While he was with us he managed to find all the hidey-holes the trailer had to offer (there weren’t many). A far different environment from his life at 403 where he had lived for ten years since he was a kitten, the trailer was obviously not his comfort zone. We’ll all take some time to adjust (probably us more than him) but in the end he’ll be better off in a house without wheels with the promise of a new playmate.
We could not possibly have done as much as we did in so little time without a lot of help from family and friends - thank you, thank you, thank you, one and all! Next stop – Dale, Wisconsin.