My house is sold, but the closing date is not until January. In the meantime, I've been setting up shop in Austin.
Last week, I started packing stuff that is making the cut for the 930-something-mile journey south to my new home. I rented a moving truck, and -- with the help of some great friends -- loaded it up Thursday and Friday. My family arrived to help out on Friday afternoon, then my dad and I took off for Austin on Friday night. He had an extremely busy and hard day, having woken up early to drive to Minnesota first to load up my sister's things (she is transferring to a private college in Iowa). He had two states, hundreds of miles, and half a move under his belt before he got to my house that night!
Dad drove the big truck all the way to Austin and back for me. I could have done it, but it was nice that he stepped in and did it, and it was great to have his help and his company most of all. The trip was uneventful, but slow, as the truck would not go above 70 mph and went through diesel fuel like Lindsay Lohan goes through coke (well, used to go through coke -- I don't want to get sued!). We drove to Oklahoma City Friday night, where we got a cheap motel room and slept from about 3-7 a.m. Saturday morning, we continued the trek. We stopped for lunch at Rudy's BBQ, which is now a moving-to-Austin tradition (Rudy's is what we ate when my friends Erin, and then her husband Chad, moved down this summer).
We arrived at my apartment around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. With help from a few friends, and some family, the unloading process went very quickly. Dad and I went out for dinner and beers at Doc's, a great little place just next door to my complex. We sat outside on Saturday night! There were space heaters, but still...it was outside. It's so great to be able to eat outside at 8:00 p.m. in mid-December. We also decided we'd rent a car to tool around Austin for a couple days, and we'd get the car in the morning.
On Sunday, we discovered that there was no hot water. There was a mix-up at the complex regarding my apartment number, so my heat/gas/hot water weren't hooked up. Luckily, there was electricity! (I got that all sorted out later, and it was fine.) So we went over to Erin & Chad's apartment to shower and for brunch (the brunch had already been planned). Chad's cousin, who has lived in Austin for 3 years, was also at brunch. She is from Hampton, which is where my dad was born and a town in which many cousins and other family members still live and which is the hometown of a couple friends of mine from Des Moines. Sure enough, we knew many of the same people. The five of us enjoyed great conversation, food, and football. It's the kind of meal that gives you a "family" feeling, which I guess makes since because everyone there had a family member present.
After brunch, Dad drove me around and showed me the three places I lived with him and my mom when my family lived in Austin in 1985-1987. We also found the elementary school where I attended kindergarten, and the old and present locations of the company my dad used to work for. We went to The Oasis, a popular destination restaurant with many levels of decks overlooking Lake Travis (the larger of Austin's two most popular lakes). We had last visited The Oasis when we vacationed in Austin in 1999. We sat outside for a while in the sun. When the wind wasn't blowing, it was very nice outside. After a while, it was 3:15 and time for the Bears game. We went into the bar area to watch the game. Once it became clear that it was a drubbing (around halftime) by the Patriots, we left the Oasis and did a little more driving around to take in the sites and old stomping grounds. We went to The Mean-Eyed Cat, a Johnny Cash theme bar (that happens to be next door to Erin & Chad's apartment building) for a couple drinks and had some good conversation with the bartender and an off-duty co-worker who was in as a customer that night. We then went to The County Line BBQ for dinner, and then called it a night pretty early.
On Monday, we got up somewhat early. Dad ran out to get coffee and breakfast, then put together the beds and dressers and moved some other furniture and boxes around to their respective places. I spent a good deal of time on the phone to fix the apartment number mix-up/heating situation, then unpacked my clothes and put those away. I really enjoy my walk-in closet already! It is small, but it is a still a walk-in (which I don't have at home now), and it makes it so much easier to see and appreciate your wardrobe. My clothes look great in there, sorted first by style and then by color (okay, I am a little obsessive about clothing organization). I have a lot of clothes, and I'm finally getting to the point that I love my wardrobe, so this was very exciting for me. My bedroom in the new place is big, so there's plenty of room for my bedroom furniture, which looks great in there! Also, Dad and I put a leaf in my dining room table and set up 6 chairs around it. I was thrilled last week when Ellie and I did some measurements and figured out that I could take the dining room set to Austin, and excited to put it into place in my dining room area. (Erin -- a wine club and game night regular around that table in my dining room in Des Moines -- teared up when she saw it while she and Chad were helping with the move-in.)
In case you can't tell, I LOVE my new place! In addition to having two bedrooms/bathrooms/walk-in closets, it has a nice sized- deck area that faces large trees and has a skyline view. The windows are so large the cats will be able to hop onto the window sill to enjoy the views the branches outside provide. I have a wood-burning fireplace. I identified two possible locations for the keg-a-rator I didn't think I'd have a place for, and I was able to bring my new washer and dryer and put them into a little laundry area that also has room to be a litter box. My bath tubs are huge. I felt like every few minutes, I'd figure out another thing I liked about the place. My wine fridge fits perfectly in one spot on the kitchen counter, and so on...
Anyway, after getting some more things unpacked, we took off in the rented moving truck to head back for Iowa. We left Austin around 1:30 p.m. on Monday and drove straight through to Des Moines. Due to an accident in heavy traffic in Ft. Worth, and our speed being limited to as low as 55 mph at times on account of strong headwinds, it was a longer trip. I napped a few times, and I started to feel like a trucker because we'd stop every few hours at a truck stop for gas/bathroom/food and drink breaks. We arrived at my house in Waukee at 5:00 a.m. today (Tuesday). 15 1/2 hours. Still, the trip seemed to go pretty quickly, I suppose due to good conversation. Dad told a lot of stories about when he and Mom made the trip with me in the backseat asleep in the mid-eighties, stories of car troubles and bad weather. We talked about my decision to move to Austin and how our moves were similar in some ways and different in others. I don't get one-on-one time with my dad very much, and it was really neat for me to get that. I enjoyed the trip an awful lot, and it felt as much like a weekend getaway trip as a move.
For the next few weeks, I'll be bouncing around from Austin to Des Moines a lot, and to other parts of the state of Iowa too. I'm hoping for good weather and uneventful travels. So far, so good...