storyteller and all-around creative distraction

but it IS that exciting

Dylan was funny this morning. We looked out the window to find that the very persistent 18-inches of snow had finally melted away. Dylan’s reaction: “Oh, grass!” I wish I could even put as much enthusiasm into the word as he did. It was like he’d given up all hope he’d ever see it again 🙂

Yes, people GRASS! I don’t think we’ve seen it since November.

But grass isn’t the only thing exciting. We’re moving!!! (and OMG, OMG, OMG!) Hubby got a job in Alexandria, VA, and we have pretty much no clue what we’re doing, so any advice would be welcomed.

1.) How do you find an apartment when you live four states away? We’re taking a road-trip out there next week to do some apartment searching, to see what neighborhoods we might like (or afford) to live in. We’re thinking about the Chantilly, Centreville, Fairfax, Burke areas… maybe? Anyone care to share some thoughts on those areas?

And crap, it’s expensive there!!!

2.) How do you move your stuff? It sounds like a simple questions, but we’re quite stumped. I’m too scared to drive a U-Haul truck. We need more than a U-Haul van? I don’t think we could probably afford movers, nor do we really have enough stuff to warrant it. What about those Pods things? Anyone used those before?

And what the heck do we do once we get there, and have to unload the damn thing by ourselves with a toddler running around???

3.) Does anybody want to buy my barely functioning treadmill for $10?

Or my perfectly functioning washer and dryer for cheap?

Or does anybody want to come pick out some free baby toys?

4.) How do you keep a toddler occupied in a car for 9 hours?

5.) And where do you get cheap/free boxes without having to root through the trash?

And please tell me anything else I need to know. Thank you 🙂

10 thoughts on “but it IS that exciting”

  • I have moved so many times- I wish you much luck!

    Portable dvd player works for the long drives- as well as driving at night so he naturally sleeps the whole time.

    I used a moving company to help me unload the vehicle, it was much less expensive than you’d think- and the extra help was invaluable. I’d rather pay a little for professional movers than pay for chiropractor visits! 🙂

    I would suggest going through your things and pulling out all the non-essentials, and either selling them on Craigslist, giving them away on Freecycle, or if they’re worth enough for a tax deduction, give them to GWCF and get a receipt.

    Craigslist or Freecycle are both great places to get gently used moving boxes.

    If you do find a place to move into online, don’t sign a long lease. I’ve found that no matter where I move, the places that suit me best end up not having a large internet presence.

    A friend of mine used the POD system with success. She said to get a bigger one than you think you’ll need, because you’ll need it. Also- DON’T do yourself the disservice of thinking that you’ll pack a few things in the car to take with you- it’ll end up being too much stuff. One bag a person is what I recommend, because even that will end up overflowing.

    I hope it helps!

  • Hooray for grass! We had a cold spell a week or so ago and all the green turned brown. J is dumbfounded. He’s never seen it NOT green.

    Driving a smallish U-haul isn’t so bad. I drove one from FL to W.Va. once, through moutains even. The only crappy part was the not being able to go over 65 mph. My parents have used the PODS things before, and I don’t think the experience was bad. I don’t know the cost, though.

    I’ve never attempted a move, but I HAVE taken my kid on some long-ass roadtrips. We usually rot his brain with the portable DVD player and a whole slew of new movies. Maybe you could drive through the night and he might sleep most of the way?

    The expert on all of this is probably Yvonne. (Remember her from MTC) She’s moved from Hawaii to Florida and is now in Virginia. Moving each time with toddler, dog, and a house full of stuff. I can get y’all in touch with each other if you want. She may even have some input on good areas, etc.

    Do you have a friend/family member that might be willing to take the trip with you to help out with Dylan while you get situated? It seems like a return trip ticket for them would be a sound investment.

    Either way, good luck with the move! It’s so exciting!

  • Boxes: you can get egg crate boxes for free at the grocery store. At Hollywood Market on Main, they were nice enough to let me pull up to the back and load them into the car for me. All you have to do is ask.

    Looking at areas to move to: one site I recommend is:

    It will measure the amount of suburban sprawl you’re getting yourself into. And has good recommendations for neighborhoods. You could also try asking a few questions on “Yahoo Answers.”

    As far as the toddler goes: you can bring Megan!! Also, the drive through the night idea isn’t a bad one.

    You’re so lucky. Virginia is supposed to be beautiful. And I may end up not being that far from you if I end up in North Carolina!

  • Melanie, that is terrific advice about hiring moving guys just to unload the truck! I’m so glad you mentioned that 🙂 That’s a huge problem solved!

    I’ll check out Freecycle too. I’ve never used it before, but now would be a good time to try 🙂

    Angie, that’s a good idea about bringing someone out with us and flying them back. I never would have thought of that 🙂

    Steph, thanks! I’ll check that out. You know with all of us moving out there, I bet we could put together an East coast version of our writers’ group eventually, lol! Or at the very least, we could all find a middle point to meet up some time 🙂

    Thanks for the great ideas guys!

  • CONGRATS! This is fantastic. I am really so happy he got a job and you are moving to the SOUTH – so much fun! Sam and I have moved multiple times but we have always stubbornly done it ourselves so I don’t have a ton of great moving advice, but if either of you has a brother or close friend who can help, I do recommend that approach…someone you could fly back one way, perhaps? And then they can unload while you take care of Dylan? Or even better, have them drive down and YOU fly…

  • You can look for apartments online. and other types of things are VERY helpful to see about pricing/etc. Unfortunately, I’m in WEST Virginia, so I can’t help you with opinions on the actual places. 🙁 You’ll be closer to PA than I am! I am so jealous, I miss my hooome! I would just search apartments in google, too, and sort of weed it out from there. You can always call and schedule to see the apartments on your road trip!

    In this economy, it’s great he got the job! I really hope he enjoys. Virginia is beautiful, too, so you and the kiddo will hopefully share the wealth of enjoyment!

    From what I’ve heard, portable DVD players, or anything that can kind of keep them distracted from sitting for that long is a good idea. Or you can cross your fingers and hope he sleeps!

  • Courtney, is it the south? Really? LOL! This is going to be kind of weird for me, I think – I’ve never lived anywhere but Detroit or Toledo.

    Mao, he is very lucky to have found something, but that’s also part of the reason we’re having to leave Michigan, because all the really great jobs are just not here… But I’m excited, and at 28 I think I’m finally grown up enough to venture away from home, lol. And everyone says Virginia is beautiful 🙂

  • -Boxes: ditto on above, freecycle and craigslist

    -PODS: I moved from AL to TX and used a pod like device from ABF U-Pack. They even have a storage option if you don’t need your items right away (ie, if you decide to move to a extended stay hotel while searching for the apartment)

    -Movers: I agree with above, at least get movers to help unload the pod at the house, the extra help and setting up of furniture is priceless. It was just the hubby and I and there was no way we could have unpacked everything and moved it into the house as quickly.

    -Apartments: and even (i think) are great websites with lots of photos of apartments and houses for rent. Narrow it down and then do the test drive.

    Good luck! I’m excited for you guys!

  • NOOOOOO!!! DON”T LEAVE ME!!!!! (picture me wailing and thrashing about on the floor). Just kidding. I am very happy for you guys. And now, I have a reason to visit VA! As far as the questions you had, call the grocery store and ask them to hold boxes for you. Don’t buy them… they are very expensive for being just cardboard. And I agree with whoever it was that said to take a portable DVD player… priceless. When we took the kids on vacation (drove to CO…. 18 hours!!!) we got them each a notebook and took a box of crayons. Surprising how much they loved that. And pack non-messy snacks, like fruit snacks or string cheese. It’s a good distraction. And when you stop for lunch on the way, even though it’s kind of yucky, go to a McDonalds with a play area. He will need to be able to run.
    So, you never gave me any details! When will this be taking place? I MUST see you before you leave me forever. Love you lots!!!

  • 1. Congrats, yeah, exciting! Woohoo!
    2. If you rent a U-haul online, they now have an option to hire day laborers. You pay for the truck, and then you just hire movers to help you on both ends, but not actually move the stuff. They don’t pack everything nicely like real movers, but they’re strong arms and it’s reasonably cheap. For movers to pack our house, bring it out here and unload was $8,000. But when we moved from the rental house to our new house, we did the U-haul/laborers thing and for them to load/unload all of our stuff it cost $400.
    3. To keep Dylan occupied in the car I recommend a DVD player, snacks, and a trip to the dollar store. I stock up on cheap little toys and then stash them in individual compartments or packages in the car. Then every half hour, let him open a new toy. It’s like Christmas, with stuff he can do in the car, and it makes the passage of time exciting.

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