August 4, 2010

Ten hours is a lot of driving

Saturday was packing day.  My family went out to breakfast with my uncle and his wife, and then we picked up the Uhaul truck afterward.  I had reserved a 10' truck to move all of my belongings to Wisconsin--bed, table and chairs, desk, clothes, worldly belongings, kitchen implements--and as of Saturday morning, I had not yet begun to pack.

We moved large items first (logical and necessary).  They took about an hour and a half of maneuvering, mainly because I was taking my brother's comfy, soft mattress and switching it out with the one I was sleeping on, a rock-solid lump that had been giving me a backache all summer.  The big items were actually the easiest to finish.  The rest of the afternoon was spent sorting clothes, sifting through the boxes of junk I had brought home from college, finding the useful items and tossing lots of odds and ends that should have been thrown away when I moved out of St. Louis.  I surprised myself by ending up with a mere two tubs of kitchen supplies.  By nightfall, I was exhausted but the truck was packed.  I would say it was packed to the gills but honestly, I could have stuffed more in there.  It wasn't particularly efficiently packed but it was packed enough.

That night, I couldn't sleep.  First, because I had no place to sleep, I shared a bed with Mom, something I hadn't done in years.  In sleepover fashion, we were talking even after we turned out the lights.  Before I even knew it, it was one o'clock and I was getting up at six to be on the road early.

Six came like a poke in the gut--not as harsh as a slap to the face but painful and leaving a tender spot behind.  There were toiletries to pack, my face to wash, coffee to gulp.  I gave my mom one last hug and it didn't even seem as poignant as it probably should have--at that point, I was ready to be on the road, anxious to get started, and exhausted still from the full day of packing.  Ben clambered into the Uhaul and we rolled away down the road.

Twenty minutes into our trip, we stopped at a McDonald's to meet with an old family friend of my roommate.  He had been in town to visit family and was hitching a ride with us toward the Great White North.  It was surprisingly easy company--not as fun as the When Harry Met Sally scenario I had envisioned, but that was probably because he was my mother's age and not mine.  Ben caught a break when we stopped in Des Moines, because the man drove the truck for a while and Ben got to nap in my car.

The trip was fairly uneventful.  There was a bit of a toll problem: it was one of those bucket tolls, a pull-off-here-and-throw-in-change-til-it-says-go kind of toll.  Ben had no change, so after I went through I then had to back up to give him coins.  Finally we were on our way again, having stopped up the entire line of traffic down the exit ramp.

Entering Milwaukee was like swallowing something delicious that starts writhing in your stomach.  I was excited but nervous, too.  When I saw the sign for my exit, I could hardly stand it--and right off the ramp was the med school campus.  I almost cried as I passed it--I felt this rush of pride and a sudden knowledge that I was going to be a part of that complex, that this would be my world.

The apartment was easy to find.  Having Google-toured my own neighborhood, I knew it on sight as I pulled up to the corner.  The truck was unloaded pretty quickly--in an hour and a half we were sweaty and tired but the truck was empty.  Dinner was Noodles & Co and then it was time to settle in and do domestic things, like make my bed and put my clothes in my closet and take a shower.

By nine, I was ready to fall fast asleep.  Bed never felt so good as when I peeled back my new quilt lovingly centered over my bed and slid in between the sheets before turning out the light.  I slept for hours upon hours.

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