As I type this, I am sitting on the couch in my living room in Bloomington, Indiana.
It still seems strange to write that, but it's true: I'm no longer in Wisconsin.
My family tackled the move caravan style: my dad drove the U-Haul, my mother drove her car with Whitney, and I drove my car with Conner. We left Tuesday morning at 6:30 AM from Sun Prairie and followed Neil's mom Barb down to Rockford, where we picked up a dresser for Neil that belonged to his grandparents. The sky began to look increasingly foreboding as we stopped at a nearby McDonald's for breakfast.
Sure enough, we were hit by torrential downpour with about 6 hours left in our journey. There was no way it was going to blow over, so we continued on. I drove directly behind the U-Haul, which helped guide me due to how large and well-marked it was. If I had been following an average car I'm not sure what I would've done.
After a few more hours of driving in the same conditions, my dad pulled off the road onto the shoulder of an exit. Our caravan followed. Conner and I had no idea what was going on.
I spoke on the phone with my mom, who told me that the service light was flashing in the U-Haul so my dad was on the phone with the company. I had no idea where we were location-wise.
After a few minutes, I spoke again to my parents. Apparently the U-Haul folks told them that the U-Haul just needed to be serviced when we got to Bloomington. With some trepidation, we continued on.
After about 45 minutes, we outpaced the storm. I could practically feel the collective relief on the highway. We drove in the new peaceful conditions for a short while before the caravan took an exit to Champaign, Illinois. We pulled into a gas station so I assumed we were just stopping to fuel up and eat at the attached Jimmy John's. However, as my dad paced around the U-Haul talking on his cell phone, I grew concerned that this wasn't the case.
The rest of us went in to use the bathrooms and eat while we waited for news. We were there for about 15 minutes before my dad, visibly aggravated, came inside. He relayed to us as he ate a sub that there was something off about the way the truck was driving and that it wouldn't recognize gasoline.
As he spoke I glanced back out the window. Whereas before the sky was a light gray and overcast, not sunny but not stormy, now dark clouds were rolling in and the wind was picking up. Stray plastic bags flew past, women's hair whipped across their faces and flexibly-limbed trees bent and swayed. Suddenly our unhurried lunch became supercharged with the realization that the storm we had just evaded was back and more fearsome than before.
We went outside as the rain started picking up. My family ran across the parking lot with some of my miscellaneous belongings that had been in my mom's backseat and threw them in my car's backseat. My dad told me to drive to Bloomington while they waited so that we could still sign the paperwork in time to move in that evening. I felt terrible leaving them in the thick of the brewing storm, but knew we had to get to Bloomington.
So to continue our journey I relied on my GPS and Conner acted as my co-pilot. It took a lot of deep breathing to not lose my mind as semis sped past us on the rainslicked roads, but I survived. By the time we reached Terra Haute the rain had again abated and the drive was as easy as a drive through awful (Indiana roads are a real treat) and unfamiliar roads could be. Neil was already in Bloomington to take music placement tests so we met up with him. We arrived at Neil's and my new living arrangement at 4:15 PM, signed the paperwork, and were given the keys.
We now had an empty apartment to ourselves.
We moved all the random objects stuffed into my backseat and trunk into the apartment.
The contents of Neil's backseat came in too.
I almost strangled Neil about oh, I don't know, a thousand times before my parents and Whitney arrived. Then I almost strangled him another thousand off-camera.
After getting the U-Haul checked out in Champaign it was apparently okay to drive--the experts suspected issues stemmed from water leaking into the gas tank. They made it to Bloomington around 7 PM and the boys (minus Neil, who needed to go to a music gathering) carried the heavy stuff upstairs. I also broke a very serious sweat lugging boxes up these steps.
We piled a lot of our junk into the second bedroom, what would soon be the Neil practicing and meditation room/Bri sewing room.
We crafted a cardboard path to minimize dirt on our new carpet.
We ordered Mother Bear's Pizza, a Bloomington legend not only for its cleavage-y mascot but also for the deliciousness of its pizza. O-M-G. The praise is well-deserved.
My family slept over. We all collapsed into a deep sleep.
The next day, we ate doughnuts on the floor. My family left at 1 PM to make the seven hour drive back, but not before taking this picture of MN and me, exhausted but content.
By now we've been here for five days and the apartment looks incredible. I know I'm a bit of a tease, but I won't be showing any other photos today. You'll have to return to this blog tomorrow, the next day, and so on and so forth :) I have internet access now, 3 jobs at IU (!), new classes and crafty projects to write about, and I'm looking forward to getting back into the blogging groove. Just an FYI--I took August off for weekly features, but they will return in September.