after ten years of sojourning in the land of florida, i find i have a lot more sympathy for the israelites wandering through the desert for forty years. and i have an inkling as to how relieving it must have been to finally get to canaan.
finally, after a hectic week of packing, painting, and generally stressing out, we're officially out of florida. my dad came down to help us pack, and we spent a few days loading all our junk into his trailer. i didn't expect it to take as long as it did, but then things never go according to plan when you're moving. the PLAN was to take our sweet time packing, then leave for my brother's house sometime mid-afternoon on friday. well, midafternoon ended up being more like 8pm. it's normally a 3.5 hour trip up to tampa from where we lived, but with my dad's truck getting about ten miles per gallon we had to make frequent stops for gas.
the first stop we made was at the micosoukee (sp?) indian reservation in the middle of the everglades. in all my hundreds of trips through alligator alley i'd never stopped there, and i'd always been curious. i needn't have been. it was a seedy gas station/laundromat/convenience store that was positively swarming with bugs. as art filled up the gas tank i took ilya to the bathroom, and we had to step around four inch long beetles with giant lobster claws that were littered all over the ground. when we got back, art's back and the truck and trailer were covered in tiny flying beetles. i rushed to get inside the car, hoping no bugs would follow, but that was wishful thinking. the whole trip to tampa i was swatting little bugs--one even landed on my mouth and i screamed and nearly made my dad crash the car.
so much for missing south florida.
at around 2am we finally got to my brother's house. zac was waiting up for us, and we tiredly said hi, grabbed our stuff out of the back of the truck, and crashed. we spent the weekend at zac's chilling--which was a more than welcome respite from the week's craziness. i hung out with some old friends after church on sunday, and monday night rachel and i went to see "across the universe" which was one of the coolest movies i've seen in a long time. of course, i love the beatles so i was biased.
tuesday we left for north carolina. what should have been a ten hour trip took fourteen with all the pee stops, gas stops, and numb-butt stops. it was pretty grueling, especially for me since i spent the entire trip wedged in the backseat of my dad's truck between two carseats. but we got here at last, and just before the cold front (which had been chasing us up the whole trip) rolled in over the mountains, i got to see something i hadn't seen since i was twelve: the milky way. i don't think i ever saw more than a few stars in florida, so to see so many all at once was a little overwhelming. what an instant difference, to be able to sleep with the doors and windows open and not sweat all night. we fell asleep to the sounds of frogs and cicadas, and woke up to a view off the deck of a fog covered valley down below.
all week long the kids have been running around outside, playing with my dad's dog, zoey, and gettind dirty and beat up. xander fell down the stairs and tore up his lip, and ilya's knees are scraped and bruised. at last they seem like real boys. i have been trying to get settled, unpacking and organizing. yesterday i finally took advantage of my dad's art studio and spent hours working on some studies of royo (spanish impressionist painter).
in short, we are having fun. it will be hard to leave here when the time comes.
the view from the deck
two days in NC and already a good ole boy...
oh what fun, to play in mud!
ilya finds his niche in the studio...
art enjoys the view