Hello, North Carolina!

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The U-Haul getting all finished up.

Saturday, May 16th at around 4pm, the driving crew set out from Iowa to drive to our new home in North Carolina.  Jarrod, Andy, Cory, Amber C & Amber DC, and their friend Sheila all got into one of our cars and the U-Haul truck (towing our other vehicle), and took off.  Amber DC kept in touch with me along the way, letting me know status updates periodically about the kids and the dog.  Jarrod let me know every time they entered a new state.

Saturday night I had planned on staying at my mom’s house with Evan and Felix.  However, things didn’t work out quite as planned, so Evan ended up staying at a friend’s house, and I ended up staying with a different friend.  Felix did fine overnight, for the first night ever spent away from home.  And the next morning we got ready, and my mom picked up us, and then picked Evan up, and took us all to the airport in Des Moines.  It was a tearful good-bye, and very hard to walk away from my mom.  I knew she and I would miss each other miserably.  After many hugs and tears, we parted ways and we were on our way to our gate.

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Above the clouds and the mountains.

We flew from Des Moines, IA to Charlotte, NC.  And then we switched planes and flew from Charlotte to Raleigh, NC.  It was the first time Evan ever flew, and he swears he will never do it again.  He was not impressed.  It was also the first time Felix flew, and he did amazingly well.  He didn’t cry or complain in any way except for about the last 10 minutes of the first flight, and that was because he was just bored at the end of that 2 hours on my lap.  The second flight went very well too.

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Arrived in Raleigh!

It took the driving crew about 25 hours to make it all the way to our new house.  Once our flight landed in Raleigh, we had to wait about an hour for Jarrod to get the U-Haul parked at our new house and take a car to pick us up.  It was so great to be able to see him again after being apart for a little over 24 hours.

 

When we pulled up, the house looked exactly as it did in the pictures.  However, going inside and looking around, it was a bit dank.  It smelled musty, as though no one had lived there for a few months or so.  There was a bunch of junk on the back deck like old interior doors and broken blinds.  The lawn was long and neglected.  The place wasn’t very clean.  I was pretty unhappy, feeling like I made a mistake in choosing this house for our family home.  However, over the following few days, Jarrod and I cleaned and tidied and arranged our belongings in a way that has really made it come together as our home.

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Our new backyard.

Now that we’ve been here for a couple of weeks, Jarrod and I are both much happier.  Besides a handful of boxes left to unpack, we have everything where we want it to be.  Coming from such a large house into one that is considerably smaller, we had to make some adjustments.  For starters, we had to rent a storage shed for quite a few of our belongings that simply won’t fit into this house.  Our dining table was far too large for our current diningroom, so we had to put it in storage and buy a smaller one (used).  We weren’t able to bring any living room furniture with us in the U-Haul, so we are doing a rent-to-own deal for a sectional couch.  Most everything else we needed I was able to find for free or very cheap on Amazon or Facebook Marketplace.

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Felix enjoying the view out the front windows.

Jarrod has started his general manager training for the restaurant where he was hired.  He will be training for a few weeks, and then he will be managing his own store.  I am still in the process of getting Evan and Cory enrolled in school, and finding a pediatrician and PT for Felix.  Some of that depends on government and school offices opening up again.

I’ve been a little lonely with Jarrod working full time already.  But I know this is a temporary thing.  Eventually life will be able to resume and I’ll be able to set up play dates for Felix again.  And in so doing, I’ll be able to make some mom friends locally.  I really look forward to that.  In the meantime I’m just finishing up the paperwork and registration for all the boys and their various needs.  I’m making our house feel more and more like our home.  And I’m just living our normal life here in North Carolina.  It doesn’t really feel like we are so far away from what we’ve always known.  The biggest difference is that I can’t see family and friends.  But I know they will visit us here, and we will visit in Iowa as well.

Quarantine

I feel like its been forever since I’ve published a blog post.  So much has happened in the last couple weeks since I wrote about Felix’s amazing progress.  Not so much just in our home, but in the world.  And since this is a blog written mostly for me and my family to look back on, I’m going to state facts and opinions that most everyone has already either said, read, or heard otherwise.  So sorry if I seem like a broken record with this one…

The world is sick. A new strain of corona virus, called COVID-19, has made the jump from animals to human, and over the course of the last several months it has spread to over a million confirmed human cases so far. I say confirmed, because testing is strictly limited, and unless it’s an extreme illness or a high risk situation, you can’t get tested. The first case was in Wuhan, China. It spread across Asia and Europe, Australia and the United States. It’s almost everywhere now. Italy, Spain, and China have been the hardest hit so far, but USA is closely rising to the top of that list. USA has the most confirmed cases, but not as many deaths yet.  COVID-19 attacks the lungs. Most people that end up hospitalized need to be on a ventilator to recover. It typically attacks those who immunocompromised, have a heart or pre-existing lung condition, or are older than 60.

People have been given orders across the states to stay in their homes, and only go out to get essentials for survival like groceries. Social distancing has been a requirement, where everyone is supposed to stay at least 6 feet away from each other in public. All private gatherings are supposed to be limited to 10 people or less. All church services, concerts, festivals, and even many businesses have been closed, cancelled and/or postponed. Restaurants, theaters, playgrounds, bars, salons, gyms and casinos are all closed. Restaurants are allowed only to do delivery and carry out. Schools were closed until April 13th, and now that’s been extended until April 30th, though it is expected school will not resume until fall.  just yesterday the CDC announced that everyone should wear masks in public, to prevent the spread of the disease even from the asymptomatic.

Early on, before it got real bad here, people went out and bought all the cleaning supplies and toilet paper. It has been difficult, even weeks later, to find toilet paper and diapers.

Over a normal 2-week period in the United States there are about half a million unemployment claims. In the last 2 weeks there have been over 10 million claims. The stock market is crashing. The government is attempting to help the American workers and small businesses by sending out relief checks for $1200 per individual and $500 per child, also stimulus for small businesses. But the future is looking very grim right now. Medical supplies are running critically short and the cases are just now ramping up. The country’s top infectious disease specialist says he expects around 240,000 US deaths by the time we’re done. This is where we are today (3 APRIL 2020):

At first I thought people were being ridiculous with all the closures and whatnot. Now I take it a lot more seriously. My mom is diabetic and has a heart condition, Jarrod’s mom has a heart condition, my best friend has a lung condition…. this virus has the potential to really rock our lives. So I’m doing everything I can to be as safe as possible. Perhaps I’ve even gone a bit overboard… time will tell.

Jarrod is frustrated because he’d rather stay home and be safe, but his employer (a restaurant) refuses to close despite their restrictions and slow business. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before our state closes everything down and has us Shelter In Place like many other states already have.

Having to stay home and not be able to go anywhere or do anything at all (except grocery runs and walks in the neighborhood) has definitely been hard to adjust to. I think most people expected this to pass quickly, but the fact is, it will go on for many more months. All we can all do is take this one day at a time, and do all our best to stay safe and make the best of our quarantine.