21 March 2020

Moving during the COVID-19 Apocalypse

Moving day finally arrived. According to the moving company the movers would arrive to pack and load the truck around 8:30 am AND pack the entire house in one day. I was a bit skeptical to be honest. Monday the 9th arrived. We had our corner of stuff to keep piled high with bags, blankets, squishmallows, and food. We waited and waited and waited. I finally went to the Optometrist at 11 for a recheck on my eyes. My prescription ended up to be the same but with the shape of my new glasses and other variables my astigmatism was all out of sync. He lowered my prescription from a whole step to a half and I chose glasses with a similar size as my current pair. Evelyn came with me to help me choose. I was quite worried the glasses would not be ready before we pulled out of town Wednesday morning. Miguel, our moving foreman finally called saying he was 20 minutes away. An hour later he showed up with a medium Budget truck, alone. It was 12:30 pm and he had an entire house to pack and load? After seeing the size of the job Miguel called two more guys (friends?) to come help. Seriously?! Justin left with the kids at 11:30 to meet a gal who bought the Thule Cougar Bike Trailer ($150 bucks was worth the drive). He also got the kids some lunch while he was out. In the meantime the moving crew decided to just pack the garage and whatever items they could fit in the truck furniture wise. They worked until 6 pm, got most of the garage cleared out and the large furniture omitting the beds. I was quite worried about the crew finishing the job so started packing the kitchen. We went to eat Pho with Amanda, Tyler (kid's dad), Chloe, and Ronald for dinner. I am sad to leave a town with epic Pho, even more sad to leave our amazing friends! We got hugs from our Chandler Calls Monday evening. Spenser had a pressing work matter so we gave our hugs and bid them farewell. Amelia spent Monday and Tuesday nights with Chloe in a real bed, I'm sure more talking went on than sleeping.

Tuesday we were up and ready for the movers at 8 am. Justin picked up the trailer to drag behind the truck. We tried our best to make things ready for the movers, folded bedding, cleaned up, finished the last loads of laundry (course Jojo had a poopcident), and waited. By 11 we were getting upset and angry. A flurry of phone calls revealed that Miguel was MIA. My first assumption was "Good gracious our stuff is gone." The van line reassured me that Miguel made it to the storage unit and unloaded the truck. Turns out Miguel slept until noon, his phone ran out of batteries...seriously? The crew of two showed up by 3:30 pm...to pack and load the REST of our belongings. I was steamed. I arranged for some ward members to clean up the house the ladies arrived when the movers did. Instead we packed boxes and cleaned two bathrooms. I'm glad Justin was gone when the guys loaded the gun safe. Miguel cashed in some favors and three other guys showed up to PICK UP the safe and physically move it! They got it up the ramp without a forklift, why they loaded it on it's side is still a mystery. We signed closing papers around 1 pm on our Gilbert home a couple of days early. The same guy who closed on our home when we bought was the same one who helped us close for selling! I spent ALL day packing the kitchen, a total of 43 small, 8 medium, and 3 large boxes. All my canned food storage took quite a bit of space. With the virus raging I felt it was worth the cost to move rather than stock back up in Idaho. Murphy's Law dictated a rain storm lodge itself over our area for 5 hours. The guys finally shut the truck doors around 12:30 am. We borrowed two air mattresses, a cot, and camping mats to make it through the night.

Our early morning departure was delayed quite a bit since we had to load the trailer, clean, and pack the vehicles. I did not deliver the nice, sparking clean home I envisioned. We delivered a "broom clean" home per the contract. Brigdon and Brecklyn came over to help clean. Wendy Call-Kechely came last moment to help clean as well. Brecklyn and Mia cleaned up the kitchen. Brigdon helped with the garage and trailer. We filled an entire trash bin plus another with stuff from our fridges and the residue of stuff littered about. Thanks to the Godard's for the use of their bin. Debbie fed us some lunch and watched the kids while we worked through the rest of our tasks. We finally loaded up around 3 pm. Josie curled up into the only comfortable spot left for a nap: her car seat. I about cried saying "see ya later" to the Broughtons, Wolfords, Wendy, Edgar, and Kaur-Singh family. The kids all wanted to stop for a last AZ hug from Chloe and Ronald. Amelia and Chloe dissolved in tears during their hug, squishmallows included. Tears me up to leave our AZ kids, tears me up that Amelia has to leave another set of friends. The boys had a tender hug moment that lasted a couple seconds. Can't wait until they visit! Just as we were leaving the Nguyen's home I got a call saying my new glasses were in! Hooray! I picked those up and we left for our next adventure!

Justin rented an Air BNB an hour outside of the Grand Canyon for two nights. We arrived well after dark to an isolated cabin the the woods. The location was quite idyllic. The kids loved racing through the cabin choosing beds and discovering all the fun little nooks and crannies. Thursday we spent the day touring the Grand Canyon. It was cold, a bit rainy, and blustery most of the day. This time we came prepared with coats, gloves/socks, and water. This time my heart was racing half the time as Josie kept sneaking too close to the edges here and there. My blood pressure was way too high. Justin fielded a few phone calls as we closed on our Gilbert House that day. We went to the Rock museum first and walked about a mile from Yavapai Point east toward Mather Point and the Visitor's Center. The trail is only a few feet from the edge of the Canyon. Josie only wanted to walk/climb over all the rocks...I made her hold my hand. Evelyn almost expired, for a future PE teacher she needs to work on her stamina. The views were so magnificent with the low, wispy clouds and gray sky. The kids were glad we opted for a shuttle ride back to our van. We took a lunch break in Tusayan at a pizza and pasta joint. It was ok, marginal for claiming the best Italian food title. After lunch we headed back to check out the Village area. Justin bought me a cute chicken at the Hopi house craft store. Josie and Evelyn gave us a show with strange poses on an raised square area, it did resemble a stage. Josie's contortions were quite stunning. We made our way west along the rim trail. The kids scored expensive ice cream cones as a fun little treat. Amelia enjoyed using her Polaroid camera to capture some fun little snaps. We caught some blue sky as evening neared, made the views even more spectacular. Josie was anxious to return to the "Stick House" since she was really tired. Poor kid fell asleep on our drive to the cabin. Amelia's hip and leg were hurting so badly she did not sleep well.

We woke up on Friday to a thick layer of fresh snow!! Instead of leaving at a decent time we played in the snow dressed in PJs with socks for gloves and regular shoes. It was so fun! This was Josie's first real snow that she could remember. Amelia made a cute Olaf for Josie. The boys made snow forts and snowballs until we had to leave. Such a fun diversion. Miekka suggested we stock up on snacks since all the stores in Utah were quite empty with the Coronavirus scare. We stopped in Flagstaff for all the snacks we could stuff into a plastic tote. Each day we hear about new closures and changes around us due to the virus. It is spreading like wildfire. Schools are closed, businesses are closed, the church announces changes every day, even the Grand Canyon is operating on a limited basis. Almost every store is cleaned out of toilet paper (why? get a bidet) and hand sanitizer. The elderly population is mostly affected because they don't surplus shop. I got new windshield wipers, I had the worst time driving through all the rain Wednesday night due to a streaky driver's wiper. We finally started north after noon. Our expected arrival time was past 9 pm at the Lances home. I did not want to travel in the rain and snow that late at night. Justin booked a hotel in Beaver for the night. The drive on I-89 through the snow was breathtakingly beautiful. The kids enjoyed a late night swim at the hotel, got those wiggled out so they could sleep.

I left a little ahead of Justin who was taking some time to sort of boarding for Dog Vader. Justin called me 30 minutes later saying the truck broke down a couple miles outside of Beaver around 11:20 am. I was annoyed to make the trek back just to wait and wait for the tow and mechanic with all the kids in tow. The fix took a few hours, nothing major, just the ignition coil. We visited The Creamery in Beaver while we waited. We spent lots of money on cheese, ice cream, and lunch that the kids did not eat. We were back on the road around 3 pm to finish the 3 hour drive to Eagle Mountain. Yay. Felt like we limped into town with a trash mobile (the van) and a taped together truck and trailer. The kids played their hearts out with cousins until late Saturday night! That was heaven! I slept in the basement all by myself, let Justin deal with the kids at night.

The Coronavirus has everyone in a state of pandemonium. The stock market is teetering, business is down across the world as things close in favor of social isolation. It seems the church's response to the virus comes a step before state and country announcements. As the virus rapidly spreads across the US business and schools are closing right and left. Gilbert schools are closed for a couple weeks, and most possibly for the rest of the year. Idaho schools just announced closures until April, teachers are opting for remote teaching. Guess I finally get to try homeschooling!!! We are amused daily with the toilet paper shortage Memes. I am dismayed over the reactions of greedy people hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks, and other necessary supplies. These folks are hoarding to resell hoping to make a profit. Here are some church closures:

Sacrament Meetings (large group gatherings) 12 March-suspended until further notice. Church is to be taught in the homes (Come Follow Me) Sacrament taken as directed by local units.

Temple Worship-13 March-suspended until further notice, except for live ordinances cleared by local leaders

Missionary Work-updated daily it seems-training is done remotely at home, missionaries close to end of service were sent home (my cousin Joshua Lance in Sweden came home today, was told yesterday),  proselyting done by phone and remotely. My mom quoted Isaiah 60:8 "...as the doves to their windows..."

CES: seminary is done individually or remotely from teacher to student's home via internet

General Conference is now going to be broadcast from a small room with First Presidency and the speaker only in the room, music was pre-recorded!

Deseret Industries are closed in certain areas (like Utah)

This is the most cousin time we've had in years! We are home-bound until this passes. Even the gas stations are limited (aka no soda refills), restaurants and stores mostly pick-up only. Pretty much just the kids are interacting with each other between the Lance and Lance homes.

Justin took off early Sunday morning since he had work on Monday, a dog to deliver to a pet sitter, trailer to unload and return. He made it without incident. At the Lances we had our first home church meeting. Grandma Debbie, Jeremy and family came to attend with us all. Our meeting was so tender and special. We sang High on a Mountain Top to open our meeting. James offered a thought. We watched King Benjamin's speech as our Prophet suggested. Mom had a few things to say. Closing song and prayer! The spirit was so strong while we watched the video. Simple and ever so effective. We had burrito bowls for lunch after church! Pasha was the star of the show for the pre-teen girls.

The rest of the week was quite a bit of the same everyday. Miekka taught a science lesson on Atoms on Monday. Our activity was to make bread! Tuesday we had a lesson on molecules, the kids played with the Happy Atoms set. Wednesday the kids put on skits showcasing the American-involved wars. Seth, Jacob, and Everett talked about the Revolution and Civil wars. The other kids had a cute skit on WWI and WWII. After school the kids made a billion perler bead creations: pandas, bears, pokemon, yodas, baymax, and weapons. After noon kids run back and forth between John and James' homes. Everett made friends with the next door neighbor boys. Everett got a jammed thumb during a trampoline incident. Josie is my clingy sidekick, my shadow who always wants a push on the swing or for me to play with her in the basement. Amelia somewhat annoyed with entertaining Lia all day, ignoring her in favor of a book. St Pat's day wearing all the green. Evelyn made shamrocks to hang in the windows for a neighborhood game. All of us Calls feeling a bit depressed with the dreary weather and our homeless state. I signed house papers 18 March outside sitting on the porch just in case someone carried the virus! Josie actually ate bean soup with carrots and celery. Mommy DeVil is just the thing she needed to try some different foods. I learned we snack way too much at our home, I'm a it complacent about that. Lots of Zombie music strains heard throughout the house. James and Justin are now working remotely from "home." James got an office update after his chair broke, got a standing desk to save his back. I was quite annoyed yesterday after editing Eleen's birthday session. Avneet said she hated them because I forgot the tee pee and hurried through the set ups! She ended up only paying for a mini session after I shot a full session. She wanted green backdrop during the winter, we shot at noon (limiting backdrop choices), and I accommodated all her outfits and such. So annoying! I am lucky she paid me.

We woke up to a wild ride Wednesday morning at 7 am! A 5.7 earthquake woke us all up, the epicenter was in Magna. James had the wildest ride on the toilet! Amelia dreamed she was in a milkshake machine, Lia informed her it was not the garage door either but and earthquake. All day the earth quaked off an on, a total of over 45 quakes that day. I thought the kids were jumping on my bed. Angel Moroni dropped his trumpet during the largest quake! Is that a telling sign of impending situations to come or what? Brigham Young said "...When the testimony of the Elder ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, 'Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the Earth'..." Seems like the signs are lining up. I'm sure folks felt the same way about the end of days during the last flu epidemic or the recent world wars. How do we know this is the sign this time around? Only the Lord knows, our charge is to be prepared, ready, and armed with a solid testimony.  Wednesday afternoon we visited Jana's new house and stayed for a short visit. Amelia and Phillip vied for Rachel's attention. Jana's house is so cute. Grandma had us over for chicken casserole dinner. Most of her house is off-limits so the kids were quickly bored. Jon and Jan are staying until the house Scott lives in completes renovation. Scott will live in a converted basement apartment while Jon and Jan reside in the upstairs. He was quite bitter about his housing change, in the long run it will be better for my parents to have the rent paid each month.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were quite "boring" as we just stayed home. The kids made many more Perler creations. I slept in until 9-10 am mostly because Josie was still asleep so the obligation to wake up was quite low. We had a "how to draw..." lesson for Art on Friday. Evelyn tore up my amazing Ariel drawing. So sad. The most exciting part of today was going to Walmart. I am the furthest thing from a germaphobe. Good gracious, it really felt strange to be at a store and wonder if the virus was on some surface my hand touched. Don't breathe my air! Ha ha ha.

18 March 2020

Lances Visit, Last Week of AZ School

Moving is hard. Our heartstrings are pulled so deeply as we experienced our last week or so in Gilert. It is hard to understand why we need to leave such a good place after only 36 mths. Those last days were quite challenging for us all.

Josie is quite taken lately with crafts and art. I caught her painting a hippo eating trees for Daddy. The way she sticks out her tongue in concentration is so adorable. The kids favorite evening game is to play big chungus, we all had a similar childhood game. Our game was "fat man." Everett made an appearance Thursday night with his PJs so stuffed there was no way a zipper would work. His bum was huge! Thank goodness for comic relief. We amused ourselves taking slow motion vids of Everett and Josie walking. We had a couple days with 80 degree weather...so the kids went swimming in the 60 degree pool water. Phillip, Ronald, and Everett all got wet. The little girls donned swimsuits but only dipped toes in the water. Josie insisted I set up the sprinkler another warm day. Brrrrrrr.

Miekka, Seth, Jacob, Lia, and Grandma Mary came for a last AZ visit. A chance to enjoy the lovely "winter" with our 70-80 degree days. I told the kids my college roommate was coming to visit us. The grumbled and complained while cleaning and such. Those grumbles turned to joy when they realized my roommate was Aunt Miekka. Josie talks about Seth all the time, wanting to go visit. They arrived with enough time to pull out chairs and take in a lovely evening.

I was quite grateful for their helping hands Saturday (Feb 29th) to clear out the shed. I worked on getting bulk trash to the curb from the garage while Miekka and the boys worked on the shed. We had some largish animal residing in the shed! It chewed holes in all the plastic items (chemical containers, coolers, yard play items, tools, etc). We found a large nest and more poop than I ever want to see again. I asked Justin multiple times to clear the shed before he left and when he visited. I called him to report on the rodent situation. He made the mistake of laughing and joking about it...yep...hung up on him. An hour or so later a delivery of flowers arrived. That was a really gross job. In the end we piled lots of stuff at the curb for pick up. I also posted some larger items for sale like the sectional couch, elliptical, bike trailer, and loose barnwood. We only worked a couple hours. We decided to have a picnic for lunch. The park I had in mind was closed due to a baseball Spring training game, didn't want to spend money to park or fight the crowds. Pioneer park across from Mesa Temple was our next destination. I had to laugh at the row of Lances sunning themselves on a bench! The play structure was so big and fun with ramps connecting different parts of the park. Course my kids liberally used the cold splash pad. Phillip, Everett, and Josie are attracted to water in most forms, Evelyn played about but didn't get wet. The ladies went thrifting more than a couple times. Amelia grew out of her clothes so I was looking for better fitting clothing.

We introduced Lia to our Squishmallow craze. She bought two medium and one large squishmallow, Mia got another one as well! The girls named two of their new additions waffles and pancakes! For dinner on Sunday we had our last Call Family dinner at Spenser's house. We had to say our goodbyes to Tyler, Madi, and Cailin. The cousins had an epic laser fight at the park. Cailin used her stink face to ward off some older boys at the park.

Monday was a bit boring since my kids went to school. Seth and Jacob amused themselves for a couple hours playing Beyblades! I was amused at their amusement! Those at home went to lunch at Backyard Taco, it was ok for fast food. Amelia had a choral concert. She donned the hated purple polyester dress with the rippled hem. I thought she looked cute but when compared to the other outfits the 7th grade got the bottom of the pile. Amelia sang a short solo!!! She was a bit nervous as is expected. I am one proud mommy!! After the concert Mia was holding Josie in front of her, she tripped over a parking concrete stopper thing. Poor kid landed on Josie's bum and back and her own elbows. Both kids were banged up. Josie fell asleep crying in her carseat. She bounced back the next day. The dang hamster got loose overnight on Sunday. I charged Seth and Jacob to find the little rodent. The boys became "Hamster Hunters Extraordinaire!" They enlisted the help of an unhelpful Dog Vader. No luck finding the stinker until Tuesday night...Jacob found crunchy under the bunk bed.

The kids at school celebrated Dr Seuss's birthday all week. The younger kids all got to dress up and do crafts each day. Evelyn wore her cute Seuss dress to school the same day she made a "Cat in the Hat" Hat. I took the boys to school on Wednesday for Muffins with Mom! Amelia's school had Armageddon the last half of the week. She got a dress down day and wore her legion shirt on the competition days. I hear she got to play Quiddich! Mostly she had to sit and watch the competitions. Thursday we turned in all her books and Chromebook.

The Lances helped me pack up all the loose food cans under the beds! Sister Johnson found the #10 can boxes at the Bishop's Storehouse for a $1 per box. That was helpful to get that exact size box. I was feeling a little apprehensive about our food storage situation until I saw it all boxed up. I had a fun first birthday session with Eleen Kaur at Riparian. We did the session at 11:30 pm, like the worst time of day. We made it work with some searching about. Evelyn snapped my glasses in half when her heel smacked the ridge of my glasses. I was pushing her on the swing at the time. Terrible timing! We had less than 5 days before the big move.

Miekka decided on an impromptu Disneyland trip Thursday. They left a day early without telling the kids. Lia did not figure out the surprise until they pulled up to the hotel. At home we all felt a bit depressed, faced with the task of moving. Thursday Everett came down with a high fever and Strep. I took him to the Dr with a 104 fever. Poor kid lived on the couch for a few days until the medicine worked. Josie started an eye infection around the same time. STOP!!!! Everett was so sad he missed singing and his part in the 3rd Grade performance.

Friday was the last day of school in AZ for my kids. Everyone was a mess of tears after school. I took Everett in 30 minutes before school ended to clean out his desk, hug Mrs Sanders, and bid his classmates goodbye. Phillip was depressed because his only friend who cared was Ryan and his teacher. Amelia was in tears because Zoe completely ignored her all day at school then walked away off the bus without a word. Rude! I'm glad Chloe was not a stinker. I was given the task of renewing Dog Vader's rabies shot at Petco's walk-in clinic. I was not amused to stand in line with 20 other dogs while my dog acted like a barking maniac. He calmed down after 20 minutes of waiting. Justin owes me! Evelyn cried for a couple hours once back at home. She had a Polaroid memory book to remember her time at Montessori. She was heartbroken to leave her three teachers behind (Nikki, Lindzie, and Bri).

I got new glasses on Friday, the prescription was so strong I had an instant migraine for the next 4 days. Everything looked blurry, my depth perception was totally off as well. I went back the next day only to learn the optometrist was out until Monday. I got a less powerful prescription and different shaped glasses come Monday. I picked up the glasses moments before we pulled out of Gilbert for good.

Justin arrived home late Friday night to help us move. We worked on Saturday in the garage. Spenser bought our sectional couch so we delivered that on Saturday morning. Got more hugs from the Calls! Took Justin and I most of the day to work through the garage. We had a fun goodbye dinner at the church. Those who couldn't attend pitched in for a cute basket of blue snacks! Towards evening I busted through the laundry so we could get bags packed for our Utah and AZ days before we end up in Idaho. Our last day of church was quite bittersweet. I'm glad we got to say goodbye. Sunday we started to make a huge pile of stuff going the van. Monday was swiftly on it's way...MOVING DAY. 

Coronavirus is making huge changes all around us. We are hearing more each day about how contagious this virus is. Conference was changed to broadcast only, preaching to the choir. At the time of our move folks were advised to stay home and not travel much. The great toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortage of 2020 was caused by folks stocking and price gouging the items on Amazon or Ebay. All stores reported empty shelves of toilet paper. Crazy! A virus causes a shortage of paper! Seems like every day the church reports a new change or closure...minutes later we hear of similar restrictions to our normal life.