Monday, July 28, 2008

On Leaving England Episode 3 (or "Why is our Mattress wrapped around the piano?"











So we arrived in Selma in time for Christmas (what must have been the hottest Christmas on record...it was 89 degrees and we were unused to the heat now and so were all sick!) We had managed to save everything from the blazing car but my wonderful fantastic dance all night leather like butter boots. I wept. What happened to them is anyone's guess, but Mac and the wrecker driver had gone back up to the car after the gun battle was over, to retrieve our belongings. Luckily Digby didn't have a pecan allergy as the clerk had fed her three bags while we lay behind the counter. She ate them, all the time bemoaning the fact that they weren't chitt'lins, but they'd do. So does the wrecker driver's wife now sport a pair of Italian hand made boots to dance through the night? I don't know, knowing men, they probably lay beside the highway till some hitchhiker wandered along not believing their luck and pulled them on to continue their trek across America. Suffice it to say I've never had a pair of boots before or since that could make my feet so happy. So after Christmas , we loaded the new car we had purchased. It was more of a boat that a car, a Custom Cruiser Oldsmobile station wagon that could sleep six. Gas was cheap in 83, what did we care? So off we went, headed for Colts Neck, New Jersey and our new duty station. Mac was to report aboard the USS Nitro on January 5th. It took us two days to get there. Mama had found us a motel that accepted dogs (since Digby would have been a little difficult to stick under my coat and sneak in) and made the reservations for us. We arrived via the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway in a state that was the exact opposite of what we had been lead to believe in. I guess it's the way the South is portrayed as a bunch of poorly educated ignorant hillbillies and New Jersey is portrayed as the toilet of New York City that had us confused. Just as we actually have halls of learning and genteel people in the South, so does New Jersey have lovely people and believe me, they don't call it the Garden State for nothing! New Jersey is beautiful (at least the parts we saw). We located the base nearby an affluent horse farm, Due Process Stables. We reported to the Housing Office to make arrangements for a place to live. That taken care of, Mac found the road that would take him to the piers where the ship, the USS Nitro, was tied up. We were assigned a house within the week and on the fifth of January Mac reported aboard his new duty station. We were told that our furniture would arrive sometime in April. APRIL???




Somehow it had never occurred to me that the furtiture and goods would be coming by ship? Why didn't I realize that? Where was my head? So, Mac reported to the Nitro on the fifth, we moved into the empty house (except for kitchen appliances...no washer and dryer though) purchased a tv and you know those big foam fold out "I'm a sofa I'm a bed" things? We bought three of those. January 6th, we were set. January 7th, my birthday, I had the pleasure of taking Mac to the pier to board the ship which was pulling out for a three month cruise! Life as we knew it was back to normal. On January the 8th it snowed. And snowed. And then it snowed some more. I have had a love affair with snow since I was a small child. That January 7th ended the affair. Forever. Now the only snow I want to see is the kind that falls during the night and is gone in the morning. Just after I finish my first cup of coffee.








The neighbors came out to greet us and were kind enough to loan us the use of dining table and chairs, a couple of easy chairs for the living room and the use of their laundry facilities on a rotating basis. Navy people are great people...they pitch in and help like family. It's where I met Evil Sister and the Doc...(he was a corpman). Evil Sister moved in (the Doc being on the ship and gone) in the house behind us pretty soon after we moved in. We became close friends quickly, as did our kids. We suffered through snow and ice, snow shovels leaned against both our back stoops so we could shovel our way to each other's houses for the inevitable games of Scrabble that consumed our afternoons. Digby spent as much time at Evil Sisters as I did. Finally, April arrived and so did our household goods that had been sent from England. I had the bill of lading in hand and checked off the numbers on the boxes as they came out. When that was done, 15 boxes were unaccounted for. I watched as they brought out the bedroom furniture, first the boys, then ours. The two boxed up box springs for our king sized bed came out and I looked inside for the mattress box. There was no box with a mattress in it...I climbed into the truck, the inspector close at my heels and that's when I saw it. What once had been a Sealey Posturpedic King Size mattress, now protected my antique upright piano...it was wrapped around it and taped. I SAID WRAPPED AROUND IT AND TAPED! It had been that way since the middle of December. It was now April. The inspector had the good grace to look surprised and announced that "this is going to have to be replaced." I looked him in the eye and sarcasm dripping like honey said, "you think?" And I thought a gunfight at the Interstate was bad? By the time we had everything unpacked and accounted for or not, the government owed me roughly $3500.00. Oddly enough, they didn't even argue the point. All it took was the bill of lading with the empty check marks and a picture of my mattress which looked roughly like the letter U. And so, we were home. At least for a little while.



And a very special PS





9 years ago today, a baby girl was born into the family, and she has steadily stolen our hearts and pitted Grandma against Grandpa as to who is the favorite...but you know, Grandma wins! Happy Birthday Arianna, you are the Jewel in our Crowns



43 comments:

Stacey said...

Sandi why isn't this a book? You are amazing you really really are, I feel as if I'm right there with you. And I'm going to be LOL all day at the sight of your poor mattress wrapped and TAPED to your piano. Ohhhh my goodness!! xoxo

Jeni said...

Ok, I know Dear Abby says there is no such thing as a "Dumb question" but with that in mind, here's my question(s): Why did it take four months to ship your furniture? Were they using a boat as old as the Mayflower, with only sails and no engine? And how did you manage to be so cool and collected, only saying "You think?" when you saw your mattress wrapped around the piano? Boy, I'd never have been able to hold back if that had been me seeing that!

Lib said...

Oh my, what a story! You are good!
I don't think I could of held my cool as you did "You THink" lol
I had 2 Uncles retire from the Navy, they also had some stories to tell. Jacksonville,and Va.
Hope you have a great wk.
Blessins',Lib

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

This has been such fun reading. I have a feeling that God blessed you with that temper of yours for a very good reason. You were going to need it.

Having had some experience with packers and shippers, I can really appreciate this one. Would you believe that the packers packed the cat's dish loaded with food? Just yuck.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Sandi, this definately needs to be a book! You are an amazing writer and you always pull me right into the story.

Congrats on your awards and Thanks for my Sharing The Love Award!! You are so sweet to share it with me!
Hugs,
Penny

windycorner said...

Love it, Sandi! What will those crazy movers think of next? I feel like I'm right there with you when I read your stories....when you mentioned snow, I had to look outside to remind myself it's hot as Hades here.
Holley

merry weather said...

I imagine this was a time when your temper spring may have sprang. I think mine would!

Last time we moved the removers ate my large emergencies-only bar of Cadburys chocolate, drank half a bottle of port and took a bottle of brandy for later. It was the loss of the chocolate that offended me :)

Nessa said...

I better not mention I work for a moving company.

Jules~ said...

Oh my what a fun continuing story. It brings back so many memories of being a dependent myself...both as a daughter and then as wife. I remember that when we left from Oklahoma to Okinawa, the move went so quickly. My husband received his orders and we were packed and gone inside a month. We had to pack for emmediate stuff that we wanted within a week or two, stuff we wanted in three months, and then stuff we would leave state side. We were missing many things when we got to the island but everything happened so fast that I figured I had put it in the 4 year storage shipment. Thirteen years later and now retired....I never have seen some of those things ever again.
But being military I absolutely loved.
I am sorry...I am rambling on and on here.
Thank you for reminising and sharing.

Lee said...

Sandi, it's amazing you even managed to complete this saga of a journey home to the South. Too bad they didn't have digital cameras or inexpensive scanners back then. I'd have loved to see a picture of that mattress. :)

Certainly glad you made it back from the UK in one piece...for the most part. :)

Hugs!

Theresa said...

love how you make your stories come alive-and that you get to laugh, smile, smirk? at least a little at your adventure of moving :)

Veggie Mom said...

You really know how to tell a tale! I've enjoyed reading all of your serialized episodes. And a special Happy Birthday to your Special Girl!!

Jeanne said...

OMG what a tolerant kitty there. Happy Birthday to grammie's girl.

Lee said...

Oh heavens, Sandi, the poor kitty. Your grandbaby is adorable. But I ache for the cat. I used to drag mine around like that till Mom & Dad taught me how to hold Sammy properly. Then I stuffed him into the baby carriage we used for our dolls. He loved us anyways.

Hugs!

Merisi said...

Happy birthday to your little Arianna ! :-)

I love New Jersey! One of my favorite poets, Robert Pinsky, hails from that beautiful state (when I met him for the first time, I asked him where he got that special "O" from, which I noted every time I heard him speak on Jim Lehrer's NewsHour on PBS - of course, a Jersey boy accent it was, I think he said from Hoboken NJ).

It's amazing that moving companies wouldn't know that you can't bend a matress! (I found out the hard way: Moving a king size matress up a stairway in a townhouse, I had to bend it in order to shove it upstairs - and I was lucky that only the matress got a dent, since I was very pregnant that day, and my husband on another continent).

For the longest time I thought chitt'lins and pork rinds were one and the same. When I did find out, I stopped noshing on either.

i beati said...

My Mara Grace's birthday is in 4 weeks she wil be six and wants lots of pillows for her bed..sk

i beati said...

Thank you for the awards which buoy me up as does your reading . Life is an uphill battle at present. I have a plethera of problems but I have cancer and must live and embrace every day and I do thanks to those like you heartfelt thanks . The problems are just irritable little itches hahah .. on a scale of 1- 10 how much do you miss England .?You strike me as someone who makes their hasppiness anywhere..

i beati said...

Thank you for the awards which buoy me up as does your reading . Life is an uphill battle at present. I have a plethera of problems but I have cancer and must live and embrace every day and I do thanks to those like you heartfelt thanks . The problems are just irritable little itches hahah .. on a scale of 1- 10 how much do you miss England .?You strike me as someone who makes their hasppiness anywhere..

i beati said...

I was a Marine Corps wife - yes Arianna is soooo sweet Where do your boys live in proximity to you now??My boy is in N. C. and I miss them terrbly. Her birthday is in 2 weeks Mine in 6..Hope Arianna's birthday is special theme??

i beati said...

Are you printing this for your family ?/I started doing that but got too expensive - it is great memory bank material however..sk

ancient one said...

Hi Sandi,

Thanks for the latest award...I have it posted...
I give it right back to you... come see..

jazzi said...

Sandi, from the first few sentences, I could see I was going to have to go back and read the rest of the story! What a tale! And you tell it quite well, too!

Jules~ said...

You updated with pictures.....she is such a cutie pie!

Sally said...

Yes. Yes. When's the book coming out? I'd buy it!!!!

Your little sweetie is a doll!!

smilnsigh said...

This is an "Off Topic Comment" but...I seem to have lost my knack for posting/commenting in 'Blog Land,' for a while. All I do lately, is put up a few photos, here and there. I didn't plan on it... It just happened.

And since I don't want anyone to think I got *uppity* or anything, :-) I'm leaving this comment, to explain my absence.

I'm sure to be back in not too long. Can't keep a "Chatty Person" quiet, for too long. :-)

Miss Mari-Nanci

Donna said...

Happy Birthday Arianna!!!hughugs

Cheffie-Mom said...

Happy Birthday Arianna! I love the picture of her holding/running with the cat! LOL!

tlc illustration said...

What a story. Glad you were reimbursed at least. Also enjoyed your numbers post. We're having such a chilly summer that my veggie crops leave a lot to be desired. Fruit is good though.

And yes, I'm amazed at the number of very impressive Scottish festivals through out the country! I've been to some on both coasts - huge followings! I'd go to more if I could..

Pat said...

Hi Sandi
Thanks for coming by my blog and leaving a comment! I see many bloggers here who are my friends too!

This post was so interesting! I'm glad you got reimbursed for damage for your poor mattress! Thank goodness they didn't try to wrap the piano around something! :)

Your grand daughter is adorable. I anxiously await the birth of my first grand baby in the fall!

Please visit me again soon!

Pat in NY

Cowgirl said...

Absolutley what Stacey said!!! WHY?? OMG, that was a scarey welcome home - the gunfight episode... am just catching up! Feel for you re those boots...

Thanks so much for the Sharing the Love award! Have successfully up lifted and displayed at mine!

Am with Jeni on the lenght of time it took for your furniture! Ours came from UK to NZ in around 6 weeks, and that was back in the 60's on a very clapped-out boat!

Alison Boon said...

This is better than a book, such adventures.
Congrats on all your awards.

Mary Isabella said...

I love reading this. You have a talent for expressing your feelings and for story telling. Happy Birthday to your sweet Granddaughter.....Mary

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh, moving stories (see the grimace on my face?) Our last move (to England), our handmade Cherry bed was broken-- all of the hidden, seamless craftwork now replaced by ugly screws just so that we could use it again. Our sofa arrived with the frame broken (I don't know, putting two mountain bikes on top of it and then heavy boxes on those did something to the shape and the cushions as well-- oh, and the bikes). I'm loving your stories and Happy bday Arianna!

CrazyCath said...

No wonder Ariana stole your hearts! She is beautiful - hope she has a great day.

Do you know Sandi - you have the same birthdate as my hubby! No wonder I like you ... ;0)

Great writing. I would have dripped sarcasm too at a U shaped mattress!
I love how you write, I really do.

The Diva's Thoughts said...

I can not believe it took 4 months for your stuff to arrive. That is insane.

joan said...

Sandi,

You really should think about putting this in a journal or book, it's the stuff your grandkids and great grands will want to know. Great story, I always feel like I am there with you when you tell them. Happy Birthday to your sweet little one!!

Jamie Dawn said...

Happy B-day to the little doll baby!!!

That had to be one flexible mattress. WOWzer!
I've been to NJ too, also, as well, and what I saw of it was really pretty. Garden state for sure. I suppose there are hitonious places there too, but I did not go to the toilet parts of the state.
I enjoy reading your stories. What a shame those boots were lost, or stolen, or just vanished into thin air.
Sorry I've been hit and miss lately with blogging.
It's just a busy time. I am excited for my trip to CA to see my brother and parents. I hope your summer is going well.
Oh, I too, also do not care for snow. I like it at Christmastime, and that's it... and only a little bit, not some huge snowstorm.

Adla said...

Hi Sandi,

thanks for thinking of me and passing the award along. I'm sorry for not visiting you as often as I would love, the bulging tummy comes in the way of hanging round the pc. Can you just imagine what I'd be like when the bub arrives :D I have a request, Please share some of your lovely pregnancy stories. I am sure you have some hidden awaiting to be revealed.Like everyone has said you flare for writing should be compiled into a book :)

On another note, Moving across continents has it's fair share of interesting drama for sure. I've been on a similar boat that I wish not to remember :D

Your granddaughter is so cute. A Belated Birthday to her... hope all her wishes come true and she sure knows how to handle that cat ! :)

till we chat next,
Adla

Christine of Epiphany said...

Feelin yer pain on this post~ especially about the boots!

david mcmahon said...

That is SO special, Sandi

david mcmahon said...

and yes, I second Stacey's comment.

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