We’re in Alabama!
Actually, we’ve been here for a week. The kids and I stayed a few extra days in Indiana before my mom drove us down last Monday. My husband had to check in before we’d had our fill of fun on the lake, family and friends, and, well, we still don’t have our household goods. That valiant man braved IKEA – in Atlanta – solo so that we’d have some of the furniture we need. Better yet: he got us set up with Internet access! Gold star husband, right there.
The past week has been hectic. Well, as hectic as running to Target and/or the grocery store every day can be. Don’t get me started on my four-slot toaster quest. Moving into a house with just some big suitcases still manages to require a lot of extra stuff.
Walden and my husband both started school today, so we’re at the brink of a routine, which we all seem to need desperately. The kids will be thrilled that it seems to involve a trip to the neighborhood splash pad every afternoon after Bertie’s nap, because SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME (mostly).
Seriously. The sun SHINES in America, y’all. (It took me two days to dust that one off from my southern collegiate girl archives.) During practical hours, too. We don’t have 4:30 am sunrises or 10:30 pm sunsets over here, though the sun sets beautifully over the pond in our back yard each evening. We do have light golden tans already, and my children are never happier than when they are splashing around in water in the sunshine.
We live in a gated community, which is still surreal. Covenants, HOA’s, the whole shebang. Our house is so nice and clean and matching that I had a mild panic attack when we arrived. There are so many places to put things…and so many surfaces that will need to be cleaned. Everything works and is so functionally normal that I feel a bit off balance. We even have an attached two-car garage. A garbage disposal and a pantry. Closets! And a mailbox, with a red flag and everything! There aren’t any weird doors to nowhere, or missing pieces of trim, or strangely-placed light fixtures to nail us in the head. It’s quite pleasant, really.
Readjusting to driving culture is difficult. I like our new (to us) Forester; I don’t like having to drive it to get everywhere. Our neighborhood is flanked by big churches. A CVS is about a half mile up the road from the entrance, but there isn’t a sidewalk to get there. Just beyond that you’ll find every kind of opportunity to spend your money on anything you could imagine. Food, especially. There are an obscene number of sit-down and quick service restaurants within a five minute drive (including Panera, Five Guys, and Chipotle, as well as local faves Chicken Salad Chick and Zaxby’s). Dunkin’ Donuts is on the way. Target is five minutes away, too. There’s the same outdoor shopping mall that every small American city has. Wal-Mart, Home Depot. Movie theaters. It could be any place (that has a 10% sales tax on everything, including groceries).
The people have been spectacularly warm and friendly. They are also spectacularly bad drivers.
I finally tried sweet tea. I’m pretty sure a tooth fell out. I’ll be sticking to unsweet.
The temperature reached 95 today. Thank goodness for air conditioning and Dunkin’s 99¢ iced coffees from 3-6 pm. I’m over sleeping on an air mattress, but it sure beats the camping pad and sleeping bag we tried out for a few nights.
Getting settled in will be a relief. Other families in our program have been amazingly supportive and helpful, but we’re still getting used to this new life. I’m looking forward to our short time here, particularly the time after our furniture arrives and we can comfortably welcome people into our home.
In the mean time, I may be caught daydreaming about our time in Europe. More posts are to come from our big road trip (the one from England to Spain, not the one from nearly-Canada to nearly the Gulf of Mexico), once I can sneak in some time to add photos to the drafts. However, it’s time to fold the laundry in my gorgeous, miraculous and wonderful new dryer.