Our crazy move from Germany to Ohio happened very fast, and honestly it left me a little traumatized. I’m finally able to look back on it without seizing, so I thought I’d share the story of what happened.
Here’s our timeline, in a nutshell.
March 25 – we find out that the house we were buying has failed inspection, miserably. We knew it needed work, but we didn’t know that there was irreparable damage. So we’re back to the drawing board on the house front. We knew a move was coming, but we didn’t know if it was days, weeks, or months away.
March 31 – my best friend from high school and bridesmaid Martie tours another house for us, takes pictures & video, and we put in an offer. It is accepted, and we are excited!
April 1 – Byron receives orders to sign out of the army in TEN DAYS. It falls on a Friday, and we schedule our flight for Monday the 14th. That same day, they take our van to ship it to the US, so we all of a sudden need to move and have no car. Luckily, my amazing friends Kitty and Heather loan us vehicles.
April 7 – the movers come and pack us up. It’s also Sophie’s birthday and dentist appointment day. Byron stays home with the movers while I handle business with the kids. My Germany bff Aimee watches the kids, and we all spend the night at her house.
April 8 – moving day #2. Packers finish packing, and housing delivers temporary furniture. Back in the states, things are moving along with our new home, and we will be able to close on April 16th, 2 days after arriving.
April 9 – cleaning, paperwork, errands, packing, laundry
April 10 – we move into the hotel, and say good-bye to our home.
April 11 – Byron signs out of the Army, we clear housing. There’s a good-bye lunch with Byron’s unit, where they give him some nice going-away gifts. Then we go to the post office and mail the gifts, as well as all of our curtains.
April 12 – we receive the devastating news that another house has failed inspection, with damage that we cannot fix or afford to have fixed. We are faced with homelessness. I frantically research our options, but everything – hotels, extended stay places, is way out of our price range. I cry. A lot.
April 13 – Our last Sunday at ChapelNext, and we have lunch at the Entertainment Center afterward. Lots of hard good-byes, and more tears.
April 14 – The flight
We head to the airport for our flight to the US. We are 3 hours early, and when we arrive at the counter, the line is over an hour long. Byron asks the employee at the front if he can talk to a gate agent ASAP, to make sure we get seats together. He assures us it isn’t a problem. So we wait in line. When we get to the front 90 minutes later, the agent informs us that sorry, there are not seats together for us, and there’s nothing she can do. We are given 3 seats together and 3 more that are all alone. (Do the math. We have FOUR young children). She assures us that once we get on the plane, we’ll be moved so we can sit with our children.
When we board the plane, the flight attendant tells us that the flight is full, so she can’t give us new seats, but she can ask people to switch for us. We put me with Lia and Finn, and Byron, Sophie, and Connor take the seats that are all alone. (Sophie is in the seat in front of me, but the other 2 are nowhere nearby.) Connor cries, nestled between two strangers.
The flight attendant asks people all around the plane to switch seats, and everyone refuses. So we take the seats we were given and we take off.
Finn sleeps for the first 30 minutes of the flight. All is well for a time. Then all heck breaks loose. Kids are tired, crying. Finn won’t sleep another wink, Connor is feeling abandoned, Sophie is being needy. Nobody sleeps. Nobody will eat the yucky plane food. Finn won’t stop crying. Byron and I take turns bobbing up and down with him in the tiny space in the bulkhead row.
The pilot informs us that we hit headwinds so the 9 hour flight becomes 11.5. But he says, “don’t worry, if you have a connecting flight, we have already rebooked you to another flight to reach your final destination”, and we should see the gate agent upon debarking.
When the neverending flight from you-know-where finally lands in Chicago. We ask the gate agent for our new flight information to our final destination – Detroit. She informs us that our family was the only one she could not rebook on another flight because of our size. So we need to gather our bags, go through customs, go to the ticketing desk, and see what they can do for us there.
It’s then that we decide that getting another ticket, rechecking bags, going through security, boarding and flying to Detroit, then driving 2 hours to Findlay would take more time than just driving 4 hours from Chicago to Findlay. So we go out to the rental car place, get a minivan and hit the road. Besides the fact that you could not PAY me to get on another airplane with those children at that point.
We drive for about an hour, then we all crash hard in a motel room along the highway. It’s about 4 am Germany time, but 9 pm Central time. We sleep for 7 hours, then we grab our first in-the-US meal at the only thing open at 3am- Denny’s.
Then we hit the road again, arriving in Findlay that morning. We go straight to the home of our new friends Kay and Joel (who we have never met), and are taking us in for the night.
April 15 – lunch with my dad, and Kay and Joel found a place for us to stay (since our house fell through). It is an incredible blessing. They have a friend with an empty apartment and he offers it to us for free while we find a home. We move into it.
Late April – we find a new house, put in an offer, and finally we get an inspection that comes back with only minor issues.
May 1-3 – I take a business trip to Arizona and reconnect with my bestie Krista.
May 5 – we close on our new house!!!
May 6 – Byron’s first day of school, and he is officially in seminary.
May 21 – our household goods are delivered.
May 22 – Byron drives to St. Louis to get our van.
May 28 – Byron flies to Minneapolis to get our truck.
And with that, we finally had all of our belongings, a home, and our new life in Ohio.