Thursday, October 05, 2006

The storm is over, the adventure begins

Well, I am officially a Buckeye.


After a 15 year hiatus (April, 1991 to September 2006) I am once again a resident of northwest Ohio. "Resident," hopefully meaning that I am not just a transient, anymore.

I came to realize, over the last two weeks, just how much of a transient I had considered myself in Chicago. Nothing ever felt permanent, because it was all going to change. When I was at seminary, I never thought of that as "home," because I was going to leave for chaplaincy, and then internship. When my seminary track failed, I only thought of where I was going to be able to find work. When I was living in Pullman, I was thinking of where I'd live when I got a "real" job, and could afford a "real" apartment.

Hopefully this time, I will think of making wherever I am "home," rather than looking forward to "the next place." It's been a long three years in the wilderness...

The process of getting here was ugly, because I really didn't plan the process or invest the time ahead in preparation and packing. The pack-up help I hired got the worst of the stuff in the truck, as far as the "weight times the number of freakin' stairs" factor goes. But the last 10% of the stuff - that took way too long.

I'd been up straight through the night Friday night into Saturday desperately packing, and the moving help showed up at 9:15. By 1, 85-90% of the weight was loaded, and they left. But then my part came - taking care of the last 10-15% that wasn't ready to be carried anywhere. And let me tell you - when you're already sleep deprived, and exhausted, about 10 more trips up and down those damn stairs, and I was done.

About ten more trips, and I was thinking of burning the place down rather than emptying it and cleaning it.

That's when I decided that it was time to find a room, crash for the night, and start again the next day.

By 3:30 Eastern time on Sunday afternoon, I was rolling, and the yellow Penske truck rolled into the Waterville cornfields at 7:30. It took until 10 to unload the stuff that was staying at the condo, and then until 12:45 to unload the rest at the storage unit. Back home by 1:30, in bed by 2, asleep by 2:01...

My brother-in-law woke me up at 6 to get the truck cleaned up and returned to Penske by 7:00 (because I hadn't found the box with the alarm clock in it!). Then Sue and I had breakfast, and by 10:30 got on the MegaBus at Southwyck Mall to ride back to Chicago - mission: to clean the apartment and pick up the car, and return home.

(By the way...if you're looking for cheap transportation in or out of Chicago, the MegaBus service works, IF you can reserve ahead of time. But if you're looking for comfortable, look elsewhere...)

Well, the schedule for the bus and the service were two entirely different things. We got on the bus on time at 11, but we arrived an hour and a half late at 3:00. We got on a CTA bus to Millenium Station, and the 4:08 Metra Electric line back to the south side. By the time we got the car, gave Sue a 5 minute drive-around tour, and got to the apartment, it was 5:00 straight up.

By 9, we had loaded the last of the apartment contents into the car, had cleaned the apartment to a state vastly better than I had received it, and had locked the door once and for all. We picked up McDonald's to go, and to the main title theme from Star Trek: The Voyage Home, hit the interstate by 9:00 Central (10 Eastern).

We got home about 2, and my plan was to be up at 7:00 to set up my office. When my sister came in at 7:15 to see if I was up, she found me moaning with low-back pain and aches, and interspersing muttering and cursing in a way that reminded her more of Ozzy Ozbourne than a former seminarian. (She actually got quite a kick out of it, for a bit.) Eventually, I got up, got enough of the desk and office put together to get connected to work, and begin the travails again at The Evil Empire.

The last three days have been predictable - unpacking for a couple hours in the morning, signing on to EE-land, and participating in their insanity, then Sue has fixed a couple great dinners, and I've spent time trying to find "the one thing that I really need" for the day in the pile of boxes in the garage. This weekend, we will go through them in more detail, get a truck and move the rest of the stuff out to storage.

And so it begins. The low-back pain and all the aches are slowly easing, and the world certainly looks better looking out my window in Waterville. As my friend Cobb noted commenting on my earlier post, it has rained all three days here in Ohio - but I've been checking the weather in Chicago, and it rained there too. But I haven't been accosted by any homeless people on my way to the mailbox, here...

I'm looking forward to checking out some churches in the area...getting back into the recovery community here, and having breakfast with a couple old friends. And who knows, making some new ones, too. For now, I'd like to thank everyone for their prayers, encouragement and support - and it's into the shower and into the work day.


TK said...

It sounds like you are home. Great to hear the next part of the journey has begun.


Michael Dodd said...

Years ago when I was responsible for helping new members enter the monastic community, we always had a workshop on transitions and the stresses that go with them. The presenters consistently said that it takes about six months just to get through the transitions, with various stages along the way. We wanted the new guys to know this so they wouldn't get discouraged and give up too quickly. The stresses of transition meant that they were not really in a balanced place to evaluate what they were experiencing. They had to settle down first.

I got the same advice way back when I was beginning the doctoral program at Catholic University in DC. Fr. John Ford, then chair of the department of theology, told us that his experience was that if people could hold out until February (six months), then they had a good chance of surviving. But he had seen lots of people give up at the end of the first semester,regardless of their grades, before they had really settled in.

When life has been like yours -- never having a stretch of six months in which to feel you have actually settled down -- the stresses never go away. So this time, let it take six months to settle, but maybe it will help to keep that insight you already have in the front of your thoughts: This time I may not be settled, but I am settling.

Maybe a bit of progress, not perfection.

(Although, in a sense, we are all just passing through...)

Keith Brenton said...

Wonderful news! (Though you passed by the state that's best to be from - Indiana.) Hope your settling in helps settle anything else that's feeling unsettled in your life!

And, for your home church search: all my prayers and best wishes.

AnotherLostAngel said...


Glad to see you made it in one piece. I made it to thurs night last night. Sat next to mike f....cracked a few jokes...and matt A was even there..seems like a long, long time since I saw him....there were good people and a few new ones....and a fine lead, and all that...but somewhere, deep down, it felt a tad empty. Another change, another person gone. A season winding down. Just a bit, just a little bit sad.

A little bit is all it takes to make a stoic melancoly irishman like me head off to the races.

Anyway. Its friday night. Enjoy your first weekend of unpacking...and hope you find a meeting.

God bless.


Peter said...

The last 10%--we're moving that now. It's almost worse than the first 90...

We will be so glad to be shut of that place, Steve man.

Aching backs and sore muscles, and all. Somehow, we'll get through this.