A very odd September.

The end of August, and September, is when the move really happened. Looking back on it, it’s a small miracle that it actually did happen, but somehow it did. And we’re talking everything here–concept evaluation, logistics, planning, packing, divesting, orchestrating, and interweaving.

We decided (after some heroic work by Cathy in trying to figure out how the whole strange business works) that trying to ship both cars up to Alaska was not at all cost-effective, and ended up arranging to ship Betty separately, to arrive shortly after Cathy would arrive up north–to minimize the amount of time she’d have to use a rental car. The process involves taking everything out of the car except the factory jack, and a sheet of paper which is a permission/release form. (This detail would be important, later.) I’ve gotta say, it is a weird sensation to drive a vehicle that you have a real attachment to, to be picked up by a transporter truck, and watch it get carried off by someone else. (The transporter truck was a real trip, too–for anyone who appreciates electro-hydraulic gizmos, that is one cool toy.)

Looking back at it, it’s amazing how late in the game it was that we actually decided whowould move our belongings, and by what means. It was all chicken-and-egg sort of stuff; “if we have this much stuff we should take option A; but if we might have this much stuff we should really consider option B” and so on. In the end we went with Pacific Alaska Freightways, a freight company that will occasionally include a household move such as ours. We lucked on an extremely helpful representative who constantly re-engineered things to help us get a better price, and she was good at it. In the end I suspect we paid less than half of what the other options might have cost us, even with how convoluted it all was and with the few extra things that popped up along the way. If for some reason you want to move up north and join us up here (an excellent idea!), we can highlyrecommend Kelli at Pacific Alaska Freightways.

The task ended up to be simple, kinda: we would put all our household goods on pallets, and they would be picked up from the haus in Lakewood, to be trucked to Tacoma, barged to Anchorage, and then trucked to an (unknown at the time) address in Palmer. Finding the pallets, and learning how to load and wrap them, became Kevin’s task.

It all came down to the wire. With Betty enroute and the clock ticking, we had to book Cathy’s flight into a real date, which became October 1. She did everything she could in the time she had in Colorado, and then had to completely shift gears into being the point-person up north. It must have been very abrupt and stressful, but she handled it as gracefully as anyone could ask.

Oh, and in the middle of all this, mind you, there was also the issue of what to do with the Lakewood house. Sell? Ha, not in this economy. At one point people had been telling us that we would not be affected by the current housing bubble-burst, but one by one those predictions dried up, and eventually we not only came to entertain the idea of renting our house out, but selecting it as the best available option. We decided to use a property manager, since it is one thing to manage a rental property across town, and another thing entirely to try and do so from over 3000 miles away. It was and is a risk, one more thing to worry about, but we took the plunge, and LuAnn even got us an appropriate tenant pretty quickly, too. Hopefully the arrangement continues to work on both ends!

We had an official “going-away” soiree, at which we gave away a goodly amount of stuff to good homes, and in general got most of our goodbyes accomplished. There were plenty of tears here; mostly tempered by the overfull docket and the unreality of things being this far along, but they were there: what we will miss most about Colorado are our fantastic friends. (In my case, what I will specifically miss most about Colorado is playing music with Dave Cialone; I am fully aware that the likelihood of finding a convergence like that up here is all but impossible. That I got the privilege at all, in the first place, is prima facieevidence that Something Bigger must be kinda fond of me from time to time.) There was a final gig for Kevin’s tenure with Guitar Circle Colorado (at which the Norwegian Wood arrangement finally saw an official debut), there was a final shoot at Ben Lomond Gun Club, there was a serenade send-off by favorite local band Crowboy featuring a remake of “North To Alaska” with an updated lyric, and there were a handful of little visits that we fit in, even though we couldn’t, because they were important. These things happen when you are fortunate enough to know people like we do.

And then, abruptly, I had to go drop Cathy at the airport. We’d been doing the Headless Chicken for a solid month, and suddenly we were here, and I knew I wouldn’t get to see her for three weeks.  Man, that sucked.