Saturday, July 30, 2016
Image credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=105703&picture=hand-truck-with-two-boxes
Moving 16 years of 5 family member’s accumulated “stuff” is quite a task, but we did it. This was not our first move, but it was our largest, since we had more to move than ever before. It is quite a story, one I have to write down, but a day I would not like to repeat any day soon.
The move was more complicated than most, as we were swapping houses. The person we were buying the house from was also buying ours! It just happened to work out that way, and we were up for the task. Since the move of both houses had to happen at the same time, we exchanged phone numbers and began planning for the move weeks in advance.
The seller was quite gracious, allowing us to move some storage items into the barn before the official moving date. We rented a U-Haul and moved quite a few small truck loads of “stuff” to the barn, soon realizing we were not as young as we used to be, and we would need some help. We hired movers that night, a company that would help us load and unload the truck on moving day.
A few days before the official moving date, my husband and I moved as much of the house into our garage as we possibly could. Everything but mattresses, big furniture, and our kitchen table was piled into the garage. I cleaned, repaired walls, washed windows, and trimmed bushes. We were ready.
Moving day was here! We were up bright and early, excited but also anxious for this day to be over. My husband and I had moved plenty of times before, so we knew the hard work that was in store. The day was going to be a hot one for June - 90 degrees with high humidity. We would need a lot of water.
We picked up the U-Haul trucks - 2 large trucks - at 8:00am. We also borrowed a horse trailer from a friend knowing we would need this for our lawn mowers and other odds and ends. The movers were set to arrive at 9:00am, so we needed as much in place as possible to make this happen. Move-in time was 1:00.
At 9:00, our movers arrived and went right to work. They were very appreciative that we had moved everything from our upstairs and basement into the garage so that they wouldn’t have to deal with stairs. The doors of the house flew open, and the boxes, furniture, and stacks of personal items started filling the trucks. The family didn’t just sit back and watch. We loaded our vehicles and the horse trailer as the guys filled the U-Haul trucks.
At 12:30pm, the last few items were loaded into the trucks. We were done! I swept the floors one last time, and we said good-bye to this house. It was a good house, one where many memories were made.
The U-Haul convoy was on its way, driving through the country roads to our house. The seller and I had been texting all morning, so the swap was about to begin.
We arrived at the new house around 1:00pm, but we had not had lunch yet, so our plan was to drop off the vehicles, eat, and then start unloading. We were greeted with a bustle of activity, and their movers had only moved boxes at this point. So our lunch plan was perfect. This would give their movers time to get some furniture out so we could unload ours.
However, there was a kink. The air conditioner in the new house went out. A call needed to be made to get someone there right away, or it was going to be an even more miserable move. The heat and humidity of the day were already overwhelming us all. So I made the call to get someone there to fix the air conditioner as we went to lunch.
Upon our return, furniture was moving out the front door, and our movers were unloading our items into the garage and the house. We went right back to work, moving boxes and furniture in as the seller’s movers were moving furniture out. In the middle of it all, the air conditioning repairman arrived, and worked around movers, boxes, and furniture, trying to get it working once again.
At 5:30, our movers were nearly done. They were amazing. In stressful conditions, they were hard-working and light-hearted, demonstrating that no matter what the circumstances, you can have fun!
The seller’s movers were still working hard, but they only had a couple more trips to go. We decided to take the U-Haul trucks back while they finished.
With one U-Haul returned, we made our way back to our new home, ready to pick up the other truck. I stopped at the end of the lane to check the mail, and when my husband opened the door, we heard a loud hissing sound. The back tire had a large metal trailer pin sticking in the middle of it. Oh no...
I drove to the top of the lane, close to the house, so we could get a better look. We pulled out the pin, and Fix-a-Flat wasn’t going to fix this! We had a flat tire in fairly new tires. Through trial and error, we figured it out with a little help from a YouTube video on how to get the spare tire out from underneath the van with the special tool we found. By now, it was 8:00. We had to get that other U-Haul back - time was money at this point.
We were all hot, tired, and hungry. My boys were amazing troopers through it all. So, I called in a pizza to their favorite place as we dropped off the last U-Haul truck. We took care of the truck, and went to pick up the pizza. I told the boys to wait in the van while I went in to get it. 9:00pm. We were hungry. We were tired. We were sweaty.
I couldn’t wait to get our pizza and get home. We still had to put together beds, and all I really wanted was a shower.
The lady at the front counter asked for my name for pick up.
“Heavin,” I said.
“Um, someone already picked it up,” she said.
“What? I’m the person who called it in. Who picked it up?”
“Some guy came in to pick up a pizza. We asked if it was Heavin and he said yes.”
“Well, he just picked up our pizza.” I walked out in disbelief. Who in the world would pick up our pizza? Seriously?
I opened the van door and started crying. “I’m done. Between moving our entire house, getting an air conditioner fixed, dealing with a flat tire, and now someone else picked up our pizza, I’m done.” I sat in the front seat and cried. My husband, in disbelief, went into the pizza place to figure out what was going on. He came back and said they were remaking the pizzas - it would be 15 minutes.
Patiently, we waited the van, sitting in the parking lot, still in disbelief. It was quite a day.
9:45pm. We were finally home. We found some paper plates, eating picnic style, surrounded by boxes. It felt good to sit and eat. It felt good to be in working air conditioning. It felt good to be done with the day.
The boys showered as my husband put together beds around the house, and I cleaned. I am glad I labeled all the bedding, finding it quickly so I could get those hard-working little guys to bed.
12:30am. Shower. I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow.
Why tell this story?
When I look back and relive the day in my mind, I cannot believe all that took place. I could solely focus on all the negatives - the tire, the pizza, the air conditioner, the heat, the timing of the move. I could focus on all the wrongs of the day.
But, I remind myself of this. We moved! We did it! Everything was moved from our old house into a new house in one day. No one was hurt. Everyone pitched in and did an awesome job. Our movers were fabulous and were a pleasure to work with. No fighting. Nothing broken. It was a success.
Too often in our lives, we focus on the negative. I see it every day. We are surrounded by what is wrong. I think about my life in education, and we often hear what is wrong or negative.
Is everything perfect? No. But there is a lot that is going well, and it is time we see it, acknowledge it, and value it. There is good happening. There are positive outcomes. Students are not only learning, but excelling. Kids are doing amazing things! They are creating, growing, contributing to our communities. Teachers, principals, counselors, support staff - all doing amazing work with kids each and every day.
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/positive-negative-contrast-455580/
So, the next time we think about what mistake was made during the day or what went wrong, we need to learn from it and move on, focusing more on all of the positives of the day. The negative default needs to be challenged and changed, so that the default in our minds is the positive. The more we can share our positives, our celebrations, and the good of each day, the better we will all be!
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
It’s been a while. My last blog post was in April. It is not that I haven’t had a TON to write about. I have plenty of blog posts that float through my brain on a daily basis. But, as life happens, my blog and my connected adventure has truly taken a back seat.
My family recently moved - which is another blog post in the works - and my presence was essential as we made this transition to our new house. My presence was not only physically needed as we made this move to our new house - packing/unpacking, cleaning, painting. My presence has been essential emotionally. Our boys are older now, and while it was great that they could actually carry boxes for this move, it was also harder for them mentally since our old house was the only house they really knew! But we grew stronger because of it. Over the past few weeks, our family has grown strong together, spending time unpacking together, playing and running around together, jumping on our new trampoline together! My presence with my family has been a gift.
While I have been unplugged, unpacking, and painting, I have had a lot of thinking time. I have had to listen to my own words and truly take charge of being present. Present for my staff. Present for my students. Present for my family. Present for my connected tribe as well. We each have moments where our presence is needed, shifting our focus from one place to another.
For me, there is no balance between school and family. I’ve tried to balance the two for years and have always felt guilt and defeat. So, I’ve adopted a new frame of mind, and that is being present in the moments throughout my day, focusing my attention where I am and who I am with. Being present with my staff, my students, my family, my tribe, has allowed me to not only keep up with it all, but truly focus on what matters in that moment.
Our presence impacts those who matter most, and in the moments that our presence is needed.
Each day, I focus on being present with my family, talking with them, playing with them, simply hanging out with them.
Each day, I focus on being present with my tribe and connected educators who continue to push me professionally and inspire me daily.
Each day, I focus on being present with my staff and students, focusing on their needs, helping them grow.
Each day, I focus on being present in my own reflections, spending a few solid moments to reflect in order to move forward.
In all of these moments of presence, it is not about time, but rather about my focus. My full attention is placed with those individuals I am currently present with. That is the moment that matters at that time. That is where my presence will be.
Now as I move forward and gear up for the upcoming school year, I will focus on being present in all the moments of the day with those people I am with. It is when we are truly present in those moments that we can make a difference in the lives of those we care about most.