We moved out of our home in mid-June anticipating an earlier house closing and capitalizing on the one date the moving company had available. When we announced our need to find some temporary housing, our friends and family rose to the occasion.
Offer after offer poured in. Stay here! Stay here! And that’s not an easy offer to make. There are six of us, after all — + 2 big dogs + a guinea pig + a frog. We’re not what you’d call “discreet” guests. We were overwhelmed with the love and generosity of the offers. Are still overwhelmed with the love and generosity.
In what we considered to be the best interest of our kids and our overall general sanity, we decided to stay at as few places as possible without overstaying our welcome. The amount of crap we’re toting with us makes that decision one of the wiser ones we’ve made in the past year.
Seriously, we have a lot o’ crap. From Rubbermaid containers of clothes to dog supplies to toiletries to cleaning supplies to vacuums to air mattresses to items the movers refused to pack on the truck, we look a bit like the Clampetts. More than a bit.
Our first stop was with our dear friends, Scott, Mary, and Ben. They opened their arms, their hearts, and their beautiful home to us. And we descended upon them like The Blob. Remember that 1958 thriller? The Blob overtook everything in its path. And so did we. Our stuff was everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Clothes in every nook and cranny, iPhone chargers in every outlet, laptops on every table. The poor Robisons couldn’t even see their house once we arrived and unloaded.
And Mary is a housekeeper of unparalleled resolve. Her floors sparkle, her dishes are always put away, her pictures are perpetually straight, her counters always wiped down.
And then came the Willis’s.
But you know what else there was? Laughter. And love. And happiness. And noise. And abundant drinking. And more laughter. We made new friends. We cherished old friends. We had the time of our lives.
Connie said it best… “When you wake up in the same space with someone, the relationship changes.”
Thank you, Dear Friends, for the gift of your hospitality and your home. But most of all, thank you for the gift of your time. We will never forget. And when we are across the country in Mississippi wondering if we will ever find friends that mean even half as much to us, we’ll know that you’re here holding down the fort in our beloved Indiana. We love you.
The next stop on our tour is happening right now. We’re sharing a home with my beloved childhood friend, Andi, and her very new husband, Scott. And their five kids. And the 11 pets that our combined households bring together. So, let me do that math for you really quickly… 4 adults, 9 kids, 11 pets. It’s chaos. And it’s glorious.
We “house sat” while they were on their Montana honeymoon. While the “ranch elves” were replenishing their Pellegrino and turning their golf carts around in the parking lot, we were walking dogs, feeding cats, making sure the crayfish didn’t escape.
And then there was the “Double Cat Incident.” But that’s an entirely different post. Let’s just say that Lucy has been banned from the house. And from contact with any small animals.
Now we’re embracing the noise and the laughter and the chaos. We’re drinking wine and beer and walking to the Village. We’re watching “America’s Got Talent.” We’re hitting the zoo, we’re engaging in impromptu kitchen dance parties, we’re loving life.
Andi and I have known each other for years. We’ve been separated by states before. She attended college in Cornell, worked in NYC for many years. Our friendship has already survived the “across the miles” test. Saying goodbye to Andi is different because I know that what we have will not change. And she’s so excited for us. And we, in turn, are so excited for her. She has married a wonderful man who adores her. He’s smart and funny and witty and kind. Overwhelmingly kind. My friend deserves kindness in her life. I am so grateful that she has found it in her Knight in Shining Armor. Hurrah, Spiegs.
While we’ve been “On Tour,” we’ve wined and dined with the dearest of friends. We’ve sat poolside with loved ones and exchanged tears and gifts and cards and hugs. We’ve expressed our appreciation, said some heart-wrenching goodbyes, loved with all our might.
Our tour is coming to an end soon. Chris is defending his dissertation at IU this morning. I have a book signing event tonight. Tomorrow, my beloved Dr. Willis leaves for Starkville. The kids and I are staying to celebrate one final Fourth of July in Zionsville, and we’re taking off shortly thereafter.
Our new adventure is about to begin. Within a week, we will be hundreds of miles away. But what is so near and dear to us here will always remain in our hearts. Distance can never alter what feeds and nourishes our souls.
We love you, Dear Friends. Words are inadequate to describe just how much.