Tomorrow the husband and I close on a house. What?!?! We close on a house? I can't say I saw this in my future a year ago. But, praise God, Jeff got a job. I think I'm done complaining about that job being in New Jersey. Let's be honest, in this academic job market, people (especially white males) can't really be choosy about the job they take. For us, the decision was pretty easy. It was the only position he was offered. Buying a house came a lot easier than I would have ever guessed, simply because in this part of the country, it was much cheaper month-to-month for us to buy than to rent. And buying seemed a better way of liquidating our savings than did renting.
Anyway, one theme of our marriage has been always having more things to do than we have time to do them. That's what we get for refusing to choose between school/career and children, I guess. :) Times of stress (in other words, all the time, for us) can bring out the worst. In other words, those little idiosyncracies of one's spouse can be endearing during the best of times, but are just downright annoying during difficult times. It reminds me of what my friend Jana tells her Christian marriage classes, namely, that a good image for marriage is spending the rest of your life with a college roommate. All of those annoying little habits now get no summer break respite. They are permanent fixtures in your life, and, even though you really like each other and agree on major issues, there are still annoyances.
In case anyone is wondering, there's nothing easy about making a 10-hour trip with a toddler and an infant. Even if you take three days. And even if you and your spouse drive separate cars (although this does basically eliminate the opportunity for extended arguing). Coordinating movers, the closing, walk-throughs, utilities, changing bank accounts, etc. is not really all that fun either.
Did I mention that Jeff got sick in the weeks, and especially the days, right before our move? And have I ever mentioned that one area where I really need to grow is compassion and sympathy for my sick spouse? Perhaps this is why Jeff always seems to get sick at really inconvenient times; God wants to give me lots of opportunities to grow in this area. Sadly, the extent of my compassion was to say, "Right, I get it, you're sick, but we're still moving in two days, so what do you want me to do? Take care of you and the girls while packing and cleaning the whole house?" (Yes, I realize it's not that sympathetic.)
Over the last summer, there have been times when I've comforted myself regarding the move by reflecting on the fact that I'm moving WITH my family. This is not one of those challenging all-on-my-own moves. It's like the Boynton book, "Wherever you go, I'll go there too, here and there and everywhere and always with you." Yes, I want to be Jeff's "personal penguin" (you can also check it out on the "Blue Moo" album).
But while family SHOULD be a comfort, it's not always. Especially with young kids. Today I found myself very short-tempered with Maia. Intellectually I know that after being in the car for five hours, it's normal for a kid to want to run around and be loud and not cooperate. But after driving for five hours, with the last bit in some nasty NJ traffic (which, by the way, is just a usual, everyday occurrence, not some special rush hour thing), I just wanted to lay down on a bed and unwind.
The real bit of tension came when Maia started repeatedly yelling "Buchalatti." No, I have no idea who Buchalatti is. I'm guessing it's some scholar that Jeff's read. See, he does this thing where he likes the sound of someone's name and he'll say it over and over. Like I said, endearing at the best moments, but downright annoying at the worst. Maia has picked up on this little pet peeve of mine, and, when she's not shouting "poopy! poopy! poopy!" or "potty! potty! potty!" or "tushy! tushy! tushy!" it's "Buchalatti! Buchalatti! Buchalatti!" But, unlike Jeff, she doesn't really care that it bothers me. Or, I should say, unlike Jeff, she cares about it bothering me in that she delights in annoying me whereas Jeff only inadvertently annoys me, not purposely.
Of course, there's no real way to get away from a toddler when you're in a hotel room.
Oh, and did I mention that both girls picked up conjunctivitis?