the remnants of september 2013.

September 20 rolls around all too soon and we do it: we drive away. We barely (just barely) survive moving out of our apartment, moving into the Vanagon, selling Ruby (the world's cutest vintage Volvo), getting renters, and tending to a thousand unbearable details that it's better for all of us if I fail to mention. We are still moving out as the new tenants are moving in... and when we finally finish up, their moving crew gathers around and prays over us. It is not as though we are leaving, but as though are being sent, and it is a gift.

After we don't get into Bethel's school (for which we are both grateful and regretful), The Music Man goes back to work for a couple weeks. Not knowing for certain whether he'll ever have the privilege of working there again, he rummages around the leftover parts room (I hear they have one of these in heaven too), finds a harp body he remembers working on (it has a beautiful and unique pattern in the wood), and decides to throw together a harp. And then, because he seemingly doesn't have anything else to do after hours, he decides to throw together a hammered dulcimer too. And in case you don't already know, I'm married to the cutest, kindest, most incredible guy on the planet, who also happens to have the worst timing! I am a little flustered about the many hours of effort and significant financial expense of such an undertaking at such a time, but my vision is pretty limited to basic survival just now. Ultimately I am grateful that The Music Man made these incredibly beautiful instruments for our budding musician, even though I'm currently super annoyed about being left with a mere two inches of personal space in the van because we are toting around a tiny vintage toy piano, a tiny guitar, a tiny banjo, a ukelele (which comes tiny), two hand drums (one of which is tiny), and a huge harp! Other noteworthy possessions we are packing with us in our tiny van-home include: a tiny orange bike (and a tiny orange helmet), a sewing machine (which is not orange but matches the interior of our van), all our hiking gear, and a few bare essentials (food, clothes, sleeping bags, wind chimes, Christmas lights, etc).

Already I sometimes find myself aching for our home and now realize just how long a year could end up feeling... without a real bed, without a real fridge, without a real shower, without a real toilet, without real electricity (batteries and candles don't count), without a real income, and without our beloved friends and neighbors and families and churches as close to our bodies as they are to our hearts.

We spend the first few days at The Music Man's parents' house (which we'll just call "Base Camp"), working on the Vanagon relentlessly. We install some cork flooring which our landlady donates to the cause, a little wood trim, a few wood panels, and some fancy custom cabinetry that The Music Man's father fashions for us, as well as a few less notable fixes. We spend a few days in Marblemount (where The Music Man spent the first 18 years of his life) at a cabin with my folks (who are in from out of town) and I try really (really) hard to relax. This proves to be more challenging than it sounds after weeks (months?) of non-stop, absolutely over the top stress, but it is a wonderful couple of days together. They get me, and it's good to be gotten. The highlight is waking my folks up in the middle of the night, when we notice that the clouds that have lingered for days have finally lifted, so my Poppy can see The Milky Way in the clear night sky. My whole family then heads south for a few fun days with my big brother and his family.

It is not until our ride home from my brother's house, when the weather forces us to pull off at a rest stop, that we spend our first night in our van since moving out. Our only other overnight encounter with the van was at Mt. Rainier a few days after buying the old girl. I marvel that we could be so fool-hearty as to move into a van without even bothering to really try it out... why would we do that, I wonder? Best not to know, I suppose. At present however, we are warm and cozy, all huddled together like sardines in the bed down below, and drink deep a well-deserved sense of satisfaction for having done what some would say could not (should not?) be done... and through it all, we are still very much alive and still very much in love.