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CATCHING UP: we moved again! and it was.. eventful.

heyyyyy y'all. I know, I know. I've SERIOUSLY been neglecting the blog. life is hard, ok?

but I'm back (hopefully for good this time) to tell you the tale of our move. and TRUST ME. It is a TALE. unfortunately, nothing can be simple in my life. nothing can be easy. nothing can be boring. it's always an event, and that's not always a good thing.

but first of all, many of you may be asking: why did you move? where? wtf?

Adam got an opportunity for a pretty cool promotion within his company, but it required a move from outside of Destin, where we've made our home for the past 2 years, to TAMPA. So, we are still Floridians... but even further south. We're both super excited about the area and the opportunities it presents- both in his profession, and for me as an artist. plus, Tampa is a bigger city with lots of creature comforts and nightlife, which I love, and lots of incredible food, which we both love. This move has so much promise!

For quick context- I'm writing/posting this on Sunday, Oct 29th, and we officially arrived here on Friday, Oct 27.

now.... to the story.

we began the moving process on Wednesday, October 25. That morning, we picked up the U-Haul and started packing it up; by that evening, our three best friends from our time there in Niceville had arrive to help with the heavy lifting. We finished the night with a massive order of Chinese food from the same place Adam and I had our first night's meal in Niceville- Jin Jin- and then we settled in to sleep on the air mattress in the living room- again, just like our first night there. It was a very poetic ending to our time in that condo.

Thursday morning, we woke up to finish packing the U-Haul and cars and finish cleaning the condo. When we realized this was taking longer than expected, I sent Adam on his way (around 11 am) so that he could make it to Tampa at a reasonable time for our new resident check-in, and I would stay behind to clean. Mistake number one.

I finished cleaning the condo and packing my car up, and despite a few small nervous breakdowns I left by about 3pm. Much longer than expected, but it is what it is. We should've prepared better ahead of time in terms of cleaning. Lesson learned.

As I was driving, not long after leaving, I noticed a strange vibration coming from my car. I was very, very aware of it, but I didn't want to slow down and I didn't want to believe anything was actually wrong. Staying delulu is the solulu, after all.

I decided to kind of experiment, driving at different speeds and paying close attention to how my car behaved on different kinds of pavements. At this point, I chalked the vibration up to differences in pavement. On fresh bits of the interstate, for example, it might not vibrate at all; other times, it would only vibrate when I was over 70 mph. Eventually, a little more than two hours into my drive, a light came on my dash- I called Adam, and we determined it was the Malfunction Indicator Light. I stopped at gas stations, multiple times, to inspect my tires and try to determine the problem... I've had quite a few tire problems since moving to Florida (we have a theory there was a nail-in-the-road conspiracy happening in Okaloosa County) and I know what it sounds like to have something large in your tire- but I never found anything.

Mind you, during these searches, I opened my hood and couldn't find anything, I stuck my phone flashlight inside my wheel wells and couldn't find anything, I looked everywhere- almost. Mistake number two.

My dad was convinced I had gotten bad gas- I can't even begin to tell you how many times my parents asked me about the gas station I fueled up at lol. Producer Tyler thought it was a belt, but I never found anything under the hood when I checked. Adam's theory was the tires. Guess who won that bet? You'll find out soon.

More than four hours into my drive, I pulled over at a gas station to check my tires/check under the hood. My car had started vibrating so intensely at this point that I actually had to briefly pull over onto the shoulder of the interstate. I was terrified... somewhere in between Ocala and Gainesville, and I wasn't even at a Loves or a Pilot- it was some off-brand small town "Petro" station. It seemed nice, don't get me wrong (except for the awful redneck man screaming at a crying infant) but I was intent on getting back on I-75 and finishing my drive. I was only TWO HOURS away! I was so close!

It was around 10 pm at this point. I'm on the phone with Adam, trying to describe to him the noises my car is making and trying to get him to hear it... when I realize that this podunk exit hadn't had the on-ramps marked, and I got on the interstate going north. the opposite direction I was supposed to be going in. but honestly, I'm so thankful I did- going north, I only had 5 miles to the next exit; if I had been going south, it would've been more than 20 minutes to the next exit.... and I would've been stranded on the side of the interstate.

spoiler alert, this doesn't go well.

on that short five mile drive, I turned on my emergency blinkers and I went as slow as I felt I safely could while on the interstate- but even with my hazards on, I still almost got run over and side swiped multiple times. my guardian angel really was working over time, so shout-out to them.

I called my parents to tell them what was happening- which I was not planning to do, and would never do if it wasn't something SERIOUS. I like to sweep things under the rug and pretend they're not a big deal, so my parents don't worry. usually, I tell them about these kinds of events wayyyyy after I've figured out how to get out of the situation, so they don't worry as much and are just mildly entertained by the chaos that surrounds me. unfortunately, this one didn't end up as one of those.

So I make it to exit 374- Micanopy, Florida. Population 600. I googled it.

None of the gas stations advertised on the signs (and within sight of the exit ramp) are open this late, and I'm narrating this to my parents over the car speakers.

"there's a restaurant right off the exit, it says café something, so I'm going to pull in here. Café. OH MY GOSH, IT'S A STRIP CLUB. CAFE RISQUE." I half sobbed.

The absurdity of it all.

They laughed some, but they also very seriously advised me to stay in my car and they directed me on how to contact USAA roadside assistance, which I did. I called a tow truck, and selected the first and closes auto-body shop on the list- it was .02 miles away. Just on the other side of the underpass. I could almost see it. "You turned the wrong way!" my dad told me. I decided I really thought I could make it there, so I wouldn't even need the tow. With my parents' encouragement, I threw the car in drive and started chugalugging down the road.

Simultaneously, my parents let me know they were going to see about getting me a hotel room nearby; except, the only option was the Micanopy Inn. Pictures on Google looked decent, and in a rare stroke of optimism my dad was very confident it wouldn't be bad at all.

SURPRISE! The auto body shop? Under construction. Lucky for me, though, guess what is right behind it? The Micanopy Inn. I'm still on the phone with my parents, half sobbing about my luck, when my dad asks- "well, how does it look?"

Mind you, I'm terrified of germs. In general. Nice hotels freak me out, much less one with a smaller cleaning budget- no offense, it's just how I am. Plus, with the Parisian bedbug outbreak, I have bedbugs at the front of my mind more than I ever have. now, I didn't have high hopes for this place, but seeing it in person... I cried harder.


(if you know what I mean.)

In that moment, Gary and Karen were reminded of the untrustworthiness of "photos by owner" on Google.

So as they reminded me over and over NOT TO GET OUT OF THE CAR, I pulled in to a spot in the back.

Around this time, I get a call from the tow truck driver that he had received my dispatch and was on the way. We talked through a plan- he was going to tow me back to Gainesville, where we would find a good hotel where I would be safe to spend the night.

I call my parents back to update them, and as I'm waiting I get a text from Adam- he was going to come get me. He said he knew separating for so long was a bad idea, and that he would take his car off the U-Haul trailer and drive back up to retrieve me and my car. Only problem is that he was 2 hours away, at our new apartment in Tampa. I agreed, obviously, but now I had to cancel the tow.

I called the drive back: "Joe, will you be mad at me if I cancel? I just got it worked out that someone is going to be able to come pick me up."

"They're going to pick you up? AND your car? Will it be soon? Are you sure?"

God bless that man. If you're ever in Gainesville and need a tow, I highly recommend Gatorback Towing and Recovery. Tell Joe I sent ya.

I called my parents back to update them at that point, and not long after I see the tow truck pull in behind me. I rolled my window down and sweet Joe came over to make sure I was okay; through tears I told him I promised I was. He said he was almost there anyway when I had called, so he thought he would just stop and double check. THE CUSTOMER SERVICE ON THAT MAN! You best believe I left him a rave review on Google.

So I sat there, and I waited. For two hours. I listened to 1989 (TV) because, at that point, it was after midnight. I watched YouTube videos. I found full episodes of Bob's Burgers on YouTube, but even those couldn't make me feel better. Between the awfulness of the entire situation and Wynn standing on my increasingly full bladder (and my inability to relieve that issue), I was wide awake and insatiably anxious.

Finally, it was nearly time for Adam to arrive, so I chugged my car to the front of the lot to make it easier to load onto the trailer. I can honestly say I've never been so relieved by the sight of a U-Haul- when he pulled up, window rolled down, and said "....hey!" I started sobbing again. 2:50 am.

So we throw Wynn into the cab of the truck and load my car onto the trailer. As we finish tightening the ratchet straps, I take a step back and.... "ADAM. MY TIRE IS F***ED UP."


"Well, that's the problem babe."

we start to inspect it more closely. there is one single lug-nut holding my entire wheel onto the car. one.

let's rewind real quick to earlier this month when I had another eventful solo drive to Kentucky. I got a speeding ticket, and not 45 minutes later managed to drive my car off the side of an embankment and nearly flip it. after this incident, my dad took my car to be checked out and serviced, in case I had damaged the axels or anything. turns out, that somebody in that garage didn't finish screwing in that tire. So, somehow it survived my drive back from Kentucky to Niceville, but had slowly been loosening over the past two weeks. Lucky for me, I hadn't gone very far or very fast in that time (other than the trip back). So apparently, when I was going 70+ consistently for hours on the interstate drive to Tampa, it was too much for the already incredible loose bolts to handle.

I have repeatedly been reminded, every time I tell this story, that I could've died. I haven't had the emotional energy or the time to come to terms with that yet, so please don't remind me of this AGAIN lol.

So now, it's after 3 am in Micanopy, my car is loaded, and we are on our way back to Tampa.

Luckily, the story is pretty uneventful from there. Adam drove us back, and I finally relaxed enough/my adrenaline started running out right around the time we hit the outside of Tampa, so I unfortunately missed most of the early morning skyline. We did get to drive all that way beneath a full moon together, so that was pretty sweet at least.

We arrived back in our apartment at 6am on Friday morning, climbed onto the air mattress, and slept until our bodies woke us up. We couldn't find the blankets we had packed, so Adam scrounged a throw that had been used as packing material, and I found an extra-large beach towel in the back of my car between the TVs. For breakfast at 10 am, we ate the leftover Publix sub that Adam had stopped for when he arrived in Tampa the night before. Then it was time to get to it, unloading the U-Haul, so it could be turned in Friday night.

My mom called the dealership that had serviced my car, and let me tell you- there was chaos. between her fury and the fact that one of my cousins actually works in (maybe manages? I think?) the service department, they raised hell. Thankfully they are paying for my car to be fixed entirely- obviously they're responsible for the whole thing, but I'm extra glad because that is just not something I could've afforded right now. Turns out that the rotor was shot from all of the driving on the wobbly tire, and some rods had to be replaced too, I think? Plus the bolts and everything else. I can't remember everything. BUT! They were able to give her a full look over and thankfully, nothing else was damaged. I'm writing this on Sunday, and I pick her up on Monday.

and that, my friends gets us pretty up to date. We're unpacking and settling in. We've only had one moving casualty so far- a small injury to one of my paintings. I only cried a little lol.

I am honestly feeling pretty traumatized, and barely felt confident driving ten minutes to Starbucks and back this morning- which is frankly pretty out of character, because I've always been very independent, and I've been incredibly comfortable behind the wheel since I was about 19. It's going to take a bit for me to gain that back and get past the wild shit I've experienced while driving alone this month lol.

Tampa is fabulous so far though, and we're very excited for a new place, new opportunities, and lots of growth. and now we have an INCREDIBLY memorable beginning for our newest adventure. 😅

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