We're currently with my mother in South Carolina.
This past week, I came extremely close to having a total and thorough nervous breakdown and had to flee. So Charlie drove his truck (which had been shipped from California) and I drove our van (which we drove from California) and the two of us, and our four children, high-tailed it out of Virginia as fast as we could.
Things are looking a little brighter now. Especially since my sweet Carolyn is doing better. She was extremely sick over the weekend and spent her parent's 16-year wedding anniversary in the hospital with coughing fits so bad she actually turned blue and couldn't breathe.
It seems that residing in a hotel for four weeks straight nearly did everyone in. The kids were crying every single day that they wanted to go home (and back to their world) and Charlie and I could not find any suitable homes within a reasonable distance from my office that we thought would be good for our family and yet, not put us in dire financial straights.
For a host of reasons, we both decided that we did not want to rent, so that wasn't even an option. The one house that we did find, and really liked - and had an offer accepted on - we discovered needed a whole new septic system and a long list of other critical things that we'd need to pay for ... and oh my gosh, where is that money going to come from?!
In the midst of figuring out how much we'd lose by liquidating our 401Ks, we realized the error of our ways and we withdrew our offer. Meanwhile, our home sale in California was messed up more than you could ever believe. Our relocation consultant's "approved" realtor steered us astray and told us to sign the sale contract; which we had specifically asked ARE YOU SURE this doesn't need to go through our relocation consultant? And they said YES, this is what starts the appraisal process. Except, that wasn't what was supposed to happen.
And because of that error, all of our relocation benefits were promptly lost and we're now trying to recover them. What that means, in layman's terms, is that although we weren't supposed to pay for any of the closing costs and realtor fees ... we're now hit with the tab. To add insult to injury, we also lost a home sale incentive (3% of the sale price) and a whole lot of other critical stuff. But they're working on getting it back. Slooowly.
All of this "hit the fan" on Monday, just before my new boss showed me my new "office" which is a very un-feng shui cubicle. And you know what I learned about myself? I'm all about energy flow and sitting with my face against a wall makes it feel like my soul is being sucked out of my ears and stomped beneath dirty boots.
My boss then asked me the status of my passport because I'm scheduled to travel four times internationally by the end of the year. When I accepted the job (the title hadn't yet been defined), I was told there would be no travel. So, that tidbit about me going to Europe (twice) and Australia and Canada came as a bit of a shock. Kind of like having a pacemaker ripped straight of your fragile chest.
If I was at a different place in my life, I'd love to travel around the world. But with four small children and loose teeth that will fall out at any moment? That doesn't sound so good to me because if Mommy is away, the Tooth Fairy might forget to come by.
After talking with my former boss, Human Resources, and my new boss, it was confirmed that THIS job is my only current option with the company. So for much of last week, I was trying to figure out how to leave and repay everything while also whipping Charlie's resume in to shape so he can land a job in the time it takes us to get us back to California - hire a real estate attorney - and get our house back.
Paralleling only that time when we had three premature newborn babies in the NICU, this has been the most stressful experience of our entire lives. The mind-blowing panic attacks have been coming on at five minute intervals and I've had no more than three hours of consecutive sleep in the past eight days.
After talking to a psychiatrist (!!!!) today, we've again (and finally, FINALLY) decided that we CAN and MUST do this whole Virginia thing for at least one year. Especially since the appraisal came back in California to match our asking price and that's a done deal unless we want to lose everything we've saved in legal battles and hope at least one of us can find a new job with benefits.
Now, we just have to find a home in Virginia within the next three weeks because our furniture is due to arrive ... not sure where? ... and we need to get our children registered for school that is scheduled to start next month. But first, before we figure out WHERE we're going to live, we need to get over the virus that is ravaging us.
Thanks be to God for my Mother and my Aunt Grace who rescued us from the turmoil and also, for my company, because although this HAS been very difficult, they have exercised incredible patience with me during this entire time. Best of all, they've endorsed me taking off the time I need to get my mental game on and my immune system back in shape. Considering I've never taken sick time in the almost 10 years I've been with the company, I figure now's as good of a time as any. These past four months have nearly done me in.
I've clearly underestimated that impact that this relocation would have on my family, although everyone that's been through a relocation just nods in understanding. You really have no idea how difficult it is to move, until you are going through it. And with the additional complications that we've endured just getting to this point, I feel like we deserve a star on a sidewalk somewhere.
Charlie and I celebrated our 16-year wedding anniversary this past Friday. Although there wasn't much celebrating and whenever we were together we just stared at each other and moaned, "Ohhhh my GOD, what did we do?!" I gave him a card that read, "Once upon a time..."
And on the inside it read, "To make a long story short ... they all lived happily ever after."
As of right now: I have absolutely no idea what the future holds for our family. We've never taken anything one day at a time, as much as we're taking this whole experience. While it has been very frightening and unsettling and anxiety-ridden, we're holding on to each other as tightly as we can and we believe that things will be better, very soon.
I don't know why, or how.
But we have to have faith.