One year ago today, we loaded up our uhaul full of everything we own, we said our hardest goodbyes and we hit the road for Tampa without looking back!
A lot of people I’ve met here, ask “what brought you down to Tampa?” And I always say “we were looking for a new adventure.” And a new adventure is exactly what we got.
We always joke around that things are never easy for us. There’s always some crazy ass obstacle that we have to overcome. Honestly, it’s exhausting sometimes but it’s our life. This is a long story but I promise it’s an entertaining one. And maybe one day, it’ll be Chapter One in my future best-selling novel or Episode One of the reality tv that will star on Netflix.
Let me set the stage for you:
It’s April Fool’s Day. Izzy is in heat. Floyd has barely eaten or drank anything in days because he’s too busy crying from outside the door where Izzy is. We are trying to keep them separated because we decided after 2 litters of puppies, we were going to retire Mama Izzy.
This is where the story begins;
SOOOO, we are letting Floyd outside to potty and bringing Izzy inside when Floyd breaks out of Leonard’s grasp and hops on top of Izzy and starts humping her. Leonard shoved all 120lbs of Floyd off of her and as he stumbles to the ground, he continues to hump her (sorry, this is graphic but an important part of the story). We hadn’t planned on breeding anymore because we were moving to an apartment across the country very soon and decided 2 litters was enough because we didn’t get Izzy just to breed her. We sat there in complete shock and dismay as we calculated IF she got pregnant, when she would be due. Dogs are only pregnant for about 63 DAYS! Yes people, I said that right, 63 days! We calculated her due date as June 4th, the same exact day we were suppose to move.
More, TMI. Floyd has an undescended testicle so that means he’s shooting some steriles, so we thought maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t get pregnant but as the days went on, our little skinny athletic Izzy kept getting fatter and fatter.
We take her for an X-ray to see how many little monsters are in there. Sure enough, the vet says 9-10.
At this point we’re stunned. When we actually planned on breeding, we only had 4 the first litter and 6 the second. The one time we don’t plan it and it’s 10 freakin’ puppies! How are we going to hide 10 puppies in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment?!
Did I mention that we already had to make Floyd and Izzy “Support Dogs” because when the apartment we picked switched management they no longer even allowed German shepherds? So now we are bringing 12 German shepherds into the apartment…
At this point, it is what it is. Now we just gotta figure out the details. So we are trying to come up with a game plan. We prayed everyday that she would have the puppies before we left or once we got there. But if you remember what I said earlier about how our luck, it’s a 97% chance she’s going to have them in the car during our 17 hour drive.
My dad was going to drive the uhaul with Leonard’s mustang on the trailer, we were going to drive my Jeep with the dogs and Leonard’s parents were coming next week to visit and to drive his Camaro down. So the plan was we were going to tarp the entire back of the Jeep and if she started having them on the way, one of us would crawl back there and help her.
BUT the devil was lingering around and delivered us our next challenge.
A few days before we leave, we are driving around running errands when a guy hits us in my Jeep and it have to be sent to the shop. They said it wouldn’t be ready until next week but we were leaving in 3 days!!! So now Leonard’s poor Camaro becomes the birthing space if she happens to have them on the way..
So now it’s the big day!
The uhaul is packed and loaded. The plan is to leave at 9pm. Please tell me why the hell at 8:56pm, Izzy decides she’s going to start pushing the puppies out.
One by one, they’re coming out. Floyd is outside the window, nose to the sky, howling (it looked like some scene from National Geographic). 2 black males come out first, I guess our little Gunner was ready to meet us! An about every 15 minutes, another one comes.
I think Leonard’s mom was praying she had them at this time so she could sneak in an extra 2 hours with him! The 9th one finally comes out and we wait another 30 minutes to see if there is 10. Nothing comes.
We hurry and load the newborn puppies into a laundry basket and take Izzy to the Camaro because we have to make it to our apartment before they close to get the key and are already 2 hours behind schedule. It straight up looked like a maternity suite in the back of the camaro. The tarp is back there with her dog bed and a bunch of blankets. We get Izzy in and put all the puppies around her to keep feeding. We don’t even make it to the highway before we hear another Flizzy splash out of there…
I’m Izzy’s midwife so I’m constantly making sure all the puppies are accounted for and making sure she and her squad are all good. You’d think I was lying but it was a peaceful 17 hour trip. Izzy would get out and potty when we got gas and would go right back to feeding them. And whenever there was a little bump in the road, you heard little puppy noises! They sounded like those little green aliens off toy story!
So the GPS says we will arrive at 7:15pm. The apartment management office closes at 7 (of course!). I call and explain how we are headed there from Indiana and on a 17 hour drive and ask if someone could please wait 15 minutes so we can get our keys. She says, “No, we close at 7. You can get a room at the hotel across the street. We open back up at 9am.”
I’m sorry Paola, what the hell did you just say?
I dunno if it was the lack of sleep, Izzy’s estrogen filling the small camaro or what but Kee-kee-monshinika (that’s my bad bitch name for those who don’t know) unleashes. I’m not proud but she did change her story and waited for us.
SOOO we get there…
They need a cashier check with our deposit. They won’t accept the check I have already hand written out to them or wait until tomorrow to bring it to them. So Leonard drives across the street to the gas station to get it but the machine breaks mid-transaction. They have to give him the amount which is a couple thousand in cash. They empty all the cash from the registers and it’s still not enough so he has to wait until enough people come in to the gas station and buys something with cash until he reaches the amount.
Finally, we get the keys to our first ever apartment in Tampa, Florida.
Izzy is nestled into the guest bathroom with the puppies and my dad and Floyd are still on the way in the Uhaul. We are dead exhausted at this point but the excitement is firing our soul. We can’t unload anything since the uhaul isn’t there yet so we run to Walmart to fill up our very own fridge.
We get back home and my dad is still not there. He’s lost. I ask him to send his location and he’s a whopping 7 minutes away lol! I try to explain to him how to set up the GPS but thats a lost cause. So we head out to find him, he’s at Mcdonald’s eating an ice cream cone.
We get back to the apartment and my dad passes out in the guest room on the floor (I later find Floyd laying next to him, which is the sweetest thing. Floyd and my dad are like best buds).
Leonard and I unload the entire 20 foot long truck full of all our stuff THAT night! We were on the 2nd floor so we carry heavy ass furniture up 15 stairs! June in Florida is hot as balls. We are dripping in sweat, my hands are breaking, my legs are burning from the stairs and we are chugging bottles of water and eating twizzlers.
Moving is frustrating. You know when you’re moving, lets say a dresser, and the person leading going up the stairs doesn’t seem like their doing a damn thing and the poor person in back is waiting for the dresser to knock them down the stairs and squish them. I dunno if it’s because we had no fight left in us, or maybe we just need to start our own moving business because we were a freakin’ bomb ass team.
We shower and our aching, tired bodies fall to the mattress on the floor and we can’t help but feel like we finally crossed the finish line.
It seemed like the Devil tried every trick up his sleeve to try to keep us from moving, to try to break our spirits, and to try to mess up this happy time in our lives. But we kept our faith, prayed a lot, communicated with each other and kept each other focused on the prize.
I never would have learned to rely on Leonard and him rely on me, the way we have if we had still remained in our comfort zone and stayed at home. We’ve learned so many important lessons along the way. I’ll never forget when we were so inpatient to get our new couch that instead of waiting for delivery, we rented a uhaul pick up truck, we tied down our new couch with string and watched a piece of it fly off the back of the truck on the highway. Watching poor Leonard drag it down the highway in probably 100 degree weather and us driving 15 miles per hour the entire way home from St. Petersburg. Our couch only had a small knick in the leg of it and I smile every time I see it. Or hiding 10 loud ass, stinky puppies from our landlord and our neighbors! It’s been a roller coaster road like no other but i wouldn’t change it for the world.
God, it’s been the best adventure and everyday I’m thankful for my husband (and our fur babies-even though they didn’t have a choice) for being down to pick up our entire lives and try something completely new.
A year later;
We both have our dream nursing jobs. Leonard works in ICU and I work in the Emergency Department. We bought our dream house. Through serious convincing by Leonard, we kept a Flizzy of our own and I’m forever thankful we did. The dogs are the happiest I’ve ever seen them. And we are truly living our best and happiest life yet. We are trying new hobbies, growing at the old ones, building new friendships, connections, and trying to become the best versions of ourselves.
If you made it this far, I freakin’ applaud you or you’re my parents, mother-in-law or Leonard (in that case- Hey mom and dad, Hey Fran, Hey boo boo!)
Moral of this long ass story…
In one year, your entire life can change. One year from now, make sure you can look back and say you’re growing and changing and allowing yourself to be a little different than you were the year before.
SAY it and DO it! Set big ass goals for yourself and make them happen! No one believed us when we announced we were moving to Tampa. We made our dream a reality. We would stay up late making plans and we would sit in the car in the drive way long after we pulled up, trying to keep each other focused on the goal ahead. Don’t keep putting things off. Make a plan and make it happen.
The devil may be lurking in the shadows waiting to shut down your happiness but keep your faith strong. God is working harder for you. Find the positive in negative situations. Don’t let it discourage you or steal the happiness you’re working so hard for.
Alright ya’ll, thats the untold tale. Feels good to get it off my chest.