After a week of spring like weather, it looks like winter has it’s firm grip on New England. We have been quite lucky this winter, only a few weeks of cold and only a few snowstorms. Thursday, I decided to work from home since I had to get my annual physical. The snow came that afternoon and made for a terrible commute from what my co-workers told me on Friday. Springfield, MA has a terrible reputation for managing their roads during the winter, so I was not expecting any changes this year. The Friday commute was very easy, right up to the point where I left I-91 and turned onto Springfield streets.

It was at that moment that my commute turned to more of an ice dance. While I have driven on many icy roads in my life, this was, by far, the worst. I settled in quickly, but continued to worry about someone else sliding into me. There was a full inch or more of ice over the entire road surface – clear indication that Springfield did nothing since the snow had started. Happily, I made it to work unscathed (both me and the car). Fortunately, the city workers had cleared the roads by the time I headed home. I’m certain that there were a few angry calls to the city that day, likely from accident victims.

There are times like this that I feel fortunate to live in a small town, where roads are cleared before I get out of bed, and continuously throughout an winter weather event. We made the right choice to move here – and this is just one more reason!

We are finally home. We closed on the house Thursday at the lawyer’s office. It is always stressful knowing that you are signing away where much of your money is going for the foreseeable future, but comforting in knowing that you have signed away your money in a relatively safe investment. Well, that and you get to actually live there with your loved ones!

Early on Friday, KT and I headed to drop off Brewster at the groomer’s place so he could be out of the way, then to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts to get coffee and donuts for the movers. The same crew arrived that packed and drove from Virginia, and the good news is that our items never even left the trailer, significantly reducing the breakage that we expected. Bob and gang were spectacular, considering we didn’t know where much of the stuff was headed. Our home in Richmond was very different from the Connecticut home, so we had tons more space, yet far less out of sight storage space.

We are still working on where to put everything, but have the basics down. We’ve cooked dinner almost every night, and I have slept in my own bed every night since Friday. After more than three months, I was finally able to get a good night’s sleep and my back didn’t hurt in the morning. The fact that my wife was next to me, and my kids were down the hall was just icing on the cake.

On Saturday, Sue and I headed into South Windsor to take care of some errands. We are still living in the hotel, but only for this weekend and part of next week. Then, we will be actually living in South Windsor, CT. So, we headed to Evergreen Walk, the smaller but more enjoyable of the two malls in the area. It is an outdoor shopping mall, very similar to the Short Pump mall in the West End of Richmond. Mostly high end stores, but enough diversity to make walking around fun.

So, after the bank to get my signatures on new accounts, and the post office to pick up our forwarded mail, we headed to Evergreen Walk. Eventually, we made our way into the LL Bean store. Sue had been there with the kids, but I had never actually been at the mall. Outside of the store, they were having a good many activities to celebrate their one-year anniversary of being open in South Windsor. One of the things they were doing was giving shorter versions of their walk-on adventure classes for free. This included GPS Techno Treasure Hunt, flycasting, and kayaking. After talking with the kids, we signed up for the kayaking class. This was a somewhat shortened class, with about 50 minutes on the water after some basic instruction and transportation to the pond. They normally charge $15 per person for each of these adventures, a nominal fee for some good instruction, all equipment, etc.

The driver pulled up to drop off the previous class, then took the 14 of us to the pond. We were given safety instructions, PFDs, paddles, and sent off to our kayaks (instruction was good, stressing safety, how to paddle, and some warm up exercises). I was in a 14’ kayak, as was Jake. Sue and KT were in 12’ ones. We all had a great time paddling, getting to know how to turn, and trying to keep from running into each other much. Both Sue and I got some solo time with the kids to talk about the experience, if they would do it again, and if they would eventually kayak together. We have so much water around us, both flat and running, that we would be silly not to purchase two kayaks and start to explore the area.

I can’t say enough about the LL Bean crew. They ensured that we had a great time, and kept it very low key, the way kayaking is supposed to be.

Today we took our dog Brewster to a dog park. This park is less than a mile from our new home in South Windsor, CT. Brew was a bit hesitant to explore, sniffing at all of the fences, fire hydrants, and trees. He finally let loose and ran a bit. This was about as much excitement as the boy could stand as his little brain tried to take it all in. Hopefully, we will be able to take advantage of this free park many times while living in CT.

After two months of searching, we finally found a home. We had crossed the “more than 50 homes visited” without success until this week. Finally, we knew that we had to change gears, look south of Amherst into Connecticut and start the search again. We had a few locations in CT that we had looked at previously, but the feel of the community and, more importantly, the feel of the homes was not right. Of course, high school selection meant that we were not just looking anywhere, but in a limited number of locations. Finally on Tuesday, Sue was ticked off enough that she decided that she needed to head north and execute a plan herself. The Realtor that we were using in CT was on vacation and the back up was simply not able to execute within our ever constricting time frame.

Sue made reservations late Tuesday night, was on a plane headed for Boston at 6 AM, and took the bus to Springfield to arrive by noon. She had made a few calls on Tuesday evening, and received one from Donna on Wednesday morning, shortly after arrival in Boston. Donna found out the details, came up with an aggressive plan, and she and Sue hit 6 homes before the day was out on Wednesday. The extension of that plan was to visit as many homes as possible on Thursday since Sue had to leave first thing Friday morning. Six homes later on Thursday, and they hit pay dirt! The home is spectacular, has been owned and cared for by a lovely couple, and will make our family a warm home. Details to follow in a future post. I am so proud of Sue and how she took this into her own hands to fix. Oh yes, our wonderful new Realtor helped!

So fate or faith, whatever you want to call it… paid off. We didn’t find a home in Amherst because we weren’t supposed to find a home in Amherst — not even with a fantastic realtor there. We found a home — the home — that we were supposed to and will be very happy there for years to come.