30 September 2009

The Move

For those needing to be caught up with the Boyd family, here is a synopsis of recent events: Matt’s hours got cut to half time and he needed to quickly find a job that would support our family. He spent July and August working and going through the job hunt process. His prayer request was that God would open just ONE door for a job. He did not want to have to choose between living by my family or his family, being in the ministry or getting out, or being focused on salary when we know the Lord will provide.

At the end of August, the Wyoming State Government called Matt and offered him the job of Technology Specialist at a new prison, the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution. Matt asked for a day to think about it. That afternoon he had an interview for another job that paid twice as much and was located in Gillette Wyoming.

The next day Matt accepted the position at the prison and 5 minutes later the Gillette job called and said they were interested in him as well. Did I mention the Gillette job was twice the salary? But the prison job was the first door that God opened so Matt sorrowfully declined the Gillette job. That was hard.

The prison wanted him to start the following day!! but Brent, his current boss, had asked Matt to give him for 2 weeks notice.

So, figuring 3 days of travel time and Matt still having to go to work half time, we had about 7 days to do 9 days worth of work. We needed to pack the house, prepare the house to rent (since we owe more on the home than we could sell it for), celebrate 2 birthdays and say our goodbyes.

We called a realty company in Torrington and we quickly realized that housing would be a problem. For some reason, potential landlords all get the same look in their eye when they find out someone has 7 children. Then we tell them about the 100lb Siberian Husky.

We decided keeping the dog was not a priority – the children however, we just couldn’t part with.

There was only 1 house for rent in all of Torrington. It was 820 sq ft. I took it. That made the packing job a little different. Now instead of packing our 2500 sq ft house, our job was to get rid of everything.

Friends from Sunday School came up with boxes and packed and trashed and cleaned. They posted all our furniture on craigslist. They also planned, and set up a garage sale for the following day. I was a bit skeptical that anyone would want my broken junk. But wow, we sold everything! I was left with beds, clothes and kitchen stuff.


The next big thing was getting a 2500 sq ft fixer-upper ready to rent. We were originally able to afford the house because it was trashed to begin with. It certainly didn’t help the condition of the house when we lived in it with 7 boys for 5 years.

There was painting, flooring projects, cabinet projects, concrete projects, electrical projects, trim projects, deck projects, faucet projects, drainage projects, and we created a carpet project. Being 9 months pregnant and highly skilled in construction, I was ready to tackle it all.

Actually, I was ready to sit on the floor and cry – and oh yes! That’s what I did.
However, my wonderful family and friends came and for more than a week painted every wall in the house, and tackled every project on the list. They repaired tiles and grout, painted and hung kitchen cabinets, removed and replaced concrete steps, repaired wobbly deck rails, fixed electrical wiring, installed dish washers, installed French drains, fiddled with faucets, and really did paint every room in the house. During this process Gideon, sweet Gideon, knocked over a 5 gallon bucket of paint which began the carpet project. My friends also presented Matt and I with an amazingly generous gift of Visa cash cards, and spent loads of their own money at the hardware store and on cleaning supplies. We felt truly blessed.

On Matt’s last day of work, we had planned on him bringing home the reserved moving van. However the car trailer wasn’t ready so he had to drive across Santa Rosa to pick it up. And, of course, it wasn’t ready there either so he had to wait 45 minutes for them to rewire the trailer. He still had trim to cut and stain and a French drain to finish and a load to run to the dump by 3:00. It was 1:00 and he was still waiting for the truck and in Santa Rosa, an hour away.


So Jen Saunders and I, both pregnant, decided we were the last resort for the dump run. We left Michelle Laffan with her never ending painting job, asked my Grama to babysit 6 or 7 children, and took the babies to the dump. Remember with Michelle, Jen and I we have 12 children between the 3 of us. So Jen and I took the Suburban with the trailer load of CONCRETE! Carpet, and bark to the dump. It took Jen a good 30 minutes to back up the trailer at the dump crookedly. We decided that since no one else was there the crooked backup job was fine, and we got out to start unloading. Nope. The dump backhoe guy made a beeline toward us in his backhoe and shook his head, “not good enough”. So, back in the Suburban, she finally got the trailer backed up in the right spot. Then the two of us unloaded all the carpet and concrete and bark. It was really hard.

Next was taking the trailer to the gravel place to get a load of rock to complete the French drain. That at least didn’t require physical effort, but by this time the babies in the truck were done and screamed the whole way there and back. Argh.
Grama and Michelle had done wonderfully. Grama thought all the boys had been great but she was ready to tie a few up. Michelle was still painting. Jen and Grama headed home and Matt showed up just a bit later with the moving van.


Oh but we aren’t done yet. We still had a trailer full of gravel to unload in the backyard so Matt backed up the Suburban and trailer through the side yard to make our walk with gravel buckets shorter. We have driven back there with the trailer many times, only this time God allowed other things to happen. As time was running out on our move, the side of the hill collapsed under the vehicle weight sending the Suburban sliding sideways down a hill about 2 feet, crashing it into a tree. The tree actually saved the Suburban from sliding further down the hill where it would have rolled over a rock wall. So we are very thankful. : )

At this point, if the Suburban had been driven forward, it would take out a couple of door handles and crunch some more metal. If the Suburban were driven backwards, it would take out the passenger side mirror. So, Matt built some contraption with a wheeled floor dolly and a track of bricks and wood and was going to try to slide the suburban on the track uphill…sideways. Right.

He attached a tow strap from the side of the pinned suburban to the back of the Laffan’s 4x4. Michelle had planned on going home but offered to stay so that we could use her truck. We couldn’t figure out how to get the truck into 4 wheel drive mode so Matt drove up and down the drive way about 20 times until he finally figured it out.

Now connected to the pinned Suburban again, and now in 4-wheel drive mode, Michelle is manning the Suburban, I am under it manning the floor jack and Matt is pulling the suburban up the hill right onto where I’m sitting. This should work out well.
Instead he broke the tow strap. And those things don’t usually break.

I’ve always made fun of Matt because he keeps this silly bucket of chains that we have never used.

So now connected to the pinned suburban again, in 4-wheel drive mode, and with a chain, Matt was able to pull the Suburban sideways up the hill and away from the tree.


By the last night, I’m getting tired and I’m just sitting in the driveway as kids and Matt parade our things in front of me and I say “keep” or “toss.” And no one was listening.

Our friends from Utah, Nate and Rylee, volunteered to fly to CA and help us drive to WY. So Diana drove to Sacramento and picked them up at the airport for us. Meanwhile the dump had closed before we had the chance of making our last dump run. That meant we had to spend one more night and do the dump run early the next morning. Friends came and helped us load the truck. That involved only one blown tire in the Brown’s car.

That night, we found out that there was a problem with the house we were going to rent. The carpet had been destroyed by the previous renters and it would not be totally ready until a week after we were supposed to move in. Hmm. We ignored the problem.

Nate and Matt got the car on the car trailer involving only one ripped off bumper, and we spent the last night at jens. Her very sweet neighbor brought me some healthy snacks for the road. It was very sweet and just another thing to bring on the tears.

We didn’t have time to get Nate added to the list of approved drivers on the moving truck so Nate and Rylee ended up driving my 7 boys, and 100lb Siberian Husky across the country with no air conditioning and saggy headliner, while Matt and I drove in the air-conditioned cab of the moving truck in peace and quiet. Actually we fought from Middletown to Wendover Nevada. I think Nate and Rylee got the better end of the deal.


Once in the moving truck, Matt and I were finally able to be still and realize that moving into an 820 sq ft house is insane, hence the fight. Somewhere in the middle of Nevada we decided there had to be somewhere else we could live. I decided to call the small towns around Torrington. I started with LaGrange but I couldn’t remember any phone numbers. I knew the prefix and started guessing random numbers. How many phone numbers could there be in LaGrange, right? The 4th guess worked.

So over the phone in the middle of Nevada, we were able to rent a bigger house, get a post office box, and change the name on all of the utilities for the house. And, the whole time nobody ever asked for proof of who we were or what we were renting. We didn’t even know the address – we kept referring to it as “that yellow house on the corner.” If we were in a city we would have needed 3 forms of ID, a 2 week waiting period and a spleen.

After approximately 240 potty breaks and 2 nights spent in motels (where I caught Matt teaching the boys to jump between beds) we arrived in LaGrange Wy, population 332, the same town where Matt and I got married.


Matt went to work the next morning leaving who to unpack….. To continue in his job, he has to pass a 5 week Prison Law course. I’m sure it’s riveting. He also has a 1.5 hour commute each way to the training center. Baby 8 is due during the 5 week training period and they have a zero absence policy.

We placed the kids in public school in LaGrange. Last year the number of students in LaGrange Elementary from K to 6 was 17. We found out later that there were little boys without any friends, praying for someone new. God even cares about the prayers of little boys.

Meanwhile, I have been getting sick at the new home. I woke up several nights in a row with a sore throat and gasping for air. One night it was so bad I went and slept in the Suburban. I came back inside in the morning fully expecting my family to be all passed out from the poisonous gas. They were still alive. That day my mother-in-law was scheduled to babysit so I could go to a prenatal visit. As soon as she came in the house to baby sit, she confirmed my suspicions. She said she smelled sewage.

The insurance with our RVCS job was through Kaiser. The closest Kaiser from Torrington is in the Denver area. I made a prenatal appointment at 11:30 in the Denver Kaiser. When I arrived, they told me that the appointment was actually for 1:15 and they just said 11:30 to get me there on time. I went to lunch and came back at 1:00. Then I sat in the check-up room until 2:20 when a different doctor finally decided to see me instead. On the way home there were brush fires and 5 accidents to slow traffic down so I didn’t get home until 9:30pm.


There ended up not being any sewage in our house, but apparently there was 2 feet of water rotting in our basement all summer long. Now Matt and my thoughts drifted to Josh and Christine’s mold and mildew issues. How long had that stuff been down there and what goodies were floating through the air making our throats close up. The landlord drained and aired out the basement, had the driveway leveled and lifted the area wall (the wall outside a basement window) by a foot so that water wouldn’t drain under the house.

While the driveway leveling guy was in our house he noticed that several of our faucets were running. Not dripping. In the off position, the faucets were letting out water like they were turned half way on. Crust had accumulated over time where the running water hit the 2 basins. In some places the crust was a centimeter thick. The landlord had the faucets replaced, but not after the water was turned off to the house for two days.

We also noticed that our showers in the morning were at best warm. The hot water heater kept tripping the breaker. I would get up and reset it so we could have a hot shower, but it would just trip again, sometimes 3 times a night. At one time we were so desperate for any semblance of warmth that we boiled 4 large pots of water and dumped them in the bath tub for a hot bath. At the moment the hot water tank is jerryrigged to allow hot water, but will send you to the hospital if you touch it.


We finally got some clarification about matt’s training academy’s “no absence” policy. They would be willing to give us an exception if we jumped through a few hoops.

The Kaiser coverage from RVC ended on September 30 and the deductable has already been paid. So our thought was to induce early enough for the delivery to still be on the old insurance. But, Kaiser has created some new rules concerning how early they will induce. They would only be willing to induce me starting on September 30, 2009. So we had to check in at 12:01 am and check out at 11:59 pm. We called to see if Kaiser would cover the full stay since we were admitted on the 30th but they told us to check out by 11:59 pm or we are paying cash. We would have to stay at least until 10 ish to get the baby’s tests and things done, which meant we would be getting back to Lagrange at about 1:30am. All the doctors and nurses were very concerned for us. One of them, a very sweet nurse named Danine even offered her house as a place to stay so that we wouldn’t be driving back in the middle of the night. How sweet is that?

Crazy sounding, but we are both at great peace with the whole situation. We feel that this is where God wants us, and are remembering that he is our provider, our strength and our endurance. The baby ended up being 6 pounds 12 ounces and was 19 ¾ inches and was born at 9:55AM on September 30, 2009. The baby’s name is Abigail Robin Boyd. And we forgot to bring the carseat to the hospital.

08 September 2009

Getting ready to move

Dan built interesting contraptions to reach trickey places

The second story deck railing was wiggly so Matt and Dan reinforced it by bringing 4x4 posts down to the ground.

07 September 2009

06 September 2009

he hit his head on a ...

Titus hit his head on a ... oh wait... Robin has specifically forbidden me to say what caused this wound. Titus' standard response now is "Josiah did it."

05 September 2009

Human bones in our home

A human jaw bone that washed up on the beach somehow made it into our home.

We contacted the police and they were very interested. They sent these two officers up to retrieve it.

04 September 2009

Reason to have a dog

Fezzik caught the possum that had been terrorizing our garden. We had to give the standard "why is there death in the world" talk to the kids. There were plenty of tears for the cute little thing.

03 September 2009

camping at the beach

Some of the boys first trip to the ocean.


Gideon, Luke, Matthew, Titus, Elijah, Robin, Silas, Samuel, Josiah

Josiah is in there somewhere.

Titus realizes that Elijah can't fight back and jumps at the opportunity.

Matt was getting a sunburn

Titus tripped and hit his head on the metal ring around the fire pit.

Nurse Kuhner always comes to camp with her mobile hospital. She worked some magic on the wound, but recommended that we take Titus back to the hospital in Santa Rosa. She did such a good job dressing the wound that the hospital wanted to hire her.

Titus' eye starts to swell.

Staying warm.

She liked his hat.

02 September 2009

I guess God wanted us to get new carpet

While getting the house ready to rent, we took a significant step backwards as Gideon spilled a 5 gallon bucket of paint on our carpet.

The scope of a clean up like this is unimaginable

Robin is biting her tongue because Matt is looking a bit too happy for this disaster

morning at the Boyds

01 September 2009

The last picture of Dufflepud

Dufflepud left and hasn't returned for a month. We are missing him. I'm convinced he wasn't something's dinner. I'm choosing to believe that he found an attractive young lady cat at a household that fed only tuna.