Busted Axle Road
Chapter 24

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

Mike and Kirsten had planned to make their move the second week of June, but when the papers got signed earlier than they expected, they were ready, and Memorial Day weekend was handy. Reasoning that the sooner they moved, the farther they would be from Kirsten's due date, they decided to get on with it.

Mike was going to be happy to move. Kirsten had pretty much gotten over her scare from the snake, back in April, but she still made Mike check the bathroom before she used it, every time, and she still tried to use the bathroom at the office as much as possible.

As big as she was getting, it was going to be better when she could take showers; she'd used the tub for baths, mostly because a stopper was in the drain, between her and anything that might crawl out of the sewer. But, it was difficult, and going on dangerous, for her to get up again, and Mike was glad that was going to be over with, soon.

Kirsten wasn't getting the fun, the anticipation out of this pregnancy that she had with her others, and Mike had given some thought to unilaterally deciding to remove the risk of any future ones. He was going to be sneaking up on retirement before this kid was in college, and one day he realized that he didn't consider himself young, any more.

Moving was clearly going to be a pain in the butt. The only thing that made it easier was that Gil and Carrie had promised to help out, along with the truck from the store. With the handling equipment that he had, plus the strong backs of Danny and his friend, Josh Archer, that part of it would be much simplified.

In the weeks that had passed since their decision to buy the new house, they had been packing whenever they got the chance, bringing stuff down and stacking it in the living room. Mike had already borrowed Gil's truck on several occasions and hauled stuff out to the new house, stacking it in the garage, so they still could get through the living room. It was amazing how much stuff they had accumulated in twelve years of living together, how much stuff the kids could cram into the little room they had shared.

Clearly, moving was going to be a big job, and with only the one truck running back and forth, it was going to be a long one, too. A second truck would make life a lot easier, Mike knew, but he didn't manage to put two and two together until the Thursday before the move, over breakfast at the Spearfish Lake Cafe. He was sitting across the table from Mark when he realized that Mark had a pickup. "Any chance we can borrow your truck for a couple days this weekend?" he asked. "We're going to move this weekend."

"Sure," Mark said. "What time do you want Jackie and me there?"

"You guys don't have to help out," Mark protested lamely, grateful for the prospect of more help.

"Oh, we don't mind," Mark said. "Jackie said to tell you to plan on eating at our place when you move, so you don't have to cook, on top of everything else. It'll make pizza seem a little less tiring."

"You don't have to do that," Mike repeated.

"It's not a case of have to," Mark told him. "It's a case of want to, neighbor."

Both Mike and Kirsten were subdued Friday night, after Tiffany and Henry were in bed. Since Saturday was going to be a big day, they went to bed early, but sleep wouldn't come. "I can't believe it," Kirsten said, laying there in the dark. "This is our last night here. Think of everything that's happened to us in this house, in this room."

"Going on ten years," Mike agreed. They'd moved there anticipating Tiffany; they'd seen that her arrival would make their little apartment too crowded.

"It's going to be strange to not live here," she went on. "I wonder how long it'll take me to come home from work and not turn the wrong way."

"You'll pick it up, pretty quick," Mike said. "Think of the things we're not going to have to put up with. Like, waiting for Tiffany to get done taking a bath."

"Yeah," she agreed, "Or, Tiffany and Henry fighting over who messed up the room."

"Or, that idiot with the motorcycle up the block."

"Washing dishes. It'll be nice to have a dishwasher."

"Having to park the cars one in front of the other, and always wanting the car in front."

"Yeah," Kirsten agreed thoughtfully. "No snakes in the drains."

"There will be that," Mike said. "We're going to have new problems, but it'll be kind of fun to deal with them."

They lay quietly for a few minutes. They had already anticipated some of the new problems; in the weeks since Jackie had dropped in on them at the club, they had already begun to see why Mark and Jackie called it "Busted Axle Road". It hadn't gotten real bad yet, but it was easy to see that it was going to get worse before it got better. And, it was clear that when the wind was up the hill, mosquitos were going to be more of a problem than they had been in town. All was not sweetness and light, but the tradeoffs seemed adequate.

"As long as we're here for the last time," Kirsten said finally, "There's something I want to do here for the last time."

"You mean..."

"Yeah."

"Aren't you getting a little too far along?"

"Not if we're careful."

They were still asleep the next morning when Henry bounced into the room. "Uncle Gil and Aunt Carrie are here," he reported. "And I can't get the TV on so I can watch cartoons."

"No cartoons for you today, Henrykins," Mike told him. "I unhooked the TV set last night so we can move today. We've got a lot of work to do, and that means you, too."

"Go ask Aunt Carrie to give you some cereal," Kirsten added. "There's some in a box on the kitchen shelf. Tell Uncle Gil and Aunt Carrie we'll be down in a minute."

"OK, mommy," the boy said, and turned to leave the room.

"Would you believe me if I said I don't want to get up?" Kirsten said.

"You're not getting out of it that easily," Mike told her, throwing back the covers. "I will admit, the sooner this day is over with, the happier I'm going to be."

"Yeah, me too."

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