The lights are on
OMG! Level 15! - Level 15
This blog has nothing to do with video games, and it might be clear as to why after reading it. Aside from the few games I have had the opportunity to play while at work for review, I have had no time for personal gaming. No quick games of mobile solitaire, or even an attempt at beating Dan Ryckert or Ben Hanson’s Jetpack Joyride high scores. This is instead about my move to come work for Game Informer.After securing the job here at Game Informer, there was the deceptively simple task of moving to Minnesota from South Carolina. It’s something I can describe in three words -- move to Minnesota -- but a process that took two separate 22 hour drives across the United States, and a huge amount of stress.I began working here on September 12, so the weekend leading up to that day was me on the road with my copilot Yoda and a car full of priorities including things like two TVs, all my video game consoles, and a handful of Shadow of the Colossus figurines. Otherwise known as the important stuff. I also brought an inflatable mattress and a few articles of clothing.
I left my eight month pregnant wife behind in my home state, but only for two weeks. She had help from family, and companionship from our two cats. I flew back to South Carolina the weekend of September 23 to begin the real trip.We had a moving truck take care of all the large furniture, but for many other items my wife and I rented an RV and a Uhaul trailer to take the rest. We figured taking an RV would make moving a pregnant lady and two cats who hate being in any kind of moving vehicle at least a little bearable. We were slightly correct.Here is something I learned about traveling with an RV, specifically RV parks: they don’t work like hotels. My wife and I assumed we could drive until the caffeine wore off, find an RV park, and set up for the night. We had also heard that Walmarts welcomes RV travelers with open arms, which isn't entirely true.We found a Walmart near the interstate around 2 a.m., ready to get some sleep. In large bold letters by the parking lot it read, “No Overnight Parking”. We decided to google some RV parks with our phones, and I began making calls. The first park to pick up answered groggily with a simple, “hello”. No announcement of what RV park I had called, or a "how may I help you," just a confused tired, “hello”. The kind of hello you hear when you call your friend in the middle of the night not realizing what time it is.I hadn’t called a wrong number, just an RV park that closed at 10 p.m.. The woman was very helpful, despite being confused as to why someone would be trying to park an RV at 2 a.m., and she suggested some other parks. Eventually, I did find a location nearby with a man who happened to have a spot available. All he had to do was throw on some clothes and meet me in the office.I walked into the building a few minutes later to a sign that read, “Cash or Check Only”. All my wife and I had were debit and credit cards. I walked back to the RV to talk to my wife about what we should do. She opened her wallet to reveal no cash, and as I opened my wallet to show off my lack of bills, a small miracle occurred. Right before leaving for Minnesota, my wife signed a blank check for me to have in case I needed to pay an odd rent or deposit amount to our new home. I never ended up using it, and I excitedly ran back into the office to tell the man of our luck. As I wrote out the check, he asked, “So, you’re staying tomorrow night?” I replied no, that we just needed a place to set up tonight. He was a bit confused and simply said, “but, tonight is already over.” Eventually he just accepted our money, and showed us where to set up, and then I assume he went back to bed. My wife and I plugged in the RV and went to sleep.
Two hours later my wife woke me up. Something was wrong and we needed to go to the hospital. I threw on pants, ran outside, used the light on my phone to clumsily unhook the RV, and ran back inside to google the word hospital. We found one a few minutes away, and sped off as quickly as an RV with a packed Uhaul trailer could possibly go.At the hospital, I drove our giant vehicle up the emergency room ramp, and parked taking up no less than four spots. We went inside leaving the cats to fend for themselves inside the RV, and got taken care of fairly quickly. My wife was having contractions and we began to think that maybe the baby was going to be born in Hendersonville, NC in the middle of our trip.After a few hours, and some pain medication for my wife, the doctors informed us that she was not showing signs of labor, and that the contractions were likely a result of stress, and possible dehydration. They let us go, but not before both mine and my wife’s parents made a drive to meet us in the NC hospital. They arrived there just in time to discover that everything was okay, and my wife was feeling well enough to travel.We went back to the RV still taking up multiple spots in the emergency room parking lot to thankfully discover that the cats were okay. They had each found their own hiding spots somewhere in the RV, and even though they refused to show themselves when called (something they usually do surprisingly), they were okay. We got back on the road to finish our trip with two hours of solid RV sleep, and about three hours of hospital sleep. My wife had a real bed in the hospital, but my hospital bed was a chair pulled up beside her. Our minds were more than ready to get back on the road after losing most of our Saturday, even if our bodies were not.The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. I didn’t wake up any RV park owners at 2 a.m., and we were able to find a Walmart that had no qualms with us sleeping in their parking lot. The next day we pulled our RV and Uhaul through the crowded toll roads of Chicago, IL. Attempting to pay the automated toll booths in a giant RV was about the most interesting thing that happened that day.
We made it to our new home late Sunday night and one of our cats found a hole and jumped in the wall. It was the perfect end to a far from perfect trip. He came out when he got hungry, and the hole is now closed.I like to think about that man I woke up at the RV park on Friday night, when reflecting on the trip. I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought the appearance of my wife and I was all a dream. He woke up at 2 a.m., welcomed a pair of visitors who clearly didn’t understand how RV parks worked, and well before he woke up, they had disappeared. They paid for a night they didn’t even use.We’re happy to be here now in our new home, officially confident that whenever our baby does come she will be a Minnesota resident. She won’t have to take a 20-something hour car trip during her first days on Earth, which is incredibly relieving. It feels good to be home.
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.