Well, here I am in Tennessee again, all moved into my new apartment! I love it; the location could hardly be more ideal - as close to campus as you can get without being on campus; fairly secluded; east-facing, so we get all the gorgeous morning sunlight and none of the heat of the afternoon. I'm still revelling in the space; we have a living room! A dining area! A kitchen with enough cabinets! My room holds my extra-long twin bed, a bookshelf, and a recliner with no trouble at all and has room for a desk when I find one. I have my own bathroom, for that matter! And a walk-in closet!
More than that, I have a delightful roommate who shares my love of vegetables, Jane Austen, and good tea; who cooks and organizes and decorates and thinks much the same way I do. Our mothers like each other, too :) I think this is going to be a good year!
We loaded up the car last Wednesday and drove down Thursday (and I was convinced that I had forgotten something major, because even with my upholstered recliner, a pile of bricks and boards for my bookshelf, a good-sized TV cabinet, and the television itself, there was still space in the car. I still don't know how we managed this! But I don't seem to have left anything large at home, so perhaps I just figured out how to pack this year.) Friday we signed the lease and moved in a lot of stuff, then headed back to my roomie's house for the night, since I would be moving some furniture from Memphis and she's a lot closer than the apartment is.
I should back up a little. Last spring some friends of mine in Memphis offered me some furniture for the apartment: a couple of chairs and a full-size bed. I said yes, because who turns down free furniture? but I didn't think a whole lot about how we'd get it from Memphis to Jackson. I figured it would fit in the minivan.
Well, the week I was moving back my dad took some measurements and announced that there was no way a full-size box spring was going to fit in our van, even with all the seats out. So we were looking at renting a trailer. I got online, did some research, and Wednesday evening put in a reservation for a 5'x8' U-Haul trailer. I knew I was cutting it fine, and after reading some very negative reviews of U-Haul's service online I was a little nervous, but figured all we could do was pray it worked out. They were supposed to contact me by "6 PM of the day before your reservation" to let me know the status, pick-up location, etc. But I realised that the reservation form hadn't had a place to specify time, and we really did need it at a specific time; the person I was picking up from had other plans that day and needed to be out of the house fairly early.
So I called, Friday morning, and talked to a woman at the regional office who was extremely helpful. She noted down the time I said and my preferred pick-up location, and said they were still working on locating a trailer but she'd call as soon as she knew. It wasn't until almost 8 PM that she finally called back. "I'm afraid we still don't have any 5'x8' trailers available," she began, and my heart sank, "but would you be willing to take a 6'x12' for the same price?"
For the same price? You bet I would! And it was available at 8 AM, the time I needed it, and at the location I'd requested. Prayers answered. So we showed up at the time and place specified, signed papers, drove around back, and got hitched up. The owner and his assistant were very pleasant and friendly, and we were feeling pretty good about the whole thing.
And then the lights didn't work.
There was a problem with our wiring, apparently, and neither tail lights nor turn signals were working on the trailer. After some consultation they announced that they didn't have the mechanic to fix it at this location; if we wanted to go down to another location they could fix it for us, but it would run us $55. If we wanted to go and get the wiring fixed up, we could come on back and pick up the trailer, no problem; if we decided not to, they'd reverse the charges on the trailer, no fee for backing out. We decided to call my dad, but thought we'd drive on to the other location anyway, in case he said to go for it. I think it took three phone calls but we decided that, between the almost $100 price of the trailer rental and the cost of fixing the wiring, and the fact that I was after all only borrowing the bed and would have to return it, it would be almost as cheap just to buy a new bed. So we decided to just head over, pick up the chairs, and figure out a bed later.
We missed the turn to the highway. Mum was driving, and she's usually three steps ahead of herself, so this was unusual. As we pulled into a parking lot to turn around, I happened to look across the road. And there was a flea market - with a bed frame and mattress sitting out in the parking lot.
We thought we would have a look. We did have a look, and we found that there was a very nice wooden bed frame and an extra-long mattress and box spring set - and they were on sale for $100, the price we would have paid just to rent a trailer. AND they fit in the car! Not only that, but they fit in the car with the two chairs we were picking up.
We decided that God really does work in mysterious ways - but he works. So many things "went wrong" - the bed wouldn't fit in the van, I was worried about using U-Haul at all, then they didn't have the trailer we needed, our lights didn't work, we took a wrong turning.... but all that, in a convoluted way, led to my possession of a very nice bed for an unbeatable price. It truly was "a God thing"! And I'm pretty sure he was sitting up in heaven chuckling. I'm so glad our God has a sense of humour. I'm so glad he cares even about the little things, like procuring a bed to sleep in!