After our traumatic dog fight situation at the Whitefish KOA, we were desperate to head back to Hungry Horse Reservoir, to the perfect campsite on the water where we stayed before. It was approaching mid to late August by this point, so we knew that our chances of getting our last spot was probably pretty slim. However, it was a Tuesday and typically midweek was a good time to try. When we pulled down the dirt road that now was almost unrecognizable covered in deep puddles from the recent rains, we knew we were okay. No one was there. This summer’s weather in Whitefish was thought to be pretty far off from what was normal, apparently. We didn’t know what was typical being from out of town. To us the overcast and cooler weather was a welcome change from the constant hot temperatures we were used to back in Oakland, California. We think the weather deterred tourists from moving into our spot. This was great news for us!
When we arrived, we quickly settled right back into our routine. We knew where everything needed to go and what worked best as far as our camp gear and layout. It was a quick set up and within less than an hour, there we were back in paradise and living one with nature again.
We only had a few days until camping was officially over for us. It had been over two months in total and to be honest, I was pretty excited to call it quits. Mostly because our two year old really struggled with the sleep situation. He was amazing in the daytime and his naps were probably some of the best ever. But at night, when the cold temperatures set in and we had to bundle him in several layers including his down coat, I could just tell he was not as comfortable as could be. He also was outgrowing his Pack n Play, which does not have the most comfortable padding.
So after a few days, we said goodbye to Hungry Horse and to camping all together. It was bittersweet.
We didn’t know how much longer we had to close on the Bed and Breakfast, but we knew it was at least a few weeks out. School was starting for the boys and we needed to have some place to live even if it was temporary so they could sleep in actual beds and bath tubs to bathe in. When I signed them up for school, the school gave me a special form to sign that basically called us homeless. We didn’t have an actual address, so the office administrator said we needed to fill it out. I didn’t think too much about it because we did have a home, just not one we had closed on quite yet. But I did start to wonder what our seven year old must be thinking as we move from place to place. Here he is about to start first grade in a new place where he knows no one. He is young enough to mold easily to situations but he is also an incredibly sensitive soul. He still talks about this friend he had back in preschool when he was four years old like they see each other everyday. They haven’t spoken or seen each other in three years. On the one hand, I know that this is a good experience for him but on the other, I just worry that his anxious little self will internalize everything he is going through and I won’t recognize that he is struggling. I am so afraid that I might miss the signs that he isn’t doing well. He isn’t loud or outspoken like our two year old, so it just isn’t as obvious with Dylan when things aren’t great.
We decided to rent a condo at Whitefish Mountain Resort for a couple of days so that the kid’s had a fresh start for their first days of school. It was small but very cute and so convenient right on the mountain. I loved being able to take the kids on the chair lifts up and down the mountain during the daytime.
Dylan and I rode the Alpine Slides a few times. He was just a wee bit too little to ride the sled by himself without issues. They are designed to go at a little faster speed, which requires someone a little older than Dylan, but he had fun anyways.
I think the strangest part of staying at the condo was that even though it was definitely more convenient in terms of bathing and laundry, it really didn’t feel more relaxing. Camping is a ton of work, no doubt but there is just something very rewarding about the whole process of camping. Living in a furnished condo is strange because you just don’t feel like you are at home or that you can really relax. At least I can’t. There is so much clutter and you are sacrificing things that you wouldn’t from your actual home. Like kitchen utensils or your favorite bed linens or maybe the shower pressure. It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be, so I found it pretty depressing. But with young kids, you are definitely better off especially with colder weather setting in. We couldn’t push our kids to wake up in the crazy early mornings, fresh out of the tent, to snap to in like 40 degree weather. Not to mention the usual getting ready for school routine is so difficult as is, that doing it while camping just seemed so daunting.
Dylans’ first day at Muldown Elementary was perfect. He had everything he needed and his family was there by his side at drop off. We gave him long hugs until his teacher lead the class into school for the day. Funny enough, Ryan recognized one of the other parents, who’s kid just happened to be one of Dylan’s buddies that he quickly latched onto. Turned out, his friend’s mom went to school in Italy with Ryan back in 2000 or somewhere in that time frame. She didn’t recognize him at first but then she did and we all couldn’t believe the chances of this encounter years later! We have been close friends with them ever since. It’s pretty funny how life works out like that sometimes. Out of seven first grade classes, what are the chances that our two boys end up in the same class together? They too were recent transplants and their story was pretty incredible as well. Originally both from California, her and her husband moved to Nicaragua. With the country’s recent warfare, they ended up leaving everything behind after several years to move to Whitefish, Montana. A place totally foreign to them as well. I don’t think it was coincidental that our kids connected so quickly. Whatever the case, it’s nice that they did.
We needed to work on getting some long term housing in order because things were slowly moving on the B&B front. There were several vacations that took place from both the seller’s side and ours. We kept feeding the SBA and bank all the documents they had asked for but it sounded like the seller’s were reluctant or slow getting information back to them for whatever reason. All we could do is hang tight and wait for our thirty days (that the SBA needed to process and close on our loan) to begin. We knew it was close but didn’t have that confirmation quite yet.
I was spending my days trying to get things off the ground for the business. We needed to commit completely to this Bed and Breakfast because come day one, we needed to have an amazing and updated website, killer marketing and basically everything modernized and running to get our occupancy up as quickly as possible. We were projecting a move in date of around mid September or possibly end of September, so we didn’t have a lot of time. That meant spending a lot of our money to get things going, creating accounts, building a brand and logo, networking and lining up our permits, licenses and certifications. There was so much to do and with only a month or so before opening, we needed to jump on these things now. Well before we knew if this deal would even go through.
With the kids now in school, we had more free time to get on it. I completed a ridiculous amount of work each day. But I had passion behind what I was doing and I completely loved every second of it.
About two weeks into Dylan’s new school, we learned that he was locked out just after drop off. His school had a lock down policy where parents need to sign in to the office before heading out to the playground with the kids. Dylan had successfully gotten himself to the back of the school where the first graders enter the school, so I thought nothing of it when I dropped him off at the front gate and told him to find his way to class. Like all the other kids, I thought he would run to the back where they line up and enter. Apparently, the second bell had already rung and by the time he ran back to the first grade entrance, they shut and locked the doors. He is a new student and so he didn’t know what to do. He just stood there waiting for god knows how long until a police officer or guard of some sort let him in.
It was a very traumatic event for him because for several weeks after we had to calm him down before each day of school. He would usually freak out and cry worried that he would be locked out. It took us about a week to figure out that we needed to once again walk him to class each day. But we got him back on track. It didn’t help that not only did his teacher quit after two weeks, but two of his best friends also ended up being transferred out of his classroom to another. I felt so bad for Dylan.
This was not the way we wanted him to start his new school. It’s been a few months now, and he seems to be doing well. This was just another thing we really didn’t need with all the crazy going on with the B&B and the unknown timeline to closing.
(to be continued……)