Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Moving to SLC (Part 1)

Exactly one year ago, the most feared and anticipated day of 2005 finally came… We had been preparing for it for months: Selling our beloved home in Dallas (not a painless process thanks to our buyers’ amateur realtor), finding a new home in Salt Lake City (thanks to our great real estate agent in Utah), packing the entire contents of our house, attempting – yet failing- to paint the new house before the move, bringing furniture from Houston, doing our last doctor and dentist checkups, arranging all kinds of logistic details, and saying farewell to friends, duck, and family.

Despite much work during the previous weeks, the day and night before the move we were still packing. We finally went to bed around midnight, and woke up bright and early next day since the movers would arrive at 8 am. We were supposed to load the truck, take the house keys to a friend of the new owners, and be ready to start the three-day road trip by noon.

According to the original plan, Joey’s parents would come with us on the trip to help us stay awake while driving, and maybe drive a little too. However, Joey’s dad suffered a heart attack in SLC a few weeks before the move. While – thankfully- he recovered and was able to go home, the episode didn’t help our plans since Joey was not able to finish painting the house, and we were left completely alone for the day of the move and the trip to Utah.

The loading job took a lot longer than planned even though both Joey and I helped moving furniture and getting all stuff out of the house. A big reason to hire movers was our lack of experience loading a truck. Boxes and more boxes kept piling up. I couldn’t believe that two people without children could have so much shit… It was looking like the truck might not have enough space for everything. So, at the last minute I decided to pack my car with all my computer equipment and several boxes. We also had to use the trunk of Joey’s car to move a few paintings, and put our big TV on the back seat. You’re not supposed to put anything on a car that will be hauled, but we had no choice. The cabin of the truck also had to be filled up with as much stuff as possible. A few extra chickens coming out of the windows, and we would’ve looked like a Colombian chiva.

During all this hectic time, I noticed that the movers were loading our dinning chairs like a bunch of needles in a jar, without any padding blankets in between. I asked one of the guys to use the blankets – we had gotten plenty of them. But this dude was not having any of that. He might as well have said “Shut up bitch!”; that’s how I interpreted his answer, but I didn’t have time to keep arguing with him. I had to keep moving boxes out of the house, and I was concerned about the timing, and how late at night we’d be driving. I told the other guy and Joey about the chair situation, and trusted that it would be taken care of.

The space left in the truck was not looking good, and all I begged for was that everything would fit. I was thankful for the movers’ skill when I saw that the truck’s door closed with only our cheap grill left out of the truck. Inside the truck everything was so compact, I couldn’t see the chairs any more and the other mover told me that they had padded them with blankets. So I thanked the movers so much for their help, and even suggested that they could have the grill… They had done such a great job…

I said goodbye to my dear house.

When I finally got on the car to deliver the house keys, I found all of our carefully packed plants completely dead. Sadly, I hadn’t waited long enough to put the box in the car, and one hour in the summer heat had killed the green out of them. I mourned my –now brown– plants and dropped the keys. A little past 2 pm, my face completely red, and exhausted yet full of adrenaline, we were finally ready to start driving: Joey on the truck, hauling almost all of our possessions and his car; me, alone in my car, bringing enough music for 3 days on the road. We tested the walkie-talkies. Our first stop: Salina, Kansas – 450 miles away…


  1. On , Joey wrote:

    Those movers!!!! UGH!! Why did you remind me…

  2. On , Marla wrote:

    Can’t believe it’s already been a year. A year and you are still present at work everyday. Still working with the mockups and the dbases you left behind on the project that will not be named that you and Seda shared. Still learning from you and wondering what the heck is going on here? and then going oh! that’s pretty cool.:) Just scratching the surface of these documents and oh my oh my oh my. You and Seda are missed.:)

    At this moment, I am putting together a spreadsheet of styles to see if I can forge some parallels between styles in the unnamed project and the one I have rolled from to bring them closer together.

    oh my, oh my, oh my

  3. On , Maria wrote:

    This is why I wanted to remember the anniversary of this trip. I was very sad to leave… It had taken me such a long time to find friends since moving to Dallas, and working with all of you was such a good experience. Long before the move, I would tell Joey that the beauty of my job was that I was surrounded by friends and fun people with whom EVERY DAY I would laugh out loud at least once. Not everybody has that in their jobs, and I cherished it so much.

    I also miss you tons, and on my next post you’ll see that you and others came with me on that awful trip.