At one point Wednesday night, I said it would be a miracle if I could finish everything I needed to do within the ensuing 36 hours.

Sometimes miracles do happen.

First, a little bit of history …

Earlier this month Kates and I cut a deal with our realtor and agreed to rent a duplex from her, figuring it’s best for us, at this point, to take a break from our house hunt, concentrate on selling our house in K-Town and get our bearings in The ‘Ville.

She assured us the family living in the duplex would be moved out by May 20, and I relayed the message to my apartment landlord that I’d be moved out of my place by June 1.

(I hate using the word duplex. It seems to have this sad, unfortunate, trashy connotation. … Sort of the way condo living takes on the connotation of a place for retirees or yuppies.)

Never mind that I was in Wisconsin last weekend, and had plans to be in K-Town this weekend, too. If the family in the duplex was moving out by the 20th, I had plenty of time, right?


By Wednesday night, the 26th, they were almost moved out -- but still had belongings spread throughout the garage.

But by that point, I had no choice. I needed to get my stuff out of my apartment. I was determined to get out of town so I could spend the weekend with my wife and daughter!

I started packing my Little Green Machine around 6 on Wednesday night with all the boxes it could hold and began making the car trips halfway across town from my apartment to the duplex. Once I got to the duplex, I had to practically beg the departing residents for a key to the place.

In all, I made three trips and filled a spare bedroom that we’ve designated as a storage room.

* * *

Meanwhile, the “American Idol” finale was playing out live on FOX.

Before I started the moving process, I popped a video tape into my VCR and let it record.

I wasn’t expecting to have any trouble avoiding the results. Although I’d have to check my Blackberry for messages from time to time, I just wouldn’t open any of my news alerts, and I’d be fine, right?

Wrong again.

The alerts started rolling in around 9:30, while I was walking into my apartment from making my second trip to the duplex. Nearly every alert spilled the beans right there in the subject line: Lee DeWyze is next ‘American Idol.’ … Leaving no time for the shock I would have felt had I been watching it live, I could only roll my eyes and keep on moving.

But for the record, I couldn’t keep myself from playing back that video tape when I was back in my apartment for good -- past midnight, early Thursday morning. And the spectacle of all the big time performances kept me up until past 2 a.m. …

I finally did give in to sleep -- recognizing my Thursday was going be another busy and trying day -- just before the Janet Jackson performance … I watched the remainder of the show while I ate breakfast and got ready for work Thursday morning.

My favorite performance of the night, easily, was Crystal Bowersox’s hookup with Alanis Morrissette. A distant second goes to Crystal and Lee teaming up with Joe Cocker … Cocker’s age showed throughout the performance, but Crystal’s and Lee’s singing gave the performance a major energy boost.

The showcase of past American Idols and the ensuing parade of past contestants, in a tribute to Simon Cowell, also was extremely memorable. And I surprised myself with how many of the Idols I recognized and remembered.

Worst performance of the night -- and it pains me to say this, as much as I adore their music -- was Chicago with Lee DeWyzeChicago hasn’t been Chicago since Peter Cetera left the band, and the remaining members just can’t cut it like they used to.

As for Lee winning the competition over Crystal? I didn’t agree entirely with the outcome, but I didn’t care. Both have loads of appeal and both have promising careers ahead of them.

Good reads ...
a Lee DeWyze beats Crystal Bowersox on 'American Idol' in Simon Cowell's farewell
a 'Idolatry': Lee DeWyze on 'pitchy' singing, 'confidence' critiques, and his alternate 'Beautiful Day'
a 'Idolatry': Crystal Bowersox on dream collaborations (Adam Lambert?), confrontations with judges, and what she'd change about 'Idol'
a Crystal Bowersox after 'American Idol' finale: 'I wouldn't have tried out if I didn't think I had a shot at winning'
a As Lee DeWyze wins a sleepy season, where does 'Idol' go without Simon?

* * *

I pushed through my work day on Thursday and took off a couple hours early to get a head start on the move …

Sometime around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, after completing the first night of my move and in the midst of watching the Idol finale, I went online and booked a Uhaul truck -- the Internet rocks! -- to move my larger furniture.

I got a phone call from a Uhaul person later in the day and recruited my old friend Shawn -- aka Tall Bobby -- to help. I picked up the truck, and Shawn met me at the apartment around 4. We went to work loading all of my furniture and the remaining boxes that wouldn’t fit into my car … Within 90 minutes we had my belongings moved to the duplex and I was returning the truck to the local True Value store.

Then came the cleanup. I scrubbed the bathroom from wall to wall and wiped the kitchen from top to bottom. I vacuumed the floors … Finally, I left the old apartment for the last time around 12:30 a.m. Friday, and for the second consecutive day, it was past 2 a.m. before I could get into bed.

* * *

On Friday morning, although I had marked the day as a vacation day on my calendar, I went to work for a couple hours anyway. I had to make up time for taking off early the day before, and I had to meet a television reporter for an interview …

At around 10 a.m., I had finished my work for the day and was checking out for the Memorial Day weekend. After a quick trip back to the duplex to grab my suitcase -- and taking a few minutes to handle one final media call about a budget issue that had cropped up -- I was on the road to K-Town once more. My last trip before the big move next month.

After five months of driving the same route through Iowa and Illinois it’s nearly second-nature.

Admittedly, I probably drove a little faster this time … Because I wanted badly to arrive in time to say good night to Phoebe.

The adrenaline pumping the closer I got, I finally reached our house around 8:30. Pulled the car into the garage. Jogged through the back yard and into the house. Opened the back door and burst through the kitchen …

And there playing in the living room with Kates was a smiling and wide awake Phoebe!

Without skipping a beat, I joined Kates on the floor beside the couch. Phoebe jumped into my lap, and promptly started feeling my face with her little hands, as if she had to touch my mouth, ears and cheeks to make it sure it was really me and not just another image of me on Skype.

As hard as it has been to be apart, the homecomings never get dull.

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