Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And the List Goes On....

In 12 days we leave.  Crazy how fast time goes.  As always, you feel you have tons of time to get everything done and then all of a sudden you have two days to see all your friends, pack all your things, get all your papers in order, close up your house, the list goes on.

I'm currently recovering from a second round of bunion surgery in a month (I loved it sooo much the first time around I thought I'd do it again). and making a list of all the things that need to be done as the days trickle away.

Bandages from bunion surgery.  Yes, it hurt.

I have to admit that I always hear people who talk about ALLLLLL the things they need to do before making a huge move and this doesn't seem as difficult as I assumed it would be.  It's probably all the pain meds! I don't know.  But, here's my list for anyone who's wondering.....
  1. Charlie's Vet appointment for his International Medical Certificate, i.e. Pet Passport
  2. Box up our "10" boxes, fill out customs forms, print shipping labels, and take to Post Office
  3. Sell or have all excess furniture and such removed from apartment
  4. Kids last Well Visit and Vaccines
  5. Get all updated doctor and dental records
  6. Cancel utilities and cell phones
  7. Talk to Taylor's school about leaving
  8. Organize bank accounts and transfer any extraneous monies into them
  9. Cancel any unnecessary credit cards and memberships
  10. Figure out how to pack my favorite piece of art, a painting by Kristopher Stillwell
  11. Drop off toys to our favorite daycare and clothes to a donation center
  12. Ebay those few pairs of shoes I decided to part with
  13. Change of address to Post Office-our friend is taking in any mail that still comes to us
  14. Create a phone book of all my friend's numbers in my cellphone
  15. Contact all my friends, even the old ones I haven't talked to in a while, and tell them we're moving and how to keep in contact with us
  16. Contact the ABC School in France and make sure they have room for both kids when we return
  17. Have coffee dates with all my close friends before I ship out
  18. Talk myself into letting my mom see the kids before we go (a long story that one day may be told)
  19. Get my hair colored and cut, Taylor's hair cut, and Charlie one last grooming
  20. Pack our suitcases.....
Painting by Kristopher Stillwell

I'm sure more things will come up, but that's pretty much the list.  Now if I could just walk, some of it could actually get done. Oh vanity, she rules me so.  But cute shoes in my future is soooo worth it.  I'll just have to work double time next week.

We invite you on our journey, the door is always open!!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Four Lives in 10 Boxes.....

And the countdown begins......

James booked us on a flight back to France for May 2nd.  Now that the date is set we figured we should get a move on clearing the apartment and all of our needless "things."

So, we put up an ad on Craigs List offering all our goods.  Saying basically, "if you can see it, it's for sale."  Well, within one week we've been picked clean of most all our furniture and quite a few kitchen things.  I'm currently sitting on my big comfy sofa giving it a cuddle since it will be leaving the family in a few short days. 

Already Taylor's bed, our dressers, the dining table and chairs, my desk, and our office cabinets have gone, along with lots of shelving.  Taylor handled it really well once we discussed how difficult it would be to take his bed on the plane.  The other big pieces are leaving us this weekend.  What will remain for the next three weeks is our mattress, Emm's toddler bed and the TV shelving unit.  Crazy!  We'll have to have family picnics on our bed and watch movies on the computer. :)  

So......the 10 boxes have begun development.  As a reminder, we had a moving company give us a quote to move half of our furnitue and belongings to France and he gave us a price of $13,600.  We decided against that, obviously, and chose to ask UPS how much to send boxes.  It came to $100 for a 20lb box, $150 for a 30lb box.  So we set ourselves a goal of 10 boxes.  (With wiggle room of course.  Cause as I've said before, I'm a packrat.)

We moved all the things we thought we wanted to keep into the bedroom and all the things we didn't want to keep into the living room.  We ended up with 13 boxes in the bedroom.  We also gave Taylor and Emm each a box to fill with their favorite toys. If it fit it could come to France. T ended up putting some things in Emm's box and she didn't seem to mind since she plays with them too.  They ended up with three once I added their books and cuddlies.  One box is kept in mind for my favorite kitchen items, the cutlery/knife drawer and the cooking utlensils.  Yes, I'm sure France makes these things, but I'm partial to my dodads. Then add in a couple boxes for linens, love my down comforter and cover and have priced them out there.  Might as well spend to send.  So, we start with about 20.

Now, we'll spend the next week or so narrowing down these boxes to try and get as close to 10 as we can and then the final week of packing the 4 suitcases we'll bring on the plane.  Whew.  

Now I'm starting to get a wee bit anxious. Cause time will go fast and as much as you think you have it all under control, the day creeps up to you and you find you're scrambling.  And there are soooo many things to do before we leave, people to try and get together with, and dentist appointments, and doctors visits, and..................

Monday, April 4, 2011

"She's a Human Being isn't She???"

As I hang around couch-bound after bunion surgery the only work towards the move I can do is on the computer.  So, I was looking into flights for us to return to Nice and it reminded me of a story I wanted to share.....

Last April (2010) we planned a two week trip to Nice, France to visit with Grandpa and help him to settle into his new city.  Everyone was excited to go and Taylor had told all his school friends he was going to France.  Our date was shortly after the volcano issue and, lucky us, the day before our flight planes were finally okayed to fly in our trip's direction. 

Just dropped at airport...(T really was excited, you'll just have to believe me)

On the day we grabbed T from the bus, jumped into a cab and headed to the airport.  Each plane we saw taking off made us all the more excited.  We got into line, not horribly long surprisingly (we had expected the airport to be jammed with stranded people waiting for a break), and waited.  Well, with two young children anything more than five minutes is long and they began to complain.  A nice British Airways woman rescued us and let us into the business class line which was MUCH shorter. 

Once at the check-in desk we presented all our papers and passports and gave ourselves high fives that we were almost on our way.  Then, the British Airways woman asks for the infant's passport.  Ummmm....

Here's the conversation...

Us:  "The what?"  

Her:  "The baby's passport."  

Us:  "She doesn't have a passport."

Her:  "She needs a passport to travel."

Us:  "But she's only 1 years old! She doesn't even walk yet. Why does she need a passport?"

The male co-worker now standing behind Her:  "She's a HUMAN BEING isn't she?!"

(Add a silent "DUH" after his statement, coupled with hands on hips and a cocked head and eyebrow)

Her:  "NEXT..." (looking over us and never again in our direction)

Us:  "But what are we to do?  Our plane leaves in two hours?"


Well, we moved away from the desk, heads hung low, Taylor asking why we weren't getting on the plane.  I felt like I was going to both throw up and throw down.  The lady and the man were officially off my Christmas list.  We called a cab to take us home and rode home in silence.

Now, comes the hurray part......

James, my amazingly wonderful husband, and our incredibly intelligent friend Jen worked it out so we could still use our tickets with no penalty and we rescheduled for two weeks later.  It ended up that, lucky for us, there was a "Volcano" umbrella that allowed us to reschedule our trip at no extra cost.  

Now it wasn't easy mind  you.  James had to talk to a couple BA operators who didn't know what they were doing and finally got a manager that was super good at his job and worked it all out for us.  But because we were so crushed by the ordeal we didn't see the way until Jen propped us back up.

Jen:  "You gave them thousands of your dollars for tickets and they still owe them to you, now get back on that phone and get your tickets!"

A couple days later I dashed up to Philadelphia and got Emm a passport and renewed mine overnight since it was close to expiring.  We kept our bags packed and made our next flight.  Whew!  Now, it's just a fun story we get to tell at dinner parties.

POSITIVE SIDE...the good karma part that kept me positive through it all was that because our family (three seats on the plane) couldn't go, it opened up three seats to people who were stranded in NYC due to the cancellation of their flights from the volcano. 

MORAL...If you're human, you need a passport.  And those BA agents are sticklers for that rule!
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