Sunday, June 29, 2008

Goodbye Texas

Yesterday we drove from Houston to Childress, Texas. Today, we finished with Texas completely, spent (too much) time in the corner of New Mexico, then drove up I-25 into Denver. (Just south, actually - in the suburbs).

Now I'm at my parent's house in Littleton, Colorado. I keep thinking about how nice it will be to sleep in my own bed again. And then I realize that I won't see MY bed until the end of August. And even then, we'll have to put the pieces together.

So it's the vagabond life for a little while. We stay here with my folks until July 13. I'm guessing it will go pretty fast.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For your viewing pleasure...

A couple of pictures I'm downloading from my camera. In no particular order...
1. E in the sorting bin my fabulous organizer (The Mess Meister) brought over in the last few weeks.
2. The outcome of letting A play with Tinker Toys. He put his monkey in jail.
3. R (and J who's not in the picture) playing in the water hose when the neigbors drained their pool with a high pressure pump.
Ahhh, summertime.

House of Boxes

The packers have been at our house for two days. They are still not done. (Holy crap we have a lot of STUFF!) On the other hand, this is relatively easy on me. We made all (most) of the choices already about what goes by air, by sea and by hand (carrying). What's left mostly, is what's going into storage. But still, there is a lot.

We've been in the hotel since Monday night, and tag-teaming who gets to watch E (too young for summer camp), and who gets to watch the movers.

The good news is that I've been able to Jazzercise. It feels good to move my body and to sweat. Even though I am NOT going to the workshop this weekend, I haven't given up on the possibility. We'll see how the summer unfolds.
(The photo is actually pre-boxes).

Saturday, June 21, 2008


June 23 - Spend the first night in the hotel. Bring everything we want to carry - get it out of the house.

June 24-25 - Packers swarm and put everything remaining in boxes.

June 26 - Putting boxes/furniture on two different vans - one for storage, one for ocean shipment. Also, J's 10th birthday. Incredible Pizza, here we come.

June 28-July 1 - Drive to Colorado

July 2-July 11 - Stay in Colorado. Say goodbye to old friends. Visit with MIL and help transition her to new doctor, and make sure bank arrangements are complete. Say goodbye to her. Get a Colorado Drivers License (more easily transferrable to France than Texas - don't know why). Buy underwear, pajamas, shoes, and a new pot (I burnt my favorite one making tamales). See my brother and his (former high school, and current) girlfriend.

July 12 - Spend one day with my 12 year old niece whom I haven't seen in at least two years.

July 13 - Expatriate. Au revoir USA. Bon jour France.

July 14 - Actually bon jour France today (it's an overnight flight). With two of four children. Maybe not too jetlagged to see Bastille Day festivities. I've hear there will be fireworks over the Eifel Tower. Doubt if we'll be awake to see them though.

Sometime in August - Our furniture/stuff will arrive. Hopefully prior to the arrival of my older children (accompanied by my parents).

August 26 - School starts. And maybe we'll be able to settle into some kind of routine. We'll see.

Ocean, Air & Carry

I've spent a lot of time over the last month figuring out what we will take with us versus what we will keep in storage for the duration.

Now, I have to decide what we need, when. The majority of our stuff will come via ocean shipment. We have two large containers available, and have been told (on preliminary measurement) we have plenty of room for what we wish to bring. We have been told it will take six to eight weeks for our belongings to get packed, shipped, clear customs, and delivered.

In the meantime, we will have whatever we've carried with us, and whatever we can fit into a 600 pound air shipment.

As T's company is paying for Business Class tickets for us, we are allowed three suitcase (or suitcase equivalents) per person. Which means, basically, that we can carry a whole lot. (3 suitcases x 6 people).

Which is awesome on one hand. On the other hand, whatever we plan on carrying with us, we must first get to Colorado. In our van. (Or more precisely, on our van). We are going to have to put some things on the roof, and some things we'll just have to buy in Colorado.

So I have been spending my time in closets and on shelves moving things around and deciding what I can live without for two months, and what I must have available at all times. Also, what do we need for the two & a half day car trip to Colorado. It boggles my mind.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Clearing someone else's house

I've just spent most of the last seven hours clearing out stuff in my MILs house. I am exhausted, and we're not done. The packers come tomorrow. So whatever isn't done today, it will be too late.

I'm taking a short break while the kids watch their 3rd hour of television (well, they're just starting it, and dinner is in a few minutes).

Did I mention I was exhausted?

There is a lifetime accumulation in this house. We are moving her to a (rather large) apartment in Colorado - independent living, and all that, but there is so much stuff she'll never use and never remember (and it costs a lot to ship).

Tomorrow I may totally let T take care of the packing/loading supervision, and do something fun for myself. Or maybe I'll go in the pool with E. Or something.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Imaginary Calm

On one hand, I feel like I was relatively calm today, despite lots of activity. On the other hand, I totally lost it in the restaurant with my oldest son (to the point where I physically dragged him kicking and screaming outside and left him there). By the time we came home in the evening, I was desperate to get moving physically.

We got our visas this morning, played at a playground (in between dropping off paperwork - times six, and picking it up), stopped by Ikea and bought stools to fit under the kitchen counter, met with the Realtor to sell MIL's house, and to sell our house, then went to the lawyer to get wills, powers of attorney (for MIL), and sellers documents signed and notarized.

On the way home, I told T that I needed to MOVE. If I couldn't go to Jazzercise, I needed to walk or run or something. It was decided that we'd all go for a walk (because I wasn't the only one in need of exercise), and then A piped up "Mommy, you can ride your rollerskates."

Brilliant. I put on my blades, and off we went. Sweat is good for the soul.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Putting this photo up for mom (and others). From bottom to top - J, R, A, E. It's all good.

2:30 in the morning...

This seems to be the time of night that my brain kicks into overdrive. I lay in bed for awhile, then give up and go write in my journal.

On my mind right now...

1) Did I or didn't I "pass" my Jazzercise pre-workshop screening? I thought that the trainer was going to give me feedback about whether or not I'd improved significantly since April. But she had been advised/requested/required to NOT give me any feedback at all, and to report instead to the area managers (both the local manager, and the international manager).

I thought I would be making my final decision today about whether or not to do this, but it turns out I have to wait more. Frustrating!

2) Realizing that we only have about two more weeks in this house. It's June 8, and our packout day is June 24. Let's see... that makes... 16 days. No wonder I can't sleep.

3) Trying to figure out how to pack up essentials, but at the same time, use them up until the day we leave. I'd made arrangements to spend one night prior to our packout in the hotel, but now I'm wondering if maybe we should have more than one day.

I'm especially thinking about kid stuff. How do I make it available to play with, but at the same time, divide it up into "carry," "air shipment," and "overseas cargo." Times four kids.

4) The good news is we have found a place for my mother-in-law, that I think she will like. She will go into independent living, and my sister-in-law will arrange for some home-health care to assist her with her diabetes monitoring. I think/hope she will be happy.

Her other son (my husband's brother) will come out next week, help fix things around both our house and her house, and then accompany her to Colorado to check into the facility. We have arranged to pack her house without her present, so she doesn't have to make difficult decisions. At the same time, we've arranged a place much larger than she actually needs, so she can keep a lot of her stuff.

I think I've managed to write out what's on my mind, sufficiently enough so I may go back to sleep. This blog is a good thing. Goodnight.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Everything All at Once

Have you ever held bread dough in your hands and tried to contain it? It kind of oozes out all the small gaps between your fingers and glops onto the counter top.

That's kind of how I feel right now (like I'm trying to contain something way too big for my hands).

If it was just a move, that would be one thing. But here's what I've been working on this week...

1) Buying new (small) kitchen chairs, a set of bunk beds, and three area rugs to be shipped with the rest of our stuff to the house.
2) Telling the movers (in an initial consultation) what of everything I own, will go into storage, versus what will go with us. (Thank goodness we didn't have to decide that day what goes by ocean and what goes by air).
3) Talking with people at an assisted living facillity in Colorado Springs, Colorado for my mother-in-law.
4) Talking with people ABOUT the assisted living facillity in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
5) Talking with doctors about what kind of care she needs (above and beyond what I do for her now, she has two new complications...)
6) Confirming our reservation in one of the schools in Paris because we haven't been able to get a clear invoice so that we can pay them.
7) Finding a summer camp in Colorado for the two older boys to go to while they are in the care of their grandparents.
8) Finding another summer camp in Colorado for the two older boys because the one I wanted to send them to has cancelled their program for the 7-year-old.
9) Filling out ten pages of forms, times two, for kids to go to said summer camp.
10) Then having to redo parts of them to make my parents the primary guardians rather than myself.
11) A going away party for the kids (26 kids at BounceU - an indoor inflatable playground).
12) Trying to eat well, so that I have the energy to take care of everyone and everything.
13) Trying to cut out the sweets that seem to be all around me (and so easy to eat, because they're RIGHT THERE).
14) Practicing my Jazzercise routines so I can try out again at the end of the month.
15) Clearing out files and determining which ones go into deep storage, which ones I'm bringing with me in boxes, and which ones will stay in the file cabinets.
16) Cleaning out my kitchen, getting rid of stuff, and sorting for storage versus coming with us.
17) The daily care and feeding of our family.
18) Twice daily blood tests for my mother-in-law to check her blood sugar levels.

And believe it or not, mostly it's holding together.