November 25, 2009

0 Stuff and Internet have arrived!

After a long saga, including 4 panicked days where we thought our fast shipment was entirely missing. Not fun. Finally though, our household goods arrived Monday and our fast shipment arrived Tuesday. Our "fast" shipment is supposed to only take 2-3 weeks unlike the household goods taking 2 months, but... at least it all got here. The idea is you send all your necessary stuff in the "fast" shipment. Pots, pans, basic dishes, some clothes, blankets. Whatever, it all arrived, my negatives are safe (not at the bottom of the Atlantic!) and we're good.

We also just got internet at our house today, which helps "normal" set back in. Now I can fill you in on our journey...

I last wrote the day before our flight. Well, that day... oh, that day.
In the morning I got up and packed up one suitcase. The larger of my two suitcases had to hold Mia's small kennel (we bought her a medium for the flight, the small was too small for airlines) but she was using that as her "home" in my friend Carrie's bathroom. I didn't want to take that away until the last minute, so I thought I'd wait until the afternoon, since I didn't have to check the pets in until 5 pm.
Carrie and I then walked up to Kinko's to print out a letter of recommendation my former boss/our vet in Idaho wrote for our pets, then over to AT&T because in order to get out of our contract (and the 27 days left on it...) I had to cancel from a store. After that I called U-Haul to see if we could pick up the van early. We were going to do that, then get pedicures, then head to the airport.
*** side story- after I was able to sell the Explorer I needed a car big enough to get the pets' crates, my suitcases, and the pets to the airport. I thought about a rental car, but that might cost a lot. Dan had the idea for a U-Haul cargo van. It's only 19.95 plus mileage. I called U-Haul, and planned to pick it up at 3 pm.***
U-Haul said it was no problem, so we headed over. It was around 1:40 pm. We took the train and got to Jersey City. From there we used Carrie's GPS on her iPhone to find the U-Haul location. It was a LONG walk, but we got there, and were 2nd in line. About 2:20. Not bad.
Turns out, U-Haul's credit card machine wasn't working. Also, you can only rent the vans with a card. No cash. They try, and try, and try again. I am starting to panic. and by panic, I mean PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC>PANIC
Carrie becomes Super Carrie, and informs the U-Haul guy he needs to figure something out cause we need a van and I can't miss my plane. In no uncertain terms. She tells him he needs to try to do it over the phone with the main office. He tries one more time, and the card works.
We race out of the parking lot, Carrie driving because I am doing my best to keep breathing at regular intervals. It is now 3 pm. Okay, that was our originally scheduled time, not terrible. We can do this.
We get back to the apartment and pull the van in. First off we haul the crates downstairs in the elevator and Carrie starts putting them together. I head upstairs to pack the 2nd suitcase. I have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much stuff. I am sitting on it, smashing it into the wall, everything. Finally I stuff a couple things in my pillow and manage to close the suitcase. I get my suitcases downstairs. Sloan, watching all of this with her own panic setting in, runs out the door with us. I manage to catch her, but she is not going back into the apartment. At all. So I bring Max down too and put them in their crates in the van. I get the suitcases in the van. I ran back upstairs and started trying to frantically clean Carrie and Dan's apartment. Dan tells me "I can handle cleaning an apartment, but I can't handle another week of you, two dogs, and a cat in my bathroom!" I laughed, then got Mia downstairs. The dogs were barking their heads off. It's now 4:50. We get into the van, Carrie driving. Dan is leading us to the airport in his car so he and Carrie can drop off the van after they drop me off. Sloan is panting and crying quite loudly. Max is panting, but not too badly for him. Mia, oddly enough, is calm.
We get to the airport and cannot find the cargo area. I ask at the Virgin ticket counter. The gentleman there gives me directions. We drive around a while longer. Finally we find it. I go inside and start the paperwork. There is a bit of a line, but not bad. I get to the counter and the woman starts going through the pets' information. It's all inline, so that's going well, but taking a lot of time. Dan and Carrie are outside with the pets. Finally we get to the point of letting the pets in to the warehouse. We had to weigh the kennels with the pets in them then take the pets out so the kennels could go through x-ray. Sloan is by this time shaking so badly she is having to lean on me to not lose her balance and panting so hard her tongue is turning blue. I am crying. Not hard, but some. Max is anxious, but runs back in his kennel as soon as he's able to. Mia is, well, calm. Relaxed. Even when I hold her in my arms while her kennel goes through x-ray and the warehouse is loud and noisy. But Sloan has me terrified for her safety.
We manage to get Sloan back in her kennel (with a lot of difficulty, she is strong!) and I go back in the main building to pay. I then say good bye to the pets and leave to go check myself it. I get to the counter and my large suitcase is 3 kgs over weight, but the man doesn't say anything. Then my backpack carryon is twice the allowed weight. The man asks if I can remove 6 kgs from it. I tell him no, it is holding all my pets' paperwork, and I'm sure he could see my eyes becoming pools of water, cause he strapped on a tag and let me through.
I get to the gate and then wait two hours. Trying not to cry, and failing. (still not loud or anything, just tears- come on, people!)
I get on the plane, trying not to cry, and failing. I get to my seat and spend a long 6.5 hours.
We land, I run to the passport people, then to the baggage, then to the pick up area. I can't find Paul anywhere. 30 minutes later, no Paul. I am trying not to cry again (succeeding this time, but barely) and debating getting a taxi and going to the Animal Reception Centre to see if Sloan lived through the flight.
Finally, there's Paul. He's stressed, but I still chew him out. (sorry Paul). We get over to the Animal Reception Centre after a few wrong turns. I check in, they tell me all the pets are fine (HALLELUJAH!) and Defra is working on their paperwork. Paul and I sit. I did take a pee in a self-cleaning loo- very interesting. Finally they come out, we pay, and they bring us the kennels and Sloan and Mia's very stinky kennel pads in plastic bags. Kudos to Max for not being a stinker.
The pets come out and I am ecstatic. Paul too. Sloan looks terrible, but alive. Max has bloodshot eyes, but is good. Mia is, well, calm. All three smell like a turned over port-a-potty. Not a self-cleaning one.
We get into the van Paul rented and the cargo area is completely closed off from the very small cab. We put the dogs in the cab with us but left Mia in her kennel in the back. About 1.5 hours into the drive we stopped and checked on Mia- she's cold (still calm!) so I put her in the cab with us. I also got Max's kennel pad and put it at my feet in the cab. Sloan, who had been passed out in my lap (by passed out I mean comatose- not moving for anything, I kept making sure she was breathing!) got onto the kennel pad on the floor and remained passed out. Max was sitting between Paul and me this whole time. Mia sat on my lap. We got to our new farmhouse and piled out. The dogs immediately searched the yard, house, etc. Mia prowled the house and explored every nook and cranny.
I started exploring around as well. Over the past two weeks I have checked in everywhere I needed to, we have set up most of our life here, and we love it!
Our Vonage phone should arrive next week, we are starting to get out and see the world- which my finally arrived Wellies are helping!
Sorry I post so long. Next one will be shorter, I promise. And include pictures!

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