Saturday, August 21, 2010

We Got The Call

This is another pre-written post that I'm just getting posted. I'm tryin' folks.

We understood that we had to get our residency paperwork in order with the embassy before our things would be cleared through customs. We’ve been waiting patiently to get the call to go to the French Embassy in DC. It never came. Then we learned we had to schedule an appointment online. The first available appointment was a week before school starts.

Let’s put this in perspective….

That means I would have 7 days to leave DC, pack up kids and take them on their second plane flight (it’s an 8 hr flight…chew on that for a while), move everything into the house, unpack and start school. Topped off with the drama that the kids don’t want to move. Yeah, right.

Oh, and did I mention once we leave the embassy we may still have to provide additional paperwork to get the visa’s we need?

But, because I’m adopting a go-with-the-flow attitude that 4 kids force you to adopt or you become a raving lunatic, I figured that I could take on the challenge. Ok, so that’s what I said on the outside. Inside I was a baby blubbering “no, no, no….I don’t wanna do it.”

But, we got the call. Saturday morning we found out our household goods did make it through customs before we go to DC. How? Why? We don’t ask these sorts of questions when the moving gods smile on us. My family and TC’s family are taking on the role of Team Cunningham Kid Care and we jumped on a flight on Monday. I spent the weekend scrambling to get caught up with laundry (still thinking about instituting mandatory “naked days” just so no additional laundry is made as I try to get the clothes washed) and figuring out what to take with TC and me so we would have less to deal with when we travel with the kids. And on top of everything, I forgot to call my magnificent PA neighbor to tell her I wouldn’t be able to attend her baby shower on Sunday. I’m such a heel!

So, I’m on a flight writing this on the way to a house that I saw last November for about 15 minutes (although I loved it in those 15 minutes). Because TC has spent most of the year on an airplane, he is now a Super-Premium-This-Airline-Stock-Is-Up-30-Points-Because-Of-What-I-Pay-For-A-Ticket member we got a coveted exit row, next to the bathroom even. Whoo Hoo!

Since we are going now to unpack and set up the house (we have 4 days to get everything done) we will still go to DC next week for our papers. Then we’ll be able to take the kids to the house set up and ready to live. I just hope I can find all the backpacks because we’ll probably arrive in France a day or two before school starts. Maybe it will work out that we’ll get there and jump into school so no one has time to whine about moving. There I go again, trying to look on the bright side. Darn me!

And just to keep things interesting, we got a bit of an “Oh, By The Way” comment from our moving company. Remember when I said that we had 5’ to spare on the 40’ container? Well, the moving company casually mentioned that the brace broke that the movers built to hold everything in place so there will be “some damage.” Stay tuned.

Kick-Off….Only 7 Months Late.

I originally wrote this post on Aug 10...yes, it took me this long to get it up on the site.

I’ve been trying to think of a good way to kick off this blog chronicling our move to France. Initially, I imagined a narrative telling the stories – good and bad – of why we decided to take on this adventure, how the move progressed, and where we were living at any given moment.

Then, reality struck…

TC started his job in France in January so I manned the home front and tried to organize us for the move, as well as the normal stuff with 4 kids. Every afternoon I thought, “Tonight, is it. I will write a compelling, funny, touching essay about moving across the world.” Then, the kids got home from school, I took them to (insert activity – gymnastics, swimming, basketball, karate,…), helped with homework, made dinner (OK we went out to eat way too much), picked up toys/clothes/shoes/backpacks, folded laundry, managed baths…you get the idea. By the time evening hit and the youngest in bed, I could hardly take a shower, let alone write a compelling, funny, touching essay. Oh, and did I mention I was also supposed to be learning French, too. Yup, you can guess how that’s going but more on that later.

So to summarize and bring you long-distance friends up to date, TC’s winter and spring consisted of him flying back and forth often being a country for days before getting on another flight, all the while sorting out his new job. While my 2010 to date has involved getting the house in the market, figuring out what to take vs leave, planning multiple birthday parties and a wedding shower (thank goodness my sisters took on most of that event), and of course all the other day-to-day activities and general life.

The week after school let out for summer the movers came. I had everything – down to every last sock and Lego – sorted and ready with the highly sophisticated plan of “that pile to France” and “that other pile to Ohio.”

My wonderful family and neighbors helped out the week prior so we were ready to go…sort of. My fab Mom and bro’s Matt and Dave helped me paint furniture, but it wasn’t quite dry in 4 days when it was loaded into the truck. In my haste to keep up with the laundry I washed all the pillowcases and I don’t think any got on the boat to France (on the flip side, every mattress pad did go to France so I didn’t have any in Ohio). In the way kids will be kids, they wanted to “help” and rearranged all the toys that my spectacular Aunt Mary and cousins Daniel and Alexa separated (“But I want all my toys with me. I don’t want to send any on the boat to France.”).

Alias, the moving company brought the container that actually would go on the boat. All the France piles were boxed, the furniture was disassembled and all loaded with about 5’ of a 40’ container to spare (note this fact, because it will come into play later). Everything left in our house went to Ohio into the condo we are renting. Movers delivered everything to Ohio on a Friday and TC went back to France on Saturday. My fam helped so much set up our temp digs in Ohio. Although, 6 wks later I still have boxes from the office to go through and figure out what paperwork we need in France.

We’ve spent the last month+ hanging out with family, visiting friends in PA, quickly seeing Chicago and catching up. My kids have enjoyed living in Cortland (they think it’s the party capital of the world since we are usually there for an event) and being able to walk to important places like the park, Dairy Queen, their grandparent’s house and their cousins’ house. No offense to anyone, but the DQ seems to be the biggest draw. The biggest challenge has been getting an Internet connection at the condo where we are living and a lack of cell phone coverage. I managed to figure out the Internet connection in time to leave but at least it will be ready when we are back for the holidays.

So, now that you’re all up to speed. I’m on a plane…hint, hint…