Wow. Three weeks, no blogging. This isn't good, but our brand of groundhog day is unlikely to be particularly thrilling reading material, so maybe it's best. If you don't have anything interesting to say, don't say anything at all.*
This post is full of Foreign Service Top Tips. I bet you are super excited.
We've been settling in and we were doing alright--our behavior management plan is making life so much better for Boy and me--until a week ago. We had already received our license-plate-free cars and on Wednesday last we were eagerly anticipating our HHE, scheduled to arrive at our doorstep between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. I received a call from the driver, saying they had another delivery and wouldn't be at our house until noon or so. I asked if there would be sufficient time for a full unpack and in response received the typical, "Oh? You wanted a full unpack?"
NOTE FOR FS NEWBIES: When in America, insist on your full unpack. The companies receive a lot of taxpayer dollars to do it for you, and will often try to wiggle out of it.
So I decide to continue tidying to prepare for the avalanche, hurricane, other weather-disaster-related metaphor of stuff that was about to rain down on us (see what I did there?). And I promptly fell down the stairs and destroyed my tailbone. I took one car for emissions testing and the garage door wouldn't close and Boy had a huge meltdown at the testing station and my butt really hurt and at one point I might have sat in the driver's seat, slammed my hands repeatedly against the steering wheel and screamed, "I hate my life!" Might have.
Our stuff arrived at....drumroll please...at 4:30 p.m. and was unpacked the next day. Once it was unpacked, it was clear that our 1890 sq. ft. house was not equipped to handle all our crap. I despaired for another day.
The village descended. My stepmom flew in from Washington and her sister and brother-in-law who live just a mile from my house became Team Awesome, sorting and tossing and organizing. There was even a margarita in there. I had to choose between Percocet and the margarita, and I chose the latter. More satisfying. In order to make my life easier, I ordered a storage container from 1-800-Packrat, which is now sitting in my driveway and holding all of the stuff that will go on Craigslist or in a yard sale. Super cheap, totally worth it. Consider this a Foreign Service Downsizing HHE Processing Top Tip.
Monday was the Like a Boss day. Emissions testing, VIN verification, registration of two cars? Driver's license? Nailed it. Taxes? Done. Paid. (If you have household staff, like we did for the first 6 months of 2012, you pay a lot come April 15.) Rental car? Returned. IN THE SNOW. LIKE A BOSS. Computer desk? Assembled.
Only Foreign Service Officers and their families might appreciate the atrociousness of international relocation, but its awfulness cannot be overstated.
Tuesday was also successful, though not as much in the conquering of Bureaucratic Forces Designed to Make Citizens Cry. I made it to the gym and did a good lower body/upper body workout. (No sitting though, so in order do bench presses from the balance ball, I had to flop somewhat fishlike on it. Trainer was amused.) Then I showered (! I know!) and took Girl to an affordable, well-reviewed preschool to secure the remaining spot for September enrollment. It's only for three half-days a week, and she pouted the whole way home because she wanted to go to preschool right then (there were bunnies, so can't blame her), but it's a win. It's two blocks from Boy's future school, which we will tour this morning if I can successfully cover up the fact that he's been up coughing all night long.
I'll cover the impossibility of securing an appointment with a behavioral psychologist in our network (at least a three month wait unless I go to the pediatric psych ER and get him admitted), the near miss for our family in Kandahar, Boston, and all things glum some other time. For now, our life is mundane, but each task conquered is a task conquered, so I'll take it.
Oh, also got a haircut for the first time in six months and a dye job to deal with this gray hair. LIKE A BOSS.
*Never stopped me before.