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And then, I was in Seattle…

19 Jul

I’ve abandoned my children in the temporary house in pursuit of coffee and some alone time to write.  Time has been at supersonic, despite gaining half a day in life by traveling so far west, and by 9 pm each night, I’m sort of done with life and decision making. But with the help of my dear coffee, I make it through another day.

And suddenly, it’s Friday.  A week ago, I was sitting in a pub in Dublin, having lunch and one last Bulmer’s.  Now I’m in Seattle with a coffee.

How weird is life?

But we all made it here.  Pretty much in one piece.  Twelve hours of flying over 5,000 miles.  We spent the last week in Dublin watching movers pack up our house in the biggest heat wave in ten years in Dublin, doing last chance dinners and outings with friends, and watching as our dogs travel plans constantly got changed as we cursed Delta for their inconsistent pet flying policies.

Packing…

Well, that was interesting.  Because we rented a furnished house, not everything was going.  I guess the movers then thought that if it was furniture or on all wall, it wasn’t going.  So there was a lot of “Is this going?” happening, along with “You need to pack this please.”  Like the stuff o the table, could you pack that?  And the knick knacks on the piano, those go as well.  The best part was when the one mover pointed to our wedding photo hanging on the wall and asked “Are you taking that?”

Nah, we’ve been staring at it for 18 years, kinda sick of it at this point…

oy.

But, they were nice and polite and great with Maura who kept stalking them to make sure all her boxes got put on the truck and wrapped everything carefully.  And that’s what matters, right?  Well, except for the one picture on the wall that they forgot and the two drawers full of Josh’s sound equipment that they left full in the office, which we had to ship on our own. The one chair that was part of the “pack everything in this room” also didn’t get packed, and that got sacrificed to the moving gods.  But everything else got packed.  I think.  I’m not sure anymore.

Meanwhile, we had 7 big suitcases, 6 carry on suitcases, and 6 backpacks to go on the plane with us (as some sort of Delta frequent flyer member, Josh got an extra bag free.  That was deemed the “bag of random crap” bag, lol!)   We managed to get it all to the airport hotel with help from our extra-awesome friend (who also minded our dogs until they were picked up by the pet shippers, for yes, the pets are being shipped by the professionals in climate controlled everything….they’re currently in Germany and will arrive tomorrow).   We spent our last night in Dublin by the airport, where I left my nightgown hanging on the bathroom door (a fact that 5,000+ flight miles later, will make me want to cry.)

At the Airport…

Dublin Airport, you need to get your act straight.  In December, we flew to Rome, with Maura and her big bottle of seizure meds.  We sailed through without a problem, carrying the bottle around the x-ray machine.  No big deal.

This time around?  Suddenly it was a Big Fecking Deal, where some woman talked snottily to my husband about how if we had flown with Maura as much as we claimed, we’d know we needed a letter stating the meds didn’t need to be x-rayed.  No one had ever asked us for a letter to prove her meds didn’t need x-raying, nor suggested we might need one – ever.  Your attitude kinda sucked, especially as six months before, the procedure was completely different and relaxed and “Oh go ahead, no big.”  It’s okay, what’s a little more radiation in my daughter’s meds anyway?  They just help control her brain, that’s all.  No big.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the security station was Sean, with his carry on duffle bag of DOOM.  I got through security to find Sean and his bag of DOOM had been pulled aside for suspicious stuff and some poor female security guard looking really confused as she pulled things like duct tape (Sean likes duct tape) and a length of rope (“You never know when you might need it” was the only explanation we got from Sean that made any sense) and the black metal box that was locked (it was a cash box with his coinage – that made sense.)   Eventually, she decided Sean wasn’t a sociopath, maybe because I was there laughing going “What the heck, did you pack your WHOLE room in that bag?”, and she let him take the bag of DOOM with all its contents.

Now in Dublin, you get to clear U.S. Customs right there – which meant going through customs, declaring everything, admitting that yes, we’re taking ALL these people with us (because let’s face it, my boys are too tall to be labeled “children” these days, even if they are my children), and then, we got to go through U.S security checks.

I would like to thank the U.S. customs security check for being so much more pleasant than the airport one.  When I held up Maura’s Big Box of Meds, they said “Oh, would you like us to swab those instead of x-raying?”  Um, yes please.

Meanwhile, Sean and his carry on bag of DOOM were once again pulled over, this time Josh got to be the laughing parent (he missed out on all the fun the first time as he was being berated by security for not knowing he needed a letter).  All I heard was “No, he shouldn’t have any film canisters, my God, what DO you have in there Sean?”

Mental note – don’t let Sean pack his own bag next time.

Flying…

We spent half our time apologizing for all our crap, explaining that we were moving internationally.  The other half of our time was keeping Maura happy and explaining things to her.  Like why we were giving our suitcases to the lady at the counter.  Or why she didn’t need to shout while wearing her headphones and watching a movie.  We forgave Delta for all the pet hassles when we discovered we were on the new planes with the large selections of movies/shows on our individual screens and actual outlets with each seat (Josh and Collin were happy boys charging stuff.)  And then we got the best airline staff possible, who were super-friendly with Maura and slipped us tiny bottles of Bailey’s for being good patient parents.  Really, the worst that happened was that Josh, in trying to juggle three meals as I rearranged Maura, dropped my meal – but even that worked out fine as the nice flight attendant found me a new one (and then passed along tiny bottles of Bailey’s at that point.)

The most bizarre thing was that Maura stayed dry the entire trip, despite being in a precautionary pull up.  Nope, she stayed dry, and was coerced into using the airplane toilet more than once.  It started because I thought she had wet herself and needed her outfit changed.  Which turned into Maura and I in the tiny toilet as a scene from the movie “Tommy Boy” flashed through my head (Chris Farley tries to change clothes in the airplane toilet, with lots of crashing, banging and eventually falling through the door…I did not fall through the door at least.)  Upon wrestling about changing her, I realized she hadn’t wet herself – she had spilled her Sprite.  And then she used the toilet.  And all was well.

What this trip has shown us is that Maura is pretty much potty trained.  Yes, I’m calling it.  Yes, there’s a pull up at night and we have that pooping issue still, but whatever, the girl has become champion of the potty in my book, without an accident in a week.

But we’re here now, in the New World, with it’s soft green money and huge box stores.  I haven’t had time to miss Dublin, maybe because I knew from the moment we got there that if we ever left, I would miss it.  Right now, I’m too busy getting things together here so we can start living a normal life again – things like couches, beds, utilities.  Fun stuff.

I’ll admit, I’m finding shopping here completely overwhelming.  There’s just too many choices, too much stuff.  I walked into Target waiting to hear the Hallelujah chorus.  Instead, it seemed too bright, too brash, and with too much stuff.  I ended up getting cranky instead, though that could have been the jet lag.  I bought a big cart full of stuff, and nearly broke out in hives with all that I was buying (even if it was useful necessary stuff like a vacuum and cleaning supplies.)  I went to the grocery store and found myself staring at a box mix for cereal brand flavored cupcakes while going “What the…why?”  I found myself getting really annoyed at the cashier who kept pushing the Target Red Card at me – “You could be saving money!”  – listen lady, I’m not paying in euros or a 23% VAT (sales tax), I’m saving money just being here.  And no, I don’t want the flipping card, so please stop trying to guilt trip me into getting it.

And that’s not the jet lag talking.

But, I had the BEST banking experience….Josh had already opened an account, so took me up to get me on the account.  We go up there, he says “This is my wife, I’d like to add her to the account.”

And they did it.  Without hassle, utility bill in my name, marriage license, blood test….none of that.  They just went “Certainly, fill out this form, great, let me print out your debit card…”

And I left with a working debit card, about twenty-five minutes after walking in the door.

I may have giggled a bit.

I also laughed when I went to Starbucks and asked for the biggest iced tea possible.  It’s been 2 1/2 years since I’ve had a big iced tea.  The sweet young thang behind the counter went “So a Trenti! size iced tea then!”

Trenti!

What the heck is a Trenti!?

Apparently it’s bigger than a venti – so really freaking big.

God Bless America.

One thing has remained the same through all this – no one at Starbucks can spell my name.

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17 Responses to “And then, I was in Seattle…”

  1. Jessica July 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    BTW, It’s 31 degrees C on Ireland 😉
    Someone complained online, maybe it’s the first sign of the acopalypse.
    Glad you made it safely.

    • phoebz4 July 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      Yes, we got to pack up in that extreme heat! LOL! And then we got here and it was like 82 degrees! I could have died from all the sunlight exposure!

  2. Tim Perfect July 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Stebie!? Bwah!

    • phoebz4 July 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

      I even used the “Phoebe, like on “Friends”.” line. *sigh*

      • EIleen July 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

        Maybe you should go with Pheobe’s alter ego, Regina Phalanges, just for Starbucks?

      • phoebz4 July 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

        You know if I did that, I would also use a bad NYC accent lol

  3. Eileen July 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    So glad you have made it in one piece. Seriously, get the Target Red Card, 5% off and free shipping, can’t beat it. Welcome home!

    • Kelly July 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

      I live in Seattle (Greenwood area) and also have a special needs child. If you need anything let me know.

  4. Jan Oden July 19, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Welcome home to the USA. I enjoy your blog. As a special educator, it is good to hear a parents point of view. It keeps me grounded. I have the Target Red card for on line purchases only (aka free shipping) And I can tell the cashier that I have one and they leave me alone.

  5. Melissa July 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I absolutely know how you feel!! We just arrived Stateside in December, coming off of a 3 year tour with the Army in Okinawa, Japan. Everything you just said, I was saying then! Wal Mart how I missed you!! Wait, no I don’t……And the Target Red Card?? That made me laugh the most because that’s exactly what happened to me my first trip there!! I got it by the way, totally worth it 😉 I miss my old home so much, and all of my friends, but nothing beats the good ol’ USA!

  6. Jessica July 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    International experience is a great way to gain perspective! Lived in Japan, where I had some small breakdowns in japanese grocery stores (among other places). Coming back made living easier, knowing that things could be more difficult. My recent perspectives are from spending time in California lately. Came back to, among other things, VAT and just a serious increase in pricing.

    The travelling with medicine is like drawing the lottery. Now I come prepared with paperwork, letters, notices, pharmacy labels that have to be THIS Specific or you’ll end up in hell and it’s all dependant on the person you meet. Had one experience where the customs person wasn’t very helpful despite all the necessary documentation. After an hour I asked for a supervisor, he looked stuff over and said welcome to the USA. With a 9 hrs time difference, I was close to hugging him.

  7. Liz Fowler Dow July 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    I have a Phoebe! They always mess her name up at Starbucks so now she tells them her name is Swarley (How I Met Your Mother reference). So glad your move went rather painlessly!

  8. Mary C. July 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Welcome Home!

  9. Rachael T July 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    Welcome back! On the Air NZ international planes they have wheelchair toilets! They’re huge!! My 2 kids and I easily fit in with space to spare. It’s glorious!

  10. Virginia Monson July 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Welcome back! I hope you continue your blogs now that you are back on American soil. I have really enjoyed them.

    • phoebz4 July 20, 2013 at 9:00 am #

      Oh don’t worry, the blog will continue 🙂

  11. lexiemom July 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Wow! What an adventure! And you just got here! WELCOME BACK!

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