Okay, so...here are the key things to know for your next move, fresh from a newly-minted expert:
Instead of three or four hours to load a two bedroom apartment into a truck, it takes approximately ten hours, three men, one woman, no toddlers, three breakfast sandwiches and surprisingly little coffee.
If you are planning to drive a U-Haul out of New York City, plan a route ahead of time that allows commercial vehicles. DO NOT leave at rush hour, hoping that your trusty GPS factored your "commerical status" into her plans.
Lock the gate at the back of the truck.
If you've neglected to do so, have someone driving behind you who can stop traffic and gather all of the items that begin spewing from your oh-so-expertly packed vehicle approximately two blocks into the trip.
When you find yourself driving along at two o'clock in the morning, seven hours into a seven hour trip with at least three hours and one border crossing to go, debating the merits of stopping for the night or pushing on...stop for the night.
If you will be traveling "caravan-style", establish rules to be followed for the drivers. For instance, if - hypothetically - one driver has to pee and wants to zip quickly off of the road without informing the other, thinking she can probably catch up to a slow-moving U-Haul pretty easily, decide whether or not that will result in a panicked husband suffering a complete emotional and physical breakdown and proceed accordingly. Also, determine situations in which a 911 call is, or is not, warranted.
Here's a good one: Let's say you've been living in the United States for about two years and are now returning to Canada. Did you know that you must have an itemized list of EVERY ITEM that is returning with you, along with its estimated value, for the perusal of the customs folks? And let's say you *forgot* to compile that list prior to your attempt to return across the border. Well, in that case you'll be parked at the inspection office for some time compiling that list. Bring snacks. Side note: Toddlers squatting mid-office to enjoy an embarrassingly long poop session are surprisingly well tolerated.
Oh, I know: Book a storage unit before rolling up to your city of storage choice. Also, pick a reputable company. Sure, they might tell you on the phone that they NEVER run out of spots...but they might be lying. And very few people will actually disclose to you over the phone that their units are flooded. People can be quirky that way.
Unpacking a truck takes approximately eight hours less than packing it.
The good news? All people, vehicles and belongings made it back across the border in full working order. Minus one shopping cart.
I should be packing, but this will just take a minute.
We got back from Santa Fe on Saturday, after - as predicted - ALOT more shopping and ENDLESS amounts of eating. Even with the extra half-suitcase that Jeff so wisely accounted for, we still needed to pack a box. I tell you, that Sandra is a baaaad influence...
* The desert is dry. Santa Fe is in the mountains. Nosebleeds happen. Bring kleenex.
* If you go to a casino one day and win, don't expect it will happen again the next day.
* New Mexican food is really, really good. But try to lay off it a little the night before a looooong day of being trapped in a metal capsule.
* When it rains in the desert, it has the exact opposite effect on the general population as it does in more temperate regions. Read: elation.
* Toddlers don't respect manicures. They're going to want to touch your purple nails.
* If your toddler tells you that her belly is sore while riding in the car, DON'T proceed to feed her berries and yogurt.
Our flight home involved a stop in Chicago with no plane change. That made for 7 1/2 hours on a plane. With a toddler. E snacked and watched Toy Story on the first flight, then fell asleep while we taxied before take-off on flight number two and had to be woken up when we landed. True story. It was the most relaxing day I've had in months.
J and I have been the picture of determination in our efforts over the last two days to complete our packing. We're nearly there. Our wonderful friend Dr. N arrived this evening and insists on being shown the sights in the Big Apple before selflessly offering to drive our beloved daughter back to our native land. We will oblige him. And then on Friday, with mixed emotions, we will leave our tiny little apartment in our lovely corner of Brooklyn, and head for cooler, and most certainly greener, pastures.
I'll try to stop by the blog and throw up a picture or two before then, but please bear with me. Packing is a bitch.
Just hours after stumbling home from a most sublime, most indulgent dinner to end all dinners, the Cowfam piled into a car and headed for the airport.
We're On Vacation!
Now that my husband is no longer a student, and not yet gainfully employed, it's time to live a little and enjoy all of this free time. So we headed to Santa Fe for a little extended family visiting, high altitude living and just plain old relaxing.
We're three days in, with four to go, and it has already become apparent that we will have no desire to return home to our boxes in Brooklyn on Saturday. Sunday was spent shopping our hearts out in Target and frolicking in a sculpture garden. Yesterday we drove to Taos, ate New Mexican food, shopped, shopped, shopped and made animals out of pipe cleaners. E has spent every morning "making art" before breakfast. This morning we had to opportunity to explore a 10,000 square foot mansion in the mountains in Gene Hackman's neighbourhood. It had a guest house and - get this - pilot's quarters. Yes, it did. Over the next few days we have plans for lots more New Mexican food, a children's museum, a wildlife sanctuary, and maybe story time at the library (I'll leave you to guess whose suggestion that was). And I'm willing to bet we'll end up shopping a couple more times. There's this woman I'm related to by marriage, an absolutely fabulous woman by the name of Sandra, whose mere presence fills me with an insatiable desire to spend money on pretty things. I love her dearly, but my wallet recoils in fear at the sound of her voice.
Also, it took a trip halfway across the country to discover Trader Joe's Orange Cranberry scones. Do yourself a very big favour and seek them out immediately.