Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We have arrived!.

Despite several setbacks...

On Sunday, the pods were delivered. These pods were to hold our household goods. The company would pick them up, store them at a warehouse, and then deliver them to our new address when we return to the United States. The expert from the pod people who estimated how many pods would be needed for our house was off by about 40%. We had 5 pods and these were full within 2 hours and the moving guys just threw up their hands. After negotiations with the pod people we learned that they couldn't deliver 3 more pods on Monday morning so we had to find a storage facility for the remainder of our goods. Monday was supposed to be a day of rest before flying out on Tuesday but now we had to drive back down from SF to Menlo Park, re-engage our movers, move the stuff into a truck, and into a storage unit. The rest of our stuff just *barely* didn't make it into one truckload. Then our stuff just *barely* didn't make it into one storage unit. So, we had to take two trips. And we had to rent two storage units.

Before the move we were trying to keep the boys occupied so we could finish washing linens and packing suitcases. There were no cartoons on TV, the computer and movies had all been packed, so they ended up watching an informercial. I thought the progression of their understanding was interesting. At first when I came through the room they would extol the virtues of the product, word for word, as the sales people had, very excitedly. Eventually they complained "they keep saying the same thing over and over." Finally, one of them said: "Hey! They just want to take all our money."

The night before we had to go back down to Menlo Park,I had a fall. I have a serious vision defect; I experience tunnel vision (no peripheral) and night blindness. I wanted a moment to myself after a chaotic day and so I stepped outside of our friends' house in SF. I didn't go far, just back and forth in front of two or three houses. However, on one of my backs or forths, I stepped on an unseen stick or piece of litter or human hand---I don't know---I couldn't see it. It threw off my balance, I over-compensated, and then I went down hard on my right side--knee, hip, elbow, shoulder, and finally, smack!, the right side of my face. The right arm broke off my glasses and my temple landed on the screw/hinge piece which caused a small laceration. My skull hit the cement causing swelling and an almost immediate black eye. I went to sleep with my face on a bag of frozen black-eyed peas (seemed appropriate) but the laceration opened up again during the night and I bled on the bag. Then, as I shifted and moved to get the cold parts on the ouchy parts, I smeared blood all over the side of my face and head. I woke up with a bloody, sticky face, blood caked in my hair and eyelashes. Yikes! Luckily the injury was not as gruesome as all that but I definitely looked like I'd been in a bar fight or the victim of domestic violence.

The next morning I felt my first earthquake! It was the first I've ever felt and it was a small one so it's okay to feel excited about it. It was about 4 in the morning. I hadn't been sleeping very well due to the eye issue so I was partly awake. When the bed began to shake, I said what made the most sense under the circumstances: "Is there a boy under my bed or is it a monster?" No one answered. The rattling continued. Stopped. "Hello?" I ventured. No answer. Hmmm. Not a prank...an honest to God earthquake! Cool! Keith worried that it would be followed by a larger one. So many things seemed to be going wrong and he was convinced there would more to come.

Sure enough. We left SF early so we would have time for any mishaps and to take care of a few loose ends before the movers arrived. At around 6 am, our friend Aina tried to back our car out of her garage, reversing up a steep incline. Normally, she zips our car out in a few seconds with excellent spatial relations and the kind of expertise that developed after years of zipping her own and others' cars in and out of this steep and narrow opening. This time she moved backward, then forward again. Backward part way up the hill, then forward again. Over and over. Finally she got out and told us there didn't seem to be any power. Is this it? Another catastrophe? With Keith and me pushing the front of the car, Aina was able to get out of the garage. We drove tentatively home hoping we wouldn't stall on the freeway or on any of SF's hills.

When we returned for the second day with the movers they cautiously checked out my appearance and finally one of them asked. I assured them that my husband did not beat me but that I had fallen. I hope they were convinced. I'm afraid Keith will be getting the stink-eye for the duration of my black-eye.

We finally got everything stored and handed our car off to our friends the two Toms. No more catastrophes. The earth didn't move, but the car did, We were all washed and packed and were dropped off at the airport in time to have lunch in the Admiral's Lounge. (Keith flies so frequently that he is a foofee-sashay high-falutin' Executive Platinum member with special services. We got to go along for the ride.)

The flights were mostly uneventful. On my first trip to the plane bathroom with Owen, I said: "Try not to touch anything with your hands." "No problem," he said. "I'll just use my sleeve." Well, you can't fly without some germs.... Later when they were experimenting with the musical channels on their headsets, Owen yelled from across the aisle, in the loud voice of someone wearing headphones: "Tell Lionel that channel 10 is groovy!"

They both managed to sleep 3 or 4 hours, despite turbulence. As we came in to land, Lionel suddenly had airsickness and threw up (in my hands). The seatbelt light was on. "Does anyone have a napkin? Do you have a sick bag?" First order of business: washing hands!

We took a taxi to Notting Hill where we were met at our flat by Lady Mimi Packingham. More tomorrow on settling in.

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