Sunday, June 24, 2012

See You Later

That is what I am saying.  NOT goodbye.  Because it is not goodbye.  We will be back and we will keep in contact with all of our loved ones.  I have to keep telling myself that. 

I was wondering last night why Mark and I seem to be on a different page as far as saying goodbye to everyone and everything.  Maybe its because he is a man and he hides his feelings well.  Maybe its because he doesn't have as many people to say goodbye to.  I don't know, but I think that I am having such a hard time because I have never lived more than 30 minutes from my two sets of parents, and never more than 2 hours from my sister.  Except for my 4 years in college.  And then I was only 4 hours south at Miami U.  Mark has lived more than 2 hours away from his mother for most of his adult life.  He has even lived as far away as Texas.  Not having that close proximity to my family is throwing me for a loop I admit.  "See you later" is still very hard. 

The entire upstairs is done. Cleaned and packed.  Just have to bundle up what we have been sleeping on, vacuum and call it a day.  The downstairs has a bit more work, but Mark and I have become a very efficient team when it comes to cleaning.  The final packing needs to be completed today, and I need to review the protocol for preparing Scout for flight.  I need to attach all of the paperwork to her cage, and place water, food bowls and zipties in the appropriate places.  I'm not sure if her crate will fit with all the luggage as is.  We may need to collapse it for travel and put it together again once we are in the hotel.  Or maybe she can just sleep on a towel or something. 

Today we need to scatter Pongo's ashes.  Pongo was our gentle and loving greyhound.  We adopted him at 5 years old.  I don't know what kind of life he had before he came to us, but it wasn't a good one.  It took 5 months living with us before he wagged his tail.  It took quite awhile longer before he would put his butt in the air in that puppy play stance.  He had to learn how to be a dog again, but once he came out of his shell he was such a happy guy.  Except when I left him.  Then he was a bit destructive, but when I was home he would lay on his bed and stare at me with adoring eyes.  I always said that Pongo would marry me if he could.  LOL  He loved living here in Oberlin and romping in the yard or on the bikepath in the winter when I would let him off his chain.  Most greyhounds have to be on a lead at all times.  They are sight hounds and once they set their eyes on something they are off.  By the time they stop and look up they could be miles away and their noses are not as keen as other dogs.  They are not able to find their way home.  But, I could let Pongo off his lead.  He was that attached to me.  He loved to bound down the bikepath and run as fast as he could back to me when I called him. And he was fast!  I loved to watch him run.  There was such joy in him then.  Pongo died in the spring a year ago.  We had a terrible ice storm with ice inches thick on top of snow.  I didn't realize that it had frozen on top when I let him out in the morning and he went flying and broke through the thick ice with his very thinly skinned legs.  He hurt himself badly then and the vet thought he had torn a ligament.  However, it never healed and it turned out he had bone cancer.  I went to the vet with a very sick dog thinking that we were going to make a decision about surgery and was not expecting the verdict of bone cancer.  We put him to rest that night.  We did our best to make sure that his spirit came home with us and I think he did because Finn has said that he has seen him.  I had considered taking him with us, but I think he will be happier here in the yard where he used to romp, play and run laps around the house. 

Last night we had a nice dinner with Grandpa and Grandma EE.  Grandma took the kids shopping at Walmart and they each picked out a little gift.  Tali got crackle nail polish and Finn chose Legos, of course.  He was up at 6a.m. playing with them.  He was up before me!

This morning we are meeting Nana and Grandpa at The Feve for our last gourmet breakfast.  Last time I had pear and blue cheese pancakes.  Sounds weird, but they were SO delicious.  I wonder what crazy concoction they will have today.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2 Days and I am Scared Shitless

I almost skipped my morning walk because I am so dang tired and sleeping on the floor left me aching, but I'm glad I didn't.  It was a beautiful and crisp with no humidity.  The birds are a lot quiter at 7 a.m. than at 6. 

Yesterday felt like a bit of a waste.  Since we had so much running around to do we didn't get much done around the house.  I got my hair cut and colored and Tali got her hair cut.  I had Brooke take off about 4 inches straight across.  She did the same with her bangs and Tali looks adorable.  It has a nice swing to it now and really frames her face beautifully.

Next we ran home to get Mark and Finn and headed over to Jim Monjot's to sign the final paperwork for our will and testament and our Power of Attorney.  Jim plans on visiting us in the future and we will be happy to show him around and set him up with some exciting adventures. 

On to the mall where Mark bought tennis shoes at Dick's along with button-downs and khakis at Macy's.  I stocked up on my Clinique Happy.  Got a nice big bottle.  I wish I could have bought two, but maybe I will find a good substitute in Cuenca.  While we were waiting for the woman behind the Clinique counter Tali looked in a mirror and said, "I LIKE myself.".  Music to a Mom's ears!  Now my job will be to make sure she feels that way for the rest of her life.  A daunting task in the U.S. for sure.  I wonder if it will be easier in Ecuador. 

A final stop at Charter One to have copies made of our Power of Attorney and then home.  It was 4:00 by then and I was dragging.  I did a bit of laundry and got the bed ready for Deanna to pick up.  Deanna and Eric bought our king-size Tempurpedic bed.  I am so glad that it went to someone who will appreciate it and it didn't get stuck staying here.  I hope they love it as much as I did.  I sure was missing it last night!  They showed up at 6:00 and surprisingly enough it was pretty easy to move.  The three men, Mark, Eric and Deanna's dad, rolled up the mattress and cinched it together with straps.  The boxsprings are split down the middle so they were very easy to move.  I thought it was going to be a nightmare moving that bed, but it went very well.

Today we are going to pick up the van.  I don't think we will start to fill it yet until tomorrow.  I have all of the footlockers lined up and open against the wall so that I can see if something else can be added to each one.  I know their weights so it shouldn't be hard to figure out how much more I can add. It looks like Mark may or may not have an issue getting the still into Ecuador.  We will just have to see what they make of it and whether it will carry an import tax. 

I have been watching the weather in Miami very closely for about a week now.  A few days ago the predicted temp was going to be 89 and my heart sank.  Then it went down to 87, but when I checked this morning the forecasted temperature said 85.  I am holding my breath that it stays at 85 or goes even lower.  Some people have said that the airlines won't fly pets when the temperature is above 85, but whenever I have called LAN they have said that the area is ventilated and that they don't have any restrictions on pets flying in the summer.  Only the winter.  Please keep your fingers crossed that we get her there okay.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Journey

I have to keep reminding myself why I'm doing this. Why I am moving so far from family and friends. I have the goal firmly in the front of my mind and it keeps me focused, but this is so far from easy. Last night I was reading my baby book and I came across a 6 page handwritten letter from my dad's friend, Rollie (not sure I spelled that right), congratulating my mom and dad on the birth of their baby girl. It was such a warm and heartfelt letter and it made me sad to think about what could have been and never was. Then I read a letter my Nana wrote to me when I was younger. It wasn't about anything important. Just the usual day to day stuff, but it reminded me of how Nana and I always wrote to each other when I was growing up. She always signed the letters with XXXOOO. So, I had myself a good cry last night. And on my walk this morning I just started sobbing again. Scout kept looking at me like, what the heck is going on? Then I had to wipe my eyes and nose on my t-shirt because I didn't have a Kleenex. Yuck. Why didnt i think to bring kleenex on my walk on the bikepath. Duh! I must be more stressed and emotional than I think I am.

  Mark took Finn to the dr.yesterday and I'm so glad he did. Another ear infection. He would have been miserable on the flight. I am a bit worried about the two of them in the mountains and how the climate is going to effect them. It could be better, but it could be worse. That is one of the reasons I don't want to get tied down in Cuenca with a business. There is a real possibility that we might have to move somewhere with a different climate.

  I tried to take the kids to the dentist too. What a nightmare. This is a new dentist because I wasn't happy with our other one. The waiting room is huge. We walked in and the entire room was filled with parents and kids. It was standing room only and we had a hard time just getting to the desk. I heard some guy say that he had been waiting for half and hour and I said forget it. We told them we weren't staying and got the hell out of there. We will go to a dentist in Cuenca. I'm sure it has got to be a better experience than that craziness.

  Dave came over and got our tv. We also gave him our computer desk. Chris arrived about the same time and got Grandpa's desk and the tandem. Mom came to give the kids back to Chris. We are going to meet mom and dad at The Feve for brunch on Sunday. The house was a complete disaster and Chris kept marveling about how much we still had to do, but within an hour of them leaving we had a good portion of the downstairs organized, cleaned and ready for packing. The rest of the day was spent packing. I think I am almost done. I have to pack up our comforter, my pillows and a few odds and ends. I'm hoping to stay under 14 bags, but we may end up with 15. Scout's paperwork should be arriving from the embassy today. Then I will be all done. Yeah! With not a moment to spare.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

4 Days

and I have no idea how we are going to get all of this done. 

I know I have been blabbing on about how much I enjoy my morning walks with Scout, but I really do!  I go to bed looking forward to getting up in the morning, and the thought of going for a walk gets me out of bed the next day.  I like to get up at 6 and get going right away because the sun is still low in the sky and the bike path is shaded.  And there is no one on it.  If I wait until 7:00 like I did yesterday then only part of the path is shaded and it is much, much warmer.  The only thing I don't like about being the first one on the trail is the spider webs stretched across the path.  Today one hit me at face level right across the mouth.  Yuck.

I know I've also talked about the catbirds, but they are just so comical.  If you don't know, a catbird is a small light gray bird a little smaller than a robin with a darker gray cap.  Its own song sounds like a cat with a scratchy throat, but they are like mockingbirds and will sing a long roll of other bird's calls all mixed up together too.  They mostly sing the robin's call, but I can also hear a cardinal, blue jay, finch and sparrow.  Yesterday I thought I heard a Baltimore Oriole make its machine gun rat-a-tat-tat, but it was only a catbird fooling me.  There is one catbird that likes to sing at the top of a barren tree almost every morning.  It sings its little heart out.  That is until I come into its vacinity and then it always switches to the plaintive Meow, Meow.  Then once I pass the tree it starts back up with it rolling bird song. Funny. 

My shoulder is infected where they took out the mole.  The neosporin isn't doing the trick, so I'm going to try lavender.  It helped Finn's eye when he burned it with the marshmallow, so I might as well give it a go. The one on my leg doesn't hurt, but it fills up with liquid that I need to squeeze out every day.  Fun, right? 

Yesterday we headed to the beach at Lakeview Park with Nana and the cousins.  Right as I was turning onto Baumhart the vet called and said that Scout's paperwork was in, so I turned around and headed there.  Got the paperwork and then went to UPS for hopefully the last time.  Overnighted it with a return envelope, which should arrive on Friday.  $94.  :(

The beach was HOT!  It would have been fine if I was able to go in the water, but I could only go up to my knees.  Nana brought an umbrella so I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible.  It would get windy every once in awhile and we would have to hold onto the umbrella to keep it upright.  The breeze was both a blessing and a curse.  The boys and Tali had a great time, but Hannah?  Well, let's just say that she is a 14 year old girl and leave it at that.  We stayed until 5, grabbed some Taco Bell for dinner (probably for the last time) and then headed home to take it easy before hitting the hay. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Crunch Time!

I am super tired, so if there are any typos, I apologize.  Yesterday Scout had her final vet exam and the health certificate was issued.  Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow from the USDA.  Then, on to the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington.  Running out of time! 

Mark met with our lawyer and we are in the process of finishing up our wills and trusts.  I think he will be done with the final papers tomorrow or Thursday.  Luckily we were able to get this appointment with him.  Since he is an attorney notary he was able to notarize the papers and I could skip the step to the County Clerk.  That was a relief. 

We spent most of the day packing and packing and cleaning.  I think we are doing pretty good.  I have 6 footlockers packed and ready to go ranging in weight from 42 to 45 lbs.  Don't want to go over that dreaded 50 lbs.  We kept one of the kid/lamb scales behind and we are using that to weigh our luggage.  It has definitely come in handy. 

A few months ago I had bought two original Kindles for the kids.  There aren't going to be many children's books in English down there and I want them to still read, so I thought a Kindle would be a great way to keep them going.  Plus they were $30 off!  I decided to give them to Finn and Tali last night so that we could download a couple of books for the trip.  They were ecstatic.  They kept thanking me and Mark over and over and over again.  I appreciate that they feel real gratitude when they get something special. 

Today I had an appt. at the dermatologist's to get a cancer screening and to take a look at that spot on my leg.  The dr. ended up liquid nitrogining (made up word) the one on my leg and that hurt like crazy and continued to hurt for about an hour.  She also found a mole on my shoulder that I thought was kind of pretty, but that she said had to go!  So, she numbed that shoulder and scraped it off to be biopsied.  Didn't hurt a bit at the time.  It really hasn't bothered me all that much, although it is a bit hot to the touch and a little sore. 

We had quite a bit of running around to do after the drs.  Dropped paperwork off at lawyers and then we went to the Backpackers Shop.  I wanted to get more Smart Wool socks and to look at a back-up pair of hiking boots.  I ended up getting the exact same Tevas that I already have, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I talked Mark into getting two pairs of Smart Wool socks and I don't think he will regret it even though they ARE $20 a pair.  Yikes!

Then we ate lunch and headed over to Charter One to finish up my IRA paperwork.  We were able to overcome a hurdle when we realized that my mother who has Power of Attorney will be able to sign the necessary paperwork in order for them to release the funds.  Otherwise it was going to be this huge ordeal getting my signature.  Yeah!

Our mailforwarding service is up and running.  It is pretty cool, I have to say.  I logged in and there were the covers of two scanned envelopes for Mark from STRS.  I clicked that I wanted them opened and the contents scanned and then I will be able to view the letters inside.  I can then decide whether I need the contents forwarded or shredded.  A very neat little service.

Back home to pack a few more suitcases.  Now I am beat and headed for bed.  Tomorrow...the beach with Nana and the cousins!!!  I can't go in the water because of my booboos.  I hope I can stay cool on what looks like a 95 degree day.  I'm going to bring my spray bottle and dip my feet in at least.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bon Voyage Party

What a great party!  Lots of friends and family, present and past.  It was so great to see everyone.  All of my friends came except Mollie who is on her way to Colorado.  Unexpected surprises were the Gardners, the Cunninghams and the Burvis'.  It seemed like everyone had a great time and I know I did.  The food was awesome and it all got eaten.  The cake was beautiful and tasty.  The kids had a blast and played Capture the Flag up to 11:00p.m.  It brought back a lot of memeories of our neighborhood gang playing those games way back when.  My brother, David, flew all the way in from Oregon to help send us off.  It was really nice to see him and it meant a lot. He has friends that live on the coast in Peru and have offered him their house around November.  It is a 6 bedroom house on a yoga retreat.  If he goes he is going to come and visit us in Cuenca.  We would also like to visit him in Peru.  That would be awesome and a great reason to take a road trip. 

Saying goodbye to Cathy was super hard.  We both cried in each other's arms.  :(

My sister is heading to Senegal today for three weeks for work.  I do not envy her the day of travel ahead of her.  Hopefully we will be able to join Nana and the boys doing something this week.  We have appts. everyday plus the packing and cleaning.  This house is trashed.  There is stuff everywhere.  I hope it all comes together in the end. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Girl Scouts

Last night was Tali's Girl Scout picnic wrapping up the year.  I liked this year's party a little more than last.  There was less pomp and circumstance and more fun.  The girls played a lot and Finn finally joined in after dinner.  I set up a yahoo account for Tali and we gave Nicole her address so the girls can keep in touch.  Tali is very good friends with Nicole's daughter, Ella.  The leaders think that there might also be a Girl Scout badge that has something to do with pen pals, so next year the troop and Tali can write back and forth.

Mark went to his mom's yesterday while I stayed home to get things done.  I got a call from the Secretary of State and she has to send some of my paperwork back.  She was able to process the birth certificates, but not the dr.s letters or the background checks.  Turns out I need an affadavit with those.  I knew I was doing something wrong, but I couldn't figure out what.  The notary was not able to sign off on them so I just sent them on, not knowing how to fix it.  I found an affadavit sample online that I can use.  Now I need a notary to sign them and then I have to take them to the county clerk and then send them back to the Secretary of State.  It would be alot easier to just have an attorney notary sign off on them because that would allow me to skip the county clerk step, but that costs a lot of money.  If we are able to get an appt. with Jim Monjot either today or Monday I will have him do it.  That would be the best scenario, but we'll see.

I called the Ecuadorian Embassy and someone actually picked up the phone!  I was so startled that I forgot all of the questions I wanted to ask.  We have been trying for months to get ahold of someone with no luck.  Supposedly the building was damaged in the earthquake around Washington last year so they were moving buildings.  I was able to ask him about processing Scout's paperwork.  $50 money order, and he assured me that it would be processed in a timely manner.  It looked like I was going to be under a terrible time crunch with Scout's paperwork since I wasn't going to be able to have her seen by a vet until Tuesday, but a vet is going to be there on Monday so we will go in then.  That should give me just enough time to get it to the USDA, back again, to the Embassy and back. 

I started trying to pack some stuff yesterday just to see how it was going to go.  I had bought some Space Saver bags and I was eager to try them out.  Those things are awesome!  We are allowing Finn and Tali to take all of their stuffed animals of which there are many.  They don't have a lot of toys and I wanted them to have some comforts from home.  Really, the only things they will have to take are their animals and legos.  We can get paper and art supplies there, and they are used to creating their own toys both inside and outside the house.  I bought both of them one of the cheapest Kindles since there aren't going to be many children's books in English.  So they have those too. I was able to get all of their clothes (and I brought a lot) into two bags.  One bag went into Tali's footlocker and one bag into Finn's.  They rest is filled with stuffed animals.  I cannot believe that I got all of their stuff into one footlocker each.  And they only weigh 30lbs.  I'll probably shove some of my cookbooks in there since I have 20lbs. to work with.

I think I'm going to need one footlocker for comforters and one for computer equipment.  We are bringing a king-size, queen-size and the two twin-size down comforters for warmth.  I am also bringing my duvet and pillow set.  I worked too hard saving up for that set and I love it. 

Oh, I also need a suitcase for our artwork and the kid's memory stuff.  I really need to get cracking on going through pictures.  The idea is to go to Walmart and scan all of them, but I need to go through them first in order to do that and for some reason I have been procrastinating. 

I am really enjoying my 6 a.m. walks with Scout.  I love seeing all of the birds, goldfinches, cedar waxwings.  Can't forget the catbirds.  They are so funny. 

Ruth took Grandma's white chest.  She has the perfect house for it.  I wish there was some way to get our table over to Michele and Joe's. 

As of Monday we will have no tv.  I had to cut it off early so that Direct TV could send us the boxes to send the equipment back.  I'm going to miss all of my shows.  Bummer, but I guess I'd better get used to it.  I still can't figure out how to watch the shows on my computer. 

Our new camers, my new ipod docking station and my new ipad case should be arriving today.  Can't wait to start playing with the camera.  Dad recommended it to us and it looks awesome.  I'm glad it arrived in time for the party.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Block Party

We had a great time at the block party down at Groot's tonight.  They were nice enough to plan it around our departure date.  I had a chiropractor appt. before and then ran to the children's thrift store to try and find Tali some long-sleeve shirts.  I love going to the chiropractor.  So relaxing and I like feeling all put back together again the right way.  I only found 3 shirts for Tali, but I did find her a cute jeans jacket.  Then I hurried over to Kohls for some shorts and a couple of pairs of yoga pants. 

I got to the party late so I didn't get to see Ruth put Mark on the spot and ask him to tell everybody about our plans.  Finn said he was embarrassed because everyone was staring at them and he hid his face.  The food was good and so was the conversation.  It was cold though!  I had pants and a jacket on and I was still cold.  We would have stayed a bit longer if it had been a bit warmer.

Today we ran all over the place again.  We headed down to the Board of Ed in the morning and had a heck of a time finding a parking place because it was Marine Week.  It was kind of cool, but I still didn't like the guns and tanks.  The Marine Band was very good though.  After going through security like Fort Knox and being shuffled around from floor to floor to floor, we finally got all of our paperwork taken care of.  Let's just hope that customer service prevails and they do their jobs and get our stuff where it needs to be.  Then we headed to UPS again and I got all of the paperwork sent to the Ohio Secretary of State to be apostilled.  Meanwhile Mark went across the street to the post office to mail in our application for the mail forwarding service.  Its a pretty cool service.  They will scan all of your mail for you and you can view it on your computer.  If you want them to open it, they will open it and scan the contents and you can see that on the computer.  You can either have them send it to you or you can ask them to shred it. 

I also signed us up for Club Correos.  I was pretty proud of myself because the website was in Spanish and I managed to open an account.  Club Correos is a company that operates out of Miami.  They give you an address and you can have packages shipped to that address. Then they ship it to you in Ecuador.  It has to be under 8 lbs. and under $400 in order to avoid customs.  So, if I wanted to order something from Amazon I have it sent to the address in Miami and they send it to me.  Since many apartments and houses in Ecuador don't have addresses I will have to pick up any packages at the Post Office.  They will call you and tell you when they have arrived.  Neat.  You can send packages through the Ecuadorian Post Office, but there is no guarantee that your package will arrive.  Club Correos supposedly does a good job of making sure your stuff gets to you. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stress, Stress and more Stress

I am going to weigh about 200 lbs before this is all said and done.  I am so stressed.  The house sale was a huge success, but holy shit!  Friday was a whirlwind.  People started pouring in at 9:00a.m. and I could not catch my breath until noon.  I didn't even get to eat breakfast.  At least I had taken a shower before 9.  It really didn't let up all day.  Saturday was just as bad and even though we said it was over at 5:00, people still showed up in the evening hours.  Just when we sat down someone else would pull into the driveway.  Sunday was a bit slower, but still a steady stream of people.  We sold everything except the kitchen table, the couch and loveseat, and our bed.  So, I'm not complaining.  Everything that was left we packed up and put onto Gordon's trailer to be taken to Love, Inc., an organization that Gordon and Ruth are involved in.

Yesterday we headed down to STRS to finalize my roll-over and Mark's pension.  Everything is going well on that end.  We spent the evening with the cousins.  The kids walked up to Kroger's and picked out something to eat.  Finn and Tali enjoyed that. After we fed them we headed to North Star Cafe for a very expensive dinner.  The food was good, but a little high-priced for a walk-through cafe.  Chris was under the weather so we didn't stay long. 

Since we have all been out of school we have gone through our yearly week from hell with the kids.  Finn has been especially obnoxious.  But finally yesterday we had a break-through and I think he is back.  Hopefully.  I think (hope) seeing his mother cry put things into perspective.  He really was being a complete little shit. 

Today I worked on my "green notebook list" that I update hourly of things to do.  We have a driver from Quito to Cuenca, which is good news.  Jack Abercrombie.  He has this huge, adapted truck that will fit all of our luggage and us as well.  We contacted and shut off all of our utilities.  I got our Verizon phones synchronized so that we will still have service while in Miami and in Ecuador should we choose to keep it.  Minutes are expensive, but it will be nice to be able to text.  I made all of our dr. appts...dematologist, chiropractor, dentist, vet.  Plus a hair cut and color for me.  I contacted Great American Life and my annuity is ready.  I set up mailbox forwarding and got Finn's health check from the dr.  I sent a thank you letter to Devon at Vital Statistics thanking her for helping me with the birth certificates.  I sent my new email address out, emailed Marines for a visa check-up, and called LAN for a final check.  That phone call really got me going.  The guy was a total jerk.  First of all, there are no other flights at all on that day, the next, or ever other than the one we are on.  Which means that Scout just has to get on it.  Then the idiot told me that I could not take the number of suitcases that I wanted to take.  He kept saying that I needed to contact the individual airline. I thought that was who I was talking to!!!!!  Idiot!!!!  So, now I am completely freaked out again about Scout.   Then I went to Aphis to find the link to the animal requirements to give to someone on Facebook who is transporting their dog and NOW the requirements say that the health certificate needs to be in SPANISH too!  How am I going to get Scout to the vet to be seen by the vet, send the health certificate to the USDA vet in Pickerington, get the certificate back, have it translated, and then sent to the embassy in Washington all within 10 days of travel.  Breathe, breathe, breathe.

We went to the bank this afternoon to fill out the paperwork for my rollover.  That took awhile, but I think we have decided what to do.  Tomorrow we head to the district to have the fiscal officer sign off on my paperwork.  Then to the County Clerk to have the health certificates and background checks certified, then to a notary, then UPS to get everything sent out.

Friday, June 8, 2012

House Sale

This weekend is our Moving to Ecuador sale.  We pulled everything out and put into boxes yesterday.  Even if it doesn't sell, at least it will be boxed up and ready for The Salvation Army.  The kitchen is completely done except for the food cupboards.  There are a few things I left for cooking, and of course the pans I am bringing with us.  The neighbors are also having a garage sale, so around 3:00 Mark decided to put signs up since we had everything ready for the most part.  We sold about $120 worth of stuff.  Hopefully today will be a good day.  Jill and her husband, Wayne, stopped over and bought a few things. 

Yesterday we went and looked at a cargo van for the drive to Miami.  Patrick is going to go with us and make the return drive himself.  I am worried about him driving that whole way alone.  The reason we are asking him to drive it back is because the drop-off fee is ridiculous.  If we drop it off in Miami it costs $1600 vs. $341 to bring it back.  I wish we could get the 15 seater so he could have someone go with him, but you need a major credit card and all of our cards are closed.  Plus, with all of our luggage I'm not sure they would fit in the 15 seater since the seats take up most of the room.

I got our marriage certificate in the mail to be apostilled by the state of Pennsylvania.  Our birth certificates are in the mail and the kid's birth certificates should be arriving today or Monday.  I was really surprised by how nice and helpful the woman at Vital Statistics was.  She pulled the birth certificates for us and expedited the process.  Customer service still lives in some government agencies.  :)

My last day of school was nice.  15 kids showed up.  They got the room cleaned up in no time.  At the end of the day the girls started crying because they were going to miss each other.  Cathy and I were in disbelief.  They tortured each other all year and now they are sobbing?  It was pretty funny.  Then they sat on the floor in a circle and each one told their favorite 4th grade moment.  Many of them picked Put-in-Bay.  Then they all turned into a row on the ground facing us and made Cathy and I tell our favorite 4th grade moment.  They followed that will a huge group hug around us. 
They were still looking through the window into our room on the way down the hall lamenting about how much they were going to miss being in 4th grade.  We just shook our heads.  Unbelievable.  LOL

After work I went out with Erin and Mollie for a last hoorah.  Deanna and Danelle showed up later.  We had a good time, but I was feeling bad about not being at home with Mark on our last day so I left early. 

Mark just did some calculations on the van rental and with everything added up including extra days for Patrick to drive back, gas, a hotel room for Pat, and paying him it ends up only being a difference of $350.  So, I am thinking we should just drop it off.  That will give us more room in the van for the kids and then Patrick won't have to drive it home by himself.  That would make me feel so much better.

We are still working on getting all of our stuff and ourselves from Quito to Cuenca.  I thought I had someone lined up, but I didn't realize that all he had was an SUV.  That will not cut it.  No way will all of our stuff fit.  But, James and Caroline Drummond are working really hard on finding someone to get us there.  They said that we don't have to worry.  They will find us a way to get our family there safe and sound.  The expat community is so nice and helpful.  It really is a great group of people.  I have seen time and time again expats already living in Ecuador come to the aid of people moving there or just visiting.  It is such a supportive group.  I am looking forward to joining them. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

And Then There Was

ONE!  One more day and then our lives will begin to change forever. 

Mark and I met at Lincoln Park Pub for a celebratory beer tonight.  Erin, Ms. Pronty, Ilsa, Angel, Corrine and Barb joined us.  It felt nice to relax and laugh.  At the staff meeting Arod said that the 8th grade is staffed 67 to 1.  Incredible.  It has got to be a scare tactic.  There is no way you could even fit that many kids in a room. That has gotta change.  She also told us though that Denison's staffing would probably stay as it...58 to 1.  Dark days are ahead, that's for sure. 

Mark and I are feeling so strange.  We can't quite grasp what is happening to us.  We think about it and get a weird feeling, and then it slips away.  It just doesn't feel real. 

Tonight we watched the transit of Venus. It won't happen again for another 105 years.  We watched it through a pair of binoculars onto a piece of white cardboard.  Cool.

Monday, June 4, 2012


We had a really good weekend. On Saturday we went to Columbiana.  First we stopped by Krista's house and visited with Grandma.  Then we went to Laurie's house where everyone was meeting.  Mark had told me we were going to a party, but it was really a small get-together.  Four of his women friends and us.  A couple of guys were supposed to show up later, but we left before they got there.  All of the ladies were super sweet to me and the kids.  They were very, very nice and I felt very welcomed.  We enjoyed some good food, beer and good conversation.

On Sunday we had Tali's bday party.  Mom and Dad and Dad and Eileen came.  Pat also stopped by.  It was very relaxing.  We had lots of beer, pizza, and cake.  I forgot the stupid ice cream again.  I was so aggravated. 

I was feeling a bit sad today. The eight graders were coming to say good-bye and one of my former students, Jonathan Rodriguez, came to say hello. Jonathan graduated with honors from John Hay High School-Science and Medicine. He is off to Ohio State University in August on a full 4 year scholarship! Great kid. He is so tall and buff now. He could have picked me up and swung me around. In 4th grade I used to call him a bull in a china shop. LOL

Mark had their staffing meeting today.  Denison is being staffed at 1 to 58.

Faxed the paperwork to Great American Life.  Hopefully they get it to the district in a timely manner and the district does what it is supposed to do.  It would be very nice to have that check cut before we leave.  I tried to complete the homeschooling paperwork, but I am ready to give up.  I talked to the superintendent of Firelands, the principal at their school, three people at ESC, and two people at ODE.  No one can tell me what to do with the paperwork.  I find it very hard to believe that not one homeschooling family in Ohio is doing it from abroad.  I am feeling very frustrated with the whole thing. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Yesterday was Family Fun Day.  Usually we have it outside and it is very nice.  We have a dance in the gym and we hire a DJ.  There is a dunk tank outside and some teachers and usually Mrs. Rodriguez get in it.  We have games all around the perimeter of the playground.  Things like fishing, golf, bowling, a cake walk, etc...  There is a large bouncy house and slide, and usually a basketball or baseball game for the older kids.  There is a popcorn machine, snow cone machine and a hotdog, chips, pop lunch.  The students are broken up into three age groups and circle through the activities.  It is a lot of fun and the kids have a blast.  This year it was pouring though so Mrs. Rodriguez had to get really creative.  She put the blow up stuff in the gym and the dance in the media center, which is in the middle of the school.  The activities and food were spread out around the first and second floors.  The dunk tank was outside under the awning.  She did a great job having everything ready.  The kids really had fun, but the music was SO loud that the windows in our room were rattling for 4 hours.  I walked around with kleenex in my ears.  For all of us being stuffed inside the school I think it went really well though.  We were all beat. 

After work we took Tali to get her ears pierced.  The lady did a nice job and they are perfectly centered.  Tali was really brave.  She yelled out the first time.  I don't think she understood how much it would hurt even though I told her.  She didn't cry though.  Much better than me!  I fainted when I got mine done.  We went to Moosehead for her birthday dinner.  Today we baked her cake together and she wants to decorate it tomorrow. 

Got Scout's shots taken care of today.  I didn't say anything to the Dr.  I just let it be, even though he really should be taken to task for not having Pongo's leg x-rayed.  Heading to Columbiana in about 1/2 hour to see Mark's mom and to go to a party with some of Mark's old childhood friends.