I can't believe today Ryan and I have been at my parents' for two weeks.
Things have been busy.
First, a few leftover odds and ends:
I don't think I mentioned just how much stuff we left behind. Moving is always a monumental pain in the rear, but is even more so when moving overseas. You never realize just how much junk you have until you try to move it. We wound up with more stuff left over than we imagined. First, there was all the 220 volt stuff we just wouldn't have a need for in the States: two large, ugly lamps (left over from getting accidentally packed when we left Germany - they belonged to Housing, and we got ridiculously over charged for them), two very nice space heaters, a microwave that has been with us since Germany, a water heater (Tash informed me it's called a, "kettle" ), and a couple of other things I can't think of at the moment. Many people sell their 220 volt items, but we needed them until right before we left.
Actually, there were a lot of things we needed up until we left, but just couldn't pack or mail. A lot of people deal with this problem by borrowing things from Housing (such as beds and furniture, etc.), but the way things worked out, we would have been borrowing things for two or three days, just to have them picked up again. So we wound up sleeping on air mattresses on the floor, then got left with said mattresses and sheets and blankets and pillows to mail.
We left behind some folding chairs, since the card table that went with them got killed a long time ago. (Don't store heavy items on card tables.) Those chairs were nice.
It's funny. The movers packed up everything we told them to (and more - I had to rescue some blinds that were supposed to stay, and wasn't in time to prevent some curtain ties from getting packed that were also supposed to stay), and asked us several times to go through the house and make sure everything was packed. I walked through the house more than once, and thought they'd gotten everything. Yet somehow, after the movers had gone, I found all sorts of odd things that ought to have been packed (evidently, we all forgot to check the top of the refrigerator).
We donated tons. We gave tons to friends. We simply threw out tons. (It killed me to throw out all my spices. And hey, how'd I wind up with three opened cans of baking powder???) But honestly, it would have cost more to mail them than replace them, and the stuff was such that I didn't feel right about passing it on. (A huge thanks to Sarah, who did take a bunch of stuff that was worth passing on!)
In the back yard, we left a barbecue, some shelves, a hose, a cooler, and a foot locker.
We gathered up everything and took it over to our temporary residence, the Ashness self-catering apartments. We were there about a week. We mailed at least a dozen boxes back to the States. As the time to leave drew closer, our suit cases grew heavier, and as the hours counted down, it became evident there was no early way everything would fit. We wound up leaving an appalling amount of things behind, such as food and zip lock bags. The worst was our toiletries. We left behind pretty much everything except our tooth brushes and razors.
It's amazing what you can part with when you don't really have a choice.
At London Heathrow airport I saw a vending machine that sold books! (Paula, I so thought of you!)
When we picked up our plane tickets, we were seated in the middle of a five seat row. That wasn't going to work. When we got to the airport, we managed to get seats by the bulkhead. Score! Even better, we had almost the whole row to ourselves, except for one man sitting on the far end of the row. (He left us alone, as we did him.) It makes such a big difference having that extra space.
We'd bought an expensive, FAA approved harness for Ryan, to safely strap him into his seat on the plane. We were informed that we were not to use it on the plane, since the flight attendants aren't trained on how to use it, and might need to know in an emergency. I lamely said it was FAA approved, and even as I said it, knew what the response would be (which was basically, "it's not approved by our government"). Oh well. Ryan didn't like the harness, anyway.
We were on the tarmac for almost an hour before we finally took off. Once in the air though, the flight went smoothly. I pretty much watched "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" most of the flight - punctuated by catering to Ryan's needs, of course. I also took a break to watch an episode of "House," which I now really like! (It's funny to hear Hugh Laurie speak with an American accent.)
I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, but Larry and I have been listening to the Harry Potter series on cd, then watching the movies. Larry had barely started Order of the Phoenix on cd, when he decided to watch the movie. Unfortunately, he decided a bit too late. With only about five minutes left, the movie was stopped in preparation for landing. I heard Larry give an anguished, "No!" and I couldn't help but laugh.