Last Friday at 10 pm, two Consulate vans and three men helped transport 10 pieces of luggage, 3 car seats, 5 carry on bags, 1 stroller, 1 100-lb dog / crate, and 5 very excited passengers to the Chennai International Airport. What happened since then is no longer a blur. Here's the latest update from the other side of the pond...
... We got to the airport three hours before our flight and began the slow check-in process... first our bags, then our dog, and finally our seat assignments. We had no problems with tagging all our bags and they didn't even check the weight. There was even less of a problem with the dog as NOBODY bothered to even look at her, blink at her, or pay any attention to her except for charging the $500 excess baggage fee. The biggest issue? Getting our seat assignments changed for our flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles... we were all placed in separate rows. What. Joy.
... Despite two separate doses of Dramamine, Grady defied sleep and managed to stay awake for over 20 hours of our 29 hour ordeal. He also REFUSED to sit in his car seat for more than a few hours at a time and used me as a human jungle gym. What. Joy.
... While all seated in the same row on our flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, we weren't all seated together. Instead, we were separated by a large German man who sat in the aisle, refused to change seats and thus got stuck next to me, the human jungle gym, and Grady. What. Joy.
... After two LONG plane rides totaling 23 hours, and five hours waiting in two airports, we finally landed in Los Angeles. And as soon as we all stood up and got ready to depart the plane, Sheridan decided that NOW was THE perfect to vomit. All over the floor and her seat. Riley followed suit by falling over and dry heaving after seeing her sister. What. Joy.
... Despite gate checking my stroller in Frankfurt, it didn't make it on the plane to Los Angeles. I found this out after waiting on the jet way for 20 minutes after we deplaned, and confirmed this when my name was called over the loud speaker in the baggage claim asking me to see a Lufthansa agent. I had to then file a claim and get a replacement stroller in the interim. What. Joy.
... The car service we hired to transport us from the airport to Newport Beach was AWFUL. The driver was irked that we were late coming out of the terminal and barked at us to hurry up as he was afraid he was going to get a ticket. Seriously, do they not account for delays? But the icing on the cake was when he refused to stop at In N Out. Apparently he never read the notes in our file and scheduled another pick up immediately after ours. Oh. The. Joy.
... Sunday was spent car shopping. Monday was spent car shopping. Tuesday was spent car shopping. And after going to about 10 different dealerships and sitting in and test driving at least that many SUVs, we finally went in an entirely different direction and bought a car on Wednesday that we never previously considered. I didn't love any other until I saw her. I couldn't see spending that much money on a car I didn't love until I saw her. I was about at my wits end... until I sat inside, test drove old faithful, and knew she had to be mine. Oh 2008 Land Rover LR3 HSE with the black on black leather interior, luxury package, climate package, fully loaded SUV with the DVD player and wireless headphones inside, I really do love thee. EEEEKKK. The. Joys!
... The girls are enrolled in elementary school for next year, though not without its own set of headaches. Apparently we needed three separate forms of ID to validate our local address in order for the school to accept their applications. I had a CA drivers license, and a lease for the rental house that started in September. But those wouldn't suffice. So after spending three days trying to figure out how to handle this, I finally drew up a mock lease for my in-laws house and brought that with me to the school district validation office. Three minutes in the office later, we got the approval paper and was able to bring it to the school to solidify their enrollment. Of course once the school looked through our information they realized they weren't sure how to handle Sheridan's Omani birth certificate, nor the CRBA (Consular Report of Birth Abroad), and wanted to treat her as a foreigner. What. Joys.
... We've also managed to unpack, do 5 loads of laundry, hit Starbucks everyday, get haircuts, make a few shopping runs to Target where I SWEAR there is a law that you can't get out of there without spending at least $150, buy a few things at Old Navy, take the dog on endless walks, meet some new neighbors, and get this ... relax.
We're finally back in Cali. Yes. The. Joys.
The porters with 4 separate carts filled with our bags.
Matt, the dog, and the kids prior to departure from Chennai.
Two LOVELY visions on Saturday ...