6.30.2011

Got Remotes?

Probably not ... because we have them all here.

And while I finally have a few moments to actually watch TV, I can't. Because I have NO CLUE which ones actually work the television ...

Seriously.


6.27.2011

Have Pen. WILL Color.

Meet the littlest Picasso. Who thinks that the world couch is his canvas.




Thank gawd this didn't happen on my watch ...

6.26.2011

We. Are. Here.

It's about as positive as I can be about the drive up to my parent's house. Because ...


* The drive took 8 hours, 15 minutes.

* The stop-and-go traffic was insane.

* Child #2 used up BOTH puke bags.

* Child #3 decided he didn't need to take a nap. At all.

And me? Well let's just say that when the triple cappuccino hit. It hit HARD. And despite making a pit stop at a cousin's house off the freeway, for a mini bathroom break and a quick hug, it was just the beginning of many gas station pit stops. And opportunities to evade CPS as I left the kids in the car ...

But we're now here. And despite the girls tearful goodbyes with both their friends and their teachers, they're thrilled to be here. Me too.

Because the next time the cappuccino hits me, I have more than one bathroom to choose from. And I don't need to worry about finding a toilet seat cover ...





Sheridan's teacher Mr. Nguyen
Riley's teacher Mrs. Clarke




Sheridan's dear girlfriends ...



And Riley's favorite gals ...



A quick visit with the cousins ...
... and Sheridan after filling up bag #1

6.24.2011

Our Next Destination Awaits ...

In less than 2 hours my girls will finish their LAST day of school here in Newport Beach.

Not being a family who lets any moss grow under their feet, in true Perlman fashion we'll be hopping into our VERY packed family truckster and making the 7+ hour drive up to my parents house. The final leg of our journey before we move to Virginia.


Puke bags? Check.

Snacks for the car? Check.

Tearful goodbyes anticipated by all? Double check.





8 bags, 1 stroller, 2 car seats, and 4 Trader Joe's bags (not shown)
perfectly crammed into the family truckster.

6.17.2011

One Month From Today ...

... we will be Virginia State residents.

A bold statement that just doesn't completely express the magnitude of our excitement.

Especially when this week has presented some sleeping challenges. And spacial challenges. And timing challenges.

But we have daily maid service. Which totally doesn't make up for the chaos. But we're beyond happy to have it. The maid service, not the chaos. It's been awhile since anyone besides me has done the cleaning ... and I will admit that it's been nice. Not nice enough that I want to stay in this small room any longer than I need to. But it's one less thing that I have to do. ONE less thing...


It hasn't been easy ... but in the past week:

* I figured out a way to cost-construct our airline tickets from San Francisco to Virginia vice Los Angeles to Virginia, and pay less than $350 out of pocket. Total. Which is a HUGE feat considering they wanted approx $600 / per ticket / per person. Now one could say that it's crazy that I have to pay any money to move on to our next post considering this is an authorized move for our family. However, we were only eligible to fly from Los Angeles to Virginia on the USG's dime, and to change our plans meant that we'd have to pay any additional monies above and beyond what the government gave us to fly from LA to VA. And surprisingly, there are no government airfares for the SF - VA route, which meant, I had to pay a regular fare. Which I did. And since the prices were minimal, I booked them.

* We were also authorized (and now scheduled) to ship our car from Northern California vice Southern California to Virginia at no additional out-of-pocket costs.

* We booked our hotel in Virginia for the few weeks until we move into our new house.

* I confirmed that our shipment from Belgium will arrive, clear customs, and be moved to the storage facility where our shipment from CA will be stored, by the time I arrive in Virginia.

* I also enrolled Grady and the girls in summer camp for 3 weeks near my parent's house. Hello sanity!


I even managed to get off the computer and out of the hotel room a bit here and there this week ...

* and enjoyed a moms brunch and mini farewell gathering that a few friends had for me today.

* and went to the mall and finally bought a pair of much needed sunglasses since my last pair were stolen out of my car back in April.

* and attempted to go bathing suit shopping. With the girls. Though I quickly realized how lousy an idea that was when my ever-so-honest daughter ripped open the dressing room curtain and loudly exclaimed that my thighs looked, "WAY too fat" for those particular bikini bottoms. Note to self. Never again take an 8 year old to a help pick out a bathing suit unless you really want her opinion. Which, frankly, you don't.


In all, a relatively good week. One where you may even admit aloud that you smiled more than you frowned.

Because you got most of what you needed to get accomplished ... accomplished. And more importantly? You realize that one month from today you'll be living out of yet another hotel room. But this time it's in Virginia. And you know that all you need to do to keep your daughters' in check, is to pull out that itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini in front of their new friends.

Which you totally added to your next shopping list for tomorrow. And smiled.

6.15.2011

My Evening ... In Pictures

The subject was placed quietly in his pack 'n play at exactly 7:15 PM. Sure, he may have gone 'to bed' ... but he certainly didn't go 'to sleep'.




at 7:55 PM




at 8:45 PM




at 9:15 PM




at 9:30 PM




at 9:45 PM




at 10:15 PM


Got Milk? Wine?




6.12.2011

Hotel Room *Sweet* Hotel Room

So here we are. Crammed into our small, but thankfully clean hotel room. After a long few days of packing up and moving out of our rental house.

There's actually a decent amount of closet space to store our 8 bags of clothes and 8 Trader Joe's bags of cr*p I never organized but threw together in haste when the movers decided to condense our move from two-days-to-one.

Bygones.

We checked in early Saturday morning and weren't even in the room for two minutes when Sheridan decided to play with the glass candy jar on the coffee table, and subsequently break it. Sending shards of glass all over the floor.

Again, bygones.

Let's just say that the lady at the front desk and I are going to be on a first name basis after the number of times I've gone over there these past 36 hours.

Well her, and the liquor store owner next door...





If you find an extra bottle of sanity on a shelf, send it over. Stat.

6.10.2011

One. More. Day.

It often feels like my life this past year has been a series of "just" getting through "One ... More ... Day ... Not that life has been all that hard. It hasn't. It's just been temporary. Nomadic. And none of us have ever settled in.

I find that I use the phrase, "If Only" far too often as well.

If Only ... the kids ...
If Only ... the dog ...
If Only ... the neighbors ...
If Only ... the school ....
If Only ... the State Department ...

Introspectively, a whole lot of complaining. For no real reason. Except that I can. And I do it well.

Anyway, tonight is our last night in our crappy little rental house in Newport Beach. It didn't start off crappy. Just little. But it was apparent after moving in that the landlord wasn't really interested in keeping us in a safe, maintenance-free environment. She wanted to collect a rent check. And the problems? As frequent and as small as they may have been, were met with resistance and untimely resolve. Which was aggravating considering how much money we paid in rent. Bygones...

On the bright side, tomorrow morning, we move out of this crappy little rental house and into a hotel. And an even smaller hotel room. One room actually. With four people. For two weeks. Until school ends.

There isn't enough wine in Newport Beach to numb that pain ...

But soon. Soon enough we will be settling on our new house. On the date that Matt is actually scheduled to arrive back from Baghdad .... and one year to the day that he actually left. An auspicious day indeed.

Now, if only I can make it through just One ... More ... Day ...

6.07.2011

And They're Off ...

At 8:20 am the movers arrived at our house ... and at 4:10 pm they were on their way.

With nary a minute to spare in between.

Our scheduled two-day move condensed into one. Despite only having half the house ready and organized for the pack-out. Because our relocation consultant insisted that we extend the pack-out from my original one-day request to two.

The bottom line? When you've already done two-handfuls of moves with the State Department, and you KNOW exactly how much stuff you have, go with your gut feeling and don't let any relocation consultant tell you what to do. Fight it. You KNOW better.

I knew better. I. Knew. Better. And really, after the movers walked through the house at 8:30 am this morning and told me that our move would be done in half a day, I agreed with them. It would be.

Except now, since I was told I HAD to do it over two days, it meant that I hadn't even remotely given thought to the clothes I was going to pack in our bags to last us the next 8 weeks. Nor had I organized any of the toiletries. Or gone through the important documents and pulled out all the items we'd need to ... you know ... close on the house or enroll the kids in school.

We also had the teensy tiny issue where the relocation consultant kinda, sorta forgot to tell the movers that they would be making an extra stop. At my in-laws storage unit. To grab the bed and side tables for our bedroom. Which now, had to be changed from tomorrow to today since the pack-out / move was condensed to one-day, and not two. Why I bothered to go through all the trouble to get them the information and the approvals only for none of it to matter is beyond me.

Anyway, by 9:15 am the revisions were finally made. By 9:30 am, the four packers began doing their thing. By 2:30 pm they were finished. Five hours is all it took them to pack, wrap, and load the truck. Five short hours to handle everything in our house before moving onto the storage unit, where more time was spent actually signing all the inventory documents than schlepping furniture.

And now it's done. It's finished. It's on the road.

Which is where we'll soon be in five short weeks too.

Now excuse me. I have a letter to write to the relocation consultant and my transportation specialist to discuss the little problem we encountered today. Seriously. My pain, is your gain.




bye-bye stuff ... see you soon!




and speaking of pain ... filtered for your pleasure!

Birthdays and Lasers and Pack-Outs Oh My!

So apparently this having a birthday gig during the middle of a pack-out is kind of crazy.

Okay, VERY crazy.

Especially when your less than 1000 square foot, fully furnished rental house is inundated with all the brand new furniture you had delivered over the weekend. Or that you picked up today. Furniture that's coming out of the woodwork (just like the termites). There really isn't a square to spare...



Chairs I just had made ... the kids' bedroom furniture

And then you go off and have your face all lasered. Even more than usual because your dermatologist feels for you and does twice as much ... for the exact same price.







The first rule in Fight Club ...


You even ask your local Starbucks Barista for a free drink for your birthday. And you get one. Which pretty much makes your day.


But not quite as much as having these three lovely ladies actually post on their own blogs the sweetest messages about your day. Or the awesome moms from your daughter's class who knew you were stressing about packing, and dropped off a delicious burrito with guacamole for lunch. Exactly what you were craving!


It's topped off with several hundred emails, text messages, phone calls, and Facebook comments wishing you a special day, further solidifying your overwhelmedness. Shut up - that is totally a word. And despite knowing you want to write back to everyone and thank them, you just can't. At least not until Thursday... maybe even after you check into your hotel on Saturday. Maybe.

Until then ... you still have this to deal with. Though you really want to continue the birthday celebrations. Because despite the stresses of the day, it's actually been a really good one, and you hardly feel a day over 29 37.

*ahem* 38.



Just some of the rooms ready to go for tomorrow's pack-out.

6.03.2011

Let The Insanity Begin!

In less than 96 hours the movers will be here to pack up our rental house. Our third move in three years ... if you're keeping track.

Which means that I will be a crazy person for the next few days. Boxing up all the appliances I didn't put into storage in Belgium. Organizing the garage so all the furniture I ordered can be delivered over the next two days. Packing up the bags we'll be living out of until we get to our final destination in Virginia. Sometime in the next eight weeks.

I'll also be celebrating a birthday during this busy time. One that brings me wee close to 40. Which, as I told Matt a few months ago, is totally the new thirty. That is, unless you're still in you're thirties. For at least one more year. *ahem*

I may also be getting my nose lasered again. On my special day. Because apparently there isn't enough stress going on in my life over the next few days, and nothing says, "happy birthday" better than an ugly, swollen nose. And laundry. And packing. And labeling the house. And organizing. And last minute moving issues. Which I already know I'm dealing with today.

Though I wished to have spent our last weekend in our rental house at the beach. Relaxing. Going for a bike ride. Enjoying the scenery. We won't be. And we're OK with it. As long as it's the last time Matt has to bid out for awhile.

Which, of course ... it isn't.


But it is the last time we're moving. For awhile.


Insanity to ensue ... starting now.

6.02.2011

You Don't Always Get What YOU Pay For ...

When I approached the receptionists desk to check-out at the pediatric dentist's office today, I was assured that they would bill my insurance.

Of course, that's AFTER I pay the charges in full ...

... to the tune tune of $804!


Did you hear that? EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR DOLLARS!!


With my mouth agape, I slowly pulled out my credit card, and handed it over to the receptionist. I tried not to shake my head too hard. To look too shell shocked. To puke.

But seriously? For $804, they should be sending me home with someone to help brush and floss their teeth twice a day.

No, seriously.

Sure, I understand that the prices we paid overseas were ridiculously inexpensive. Even by India's standards. But a $92 charge for each girl to establish us as new patients ... when all we needed to was to scrape a little tartar off of Riley's teeth and remind Sheridan how to brush correctly ... seemed ludicrous.

I will admit that the office was pretty cool. One big room with four chairs lined up next to each other for the kids to get their teeth cleaned. Large monitors for the hygienists to look at their x-rays. And flat screen TV's above each chair for the kids to watch.

This type of relaxing environment would have been a great place to have taken the kids back. Not only were the hygienists thorough, but the dentist actually took a lot of time discussing the complexity of the girls' future orthodontic treatments.

After closer inspection of the statement, I'll concede that the prices were fairly reasonable. I think. Though, I'm sure that our insurance won't cover more than a wee portion of the total bill.

Which sucks because it looks like I just paid for at least two of their office TV's. And I really could have used at least one of them in our new home.




It's a good thing that the 'toothbrush' and 'oral hygiene instruction' were included in the price. Can you imagine the dialogue I would have had if they assigned a price?
I'm quite sure it would have contained MANY four letter words ...

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