... I almost don't even know where to begin.
In an effort to maintain my composure, which is quite difficult even in blog-post form, I'm going attempt to briefly summarize what we've been up to in our neck of the woods since you last heard from me.
It all began when I got the call last Sunday, Mother's Day, that my beloved grandfather had passed away. Though not a surprise that it happened, the shock of it was not as easy to deal with as one would expect. Chaotic plans were then made for me to take all the kids to South Bend, Indiana to attend the funeral. Plans that didn't include Matt, for he was finishing up his last few days at work so he could departing for the first leg of his unaccompanied tour this weekend.
Then, Monday was not only Grady's 3rd birthday, but it was also the day that the movers came for Matt's UAB (Unaccompanied Air Baggage). Of course, in true Perlman fashion, the majority of "stuff" that he needed was purchased from Costco and Target at the very last minute (also known as, the day before the movers came). Oh yeah, on Mother's Day. The one day that SHOULD have been my day to relax and enjoy. Not schlep. Or pack. Or spend the afternoon at Riley's re-scheduled softball game ...
Anyway ... Monday, and the pack-out, and Grady's birthday came and went, and Tuesday quickly followed with our big trip to South Bend. I pulled the kids out of school, we arrived in Chicago around 1 pm where we met my brothers and my mom at the airport, I rented a minivan, and after hitting Starbucks and McDonald's, finally hit the road for the 2.5 hour drive.
While funerals are never easy, the three days with the family were truly fantastic. My girls had an absolute blast reconnecting with their cousins, staying up until the wee hours of the night, and building new relationships with cousins and aunties. It was worth every single minute of chaos.
Until we tried to fly home.
United Airlines somehow "lost" the girls reservations, and couldn't get us onto our originally scheduled 6 pm flight. I'll admit that we DID arrive at the airport with very few minutes to spare. And yeah, we DID get stuck in a long security line, and then had to sprint through the airport with 4 carry-on bags, stroller, and CAR SEAT, all while wearing a pair of high heeled shoes. But we made it to the gate in PLENTY of time to board. That is, if they had 4 seats left. Which they didn't. Because, as they told me, they always oversell these flights, and despite having 4 paid-tickets, they only had 3 seats.
So we were bumped. Hopefully onto the next flight. Which was departing at 9:15 pm.
I wouldn't have had any issues with this, except they couldn't guarantee me that we'd get on this flight, nor did they even remotely make any accommodations for THEIR screw up. Such as give me meal vouchers for dinner or ask their manager to come over and pull a few strings. But as a seasoned flyer, a few terse words made with a smile through clenched teeth, and a 3 & 7 year old who completely melted down in a very busy terminal later, got us exactly what we needed.
Assigned seats on the next flight that was now delayed until 1 am.
I won't bore you with any more details of the insane 7 hours we managed to survive farting around the O'Hare airport ... I'll just show you that this is the time we pulled into our garage on Friday morning.
The rest of the weekend ... the LAST one before Matt departs on his year-long unaccompanied tour to Afghanistan ... was action packed. Appointments on Friday throughout the day. Dinner with friends on Friday night. Softball on Saturday. Laundry, packing, organizing and more Target runs for the pesky last minute items. Ending with an amazing evening that Matt enjoyed with the girls as he escorted them to the Girl Scouts Father / Daughter Dance at the their elementary school.
Which brings us to today. Sunday. What should be a day of rest. But there's no rest for the mother who is flying solo with three kids.
And though technically Matt leaves next Saturday afternoon for Afghanistan, he had to pack everything up before he departed this morning for his week-long training outside of Indianapolis. Because he's only flying through DC on a 16-hour layover. With just enough time to grab his stuff, do another few loads of laundry, and say his "real" goodbyes.
So wish us luck as we prepare for another hectic week. Endless doctor's appointments. Make-up homework and standardized testing at school. The painters finally getting to the kids rooms and the basement. I may even get around to filling you in on the many latest home improvement projects we've had going on here. Or finally comment publicly on Nipple-Gate, the craziest Foreign Service Blogging debacle I've EVER heard.
Until then ... stick a fork in me, because I am done!