In the beginning…

There was the blog. Okay, some folks have suggested that a chronicle of our international move might be insightful, hysterical, and possibly garner us some sympathy. I know, I know….a lot of you are thinking, “You decided to hop the pond, knowing full well that you have 14 animals and two small children, not to mention a house full (over-full) of stuff.” Yes, life does what it does and we’re trying to keep up.

In planning this move, there were a whole host of things to consider. As it turns out, it’s a darned good thing that we’ve been talking about this for a year, otherwise there’s just no way we’d be ready to go. There are things that absolutely have to be started 6 months out. I suppose when folks get an overseas job and have to move quickly, the husband goes first and wife-dear gets to stay behind and see to the household. As it stands, that’s almost what is going to happen here and now. Sam has just started a new job with the company that will be taking us over, so most of the onus for the move and all it’s little joys will fall to me.

The first major ‘uh-oh’ has already occurred. I, being the on-the-ball, ahead-of-the-game, super-conscientious person that I am had a list. On the top of that list was buying the tickets to get us to England. Early purchase means lower prices and as it turned out, I scored us a great deal for $531 per person, one-way. There’s nothing like one-way tickets to inspire you to get going and get organized. I was happy and checked the little box next to “tickets” on my list of things to do. Then came the ‘uh-oh’. I called the airlines (having booked through Travelocity) to make arrangements for the cats to fly to England with us. Back in November, I had started their pre-quarantine process here. You can have their shots, etc done ahead of time and documented by a vet and then they don’t have to quarantine in the UK. But it has to start 6 months out. I figured I had jumped the hurdle on that one. Whoops. Getting the flights organized was much more complicated that I’d imagined. Turns out we needed to be in Chicago before noon because the cargo group that will handle the cat’s immigration (emigration?) closes at 2pm. And it would be less expensive to fly Fri/Sat because the receiving office for animals isn’t open on Sunday, so we’d have to pay overtime to have someone there to hand us the cats off the plane. So, I changed the tickets to the tune of $180 per person (ouch), booked the cats in with the cargo company, and called to arrange to get them from Austin to Chicago. Next irritation. The woman on the phone tells me that that particular plane only allows for one animal in the hold per flight. Aaaaahhhhh…I’m trying to not scream while explaining to this woman that we have to find a way because these are our pets and we’re not coming back. She was rather unsympathetic. At some point I said, “Well if only one is allowed in the hold, can I carry the other on the plane with me?” Turns out that that is totally doable. Okay, jack-ass, why didn’t she mention that in the first place. Makes you want to scream and tear your hair. So, finally, the cats are on the flight from Austin to Chicago as well. All of this took around 6 hours on the phone. However, since I checked first with a local service that will take care of all of this for you for a mere $3800-$5000, I felt pretty good about saving over half that, even after changing the tickets.

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