29 May 2011


Maybe if I write it down I can stop trying to hold onto it in my head and it will all see easier. And, since you asked, in the next three weeks (We leave Monday, June 20)...

I need to:

  1. make second grade movie
  2. sort everything for packing--what stays, what goes in boxes, what goes in suitcases--and make it easy for the Russian-speaking-only packers to pack it by moving things to different rooms
  3. do a "dry run" to see what will fit in how many suitcases--aiming for three large and Lexi's wheelie bag (I don't know how I'll manage all this at the airport.)
    • mac mini
    • dvd player (universal)
    • monitor?
    • keyboard/mouse
    • Mouse, Medved, George, George's clothes
    • a FEW beloved books, preferably paperback
    • a FEW comfort dvd's
    • the green throw that is both a princess dress and her swaddling when she's a baby
    • towels x 4
    • sheets x 2
    • duvet cover for Lexi?
    • clothes
    • bike helmet
  4. pack up personal things in classroom
  5. get things home
  6. deregister car--no idea how
  7. sell car--have buyer but don't know how
  8. deregister self--cancel visa, turn in consulate badge and diplomatic card
  9. schedule last visit with Russian sw (and Galina)
  10. vet visits this week, three days before and 24 hours before
  11. bathe Beazy before vet visits
  12. hope carriers come
  13. try to find Delta approved carriers in the city in case they don't come...at a pet store near a metro stop as car will be sold
  14. school bbq
  15. class party(ies) for grade 2 (and maybe Lexi's for grade 1...but leaning towards no on that one)
  16. end of year testing--dra, math, cumulative spelling
  17. continue medieval unit--make castles, living history museum, batering
  18. report cards
  19. sports day
  20. research French in-transit animal requirements
  21. get pillowcase for Noor, who is leaving this year, and have Sofia and Carlotta sign it before they leave early
  22. ask Marina to call Meridian to schedule pick-up and Alina Nikolaievna to say good-bye since I won't make it out there before they move all the kids
  23. not feel guilty about that
  24. fill out all sorts of ridiculous forms detailing everything I've bought either here or in the US and brought here in the last six years that is being shipped home
  25. supervise packers
  26. organize gifts--and who would use American children's meds, games, and baking ingredients
  27. sell my electronics to remaining and incoming staff members
  28. wash everything going in boxes
  29. bake banana bread with the bananas in the freezer
  30. normal cooking, washing, cleaning (quit having the cleaner two weeks ago), homework, playing, bathing, etc.

get in the US within a week (hopefully sooner) of our arrival:
  • car--I want a gently used CRV
  • internet access
  • couch
  • beds
  • table & chairs
  • car seat until ours comes
  • monitor (if I don't bring mine)
  • library cards
  • pool membership
  • bikes
  • swing?
  • television?
  • find out about Jenn's Blue Cross insurance plan

31. **keep life as normal as possible for a sensitive little girl who is feeling the stress despite my best efforts and who seems to be at the start of (exhausting) anniversary regressions on top of everything else and needs extra reassurances and Momma-time**

32. breathe
33. sleep
34. call Aetna AGAIN about where the reimbursement check is

I did:
  1. roast a chicken today only to find, when I was cutting off a leg for Lexi, a bizarre, large... blood capsule in the joint which exploded, rendering the chicken, in my opinion, inedible
  2. throw away the chicken
  3. wash our linens for packing
  4. put school linens on bed
    I thought that I would want our things out and about for Lexi for as long as possible, so I scheduled our packers for a week before we left. Then, yesterday, I decided that might be too big of a shock. So, I started transitioning a few things--including bed linens. We've been weeding out toys for a while--but not giving them away. There is just a big pile of things "for the orphanage" (actually going to a group who helps families in need because they will pick it up) but she can still see it all. And, she can retrieve a toy if it's more beloved than I thought--like her Elephant and Piggie stuffed animals that she never plays with
  5. pack away winter clothes for us both in a trunk (it's still chilly here)
  6. call the vet & scheduled appointments for rabies shots and Mia's microchipping (he'll come to our house)
  7. order official Delta approved carriers
  8. our last grocery shop
  9. take pictures of lamps, digital clocks, humidifiers, (fans are spoken for)
  10. asked Marina to call the vet to figure out how to bribe our way onto the Air France flight (there is a precedent, but that flight left from Moscow)
  11. find out Cobra for our insurance is a ridiculous $2000 pcm
  12. put back up the apartment's curtains in Lexi's room
  13. (well, my friend Kerry did for me) got water and electricity put in my name
  14. give Lexi a haircut
  15. schedule a haircut for myself

I gave up (as in released myself of the obligation to do, not as in quit):
  • I was going to have a professional photographer take pictures of us out and about in the city...but there's just no time. I may be able to have a friend take some. But, it may just not happen.

26 May 2011


Air France (SPB to Paris) has the weight limit.

On Delta (Paris to Cinci) a cat just has to fit comfortably under the seat. she will. so...will that help? possibly.

Please will you pray our sweet kitty, Beazy onto the plane and into the cabin with us? I know it's silly, but we'll all feel so much better if we're sitting together.

eta: AF website looks very inflexible. While we are booked as a cabin pet, I am afraid they won't let us on. (I told the booking agent how much she weighed, but the agent still booked us. Will they weigh her?)

I guess she could be "cargo" on the AF flight and then we could take her on board the Delta flight...but I'm not mad keen on that idea. I'm not keen on that idea AT ALL.

I feel like an idiot for making my reservation after doing research...but didn't do enough research to find out until we booked that it is an AF flight and not a Delta flight AND that their requirements were so vastly different. Everything, of course, is non-refundable.


i was going to title this "tick" (which just goes to show how briticized my language has become) but decided that was inappropriate in a post about the cats.

the cats have reservations on our returning flights, made today. they will fly in the cabin with us. their tickets cost $200 each.

they each have to weigh less than 13 pounds. i'm skeptical. (as well i should have been. beazy weighs about 20 pounds. now what? i'm sure she weighed 18 pounds on the way here...or it was an 18 pound limit. i could get her down to that, i think. do i just bluff? oi.)

flying in the cabin means lexi and i only get a backpack each. i think i'm going to try to have lexi bring her little wheelie suitcase instead of a backpack...so that cherished comfort items are sure to arrive.

of course, i have only 90 minutes to change flights in paris (the WORST airport in the world--ask anyone) with a seven eight year old, her wheelie suitcase, my backpack containing important electronics like my mac mini and my camera and two cats...who weigh 30 lbs. combined.

the stress of cat-flight decisions has lifted.

only to be replaced with can-we-get-beazy-on-the-plane?, get-vet-health-certificates and actual-flights-with-cats stresses.

24 May 2011


So, I had my good news/bad news ALL wrong.

The camera...

was actually at school. Odd, since the shopkeeper clearly remembered it...I think angels retrieved it and flew it there. Or I have early-onset Alzheimer's. (I shouldn't joke. That's actually a lingering niggling fear...)

The car, the car...

had a flat tire. You may remember that the last time I had a flat tire (also the first and only time I've had a flat tire) when it was towed I told them that I was only here x more weeks so I didn't want a new spare.

"That nice man in the orange car" came and, with the help of my friend on the other end of the phone, we had a lengthy conversation about what to do. He thought it might be too big to patch. But, he would either take it to a tire shop and see if it could be mended and then return and put it on for us *or* we could go along. It sounded long and tedious (he predicted four hours) so I opted to let him do it on his own. This is not as crazy as it might sound.

He, after talking with my friend at length hung up, told me he'd be back in a minute, and drove away. Without the tire. ???

He came back and told me to open the car. I did. I figured he'd be driving my car (he'd patched the tire already) to get it fixed. Odd, but whatever. I opened it and tried to give him the key. He told me to get in and drive, asked if I wanted him to drive, and told me again to drive.

I conveyed (apt description) that Marina said he would take the tire and take care of this. Ha, ha, ha...no. I should drive.

So I put Lexi in (she was not happy to be in the car with a stranger) and got in to drive.

It was half a block away, inside a courtyard.

Seriously. There's been a mechanic that close all this time. They patched the tire while we ate dinner at home. After dinner we walked back and picked the car up. Then, we drove the half-block home.

The next day we drove to school.

And, on the way home, it went flat again.

The mechanic doesn't have a used tire. (That was a whole 'nother series of phone calls, looking at the car, walking back and forth to and from the shop and finally finding out that he didn't have the tire he said he had. But, how much color can you take in one post? How much "color" can I take in 24 hours?) I don't want to pay $300 for a new tire. I think there is a spare at school. Or the consulate might have one.

Or the Armenian might have to pay $301 instead of $1 for the car. I wonder if he would...

These are the lengths I go to just to be able to get to the grocery store one more time and buy pet carriers. As I told my principal, Russia is going to make me fight every day right up until the end.

13 May 2011


I am giving blogger the cold shoulder as it lost all our birthday postings!

Okay, but two things:

good news-someone from the Armenian Consulate is going to buy my car for $1. This means I save the 2000 euros it would cost to have it towed to Finland and destroyed.

bad news-my camera is lost/stolen. It's a combination. I put it down while getting a friend some rubles. The shopkeeper says he left with it. He says he didn't. So, either the shopkeeper (a new girl) has it or some other guy who looks enough like my friend to be mistaken for him has it. And all the pictures on it since our trip. Expensive and painful. And a little scary to have pictures of Lexi in someone else's hands.

Birthday party tomorrow. Cold, disgruntled shoulder turned on blogger.

11 May 2011

birthday eve

Presents are wrapped.

"Chocolate Ball" cereal (normally reserved for vacations), a dress for George that matches Lexi's Easter dress and a LUSH bath fizz are waiting on the table to be unwrapped before school. (I figure George can go to school tomorrow in her new finery if Lexi wants. She, George, can always hang out in second grade during the day.)

After school (and we won't mention there are more gifts after school until it is after school...though she may remember that from last year...) there is a cowgirl outfit for Molly (who has yet to be played with, though we're glad she's here) and inline skates!

Cupcakes for her classmates are made but not and frosted. But, that can be done in the morning. The frosting is made.

Birthday is well in hand. EIGHT tomorrow. Unbelievable.


I said to Lexi a couple weeks ago, when we were talking about her birthday coming soon,
"Do you remember, Lexi? On your birthday you will get a present."
Her eyes lit up.
"What do you think you might like for a present?"

After some thought she replied, "Maybe some chocolate. That would be a nice present."

That is my sweet, sweet, precious girl.

09 May 2011

remember that rock?

I didn't know it was Mother's Day in the US.

Happy Mother's Day!

It's Victory Day today. I am celebrating the victory over INTERNETLESSNESS. (That is a very big rock, too. My internet is not only my e-mail, but it's communication--skype and blogging--and television, too. It's birthday cake recipes, lists of the average number of teeth lost by age eight, songs via jango, banking, car searching, travel agent, doctor's appointments to make and summer recreation schedules. It's a lot to be without.)

More soon. Scads to catch up on after the latest expulsion from the virtual world.

Tad bit stressed. Just a smidge. You know, verging on panic attacks, but, no matter.

01 May 2011

the eyes have it

eta: a more determined search led to the lost glasses! Amazing what a little fear will do. ;> But, will leave this up just for those of you interested. Medical saga is right up there in popularity with car saga here on the blog.

Lexi lost her glasses.

We went to the ophthalmologist (no optometrists here). He examined her. And then told us that to accurately prescribe new glasses she has to have atropin drops for 3 days prior to the exam. While on the drops her pupils will be dilated, she will not be able to read, write or draw and she will be very sensitive to sunlight. Extremely sensitive.

Uncomfortable with this, I contacted the eye doctor we saw in the US. He said he does use drops prior to some exams but not Atropin and never for that long. He mentioned all the side effects. And, he said Atropin will stay in her system for a week following treatment.

Wikipedia concurs.

Another "Western" clinic (are you getting the feeling that these Westerns clinics aren't very Western? Yeah.) said they could do the exam but she'd need drops for a week prior. They are different drops and only dilate the pupils while she's asleep. (??) Of course, they have to see her first. We can't just start the drops.

Lexi is farsighted, has developmentally young eyes, and an astigmatism. It's the astigmatism that is causing all this furor.

Anybody know anything?