Monday, March 30, 2009

Time and Weather

Here's what my weather will be today. This is exactly what was written...I cut & pasted it straight from the website. I swear. Does anyone else think it's funny?

Sunny. Nippy. 45 °F
Sunny. Nippy.
What else is interesting about the weather forecasts here is the inconsistency between the temperature reported as Celsius and Fahrenheit. Now this isn't necessarily true for all of the UK, but I have observed that in my little part of the world over here that when it is really cold, the temperature is reported in Celsius. Like instead of it being 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it will be reported as zero degrees Celsius....but when it is warmer, like in the mid-to-upper 40's, it becomes Fahrenheit again. At first I thought it was just me, that it wasn't really happening like that. Then one day as I was discussing the weather in general with my friend Fiona, she asked me if I ever noticed how the measure of the weather flip-flops, and then proceeded to tell me about the switch back and forth. I was relieved to hear that I wasn't imagining it, but curious as to why.

Fiona said - and mind you, these are her words, and she is British - that the English just really love the opportunity to complain. She gave me an example...according to Fiona, if you want to complain about the cold weather, it is going to sound a lot colder when you say it is two below, instead of 28 degrees. If you want to complain about it being too warm, it sounds much more oppressive to say it is 86 degrees instead of 30.

And while I'm talking about numbers, I should also mention that Daylight Savings Time began on Saturday night. I never knew that Europe's schedule for springing forward and falling back is different than the time we use in North America. Did you? So I guess that now I am nine hours ahead of the west coast. Oy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Today we went to a friend's house for Sunday Lunch. Sunday lunch is a big deal here. I'd compare it to the way there are brunches on holidays (such as Mother's Day and Easter) in the States, except that here it isn't just for holidays. It is every Sunday.

I had noticed signs for "Sunday Lunch" and "Sunday Roast" and "Sunday Carvery" at all the pubs, hotels and the bed and breakfasts. (Yes, there are B and B's all over the there is something that actually is like the England in the movies and TV.) We have never gone to one, whether at a restaurant or someone's home. Today was our first time, and I have to say that it was spectacular.

Our friends, Simon and Claire, live in the country, and so they have a huge yard, a trampoline and tennis courts, and their neighbors have horses that come right up to the fence in their yard. The boys fed the horses and played soccer - I mean, football - and jumped on the trampoline, and ran around with the dogs, and had an all-around great time. The weather was BEAUTIFUL- sunny and warm (for here, that is) with a clear blue sky all day long. We went at 12:30 and spent all afternoon enjoying a beautiful day, and lunch was served mid-way through the day. It was phenomenal...they served roasted chickens, with potatoes, carrots, onions...there was salad and bread, sausages, quiche and pate'. Now I see what all the fuss is about.

But even better than the meal was the company. Simon and Claire are great hosts and they made us feel right at home. It occurred to me that the tradition of Sunday Lunch is the British equivalent of our Sunday BBQ tradition. I realized that weekends are the same on any continent: a time to be with people you enjoy...friends, family, or both. And today was the first time we had experienced a tradition shared among friends...after so many months of being so far away from the friends we love. I had no idea how very much I missed such things, and was thrilled to have enjoyed myself again so thoroughly.

Here's a link to that great site I refer to so often. It explains meals and such, because in case I haven't mentioned it, that is totally different here as well. Not just pudding, either. The boys' school lunch is called their dinner. And what I think of as dinner is called tea...but then tea is also the drink and snack at around 3:00. Confused? Me too. But I'll get to that in a different post. Here's the link:

If you consider Sunday the first day of the week, then my week just began on a really good note.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's not just the language difference....

...nor the time change, nor royalty, nor the geography that makes the UK so different than the United States - or the US so different from the UK, if you will. Rather, it is a combination of hundreds of little things. When I say little, I mean 'minor' and not necessarily 'small'...although that is probably a good place to start.

As Americans we are well aware of our obsession with all things bigger and larger. It's no secret that we like it that way. What was a secret, I think, (and at least to me) was exactly to what degree we have everything on such a larger scale. What I have discovered since living here is that the rest of the world doesn't live smaller, but the United States just lives larger.

I've already addressed the snack-size bags of chips in a prior post. In addition to chips, things like ice cubes are smaller and are in much less quantity. I've included a picture of the ice cube tray that came with our new refrigerator. It is seriously the only one that came with it...teeny trays with tiny cute-shaped ice cubes. It makes me wonder what a Brit would think of those huge freezer cases full of giant bags of ice cubes that sit in every store and 7-11. I should include a picture of our refrigerator as well, but I'm going to let you do the math on that one by providing you the measurements of ours so you can compare it to yours. Keep in mind that the refrigerator we have is considered full-size. It measures 22 inches wide by 66 inches tall. The freezer compartment is on the bottom and consists of three drawers...oh, and an ice tray. Don't forget the ice tray.

Speaking of 7-11...well, I can't really speak of 7-11 because there aren't any here (at least not where I live or have been) and the concept of a convenience mart like that is entirely different here. There are things called 'One Stop' and some other quick-mart like shops attached to gas stations, but they aren't the same as the ones in the US because they aren't based on saving you time, or being convenient. In fact, the notion of convenience is pretty much nonexistent here. That leads me to my next observation.

When we moved into our house it took about three days for us to notice that we didn't have a microwave. It then occurred to me that maybe we didn't actually need a microwave, so we decided to give it a try: living a microwave-less life. Surprisingly, it has worked for us. I won't lie...there are times that it would be easier to have one, and every time we are at a store HUsband suggests that we get one I get tempted, but I've rather enjoyed the challenge of making do without one. Weird, I know.

Our house came with a washer, but not a dryer. When we looked into getting a dryer, we discovered that although dryers are available here, most houses don't have them because of the extremely high cost of gas and electricity. Indeed, as I looked around, I noticed that just about everyone has a laundry line hanging in their yard, and at every store I've noticed there are multiple choices for clothes drying racks. During this investigation I also discovered that the radiators are the best way for drying clothes, at least during the winter. The stores sell these wire rack things that hang off the radiator and increase the surface area for drying clothes. And because it is a radiator, there's no risk of fire. It's just hot water going through the pipes, and while it keeps the house remarkably warm, it isn't hot enough to burn anything. Believe me when I say that I checked out that possibility in every possible way.

While I'm talking about water, I'll describe the faucet situation. This puzzles me SO much. Apparently the concept of one tap for the water just hasn't caught on here, and it isn't just in our house. I've noticed it everywhere else I go...there is a knob and tap for the hot and the same for the cold. So washing your hands with warm water isn't is either hot or cold. Running a bath requires a lot of stirring, as the water from the two faucets needs to be mixed.

Did I mention that my washer is in my kitchen? I thought that was strange at first, but as I watch local commercials and tv shows, I see that it is the norm. Unfortunately it also means that I don't have a some brilliant design effort, the person who remodeled the kitchen placed the washing machine (a front loader) in the space where a dishwasher might go. However, if the number of commercials for dish washing detergent are any indication of how many people are hand-washing their dishes, I am certainly not the minority.

If I can be completely honest right now, I would have to say that the dishwasher is by far the thing I miss most. I really hate doing dishes. But you know what it has made me realize? All the complaining about unloading the dishwasher I used to do was absurd.

In fact, many of the realizations I have come to since moving here come at the expense of my ingratitude for what I had back in the United States. That is not to say that I do without here, but rather, I do DIFFERENT. And as I've said so many times before, this country is NOT what you see in the movies, it isn't what you read in the books. What it IS, however, is incredibly complex and admirably self-realized. It's mind-boggling when considered in the context of its size, which is roughly the same square mileage as my state of Oregon.

I'll leave it at that...right now I need to get back to creating posts that are in the true spirit of the beginnings of this blog. I think I'll tackle soap and deodorant in my next post...and NO, it is NOT about the American misconception that Europeans don't shower as often as we do or use deodorant. Besides, the British don't consider themselves as Europeans. Again, another topic for another post.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Strap on those steel-toed Stride Rites, kiddies. We're going to Renee's

I just realized why women are meant to be young when they are having babies. It occurred to me today that I'm in no condition to care for a baby. A baby of mine would choke to death, or in some other neglect-related incident while in my care, and here's why I'm afraid of that happening.

Yesterday I was cleaning up around the coffee table and I picked up a know, those colorful plastic ones, shaped kind of like a top hat? The ones that are so much easier to pull out of the cork board than the flat ones....perhaps another sign of my age. Anyway, I accidentally dropped it and it bounced on the ground and disappeared, either blending in with the crazy colored oriental rug, or on the floor somewhere else, like under the edge of the couch or something.

I hesitated for a few seconds, running through my head the scenarios of what would happen if I left it. A possibility was that I'd step on it. Ouch. Or, Husband would step on it...ouch with a few bad words. Or, one of the boys would step on it, and yes, it would hurt, but more importantly it might happen right before school, and the stepper would try to use it as an excuse to stay home. NOT HAVING IT. So, I made my way down to the floor, intent on finding the tack and picking it up, preserving everyone's feet and my quiet during the day.

As I laid flat on my stomach, looking across the carpet for any sort of projectile object (aside from tortilla chip pieces and popcorn kernels) I realized that not only had I lowered myself down in phases (down on my right knee, then my left, then my right hand, then my left, then walked my hands out until I was on my elbows, then kind of wiggled my torso down to the floor, then lowered my right arm flat and then my left arm flat...and yes, it took as long to do it as it took to write it,) but also that once I was down, it was almost comfortable and I didn't want to get back up right away. Once I was down, I realized it was going to be an effort to get up, and that I might even use the coffee table to help me up. (An image of my Nana doing the exact same thing popped into my head, except my face was on her body.) How did I do this 'up and down' thing dozens of times each day, just a mere five or six years ago? I know I made a LOT less noise when I did it, too. And when I say "I" made noise, it doesn't just mean the sighing, but my knees and elbows as well.

But it isn't just my physical state...after all, women of all ages have babies and take care of them perfectly well. Rather, it was my attitude about finding the tack. Since I didn't see the tack anywhere, and looking for it involved more effort, I did a quick assessment in my head and decided to leave it. I was measurably relieved that no one here would put it in their mouth if they found it, and slightly concerned that I had considered leaving it even if they would.

I have a feeling that this post is one of those things that will come back to haunt me, like if we ever decided we wanted to try and adopt a baby, ("Leaving the tack on the floor? Oh, that was just a joke,(nervous laugh) really, a total joke. I don't let babies play with anything pokey or dangerous. The pencil lead that's embedded Son 1's eyebrow was just a freak incident a long time ago and if he weren't blond, wouldn't even be that obvious. Really.", or if I ever apply for a job at a children's advocacy group or something. Or, if one of my kids steps on a tack and ends up in the ER.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pudding is as pudding does

I'm thinking that I'm not original in the observations I've made about all the differences between American English and English here in the UK. If I were unique in this, I'd have a book deal or a column in a newspaper or something. But nevertheless, I keep writing and someone keeps reading, so I'll carry on. (And thanks for reading.)

Someone suggested that I find a way to protect my "intellectual property" here. Hopefully no one is stealing my stuff and passing it off as their own...although I'd think the risk of that is minor, considering what as ass I can look like in my day to day functioning around here. Who would steal someone's indignity?

As you have read, these humbling moments range from minor ("Just spell it, please!") to major ("She's just full of spunk!") and happen more than I document. This one that I am about to share is especially embarrassing because my misunderstanding has been going on for two months.

The best way to share the anecdote is to recapture the dialogue. I'll give you the setting.

Like other moms, every day when my kids come home from school I ask them how their day was, if anything exciting happened at school, and other various methods to get them to talk to me. Like other moms, I know in my head that they will be more forthcoming with information as the evening goes on, and that bombarding them with questions when they walk in is moot. Like other moms, I know that they need to just zone out with a snack and the TV or video games, taking time to re-group before they go out to play or do homework or talk to me. But unlike other moms, I get impatient and want to engage them right away. Common sense flies out the window...I'm so glad to see them and I want to scoop them up like when they were babies and have them face me, looking at me and listening to every word I speak. Considering the fact that Son 1 is 90 pounds and five feet tall, and that Son 2 is not far behind, getting them back into baby mode is just not possible. Which probably explains why I want it so badly. But I digress. (No, really.)

Back to the setting. Picture this: Weekday afternoon, boys come in from school, rainy day so no outside playing with their friends (or mates, as they say here.) Son 1 and Son 2 are both slouched on the couch, Son 1 playing Xbox and Son 2 watching, waiting for his turn. Mom stands above them, lobbing questions their way.

They don't break their glazed stare at the TV to look up at me, so using that Bachelor's degree to the fullest, I employ the method of getting down to their level...physically, that is. I sit down in between them on the couch, ready to interact. Remember, I've temporarily lost all common sense and won't wait the 45 minutes to really engage them.

Me: So was your day?
Them: Fine. (staring at tv)
Son 2: (to Son 1) Brother, did you see the new hoop ball thing outside? (not looking away from the tv)
Son 1: Yeah, they were putting it up on my recess. (still playing Xbox)
Son 2: I saw it after I got my pudding so I ate pudding really fast so I could play with it.
Me: (Sensing my 'in') You had pudding today, Son 2?
Son 2: Uh huh. I have it every day. (still watching Son 1 play)
Me: You have it every day?
Son 2: Yes...oh Brother, look out for that sniper dude!
Son 1: Got it.
Me: Don't you get sick of it? The pudding?
Son 2: Nope. It's good.
Me: Do you have chocolate every day? (See, as a good mother I know that my son's favorite pudding flavor is chocolate.)
Son 2: Not every day.
Me: What other flavors do they have? (Cha-ching! A question that can't be answered with 'yes' or 'no')
Son 2: I dunno...lots. (still looking at tv)
Me: (Lapsing into some Seinfeld-esque questioning) I mean, how many kinds of pudding can there be? There's vanilla, banana, butterscotch, pistachio - you aren't eating pistachio, are you? You are allergic to pistachio!
Son 2: No pistachios. (to Son 1) Is it my turn yet?
Son 1: Almost.
Me: But eating it every day? Don't you get sick of it?
Son 2: I don't eat it if it has fruity stuff that ruins it. Like cherry junk on chocolate. Or pie that isn't apple pie flavor.
Me: Ewww! Chocolate cherry pudding? I've never heard of fruit pie pudding. (Making note to self to look up pudding recipes to try to make for him. Surely MINE will be tasty and worth eating every long as the recipe isn't in metric. Damn the metric!)
Son 1: Here, Brother.
Son 2 takes the Xbox controller.
Me: So is it served in a bowl, or are they individual cups like the Jello ones from back home?
Son 2: It can be in a bowl or on a plate.(Now he's playing Xbox, still focused on the television.)
Me: Pudding on a plate? Do you eat it with a fork or spoon? How does that work? (I'm asking this one because I really want to know.)
Son 2: Depends on what it is, Mom. (Clearly getting annoyed with me at this point.)
Me: I just don't get it. How can you have pudding on a plate? Like, really?
Son 2: (sighing) If it is on a plate, you use a fork.

Then finally, Son 2, who has been forced to listen to this exchange, speaks up. It has apparently occurred to him exactly what I am misunderstanding. He takes mercy on me, finally, but not yet looking away from the tv and Son 2's game, says this to me: "Uh, Mom...'pudding' is dessert here. It's not really pudding like you're talking about. It's all desserts."

Me: (Insert sound effect from the end of every Sesame Street sketch where the human looks at the camera, puzzled, after being duped by the know, that trombone-like sound of two tones, "wah-wuhhhhhh") Oh...okay...uh...really?
Son 2: (Slightly chuckles) Yeah, mom.
Son 2: (recovering) Nothing, sorry.
Me: So when were you going to tell me? Like how long were you planning on letting me go on, thinking you ate pudding every day?
Son 2: I don't know...I mean, I wasn't really paying attention to what you said.

That marked the end of my after school question and answer sessions.

And now you can add to your English to English Dictionary that
pudding = dessert.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hindsight is 20/20....if you open your eyes, that is

Remember playing “Truth or Dare”? (I’m not talking about Madonna, by the way.) The real game, where you had to choose whether to tell the God-honest truth about something, or take whatever dare given to you? You know that feeling of apprehension that you’d have before choosing? You’d be doing a risk analysis in your mind, running through the entire list of everything you might have to answer, the secrets you had stashed away, versus having to do something that might prove to be humiliating, or just impossible to do? You knew that either way, you were running the risk of being totally and completely vulnerable to the judgment of others, and what’s worse, you might have to explore some truths about yourself and your limits.

That’s the feeling I had every time I ventured into writing about our departure from the US. That’s the feeling I still have when I write about it. But I’ve alluded to it so much in other posts that I have to get on with it. I suppose it will also provide perspective for you as you read my posts that are so mopey and/or critical of how I managed our move.

If I made a list of mistakes (if????) I’d start the list with this: talking about all the potentially good stuff at your destination does not constitute adequate preparation emotionally. You HAVE TO include some element of closure. Walking away from an empty house, seeing all your possessions neatly and safely stored away. Having an idea when you might return. Leaving as little as possible to ambiguity.

How do I know this? I’ve recently realized that the component missing from our move was the closure of the old life. When I speculate what the kids felt, I am knocked over with complete and utter sickness as I consider that they may have felt even the teensiest bit like me…even just a micro-millimeter of what I felt…and that was nothing they deserved to feel. I was a complete and utter failure at giving them the opportunity to walk away from their old life and look with excitement at their new life.

It didn’t occur to me that there was more to it than just talking about the new house, new town, new this and that. There was a lot of this stuff being said before we went: “In England, you’ll get to blah blah blah. In England we will blah blah blah. When we are in England there’s gonna be blah blah blah.” It was like, “Life will be so perfect when we are in England!” I avoided talking about leaving and focused too much on arriving. So no wonder nothing seemed good when we actually got here…we all had a vision of gold-covered streets and money growing on trees and buildings made of candy and non-stop sunshine.

I should have recognized the signs that something wasn’t right with the situation. (The situation of packing and preparing, not the situation of moving.) I recall doing a lot of chanting to myself “Keep it together. Just keep going.” You know that part in Finding Nemo where Dory and Marlin are going along and Dory is singing to herself, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”? I had that tune in my head, except I was saying, “Just keep going, just keep going” so I’d keep moving forward in getting done what needed to be done. Every time the emotion would swell up inside my upper torso, pressing hard on that space where your neck joins to your chest, I’d gulp it back and think about something else… ANYTHING else. As I’d be packing, I’d come across something that, if memories were liquid, would be heavy laden, dripping with tons of meaningful recollections. If I permitted myself to allow that feeling to come to fruition, I’d be a sobbing mess in the middle of the hallway floor. Or, even worse, the boys would see me like that.

I’ve been told that I’m being too hard on myself, that there’s no ‘how-to’ manual for this sort of thing. That may be true, but that doesn’t change the affect it had on the boys. Ten years from now you won’t hear them say “I was traumatized by my move, but my poor Mom didn’t know how to go about it, so it’s okay that it happened to me. She did the best she could with what she had.” Nope. They may not ever say, but they will just know, just feel that they were traumatized by their move.

In various posts I’ve touched on the days leading up to the move, and although it is chronologically out of order, I’m first going talk about the trip getting here. I am still wrapping my head around the days and weeks that preceded the actual move, so that post (or posts) will come later. If you cannot wait to hear about it, and you happen to know Geoff and Katrina, just ask them how pathetic the last 24 hours were.

We flew out early on a Wednesday morning. That Monday night we slept over at the Seydel’s house, (well I never made it over there to sleep...more on that another time) and then all day Tuesday, Son 1 and Son 2 were at the Seydel’s as we frantically packed. Husband and Katrina took trip after trip to the storage unit while I sorted and packed...and thanked Katrina every chance I got for being such a saint…a true lifesaver. But there will never be enough thanks for that. The boys would call me every couple of hours and ask me when I was coming back to the Seydel’s house. I kept telling them I was still packing and going as fast as I could go, and that they wouldn’t want to be at our house right now, with all the commotion. That I'd be done really soon. I recall thinking that I was almost done. I really and truly did think I’d get it all done.

That Tuesday evening we had been at the Seydel’s house, eating dinner, picking up the boys and saying goodbye. It took WAY longer than I expected, as it was WAY more difficult than I imagined. None of us wanted to leave.

Logic says that you’d be completely packed and ready to go before you did anything else, but I kept thinking there was this excess of time somewhere. Wrong. Any and all of my so-called “logic” at that time was completely flawed.

The drive home from the Seydels was difficult…and I don’t just mean driving while crying. There was a sense of finality I wasn’t ready for, the boys were very upset, and I was feeling a sense of panic that I was in over my head. Could the boys sense that? I don’t know. But once back at the house, they didn’t get to sleep until long after midnight, and then we were waking them up at 4:00am to get in Geoff’s car and go to the airport. We had lines to deal with at the airport, even at 4:30 in the morning. We had giant bags to check, giant bags to carry. We had an hour to kill at the gate, in that strange time of day that isn’t nighttime anymore but isn’t morning either. Where you hear a buzzing in your ears and see everything in a strange yellow tint. Your senses are heightened, but not in a way you appreciate. Things smell way more than normal….great for a cinnamon roll, bad for jet fuel or an airport restroom. You can’t get warm, or you can’t cool off. Your food tastes and feels extreme as you chew it. The chair you are sitting on is too hard, too squishy, too wide or too narrow.

As we boarded the plane, I know I avoided making eye contact with Husband. I was afraid I’d lose it if I did, because Husband can read me at a glance. If I revealed how I felt, he’d naturally try to relieve me of it. That’s what he does. But there was too much to relieve, there was too much I hadn’t acknowledged myself yet. No thinking, no feeling…I just had to focus on appearing to be excited and upbeat to the boys.

I think I said something like, “Here we go!” in some cheery-like way, as if to remind everyone that we were starting a great adventure. I looked to see if the boys were as excited as I was coaching them to be. They looked apprehensive, and as I type this, I feel the same huge, burning cut right through my chest that I felt then. I distinctly recall feeling that it was not really happening. I remember thinking to NOT think too much about it, because I didn’t want to feel too much about it. We had a long flight ahead of us, and then another one after that. Keep it together. Just keep going, just keep going.

We flew to New York, and the boys snoozed enough that they had some energy to burn once we landed there. We had a five-hour layover, and aside from having to eat crappy airport food, the layover wasn’t too bad. Our tired bodies were confused….it was dinnertime for us as we boarded the plane, but it was 11:00pm in New York. Shortly after we took off we were given a snack and then it was lights off. The boys were absolute angels, but clearly were not ready to fall asleep for the night. The flight was jam-packed, too, so it was not conducive to comfort. The movies weren’t kid-friendly. It was a long, long, long flight. I sang a lot of my Dory tune to myself.

We landed in Manchester early in the morning on December 5th. The region was experiencing an unprecedented cold spell, so it was numbingly cold. It was raining/sleeting, windy, and miserable. We had to go to the car rental building which meant that we had to walk across the top level of a parking garage, totally exposed to the arctic rain, dragging bags on wheels through giant puddles, no coats, wind whipping our faces. This airport is the most POORLY planned and managed place on the planet. In addition to the walk, the entrance had about six steps going up to a door that opened outward, so you had to step backwards down the top two steps to open the door, then somehow manage to get your bags in behind you.

But that’s not the worst part of it. No, the worst part of it is that there was a puddle that was wider than anyone could hope to jump over, and went the entire length of the staircase. I am not exaggerating in the slightest bit. You truly could not enter the rental car building without stepping IN it. NO way over it, no way around it. And this puddle, by my best estimate, was at LEAST three inches deep. Seriously, at its shallowest, it was three inches. Go get a ruler, right now, and put one end of it on the floor next to your foot. Count up three inches and see where that comes to on your foot. It’s OVER your foot, isn’t it?

So imagine this moat-like puddle with ice along the edges, pelting rain, whipping wind, eight giant bags strapped to two cart things with four carry-ons dangling from the cart. The building you need to get into is not accessible. The building you came from is not accessible. There is no awning, no cover, NOTHING.

Husband and I assessed the situation, and decided that the kids shouldn’t get their feet soaked by going through the puddle, and that we’d stand a better chance of getting out of there relatively dry if we just got the car as quickly as possible, even if it meant a few minutes outside in the rain. So Husband, always the trooper and without hesitation, went through the mini lake and into the building, confident that, like dozens of times before, he’d get the rental car and we’d be on our way in just a few minutes. We could handle the heinous cold and wet in exchange for a warm and dry car. Besides, what choice did we have?

Things went from shitty to shittier FAST. The rental place had messed up our reservation, there were no cars available, and to prove our reservation, Husband had to come out to get his briefcase with his laptop, take it inside, power it up, and open the file with the reservation info in it. He had a printed one, but apparently, they needed something else that wasn’t on the thing he printed. I sent the boys in with him so they could get cover. By this point, their feet had become wet and there was no reason for them to stay outside and get hypothermia. But there was no possible way to get all the stuff through the puddle, up the steps, and into the building, so I had to stay outside with it. I told myself it was just for a few more minutes.

Now, my original intention was to put down more detail about this situation. I’m going to have to stop now, though, because it is just too much negative energy, and I don’t want to draw more of it in. And really, it’s just too difficult to re-live. If I sound pathetic or fragile saying that, then so be it.

I’ll just summarize the rest of the rental car acquisition: the wait was about 40 minutes. I was truly concerned that I had frostbite on my hands and toes, but I was glad the boys were indoors and warm. I was so cold and miserable that I cried…just stood there crying. Husband was finally able to get the yahoos in the rental agency to find a vehicle for us, and true to the hero he usually is, he sprinted out to me, found us the car, started it to get us warm and dry, loaded everything in quickly, and got us on our way. But it was NOT a good way to start the day – much less a new chapter of our lives.

It was the antithesis to the picture I painted for Son 1 and Son 2, nothing like what I’d promised would be worth all the sadness of leaving home. I was failing them at every turn at this point, and we hadn’t even left the airport.