Thursday, November 28, 2013

We are in escrow!

Today is Thanksgiving. I am really, really thankful that we will hopefully have no more viewings or open houses.

This morning we accepted an offer on the house and are now officially in escrow!That means the countdown begins. The next 14 days will be filled with inspections and if all goes well, contingencies will clear. I now have 30 days completely pack up this house, and sell off whatever we are not bringing to Ireland. We are not bringing much though. Most rentals are furnished, and DH is actively looking for a rental for us. We don't have long term plans at this point and are looking forward to being untethered, so we are paring our "stuff" down to the bare minimum (with kids, its still quite a bit though.)

With 30 days to pack and sell, I have decided to change my flight from Dec 18 until after Christmas, that way DH can come back for Christmas and help me with some of this daunting process. Seeing as he left a lot of stuff in the garage and attic when he left, I am very relieved that he is coming back. It may mean having our Christmas dinner picnic style, sitting on the floor but I am really looking forward to this holiday none-the-less.

Today, however, we will be eating at the dining room table! This is very exciting. It has been "staged" for the last 2 months, in order to optimize viewings. Though, we are having a very uncomplicated, mellow, lazy day at home, we will pour some sparkling cider into the "fancy" glasses and toast to adventures ahead.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bringing a dog, the saga...

So, along with my fourth straight week of dealing with my recurrent migraine problem, I had a lot of fun on the phone today, trying to secure our dog's passage to Ireland. As if the prospect of trying to find a rental property with a dog is not bad enough (thank goodness for for making me feel confident we will find something,) making sure that the dog makes it there, is one of the biggest trials I have faced so far.

Though we are not planning to bring a whole bunch of stuff with us, we are planning to bring our dog, Pepper. We adopted Pepper a year and half ago, after months of begging from DS. I was very nervous about getting another dog, but I did a lot of research before looking and I think we ended up with the perfect dog for our family. So, we are intent on keeping her a part of the family, even through this current adventure.

Not too long ago, if you wanted to bring a dog to Ireland, it would have to be quarantined for 6 months. Yikes! Nowadays, one can bring a dog to Ireland, so the websites I have visited state, if you jump through the right paperwork hoops. No quarantine involved. So, when John received his job offer, I immediately looked up the requirements for bringing a dog to Ireland. I was directed to the USDA website and ended up calling them on the phone. The process seemed simple enough. She needed to be micro-chipped, have her rabies shot (after the microchip was implanted), get a bordatella shot and de-worming (all on a set schedule) and have the vet fill out some papers. Get the USDA office to notarize some papers, pay a $35 fee and good to go! I could handle that, or so I thought.

By the time it came for DH to leave (2 months ahead of me), I could see there was still a lot left on my plate. Plus I would be travelling solo with the two kids. On the aer lingus website, when I looked up "travelling with pets" it recommended contacting an organization called PetMove. It gave no other information. This seemed a little ominous to me. So, I decided to get a quote. The quote seemed like a lot to me, especially in our current financial state, but I was worried about how much I had to deal with and also was more worried about what would happen if Pepper did not make it through customs. I could not do that to the kids. I feel this move is going to be hard enough.

So, after much back and forth with PetMove, we contracted with them to handle Pepper's transport. 

After paying the hefty bill, and emailing all of the papers I had gathered thus far, the adventure really began. I was told that my rabies certificate was not sufficient, I need an "ink signed" rabies certificate. So I rummaged through the adoption papers and called the veterinary hospital on the letterhead for her original shots and they told me that I could drive over to Venice, CA to pick that up. Fun. Yay. All I need is a drive from the Eastside to the Westside to make me ecstatic that I am leaving Los Angeles.

Next, I am told that I need an "ink signed" letter from the vet who implanted her microchip, stating that the microchip was implanted before her rabies shot was administered. OK. The hospital listed on the letterhead tells me I should call the rescue agency because that was handled at the original shelter that the rescue agency rescued her from. I call the rescue agency and don't hear back immediately. When I do hear back, they were mesmerized by such a request. I find "downey shelter" listed on some paperwork from them and decide to give them a call. The first person I spoke to really did not want to help. Her response was, "we don't deal with paperwork once a dog leaves our facility." I tried to tell her that our dog might unfortunately be back at her facility if I can't get this paperwork in order to take her to Ireland. 

After much pleading on my part, I was put on hold for about half an hour until someone else (much friendlier) came on the line. I have to say, I totally understand this is probably an area of work that is overworked and underpaid and my request sounded totally unreasonable and ridiculous, but I was trying my best to keep our rescued dog in our family. I tried to explain my needs to this next person and she responded that it is highly unlikely that the vet who performed the procedure is even still with the organization, but she put me on hold again while she contacted the current vet. I finally got to speak with the current vet, who asked me exactly how I needed my letter worded and when I needed it by. I explained that I was working with an organization that handles pet transport and she asked if she could contact them. Kudos to the vet at LA City Services. Thank you, thank you! I get an email from my contact at the organization saying that they are in touch with City Services and so, I think we are in the home stretch. (I don't play base ball or know much about it except for doing the wave, but I thought I should be doing the wave at this point.)

Around 4:30pm, I get a call from PetMove telling me this: it looks like, after further investigation by City Services, there was a mix-up with your original paperwork and your dog never received the shots that are listed on the adoption forms. The city is being helpful, because of this mix-up and have contacted our current vet to let them know of the mix-up. But Pepper is not current on any of her shots, so I will need to start the process from the beginning. After spending a good six hours on the phone, after sending in all my paperwork that I spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with. ARGHHH! Did I mention that I had a migraine all day on top of this?

Part of me is banging my head on the wall and part of me is really and truly glad I plunked down that ridiculous chunk of money to work with our pet transport agency. Otherwise I would have been walking into customs with a dog about to be sent home. My kids may have just announced that they don't believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Toothfairy and that's OK, but I don't think they would be OK with their beloved dog being non-existent. 

So, the countdown continues with more paperwork, hoops and red-tape. I hope we all make it out on the other end.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pros and cons of moving to Ireland

This morning while taking a shower, I was musing about the things I will miss and things I might like, when we move to Ireland. This came about in the shower because I was appreciating the power of our water pressure. I love a nice strong shower and in most likelihood, that is going to be something I will miss. I do not understand what is up with the showers (that I have experienced) in Ireland, but they just don't have the pressure that we do here. It can't be about conserving water. It rains 20 out of every 30 days for crying out loud! We live in a dessert here in L.A. and the water pressure is amazing. If its the mechanics, I don't understand why they have to be so different there.
However, I will gladly take the measly water pressure, in exchange for my sunblock and sunhat collection. Yep. I hate the sun. I hate having to lather my super-pale kids (or myself) up with sunblock. Not only do the chemicals in sunblock scare me and I don't want to put it on my kids, but they hate it and resist any vigilant effort I make. These are battles I have no desire to have. Hats don't fare much better with the kids. In general, I opt for clothing coverage over sunblock anyway, but there are often long, sunny days at the beach or in a pool where sunblock is necessary and I always seem to miss a spot. Anyway, I'm glad that I won't have to worry about sunblock or hats nearly as much. I also really hate the heat. I know most people don't think of moving to Ireland for the weather, nor to escape the perpetual California sunshine, but that's me. Bring on the rain!
There are many other things I am looking forward to. The ability to travel so easily around Europe, for instance. That is probably the most exciting part. I can't wait for all the weekend getaways we have ahead of us. Both inside and out of Ireland. Especially to share these travels with the kids. I love boots and sweaters and tights and coats. Govinda's aside, I am sick of trying to find light clothing that gives me complete coverage. (Did you read my post about “shopping at Govinda's”?) I like that the fish we will eat might be more likely to come from the Atlantic than the Pacific (I know I am a little neurotic about nutrition, but I do worry about the radiation from the Fukushima disaster.) I know my fantasies about local, grass-fed meat and dairy are probably not totally aligned with the current reality in Ireland (horse meat anyone?), but I do hope that with my usual level of diligence, I have a better chance of sourcing healthier food for my family. I love watching "Clodagh's Food Trails" on PBS and want to visit each place they feature. There is also the topic of school/airport/wherever shootings. I don't think I will have as much to worry about in that department! I don't care what your position is on the the topic of guns and gun control, I just won't have to deal with that in Ireland and I couldn't be happier. I like the architecture and the scenery. I have friends and family who I would like to see more of. So, lots of pros!
What will I miss about L.A.? Well, obviously not the weather. (Though who knows, absence may make the heart grow fonder.) The thing I am most conscious of missing at this point is the people. Both generally and specifically.
Generally, I love the friendliness, positive attitude and supportiveness that I encounter here in Los Angeles. Whatever crazy idea you have, at whatever point in your life, people will cheer you on, help you out and totally root for you (and not just to your face)! If you achieve success in something, people will be happy for you, genuinely! This is a place that people with ambitions and dreams move to, from all over. Though instead of a dog eat dog world, we're all in it together. I may hate the sun, but I love the collectively sunny disposition that I associate with Los Angelenos.
Along with this positive attitude and supportiveness, people here seem more inclined to be straightforward and honest too. Even if the news is not good. I happen to love this. I love knowing where I stand with someone. Of course, I am all for politeness, but not when it requires two faces.
Specifically though, I will miss my community and circle of friends. From those who I see way too infrequently, to those I am lucky to see every day. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing group of people who I think are phenomenal, whose company I thoroughly enjoy, whose values I respect and who I am really glad to know. Los Angeles is a place that attracts that wonderful set of ambitious, creative dreamers and doers. People who are so alive in their doings and positive in their attitudes, and I count many of them as my good friends. Though I have some wonderful friends I cherish in Ireland and I am sure I will make many more in the time to come, I will really, really miss my circle here. I hope we get some visitors once we are settled.