Whew! I feel like I’ve lived a few months in the past week and a half. On Sat. and Sun., June 23 and 24, we worked like crazy, preparing for the move. We sorted possessions in piles: UAB (air freight, no more than 450 pounds); HHE (household effects, to be sent by boat to S. Korea); and Storage, including almost all the furniture, and four suitcases full of stuff that would accompany us on the plane. Plus garbage bags full of throw-away items. My low point was on Sunday afternoon, when I could not find my keys, including the car keys we’d need to stage the cars the following week. Would we have to sort through all the garbage bags, and dig down through the separated piles to look for them? Before doing all that, I found them in the glove compartment of my car, where I’d tossed my GPS system Friday night after returning from a dinner out, and mistakenly tossed my keys as well!
June 24, the movers came, took the UAB, and packed the HHE. They were good, but our pack-outs had always taken two days in the past, with packers working long days to get it done. These guys left at 3 pm, as they’d been instructed to do. The problem was that I’d scheduled a cleaning crew for Wed. morning, so the house would be clean and empty by Wed. night, when our tenants wanted to start moving in their possessions. The cleaners couldn’t come Wed. afternoon. So both Tom and I cleaned all day Tuesday—the kitchen and the bathrooms, working around the movers. Tues. afternoon, a brassy female company representative came to apologize for the length of the move, bearing gifts of desserts, which were much appreciated since I’d been running on sugar, and the promise of a person with a vacuum cleaner Wed. afternoon. She came through, so Wed. afternoon, as the movers cleared one room, I’d clean marks on walls, and the vacuumer would do baseboards and the carpet. The vacuumer also swept out the garage, but then closed the garage door by hand, and I was at a loss as to how to make the automatic garage door openers work again. Fortunately, a handy neighbor helped me out with that.
The movers left at 5 pm, somebody came to shampoo the living room rug at 6 pm, and the tenants arrived at 7 pm….The next day, a guy with a flatbed truck came to the hotel we were staying at to pick up our 2007 Toyota Corolla, removed its plates, and took it to a warehouse, from which it would be shipped to S. Korea. The day after that, I drove our 2005 Toyota Corolla up to my cousin Bev, who’ll drive it while we’re in S. Korea. We spent two hours in the Maryland Dept. of Motor Vehicles, and then 45 minutes in a Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles. It turns out that even giving her the car was more involved than I’d thought. Any car crossing state lines to take up residence in Maryland needs to pass an amazingly detailed, two-hour inspection. Few cars “pass” the inspection outright, and we had to get a few items fixed before ours did. At least Bev knows the car is safe, and it’ll come in handy now that her two sons have started working part-time at NIST, where she works full time.
On Friday night, a windy weather phenomenon called a “derecho” hit the DC area, causing 1.5 million people to lose power and downing countless trees. Saturday morning there was a huge line of cars at the gas station next to our hotel because it was the first station heading west of the powerless towns of Falls Church, Oakton, and Vienna that had gas. Our house kept its power, but lost a pine tree and part of our “Grandma Willow” tree in the back yard. Our tenants and landscaper neighbor Mr. Legg will take care of it.
By the time we boarded our Korean Airlines flight to Seoul at 1:30 pm on Sun., July 1, I’d jumped through countless hoops, and was exhausted. Thankfully, the flight was uneventful, and I caught up on movies, watching “The Artist,” “Albert Nobbs,” “A Big Miracle,” and “Corialanus.” A fellow from Tom’s office picked us up at the airport, and dropped us off at the Dragon Hill Lodge, a modern hotel on the Yongsan military base in Seoul, where we’ll be staying for about two weeks until our house is ready. I saw our house, which they were painting, in the American Embassy housing compound on Yongsan known as “Mayberry.”
We went into the embassy yesterday. I got the ID’s I’ll need to enter the embassy by myself, enter the military base, and enter the Commissary for shopping. You have to get what’s called a “ration card,” to ensure that you don’t over-buy at the Commissary and sell things on the black market. When I went out to lunch, I missstepped, and when I got back to the embassy, I felt faint, while my right ankle started to swell up. Sprained my ankle! I had to miss the fancy Fourth of July party at the Hyatt, which Tom attended by himself, iced my ankle, and crawled into bed at 7:30 due to jet lag. Today my ankle doesn’t hurt much , the swelling’s gone down, and I’m going to try it out by visiting the Commissary.