31 August 2005

Certifying the dog as Grade A Beef

I forgot to mention the small debacle with certifying our darling dog to go overseas...

As it turns out, Didge nor Colin nor I needed to physically go to Lansing to certify the mutt with the USDA. Our vet fills out the paperwork, and then we can Fed Ex it to them. Of course, we didn't figure that out until Colin had already made it to Lansing. Among the other jewels of wisdom we picked up:

1. Our vet doesn't do many overseas forms because out of the three it had to fill out, all three had errors.

2. It's best to do this within 14 days of the dog's departure because some airlines require a very recent health check up. No clue as to whether Air France does, but I figure better safe than sorry.

3. Websites can be wrong. OK, I knew this in advance, but I assumed that the USDA would have the right ADDRESS on their website. Instead, poor Colin ended up in a random building in Lansing - right address from the website, just not the USDA. Fortunately, the place he ended up in had a helpful receptionist who called the USDA to get better directions. He was only about 30 minutes late to the appointment that he didn't need to make. Sigh.

The things we do for our pets!!

T Minus One Week to Colin's departure

OK, I think I'm officially in panic mode now!! Colin leaves one week from tomorrow (Wednesday) and we're moving into storage this Sunday. Since I've last written, we have packed about a dozen boxes, rented a storage locker, and found out that if you don't live in the state, you can't buy insurance for a storage locker! (The only way it can work out is if you're an unmarried college student in a certain age range.) Grrr. But, what else can we do? It's not like the stuff can go with us!

We also kind-of got our medications resolved ... since we're switching insurance in January, we can only get our prescriptions filled through December. And, guess what? The insurance that kicks in January 1 is changing their prescription coverage plan and currently has NO IDEA how we're going to get our Rx's filled overseas. Reassuring, non?

On the bright side, Didge has successfully weathered 4 hours straight in his kennel without a meltdown. He's not willing to sleep in the kennel, but he hasn't tried to break out, which is a step in the right direction. At the moment, he is sitting next to me on the couch with a huge grin on his face, completely oblivious to the hell that is quickly approaching for him!

Man, sometimes I wish I could just be a dog!!

05 August 2005

So &%@!-ing expensive...

Colin leaves in 33 days; I leave in 55. But who's counting??

OK, my topic for today is how expensive this little adventure is! I've already talked about the Visa application process, which probably ended up costing us about $500 to compile and submit. That might be a conservative estimate, but I'm afraid to go back and really count everything up. Too scary!!

But, we realized last night that we need to drop several thousand dollars before we even leave the country! Why, you ask? Because we've got to: 1) Pay for 4 months of health insurance and one year of prescription meds up front; 2) Pay a year of fees for a storage locker up front (so that we can get a really good rate); 3) Send a check -- in euros -- to our landlord's wife because we won't be in France to pay rent on the first of the month; 3) Pay our rent here in Ann Arbor; 4) Rent a truck to move our crap; 5) Drive Didge up to Lansing to get him certified for overseas travel ... need I continue? Probably, since there are likely to be tons of things that I haven't yet thought about!

Lesson learned: if you know you're moving overseas, start saving your money right away! You need A LOT to do this!! Of course, my view is skewed because we're not going on a study abroad program or some kind of cushy fellowship - this is all on our own. So, no one arranges for our visas, no one funds our trip, no one helps us find a place to live ... seriously, everything is up to us!

The good news is that both cars are sold; the Corolla has a new home at the end of September and the Taurus is gone. I'm still selling off other stuff on E-bay, and I think we're going to sell a couple of pieces of furniture, but we're starting to whittle away at the enormous amount of work in front of us.

So, that's it for the moment. I'm definitely looking forward to a quiet weekend at home.

02 August 2005

It's a visa!!

OK, sorry, haven't posted anything in quite a while. Oh wait, no one reads this!!

Colin and I went to Chicago to pick up our Visas yesterday! Woo hoo! Fortunately, we were the only non-clueless people there, so we only had to wait for 9 people to get their acts together before we got ours. Only took about 40 minutes in line. We also have plane tickets on Air France ... I leave the 29th and Colin leaves on the 7th of September. Didge is all booked to fly with me - just have to get him certified by the USDA!

Now that we have the Visas in our possession, things are going very quickly. We've sold a car, and I'm selling a bunch of stuff on Ebay. (My seller name is amy7252, if you want to "support the cause" and bid on stuff!) We've got one car left to sell, and already have a few interested people, so here's hoping that we get our asking price out of it!!