Thursday, August 23, 2007

Leaving Luxembourg

Today is our last day in Luxembourg - it is very strange to type that. To comprehend that in 25 hours we will be getting on a plane and leaving here and not coming back.


Yes, I realize that I should have been aware that this day was coming, but now that it is here it feels really... strange.

While logistically these last few days here were necessary they've made leaving harder - I think if we'd just gone on the 3rd when we vacated the house it would have been all the gut-wrenching at the same time. Coming back for two days and now 3 makes it feel a little less real somehow.

But it did mean that we got to see Cathie for dinner last night and will be hitting the Schuberfouer this aft/evening to say a few more goodbyes.

But on to logistics - we have 5 bags to sort through (I can't wait for the container to arrive in Ottawa and to stop living out of suitcases!) and stuff to try and get rid of because we are WAY over our baggage allowance.

So Addi Letzebuerg - where the sun is actually shining for once.

More from the other side of the Atlantic in a few days/weeks... lots of vacation stories to tell!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

I have to start going to bed before midnight

because I have been very grumpy the past few mornings. But I need to let my toe polish dry (Greece tomorrow - sandals!!) so I thought I would post a quick update.

The move was eventually over. They were supposed to be finished packing at 4:30 on Thursday and load on Friday morning. They were still packing at 4:30 on Friday and the loading guy had taken over the packing (why didn't they send him on day one?). Anyhow it got done. I am just terrified of what it's going to look like on the other end.

Had a lovely night at Hotel Parc Belair, inclusive of dessert and coffee with Marie, Andres and Noah (who dozed most of the time) in the Parc and then got up for our Scandinavian adventure.

More details about our wonderful trip to follow in following posts... can I tell you (briefly - as brief as I can be) about getting there?

Marc gets the suitcase rammed on his toe getting into the elevator (kids fighting over who was going to press the button, I stepped back... ugly scene) We are late for airport (we are usually never late because Marc is always early, but usually there is no one there so we opted for the 1 hour check-in (ok in Lux). Long-term parking is full. Kindly man finds us a spot.

There are hundreds of people checking in. HUNDREDS. I've never seen so many people in the Luxembourg airport, I am sure it was some kind of record. Finally get called to the front of the line to check in. Phew. Then not so Phew. Only 3 of us can get on, the flight is overbooked to Copenhagen. We end up having to split up, Marc taking the kids and luggage (it was his friend we were going to stay with) and I was to follow via Paris to Stockholm and arrive 3 hours later.

Not so bad until I get the text messages about the luggage - Marc saw it refused for his flight ("Last call passenger...") and asked them to redirect it to my flight - which was leaving only 15 minutes later.

Want to hear about how I ran around Charles de Gaulle trying to find out where our luggage was? Naw, didn't think so. Or that my cell phone (or the extra cell phone - Marc had mine) stopped working because the pre-paid ran out?

There will have to be a post on my adventure buying a FRENCH SIM card for my phone (really, it's a post in it's own) that didn't even work outside of France (why would it? I was leaving the centre of the universe).

I finally got to Stockholm (in Business Class on Air France, TWO glasses of champagne thank you!), shopping on my way out for undies etc. I was bright enough to ask about the luggage (I had the tag numbers) and low and behold - they had ust arrived from Frankfurt with a whole bunch of others that must not have made it to Marc's flight.

I proudly drag the bags out to arrivals and... there's no Marc. Or Peter. That is one I will save for the post about the French SIM card (which wasn't working in Stockholm). Anna was there but we'd never met, and I wasn't supposed to have luggage etc.

Incidentally Marc was at the doctor who wanted to stich his poor toe but it had been more than 6 hours so it was too late.

It all turned out okay in the end. I finally decided to go back to the arrivals thing and wait for someone to find me (Remember learning that as a kid? Don't go anywhere, stay put.) Anna found me.

We are currently at our friend Liz and Andy's house. Got here yesterday evening and are leaving in the morning for Greece. I feel horrible but it hasn't even sunk in, I have so much to get ready in the morning, I just feel like crawling under a rock.

How spoiled does that sound?? I know, I should be smacked, don't like myself much for it.

It's just been hard travelling with two small kids on whacked out schedules and it's been REALLY hard being back in Luxembourg for a few days. Such conflicting feelings, excited to go, sad to leave. Home, yet no longer home. Too many emotions.

And then I had to hand over my car this evening. My 1999 Periwinkle Blue FIAT Bravo that Marc bought when he thought he was only going to be here 6 months. I LOVED that car. I shed not a single tear over the house, but Marc found me in Andy's garage last night hugging the back of my car in floods of tears. I mean floods, like when Juli has a 3 year old meltdown.

Only consolation - it has gone to a very nice family (Canadian) and I know Glenn will take good care of my baby. Even the kids cried and hugged Mama's car.

I think I should go to bed now because I am posting about crying over my car. It's just everything I think, everything all at once, and yet taking so long.

But I promise to write more about my SIM card adventures and all about our Scandinavian trip (which was WONDERFUL) at a later date.

Next post might be from our laptop in Ottawa!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

When I get all Europe homesick...

Please refer me back to this post. Really please do because this is a huge part of why we are going home.

Last night I took my allergy pill at 10:30. I guess the movers had the windows open yesterday because by 10:30 (soaking in my wonderful Fruit et Passion bath) I was sniffly, sneezy, coughing and scratching at my throat because it was so itchy.

It took an hour to kick in and I went to sleep at 11:30 pm.

Only to wake up at 5:30 am - sniffly, sneezy, coughing and scratching my throat.

Did I mention that they are 24 hour allergy pills? And the strongest thing they will prescribe for me here?

So "BAD" allergy season (as opposed to "good" when the meds mostly work) seems to have started again for me. Which means within a few weeks I will have a sinus infection, that will take until about next spring to finally clear up properly after several doses of antibiotics and cortisone (I have no proof of this other than the last 3 years of the same situation).

So I have taken ANOTHER allergy pill - since I seem to have replaced my nose with a faucet and haven't stopped coughing for the last 1/2 hour. Nose spray seems to have had no effect either.

I am cranky and feel lousy - and this is NOT how I want to live my life. I used to be a fun person. I don't want to be the mum always snipping at her kids because she's feeling lousy (for something stupid like allergies) and I don't want to continue to have to buy purses so large that they can accommodate a roll of toilet paper for nose blowing (since I invariably fail to stock up on enough Kleenex). I don't want to be terrified of opening the windows of my home in case I can't breathe (I am an open window kinda girl and with no forced air in houses over here you have to open your windows or the air gets soooooooo stale).

Anyhow, up and at 'em. My buddies the movers arrive in 30 minutes (and really take the computer this time). Maybe the extra allergy pill will make me dopey and I won't get so frustrated with them :-p

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Now that's classy

I am sitting on my mattress (which is on the floor), laptop on my lap (appropriate, no?) and drinking wine from the bottle.

Yup, right from the bottle. Classy, huh?

Seriously though, I have not turned into a wino (despite my recent Kir Royal fixation - we are obviously out of champagne if I am on the wine). It's just that there are no glasses in my house that I can use and there is less than a glass left in the bottle.

And Marc just left to play pool with the only utensil that could be used to open a beer bottle (no twist tops here!).

So I HAVE to glug my wine from the bottle. Really.

The house is supposed to be fully packed - and is NOT. I am not going to freak, though I did get Marc to call the movers today and complain and now there will be 6 men here tomorrow to get our container loaded - 3 to finish packing and 3 to load.
Hopefully the one who spent 8 hours in my basement, managed to miss a whole store room (???) and still didn't finish what I could have done myself in 3 hours - well hopefully he's on loading instead.

Yes, I am in a lovely mood ;-)

In good news - we sold the car it would appear!! We've been desperate, I had it listed on two popular sites (one where it got checked out 157 times - and no takers!) It's a Lancia Lybra (part of the Fiat/Alfa Romeo family) in great shape with low kilometres, but Burgers don't like Italian cars (so we've been told?) and we couldn't even get used car dealers to take it.

The Auto club told us it was worth 12,000 EUR in a private sale, and 9900 if we were trading it in to a dealer. We put it up and 9,200 and hoped.

Yesterday a colleague of Marc's told us he had found someone in Belgium willing to take it for 5500. Ouch. We agreed seeing as we're leaving in a couple of days (give or take our visits back in between Sweden and Greece and home).

Then last night we get this call from this English guy who wants to buy the car. Really wants to buy it, can he just take it by his mate's garage (his term, the mate that is) and he can only pay us so much now (6500) and more (1200)next month. Total 7700 - not so bad!

So he is supposed to come by at 3pm to get the car to take to his mate. Long story short, he finally shows up at 6 pm. I am having doubts at this point on if we will see our car again so I send Marc with him.

Yeah, that's right, I think the guy might be a criminal stealing our car so I send my husband with him. Brain not fully functional.

He was probably no more than 2 minutes away when I called and said "If it seems weird get out of there - run as fast as you can, you are so much more important than a car".

And proceeded to feel like I was going to be sick until he walked back in 1/2 hour later. Car sold. Guy fine, just a little weird.

And this is why I am drinking wine from a bottle. I am now going to go and use a huge amount of Fruits et Passion bubble bath for my last bath in this house (it's such a waste not to try and finish it) and then I will try to sleep.

By this time tomorrow the car should be sold and we should be in the lovely hotel by the park I have always wanted to stay at... fingers crossed ;-)

And my two angels are sleeping (please oh please let them be asleep) at opposite ends of Stu's mattress in Julia's room. I would check on them, but they're being quiet and I wouldn't want that to stop...

I don't think the same way

as my movers do.

And there's a language issue that I wasn't expecting because the main gy is from Cap Vert (really nice guy btw) and has only been here 6 months and barely speaks French. And I don't speak Portuguese (I think that's what they speak in Cap Vert? I may be showing my ignorance)

We have two days of packing.

Day one - we pack all my dishes. ALL MY DISHES. And my couches and chairs and tables and ALL the kids toys and all our clothes (except some of Marc and mine).

Yet they have not touched anything in the attic or the basement (stuff we don't use daily) and I still have every single picture and mirror on the walls.

As Marc put it "So when we order in Pizza we can distract ourselves from the fact that it's burning our hands (because no dishes) by looking at our artwork?"

And everything is labeled in what looks like a combination of Portuguese/French. Should be a lot of fun for the English unpackers in Ottawa. I went around relabeling things at midnight because they decided that my tv room (adjacent to the kitchen) was really the kitchen so the TV room couch is labeled kitchen. Yup.

Sorry, needed to kvetch a bit. I think they are taking my computer away any moment now and I am not sure why because they still need to do an inventory of our cave a vin (doesn't that sound posh?? it's really just shelves in the cold part of our basement - but thanks to recent gifts there are about 80 bottles of wine - nothing to a European btw).

And of course yesterday was beautiful and sunny and today is POURING and Julia's playhouse is out there getting SOAKED but they just said I would have to clean it off. Not to mention our teak patio furniture that is out there getting soaked - if they had wrapped and put it downstairs yesterday we wouldn't have it arriving in a possible mouldy state in Canada. I am wondering of we should just ditch it...

And now I am just rambling and rambling because they haven't taken the computer away yet, but I am sure you all have better things to do so I will go and be miserable in my corner of the main bathroom that I am hiding out in.

Actually I have to go and pick up pictures from Marc's office that he forgot to bring home and switch cars because someone might finally be buying our car and needs to test drive it this aft.

On Saturday we leave for Sweden!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!

Our suitcases for Greece are on their way to Andy & Liz's where we will stay for the two nights between!! YEAH!

My mum and step-dad are picking us up when we arrive in Montreal and taking me to Cote St-Luc BBQ (BEST BBQ chicken, yum yum) the day we arrive and driving us to Ottawa the next day - YEAH!

My in-laws arrive the Sunday to help with the kids and unpacking for 3 days after that - YEAH!!

Trying to focus on the positive... can I focus today? Not sure today.

OH NO! Marc forgot Nemo the goldfish this morning to take to a friend's aquarium!! I had better go and take him NOW!!!!