I'm making lists.
Lists of stuff we'll need before, during and immediately following our move.
We'll be homeless for a bit and lists, I have learned, are important.
When we left the US, I did not have a list.
I packed our airline tickets.
Anyone who has ever done a major move knows it's serious business. When everything you own is going to be in a shipping container for 4 – 8 weeks, it's even more crucial to get it right.
After we decided to move to Ireland, and sold our house in Minnesota, we rented a house in 'town' to get ourselves organized.
That was an easy, leisurely move.
A 'shall we sleep in the old house or the new house tonight' kind of move.
A 'I have to run back to the old house because I forgot X' kind of move.
We spent the next year deciding where we were going to live in Ireland, sorting and discarding our stuff, carefully packing what we were taking with us, and saying goodbye to our city of almost 20 years.
We picked our move date, contracted the shipping company and sold our car.
We packed 2 suitcases, each, with the clothes and stuff we would need for our 6 weeks of living in a 'holiday home' in Ireland. (Fortunately, those were still the good old days, when one could travel with 2 suitcases and a set of golf clubs – it wasn't easy, but one was allowed to do it.)
We rented a room at a 'no-tell motel' to live in while the movers packed the shipping container.
We saved old, throw-away clothes to wear to clean the house and do the last minute bits.
We thought of everything…
The evening before our flight, we had the last bottle of wine from our former 'cellar'; a fresh baguette, some cheese and paté were laid out on the floor for a motel picnic.
The subconscious mind is an amazing thing: before opening the wine I had the sudden, inexplicable urge to check our travel documents. This was 12 years ago… We still used paper….
Two passports: check. Car rental voucher for Dublin: check. Hotel confirmation for Dublin: check. Papers, phone numbers and driving directions for our rental house in Killorglin: check. Airline tickets….
Airline tickets????? Where are the plane tickets??!!?? Do you have them ???!!!???
When your life is reduced to a motel room it doesn't take long to look everywhere.
Oh. My. God!!! I had packed the plane tickets.
It came back in a blinding flash: Me looking at the tickets, which had been safely tucked away in my filing cabinet for months, in the folder marked 'Travel Documents'. The rest of the documents were on my desk and my hand was poised over the file when the movers came charging into my office.
"Ready?" they asked. I panicked, said yes, and in a flash my office was duct-taped within an inch of respectability and gone.
Apparently, rather than adding the tickets to the pile of documents I had dropped them back into the file.
They were now still tucked away, quite securely, in the filing cabinet, in the middle of a 40 foot shipping container halfway to New York.
Our flight left in the morning.
I had 20 minutes to get to the airline office and explain our predicament.
What I often find frustrating and mystifying when dealing with large corporate or governmental bureaucracies is how poorly truth works.
Were the tickets stolen?
It would be easier if they had been stolen, then we could get a police report and…
They weren't stolen!
Did you lose them?
No, I know exactly where they are.
It would be easier if they were lost, then we could file a lost ticket report and refund the money in a month…
We leave tomorrow; we have no place to live here; we are homeless; we are moving; we need to be on that flight….
We need new tickets.
You can buy new tickets and turn the lost ones in for a refund if you ever find them….
The tickets were free business class tickets, compliments of our last Frequent Flyer Miles. They had no monetary value to anyone but us.
You can buy coach tickets and sort it out later…
If I bought coach tickets we would have to pay to take the second suitcases and golf clubs.
And our tickets were FREE! In the front of the bus!!!!
The only thing that saved us was the fact that it was so late in the evening. They all wanted to go home; I wasn't leaving.
After a conference amongst themselves and a few phone calls to The Powers That Be, they declared the tickets lost and as a one time favor, I was allowed to replace them for a small 'reissue charge' of $150.00.
Once again, we were ready to start our new life… with almost 12 hours to spare!
That last summer we rode our bikes all around Minneapolis; every trail we could find. We would pack a picnic and explore the city, doing all the things we didn't have time to do when we were gainfully employed. (We weren't unemployed, but had part-time, minimum wage jobs that didn't require 80-hour work weeks. We were, as 'they' say, burnt out!)
This Chicken and Avocado Salad was one of our favorites, most often eaten as a sandwich, stuffed into pita bread, but also good on a bed of lettuce as a proper salad. Either way, great picnic food!
We would toss two extra chicken breasts on the grill the night before for a quick assembly in the morning.
Picnic Chicken and Avocado Salad
2 cold grilled, Teriyaki-marinated, chicken breasts
1 can water chestnuts, 5 oz (150gr)
2 stalks (ribs) celery, sliced
2 tbs fresh snipped chives
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs Teriyaki marinade
Pita bread, Wraps or Lettuce
Cut chicken into small cubes and put into a medium bowl. Slice water chestnuts, celery, and add to chicken. Cut avocado into cubes the same size as the chicken, add to chicken. Snip chives and add. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add just enough to chicken to make a lightly dressed salad. Serve on a bed of lettuce with the remaining dressing (if any) on the side. Or can be stuffed into Pita halves for sandwiches.
The sad thing, I couldn't think of a single way to shift the blame for the lost tickets to mon mari.
BTW – Has anyone in the world successfully redeemed Frequent Flyer Miles in the last 2 years? I know I haven't.