This weekend was packing. Tomorrow we drive.
It's two and half days to Germany, if all goes well. Five countries, four kids, two thousand kilometers. Then a day and a half in Germany, then I get on a plane and fly back here for the last month of the project.
Packing was... packing. Packing is not my bliss. Claudia is really good at it. So packing days tend to be a lot of me standing around waiting for Claudia to tell me what to do. (If I just do something, it will almost certainly be wrong. Trust me.) The kids get very wiggly because all routine has been abandoned. Wiggly is not horrible, but it does involve a fair amount of squabbling and begging for electronics. (Can I watch TV? No. Can I have the iPad? No. Can I play on the computer?)
Washed the car, because it was filthy, and we needed to climb all over it to put the cargo pod on top and then pack it. (Note to self for future reference: do not wash the car in November when it's just a few degrees above freezing.) One wheel was going flat; took it to the tire guy, who found that we'd run over a screw. Leah came with me and got to watch a lot of tires being taken off and put back on their cars, which she greatly enjoyed. We walked down the street to the nearby ice-skating rink, and then bought a Kit-Kat bar, which we split. (One, two, three, four pieces. Two for Leah and two for Daddy. Okay? Okay.)
-- Here's a thing: Leah is going through a difficult period right now. Screaming, tantrums. Stubbornness. Bedtimes tend to be difficult. Mealtimes can be a trial. She can drive her poor brother Jacob to tears, and regularly does. But for 90 minutes, at the tire-changing place, she was great. Lively and full of energy, but in a good way. Playful, fun, all smiles and laughter -- and obedient. Maybe she just needs more one-on-one time?
Anyway. Checked the oil (low, filled it up) and coolant (low, can't fill up here -- fingers crossed). Moved the seats around inside the car -- the optimum configuration for long-distance travel involves spaces between the seats, where you can stuff additional items and also keep the kids from elbowing each other too easily.
Today I had one last day at the office; I wrote a long memorandum on severance pay for our employees (the USAID contract office is trying to avoid reimbursing us for this), met with a bunch of people from the World Bank to talk about tax policy, and attended a staff birthday party in the office kitchen at 5:00. The roll-out of our biggest software procurement will happen on Thursday; I'll have to miss it. Will get back Monday to a very full desk. Actually, I'll probably go into the office Sunday.
So, moving out. I'll be back by myself for a month but it will be rattling alone in the empty house. We've done this before -- we did exactly the same thing in Armenia, back in February-March of 2008. One gets an extra half hour of sleep in the mornings. But after a while it gets a little lonesome.
(Claudia: "It's always the same. You love it for a week or two, and then you start moping." Me: "Yeah... well, maybe I'm sort of pre-moping." Claudia: "Okay, cut that out now.")
Will being alone make me blog more often? Check back in a week!