When we found out that we were on the move headed south, we were enjoying a lazy Sunday morning in the trailer, hanging out and watching cartoons – when the phone rang. Usually on Sunday Bill’s office is pretty quiet – so we figured it wasn’t a big deal. As usual he headed off to the truck to take the call, and I continued the time honoured tradition of pancakes and breaking up fights, as is the custom with a gaggle of kids. Then – with one open door, our lives changed forever...
“You’d better grab a drink for this one hun”, Bill says – this was at 930 in the morning! "Are you sitting down" – no, I am standing right here, just get to the point, did someone die? Is there a job you have to run off to mid vacation? What’s up?!?! Bill says out of breath "They want me to transfer and move to the Georgia office"… silence…. "And be there by the end of the month"… more silence…. "OK, I said, I think I’ll take that beer now thank you!"
After much debate and back and forth, by Sunday night we had wrapped our heads around the fact that we would be picking up and starting to move our entire life to another country, and we had 30 days to do it.
So, on the way home from our vacation – which we cut short by the way - I was on the phone… organizing the move. ON the phone with painters, with movers, with realtors, I probably made 100 phone calls while we cruised hwy 97 back from Osoyoos – with meetings planned for that Monday to have movers come and give quotes, painters and cleaners coming to make our house ready for the realtor, and prepping just all the things.
Planes, Trains, Automobiles…
The big day comes, logistics were a bit crazy because we had to leave our vehicles in #YEG. We had planned to have them shipped down but thanks to COVID the border was closed to personal vehicle transfers… so that was a wrench in the plans. Anyway, off to the airport we went!
We checked into the airport for our flight. Because of COVID we couldn’t fly out of Canada thru YEG so we had to spend the night in Calgary, and head to Atlanta thru YYC the next day. Waiting at the airport with 4 kids, 2 cats and 1 dog… having to keep masks on, feed 6 people and keep everyone entertained, well that was busy to say the least. I am sure I ran the hallway in front of gate 56 about 1000 times running after Elsie as she decided to pull her best Usain Bolt impression and make for the hills every single time I sat down. Bill had his hands full with Avery, his BFF for life and permanent shadow. The sissies (Char and Maddy) kept themselves busy by making sure the animals were all ok and constantly fighting about who was going to sit next to them (like that was a thing). A quick subway lunch and we were headed to Cow town!
Our nite in YYC was pretty uneventful, we had a pack of excited kids so they were bouncing off the walls, but motivated by getting on another plane the next day so they went down pretty quick. Bill and I ordered room service and planned on having a nice bottle of wine and relaxing, but we ended up falling asleep watching TV and woke up at 2 AM sans wine and having barely eaten any dinner. Guess it was more tiring for us than we figured!
Morning came quick and we packed up our mountain of bags – I wish I had taken a picture, it was like the leaning tower of Pisa! 1 bag each, 1 baby seat, 1 backpack per kid, 2 cats, 1 dog (in soft carriers to go on the plane with us – we were too worried they would get sick or scared in the belly of the plane). We set off to the international departures (turning right) out the Marriott hotel doors. As we saw all these people turning left… turns out they were right, we were very wrong! Got all the way there and all the gates are closed – because of COVID – the gates are all closed – so we had to RUN back to the other side. So there’s me pushing the stroller, with 1 cat on each arm, 3 kids with backpacks running after Dad and he’s pushing the cart of doom as fast as he can to the other side of the airport! As I feverishly tried to herd my children all into one line, the dog started barking at another dog, and the stroller tipped over, Elsie went ass over tea kettle and started screaming, it was just darling, but totally par for the course in our books, Bill at the front yelling to hurry because we were now officially late – even though we were trying very hard to be early because we had to go thru US customs (because of the VISA) running to security, getting temp scanned, waiting in a security line (6 feet apart from everyone) with kids complaining that they are hungry, cats meowing, dog whining, oh and I had Mabel’s bear that had to go thru the xray machine in a special box to ensure we weren’t smuggling anything except her urn, all good things, all good things!
Once thru security, we were told to go to US border control, you know the doors behind the security gates where they film border security – so yeah I was a tad nervous…. Not to mention the plane was BOARDING! We sat there for 30 minutes, without a single word from anyone, Bill and I exchanging wide eyed glances and I am fairly sure I actually saw steam coming from his ears… he was that stressed out. There was only 1 flight out of YYC to Atlanta and so if we missed it we would have to do all of this again tomorrow, don’t mind me while I shudder and shed a tear for that terrifying thought of having to do all that again.
The WestJet flight attendant finally came in and called our name, yep we are still here! Oh, she says, I will see if we can hold the plane, yes please go and see thanks! Finally Bill gets called up to the window and they ask him all the questions, he has a book full of paperwork, and they have to make 7 copies, then they want to see our marriage certificate, we paid the fee and then we RAN. We ran so fast that the flight attendant couldn’t keep up, and of course the only plane leaving that day they decide to put at the furthest gate – so we ran the entire hallway from the security elevator to the gate! We made it with seconds to spare. Got on the plane, they started taxiing as we were sitting down. We made it by the skin of our teeth!
We were late, but we made it. Packing mistake on my part, but I thought we would have all the time to buy special snacks at the gate with the kiddos, so we had NO FOOD OR WATER! I begged the flight attendant to let us buy all the things – and she graciously let us have full bottles of water, snacks and chips etc – and the kids all snacked and immediately demanded their tablets (because they only get the tablets on planes so this was a special occasion! Elsie enjoyed a snack and promptly fell asleep thank goodness!
The flight was actually pretty chill, it was only 3 hours so it went pretty fast, everyone slept, and we landed in Atlanta without incident.
We got the rental car, let the dog out to pee and headed for our condo – with nervous energy running thru us all at the fact that we had just moved to another Country. We fielded 100 questions from the kiddos about where we were, what we were doing, what our condo looked like, and then 5 minutes before we got to the condo, Charlotte barfed all over the backseat. Guess the excitement was too much for her – typical start to a most exciting chapter in our family, and the excitement continues!