Thursday, August 5, 2010

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Or so it made me think of when I went to the moving company to rework our HHE (household effects).

Our situation is a bit different than most people starting off in the Foreign Service. We were apart for 5 months while Chris was training. In March, we decided to finally join him, since he was in one state and on the last stage of training. So our house was packed out and all of our items were sent to Maryland for storage until our first assignment. We were allotted 600 lbs of airfreight to join us in Virginia. This amount would have to suffice for several months until we were reunited with the remaining 12,000ish lbs. Our apartment here is furnished, even down to the silverware, so we aren't really "roughing it". But we airfreighted out clothes, toys, a few pics, favorite linens and just a few "homey" items.

The WAY last minute change from Miami to Bangladesh put a bit of a wrench in the works. Though we called Transportation Dept. right away to give a head's up, Chris's official orders weren't cut for several weeks. So though we tried to be proactive and helpful, our HHE got pulled from MD and shipped down to Miami. And then sat for a month before anyone happened to contact us again...

I've been on the phone with a slew of people. I did the "I'm trying to be proactive and supply information. We don't know anyone here, so please try to give me a day or two notice, as we need to find childcare for our 3 year old. I can't do anything at the drop of a hat. I can meet the truck when it arrives, to save everyone rehandling the freight a 6th, 7th, 8th time. My husband is the employee, but I'm the contact. You can call his number, but you will never get him. Just please take my cell number and be in touch."

So the phone rang... at 1730 Tuesday...when we were in the car.
"The truck will be here in the morning. Can you be here at 0900 to meet it?"
That's notice, right? Arg! I talked to this guy 3 weeks ago, on Thursday (the eta), on Monday (to follow up) - each time made to feel like I was an inconvenience and didn't "understand the process, mam".
A little backround, my first job was with a household moving company. I drove trucks, packed houses, did paperwork and understand much more than most everyday people the ins and outs of transportation. Thereafter, for 12 years, I worked in international transportation for the steamshiplines/ocean freighters.
Buddy... I get it...honestly, I get it very well.

So hoops jumped, hurdles passed, the next morning we were busy bees and on our way. We were able to get Ceiba into the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) drop in childcare. It was beautiful, clean, new and gave Ceiba and I both a happy, fuzzy feeling when we walked in. She was happy to be at "school" and barely kissed me goodbye before she went to have fun with the teacher and some playdo.
Love you FSI Drop In Center (where we'll also be again next week while Mama's in training).

So woman on a mission, I advised them I was wheel's up from childcare and enroute for Maryland.
Text back, "Great. You can plan on coming after 1000."
I was early. And spent 0930-1900 in the trenches with a dozen beyond helpful warehouse guys.

The scenery was a little like this. Oh, our 2 sofas, they are in Miami. Ooops.
Of course, one is for storage and one for overseas. But at least they found them, and they'll be here in a week or two. Everyone was GREAT, except Mr. "I'm an Inconvenience" Jerk :)

And the grand total.... 6,027 lbs of HHE. We are allowed 7,200 lbs, so we are golden!
We still have to pull items out of our car and some misc from our apartment. 
Might be a little overpacked for our first post, but we can purge once we get there.


  1. I never imagined what our household items/goods would weigh before we started our living abroad process!!

    The drop in center sounds fabulous!

  2. You made it to the State Blog Roundup. If you don't want to be on it, then please let me know! Follow this link to reach the roundup:


  3. Oh, so glad you found daycare for her next week, and to go through your HHE, too!

  4. Packing for your first overseas post is in my oh so humble opinion, the worst. It truly does get easier with time!

    So glad you got your stuff. Onwards and upwards!