We are still in limbo…not yet in China and not at “home”. (Home is a relative term, isn’t it?)  I thought I would take this time to share something that happened while preparing for the move. Sound fun? Here we go.

First of all, I am a very organized and neat person – but not necessarily into “cleaning”. My stuff is organized, but there may be a layer of dust on it. And my baseboards have never – I repeat – NEVER been cleaned.  During this chaotic process of preparing my family to move to China, I had to sell some cars. My husband organized the sale of his car, and all I had to do was hand over the keys and allow this stranger to take his car for a car exam. Driving that car scares me. And I stall it. A lot. The nice man came back with the car, gave me a check and I signed over the title. Now on to my mini-van. I went and got an offer from a car place and made plans with a dear friend (Leslie) to get a ride home after selling my car.

After a particularly tough day of mover-wrangling, I was getting ready to leave my house to sell the car. I went over to the desk (aka pile of important stuff that I told the movers not to touch) and looked for the envelope with the legal stuff in it. I really needed my power of attorney. Really needed it. Which is exactly why I could not find it. What happened next is not for the squeamish. I threw a fit. A full blown hissy fit complete with hyperventilation. It didn’t help, still couldn’t find it. My friend came to my rescue. She came over with her daughter and our girls made dinner while she and I looked around. She poured me a large glass of wine and told me that it was ok. Everything would be ok. She’s hypnotic, that Leslie.  Fast forward to the next day…the lawyer’s office emailed me copies of the power of attorney and I was able to sell the car. Why was I so upset about missing the legal file? Why did this set me over the edge? Here is what I was already busy doing:

*Valued Inventory. This phrase should strike fear in the heart of any ex-pat. I had to list EVERY item we own, and it’s value, on a spreadsheet. Including, but not limited to, my husband’s collection of sports magazines, newspapers and sports memorabilia. (How much is a 1994 copy of the Tallahassee newspaper worth, anyway?)

*Listing the titles of no more than 200 books so that the Chinese Customs workers can review them for appropriateness. No lie. Another spreadsheet.

*Smuggling drugs. I had to purchase a year’s supply of over the counter and prescription drugs. Why? Because everybody said I had to. I’m wondering if Chinese people don’t get sick. I’ll let you know what I find out later. Spreadsheet. Check.

*Buying shoes. Again, Chinese people must not wear them because every mom told me to bring shoes for my kids. Shoes in multiple sizes. So, I did that. Guess what happened? My son’s feet GREW! He was not supposed to grow until December or so. That was the plan. Ugh. Now he’s wearing his “China” shoes and I have to order more.

*Calculating year’s supplies of toiletries and personal hygiene products. Fun.

*Wandering through Target, picking up items and thinking “Do I need this? I might need this. Why do I need this?” I may have been saying these things out loud. Not really sure.

*Dragging stuff out to the garage so the veterans could pick it up.  They started calling me weekly to see if I needed them. I did. Felt good to purge.

*Creating my “Lego and Liquor” closet in my basement. My son loves Legos. He loves them all, big or small. Unfortunately the big ones won’t survive the boat ride to China, so they had to stay behind. (Sorry, Millennium Falcon. Nothing personal.) So, here is what I decided to do. I installed a padlock on a closet in my basement and the falcon, all of Harry Potters friends and family, and the AT Walker went inside. They should all get along, right? Then, in went the liquor. And wine. Can’t bring that to China unless I want to pay more in duty than the value of my wine. (Huh huh, she said duty.)

So, next summer – Lego and Liquor party at my house! You bring the cups. And chairs. And bottle opener. And mixers. And your own water. Our house is winterized. Because it’s empty. We’re moving to China, did you know that?