Whew. What a month. And a half. I haven't written in forever. So I thought I'd jump back in with a post about our most recent crazy move across the continent. The last one for a while. I'm serious this time. Last one. I'm going to have to change the blog name though, there's no moose in Nevada; just UFOS, aliens, and the like. I'm accepting ideas currently. Of Scorpions and Saucers? The M-files? Hmmmm. I need to think on this big decision some more...(I haven't actually seen any scorpions or cacti, it's more foothill terrain here, really).
A move to or from Alaska is a big under taking for anyone. Then add two neurotic dogs (one of which is human sized) and a rowdy tiny human and you've got a logistical nightmare. Don't forget, add in holiday chaos for an extra treat. Travis took care of booking most of the travel arrangements while I dramatically moaned and lamented out fate. Mama llama stomps and pouts, jumps and shouts. Mama llama, please stop all this llama drama. I've read Llama Llama Red Pajama one time too many. Seriously though, I was NOT happy. We've made the best of things though and this is how it has all shaken out travel wise, vaguely broken down by family member and general timeline.
First, Roxi left the 26th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She was headed to my parents in Colorado. Travis flew with her to Anchorage, checking her like a piece of (very overpriced) luggage. He couldn't simply ship her from Fairbanks without paying an absurd charge for a 2 hour potty break for her in Seattle. The only flight she could take would be a red eye where she'd need a kennel to pick her up and take her back again in Seattle so we didn't go with that option. From, Anchorage, Travis cargo shipped Roxi solo to Denver and my family who are stuck with her for the duration of our house selling and house buying process. Then Travis flew back home from Anchorage to Fairbanks. Thanks to frequent flying and vouchers from the disastrous first flights with Lyra, this only cost us 20 bucks for Travis' flight plus the normal pet flying fees and a rental car for a couple hours. Now Roxi is contentedly getting fat and napping on furniture at my parent's house. My family is surprisingly not the biggest group of suckers in this story, you'd be interested to know. That honor belongs to my in laws who are stuck with the big moose of a dog.
Now my mother in law is a known softie for animals. Its why she owns an absurd amount of alpacas and a couple dogs. So Travis gave her a call when he knew his dad wouldn't be around to stop her. He explained the situation. She agreed to keep Dinger. Someday we will break it to her that we meant forever. Trying to fly with Dinger is much worse than flying with Roxi. No airlines in Fairbanks will fly our massive dog. He's on the no fly lists. Which is kind of b*llsh*t because he is not a snub nose breed like they claim. But whatever. United will fly him but they only fly out of Anchorage. Oh, but they don't fly planes big enough from Anchorage to take him. Seriously. And he's a 130 pound runt of an English Mastiff, for goodness sakes.
So Travis left Monday the 28th with Dinger. They drove by car, through Canada in the winter, solo, to Portland, Oregon. Travis' drive was a five day journey in total. Twelve hour days of solid driving with no extra driver, just for some perspective. Yaaaay audiobooks. And then also carting in a suitcase of cloth diapers (so the extreme cold won't crack the plastic material), two boxes of wine (so the cold won't explode them) plus the big guy and all the day to day essentials to a potentially sketchy hotel every night. Travis said poor Dinger was kind of depressed and only had three or four meals the whole trip, one of which Travis had to hand feed to him. Travis also said he woke up one night to find that Dinger had decided to sleep in the spare queen bed in their hotel room. I think he's lucky that Dinger had the courtesy to get in the other bed rather than share with Travis.
Dinger's kennel and kennel extension (I wish I was joking) were too large to take in the jeep from Fairbanks. So Travis shipped them to his sister who lives in Portland. From there, Dinger was shipped out (by extra large United plane) to Travis' family in Michigan for the duration. Sidenote here, I DETEST United with the fiery passion of 1000 burning suns. I could write a whole post on that. But I have achieved revenge by sending Dinger on their flights and through there kenneling facilities. I pity them. He was supposed to be semi sedated with doggie xanax for the first flight or so, but Travis abandoned that plan when Dinger seemed a little too woozy on the xanax test drive. Travis' dad said when he went to pick up Dinger, the United people were telling him all about this massive dog that had just been shipped that he had to see. And he had to explain that that was the dog he was there to picm up... 😂 Anyway, that's how we sent Dinger to the farm. Travis continued onward to Reno, the Jeep's cargo hull (hold?) significantly lightened. He made it just in time to pick myself, Lyra, and my mother up from the Reno airport. Which brings us to that mess of logistics.
So while Travis and Dinger ran off on their adventure through the Canadian wilderness, Lyra and I were left solo to wrap up things in Fairbanks. Now, I was not looking forward to dealing with 2 days of movers followed by a full day of plane travel while wrangling my tiny climbing/running scream demon (that's the scientific name for "toddler" in case you were wondering). So we arranged to have my mother fly out and help me with all of that.
Tiny detour here...at the beginning of the month I arranged to be on call for my birth photographer friend (the same one who took freaking awesome photos of Lyra being all alert and not newborny right after birth) to watch her littlest baby, Olin, during a birth she was attending. She assured me the mom would likely go early and we wouldn't run into my end of the month deadline. Naturally, all the babies worked their hardest to crush our plans. First, Lyra became horrendously ill about a week before the due date and took us off call. After 5 trips to the first care doctor, several days of 103+ fevers, too many force fed doses of ibuprofen/tylenol, an ear infection (Lyra's), a sinus infection (mine), posssible hand foot and mouth disease, and a round of antibiotics for everyone, we recovered enough to go back on call for watching little Olin. The pregnant client finally went into labor 2 days shy of 42 weeks, at 1 in the morning, the same day my mom was due to arrive, 2 days after Travis had gone, and 1 day before the movers showed up. Poor little Olin was not happy to be left with me. So we stayed up for the rest of the night and watched cartoons, much to Lyra's delight. Luckily the birthing mother had a short 4 hour labor and as soon as Olin's mom was back, he was all smiles and so perfectly thrilled to be around me. What a stinker! But after we took a short nap and had people over to measure for new carpet, we picked up my mom from the airport and had an otherwise uneventful day.
Thursday the 1st arrived and so did the movers. As well as snow and general crappy weather. Thanks, Alaska, if we could just pile on some more complications while moving that would be great. I stopped being able to make it up my driveway in the rental car and got stuck a couple times on our road. Luckily, I managed to get free on my own without a tow. The movers managed to get their truck up the drive most of the way by some miracle. It was a feat to watch. I ditched my mom and Lyra at a hotel to keep them out of the way and off the roads while I made various phone calls and supervised the movers and made emergency runs for things like bolt cutters. Because that's what happens when you have a locked shotgun case that needs to be shipped and you haven't got a clue where the keys may be packed. I seriously was wandering around the grocery store at 7:30 in the morning on 2 hours of sleep cradling a pair of bolt cutters. The movers part of the move actually went quite smoothly, though, all things considered.
Finally we arrived at the actual day ir travel for Lyra, my mom, and I. Our day of flying started off rough with several hours of delay but we salvaged it. I wish we hadn't gotten up so early and I'd had time for a real lunch instead of snacks but those are minor complaint as far as travel with a toddler goes. Plus we got free snack packs and an entertainment tablet (Lyra loved that) because of the delay. When our first plane touched down in Seattle we had 16 minutes until our plane to Reno boarded but we still managed to get off the last row of seats, do a diaper change, have a bathroom break, buy a water bottle, and change terminals to make it to our next gate just in time. My mom even had time to chase down a "lucky penny" that was weaving it's way along the ground for a long while between travelers and luggage along a busy stretch of terminal.
We are staying in a furnished apartment in Sparks (basically Reno) for the time being while we wait for our things and sell our house and find a new one. We will likely be getting an unfurnished apartment in the new year once our things arrive in Fernley, the town closer to the mine where we will be living permanently. So phase 1 of the move is complete but we are still very much in the process of moving for the foreseeable future. Wish us luck!