This is a Loooong post.
I Have spent the last 2.5 weeks flying solo with a toddler in a town where I know NOBODY, while Stone has been busting his ass running a course for his company in Canada.
Tonight I received the following text message from Stone:
Hmmm... Crab For Dinner. Yum Yum!!
Tom and I shared 3 LB. of King and 1 LB of Snow Crab.
OMG, Wish you were here. XXX
I had spent the day in rental car return hell, picking up the truck I bought (2003 F150, with 127K miles on the clock), dodging giant insects, and hanging out with an annoying, complaining toddler. We ate leftover Chinese for dinner.
Let me start this with a few photos of positive stuff. Most were taken in my home town. We went up there for five days last week, and spent the entire time riding horses, chatting with my best friend, and hanging out with the family.
|This is Suzie, a 27 year old Arab mare. And the kid, and Me.|
|I rode these same horses at this same grocery store growing up|
|This is Davie's Chuckwagon. Best Breakfast in the world|
|This is steak and eggs with hash browns, and your choice of toast or 3 pancakes|
|this is the kid and a chicken|
|This is one of the many bugs in Houston. Looks like a scorpion, but it's not.|
|The Buffalo Rose Saloon in Golden, Co. They are famous for welcoming Al Jazeera to cover the US Elections live from the bar. They are also famous for being an awesome music venue and local hangout for the last million years or so.|
|Inside they have a toy crane. This one is different, beacuse you catch a live lobster, and then the kitchen cooks it for you. $2.00 a try. AWESOME.|
The euphoria has worn off, and boys and girls, your correspondent has the Blues. This move has been THE SUCK. Honestly. Stone's company has gone out of their way to make things as difficult as humanly possible every single step of the way. My outlook is hindered further by the fact that THREE DAYS after we arrived in Houston, Stone departed for a SIX WEEK business trip to Canada.
Seriously, Shell if you are listening, and "MISH" our totally fucking useless "Shell transfer advisor" in the Philippines You guys have been totally inflexible cunts. I feel like you, Shell, Hate us, and want us to be miserable, despite the fact that we have, effectively, bent over backwards to accommodate your endless, pointless, and totally fucking stupid rules and regulations.
Here is our Entire Move in bullet point form:
- Stone accepts a transfer to Houston, they need him immediately.
- We are told we (the Family) cannot move immediately, because we are not allowed to move until Stone has a US work Visa.
- Shell's Internal systems lead to endless delays in getting the lawyers working on his US Work Visa
- Stone uses his existing US visa to work 5 weeks in Houston, and will return to Oman for 3 days to do the final US Visa paperwork and check us out of the country.
- Meanwhile I pack the house, sell the cars, close down business, re-home our OCD suffering Maid, throw a yard sale, and loose my mind.
- We ask if we can postpone our repatriation leave until December, offering to cover any differences in cost. Our request is declined, unless we want to forfeit the tickets and the leave time entirely.
- Stone returns to Oman for 3 days, and receives his US work Visa from the US embassy.
- We immediately send a copy of the visa to the Shell Transfer desk to facilitate the booking of the tickets that will take us from Stone's home country to the US.
- We spend a week in Australia before heading to Stone's Home country, and nothing happens. Reminder emails are sent.
- Our Omani bank accounts and credit cards are abruptly frozen.
- We attempt to depart from Australia, but cannot, as the kid and I are not Citizens of Stone's country, and as such are not allowed to board the plane without an outbound ticket. Shell has not yet booked our outbound tickets.
- Stone spends an hour and a half purchasing myself and the kid a return ticket to Australia.
- we arrive in Stone's Home country, and spend 3 weeks freezing our asses off with my mother in law, who hates me.
- Many reminder emails are sent, and stone places a shouty call to "MISH" our transfer advisor. we are 4 days from when we need to leave his country, and still, nothing has happened on the tickets.
- We would gladly log onto Expedia, and book the tickets ourselves, claiming reimbursement later, but we are not allowed to.
- Finally, we receive an email telling us to email Shell @ Travel agency . com and sort it ourselves. HOW FUCKING HARD WAS THAT???? Mish? You could have told us that three weeks ago!
- Stone spends 4 hours securing refunds for our tickets back to Australia.
- We fly to america, on a shit flight schedule, (19 hours of flights and 10 hours of layovers with a sleep-deprived, jet-lagged toddler) due to the fact that the tickets were booked so late.
- We spend 3 days in Houston, doing laundry, finding food, and marveling at the urban wildlife.
- Stone leaves for a 6 week trip to Canada.
- I need to buy a car, get the kid in school, sort out the lease on the temporary place we are renting, and do about a billion other things,
- Because we arrived a week after the school year started, I can't get the kid into pre-school.
- Because I am not from Taxas, I don't know ANYONE, except my landlord (who is wonderful)
- Shell denies us a $4,000 allowance toward's our first month's expenses, because our accomodation is not "temporary" enough.
- I spend a week and a half tilting at windmills.
- The kid gets Really, really really sick. I have no idea about health insurance, doctors, or where the nearest emergency room is. I am totally, and completely alone.
- I freak out and call my mom in a wave of tears and snot.
Ultimately, I took the kid to a Doc in a Box, and then 4 days later left to spend a week with m y brother and friends in my home town in the rocky mountains. We got back to Houston last night, and things seem better, if not still painfully lonely.
Just a little over three weeks to Go, then Stone comes home.