Wednesday, September 17, 2008

En route!

September 1, 2008. Aloft, an hour west of SFO.
We are en route! The last few days have been hectic. Friday was my last day in the office. Many, many preparations had already been taken, but there were still many things to do...copying e-files, cleaning folders on the desktop and laptop, sending messages to my gmail account, shredding, selling the truck (70-something Vera!), getting travelers checks, then back to the office for my last ride (Ken's Lotus 7), and Friday Beer in Office, the untapped Bayern keg from our June board meeting. Then there were farewells to Ken, Claire, Neil and Kim. And more packing of books and mementos. Surprising how many work mementos one can accumulate in just a thirty-year career...four boxes, and I like to think I am not particularly sentimental. Then home to a steak dinner Vicki had prepared. I opened the bottle of 1989 Gevrey Chambertin I had saved from a 1993 visit to Burgundy and even drank some, but it was past due, already going a tinge brown. A George du Boeuf beaujolais substituted. Our laying-up conditions of the past fifteen years evidently had not been ideal. Oh well. We'll be in Burgundy inside a year. Then more packing and even a late night trip to the office to pick up boxes.
Dave and Kim Rott loaned us the use of their gray Silverado Frdiay and Saturday., a giant crew-cab (3x3) with a topper and a shift pattern I had not seen since being a teenager. It was a life-saver for us. No rental car or truck could have carried the load it did those two days.
Saturday was more packing, reorganization at the storage unit, more trips to the office (sending off my final e-newsletter, final report to the board, etc), more trips to the storage unit.... To me, it was becoming more readily apparent that there was more than we could do, more than we could pack, more than we could trash, clean, or stow. The life-saver was that the hot-water went out at our apartment complex, and this relieved us of the responsibility of cleaning, carpet-cleaning, etc. Even without the thorough cleaning, we just barely made it to the airport on time. It was an all-night thing, with all the loads carried down to the give-away area and to the Silverado in a driving rain (highly unusual for Missoula in August). At length, and with many other complications and difficulties, we made it to the airport, checked the 2 huge boxes and backpacks, passed through security, and got on the plane. Lois Welch was there, beginning a trip Martha's Vineyard, and witnessed our long-awaited Embarcation. I am quite sure Vicki and I were both asleep before the plane left Montana airspace. Denver was sort of a blur, and then we arrived in San Francisco, intact, all luggage accounted for (but four new holes in the backpack cover (United not accepting responsibility). Rebecca picked us up and we and she and Jeremy spent the rest of the afternoon, evening, and until the wee hours, sorting, packing, recording (iPods), etc. I got to sleep about midnight, and Vicki was up again until 4:30.

We were up at 7, and, after more packing, document copying, etc., Jeremy drove us to the airport. We checked-in, visited US Customs to document the Asus, iPod, and camera, called Rachel to say good-bye (she'll be hosting the Embarcation next spring!), and then headed to security, where we said our farewells to Rebecca and Jeremy. TSA and boarding were routine, and the pilot says we'll arrive in Tokyo 30-40 minutes early. Vicki's Shuffle seems not to be working, but everything else seems in order. So now, life is much simpler...we'll be carrying everything on our backs and shoulders. And months of planning, arranging, researching, buying, trying, returning, sorting, selling, storing, and trashing—most all of it conducted by Vicki—are over. And we are en route. Mark

Our apartment's study, Saturday night, hours before lift-off

Mark's last ride, in Ken's Seven

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