Isn't it funny how, right before something big and exciting is suppose to transpire, the wheels have to fall off the bus? I am unsure if it is divine design, karma, or just a cycle, but I do know, it makes my deodorant work overtime and it makes for a very good story...
We were all aglow preparing for our move from Central London to the Guinea Pig Palace, which is roughly a 30 minute drive from the city. While we knew there would be obstacles like: repacking and moving our 27 suitcases down three flights of stairs, hiring a carrier big enough to deliver them to the cottage and getting kids to and from school amid the days events. We thought we were as prepared as you can ever be during these times. Zac and I were doing our best to communicate our expectations and to take on the task as a team. This is not to say there was not a few intense conversations about who would be in charge of what...that goes with the territory of stress combined with a mission and a marriage. Going into the week we quickly realized that underneath our noses our calendar and list of "to-do's" had exploded. It reminded me of the frog in boiling water principal. We started the week with a few commitments: dinner with old friends who just moved here, farewell drinks with our Marlyebone crew and a dedicated night to packing and washing laundry. Not so bad, right? Just a little dip in the froggy hot tub. Then someone kicked up the gas on our hot tub party. Out of nowhere, Avah was trying out for the Volleyball Team and had to be picked up, and Asher was scheduled to meet his new teacher and get uniforms before his first day of school the following Monday. At this point, the froggy hot tub was at a steady boil, and Zac and I were two pruney toads. Accomplishing our preparatory tasks didn't event touch what we had to conquer on the actual move day. Lets take a glimpse at our schedule for our move day:
7:00 Girls need to be walked to the bus
8:00 Finish Packing, eat breakfast, get dressed
9:00 One last park walk for Nola to say "goodbye"
10:00 Begin loading all the luggage down from the 3rd Floor
10:30 Carrier Arrives to load Luggage
10:45 Baileigh walks the 15 minutes to pick up the car parked in friends garage
11:00 Depart for Uxbridge
11:30 Meet with Inventory Clerk for final inspection and keys
1:00 Express shipment from US arrives, (Blow up mattresses it is!)
3:30 Girls will get dropped off at new house
The rest of the evening unpacking...
It sounded a lot like an episode of the "Amazing Race,"but there was no prize. Just a walk-through with our housing agent and an empty house to camp in.
While we sat at a beautiful Austrian restaurant discussing the time tables, which could be likened to discussing a tedious bus schedule, we downed an entire bottle of wine. Even in our relaxed stupor Zac gave me the look. We were now two frogs, somewhat tipsy, with the boiling water up to our eyeballs. We had to call an audible, which is very unlike us. Zac reached out to our old friends and explained how we were overloaded and would have to reschedule. They were very understanding. We spent the rest of the evening cutting as much from our schedule as possible so we could focus on the packing and moving. I was tagged to handle Asher's school visit and uniforms, Zac was in charge of getting Avah from practices as well as to be her "hype-man" as she tried to navigate a new school and a team try-out. Shhhh, I got the better end of that deal. Avah is hyper emotional these days.
Thursday morning, exactly one day before our move I set out to take Asher to meet his new teacher, tour his new school and pic up his very British uniform. (Think Harry Potter meets a Beach Boy.) We leave the apartment in good spirits as we make our way down to the Baker Street Tube Station. I had planned to take the subway all the way out to Uxbridge and then take a quick Uber to the school. After getting to the station and getting on the correct line, I grew concerned by the speed and sound of the train. By the time we are 3 stops in, the train slows to a halt. I look around. No one seems to be phased so I continue to talk about school with Asher. Suddenly, we hear a noise over the intercom, the driver does not realize he has hit the speaker button and now we can all hear a panicked driver asking his comrade to check the train. Still, no one is phased. I am deep diving into my memory bank to remember if I updated my will. Thats where my head goes. Then, a crew member begins to walk along the outside of the train, checking the wheels. A few passengers are now slightly more alert. The intercom picks up again and the driver who was previously frantic has put on his commentator voice and asks us to exit the train to the other side of the platform where another one waits to take us to Uxbridge. We all pick up our things and walk over. After taking our seats we wait. Then to my surprise the second driver comes over the intercom and says, "This train cannot leave, you will have to get back on the first train. What in the hell. So we pick up our stuff and move again. This time I catch the gaze of a sporty looking gentleman who says, "Oh, they are probably worried it's some explosive or something." He doesn't know me, or know my brand of crazy but his non-chalant comment has sent me into full alert internal panic attack. Is he serious? While we wait for the train to go again, I weigh my options. Do I bail and wait for another train, or stay on this one and possibly perish? I instead decide to email Zac and explain to him my current predicament and remind him that I hate baby's breath and red roses and to not put those on my casket or I will haunt him. Suddenly the train pulls off and we are on our way. We are now 45 minutes behind schedule. This day is spiraling but I feel confident I can get it "back on track," (pun intended.)
After we get off at Uxbridge, I start the Uber process. It selects a driver who is about 5 minutes away. I ask a TFL member where is the Uber pick up and he points me towards the east side of the building where there is a loading zone. As I am waiting, my Uber driver says he has arrived and he is in a Grey, something-or-other Volkswagen. I scan the pick up line, and see no one. I decide to call him. It is definitely not this guys best day either. He sounds stressed and terse and is irritated he cant find me. I give him my location and he tells me I am in the wrong place. No shit Sherlock, I should be at the school by now. He says he is parked outside the bank across from the Travel Lodge. Suddenly, I see a bank and a grey Volkswagen parked out front. As I go towards the car I can also see my driver has a phone up to his ear as we are still talking on the phone. I joyfully interject over the telephone," I see you! Im going to hang up now!" I walk over to the vehicle and open the back seat door. Wow. As I look in, I think, "he is not looking for a high rating on cleanliness." There are crumbs and magazines all over the back seat, so I push them aside and start to look for the seat belts. Beggars cant be bougie right now. Just then I hear a woman yelling outside of the car and I see blur of black come across my back shoulder. She opens my door and looks mystified. I am shocked this "b" is trying to take my Uber. I don't want to get in a fight on the street but I will if I have to, my momma bear instincts are up. She is wearing a full burka, but I can tell by her eyes she is searching for words just like me. Just then the driver of the vehicle turns around to look at us and as he does, his face washes pale and he has to double take as he looks at Asher and I buckled in his back seat. It hits me. Oh shit. This is not my Uber, this is not an Uber at all. This is some family's car! I look up at the woman and profusely apologize, "Oh my Gosh, I am so sorry, I thought this was my Uber, I forgot to thoroughly check the license plate! I am so sorry." I can see her eyes soften and she cracks what looks like a smile while I crack out of the car in a runner's sprint with Asher flapping at my side like a wayward kite. I call my Uber driver back and explain what happened. He is not amused. I ask him for any other location markers and he gives me the Travel Lodge again. I find another TFL worker and ask where in the hell the Travel Lodge is located. Ends up it is through the building and out the west side where the buses make a turn around. Just as I break out onto the street I see the tail lights of my Uber, Shazir Amid has left me. He has also charged me an inconvenience fee. Seriously Shazir? I start to choke up a little. I look around and see the stares I am getting from the bench-sitters. I am now an hour late and completely frazzled. Asher hasn't said a single word as I think he is realizing the dire situation in which we find ourselves. Or knowing him, he thinks this is fun. I call for another Uber and we make it to the school just in time before his teacher is due to leave for the day. She is very kind and understanding and Asher looks so excited to start his own school.
As we walk home, my head is swimming with how distressing the day became in the blink of an eye. I also know that on my arrival to home, more packing and cleaning await me. It sucks adulting all the time. Just at that moment, when I took a big sigh of desperation, Asher looked up and said, "Just one more night Momma and we can sleep in ours house." (Thats a direct quote.) Kids are blessed with such short memories and sometimes it is the key to moving on from the past so you can get excited for the future. Even if it means moving on from that time you scared the hell out of some family by breaking into their car while they were still in it.
Up next, the move day. It makes the Uber switch up look like child's play.
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PS: Don't ask me why the girl who was paranoid on the train, willingly and carelessly leapt into an unidentified car... I just can’t explain it!