We’re pretty good at this moving thing by now, right? I mean, sure, it’s stressful, but you know it’s coming and you can plan for pretty much everything (unless you’re Shannon over at Cyberbones – you can’t plan for stomach flu on packout day).
So I went to the dog place yesterday. I got there 30 minutes early, so I sat in the hallway and texted a friend – maybe I would have time to meet up with her, after all. When the office opened up, I showed the guy my slip of paper. Not here, he explained, you need to go back downstairs and get a different piece of paper. Not a problem. I retrieved the other paper and brought it back to him. He gave me another form to fill out, so I did. Then he asked for another 100 RMB – about $15. I handed it over. Okay, he said, you’re all set. Come back tomorrow for the papers.
Ummm…. Tomorrow? I thought I was here for the papers today.
Nope. It turns out I had to drive 45 minutes downtown in order to take a piece of paper and hand carry it from the first floor to the second floor. NOW they’ll start my paperwork.
(I should explain here that there is a guy who runs a clinic down the street from my house who offers to handle this whole process for a fee of just over $100. I opted to do it myself because $100 is a lot of money to me. I am beginning to regret this rash decision of mine.)
So I drove home, cursing and swearing and generally lamenting my inability to fork over $100 in order to save myself from this nightmare of wasted time.
And then my husband called.
Ready for the bad news?
(Keep in mind that we are leaving here in 4 days.)
Well. He discovered that our flight from Seattle to DC has a 30 minute layover in Detroit. It will be impossible to get all of our kids from one flight to the next in time, and there’s no way the baggage handlers will be able to get our luggage and dog onto the connecting flight, so he tried to change to a later connection. And that’s when someone finally let him in on a little secret they were keeping from us:
The dog is not allowed to fly from Seattle to DC. We are required, for reasons relating to USG bureaucracy, to fly on Delta for this leg of the trip, and Delta won’t take the dog.
Also: we are required to take Delta from DC to Jordan. And – can you guess? Delta won’t take the dog.
Also: we are taking United from Beijing to Seattle, connecting in San Francisco. And while United happily agreed to fly the dog, they are now promising to take him only to San Francisco. After that, they reserve the right to kick him off the flight. No word on what they do with him, or with our onward flight.
Remember awhile ago, when I posted about the fact that every single time we’ve travelled with an animal, something has gone wrong? Yes, well, I thought that something in this case was the Chinese bureaucracy. Apparently, though, that is going to be the laughably easy part.
So now we are scrambling to find a solution. Take the dog to SF and take a chance that they’ll let him continue on? And then…? Kennel him somewhere in Seattle while we continue on, and then have him shipped to Amman, at a cost of several thousand dollars, through a pet transport service? Or leave him here in a kennel for several months, hope he stays healthy enough to make the journey and then, again, have him shipped to Amman, at a cost of several thousand dollars, through a pet transport service? Change his name to Paddington Dog and leave him in the San Francisco airport? (just kidding about that last one.) (sort of.)
So now I will spend my morning researching shipping companies and cursing Delta to the skies. Then I will spend my afternoon driving back to the vet in order to pick up those papers – the ones that will be worthless if we decide to kennel him here, because they have to be done one week before departure, so he’ll have to go through the whole process again before being shipped to Amman.
I will not spend my morning hanging out with friends, talking about how much I’m going to miss this place. I will not spend my afternoon getting a massage, or cooking dinner, or attending Secret Agent Training Camp at the school (another story).
And I am very, very, very grouchy.