Frustrations of Moving

So we are now on our way to Alaska. Later than expected, but on our way. The last few days have been like being pricked by a thousand tiny needle. Luckily this is not my first rodeo when it comes to moving so none of it surprised me. In fact if everything had gone correctly I probably would have been more nervous.

In order to reenter the United States in Alaska both our dogs– Louie and Envy– need vet clearance certificates issued within thirty days of arrival. So about six weeks ago I called the vet and made an appointment for this past Monday just before we were set to leave. I clearly told the receptionist that we were moving to Alaska and I gave her the website that described what we needed. She assured me it was no problem.

Well last week Louie (a fifteen year old beagle mix) really started going down hill.

He just seemed agitated and his mobility was deteriorating quickly. He fell climbing up a four inch curb. He started to nip at me when I took him out of the car. Then he was yelping in pain every time I touched him. On Saturday he tried to bite my daughter when she went to untangle him from a kite tail that was left on the floor. By Saturday night when we returned to the hotel he wouldn’t let me near him to get him out of the car. He snarled and growled like a wild lynx.

I try to be practical about these things and not get emotional, but I am not going to lie after fifteen years of living with an animal they are truly part of the family. We were all really distraught. I know at Louie’s age his days are numbered. All of us really believed by Monday morning that he was going to have to be put down. It was a really sad weekend trying to focus on getting everything cleared out of the house all while anticipating the death of a furry family member. Moving is hard enough on it’s own.

Because of coronavirus our vet is now drop off only. So on Monday morning very early we dropped both dogs off at the vet. I was sobbing as I explained to them that I was afraid he would have to be put down. I can’t have an aggressive dog. The drive will be far too stressful for him. At fifteen years of age I didn’t want a million dollars worth of tests to tell me has cancer or some other deadly disease. He was being aggressive and I just thought it was probably going to be time.

So sobbing still we went to sign the closing documents on our house. That was really weird.

The closing company put my husband and I in a large conference room all by ourselves where there were a stack of papers, two new pens, a bottle of hand sanitizer and rubber gloves. We were told to put on the gloves and then the guy told us the phone would ring but not to answer it??!?!? Rick and I just looked at each other like how did we go from the drama of the vet’s and slip into this dystopian novel.

Anyway the phone rang. The guy popped in and picked it up and put it on speaker. The entire closing was over speaker phone. When something had to be notarized the guy popped his head in the door on the other side of the room to “witness that it was in fact we who were signing.” Weird. Really weird, but considering when we purchased the house we had to sign at Children’s National Hospital because ES has MRSA pneumonia. I’ll take weird over that any day.

In the mean time the vet called with good news. Louie’s blood work was pretty much normal. She really believed it was just really bad arthritis. She has him on some sedatives and pain killers and other supplements. This was really welcome news.

She also was incredibly confused about the health certificates for the dogs. I think she thought Alaska was in Canada. She just kept saying, “But you won’t need the forms to bring the dogs into the U.S. for another year when you are moving back. ” I kept telling her in a million different ways we needed the documentation to both bring the dogs into Canada (they only require a rabies certificate) AND then to bring them back into the U.S. when we arrived in Alaska. I seriously spent an hour on the phone with her trying to help her understand.

Once she realized what I was saying she then proceeded to tell me they don’t issue that type of form. They said I needed to take the dogs to a vet in Maryland because DC doesn’t number their forms?!?!?!? Anyway after various calls to the border patrol, the Alaska state veterinarian and the USDA we finally got it figured out.

In the mean time we still had 8 million other lose ends:

  • The drain in the courtyard outside our condo got clogged and flooded our patio…..during torrential rains.
  • Someone was supposed to pick up a bunk bed we were giving away. They never showed so just hours before the final walk thru we were scrambling to get rid of an IKEA Stuva bed. (Great bed btw, but HUGE when you are trying to get rid of it at the last minute)
  • The pharmacy that last week guaranteed my medication would all be in stock and ready for pick up did not have my medication in stock and ready for pick up.
  • The medication cooler to keep my biologic cold in the car was listed as the dreaded “delivery exception”.
  • DC is like a million years behind on car license plates so we never got our plates for the new car and no clue when or how we will, but we did manage to get a good long temporary license plate so hopefully that will be ok to drive through Canada with temporary tags.

All the little time sucking annoyances that could have gone wrong did, but it always goes this way when moving. I’ve developed all sorts of coping mechanisms through the years that involve a lot of snark and sarcasm, ridiculous laughter and when things get really bad deep breathing and visualization. I’m also a huge fan of the rosary. I am not sure how anyone gets through life without a rosary at the end of the day.

And here we are on our way! Louie is alive and well and busy barking at the dog in the mirror at the hotel. We cleared out of the house. The walk through went fine. The patio didn’t flood the whole unit. I have enough medication. My cooler arrived. The dogs are alive and cleared for “import” into Alaska. The car is packed and we made all the way to Hagerstown, Maryland. A full hour and a half on our first day. lol. We are moving to Alaska!

Click Here to read the entire story of our move to Alaska.

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About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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