News from Us in Oz

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

You know you've settled into Australia

  • You've seen a suicidal kangaroo. Yes, we have a kangaroo decide that he should test dh's braking ability. Dh said he was fine and did not burn rubber. Fine yes.. but did burn rubber. So we've now seen kangaroos eating in the wild (Wilson's Prom), koalas in tree (no, we didn't see the koala.. we saw the car and people looking up), N and I saw an echidna drinking water on our way home from Mornington Peninsula - Fort Nepean.
  • You realize that all this talk about weather in the States is backwards to what is going on around you. Spring the clocks forward now! - hmm, no, in a few weeks we'll turn our clocks back. Blood is thinning. N. made fun of me as I needed my jacket with a breeze and commented on the weather starting to get cooler. We went to Healesville Sanctuary with the youngest on Sunday and he kept saying he was chilly. Some of the trees here lose their bark in the fall not their leaves. Upside down, eh?
  • You start collecting water from the shower before it is hot enough to shower to give to the plants outside. Yes, I now have a bucket in my shower that I'll use to water the plants around the house. I now take shorter showers and really do think about not running the water while doing dishes. You are thankful for a rain shower that last more than 15 minutes.
  • Hate the time difference with friends back in the States. Have time to chat.. and bam.. no one online. Can't chat in group chats because it turns out that afternoon you are busy. (sigh.. evening chats Stateside... afternoon here.) Remember chatting with my friend from Hawaii and says to me.. "now you know my pain."
  • Your child has accepted wearing uniforms and mentions how easy it is in the morning getting ready for school.
  • You get use to dropping "r"s when you speak. Not quite the same way as Bostonians. Dh comments that there are an excess amount of r's running around. :)

Week with N. flew by too quickly. Have to remember to get to the airport a tad earlier when he returns in June. Was a bit rushed - they were pulling people out of the line to check in sooner for the LAX flight. N. did keep his cool though he did call us from the plane with worries about making connections in LAX and Dallas.

Yesterday we went to the Moomba Waterfest in Melbourne. The kidlets stayed home. Dh and I took the tram in to Melbourne. We got to see Andrew Elliott swallow a sword. Found out what slalom water skiing involved and watched the end of the women's and the beginning of the men's finals. The funniest was watching the bathtub races. (can't find any pictures online of it.) We were driven home in one of the fastest trips from the Arts Centre to Glenferrie. Turns out it was either the end of the day of the driver or his break time. Switched drivers at Glenferrie. Much smoother ride down Wattletree from there.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

How to get your eldest to Australia in under 100 email posts.

What a long day. Maybe I should wait to post about this but I just checked and things look good for Rochester and Philadelphia. I'm assuming that LAX will not be a problem - sunny California and all.

Some day we will all laugh about this experience and it will be a distant memory. Right now there are two tired parents, one college student not on the plane to Melbourne, and a flurry of emails that punctuate the experience.

Thursday (stateside) or Friday morning here we found out that the American flight to Chicago (first leg) was canceled. Thus with a little help of Amex Travel a flight change to United flight to Chicago. Disaster averted happy campers.

Fly forward to Shabbat evening for us ... Friday early morning first email. S. writes there are high winds in Chicago should we look into other plans. Try to debate waking dh. Dh starts working the situation - calling American 800 number stateside.

Things become a blur but there isn't much we can do. Looks like the flight will be tight but doable. I go to sleep. I wake up early to get an email out for work and see in my email - a flurry of emails last one.. pointedly telling dh to go to bed.

Timing looking tight but still okay... my typing wakes dh. Turns out that he slept less than an hour since I woke him at midnight.

More calls to try to find out what is happening. To call an 800 number back stateside is pick up phone and dial. Pick up phone and work through work operators. One would think after the 10th time of trying to get through to AA and United they would not need the same information every time.

We slowly see the ability to connect from the United flight into Chicago to the AA flight to LAX becomes impossible. Tense times here in Oz... upset eldest in Rochester and thank goodness a very calm S. in NJ. Thank goodness her day wasn't too busy because I'm sure mucho time today was spent keeping my two eldest men in one piece and reasonable calm.

The worse moment came when we decided that there was no way N could make the connections and we wanted him reticketed to fly out the next day. We got from AMEX Travel... we can't handle it.. have to go through AA. AA saying it is out of our control - deal with United. United 800 in Australia telling us well... it looks like he can make the flights and they can't help. United in the States saying not our problem - and put us back through to AA who tried to be helpful saying we understand that the weather is causing many people to have to deal with changes.. yadda yadda. Who cares that what is happening with others.. we only care about getting our kidlet here.

After this runaround ... dh calls AMEX Travel back again and explains the ping ponging that we were getting asking if they can help out. The best news was saying they got AA (from Dallas) to put a note in N's flight that they are to get him to Melbourne. Unfortunately it does not explain that he'd have to be reticketed.

While all this is happening N. is either skyping, IM'ing, texting, & talking on his cellphone about this to us and to S. N. kept his sense of humor through 90% of this crisis and at one point says traveling by horse and buggy would be faster.

N. packs up his McDonalds & laptop and heads out of the gate area to the AA ticket agent. Unfortunately N. is so befuddled he doesn't understand what we need them to do and the note on his file is not help. Lucky for us S. is a cellphone call away and explains what we are trying to do.

This is not 9am our time - 5pm Stateside. N. has now been in the airport since just before 10am. It shakes out - angels sing - parents breathing - eldest has a headache but is ticketed for Saturday and will arrive in Melbourne Monday.

Now if I was a superstitious person, I would not publish this until we had news that N. is flying.

Fingers, toes, hairs all crossed that Monday we will have 5 people in our house.