Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Cold Farewell

Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage! Blow!
King Lear

I will try to do a quick catch-up of our week thus far.

After more than a month of hot, almost always sunny weather, we returned to Australia on Monday and were immediately beset by record low temperatures, bone-chilling rains and gale force winds. Honestly, I haven't been this cold since we visited Lake Crater in early June.

Monday was the classic jet lag recovery day. LK and I were too tired and lazy to do much of anything. Couple that with the cold weather, and we decided to spend the day rediscovering the joys of Law & Order reruns and, much to our amazement, a willingness to have a second viewing of the movie, SWAT. (And I was almost too embarrassed to admit I had seen it once!)

We vowed to struggle through the drowsies and made it until just before 9. At that point, I was sleeping while sitting up in a straight-back chair. Shirley and LK were concerned that they would have trouble righting me if I fell over, so they sent me off to bed. Not surprisingly, LK joined me. I have a vague memory that I noticed it was warm and felt good before going completely unconscious.

Of course, early to bed et cetera. We ended up getting up before 5 on Tuesday so there was plenty of time to run our errands. And we did. Visits to the bank and post office to make it official that we were now residents of Tasmania, pick up scripts at the pharmacy, a visit to our accountant to find out the bad news with taxes. Then we broke for lunch with friends we haven't seen for months. After that it was time for hair cuts (still don't understand why LK's takes about 2 hours more than mine).

And then the highlight of the day - dinner at a Mexican restaurant with Lily. We had been away for her eighth birthday, so LK had wrapped lots of little presents and it was a bit like Christmas in August. She is such a beautiful girl, and now she is becoming almost grown up with the things she says and the way she converses. It's so trite to talk about how fast kids grow up, but it is so true. And it doesn't help when we saw how much she had grown in the four months away.

Oh, yes, Matt and Rachael were there, too. That punchline aside, everyone seems to be doing pretty well. Matt enjoys his new job and looks to have survived the end of his first contract with a new offer coming.

On Wednesday we woke around 5 again and, after thawing our toes, got dressed and headed over to our storage locker which we emptied of the last few things we had in Sydney. Thank God one of the suitcases was empty or I don't think we could have fit everything into the car. But a bit of work and the boot (the trunk) was full without a square inch of space left.

We had put in things that we wouldn't need to get until we arrived at our new house in Tassie. Needless to say, we had to open and rearrange it later that afternoon.

The back seat was full from floor to ceiling. Bottles of wine, shoes, loose clothes all filled the floorspace, and then bags and whatnot piled into every space we could find. Shirley thought we had perfected the boat people look. But being Australian she wouldn't naturally think of the Okies heading to California.

LK worried about the fact that I had no vision in the rear-view mirror. I reminded her that lots of truckers don't either and just use side mirrors. I was surprised that she seemed to accept that. Secretly, I was thinking of Sly Stallone in Death Race 2000 ripping off his rear-view mirror, saying it was for losers.

Fortunately the skies cleared and we had a clear sunny day for the drive to Canberra. And as we drove past the city and then the airport, it became official. After 22 years, we are no longer Sydneysiders.

We were pushed around by strong winds, but otherwise it was an uneventful trip to Jason and Laura's. I had called Jay as we left Sydney to tell him we were coming, so I didn't quite know how to take it when we arrived to an empty house.

Actually, Jason had just popped out to the post office to get the paperwork underway for the US trip they are planning for October. Laura arrived soon after. Inside LK and I rediscovered how much we loved central heating. We had a great catchup with the kids, and had loads of laughs.

Then we learned what a great cook Laura is. She made one of our favorite Thai dishes, massaman curry. It's a rich broth with beef, potatoes and peanuts and gorgeous seasonings. Laura's version was so good both of us ended up having a second dish. And this morning we learned that people travelling by car should probably limit themselves to one dish of curry.

We also decided to go out in the refrigerator-level temperatures to repack the whole car. But more about that in a later post. It's time to get moving. Not in the least because LK is outside in the near-freezing temperatures trying to reorganize the backseat stuff whie I'm writing this in the heated room.

We're heading to Albury this morning and will spend our last night on the mainland before heading to the ferry on Friday. We're almost at our new home!

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