We are nine days away from getting on the plane. Holy cow!
Parties have continued with our return to Flagstaff. Monday night (Joe's actual birthday) found us at our favorite haunt, La Fonda, for a party with some of our FUSD colleagues, plus Bruce and Mira, Shirl and Bob. We were another party of 13 and we skipped the speech this time, but we managed to make little postcards with our new email addresses and our blog site, so everyone can go read all about it. Joe's Cromer colleague Carole brought us small travel gifts including Tush Wipes, much to the amusement of all. Oh yes, we also got to admire Faun's latest broken extremity, her left foot, which she broke stepping off a curb while on vacation in Colorado. She called us to tell us the news, but only told Joe, fearing a wild rant from me, so I just posted an oblique reference on Facebook. Saturday was a big party at Faun's house with friends coming from all over and lots of fun. We visited with the Shaws, the Cooks, the Schwartzes, the Horowitzes, the Juliens, Cindy and Jimmy, Paul, Leslie, Jill, Nancy, Bret, and of course, Faun and Randy. The burgers were great, the weather was perfect, and we took enough pictures to plaster our walls. We gave the speech and then Mr. Shaw asked if we could do it again, but this time with Joe speaking and me interjecting. Everybody's a comedian!
We also had a great visit on Tuesday with our friend Rick and his gorgeous wife Darla, coming through town on their way back to Mesa from their Montana hideaway. Rick flies to Korea on Tuesday, so he gave us his Vonage number and got us caught up on his progress, which is pretty good. His school has been in very close touch with him and he knows a lot more about what will happen when he lands in Suwon (southwest of Seoul). Also, we heard from our friends Paul and Jing (the couple from Kansas City who we met at the fair and were hoping to get a job in China to be near Jing's family), with the good news that Paul got a job in Tianjin, on the coast near Beijing, so we will have more UNI job fair friends somewhere near.
Our SCIS email appears to be offline at the moment, but we did receive an interesting email a week ago regarding new administrative changes. Nancy Stubbs (no relation to our dear stalker Jeff) has retired from her position as director of curriculum, so Tammy Rodabaugh, who was to be our new principal, has taken that position, moving the assistant principal (whose name I can't remember, but it's nothing like mine) to principal of the Lower School. I will miss working directly with Tammy, but I am relieved that little first graders aren't going to have to distinguish between Rodabaugh and Rauschenbach. I wonder if that's why she left? Also in SCIS news, my Aussie email buddy Steve (the orchestra director) announced that he and his wife Nicole are expecting their second child, which doesn't affect us that much, but it feels like we're making friends.
The primary packing for storage purposes has begun in earnest. Anticipating a visit from Jill, her grandson Bret, and our friend Nancy, we got the office cleared out enough to put a twin bed on the floor for Bret. We have bedrails also, but discovered that we have no box spring, causing the mattress to sag pitifully, so we just ditched the rails for now. However, that sparked an email to Dan, our renter-in-chief, to ask about whether the twin mattress would be part of a bunk bed arrangement (thus eliminating the need for a box spring). He wrote back the astonishing news that they were planning to put an extra bed in the guest room and oh yes, could Jane use the fourth bedroom (you know, our storage room)? I nearly had a stroke! Joe suggested adding some extra money to the rent for the fourth bedroom, so Dan said he'd talk to Jane and let us know. I also suggested that the office would be the only place big enough for a second bed, so we'll see what we hear tomorrow (our deadline for fourth bedroom notification). We also got our rental checking account set up, Joe found the way to clean our popcorn ceilings with the Shop Vac (and they were disgusting!), and we have an appointment with our CPA friend Gerry to determine how our finances (primarily tax matters) will be handled in our absence. I went to a continuing ed tax seminar on Friday and had my eyes opened quite a bit, so I have a list of questions for poor Gerry.
Next week is the last blog post I know I can write, because I'm not sure how long it will take me to get set up in Shanghai with the VPN. I have some email groups set up to get notice that we landed, but I sure hope the communications will fall into place quickly. I still have people working on the Facebook issue, and it occurred to me today to actually send a note to the geniuses who run the site; hey, maybe they've put some thought into this!