If you've been wondering about the deafening silence here at Asia Vu, it's because Mr. Logical and I are up to our necks in list-making as the clock ticks down to just under 3 weeks before our move to Korea. Our relationship has deteriorated into nothing more than twice-daily meetings via Skype, wherein we plan the logistics of the upcoming move with a level of precision worthy of a military maneuver. Due to the 14-hour time difference, one of us is always hunched groggily over a coffee cup while the other one is slumped exhaustedly over an adult beverage. After the routine greetings, our conversations tend to follow this typical trajectory:
1. Updates: the children, the dog, the house, the yard, the vehicles, the doctor, the dentist, the students (me); the apartment search, the packers, the movers, the new job, the plane tickets, the visas, the paperwork, the details (him). After these exchanges, we move on to:
2. The List: things I need to do, things he needs to do, things that should have already been done, things we think we should do but know we won't have time to do, things that we definitely won't do but would like to do, and things we really don't need to do but will do anyway (dammit.) After all this, there's usually a brief, stunned silence while we both digest the overwhelming amount of stuff that needs to get done, and then the conversation moves into the terminal stage, namely:
3. exhortations to have a Good Day or Good Night, followed by professions of mutual admiration and assurances of a later meeting roughly 12 hours hence.
Repeat as necessary.
For those of you who are curious about what exactly is on those lists, I think the most accurate way to provide some insight into what we're dealing with is to simply show the lists to you.
(Turns out that this list-making thing must be some sort of universal response to stress, because I ran across an eerily similar post over at Expat Mum, who also has her hands full at the moment. It's good to know I'm not alone.)
Ms. Caroline's List:
- make reservations for graduation dinner for Son #1's graduation. Try to get Son #1 to give me an idea of the number of his friends who plan to join us. Despair.
- send Son # 1 to get minivan washed and detailed in preparation for selling it. Discover that minivan battery is dead. Decide to let Mr. Logical deal with it when he gets home.
- make end of year slideshow for students. Cry a lot while making it. Stay up too late. Exhaustion exacerbates emotional reactions the next day.
- make arrangements to have utilities cut off; cancel gym membership
- change insurance liability to cover renters
- arrange for painters, carpet cleaners, and housecleaners to arrive after final pack-out.
- take dog to vet for health certificate ( required to be issued within 10 days of flying to Canada.)
- designate items for storage, air freight, and shipping by trying to imagine what we will and won't need in a high-rise apartment in Korea for the next 2 years. Guess wildly.
- buy little sticky dot things to put on items to keep them from getting put in the wrong pile; forget halfway through which color is which; go back to beginning.
- grade final exams; calculate final grades.
- stand over Son #2 and insist that he take sunscreen to the 8th grade end-of year all-day waterpark party. Suspect he will not apply it even if he does take it. Finally spray it on him myself, even if he is 14.
- clean out pantry; find Jello that dates back to birth of Son #2. Reflect on what this says about me as a housekeeper. Choose not to think about this anymore.
Mr. Logical's list:
- go look at apartments in Seoul. Find one that is perfect. Call wife. Send her photographs. Decide that you'll take it. By the time you express this to the realtors, who then express it to the landlord in Korean, the apartment has been rented. Look at more apartments. Repeat several times.
- Call credit union in the U.S. to remind them that our car is paid off and that we need the title sent to us now, not in two weeks, please, so that we can ship our car which otherwise cannot be shipped.
- try to explain to Son #1 via e-mail how to jump-start his mother's dead car battery. Hope that he does not blow up the engine of A)his car or B) his mother's.
- Look at apartments. Find one that seems tolerable. Make desperate offer despite sneaking suspicion that wife hates it. Apartment has already been rented. Begin to picture family camping in cardboard box in Seoul subway.
- call relocation people to set up dates for packers and movers. Try to coordinate with wife's schedule. Suggest relo people (who are in the US) call wife(also in US,) which they do not do. Relo people do, however, forget you are in Korea and return your calls at impractical times.
- Make flight reservations for family using Byzantine corporate booking system, ending up with departing flight at impossibly early hour.
- Arrange for payment of Son #2's school tuition fees, part in Won, part in dollars, according to obscure formula.
- look at zillionth Seoul apartment. Ascertain there is a roof and plumbing. Make offer before landlord can change mind and give apartment to someone else. Take hundreds of photographs of apartment so wife can 'see' it, including interior of oven and dedicated kimchi fridge. While you are at it, derive great pleasure from photographing complex controls on toilet, entitling it, 'Arse-blaster 9000.'