December 29, 2015: Packing

Tuesday and our last full day in the United States for six months until we get back to New York in June!  So much to do.

The entire morning was spent packing.  Dominica ran out and did some early morning shopping for things that we were going to need just quickly on the island.  I’ve been working on feeding the kids and eating nothing but what is left in the house.

Dominica managed to get three donation bags of stuff together this morning!  It’s amazing how much to donate we keep finding.

The packing went on until fairly late.  It was after two when we headed out from the condo to run to the storage unit up on NASA Road One.  We had been hoping to have left more like ten this morning!  This messed up our planning a bit.

On the way to the storage unit Luciana had a bathroom emergency and we had to stop quickly.  Fortunately we were passing by Fry’s at the time and just swung in.  We had wanted to stop there anyway so this was not a tragic loss of time.  We wanted to get 64GB Micro SD cards for the Fire tablets that were arriving today. This stop ended up taking a full hour between taking some time to location the requisite cards, getting through checkout and then a massively long and drawn out process to do a price match that ended up backing up the store’s checkout capacity dramatically.  But, in the end, we got a great price on the exact cards that we need for our Fires that arrive today.  Liesl and Luciana have 40GB of storage on theirs and Dominica and I have 72GB on each of ours.  Far more than we are used to in our iPads which only one of which had 32GB and the rest had even less!

So now it was well after three thirty before we got to the storage unit.  At least the storage unit process did not take long and we found most of the things that we needed to find while we were in there.  The one big problematic thing that we have not managed to find is the power cord to the Netgear ReadyNAS unit as we had things that we really wanted to be doing with that and cannot because we cannot power it on.  So that is a project that hopefully we get to tackle sometime this summer.

From the storage unit we went to the Grices’ and arrived just as they were getting back to the house after having made a run to Sonic which was having a promotion because of the Houstons having won a game and so there were free drinks.

We hung out there for an hour or two before getting dinner which turned out to be from Sonic.  Sonic is making out well on us today.  Their free drink promotion got us all thinking about them, I guess.   Dominica and my Amazon Fires had arrived so we were busy setting those up as well.  The new Micro SD cards worked great and I managed to get a lot of games downloaded.  I am hoping that I will be able to use the Fire on the flight tomorrow and maybe knock out a game or two during the long time in the air.  I probably got a dozen games installed, mostly casual hidden object games, that are free from the Amazon Underground.

While dinner was being organized I watched the Disney Channel movie Pants on Fire which was surprisingly good.  It is on Netflix.  Silly, of course, but well done and I like the actor who stars in it.

After dinner Dominica and I decided to run up to Bush Intercontinental and rent a car for tomorrow that we can just drop off at the airport.  This will make the logistics tomorrow much easier for everyone.  We had both been independently thinking about renting a car for this for a while so when I suggested that we do it tonight she was ready to go and we just ran up and did it.

Emily came with us as we drove the Chevy Spark up to the airport.  That is a very long drive.  Traffic was heavy but not bad and we made good time.  Once at the airport it was rather a pain to find the car rental place and we had to do more than a full lap before managing to get there.  Now that we know where it is it will not be bad to use in the future, at least.  It is a completely separate complex on its own disconnected from the airport.

We thought that we were going to be able to rent from Enterprise but they were down to only exotic cars left and a Corvette was not going to meet our needs.  We shopped around but National was by far the best deal.  We got a Chrysler 200 full size for $70 as they were out of midsized cars.  Hertz was starting at $140 a night.  Dollar and Thifty at $82.

Dominica and Emily drove back in the Spark and I took the 200 back to the Grices’.  We were only there a few minutes. Dropped off Emily, gathered up the kids and drove back to the condo.  It was around ten when we got back.  Of course we forget to take the parking pass out of either the Spark or the Sequoia so we had to stop by the office and get another one.  When I did that a guy from North Pole, Alaska was just checking in.  We talked for a minute and he mentioned that he was originally from Ashtabula, Ohio.  Small world.

Luciana fell asleep in the car but Liesl was wide awake.  Both girls asked for sandwiches but Luciana fell asleep after just one bite.  Liesl ate two full sandwiches.  This morning, out of the blue, Liesl asked for a mayonnaise sandwich.  She has never had one before and never mentioned one.  But today she asked for one.  Very odd.  Tonight she had two more!  What a kid she is.  You never know what she is going to come up with.  Between the girls tonight and me this morning that finished off all of the bread that we have in the condo.  Small victories.

While packing Dominica found the Mallo Cups that we bought somewhere yesterday.  I rarely see them and the girls have never had them.  It will be a long time before there is a chance for that again so Liesl and I ate the pack tonight.  This is Liesl’s very first Mallo Cup.

Liesl's First Mallo Cup
Liesl Eating Her First Mallo Cup Ever

MangoLassi broke the two million views in a single month mark tonight.  And it is only the twenty ninth day of the month!  This is a huge milestone for the community.

Liesl stayed up playing until just after midnight.  Dominica packed all evening.  Our bedroom was completely full of stuff needing to be packed so there was no way for us to go to bed until a lot of extra packing was completed or else we would have nowhere to sleep.

The video game downloads continue tonight for the last night.  We really did time this well and we are basically down to some “mop up” duty of the last straggler games that we are unlikely to ever get to but it is nice to have just for “completeness.”  We managed to run out of time as well as storage all at the same time.  It all worked out just about perfectly.  What a project that has been getting the gaming ready for us to travel to extensively.  The girls asked and asked for games while we were in Panama and Nicaragua and we have been promising them that we would have a real game system to “fix all of the problems” with things that we could not do all of this time that we really had to make this work during this window of opportunity.  But it really seems like it has and we are in great shape heading back to Europe this time.

I caught Rachel via Steam Alerts playing the goofy “Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective” that we got for her.  So silly, yet so fun.

Found out that dad has been playing “Blue Toad Murder Mystery Files” and is about halfway through the seasons now.  Dominica and I love that game.  Dad is way ahead of us now, we have had no time to be playing it.  It’s that perfect mix of casual but not trivial, funny but still has puzzles and a plot, fun and family friendly that makes you happy to play it.  It’s not the best game ever but it is very close to a style that I want to play more and more of.

Got my iPad Mini cleared and ready to ship to dad.  We are sending him that iPad to use as his from the girls is on its last leg (he has to have clips on it just to keep it from falling apart) as we have switched over to the lighter, smaller Fires.

Got to bed around one this morning.  Tomorrow is going to be a tough day.  Tons to be done and then going into epic amounts of travel.  We are going to be completely exhausted by the time we get onto the plane and then just the first leg of the flight is twelve hours!  This is, by far, going to be our toughest travel adventure ever.  But we get to say that in a single go we are flying from Texas, over the eastern US, over north Africa, all the way past Europe to the Asian border.  That’s something, right?