So…this is new. We’re starting a blog. The hubs has one but this is my first one! (at least since my really awkward deadjournal days…yeah, I had one…no, I shouldn’t be admitting that!)

I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while because there are always a million things running through my head and let’s face it, my husband really doesn’t want to hear all of them! So that pleasure falls to you, mystery blog readers who don’t exist yet. Aren’t you super excited?! Now at least I have a specific topic to write on so you won’t always be subjected to the random mess that is my brain.

In case you haven’t figured out yet, that specific topic is a move. To Hawaii. Where we’ve never been before. My employer is moving me there in nine weeks. Yes…there is a lot to be done! I hope you’ll follow me, Emily, my husband, Brodie, and our three dogs, Bella, Murphy and Leia, as we embark on this scary and exciting all at the same time adventure.

It’s become very clear that we are not very good at keeping a blog updated on a regular basis. The point of this post will be to catch everyone up with all the “exciting” and “fun” stuff that are part of the goings on we’ve experienced these past couple months. Please note the quotation marks and understand I’m making the little finger gestures to accompany them.

I’m going to do a really LONG part 1 that should catch everyone up to earlier this week before Emily left for Oahu.

First, we had a big garage sale. We’ve tried really hard to embrace the mantra “if you don’t use it, sell it” with this move. We have some friends who purge their belongings every 6 months or so. I like the idea but I fail in practice. I think I could very easily become a pack rat if my wife let me. So yes, garage sale #1. Apparently you are only allowed to have 2 yard sales a year in San Antonio and you have to buy a permit for each one. The peeps down the street must not have gotten that memo. We didn’t end up getting rid of everything we would have liked to, but overall the garage sale was a success.

Next we started sorting the things we wanted to take and packed up things that were not being used regularly like books, decorations, doilies (Em’s note: we don’t actually have doilies, we aren’t 80!)…

All the while we were doing things at home, we were waiting to hear back from Em’s work about getting move expense estimates. They approved a $12,000 relocation budget to cover our move which we had to stay under, otherwise it came out of our pocket. The fun part was that they had to wait to hear back from a 3rd party company, who was waiting to hear back from another company before the info could trickle down and we could get an idea of how close we were going to be with moving household goods, shipping a car, plane tickets and temporary living.

We pretty much held our breath waiting to receive the shipping estimate for our household goods, knowing that was going to be the biggie. We had done as much pre-homework as we could on this and were coming up with numbers that ate up roughly half our budget. That was right where we needed it to be to stay on course, but we were still nervous and couldn’t make a decision on anything until we got the “official” word.

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking and Emily’s departure date was quickly approaching.

We received our first warning sign in the form of the “official” estimate for shipping our vehicle. They wanted $3300 right out the gate.

Bah. Soooo, now we’re at $8700. It still could work.. staying positive.

Weeks went by with constant emails and requests for updates and it felt like everyone on the end of the phone we couldn’t personally slap was taking their sweet knuckle dragging time. When Emily moved from GA to TX almost two years ago with the same kind of set up, she had absolutely no problems. Everything was prompt and organized. She received her estimates quickly and knew exactly what things would cost within days. In the end she used just over half her allotted budgeted amount. We were crossing our fingers for the similar results.

Well.. we should have crossed harder. After almost a month, they finally sent out an appraiser to look over our meager belongings (and we do mean meager, our house in Texas is a 2 bedroom 1200 square foot historic home and we planned on ditching about half of our furniture as it is). It took another week before we heard back the official dollar amount.

$14,000.

Yeah, that’s a coma.

We were floored. Shipping our things alone was sitting at almost 2 grand over our ENTIRE approved budget for the move. With the car, over 5k. If we went forward we’d be out thousands of dollars just on getting our few things to Hawaii.. not even to mention the plane tickets, temp housing, etc..

We sorta freaked out.

After much shoving of children into local swimming pools, screaming at the neighbors’ garden gnomes and eating sloppy joes on a white couch without napkins (Em’s note: We never did any of these things, my husband is weird), we went to plan B. For several days we called to get our own estimates outside of Emily’s company. The first roadblock we hit was that apparently all the moving companies contract with the same local appraiser and almost immediately gave us very similar numbers. And in researching some of the bids we got for our initial research, we found those companies had big fat Fs from the BBB. Things were not looking very good for us. On top of this thrilling news, we FINALLY heard back from the temp-housing assistant who, after literally WEEKS of waiting for housing options, came back with a single $3500 a month option.

Seriously. I mean, these people know what Emily’s pay is like, they all work with or for the same company. Who in their right minds would think we could afford a $3500 a month apartment at our pay grade, especially on top of all these other expenses? To give some rough numbers.. so far the total “official” estimated numbers for our move added up to somewhere north of $20,000! Almost double our approved moving budget. That’s without airfare.

After yet more freaking out we went back to the drawing board. It required a swift kick to the curb of all the “official” avenues that were obviously useless and not in business to truly help us out. We would have to find our own way to make this work and stay within budget.

The first thing we did was call about the car as the clock was quickly ticking down and Emily would need it a day or two after she landed in Oahu. Thankfully, it was pretty painless… not one quote we got back for shipping the car was over $1600. That’s $800 less than what we were told before. We booked it and a few days later we watched as two strange men loaded it up on a big tractor trailer and drove off into the San Antonio sunset. Again, fingers crossed.

Next was tracking down a more affordable household goods move solution. We quickly exhausted all the regular avenues of movers coming over with a truck and carefully wrapping our stuff, properly loading it and hand delivering it to our doorstep in Oahu. Every company we contacted used the same appraiser who did our “official” quote.. so the numbers were extremely close and completely unaffordable for us.

The only other option we had was PODS which meant a lot of work for me and I wasn’t happy about this idea at all. That is until I got their quote for the total cost of everything and it came out to being right at half our budgeted amount. After a quick backflip, we locked down the price and scheduled the drop off date. The new plan is to pack as much as I can in the POD destined for Hawaii, get a small storage building for things we can’t bear to part with but don’t need in Hawaii, and trash/donate anything left over.

For the first time in almost a month, we felt like we were officially back on track.

We are certainly not out of the woods yet. There are quite a few stressful unknowns we’re currently dealing with as well as several in the next couple months. Emily shipped out Monday on Labor Day and due to the whirlwind of things going on since she arrived hasn’t had time to get much of a feel of things yet other than telling me it’s “beautiful”.

With that,  maybe I’ll let her take it from here.

As I’m sure you can imagine, moving to Hawaii is a little hectic. I promise we had (and still have) the best of intentions for this little blog. But lately actually moving has gotten in the way of blogging about moving. At this point, I am 19 days from flying to Honolulu. Being down to counting days instead of months or weeks is scary! I bought my flights yesterday, and ended up buying two separate flights because it was actually cheaper than booking everything together (doesn’t make sense to me either…just was). I’ll be flying to Los Angeles by way of Dallas early in the morning (around 6am) and hanging out with my brother in LA for a few hours. Then I have a flight from LA to Honolulu in the evening. I’ll arrive in Honolulu around 8:30pm Hawaii time, but that will be around 1:30am San Antonio time. Talk about a long day!

For the car to be there in time for my arrival, we have to ship it out this week. I had to find another car moving company other than the one my relocation advisor uses because their bid was not even close to reasonable. I’m waiting on a few more details but I should be able to get that all set by tomorrow. I also need to figure out were I’m staying for a month while I find our new house. I’m waiting to hear from corporate relocation for options, but have also been trolling craigslist and a military relocation site one of my future co-workers tipped me off to. Ideally I’d like to find a furnished studio to crash in that’s not too far from the base, but I’ve also looked at rooms to rent in shared houses because they’re so much cheaper. I’m just not sure if I would feel safe enough doing that.

We got good news on the dogs the other day. They all passed the rabies antibody test necessary to enter to Hawaii. Now they just have to wait out the remainder of their 120 days. Leia is doing well from her heartworm treatment. She got a second treatment last week and is acting completely normal. We’re actually having a hard time keeping her calm because she feels like her normal, crazy self.

I just keep visualizing laying on a gorgeous beach in Hawaii with Brodie and the dogs in a couple of months to help myself make it through the next few weeks!

 

Leia using her favorite headrest

Last week we started the lengthy and stringent process of geting our dogs prepped for the big move. Hawaii requires rabies vaccinations followed by a blood test which kicks off a 120 day quarantine process that begins the day your pets’ blood tests hit the lab. The quarantine process can be almost avoided completely if you plan far enough ahead and have, say, 120 days before you need to be in Hawaii. If you try and bring your dogs in before this period of time, they are held in quarantine for the remainder of the time at roughly $15 a day.. multiplied by 3 in our case.

Unfortunately,  Emily starts work September 1st. So.. in like a month. What we’re planning to do is have her go ahead of me and then at the end of October (two months later) I’ll head out with the pups in tow. There are several reasons for this. One being that it’s actually less expensive for me to stay here and pay rent another couple of months than it would be for us to pay for the dogs’ stay in quarantine for that same amount of time. If that was the ONLY reason, we’d suck it up and pay the little bit extra each month so we didn’t have to be apart for so long. However, there are a couple of other major things in our way as well.

1. We only need one car in Hawaii. One of our cars is paid off while we still owe on the other. So we need to sell it ASAP. Know anyone looking to buy a caddie in the San Antonio area?

2. We have to find someone to take over our lease at our current residence. Supposedly the fall is the hardest time to do that.. so we’ll need all the time we can get to avoid paying double rent past October

3. Most airlines will only fly dogs if the weather forecast for all airports involved in the trip is below 85 degrees F for the day of travel. It’s about 100 degrees in Texas right now…so, yeah, not even close. According to weather history, it should be something near 85 at the end of October. C’mon global cooling!

In the end the delay caused by the dogs’ quarantine is both a blessing and a curse. Given the short preperation time we have to get all our various ducks in a row before Em’s start date, this buys us a few extra months of breathing room to get things sorted. The downside of course is that Emily will be making the trip alone.

So! Back to the dogs in question. We took them to get their blood taken, rabies boosters administered and tests sent to the lab. Everything was going smoothly (though not cheaply) until we got the results back from the heart worm tests. Murphy and Bella were fine, but poor Leia tested positive. We’d heard and read that false positives are somewhat common so we took her in a second time for a retest. Once again, she tested positive. So yesterday we packed up her doggy bed, her baby (a little stuffed dog holding a heart) her blanket, dog bowl and some food and took her to start her treatment. For those of you who don’t know, treating heart worms in dogs is somewhat like a person getting chemo.. it’s incredibly rough on them and in some cases, the animal doesn’t make it through. We had a difficult time sleeping last night.

Today we heard from the vet and she’s taken to her treatment well. We’re told she’s suffering a little discomfort but is eating and acting fairly normal. Tomorrow we should be able to bring her home! Once here, she has to stay confined to her crate for 30 days while the meds do their work and rid her of all those nasty worms. After that, she should be right as rain and her normal happy/crazy self.

It seems like unexpected and unplanned things have already started to pop up as we get closer to our dates. With our huge list of things to do I’m finding myself feeling almost paralyzed. You know the feeling when you have so much to do, you don’t do anything?

Right now, even though I know it’s there… it’s a tad difficult to get too excited about things with all the headaches, issues and preperations we’re having to deal with.

One step at a time I guess…