I have a few major things going on at the moment. Here’s a conveniently itemized list of the ones that are winding me up as we attempt to depart post, because I’m an OMS and like to organize things.

Packout. It was supposed to take three days. We ended up taking four days off to supervise, and it’s still not done yet. They didn’t bring enough crates, so they’re coming back next week to pick up the air freight (UAB) and crate up all the stuff that’s going to storage. Even though you try to help and pay close attention and make lists and inventory, things still go wrong. Like they packed up the emergency escape ladder for the house and the temporary sheets provided by the embassy. The sheets we found, the ladder we’ll be mailing back from the UK (hopefully). They also wrapped up the king mattress upstairs and then couldn’t fit it down the stairwell, so they threw it off the second-floor balcony. And last, but not least, our son’s fancy crib-to-bed got tagged for storage instead of London, so someone gets to take it to Belize City, make a crate for it, break the seal on the container, and reseal it.

The cat. As far as I’m concerned, she’s going on the plane with us to the UK. But people aren’t exactly making it easy on us. After her horrific blood sampling experience, we succeeded in getting it safely to the lab in the UK. But they said we’d have the results in three weeks, and it’s been over a month. I hate to harass people, but this needs to be resolved before we leave so we can find out if there was some kind of screw up and we need to have it done all over again in the States, at which point she would no longer be able to accompany us because we’d be inside the minimum test-then-wait window. I also tried to make her reservation with United today, but found out that you can’t book any earlier than one month in advance. So now I have to wait until August to get a reservation, which almost stresses me out as much as the fact that US Airways (our home leave to training airline) doesn’t take pet reservations at all…it’s first come, first served at the check-in counter. Are you kidding me?? The agent said we should have a plan B. I think they’re trying to push me over the edge.

The Front Office. And last, but not least, the only Admin for the Front Office is on indefinite leave due to a family illness, so three of us are alternately covering for her…including me, the CLO and the Pol/Econ Admin Assistant. I have no problem whatsoever working in the Front Office and eventually will be working my way up to it full time. We have both a great Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), so it’s a pleasure to work with them. But it does come at a really bad time, as it’s right after the week that I spent wrangling packers, and right before the week that we actually depart post. AND it’s also the week of our Fourth of July celebration, which is the biggest event we have all year. So when I should be going through all my checkout procedures, cleaning out my files, transferring any hard copies to paperless electronic files, finishing up last-minute projects, prepping for my replacement and training my co-workers on unfamiliar office procedures so they can cover for ME…instead I’ll be working in a completely different department hoping not to screw up anything important.

So, ya, I’m ready for a little home leave at this point. I’m ready for big clean grocery stores and paved roads, Taco Bell and Dairy Queen. I’m ready for Disney World, nice playgrounds, frozen yogurt, happy meals, and mini-golf.

I’m ready for a little fun!