Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Let Me Catch You Up to Speed

Life is crazy, right? Let me summarize some of the craziness in mine.

An FM post in Brasilia became vacant in July. In August, we were informed that Jeff was chosen to fill it. However, Jeff's contract with the government was up for rebid, so they wanted to wait to send him until after the decision was made, so he wouldn't have to fly back to fill out paperwork. Fine, the contract was to be assigned on August 15, so that didn't seem like a big deal.

The deadline passed, and instead of being assigned, the deadline was postponed.

In September, we were told that everything would be taken care of in time for Jeff to go to Brasilia on October 13. People were hoping that the contract would be done sooner, so he could go earlier. On September 9, he was told to go apply for his VISA, so he would be ready to go when it happened.

The contract was postponed again, and Jeff's date was moved to the beginning of November. The Brasilia FM responded saying that November 1 was late, and he would rather Jeff come in the middle of October.

On September 12, we contacted the other FM in Brasilia to find out whether the kids and I could go with Jeff. The contract was still not renewed, so Jeff was sent on a different trip for work and was in Laos from September 21 through October 6.

Jeff's company went ahead with an itinerary for Jeff to fly to Brasilia on October 29.

We decided to rent out our townhouse, so it wouldn't be empty for the five months we were gone. We found one tenant for November and December, and a second tenant (a family) for January, February, and March.

On September 30, we received approval for Jeff to bring his family with him to Brasilia! The contract was supposed to be renewed on October 15, and Jeff was all set to fly October 29. The kids and I were going to spend some time with my parents while Jeff got everything ready for us in Brasilia, and we would join him mid-November.

Then the government shut down on October 1 while Jeff was in Laos. The contract was supposed to be renewed by October 15, but nothing was allowed to happen during the shutdown, which ended October 16. (Although, honestly, since the contract had been postponed since August, who knows if it would have happened without the shutdown.)

A few days after returning from Laos, Jeff went to the ER with some scary symptoms. Nothing serious was found, so he was sent home to follow up with his general physician. Tests were called for, and we waited for results.

Back to work, it took a few weeks after the government "started back up" for funding to flow again, and we were sure the contract would be awarded any day. But it wasn't.

Jeff was given some medicine and started feeling better, and the tests came back with nothing serious showing up.

Our tenant was supposed to get the house on November 1, so Jeff moved in with a coworker (sleeping on a mattress on the floor), and my mom drove out from Michigan to take the rest of us to her house.

Jeff flew out to visit us at my parents' house over Veterans' Day weekend.

We learned that the house the embassy was putting us in needed a new roof, so we couldn't move into it until November 20.

We finally learned the contract was all set to be awarded, and then it was discovered that the wrong company name had been used on all the documents. That took a week or so to fix.

Then it was discovered that a form from "Diplomatic Security" was missing. That took a week or so to secure.

Jeff went to a chiropractor in hopes to alleviate some pain.

Nothing was done on the contract around the time of Thanksgiving, and then bad weather put work to a halt as well. The kids and I went down to Cincinnati to spend Thanksgiving with Jeff's parents; Jeff was able to join us, too! But while there, he started feeling worse again, so he went back to his general physician after returning to Virginia.

Then he went to a cardiologist. Then he went to a gastroenterologist. He had an MRI, echocardiogram, and endoscopy all performed. Finally, on December 13, it was discovered that he has an hiatal hernia (and, understandably, a lot of stress). It was a relief to finally understand why he has felt the way he has for the past two months.

The contract was finally officially awarded also on December 13, and we were really excited. Then we learned that the task order still needs to come through before going to Brazil, and who knows how long that will take.

So, every time we have thought the last barrier had been removed, a new one has been put in its place. It has been a little discouraging.

After December 19, Jeff would not be able to stay at his coworker's any longer. So we contacted our tenant, and some good luck finally came our way! Our tenant let us buy him out, and he found a different apartment to stay in. So, yesterday, my mom drove from Detroit to the Baltimore airport (to fly back home to Detroit), and I drove from Baltimore to our own little home, and here we were when Jeff came home from work!

So, we are together again for Christmas. Theoretically, when the task order goes through (and the meeting for issuing it is today), there is nothing else standing in our way to go to Brasilia, but based on past history, I am not holding my breath.

It would be crazy though if we came all the way to Virginia and bought out our tenant just to leave again. Our next tenant is due in January. If we're not in Brasilia, maybe they'll let us live with them . . . ?

And now you know what's been going on for the past two months. What happens next is anyone's guess.

What I do know though is that I am very grateful to have my family together again and to know what was ailing Jeff.

(Although, I am a bit frustrated at not having sent out the Christmas cards yet this year. I don't know how 2013 ends, so I'm having trouble writing the end of the yearly letter!)

While in Michigan, Jill got to be a donkey in the church nativity play 
along with her cousin Emily.

Merry Christmas!
(No Santa tears this year!)


  1. Emily has asked Santa to make her and Jill twins. Apparently, her belief in Santa is dependent upon this happening. She must have really enjoyed spending so much time with Jill, so some good came of this craziness. :)

  2. Getting to spend so much time with you guys, Mom & Dad, and Big Grandpa are definitely the best things that happened out of it. :) That part was wonderful.

  3. How frustrating! I am glad you all are together for Christmas (in theory). Next time you are in Michigan let me know I would love to catch up with you! Adorable pictures!

  4. You have dealt with the madness so well! Keep your chin up, and just keep singing! :)

  5. I'm so jealous of your Santa picture!

  6. What a crazy adventure....before the adventure even begins! Great picture with Santa!


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