Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pre-Departure Stress

It’s the day before we leave and all the stress of the move is coming to a head. Today was my last day at FSI and the Basic EMT class was pretty interesting. I went through the “departure from FSI checklist” and headed out to pick up my wife and son from the Smithsonian, where they’d spent the day. I dropped off one of my classmates at his apartment, and during the ride we noticed that the rental car’s AC had stopped working. Bummer, I thought, but I’ll be returning it tomorrow anyway. Turns out, I was wrong. A couple blocks after dropping him off, the car completely stopped responding to the gas petal. It would idle, but wouldn’t accelerate any more than that. Fortunately, since it was still moving, I was able to pull out of traffic to a side road. Unfortunately, it was insanely hot, and it took a little over an hour for the tow truck to come get me. Another hour later and I had a new (upgraded) car from Alamo and had somehow skipped out on paying for most of a tank of gas. Probably not worth the time in the sauna… but I guess it's good practice.

Anyway, my wife and son had made their way to a friend’s house on the metro, so I headed over there. We had a pleasant dinner talking about how excited we were to get to India, and how insanely nervous we were about not yet having the paperwork from the Government of India (GOI) regarding importing our cats. With one business day left to get it, we were certainly cutting things close.

I should mention here that the import paperwork is submitted (and generally taken care of) by one of the people in Shipping at the consulate. Without his hard work, this process would have been incredibly more difficult. It was definitely not his fault that things were coming down to the wire. Instead, I blame the USDA. The GOI requires 5 business days to process pet import applications. However, the USDA will not allow the pet to be certified for export until 10 calendar days before departure. Since you have to get your local vet to sign off, and then mail (FEDEX overnight) the paperwork to the USDA regional office (Richmond for us), the process is almost guaranteed to induce heartburn.

Oh well, 48 hours from now we’ll be in India!

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