As you may remember from a few posts back, my grandfather died back in early October. He is and will be missed mightily. Because a couple of members of the family who were close to him were out of the country at the time, his funeral was delayed to near the end of November.
This opened up a few possibilities for other far-flung family members, including myself. My brother James broached the topic first... we should go to the funeral. I mulled it over and did lots of math in my head, but my husband was the one who decided for me.
When I looked at the numbers, they'd reached that place where you consider the things that need to be done like braces for your kid or having your house painted. He didn't look at the numbers. He looked at the opportunity and this one wouldn't come around again. The family was gathering and I should be a part of it. That was what he saw. He said, "We can always make more money, but you won't ever get to go say goodbye ever again."
Two of my brothers are also going. James actually has work stuff to do over there, so he's going a couple of days early. John is just going to pop over from Germany for a couple of days. Me? If I'm going to the expense of going in the first place, I'm going to VISIT while I'm there.
After looking over schedules and consulting with James, we decided to visit Wales and my grandmother who lives there before the funeral rather than after. James will meet me at the airport when I land, we'll rent a car and take off for Wales first thing. I called her and we'll be staying in her old cottage up the mountain while we're there.
Yay! First leg taken care of. At that point, I figured I'd better dig out my passport - oops. Can't find it. Found the one I had when I was 18, but not the more recent one from 2004. After a few days of fruitless searching, I decided to apply for a new one. The old one would have expired early next year anyway. Paperwork filled out, I went and had my passport photo taken (in which I looked like a mildly deranged, middle-aged woman) and presented myself and my documentation at the County Clerk's office. The woman behind the desk took one look at the photo and said it wouldn't do at all... so she lined me up in a little all-purpose room (had an altar and a podium in it as well as the screen and stool for passport photos) and shot me again. It wasn't much better in my opinion, but she seemed a lot happier with it. A few signatures and off it went to Washington, DC. We expedited it, so hopefully it will turn up about a week before I leave.
Now that I was assured that this trip was actually going to happen, tickets were bought and we began the search for a place to stay while in London.
Understanding that this would be a rather stressed time for the Londoners with trying to make arrangements for funeral, reception and other people who are coming, we opted to not crash on the family but to find other accommodations. James has friends to stay with. John is only going to be there for a couple of nights. I, on the other hand, had four nights to wrestle with. I looked at hotels and found a couple that might work financially, while James searched airbnb.com on my behalf and found several hostel-like places that could work. The Londoners offered a couple of suggestions as well but something is going on in London and hotels are filling quickly. The dithering may have left me and John with fewer options than anticipated. There is the possibility that we can stay at Grandpa's house, which is up for sale. If that happens, problems solved. I should know tomorrow if that's a real possibility or if I should just jump on a hotel room.
The logistics of all of this is dizzying. With a bit of help though, we're getting it done.
Work is another story. There's a lot to cram in there before I leave, and as soon as I get back, we're starting a pledge drive - so I'm crazy busy until I go. I'm so thankful that I have this opportunity and I'll get that work done before I leave, but it's not going to be easy! Speaking of which... I'd better get back to it.