Well, now that we're more or less sleeping the night and the dogs have, up to a point, forgiven us for their intercontinental nightmare, it's time to up stakes and get moving...
Yes, our final destination calls, replete with tempting prospects like working with real-estate brokers, dealing with the DMV, turning back into car owners, and generally taking care of all the little bureaucratic details that will go along with establishing ourselves as residents of the U.S. of A.
So in a little while I'll go and rouse the Mister, awake the hounds, and we'll load up our rental SUV (the nice man at the counter having taken pity on us and given a very generous upgrade from our planned sedan - yay, Thrifty!) and head south. We'll be spending a couple of weeks (with luck, at most) in a probably fairly awful hotel apartment while scouring the area around our nation's capital for a reasonably priced, moderately charming two-bedroom unit that will welcome our canine pals and, if at all possible, offer at least a modicum of outdoor space of one kind or another - I am not walking the boys first thing in the morning, every morning, come rain or come shine (let alone sleet, something I've not encountered since the last century).
In the meantime, some random observations on our return so far:
- Goodness, but it's nice to listen to NPR at the time the programs are meant to be listened to; it was always slightly off-putting to be puttering around the kitchen making dinner while listening to Morning Edition;
- Americans: having more and more to cover and wearing less to do so than I've ever seen before. We were waiting in line at the grocery store yesterday and spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out if one particularly zaftig lady was or was not wearing anything at all below the waist (it finally turned there was in fact an exiguous thong-like garment involved, but that she had more or less subsumed it. Charming);
- Say what you will about us, Americans sure are friendly - Mr. Muscato came back from a walk yesterday evening genuinely befuddled at the sheer number of people who greeted him while he was out, and we are almost piteously thrilled at just how nice servers at restaurants are. It's a change from public behavior in the Sandlands, which is split between the arrogant (the locals and "privileged" expats) and the servile (most everyone else).
Do you know my favorite thing about car trips? The snacks. For some reason, the only place I really enjoy cheddar popcorn is while driving. It's messy, I know, but oddly satisfying. So it's off on a cheddar-cheese kind of day. I'll do most of the driving, and Mr. Muscato will do whatever can be done to keep Koko and Boudi off my lap. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: wish us luck.