The packing is just about complete. Our former flat is clean and empty, and the keys have been handed over.
This took not a small amount of effort. For me, it went something like this :
On Friday, I packed, and packed, and packed some more.
Most of the time, I consider days to be separated by sleep, so, on Very-Long-Continuation-of-Friday-day (other people apparently called it "Saturday"), I kept packing, and tidying the lounge so that we wouldn't be too ashamed to have people come through our lounge and bedroom for a garage sale. Managed to survive the garage sale, where about half the people who came through were various friends of ours. Also survived the "open for inspection" arranged by the real estate agent the day before (because calling at 4pm on Friday for a Saturday 11:30am inspection gives such a huge amount of notice to people who are in the middle of frantically packing stuff and getting ready to move overseas ... not). Continued packing, then finally went to bed for "Friday night" at about 10pm Saturday night (before Lisa, in fact, which doesn't happen often), after about 36 hours awake.
On Sunday, we had a surprise awakening, when a real estate agent turned up for another inspection. This had actually been arranged on the previous Tuesday, but we had foolishly assumed that having had an inspection on Saturday, the agents would have not held one on Sunday too (i.e. they would actually talk to each other, but apparently not). Once awake, we headed off for a group Yum Cha at the Han Palace, where everyone (Craig, Karen, Dreya, Justin, Eugene, Simon, Donna, Alan, Alison & Jon) seemed to have a good time. When we returned home from that, we had a housecooling, where various people came and went at various times, and quite a few of them took some of our stuff away (yay for them !).
Monday involved (wait for it ... ) more packing. So much stuff ! So many boxes ! How did we ever fit it all in to our two-bedroom flat ? (well, for a start we had about 80 shelf-metres of Ikea shelving around the place, plus five bookcases and a large writing desk/bookcase). In the evening we had a very nice meal at the-restaurant-formerly-known-as-Romanza,
Tuesday started with a trip to the dentist for a filling (so the day could only get better ?), then madly trying to finalise packing and get everything out so the carpet cleaners could do their steam cleaning with no hassles. We went out for dinner again, this time to the Flamin' Bull, and had dinner with a different bunch of friends (Julian, Simon, Craig, Karen, Nicolai, Hespa, Lucy & Julian (another Julian)). Is it a bad thing to eat an animal that happens to be on the national emblem ? (Kangaroo fillets, very nicely done).
Tuesday continued with more packing and tidying, trying to get the kitchen and computer room cleared enough for the cleaners. It did, in fact, turn into Very-Long-Continuation-of-Tuesday-day, long after the time where any sane person would have a) called it Wednesday, and b) got some sleep.
Mid-morning duly rolled around and the carpet cleaners were due, and arrived somewhere vaguely near the time they'd specified, but alas, we still hadn't finished getting everything out and vacuuming. We were close, though, and managed to get it all ready within about 30 minutes, with the help of rwrylsin's parents.
After the cleaner left, we loaded up the trailer that rwrylsin's parents had brought up from Foster, with stuff that was destined for our storage unit. We ended up filling the trailer with boxes, more boxes, and a whole bunch of Ikea stuff (after having already had a truck-load of stuff taken to the storage unit on the Monday of the previous week). I went along to the storage unit and together with Ron (rwrylsin's father) managed to squeeze everything in (16-odd cubic metres of our stuff, not to be seen for the next few years while we're Over There). Returned home again, to try to finish the packing (since the carpet cleaners only needed the carpeted areas cleared, the two bathrooms, laundry and kitchen were all wall-to-wall with Stuff, which needed just as much sorting out and packing away as the rest of it).
Airline baggage limits are never quite enough for packrats like me, so we are sending a bunch of stuff across by slow-but-not-hideously-expensive sea shipping. This was to be picked up at 4pm, so I hung around waiting for the courier to pick up the relevant boxes while Ron and rwrylsin went looking for a tip to deposit our 12 large garbage bags of rubbish (yup, we were throwing stuff away, and donating stuff to charity too, but still had lots we wanted to keep). The courier turned up nearer 5pm and grabbed all the boxes, which was fine, but then I had to head out to Mitcham to the office of our real estate agent to return the keys. Since I was up to hour 31 of Tuesday at that point, I took a wrong turn or two on the way to Whitehorse Rd, but finally managed to get out there to the office at 5:58 (before they closed at 6) and return the keys (whew). Headed home again after that so we could finish the packing and cleaning, with the intention of driving down here to Foster afterwards. 7pm turned into 8pm and 8:30pm, and we stopped for pizza. We resumed cleaning and packing for a while, but by this stage it was dawning on us that driving to Foster would be silly, since rwrylsin had only had 5 or so hours of sleep, and I was still up, so we started making plans to stay in a motel somewhere for the night. We finally got out of the place (completely cleaned and empty of our stuff, although our neighbor has 4 chests of drawers with random stuff we failed to sell at the garage sale stacked on them) just before 2am, and went to collapse in our beds at a convenient motel we'd found in the yellow pages. And thus ended my 40 hours of Tuesday.
And finally we come to today, which has been much less frantic. We woke up, drove down here (about 160km from Melbourne), lazed around for an hour, and have started going through a few boxes of stuff that contains some stuff we need with us, some stuff which can be posted to us, and a bunch of stuff that can just go into storage.
I can finally let the frustration and pains and sleep-deprivation of packing and tidying fade away (if there was something on the floor to trip over or knock over, I would invariably do so; if there was something to knock my knuckles, knees, shins, toes, elbows, head or other random body parts on, I did so; my hands are "dry as a dead dingo's donger" (thanks to our recent visit to the Australian Museum in Canberra for the genuine Aussie slang), with at least 30 separate cuts, scratches and scrapes on my hands and forearms, sore muscles all over the place, and this