After an excruciatingly long (but cheap) taxi ride to the airport (the driver was a Tunisian who just couldn't stop talking about how wonderful Islam is - I think the fasting (it's Ramadan now) was affecting him), we unloaded everything onto the curb and managed to actually squeeze it on to just two baggage carts. Luckily enough, United had just opened their check-in counter, so we were able to spend plenty of time tweaking the luggage to fit. They had no problem with the too long bag (the big black one), and no problem with checking five bags at no extra cost (whew!). I had to move a few things around, but every single bag weighed between 31 and 32.4 kilograms - the fabled 70 pound limit. The United agent was very helpful, friendly, and didn't bat an eye at our egregious flirting with the overweight limit. Go us!
After checking in, Dan bought some stamps, I bought some postcards. Then, I traded it our final Aussie dollars for US greenbacks - as always, my first thoughts were "Boy, these things sure are tiny!". Then it was quickly through Customs and security, and now I'm sitting here waiting for boarding in about two hours.
The only thing, I think, that we really have left to do is to figure out exactly how much stuff we have in our luggage that we need to pay duty on. I've started putting together that document, but haven't finished. It's on Dan's laptop, so I'm sure one or the other of us will find time to get it done before we land.
Matthew, I did indeed get Arrivals by United passes, so I expect that's where we'll be hiding when you make it to the airport. (Thanks again!)
On a brief final note here: thanks again to everyone who made this year a success, from parents who paid for college, to hiring managers at Netscape and Microsoft, to good friends, to good motel owners and tour operators, to friendly posties... there are about a thousand plus people like that we've been so lucky to know. Thanks!