A Pocket Full of Marbles

Yesterday, our real estate agent Brandon told me he would like to start showing the house, off-list, in a couple of weeks. This sent me into a frenzy of tidy up and toss. It’s stunning how many little piles or containers of ‘stuff’ there are around a house with a family of four who aren’t really very tidy to begin with…

At one point, I found myself wandering around the house with a pocket full of marbles and a hand full of lego bits, completely at a loss for where the containers were for either one. Having finally tracked those down, it occurred to me that by the time I have this place organized enough to show, I’m also going to have it pretty well organized to move. Two birds and all that. However, the getting there may tax my sanity.

Brandon tells me that you should only have one thing on each counter. Close your eyes and imagine your kitchen, your bathroom, your living room coffee table. Right. No real family ,who actually lives in their home, only has one thing on a counter. I worked it down in the kitchen to mostly one thing on every four feet of counter and called it a night. I was pooped.

The other thing that is happening in this process is that I’m deciding what is going to England and what is going elsewhere. Elsewhere will either be garage sales, friends, charity, trash. We’re having the first of (hopefully only) two garage sales this weekend. Electronics are somewhat useless in an oversees move, as the current and plugs are different. We can get transformers for some and swap power supplies for others, but mostly we’ll just be leaving a lot of the little things behind and some of the big ones for that matter. We won’t take the toaster oven, waffle maker, electric tea kettle, or the yogurt maker. Their too inexpensive to replace and carrying them over would be more trouble and money than they’re worth. We will take the stand mixer, food processor and blender. They cost more and I can probably get one transformer and a plug strip and keep them all on the same counter. This is how the reasoning goes.

Then there’s everything else. Do you really want to take that whatsit? How often do you use it? Will there be room for it in the new house? Do you have another that’s really a lot like it? How many sets of plates does a family need/want? How about tea mugs (many in our family)? What about mason jars? I do a lot of canning in the summers. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get them as readily over there. Priorities become a little round about and strange here. What about the cookie cutters?

This too shall pass and we’ll be that much lighter before we go. I’ll try hard to be honest with myself while not being too sneaky with the children. Some of their stuff will go and they won’t miss it but I won’t tell them we’re selling it either.

Tomorrow…carpets and paint and ‘why didn’t we do this when we moved in?’.


In the beginning…

There was the blog. Okay, some folks have suggested that a chronicle of our international move might be insightful, hysterical, and possibly garner us some sympathy. I know, I know….a lot of you are thinking, “You decided to hop the pond, knowing full well that you have 14 animals and two small children, not to mention a house full (over-full) of stuff.” Yes, life does what it does and we’re trying to keep up.

In planning this move, there were a whole host of things to consider. As it turns out, it’s a darned good thing that we’ve been talking about this for a year, otherwise there’s just no way we’d be ready to go. There are things that absolutely have to be started 6 months out. I suppose when folks get an overseas job and have to move quickly, the husband goes first and wife-dear gets to stay behind and see to the household. As it stands, that’s almost what is going to happen here and now. Sam has just started a new job with the company that will be taking us over, so most of the onus for the move and all it’s little joys will fall to me.

The first major ‘uh-oh’ has already occurred. I, being the on-the-ball, ahead-of-the-game, super-conscientious person that I am had a list. On the top of that list was buying the tickets to get us to England. Early purchase means lower prices and as it turned out, I scored us a great deal for $531 per person, one-way. There’s nothing like one-way tickets to inspire you to get going and get organized. I was happy and checked the little box next to “tickets” on my list of things to do. Then came the ‘uh-oh’. I called the airlines (having booked through Travelocity) to make arrangements for the cats to fly to England with us. Back in November, I had started their pre-quarantine process here. You can have their shots, etc done ahead of time and documented by a vet and then they don’t have to quarantine in the UK. But it has to start 6 months out. I figured I had jumped the hurdle on that one. Whoops. Getting the flights organized was much more complicated that I’d imagined. Turns out we needed to be in Chicago before noon because the cargo group that will handle the cat’s immigration (emigration?) closes at 2pm. And it would be less expensive to fly Fri/Sat because the receiving office for animals isn’t open on Sunday, so we’d have to pay overtime to have someone there to hand us the cats off the plane. So, I changed the tickets to the tune of $180 per person (ouch), booked the cats in with the cargo company, and called to arrange to get them from Austin to Chicago. Next irritation. The woman on the phone tells me that that particular plane only allows for one animal in the hold per flight. Aaaaahhhhh…I’m trying to not scream while explaining to this woman that we have to find a way because these are our pets and we’re not coming back. She was rather unsympathetic. At some point I said, “Well if only one is allowed in the hold, can I carry the other on the plane with me?” Turns out that that is totally doable. Okay, jack-ass, why didn’t she mention that in the first place. Makes you want to scream and tear your hair. So, finally, the cats are on the flight from Austin to Chicago as well. All of this took around 6 hours on the phone. However, since I checked first with a local service that will take care of all of this for you for a mere $3800-$5000, I felt pretty good about saving over half that, even after changing the tickets.

Furnace Wars

Okay…the idea of a furnace war in Texas is a little absurd; however, when I went out this morning it was well below freezing and it’s only up to 30 degrees F right now and we still haven’t turned on the heater this winter. 🙂

When we moved into this house there was a lovely gas log set-up in the fireplace. Beautiful ceramic logs with very realistic coloring glowed whenever you lit the line of gas vents underneath. The heat was lovely, but, there was no smell, no sound and our gas bill for the one month we had it on was…wait for it…$150 higher than the month before when we didn’t use the fireplace at all. Aack.

This year we took out the lovely ceramic logs. Sam removed the gas burner and capped the line. We bought a 1/4 cord of oak and collected all the pecan from the yard (very self-pruning trees) and we’ve had a fire in the fireplace. Now, I know Mr Green would like us to have a stove or burn a cleaner fuel, but we’re working one step at a time. Right now, we’re not using fossil fuels and I count that as a bonus. If we make it to spring without the heater, I’ll be really excited. If we’re having a furnace war, I suppose it’s against ourselves. Hazzah!


59 Minutes and Counting

Done…D O N E.  I just finished the last present and tucked it under the tree.   I went sneaky, sneaky into the kids rooms to put their stockings at the foot of their beds.  There are other things I would have liked to have done, but the list of presents is finished and I’m off to bed.  Happy Christmas!

One Mitten

Okay…those (very few) of you who actually read my blog are going to find today amusing. This is post #3. And this is Mitten #1. Aidan’s and there are cut fingers under that green flip-top. I had to be somewhat sneaky to get his hand measurements since these are supposed to be for Christmas. I’m damned happy with them. :)k

Cassidy’s Mittens

Okay…they’re not the most brilliant mittens in the world, but it’s really hard to make cut-top gloves with a flip-top for a four-year-old. I’m working on Aidan’s now and the gusset is a little more elegant. Cass will love these. She’s fond of novelty yarns and although this is actually a pretty nice fiber, it does have a loopy effect.