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It was about 5 yrs ago about this time in Sept that I was heading home to California. I had been in England, staying with my then fiance, for 4 months. In that time we had gone from having met in person once, to having lived together for 4 months. We had traveled to Spain and gotten engaged. I remember feeling so extremely happy, as you should when you are newly engaged. I had a new diamond ring on my finger. It was all so very exciting.

I remember the night before I left. S came down the stairs and he was in tears. He said that it had just hit him, really hit him, that the next day I would be gone. We had no idea for how long. I had to get home and sell my condo, sort my life out there, get rid of everything and get a fiance visa to come back and get married.

The day I left, we stood in tears at the airport in Manchester. The thing I hated most about long distant relationships was saying goodbye, not knowing when you would see this person again. There is always that level of doubt that if a few to many months pass that they will have a change of heart. All your fears come to play. Its very painful, long distance relationships. They are really not very fun at all.

After really no sleep the night before, a 6 hour layover in Atlanta, and a long flight to Sacramento, I was home. I would like to say that the next 5 months before I moved to the UK flew by but they didnt. I had the stress of cleaning, painting, sorting and selling my condo. I had the heartache of being with my beloved step dad as he lost his battle with cancer. I had the blessing of being with him as he took his last breathe. It was a long and painful 5 months.

The one bright point was in November when S came to visit. We had a few days away from the cancer in Southern CA to get my visa, a few trips out but mostly it was a bit of a downer trip for S. We did have our fun moments though. It was also what seemed to be a start of a great friendship with him and my brother. Or as S says, his brother from another mother.

5 yrs on. So much has changed. Marriage, a son, ups and downs. I came to England all lovey with very rose colored glasses on. About a year in the rose color glasses did the typical expat thing and turned to grey. I think being pregnant really threw me into the greys. Pregnancy was mentally and physically hard. Being in a foreign country with no family was very hard. I didn’t really know people as I hadn’t been here all that long. It became easy to see the bad more then the good. Its also a pretty typical expat thing to do. There is a whole science to it.

So here I sit, 5 yrs on from leaving this land for the 1st time. I can not believe how fast it goes. I also am a bit shocked at the next stage of being an expat I seemed to hit. Acceptance. For the past year our lives have been geared towards moving. 2 weeks ago S got laid off from his job. Since then everything is up in the air. Strangely I have quickly become more comfortable with the idea of staying. A month ago I would of said NO WAY. Now, its a possibility. S seems to be more about moving then me. Its all a bit strange. Not sure what to make of it myself, but I am more of the school of if we do we do, if we don’t we don’t right now.  I just wonder what I will be doing in 5 more years and I think back to the day I left to change my entire life.

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Its been a week now since S got laid off from his job. Since then, everything is up in the air. We don’t know what we are going to do. Even the move is on hold for a bit. The exchange rate has dropped so much that we would end up losing nearly $20k with the drop. Not good.

We are looking at many options at the moment. Staying optimistic. We just don’t have a clear picture of where we are headed. I should be freaking out, but I am not. I am actually kinda excited that we have options again. It feels like everything was forced into a narrow tunnel for the last year. Now we can stop, reassess, and go forward with an open mind. Strange feeling, but sort of a relief.

So if anyone is wondering if we are still moving, we don’t know. I will let you know when we do.

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I have been meaning to post about this. I have just been so busy looking up info on our move. Last week we bought a steam cleaner. The kind that has all kinds of attachments and what not. Its bloody brilliant. First, I attacked the oven. The steam just cut through all that built on grease. It just through gunk I have tried to get off for 5 years. Amazing.

Then I attacked the bathroom. Wow, the tiles look new. Everything sparkles. Amazing. I just love it. Who would of thought that steam would be such a great cleaner. No chemicals. No pollution. If your talking green, which I am not, but if I was, you couldn’t get any greener then that.

Now to figure out what else I can steam. 🙂

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Today was a good day. I love good days. For one, the sun came out. We have not seen the sun in a while. Its been on holiday in the Costa del Sol, Spain. We have had about 10 days of rain. Before that it was 2 days of sun and before that… you guessed, rain. Its been cold too. This is not how Summer should feel. The grey gets depressing when you know it should be sunny.

Good thing number two… good haircut. My last haircut, just before our holiday, was horrid. The stylist I have been seeing had quit. She was fantastic and I was really bummed. So I started seeing a gal who was pregnant. She managed to not do anything I asked. I only saw her a couple times. On the last appointment with her I was the last client before she left on maternity leave. Lucky me. She just destroyed my hair. Cut a bit into my fringe (bangs) that shouldn’t of been cut. So it was a mess. Today, I started with another stylist who is fantastic. She fixed all but the fringe. My bob cut is back to a bob. Yippee.

Third good thing today… we went to B&Q. Our toilet has had a leak going into the tank. My wonderful husband got all the parts we needed. Even got the grout to re-grout the tile. Fantastic. This will be done tomorrow.

Fourth good thing. Gardening. My wonderful step daughter hung out with my wonderful son long enough that we got to get the front into some form of shape. We even did a bunch in the back. Its starting to feel like its all coming together.

Number five in the good thing department… we found a home for Kitty. As we are moving back to the US we needed a new home for Kitty. I have belonged to a forum for the past 5 years and one of the lovely ladies will take Kitty. This made my step daughter very happy that we can keep track of Kitty and her life. She had tried to find her a new home for nearly 2 months and no one wanted the cat. When all is said and done, Kitty will be a Northern cat in Cambridge. I just hope no one takes the mick about her Cheshire accent.

So it was a good day all around. No one had a tantrum (namely our toddler) No one got the hump (teens are good at that) and everyone spent the day happy together. You gotta love days like today. 🙂

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In my never ending quest to try and get this house sold I am absolutely amazed at how much crap we have. Most of it is my husbands. Only fair as I got rid of everything I owned to move over 5 years ago, sure I was here to stay. I came with 10 boxes and 2 suitcases. I know how to sort and get rid. I just find it hard to do that for someone else.Motivating him to do it is impossible. He is waiting for eye surgery at the end of the month and the fatigue from his eye has started to become overwhelming for him. I guess I should say we are lucky for the cloud and rain England has been experiencing for his sake, but I hate the dark so I just can not bring myself to feel “lucky” for a months rain in a day. I will cut him some slack, but It means I am left to do all the sorting and packing. I am going to go to town this weekend and he just wont know what has hit him until he has to take it all to the tip (dump). He may not realize it, but he has given me permission to do a search and destroy mission. 🙂 Now to just get him into the loft to figure out what is up there. I wonder if that will end up my job too.

Credit to him, the bathroom did get painted last weekend and it looks fantastic. Its the same color as the kitchen, which I really like. We just need to re-grout, put new flooring down and its done. If we move before this time next year I will be amazed. Patience is a virtue as I continue plodding along getting rid of all his things. How on earth do you collect so much unnecessary stuff in 5 short years?

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There are some things I will never get used to living in the UK, no matter how long I live here. First, in late Spring and early Summer the sky never seems completely dark.  At 1am, standing outside, you can see light on the horizon.  Its also light around the 4am hour. When we went to the airport in late May the sun was already rising as we drove to the airport at 4am. So strange to not have the sun rise the next morning until 7am in Spain.

The other thing that I will never get used to is that, on the last day of June, its cloudy. I am cold. Its been cold. Going out does not sound like fun. My poor son has not worn any of his Summer shorts since Spain. This is the second year in a row that has happened. And, as we head into the “hottest” months of the year, we are looking for more sweats for him to wear because I did not buy enough sweat pants for him to wear around the house to stay warm this SUMMER!

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I am trying to do one thing every day that will get us closer to our move. Yesterday it was cleaning out a cupboard. Today we went through the coats in the front porch, went through all the junk stuffed in the kitchen and sorted and thrown things out. I also went and cleaned out the shelves in the bedroom. I got rid of two rubbish bags of clothes, which surprised my husband to know end, and put a ton of stuff in a large suitcase to store in the loft (attic).

I have gotten pretty darn good at being ruthless. When I moved to the UK, I got rid of a lifetimes worth of stuff. I managed to sort my life down to 10 boxes and 2 suitcases. That was a major achievement for the pack rat in me. So I look at the stuff I am sorting through and ask myself ” do I want to pay to move this?” Most of the time that answer is no. So its gone. I am feeling very very motivated at the moment and need to take advantage of it.

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