Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Happy Homemaker

Anyone who knows me would not peg me as someone overly bothered about house and home. Yes, I like things clean and relatively organized but it’s not something I obsess about. Until now, it would appear. See, last time I moved into a new house I had a ten year old, a seven year old and a five month old baby. Oh, and a brand new publishing contract with a big publisher and six months to finish my book. Things were flung into any old cupboard just to get them out of boxes, and we spent the next thirteen years wandering around, trying to figure out where things were and why they were housed there. And no, I never could muster the energy to rearrange anything.

This time however, it’s a different story. This kitchen will be organized, damn it. We’re having all the plates, cups, glasses etc on one side, all the dry goods on the other, and sundries (otherwise known as “the messy drawer”) away from the stove, dishwasher and fridge. Those drawers and cabinets are valuable real estate in any kitchen and shouldn’t be housing tape measures and hammers. Actually, I’m going to have to have a word with the Ball & Chain as there are screw drivers in one drawer which is not on, given that the garage is a mere ten feet from the kitchen. No excuse at all. (See, I’m so into it, I’m getting positively unpleasant.)

The fact that we only have four plates, four mugs, four knives, forks etc. doesn’t matter. I’ve left room for the mugs that will be arriving in 6-8 weeks and we are banning ourselves from buying anything till the container arrives. We’ll just look at the nice, organized empty spaces (allocations) in the kitchen cabinets, till that day (and hope that everything fits).

Ditto the shelves above the washer and dryer, which I have allocated for laundry supplies (at this point just one small bottle of Persil) and dog stuff. I may have to re-think the dog stuff as I ordered a giant bag of dry food which is causing visible strain to the shelf on which it sits. Sigh. At this point, the garage is going to be the go-to place for everything, including the twenty five boxes we have coming in a month or so. Where we are going to put everything I just don’t know.

So far we have spent the time waiting for the Virgin Media guy to come and fix the duff equipment we were sent, then waiting for him to come back a few hours later as the new stuff also wasn’t working(more on that later); waiting for the Argos delivery man to bring patio chair cushions that actually match (three days of random cushions being delivered); and going back and forth to Vodaphone having been rejected initially because our UK bank account (for which we had jumped through hoops) was tied to our US address and not our UK one.

The weather is lovely though, and we’ve been eating out most nights, making the best of it and pretending we’re on holiday. My gym membership kicks in next week, which is a good thing…….. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Repatriation Sing-a-Long

I would say we were “established” in our new home, but that would be a big fat porky pie (lie). We are here with some of our things, and they’re mostly lying in various piles all over the house. But, we made it safely, as did the dog. 

I've already had a washing machine "incident". whereby it washed the dog blanket and then refused to drain, spin or otherwise relinquish the darn thing. I eventually managed to get the door open (with minimum water splosh) and the machine then happily continued the cycle on its own. Foolishly, I assumed the problem had been temporary so I put another "load" in. I use the term "load" with caution and derision since it consisted of about 7 garments. Yet again, the machine came to an abrupt halt at the drain cycle and I was forced to retrieve sopping wet clothes and perform the rinse and spin elements by hand. 

But yes, we are lurching around, trying to get things to work and trying not to make complete fools of ourselves in public. And of course, I wrote a little ditty about it. (Sung to the tune of “My Favourite Things”.) So get yer Julie on and sing along. 

Unfavourite Things

Washers that break down and dryers that half dry
Front doors that don’t lock no matter how I try
Laminate flooring that’s like an ice rink
These are becoming “unfavourite” things

Pause 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Pause 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Light switches not in the rooms they are meant for
Dog nails that clack on the “nice” laminate floor
4am wake up from birdies that sing
Quickly becoming “unfavourite” things

Chorus: When I can’t open the windows
When I’m feeling mad
I simply remember that shipment of things
And then I don’t feel so bad

Rubbish collectors that come once a fortnight
Showers that barely fit hub, my it’s so tight
Centigrade measures that make my head spin
Add to the list of “unfavourite” things

Pause 2,3, 4,5,6
Pause 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Suitcases empty but no place to store them
Clothing unpacked but, OK, on the floor then
Three plastic beakers from which we all drink
Complete my list of “unfavourite” things

Pause 2,3,4,5,6
Pause 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

When the noises in the kitchen
Make the doggy sad
We think of that shipment of favourite things
And then we don’t FEEEEEEL SOOOOO BA-A-A-A-D.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Three More Sleeps...........

I'm writing this sitting in an echo chamber of a family room. We gave the giant sectional/corner sofa to a young couple, the wife of which is a Brit I met in a Brit-in-Chicago Facebook group! They have two teeny children so my 12 year old worn-but-in-great-shape furniture was perfect. PLUS -  the seat covers come off and can be thrown in the wash. Score! 

Another young woman is taking some of my small appliances (different voltage) but she doesn't actually arrive in Chicago till after I've gone so a friend is coming over to pick them up. I have had more strangers in and out of my house in the last few weeks it's a miracle I haven't been abducted. 

And I've been stressed and not sleeping. The dog paperwork and health visits are something to reckon with until you do it, and then realise that most of the "panic" is caused by the plethora of rules and guidelines on various UK and US web sites. At the end of the day I took two documents out to the USDA office to be stamped. She has a tape worm test tomorrow (UK requirement) and then we take her to the Cargo place at O'Hare airport 3-4 hours before the flight. They have to check that she's fit to fly and not under the influence of medication or sedation. 

Twice in the past week she has been bitten by something in the garden and various sides of her face have swelled up. Last week it was the whole side of her face and muzzle. She had obviously snapped at one of the many bees on my catnip. Quick call to the emergency vet to get the anti-histamine dosage, checking her throat all the time, and she was fine. Today one of her eyelids is swollen but I've given her anti-histamine in the dog food and will keep an eye on her. Poor thing. I will just have to keep her indoors on Wednesday as they will surely question a dog with a swollen face. It's always something. 

So am I sad? No. At this point I'm still very stressed by all that there is to organise. I will miss my friends here but I know from experience that we will mostly all meet again, and in some cases, in the very near future. I'll be living a stone's throw from Heathrow so NO ONE has any excuse. Everyone must pop in for a cuppa when they fly to the UK. 

Will I miss my house? No. I'm not a house person I've discovered. I don't get emotionally attached to houses; in fact, living in the same house for decades makes me feel slightly claustrophobic. We've been in this one for 13 years, and our previous house for 10. We will be renting for the immediate future and then, who knows? 

What I will be sad about, as usual, is yet another milestone. This was the house where all my kids lived. This is the house they really call home, and I'm robbing them of it. Ok, I'm not really as the two big ones have flown and were unlikely ever to live here again. But still.....  the guilt. 

We are now three, as far as a living unit goes. We will have a smaller house, with guest rooms to make sure that when the big kids visit, they have a room and not a bed on the floor. That's important. It won't be their "home" but I want them to feel "at home" and not like a guest. And not sleeping on the floor. 

And breathe. Next time I post, I will be in England as they're cutting off the 'net tomorrow. Gulp. 

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