scribbles tagged ‘International relocation’

In the midnight hour

Friday, July 31st, 2015 | tags: , , ,  |

How many days was I resident in the UK during the tax year? My guidance from a Tax services provider for helping to work this out:

Generally, an individual will be treated as being in the UK on any day where he or she is in the UK at the end of that day (i.e., at midnight).

There are two main exceptions to the basic rule on location at midnight:

  1. Where an individual arrives in the UK as a passenger on that day and also leaves the UK by the end of the next day without engaging in any activities that are substantially unrelated to the individual’s passage through the UK, the day of arrival is not counted as a day in the UK.
  2. Where the individual is only present in the UK at the end of the day due to exceptional circumstances (see below), the day is not counted as a day in the UK provided he or she intends to leave the UK as soon as circumstances permit and the limit for such days is not exceeded.

Exceptional circumstances apply when circumstances beyond the individual’s control prevent him or her from leaving the UK. For example, national or local emergencies such as war, civil unrest or natural disaster; or sudden or life-threatening illness or injury for the individual themself or a close family member. The exception is restricted to a maximum of 60 days in any UK tax year (6 April to 5 April).

In the midnight hour
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unpacked

Saturday, February 7th, 2015 | tags:  |

unpacked and uncupboardedWhen I moved to the Wendy House UK I let the removal people leave without unpacking. Lots of neat boxes stacked around the tiny Wendy house. It took me months to hack my way into the boxes, unwrap the stuff and dispose of the packaging.

This time, I made sure everything exact the picture gallery was unpacked before they left. It helps that this Wendy Loft has more floor space to pile random stuff on. Since taking this photograph I’ve managed to clear the useful surfaces:  tables, sofa’s walk ways, dressing room. Now I’ve got to organise how to store the books and stuff I rarely use like Christmas decorations, tent, hiking bags, and decide on how and where to hang the rather extensive picture gallery. It will take a while to clear a visitable hole in the guest room where this stuff is flocking, out of sight

unpacked
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Reunion

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 | tags: , , ,  |

Marriott hotel firepitAfter a 2 month sojourn in Norfolk, Virginia, container port, my belongings arrived in Minneapolis. Hooray! They avoided the big storms.

Alas, when they arrived I wasn’t in Minneapolis to greet and shepherd them into the loft. Arizona’s nice this time of year.

pre-occupied kitchenWhile my belongings have been elsewhere indulging in meditation and mindfulness, I’ve been preparing the loft for their arrival, adding peanut butter, porridge oats, honey and tea to the empty kitchen cupboards. I’ve not yet found a local Marmite, or twiglets, source.

My dusty things arrive today

Today I spend my first night in the loft

This is as near as I’ll get to what my aunts and cousins call ‘settling down’ which is what they think I should be doing. Apparently, I’ve left it a bit late…

Reunion
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Testing

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 | tags: , , , ,  |

Red StagWithout any studying I passed my ‘knowledge’ test for a Minnesota driving licence. I also passed the eye test, which SUPRISED me because I was squinting and the text was fuzzy. Not good. Now I’ve booked a proper eye test with an optician to get some more up to date lenses. No squinting allowed when driving, working or watching films on my surface.

It feels like everything I do is a test, can I get a new phone service, can I find a good optician, can I pick how to invest for my 401k (pension), can I find a place to park downtown, can I follow my GPS (Satnav) directions? There’s a lot more concentration and thinking needed when you move countries (jobs, homes) than when you stay in the same place.

All these tests get the adrenaline flowing, they make me feel alive.

So far I’ve been passing most of the tests… just….

The world looks a bit like this fuzzy photo, even when I’m wearing last year’s prescription glasses. Evidently that’s good enough to drive here.

I’ve booked myself in at an opticians. The next test will lead to a new pair of spectacles… and lenses.

Testing
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Bob the building manager

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 | tags: , , ,  |

Bob the building managers officeBob the building manager is a hero in my world, and it’s only my first day in the Wendy house loft. Bob’s not his real name. We met in the car park of my apartment building. It started with a friendly hello and within the hour I’d discovered many things that make Bob a hero. Bob:

  • Was a fireman for 20 years, in the military for 20 years, working in schools for 20 years. This is his retirement job. He showed me his office, it’s a treasury. He reminded me of the fisher king.
  • Sorts through the waste in the building dumpsters. He pulls out stuff that can be reused, rather than recycled. He cleans it up, fixed it, then takes it to the Salvation Army centre. He proudly showed me two vacuum cleaners that he’d fixed.
  •  Collects the ‘art’ that is thrown out and uses it to decorate the room where all the garbage falls from the chutes on each floor. He calls it his gallery, and it is, cheerful diverse pictures.
  • Carves wood into toys for children, planters, decorative mail boxes. He has a series of aeroplane hanging in his office.
  • Has dozens of grand children, their faces all smile down from around his tool board in his office. He introduced me to each one, and his siblings and parents.
  • Lives in the building with his wife who has a wicked sense of humour.
  • Told me that someone very, very, very senior, in the company I work for, rents an apartment in the building. Told me how much the rent was. I nearly fell over. Clearly a different floor plan to mine, bigger and with downtown views on the top floor.

Garbage disposal chute endBob's carvingsI could have spent the whole day hanging out with Bob, he was great company. I’m glad I decided to live in an apartment instead of a house.

If  can, I’ll spend time helping Bob

Bob the building manager
4 votes rating 4.5

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Keys

Sunday, January 11th, 2015 | tags: , , , ,  |

homeSince November my key fob has been a little empty. I returned neighbours keys. Instead of a house key I’ve been using a hotel swipe card.

Now my key ring has returned to full jingle-too-big-for-pocketness. It holds

  • Apartment mailbox key
  • Car key (fob)
  • Garage,  apartment building key (fob)
  • Apartment door key
  • Security storage locker room key

My apartment is empty because my belongings are in a shipping container that’s been caught in a container jam in Norfolk VA since 23rd December. Meanwhile I can start visiting my empty apartment to fill it with new electrical goods and work out how to get the internet working before moving in.

This may be the last time I see the polished concrete floors before they’re covered with cosy Persian rugs…

The keys tie me to a cosy life with a home even if the building is still bare.

Keys
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shopping list

Sunday, December 14th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

For a Wendy that doesn’t really enjoy shopping this list is worse than daunting

  • Apartment (+light fittings, window dressings, insurance)
  • Car (+Inspection, Insurance)
  • Phone (+Service)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Toaster
  • Iron
  • Kettle

It looks such a short list, but there are way too many decisions needed for each of these purchases… I’ve spent most of today researching car and phone purchases and tomorrow looks busy on the same topic, though I am making progress. Despite immense social pressure I wont be buying a Subaru Outlander…

I’ve also got to study for my Minnesota driving licence, and book the 3 tests (online, sight, practical), that’s near enough shopping though not a big range of choices involved.

shopping list
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inspection

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

The USA home buying process is radically different from the UK process. Here are some of the features that actually change the way people behave:

  • An offer is made with a goodwill payment of 1%. This acts to reduce the likelihood of people making multiple offers…
  • If an offer is accepted by the seller it’s a legally binding contract for the seller, the buyer can still pull out at several check-points but the seller cannot continue to market the property. This acts to prevent gazumping.
  • The buyer employs a professional to conduct an inspection. Professional? This person is not a qualified surveyor, no qualifications required. The fellow who conducted my inspection was like a caring dad who checked every window, every piece of equipment. He lit the oven, made ice, turned on the washing machine, checked all the lights and electric circuits, the boiler etc He gave me advice on how to look after the property and questions I should ask the Home Owners Association (HOA). He recommended that I attend a HOA meeting. He made observations about the other tenants. He was awesome. A buyer can pull out of the agreement after an inspection.
  • Immediately prior to the money exchanging there is a ‘walk through’ of the property in the estate that it will be handed over. The money is not exchanged if the purchaser is unhappy with the walk through. My ‘Inspector’ explained that a resident may have a big leaving party that leaves broken windows and toilets etc. The final walk through makes sure that they pay for any damage between agreement and departure. Nice.

Meanwhile my inspection raised lots of minor functional questions, like

  • How does the intercom work – there’s no in apartment equipment – is there a cell phone app for that?
  • Are those sockets for internet connections or phones?
  • Can I put more powerful bulbs in that light fitting?

It feels good to shift to asking trivial functional questions, clearly the big stuff is working well. The apartment is 4 miles from work and has ample bike storage in the basement. I could get fit in the summer. The route to work is through prettily housed suburbs.

As the inspector checked the apartment I pondered the view, watching the tail’ lights of city traffic. I felt at home. It felt right despite being so very different from my little hidden garden cottage in Reading. We all change as does the world around us. Time for a high rise garment with  scary balcony…..

inspection
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Apart meant

Monday, December 8th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

I’ve successfully sold the Wendy house in Reading Town. There were bumps in the process. The four month process  from putting the place on the market (July 22d) through to completing on the sale (Nov 28th) was efficient by UK standards. The buyers were first time purchasers in the UK. A French couple. Their lack of familiarity with the local process meant that it took longer than the 3 months it took me to originally buy the place. I left them champagne, a gifted plant, a folder of historical documents and a book describing the history of the area. The garden looked a bedraggled, neglected mess and removing my furniture revealed some dampness that neither I nor they expected.

Potential new Wendyhome in MNThe market in Minneapolis has Ground to a halt between Thanksgiving and the Super bowl in mid February. I’ve been tracking properties and prices online since April 2014. I feel confident that I know the type of properties and the places. I’ve now driven to, through, and walked around the areas I’m considering. I’ve had an offer accepted on an apartment that is very good value for money and checks most of my requirements. The requirements it fits are:

  • 2 bedrooms with walls that go right to the ceiling and windows
  • Double-aspect windows, it’s a corner apartment with SW & NW facing windows
  • Walk g distance from good restaurants and downtown facilities
  • Walking distance from a bus stop that takes me directly to work (in case I can’t drive)
  • Indoor, heated garage space
  • Washer, dryer inside the apartment (not communal resource)
  • View that includes greenery and things worth watching (6th floor, with lower buildings adjacent and no plans to replace them in a way that blocks the view, can see a dog-park without using binoculars)
  • Has at least one wall that will fit my 6ft Welsh dresser

I’ve been researching the building developer and condominium management company. This apartment block was built in 2008 and is managed by a huge company that manages condominiums all over North America. The developer is prolific and their conversions, including this one, have won design awards. I’m comfortable with the developer.

Yelp reviews of the condominium management company are not good, they mention things like phone calls being ignored, maintenance work being difficult to schedule and generally tardy. Apparently getting the cash is the one thing they’re reportedly good at. I’m hoping that the reports are disproportionate and that when the company works well, no one bothers to review it on yelp.

 

 

 

Apart meant
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snow clearing trucks

Saturday, November 15th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Snow on the roads

Lots of helpful snow clearing trucks take to the road as soon as the little white mischievous chilly things start to fall. Meanwhile, I’m driving around looking for a pre-owned home and car.  I wonder what I’ll find.

snow clearing trucks
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last weekend

Saturday, November 8th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

This blog post is bought to you courtesy of ‘procrastination’ and the letter T

  • UK post now redirected to my new USA work office for 12 mos. Cost $31 per Mos. I’ll write to individual companies to change my registered address, once I’ve got a new home….
  • Trying desperately to focus on which documents I should carry with me and which can go into storage. Paper documents are heavy, this is a difficult task that is increasing my addiction to  tea and inclination to blog
  • Last laundry load running. I’m even getting emotional about leaving my Miele.

Received an unbirthday present on my birthday. Mind imploding concept. There was carrot cake and singing to celebrate.

 

 

last weekend
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exhaust

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

International relocations are exhausting. The most emotionally disruptive, painful, experiences are consistent:

  1. Ensuring minimum disruption and pain for the cats. This move meant rehoming Sampo. Made me very unhappy, but the best thing for her. No more cats in the Wendy home for the foreseeable future.
  2. Saying ‘goodbye’ to people in the country that have been strong friends. Visits, small gatherings.
  3. Selling my car. I always get emotionally attached to my car and the process of selling this big, expensive, mechanical item is ‘fiddly’.
  4. Going to the airport. Leaving the UK I’ve always taken someone on the flight with me which eases this pain. Leaving the USA was a very lonely experience.
  5. Seemingly infinite sorting and packing detail decisions. Will someone want this? Should I take it to a thrift store, should I keep it? Will this go in the sea shipment, air shipment, checked baggage, hand baggage? Will it fit?
  6. Selling my house (home), Realtors, Solicitors, buyers etc. Surprising that this somehow seems less stressful than the others. I’ve been lucky in each of my International moves. Selling to move within the UK was always more stressful, probably because of always being in a ‘chain’.
  7. Buying a home. This is actually fun and I’m normally able to calibrate myself well to the market to find what I want given what’s on offer. Nonetheless the logistics and timing of the process is often a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

I’m looking forward to some peace in my home life. It will come about 2 months after I’ve moved into my (to.be found) new home. Maybe March 2015.

The new Wendy House will not be a house, it will be a loft apartment…   …exciting!

exhaust
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UK house sale contracts exchanged

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

The average time to sell a house on the UK is currently about 6 months.

July 22nd my house went on the market. Today we exchanged contracts, the sale is finally legally binding. We’ve set the sale completion date at 29th November. 4 months. It’s fast and everything went smoothly, if seemingly slowly, to me as someone who’s bought and sold houses in America in about 30 days. I love the USA system. I’m looking forward to buying there once I’ve transferred the money. It took me 3 months to buy this UK Wendy house. Very fast by UK standards, frustratingly slow to me. I don’t want to go through the UK house purchase or selling process again. I will, when mum dies unless she moves to a retirement property beforehand which is not something I’m pushing for, though my brother is.

Now, I’m out of the country for several weeks on work, come back the night before the removal people arrive to pack, then leave the day after the house sale. November looks hectic and I’m quite looking forward to it!

I’m going to try and fly mum out to go house hunting with me. A mothers eye is always entertaining and she does notice things that I don’t. Sometimes the things she notices are not important to me, but often they are valuable insights. Mum loves shopping, especially when it’s free to her. Mum also wants to be confident that I’ll be happy. I want to give her that confidence and I love that she’s always used my happiness as her yard-stick. Her emphasis on my getting a good education was so that I’d be able to support myself, to be happy, to avoid ‘struggling’. Everything she’s strived for in raising me can ultimately be traced to her beliefs on what would enable me to have a happy life. Fabulous.

I left the USA to spend high quality time with mum and dad in their latter years. To avoid regrets about not having shared special times with them. I’ve been lucky, it worked. Dad’s now dead, I now have a really high quality relationship with my mother that will work across the continents. Phone calls, Facebook, Skype….  we’re closer now, being apart physically will mean much less than it did at the turn of the millennium.

I left the USA on November 24th 2007, thanksgiving week. I’ll be returning to the USA at the end of Thanksgiving week 2014. The emotional symmetry is pleasing.

UK house sale contracts exchanged
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cloudy backup

Sunday, October 12th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

What documents and technology should I:

  • Carry with me as hand luggage when relocating to Minneapolis?
  • Check into the hold – have ready when I arrive
  • Ship in the container with my furniture – will probably go into storage and I could be without for months

I’m sorting through my paper files today. Obviously I’ll carry my Surface, and the internet, provide access to much of the critical information. But not all. While thinking about what documents are critical I decided to backup my Surface, it’s got useful documents stored locally – photographs, resumes, a blog back-up etc

I looked for the “Windows Easy File Transfer”, this had helped me transfer some of my windows content from my last PC to this one. Discovered that it only allows you to transfer stuff ONTO the surface, not for use as backup or a way of transferring stuff to a new Surface. Explored the backup options and they all use the ‘Sky Drive’. Looks like the Skydive saves all my computer settings but not any files I’ve stored locally. Pain in butt.

Now I’m using what looks like the old windows backup to ‘copy’ all my files on an external drive.

Replacing this surface with another one *should* be relatively easy. Moving between service providers, for example from Microsoft to Apple would be painful by comparison.

cloudy backup
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piles

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

Fewer, shorter and lower quality blog posts as pre-move activities churn the wendy house into piles of pre-move things. The meaning of the many emerging piles is not obvious to the innocent bystander, but I know they are for:

  • Trip to the local tip
  • Gift to local charities store
  • For family
  • Paper recycle (the bin outside my house fills quicker than it’s collected)
  • Some one I know must want this, I should ask around
  • Must sort out this pile  – it’s not going back into the cupboard or under the bed until everything’s been fully assessed

That innocent bystander is probably guilty of something and their dudes will involve having to deal with their befuddlement. My above mentioned piles have joined the normal collections of things that need to be

  • Washed
  • Ironed (I now pretend to be a proper business person in a shirt)
  • Put away (filed, drawered or hung)
  • Read

 

piles
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security blankets

Sunday, September 21st, 2014 | tags: ,  |

I can’t bring myself to throw out the boxes of ‘paper’ photographs (albums) from under the bed.

I never look at them. I doubt I’ll ever show them to anyone.  They’re just a security blanket for my memory. There’s no history of senility or amnesia in my parents family. Over the last year I’ve seen mum through out multiple photo albums of holiday ‘snaps’ and she’s definitely more of a hoarder than me. Though this weekend I came back from her house with more stuff (Paintings, heirlooms) than things I’d delivered to her. I’m trying very hard to keep the physical balance of things leaving the house, compared to things arriving on a ratio of 4:1. Generally managing.

I’ve thrown out over 4 large clip-arch files full of all my teaching materials for the BSc (Hons) Psychology Course sections that I taught. Remember pre-printed transparencies used with overhead projectors? They’ll never be used again. The degree was assessed as extremely high quality by the UK teaching standards body, a score of 23/24 where the point we dropped was that we didn’t have a quality process in place for measuring the quality or our quality processes. Honestly!

security blankets
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USA Embassy Non Immigrant Visa lines

Monday, September 8th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

USA Embassy Grovenor Square, LondonI completed my DS-160 online and scheduled an appointment at the London USA Embassy

Being over anxious about finding the right place, I turned up 90minutes before my appointment ladened with half a redwood tree of supporting evidence, credit card, and my passport.

I had to line up, in separate lines to:

  1. Announce my arrival – be ticked on a checklist
  2. Go through security clearance
  3. Pick-up a (queuing) number from reception
  4. Hand-over key pieces of historical documentation for the interviewer to review
  5. Pay for the application processing
  6. Be interviewed

Standing in line, sitting in line with a number, is an integral part of the USA visa getting process. There are many ways that new technology could be used to streamline the whole process. Streamlining the process would remove the Kafkaesque quality. Perhaps being Kafkaesque is fundamentally important to government procedures.

The young, blonde, Brit who interviewed me was being observed by a senior member of staff who smiled when I got excited and when I behaved like a normal person… forgetting things, being uncertain.

Interviewer: tell me about your Diplomatic Visa, your A2

Wendy: Gosh, I’d completely forgotten about that, way back in 1999 I worked for the UK MOD on secret things, I signed the official secrets act and they got me a diplomatic Visa. Well done you for finding that out!

The USA are going to give me another  Visa, despite my having to declare that I’d repeatedly lost my passport several times while living in the USA. It seems they can tolerate my human scattiness in return for my fabulous expert knowledge…. mainly knowledge of human scattiness….

 

USA Embassy Non Immigrant Visa lines
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Swapsies

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 | tags:  |

As I’m looking to get rid of my excess stuff ready to move, my friend from Primary school who’s spent the last 14 years living abroad is moving back from Cairo to the UK. She’s looking for all the things I can’t take with me, electrical stuff, a car, some small furniture for a small house. How fortunate is that?!

Swapsies
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small things are big things

Friday, August 8th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Mumsie: Is there anything you want, before you go (to America)

Wendy: it’s difficult to ask because all the things I want are probably thongs that are special to you too

Mumsie: Oh, I’m going to have to get rid of lots of stuff.

Wendy: The black and white Rackham that I bought dad for his birthday?

Mumsie: Oh good! I’ve never liked that, I managed to get him to keep it in his office for a few years but then he moved it into the front room. I was going to ask you if you wanted it

Wendy: the Bullova watch, I remember him wearing it as an everyday watch

Mumsie: Oh yes, that’s probably quite valuable because it was the first of the new modern watches. It doesn’t work and might not be easy to get fixed without damaging it’s value

small things are big things
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Sampo instruction manual

Saturday, July 26th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Basic interactions

  • Cautious. Ignore her and she’ll come to within an arms length of you – stroking distance
  • Companiable. She likes to be in the same room as everyone else, out of reach, where she can see and hear but not be ‘hassled’. She’s companionable in a cautious way.
  • Picking her up. Not easy. She doesn’t like it. With me she’ll tolerate it for a few minutes. I’ll pick her up, stroke her then put her down before she starts to struggle. Best to pick her up when she’s dozing in a favourite place before she’s fully awake to run away.
  • Toys. Her favourites are small balls, she’ll watch string and ribbons but rarely really goes to the kill
  • Night singing. In the evening, sometimes at night. She will wander empty rooms ‘calling’ in a deep howling sound. As if she’s calling her kittens to her. I normally let her call a few times then call back. She reacts by running to me in an excited way then we have an intensive stroking session as if she’s pleased and relieved to have found me.
  • Other cats. She is fascinated by them, likes to watch them. Is terrified when there is no ‘glass’ between her and them. One neighbours cat gave her nightmares and made her jumpy for days. She hasn’t learnt that her sheer size makes her scary. She doesn’t chase them off, but she runs after them when they’ve runaway from me!
  • Tail wagging. She uses her tail to express her emotions. Very cute, almost like a dog! She chases her tail when she’s bored or frustrated
  • Chatting. When I come home after a trip she will ‘chat’, meow, for 10 to 30mins depending on how long I’ve been away. She also chats when she wants me to go to bed or something is happening (another cat in the garden). She’s used to this being a ‘conversation’ she meows, I imitate her…  …feels good to me, I think she likes it too

Bodily functions

  • Food. She appears to have a poor sense of smell, she doesn’t react to catnip, cheese, fish or fresh meets. I’ve tried her on all sorts of cat ‘treats’ she doesn’t seem to react to any of them. Prefers dried food. She’s used to being fed twice a day (8am, 7pm)  on dry food. She prefers her water to be placed on her normal house roaming route rather than by her food. In my house this turns out to be on the landing or in the hallway. She does drink out of the toilet if the lid is left up.  She likes to eat spiders, flies and butterflies. Spiders are fun.
  • Regularity. She’s fairly regular within an hour or so of eating. She likes to be fed around 6am but can be ignored
  • Sight. Laser lights?  She doesn’t appear to see them, don’t bother
  • Sound. She is more sensitive to sounds than the average cat. Talk softly to her and she’ll warm to you
  • Sheds. Loves to be brushed. Needs to be brushed. Moults more than the average cat. The sound of running your hand over the brush will normally bring her running towards you.
  • Sleep. She likes me to go to bed around 10pm. She goes to my bedroom and starts calling me. If I ignore her she comes downstairs and starts walking on and around me. She’s used to sleeping on the bed with me at night

Equipment

  • 6 beds. I mainly use these to reduce the amount of cleaning in the places she likes to sleep
  • Green chenille throw. Once it was nice, then she got her claws into it. When I put one of her beds on it she prefers to sleep next to her bed on the throw
  • Scratching post. She likes to run to this, and around it. Its as much about being a toy as a scratching post
  • Jute hall rug. Her clear enjoyment of lying on this has made it hers
  • Clockwork feeder. Good for weekend trips away
  • Continuous food dispenser. For 3 night trips
  • 2 carry cases. One is the case she flew into Britain in. I find it too big for standard vets trips because she’s so heavy. The wicker basket works well to take her to the vet for her annual check-up
  • Micro chips. She has 2 microchips in her neck, a USA and a European standard chip. They were used to record her rabies status, and the USA one is associated with a long since unused website that has my Seattle address registered as owner. Only a USA vet can change this.  I’ve let her rabies vaccinations lapse.
  • Balls. For fun, I’ll bring her current collection with her
  • Brush. Only the one at the moment. Probably good to have a few. Always brush her outside because of the sheer volume of fluff generated
  • Nail clippers. She actually bites her nails, keeping them short herself. This is a good way of her cleaning her teeth. I check them every now and then by stroking her when she’s next to me then quickly whipping out the clippers and doing a claw at a time. For some reason she seems to be fairly tolerant of this as if she knows it makes her life more comfortable

 

Sampo instruction manual
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Sampo’s leaving home

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

Sampo gardenerSampo’s had her move date confirmed.

I get sad just thinking about it. I’ll get to stay the first night with her. I’ll get to visit her before I leave.

Her new family will post pictures of her on Facebook. She’ll be happy, she’ll be much less stressed than travelling in the hold of a plane for 9 hours then moved from temporary home to temporary home. The flash makes her look a bit woozy in this picture, but there’ll be no drugs involved in her journey. She hates the car, and cries all the way. It must hurt her throat. I’m not looking forward to moving her. I am looking forward to her being moved and settled.

She’ll probably even forget me.

After moving there will be many more blog posts, Minneapolis is just so interesting and very beautiful. Today a lady was telling me about the cherry tree blossom in spring, how it’s magical like a fairy-tale world. She talked about going north to see the fall colours. She clearly loves it here (I’m in Minneapolis). The skies are often blue, even in the winter.

Sampo’s leaving home
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first accepted offer

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

An open house at the Wendy house was advertised in the window of the Estate Agent and on their mailing list. It’s first showing was on Saturday, 5 potential buyers. 3 turned up. 60% turn up felt poor. Their feedback? I littered down the street and watched the visitors turn-up then leave. It took them less than 10 minutes to look around. It’s a small place, but still, I wasn’t encouraged. Summary feedback

Too expensive: Small, neat Asian couple in a large family car

I’ll show pictures to my girlfriend: tall Caucasian man, about 35, on foot in t-shirt and jeans. Booked a 2nd viewing with girlfriend on Tuesday.

Offer 25K below asking price: French couple that I didn’t see who live in rented accommodation nearby made an offer on Monday.

I said the offer didn’t offend me but I’d like to wait for a few more people to view the Wendy house (on Tuesday) before making a decision on that offer. They increased their offer to £16K below asking price and added some unacceptable time constraints. My estate agent explained why the price was acceptable but I can’t accept their time constraints. They discussed it on Tuesday night.

Wednesday – house under offer subject to contract, off the market in less than a week at a good price. Nice result. Lets hope the buyer and I stay together to completion.

 

first accepted offer
2 votes rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

they all looked the same to me

Friday, July 11th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

and your point is?Sampo has found herself a new home near Birmingham. Upgrading her home to a quirky Georgian house with an adult family. I’ve known one family member since 1987 when we dated for a year. We visited mum and dad in that time. I tried to prompt mumsie to remember him

Me: “The tall skinny one with a curly quiff”

Mumsie: “They were all tall and skinny dear”

 

they all looked the same to me
2 votes rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »

Offroad parking for 2 cars

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

<rant warning>

The Estate agent responsible for selling the Wendy House offered me the opportunity to give feedback on the details they’d produced, before they were published.  I suggested a few changes that raised the profile of a few desirable features.

The agent didn’t confirm receiving my feedback or making any changes. After a couple of weeks I included the following (blue text) in an email to the Agent. The Agent replied in red..

helpful estate agent reply

With a good attitude the Agent would’ve recognised my point about size and suggested a phrase to conveys the double size parking space. On one occasion I’ve had 3 small cars parked there. I’ve suggested “Offload parking for 2 cars”, that saves the lazy estate agent the trouble of measuring my drive.

I’m annoyed by the Agent’s attitude.  Based on this, and other examples of their sloppy attitude and service, I will have no qualms about changing providers at the end of our contract.

<rant probably not finished, just temporarily paused>

Offroad parking for 2 cars
2 votes rating 5

4 bits of fabulous banter »

scared

Monday, May 12th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

I’m scared that my life is on a road that will make it stylishly bleak, like a rest break in Guggenheim museum

LA

scared
1 vote rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »

Need to know gender for buying a house energy certificate?

Friday, May 2nd, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

No-one should need to classify my gender in the process lf my purchasing an energy certificate for my home. How annoying. I won’t be using this service

gender options for home emergy certificate

Need to know gender for buying a house energy certificate?
1 vote rating 5

1 wonderful musing »

picture this

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 | tags: ,  |

International relocation info graphic

picture this
3 votes rating 5

3 bits of fabulous banter »

Moving decisions

Monday, April 28th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Minneapolis city skyline at dawn I’ve been driven around different desirable areas in Minneapolis (thanks Peggy Pearl!) and will get some home choosing advice from a professional realtor. For now, these are the things influencing my likely choice of Wendy House in Minneapolis.

Warehouse conversion in downtown Minneapolis as a home because:

  1. Meeting neighbours.  Making friends, in lifts, in corridors, in the shared facilities – garden, gym, swimming pool, garage, other social spaces
  2. Managing structural maintenance. Apartments have management companies. I won’t need to find, interview service providers and make arrangement to let them have secure access then check their work and follow-up if there are any problems.
  3. Size appropriateness: Not too big, not too small, not too many bathrooms to clean, no huge basement or loft to fill with stuff that I don’t need or use. Under the bed is enough space for unused stuff….
  4. No snow shovelling to get my car out. A warehouse apartment must come with some form of covered, maintained garage.
  5. In home Sampo care. Some apartments provide a service for caring for your pet while you’re away
  6. Walking places. The sidewalks downtown will allow me to walk to places (temperature permitting) like a range of restaurants, shops and galleries
  7. Bus services nearby. The Minneapolis bus services were pretty good, the city centre provides a central hub enabling me to get all over the place easily, not just use the ‘local’ route that goes through the village.
  8. More people like me. Single, no children living with them and elderly.

Arts and Craft’s house in a village style location in suburbia as a home because:

  1. Commute time and traffic. My work place is in a suburb with some very nice villages within easy distance with relatively light traffic (compared to Berkshire or Seattle)
  2. Can’t hear neighbours. I love living in a detached home, though I’ve had a lucky history in town homes (terraced housing)
  3. Garden for Sampo. Sampo has always been an indoor cat, but she does enjoy a wander in the current Wendy House garden and watching the other cats and birds play there
  4. Property space for the price. I can get more square footage for my dollar. Feels like more of an ‘investment’.
  5. Gardening. The relaxing pleasure of planning, planting, caring for,  and watching my own garden grow

Have I missed anything that you think it’s important to consider? How would you rate the value of things. Not hearing the neighbours is a fairly weighty requirement…

Moving decisions
6 votes rating 4.2

3 bits of fabulous banter »

perspective

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

Truch clearing snowBar staff: where are you moving to?

Wendy: Minneapolis

Bar staff: (raises eyebrows, furrows brows looking perplexed)

Wendy: It’s in the USA

Bar staff: Wow! I’d love to move out of Reading

perspective
5 votes rating 4

2 bits of fabulous banter »

colour saturated grass

Monday, April 14th, 2014 | tags: , , ,  |

Estate Agent #1

  • This is the only other coach house on sale in the area, one more bedroom but no garden or off-road parking
  • Buyers can find out what you paid for this house, and when you bought it
  • I had to explain to my Indian client what a coach house was, he just didn’t understand
  • Someone will walk into the garden and fall in love with this place before they’ve even got through the door (Indeed, that’s what happened to me)
  • Oh! That bath…
  • We’ve never had a problem showing houses to people with cat allergies, we did have one client bitten by an owner’s dog. The dog had been locked in the garden and the client was told not to go into the garden
  • I’m from Bristol

Estate agent #2

  • This is the most desirable area in Reading
  • Double off-road parking is worth around 20K
  • We don’t get many character properties like this downtown
  • I’m from Bristol

Estate agent #3

  • I can tell you what the other agents said (he did, and he was wrong)
  • Fantastic (repeatedly, like a carbon copy of his colleague that I spoke to on the phone)
  • What a fantastic kitchen
  • Our website is new and really good, it’s got pictures of the founding partners on it
  • We’ll do a TV presentation for a character property like this one.

I didn’t get the impression that any of them offered anything that would add any real value over the property details and access to buyers that have been pre-screened for a mortgage. None of them really told me about their access to the type of people that would like to buy the Wendy house. I suggested excluding:

  • couples planning to start a family – dangerous staircase, downstairs bathroom
  • elderly people or planning for this to be a last, retirement, home – dangerous staircase, downstairs bathroom
  • people over 5″8 – low beam crossing the dangerous staircase
  • people that love to cook – tiny kitchen separated from the dining area by the hallway

Estate agent #1 was the least offensive, arrogant. She listened and related to me as a person most effectively.  Maybe I’ll have to make my own promotional materials pack – showing related documentation from my purchase, guarantees on work done, local service professionals etc

colour saturated grass
2 votes rating 5

7 bits of fabulous banter »