Thursday, June 30, 2011

And we're in...

I've been so swamped the last week I haven't have a second to blog. Oh, but I've been writing blog posts in my head daily - some full of colourful words not fit to print, others too whinging to post, and other a little too hysterically euphoric to share. Which is why I waited until we unpacked all but five boxes (and when my office was sort of set up).

Moving stinks. Big time. However, now that the dust is settling, we're so much happier in our larger place. And it is much larger, still no giant palace but it's enough space for us right now. In fact, I can't hear my mobile phone when it's on the other end of the flat so I keep  missing calls! That's not a problem I've had in a long time. And I'm quite content to miss a call or two.

The new place is shaping up. Still loads of things to organize and sort. We have thin curtains on the bedroom window and today I'm hoping Fen will put up the shutters soon as the sun sets close to 10pm and it rises at 4:30am!

It's just nice to have a little wiggle room again - and a fireplace. Cate was worried about how Santa would find us in our old place. Now she's quite delighted we have a chimney for him to slide down. Never mind that the fireplace probably hasn't worked since 1938, but she is not concerned with such frivolous details.

I've got ideas and plans for what I want to do, but for now we're just shoving stuff in corners and pretending not to see it. And the bathroom...I do not like it. It's old, not modern like our last one. But you know what? - that's okay. There's a reason God created tile paint - right?

Also on the creative, renovation list: chalkboard paint, a large board, batting and tacks for a large French Memo Board which will go in my kitchen. And I'm almost done putting the glow-in-the-dark stars on the kids ceiling.

And miles to go before I sleep....

Monday, June 20, 2011

Moving Day

Our new digs. We got the keys yesterday - what a day! The place is considerably larger than where we are now - Cate and I did cartwheels in the lounge which was hilarious. I kept wondering where the children where because we're so used to being on top of one another when I couldn't hear them I would dash down the hallway looking in rooms for the two of them.

It's nice and sunny in there as well, which is really nice. Cate and I took a walk through the back garden - it's communal but it's in sections where different people have claimed a patch of grass or a patio and I plan to do the same. It's nice, not as nice as our current back yard but it'll do.

We walked in and of course there were problems right off the bat. There was no hot water, two radiators leaked onto carpet (I have visions of mould which we are trying to run away from), there was furniture from the last tenant, the bathroom tiles were NOT fixed, two burners didn't work and the oven was acting up, no curtains or blind (as promised) in the bedrooms and the curtains in the living room leave a lot to be desired.

But it wasn't enough to dampen our delight. Sure, the place isn't perfect, but we're going to make it work. I will make it as lovely as I can. I keep reminding myself that this is just temporary and our real home awaits us in the US once our European adventure is over.

We  had our new furniture delivered from Ikea and one thing is clear - I have no business putting furniture together. Fen did the heavy lifting and I just put together the dining chairs. I'll stick to packing and unpacking from now on!

The real packing is today. Another run to Ikea for curtains and blinds is necessary today as well. Tomorrow the movers come and then we're outta here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Faith in Humanity is Restored

Just about 2 1/2 weeks ago we left our Archos, a portable DVR, in a rental car. It took us three days to figure out it was gone and then we hurriedly called Avis hoping against hope that they had found it.

Alas, the car had been rented to an American family who was driving through the chunnel to Europe for 10 days and then returning it to Heathrow. We waited... by the time we called Heathrow the day of it's return, it had already been rented again for two days. We waited again...

Usually, if we leave something in the car we shake our heads at our carelessness and be done with it. But this Archos had over 100 hours of children's programming from the US which our children adore. It also has a Today Show appearance of Cate, Fen (and me - 8 months pregnant - not a pretty sight!) when we modelled for a Halloween costume segment in 2009. There was Sesame Street, Word World, Curious George, Clifford - the Big Red Dog, and many other US programmes not featured on UK television. This has been a very important item in our house - for travelling, for nights when Cate won't go to sleep and I'm working, for entertainment when it's raining and Cate wants to watch something US, and so on.

So when we realized it was left in our rental car - we were upset. They aren't cheap, but it was the programming we really cried over.

As soon as we realized it was missing we called Avis. I have to say they were incredibly helpful - all of the people we spoke to went to bat for us. But after three rentals we figured it was a write off and were looking into replacements: iPad, another Archos, etc.

But today Avis called. They found it. Fen is on his way to pick it up right now.

I have to say that I am really astonished that after three other rentals no one decided to keep it. Maybe I'm cynical and don't expect the best in people - I'm very happy to be wrong.

I'm a goodie-goodie who would never take something that didn't belong to me. I hand in things people have left in taxis, restaurant tables, etc. I'm glad that the universe has decided to hand back the Archos and restore my faith in humanity. It's not that big a deal really. I'm just delighted that it's back after such a long absence.

Now, I just wonder where it has been and what it has seen. Maybe it recorded some of it's adventures on the Continent. ;-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ah to be four again...

Here is the birthday girl eating her pancakes made by Daddy on the morning of her fourth birthday. And what a birthday it was. On her actual birthday we went to the London Zoo where she was a little monkey:
And posed with the dung beetles:
And blew out the candles on her pink fairy birthday cake made by yours truly:
But the real fun was at her birthday party at Bake-a-Boo where she and her little friends had a lovely fairy tea party. Jasmin from Jazzy Faces painted their little fairy faces (she was AMAZING and did balloon characters - everyone got fairies or mermaids. Delightful). Bake-a-Boo was wonderful with their cupcake decorating and tea for little fairies - the kids loved it.
And they looked precious:
Ah... to be four again. Where everything is pink and glittery and wonderful. Happy birthday my little love.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hurricane Cate

I left Cate alone in her room for fifteen minutes to talk to my mother. THIS is what she managed to do. It took us (read ME) nearly half an hour to clean up.

Just look at that face! The cheek. She was just about to climb onto the dresser to toss the stuffed animals on the ground. 

Her room is getting packed up tomorrow. Some toys will make it to the new flat and others may just not!

Friday, June 3, 2011

This is me - right now

I've been up since 4am and I cannot, cannot get back to sleep. I'm having one of those mornings... I have way too much on my mind.

We finally signed the lease yesterday and await the countersigned copy. So until that arrives I will not really be content that the flat is ours. I'm in an argument with a family member over our family property and it's really digging into me - so frustrating. I made a comment meant to be funny in an email yesterday and it was taken out of context by one of the recipients and it didn't help the sitch. The husband and I had a blow up over our move, which has been resolved but not until I had to email him and precisely map out my thoughts as I could not talk to him about it anymore, I can't find the right ingredients I need to make my daughter the birthday cake I want for her fourth birthday on Sunday, and last night I realized we left our $500 portable DVR in the rental car this weekend. I'm waiting for Avis to open so I can call and hope that it's still there (it's US, doesn't have an adapter and is basically useless to anyone else so I pray that they will have it).

On a bright note - I had an offer for a two book deal yesterday and one of the projects I've been just drooling over has finally been greenlit and I can now go forward with the proposal! I have four other projects out in the world, hoping they all sell well. Fingers crossed (I may have a new DVR to buy, afterall).

It's been half term here and I've been really enjoying having Cate at home. She's in a stage where she can be very challenging. She is quite sassy and can be down right rude when she's in a mood. But this week she's been a darling (not counting the weekend at Lou's where she was just awful a couple of times). She's off to school next week and I'm going to miss our Mommy/Cate projects while X naps. We've had quite the craft sessions around here. Most of her friends are away or busy so it's been a lot of mommy time for her, which is nice. She's been playing quite nicely with X too. Aren't they cute?

So we have two weeks until we move and I'm looking at all the junk we've managed to accumlate here in the Winnebago (my flat nickname). I'm pretending it doesn't exist - self preservation. But again, to silver line it: we'll finally be out of this flat. Now that's exciting. And maybe I'll actually sleep in the new place! Hope spring eternal.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Let The Packing Begin...

Hooray - the lease is being signed tomorrow. You won't be surprised to hear that the estate agent who was overseeing our lease was sacked yesterday for not doing his job. I feel sorry for him but honestly, it shouldn't take four weeks to have a lease put together. Not only did he drag his feet he didn't mention a few huge details regarding the tenancy which would have been a nasty shock to us.

However, the manager cut the administration fees in half, caved into a few of our requests (like candles - no candles were allowed! I have decorative candles and candles for lighting. What if there was a power outage? Madness). Although they did not replace the oven. Dang. Regardless, the lease is complete and we're heading in tomorrow morning to sign.

Now we can hire movers and, ah-the-joy - start packing. I've already started sorting, tossing and donating. It's a tedious job but I have to say I like streamlining and cutting the fat. And I am a self-diagnosed OCD candidate with my hyper-organized moving technique.

Fen, on the other hand, is a hoarder. I chucked out negatives (negatives!!) of photos that we have doubles of in a box from our dating year which he fished out of the bin and reprimanded me for throwing away memories. Mind you, he's been promising for nearly 8 years that he'll put them in an album. For seven years I blindly believed him, but having hauled more crap than I care to admit across the Atlantic - methinks it ain't going to happen. So the minute  he left for work - they got put right back in the bin. It's doubtful he'll notice (unless he reads this.)

I promised him I wouldn't pack until June. Guess what folks - IT'S JUNE TODAY. Got my packing tape, some boxes: I'm ready.