Is not fun. At all. Even a little bit.
I do not understand the Massachusetts way of doing property. Realtors are a strange concept, and you have to use them. Santa Clarita Diet it is not.
The rental price also fluctuates dependent on time of year, and as this is peak season (thank you student city) we will be tied in to the raised rents until we decide to buy or leave the USA.
We have seen a number of properties today. Several were okay (one would have been perfect but no garden – can’t do that again).
Another was stunning but nothing included in the rent, which was top of our budget.
One was, frankly, grotty. Which is a new word that we taught both our realtor and the Destination Services Consultant. Honestly it needed a handyman badly.
There are two in contention. Both are, sadly three bed, but they have 1.5 bathrooms, which we have determined is the thing we can compromise on the least.
The one I’ve fallen for has a balcony, a stunning kitchen, and the kids rooms are separated in a really cute way. However the layout means that #1 Son will need to have the slightly smaller room, else he would have to walk through that of the Tiny Tyrant to get to bed – so the child who goes to bed sooner gets the bigger room. There are ways to make it fairer.
So no, not ideal, but we were always planning on getting a good quality sofa bed or the kids can bunk up when we have guests.
We also met the landlords who were lovely (offering to install new fences and put bars on relevant windows to protect the kids lovely) and the Tiny Tyrant totally charmed them.
Actually she charmed everyone she met today. The realtor called her a princess (he thinks she has a very regal wave 🤣😂)
And the DSC told me #1 Son was a wonderful and unique young man and she was full of praises for both children (and us as parents actually) and it was lovely to hear.
We were finished by 15:30 and as we were all cranky and exhausted we decided to stop for a treat. So, may I present:
The children’s first Dunkin’ Donuts
I had a blackberry-strawberry iced tea and it was lush. (The chocolate-strawberry croissant donut was gorgeous too)
We were all pretty darned jet lagged after the journey and as we had arrived so late and in all the worry over the cat, we hadn’t gotten food in.
So we decided to go to a local diner for breakfast.
As we’d all been up since 05:30 but nothing opened before 08:00, I was pretty ravenous.
Ordered the kids a chocolate chip pancake each, Jo ordered huevos rancheros, but I couldn’t decide.
So I thought “oh, I’ll have an omelette (cheddar, ham, mushroom) and a chocolate chip pancake.
Guess who forgot what country she was in?!??
Yes, that was my breakfast. No, I didn’t finish it. Yes, I am a moron.
Was bloody tasty though!
Then we decided to try and buy a few essentials that we hadn’t been able to bring with us.
Also a baby monitor and Jo’s Nespresso machine, the cost of which means that in a month or so I will be able to get my longed-for Kitchen Aid mixer and thus get my bake on!
If anyone wishes to buy me presents this Christmas I have my eye on SEVERAL Craftsy classes in the baking spectrum now!!!
Particularly those where custard is involved 🤣😂
We then went to a local supermarket (Market Basket, not WholePaycheck) and tried to stock up on groceries.
Guess whose card was declined, despite him telling his bank that he was emigrating? Such fun times.
Got that little issue fixed, but invested in Amazon Prime because it’s just stupid not to.
(The new cat tree should be here by Friday-ish 😂👍🏻)
Got the kids into bed (#1 Son had a bowl of Frosties with marshmallows as the pizza three-cheese was too strong for him)
Jo then spent over an hour on the phone to Comcast to try and sort out our wifi issues, which ended with “meh, we dunno mate, buy a new modem”
Except we can’t because it’s a managed condo and the company have to deal with it so god alone knows when that might be fixed.
Oh and I got the cat stoned on catnip. I was worried she wasn’t eating, and as she had been starved for 24 hours before the flight that was concerning. So I plonked nip on the wet food.
I think I might have put too much on, as she was very vocal and jumping all over the furniture – which included the bathroom sink!!!!
Getting to the airport was fine, not a hitch.
Had a wonderful send off breakfast with my family – which was lovely and I look forward to putting my send off picture on the wall in our new home.
Jo got randomly selected for an extra TSA check (apparently that gets printed on boarding passes these days) so I had to wrangle two over-excited children plus baggage onto the flight – which was… fun
The flight was relatively uneventful. #1 Son basically binged on movies/tv/games.
It was however delayed by 40 minutes due to Canada having problems with air traffic control.
My tv unit was busted until about halfway through so I didn’t get to watch Logan – pretty gutted actually.
The Tiny Tyrant was surprisingly undemonic. She slept through take off and had an additional nap about halfway through.
Neither child ate much but that’s to be expected.
Then we landed at Boston Logan International Airport.
Which was nice. Until we got stuck in Immigration Control for over three hours because their computers were down.
Except that we only heard this by eavesdropping -there was no official announcement of any kind. They did hand out water eventually.
So then we went to pick up bags. Which were all there. So we’re the car seats. However, no stroller. Somehow it may not have made it onto the flight.
While we were at Heathrow we had pre checked it in. The Delta employees then also checked it in and in barcode confusion it may not have followed us.
So the poor Tiny Tyrant is having to walk everywhere at the moment.
Then we went to pick up the rental car… where the computers were also down. So we were there for a further hour plus.
By the time we picked the damn car up (nice red Mazda for the interested) it was half four. We had landed at 12:30.
Thing was, our poor cat had been sent over on the flight immediately after ours. Which meant, factoring in the Canada delays (though they also affected her flight so that wasn’t as bad) but with the additional delays, the poor bugger was stuck at the condo waiting for us.
But we picked her up, some of Jo’s work mates brought emergency supplies, we paid a handsome tip and she was in her new home.
She seems to be settling in well though now.
The house is packed up. The men were done by 2pm.
The keys have been handed to the estate agents (with significant complaints about their recommended conveyancers – watch this space for updates on that little problem).
We are bidding farewell to Banbury.
It’s so strange to finally say that. This time tomorrow, all being well, we will be in Massachusetts (which I really have to learn how to spell!)
We’ve had a lovely last supper with Jo’s parents. The kids had a wonderful time, and we will be seeing them for Thanksgiving.
My parents are seeing us off at the airport tomorrow (mad people they are, but I’m grateful).
The kidlets are tucked up in bed:
And yes the Tiny Tyrant is sprawled across ours, she will be moved to her cot.
We have to be up at 04:30 for the plane so I bid you all goodnight.
Boxing up our lives.
They are fast, they are efficient and they are brutal.
I can’t take any medication with me in the crates so all my prescriptions (and wow do I have a lot) have to be squeezed into the suitcases.
By the time we left the house they were starting on the big items and some rooms were already cleared. As much as this has not been good for my stress levels, I am genuinely impressed with these blokes.
Hand luggage is also done:
One packed car ready for Saturday.
The suitcases themselves are crazy and we will need to buy new clothes, but in the words of Elsa I have chosen to let it go.
We’ve also attempted to pre-book some viewings for potential 12-month rental properties.
The kids have their last days at Reception and nursery respectively tomorrow….
It’s all suddenly very, very real.
Is more trouble than I could have imagined.
We are taking most of our belongings to Massachusetts but there are some things we can’t take – the sofa for instance (we broke it 😱🤣) Also bedding etc.
So we rented a van. Which is fine. Except it’s a manual – so I can’t drive it. Jo hasn’t driven a manual in over two years.
And it has opinions on gears. It flashes a display at you to tell you if it thinks you’re wrong.
Which has led to several hilarious rants from the hus-creature so far on the merits of “vehicles that expect you to peel grapes for them. If it has opinions, it should just do it itself”
(Expletives redacted for our more sensitive readers 🤣😂)
Also, you have to register a van to take to Ardley in advance – but you need the licence plate for the permit. Which takes 2-3 working days to process.
Now, I’ll say something in defence of our local council – when we phoned up to explain why we needed to go today they sorted it out over the phone, no fuss no muss (and not a single cuss 😝) but it made me understand just why fly tipping can happen.
We’ve had the final night in our own beds in our own house.
Tonight the Family Shields is all tucked up in a hotel.
It went about as well as feared.
#1 Son has issues sleeping in a low down unfamiliar bed.
The Tiny Tyrant refused to sleep in the provided travel cot so we tried her in the second kiddie bed:
First she climbed out. Then she fell out.
I tried to “snuggle sleep” her into submission. That worked for all of 25 minutes. After being transferred to the cot she woke and screeched. So the upshot is, poor Jo-face is now trying to sleep in said kiddie bed and I’m curled up with the Tiny Tyrant who is now happily asleep while I blog under the covers.
It is 21:30 and I am going to plug my phone in to charge and try and sleep.
Today was our last Sunday in the U.K. for the foreseeable.
The countdown is real and scary now.
It’s also exhilarating.
Yesterday the hus-creature and I celebrated (a tad early but meh) ten years of wedded bliss. Our actual anniversary is Wednesday but that’s “van and tip run day” so it just wasn’t going to happen!
Thanks to the wonder of Red Letter Days vouchers we went to Kouzu in London and it was amazing! I luffs the husband creature.
Today was our going away bash and it was wonderful to see so many of our family and friends in one place!
I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would like with each person but I am grateful to everyone for coming 💗💗💗
We will be eating leftovers for days though!
And we have given away many electronic gadgets and I am now learning just how much we relied on the joy and wonder that is a microwave… and hoover!
Single figures now.
Plans are now coming together swiftly.
The cat knows something is up. The Tiny Tyrant knows something is up (and is demon spawn hellbeast toddler as a result)
#1 Son has been having a tough week at school, and has started being sad about “missing his house”. Breaks my heart, but this is for the best.
He’s getting his own little graduation ceremony next Friday to make up for missing the main one, hopefully it’ll help.
New things achieved:
- Cleared out medicine cabinet.
- Cleared out cupboards.
- Thrown away expired items.
- Donated relevant non-expired items to local homelessness shelter.
- Completed the last crochet projects intended as gifts.
- Dyed up the last of my yarn for a new project.
Slowly but surely we are getting there.
We’ve also seen a house that would be perfect, but we aren’t allowed to indicate an interest before Monday due to strange and bizarre realtor rules.
Cross fingers for us, as the house is gorgeous, it backs onto a wood (so there is space for the kidlets to run around) and the closest Elementary School looks amazing…