Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Come one, come all

OK...love that we are getting the London visitors...family, high school friends, college buddies...keep the emails coming...we want to see you one and all. So...let us know the dates you are coming and we'll put it in the schedule.


10000 hit

Thanks for your interest and continued patronage. The blog has now hit the 10000th viewing.
Suspect it is now time for an update for the blog from a look and feel perspective....something to work toward.

Till then...I am still here.


It is not Tivo, but it is the equivalent of the concept. And I successfully recorded the Oscars for replay on Monday. You see, we were fast asleep by the time the star studded event commenced.

Overall assessment...it was a dark year for movies...and dark year for red carpet dresses. A bit boring on both fronts. Still , I watched the replay with baited breath...now...just to see these movies.

Speaking of that Russian installer

It was Duetsche Telecom all over again...we were T-Punkt! Our final visit by Sky Satellite Installation Team resulted in an overall successful outcome to the non-working satellite issue. It was, however, not without the Russian installer becoming "very angry" with us. Or as he said, "ahn - gry".

You see, we could read on the TV screen the words, "the card is not inserted properly" which means...the Sky satellite card was...well... not inserted properly. After multiple attempts to provide that feedback, our Russian lost his cool, called his supervisor, and basically said, "deal with these people".

We don't like making people "ahn-gry"...but we do like a working satellite. It was a toss-up but TV coverage won out over good manners.

It's a marathon, not a sprint

I am reminded each and every time we move, that moving is a endurance sport. It is not a sprint but more like a marathon. One can't sort out all the details in one week...have to simply hunker down and tackle a few key items every day. What we can report is that we are now operational in most areas of the house, including utilities, phone set-up, banking, internet, and the major item....satellite.

Although it did take multiple trips by British Telecom (who was very and tried hard to provide good customer service), as well as Sky Satellite (who was the exact opposite), we can now report that we are communicado in more ways than one.

Monday, February 18, 2008

And how is the house

Let's just say...cozy...in a word.

To answer your questions:

(1) No, the furniture will not fit. We will be selling off Chinese antiques.

(2) Yes, the furniture fits in the rooms, if you could get it up the stairs...both flights. Ugh!

(3) Yes, we have run out of storage space which means...we have been purging things right and left. I suppose there is freedom in ridding oneself of material possessions, but I did feel a bit like the pioneer woman, in the covered wagon headed westward that had to pitch Granny's piano over the side of the wagon right about Pike's Peak.

(4) Landlord chose not to paint the house before we moved in. That was actually done relatively painlessly, I might add.

(5) And for the creme de la creme...we have the surliest next door neighbors to one side. Cussing children, out of control kids screaming at night (we hear them through the walls), and fighting pit bulls. Ah, I know you are all jealous. My personal favorite is the shopping cart sitting in the front garden full of trash. Yard art, I suppose...NOT!

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"

The Shugies arrived safe and sound

In case you are wondering, the cats arrived in the UK safe and sound....long day but they were troopers and their paperwork was in order. Whew...at least that went right.

Did you know?

One of my first observations in UK housing is that there are no electrical outlets in the bathrooms. That's right - NONE! Sorry if you want to dry your hair, use an electric toothbrush or shaver, or use any other electrical appliance in the bathroom.

Two options prevail. Dry your hair in another room or run a really long extension cord to the bathroom. As for the toothbrush...get a battery powered one.

And no, it is not just us...this is the norm. Trust me, I checked.


Yes, we are still alive over here..but just barely. So much to tell but I can assure you it is those boring little "moving" stories that everyone has and everyone hates. I can I say it...I do not have many more of these moves left in me. Which is great news for those Waxahachians.

Two full weeks here and I have spent about 4 days in London. Problem #1 - I have been that same project in NL. So...poor Budman is manning the fort.

Postings to continue...watch this space...some wacky stories.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Two Germans and One Ruskie

Try moving into a house in the UK with 3 moving men (actually we were one down)...2 Germans and 1 Russian...none of which really spoke English. As if moving is not stressful enough .

Interestingly enough, we found a way to make it work.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It was rough but we're in...so to speak

Well, we're officially in our house in London but man was it a bumpy ride. Details to follow but the highlights included:

* our Chinese cabinets could not fit up the stairs. That's right....not fit up the stairs...now what?
* boxes, boxes, boxes - I feel like we are living in Barbie's house
* early impressions is that the area we live in will be nice but until we finish nesting, we can not really enjoy
* painters did not finish painting of interiors before we moved in. Now, in addition to furniture and boxes everywhere, we still have paint, dropcloths, and workmen to look forward to. Probably worked out for the best as the walls going up the two flights of stairs are pretty scratched now thanks to the German moving guys.
* Hachie Gal had to leave the Budman to finish the unloading of boxes as I dashed off to the airport for a week in Den Haag. He definitely drew the short straw.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

First night in London

Technically, we were not in the new house in London, as our furniture arrives on Monday. Apart from the suitcases we brought, the cat beds, PCs, and of course, the cats, the house is empty. And STILL under renovation from the move out of the previous tenant, I dissappointingly must update. So, we will be moving into a house that still needs to be repainted AFTER our funiture is moved in. If it sounds daunting to you, please tell me...because we are feeling overwhelmed a bit at the moment.

As for all things related to the house, our goods arrive on Monday. The million dollar question: is all our stuff going to fit? It is going to be tight on many fronts. The most challenging issue at this time remains "how in the blue blazes" we are going to get the furniture up the stairs. The stairs are super narrow and incredibly winding. May have to remove the banister...yes...you heard that right, remove the banister.

Back to the topic of the post, we arrived in London about 10 pm last evening, and after a couple of trips to/from Heathrow Airport, we picked up the cats without incident. They have been cleared for UK entry. Ginger and Gracie were the only ones who slept at the new house last night, since we slept at a hotel (thankfully - no air mattress for the Budman and Hachie Gal this time around - once was definitely enough).

After getting to bed at about 2 am, we are now headed back to the house today to prep for the movers who depart Germany tonight and arrive in London at 8 am tomorrow morning.

So, we will now be entering the black hole for a few days as the house does not yet have connectivity. See you on the flip side.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

So far, so good

We arrived safe and sound at the Amsterdam Schipol Airport. Ginger and Gracie were checked in the requisite 5 hours before flight time, and all their paperwork appeared to be in order. Of course, that truly remains to be seen upon arrival in the UK. Fingers crossed. Surely their type-A, control freak parents have not missed a crucial step in the pet entry requirements.

On the other front, driving to The NL was a snap...comparatively speaking. Snow stopped shortly outside of Dusseldorf and the car navigation system delivered us right to the doorstep of the pet cargo company.

We are currently killing time in the airport; before the day is done (hopefully before midnight) we will arrive at the new house in London...all four of us.

So far, so good.

It's REALLY snowing

Oh yea...the heavens have just opened up and the snow is coming down. I mean, coming down.
Would be so picturesque if not for the fact I have to drive in it for at least the next 3 hours.

Travel advisory

We are now travel bound by car in 30 minutes to Amsterdam Airport (check last months blog posting for the story on travelling with the cats for details as to WHY). yes, it snowed overnight but thankfully, only a light dusting. More snow headed our way today - we must be checked in at the "Pet Reception Center" at Amsterdam Schipol Airport no later than 3 pm today.

Mother Nature...please cooperate...today of all days.

Auf Wiedersehen

It's now a reality. In less than one hour, we will be UK bound. Hard to believe we have been in Germany for 2 years and 10 months - where did the time go?

For all the funny stories I've shared about the idiostyncracies of living in Germany, I can say that my life is indeed richer for the experience...hopefully a bit more tolerance for "different" ways of doing things, of approaching life, of living with people. That is the great thing about living in different parts of the world.

Germany has great history, scenery, travel destinations, food, customs, and yes, its people...I can't imagine my life now without having had that experience.

So, as I walked home last night from the tram stop for the final time, I must confess to getting a bit misty-eyed and sentimental. No matter where one lives, it can indeed become "home" if not but for a short time. As I reached the front door of the flat, I said to myself, "OK, this chapter is now officially closed, and the UK chapter is waiting to start."

And with that the German adventure drew to a close. Thanks to all of you who made the German experience so memorable and for those of you who travelled here to "enjoy" it with us.

Auf Wiedersehen, Dusseldorf and Germany!

Friday, February 01, 2008

A perfect ending

The last two errands of the day, prior to the Saturday departure to London, was to get Hachie Gal's mobile phone contact cancelled and the house phone service and internet cancelled.

All I can say is "shame on us". We should have known better. I mean, if living in Germany has taught us nothing it has taught us a thing or two about bureaucracy...the German way.

First stop, E+...the mobile phone service. We learned today that apparently a mobile phone service contract can be renewed (as well as upgraded to a better service that costs more) by doing nothing more than leaving a message on a person's mobile phone. Of course, that message must have been in German, and Hachie Gal, being unable to understand German clearly never got this message. So, no response on my part apparently signalled confrimation that I indeed want the new upgraded, super duper service. Accordingly to E+, it was a "gift to me because I was such a valued customer". A free gift that I will apparently be paying for for the next 9 months. Ah, capitalism at its best. Somehow, I thought it took more than voicemail on an answering message that a contract had in fact been entered into by two parties.

So, first stop on the errand list was a bit of a bust.

Now, on to T-Punkt where we were set to cancel our phone and internet service. According to WRG (a.k.a. Worthless Relocation Guy - yes, he had to make a final appearance to end our stay in Germany in the same manner that we began...with his stellar support, relo expertise, and top-notch service and follow-through - HA), all we needed to do was go into a T-Punkt store in person and request the service to be discontinued. It sounded so simple....NOT! Long story short, we have to write not one by two letters (one for the phone and one for the internet) and request the service to be cancelled. Time for this to be done: 6-10 days. At which time a bill will then be sent for final payment. Thanks to WRG, once again, faulty information.

Two hours later, we still have these on our to-do list.

You gotta laugh...it is such a perfect ending to our 3-year stint in Germany.

C'est fini

It's done. Finished. Completed. Closed. Done and dusted.

The Germany apartment is empty except for the cats, their carriers, our luggage, and a bag of trash. The movers rolled away with our "two" moving vans today (somehow, not sure how this apartment had enough stuff for two moving vans, but it did) and we will next see them on Monday morning, 8 AM, bright and early.

of course, this is assuming all goes well, there are no ferry issues crossing the channel, or that impending snowstorm does not hit The Netherlands or Germany.

Right...that's all we need.