Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Moving Day #2

Today was our second moving day out of our house and our final one. The packers packed all of our remaining goods for storage today and then our renters arrived later in the afternoon to collect the keys to their new home. 
We had a total of 107 packed boxes going to the UK via our air shipment (only about 4 crates at 600 pounds each) and 114 boxes going into storage, plus all of our furniture. Thankfully we did not pack any of those boxes, although I have just realized that the packers accidentally packed my current cell phone charger. I am not sure if that will be shipped to the UK or stored, but either way, it is not of much help to me right now....nor will it be of much help to me if I find it in the UK....
Just a few of the many boxes all packed and read for crating.

Our dining room packed up for storage

Our kitchen completely empty...even the fridge! 
Scott & I enjoyed a final dinner of Chicago's Portillo's fine italian beef and italian sausage in our empty house before leaving the city. (We actually thought we probably were too stinky and not presentable enough from moving all day to be in a suitable restaurant next to other people, so we opted for take-out.)
We left Chicago late and drove away as the downtown lights were shining bright against the dark sky. We are now staying with Scott's parents for a few days and look forward to not doing too much while there.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Moving Day

Today is Day ONE of moving day out of our Chicago house. I saw the moving van pull up this morning and shed a few tears...mostly due to my lack of sleep last night and for not being as organized as I had hoped to be for this move. It is now noon and I cannot believe how quickly our house has gone into boxes. Pretty soon I am sure we will be staring at the walls of this house and will probably only have our suitcases remaining....

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Farwell Chicago Tour

We are on the farewell Chicago tour now...the time is now minus four days until we move out of our city home and live out of our suitcases for a few weeks before we actually get to move to the UK. Our renters move into our house on Wednesday of next week, so we have a weekend of more organizing our things ahead of us.

Last weekend we said goodbye to many of our friends in the city . This weekend we have another weekend of goodbyes ahead of us with both of our families coming to town, and a few more dear friends. Today was my last day of work (Scott has been "temporarily retired" for a week already) which seemed very strange for me because I do not have another job lined up at the moment....although I will be working at some point once we make the move and our settled.

Scott has joked with me that I have spent the last month on my "farewell tour" at work. I have had the great luxury of getting together with my clients and partners to say goodbye and to also transition my accounts over to other staff members. Sadly, I am leaving a job I have truly enjoyed. It is in fact exactly 5 years ago that I started at my job - on August 1, 2003. I would imagine such timing rarely happens when exiting a job.

I have been fortunate to represent the best city in the US and also feel privileged to have been able to experience and learn more about Chicago in five years with my job, than I probably ever would have experienced in many years of just living in Chicago. My work farewell tour culminated last night with a lovely cocktail reception in my honor at the new Trump Hotel in Chicago. It was only fitting that the room in which it was hosted was called the "Skyline Room" and had an amazing view of the city. It has been a great pleasure to work with such great clients, partners, and colleagues during my time in Chicago and I am fortunate to call so many of them friends now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Home Improvement Project

In a last minute decision, I convinced Scott that we should re-do our half bathroom before moving out of our house - and so, we hired a contractor and had it done last week! It caused a bit more dust than I realized it would, but the results are a beautiful addition to our home we are about to leave. Crazy, I know, but hopefully our renters will enjoy the upgrade. We also had a new ceiling fan installed in our living room, new blinds installed throughout the house, and new toilets put into our other two bathrooms (in hopes of avoiding any plumbing mishaps while we are away). It is of course Murphy's law that we would upgrade our house just before moving out....

Here are the before and after photos - 
The half bathroom before....

The dated white tile floor before....

And AFTER....
A new pedestal sink, light, mirror, floor and baseboards, and even a color of paint in there. 

The new light turned on, and a view of the pretty Kohler toilet to match the sink.

A close-up of the nice new stone tile floor.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Will we really move?

So, we are now not only faced with the fact that we still have not found housing in the UK (and our agent has told us that our chances of finding something as nice as we had chosen are pretty much dismal at best....very reassuring of her), but now, we are faced with the fact that we are NOT going to be leaving the US anymore at the end of July! I did not expect this situation to present itself. 

Our work permits were not processed by someone at Scott's company in time, so we are not able to get our visas yet, thus we are not able to move. The company has told us that the earliest date they expect them to be processed is August 18th. More time in Chicago sounds nice, especially during the summer, but we have renters moving into our house at the end of this month, so we still need to move out and I guess we will be "homeless" after that happens.....

The company has offered and suggested that since we have not secured housing in the UK and have time on our hands, they will fly us back over to the UK for another week for our second home finding trip. We plan to go back at the beginning of next month and then we are thinking maybe we will kill some time by taking a road trip to visit friends in the southeast OR maybe we will be checking into the Peninsula for a few weeks! (haha - just kidding!) 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Change of Address...Before even moving....

I guess we are learning that things in the UK really do not work the same as in the US.....
We thought we had found a place to live when Scott & I went over to the UK for a week on our house finding trip. The Latimer House that we had selected was the best home we saw during our visit and really our best option overall. It seemed like a quaint "English" house, and I already had identified my favorite things about the dwelling. All other homes were either quite small (and dumpy) or else they were homes out in the middle of nowhere. Granted this area to which we are moving is not large overall, but the "villages" we visited during the house tour consisted of a street or two, at best, with a few houses on them. There may have been a local pub in that village, but there was definitely not a grocery store, gym, or even a store that you could walk to if you wanted to go out for a stroll. The "towns" we saw do offer such amenities and that is why our only one viable option for a house (which was in-town) was the one we selected.

Sadly, we found out this past weekend that the landlord of the Latimer House decided he did not want to sign a 24 month lease with us. Since we need a two year lease for a house (part of the agreement of our move), we were unable to move forward with this contract on the house. I am slightly frustrated that this information about the lease terms was not presented at the very beginning of our interest in this house, but as we are learning, things are done differently in the UK than we would expect in the US.

Everyone who has lived in the UK continues to tell me I need to take all of my American expectations and throw them away. I will need to adopt a new set of expectations. Situation #1 has arrived. I am just hoping we do not face a simliar situation with the next house we would find.

So, we are back to the drawing board in the search for a house. I am quite anxious to find housing since we will be moving in less than 3 weeks and I have no idea what bed linens (sizes), kitchen items, etc. I will need to pack for our shipment of goods that will go with us. I am also a bit nervous about signing a lease on a place that I have not seen in person, but we are lucky that with the Internet and digital pictures, we should be able to get a (fairly) good sense of a property before agreeing to live there.

I guess my dream of having an AGA stove in our English house was nice while it lasted.....

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our last American 4th of July (for a few years)

Scott & I went to St. Louis for a quick visit to see my parents and also to attend my friend Julie's wedding. The wedding was lovely and the bride was beautiful! 

We spent our last 4th of July (in the US for a while) by watching one of the most American past times in action - baseball. Since our timing of this visit home coincided with the Cubs/Cardinals series in St. Louis, Scott got an early birthday gift on Friday when the Cubs beat the Cardinals (sad but true). 

For my indulgence of St. Louis traditions, we visited Ted Drewes for a frozen concrete. The crowds are still there and the concretes are still as delicious as always! YUM. I doubt they ship internationally so I had to get my fill while we were home.
My parents were nice to Scott and gave him his own celebratory birthday cake while we were in STL....chocolate butter cream with chocolate cake from the Cakery. Quite delicious and the design was fitting since we had just come home from the game.
We are trying to get our "fill" of our favorite foods before we leave the country, so upon our return to Chicago, we had dinner at the Chicago Chop House (one of Scott's favorites). 
Happy Birthday Scott! I think it's going to be a great year ahead...