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Greetings From Harrogate...
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
All Packed Out
Topic: The House

Here we are, sitting in an empty house! It's surreal.

The movers got here around 8am. I feel sorry for them - they have to make a four hour drive up from Mildenhall to come get our stuff! (Then of course, make that same drive back after packing up all day.)

Things went pretty well. Sarah - bless her! - took Ryan to Winkies, so that made things a lot easier.

The movers were done by a little after 2pm. The only hitch was that someone tracked cat poo into the house. Yell However, it wasn't a lot, and it's been relatively easy to clean up.

It's funny the things you don't think about while packing until it's too late. Some time back, our land lady had an upstairs window replaced. We took down the blinds for the occasion, naturally. However, we never put them back up, because they got in the way of opening the window. I never gave it a second thought until I saw that whole room packed up, and no blinds in sight. Oops. Luckily, I was able to retrieve them!

I wasn't so lucky in Ryan's room, though. I took down the ties that hold the curtains back, because I have that insane mom thing where you're afraid your child will somehow hang himself on something stupid like that. I had the ties set aside, but somehow they managed to wind up inside a bin. I didn't think about it, until that bin was packed up. Oh well. I can always mail it back if my land lady gets upset. (However, I don't think she will.)

It was funny the things the movers packed up, and the things they left out. They packed up a moldy old dish rack (which we were actually going to throw out), and took an instruction sheet that was taped to the top of the dryer (the dryer is staying here). However, they left out a diaper holder that was hanging on the back of Ryan's door, and a lamp shade (I was able to add those items before they were done).

We had two "safe rooms" set up, with all our stuff we didn't want packed. That was handy. Now that the movers are gone, our stuff is leaking back into the rest of the house again.

It occurred to me while watching my stuff get packed up, that you don't realize exactly how dusty and dirty your house is until you move. Without all those pesky possessions in the way, the dust really stands out!

Also, you don't realize how big a part muscle memory plays in your life until your house is turned upside down. I keep looking at the wall where the clock was, somehow expecting it to still be there. It's amazing how much we bumble around the house on auto pilot, simply because things are where we expect them to be. 

So, next up, we're checking into a hotel (well, it's more like a B&B) on Saturday. We'll have our phone on in the house until the 5th, and we do have voice mail. However, if you need to call us, our cell phone would be a better bet. I'm not sure what the internet situation will be at our hotel. We'll have internet at the house until the 5th as well, so at the very least, we'll check our e-mail one more time then. 

Posted by hkvlayman at 4:18 PM BST
Monday, 10 September 2007
We Are Not Amused
Topic: The House

A week or two ago, our land lady called to tell us she's having the windows on the house redone. She gave me the impression that the workers wouldn't need to be inside, except for a little bit. At the time, we weren't sure if we were going to be traveling during the time the windows would be done or not. Our land lady said it would be fine if we weren't, but she would need to be at the house to let the workers in, and to be there while they worked. Fine.

So, a night or two ago, Larry spoke with our land lord. He told us the workers would be at our house sometime between 8 and 8:30am. Fine.

This morning, bright and early, the workers showed up. And needed to be inside. Not fine.

Larry and I both had the impression we wouldn't be impacted much by the window replacement. However, having to have workers inside your house from 8am to 5pm for FOUR DAYS is a bit of an inconvenience. They are starting in the front room, which is where Larry likes to relax. The days the workers will be here are exactly the last days of Larry's leave. God forbid he should be able to relax during that time!

Also, we're going to have to move a bunch of things around, and the house is going to get cold from the windows being completely gone (even if temporarily). If we want to go anywhere (which we were planning on), we now have to coordinate it with our land lady, so that someone is here and the house isn't unlocked and unsupervised (the integrity and moral fiber of the workers notwithstanding).

So it's not the end of the world, but it's darned annoying.

What capped it though, is how rude and condescending our land lady was about the whole thing. I went upstairs to get cleaned up, and apparently while I was doing that, she was pretty rude to Larry. I admire his self control, because he managed not to say anything. (Apparently that was mainly because Ryan was standing right there.) Anyone that knows me and Larry, knows that being condescended to is right at the top of our pet peeve list.  Yell

What's annoying too, is that two years ago when we had the heating bill from hell, our land lady didn't want to do anything about the windows (which are very drafty and leak a lot of heat - heating a 100+ year old two storey Victorian house is not cheap or easy). Now that we're leaving in two months, she's suddenly replacing them. Grr...

Anyhow, just had to rant and share. Wink

I think we're just going to go about our business as usual as much as possible. I actually do feel a bit sorry for Larry, because it's his domain they are disrupting right now, and it is his vacation time. Work is very stressful, and he's earned a bit of decompression time vegging in front of his computer.

What's really going to be difficult is when they do our lounge (living room). We LIVE in that room, and it makes up the bulk of the downstairs part of the house. Not being able to be in there is going to suck. (There will probably be a rant about that when it happens.Innocent

Until then... I have already started working on my blog entry on our trip up to Scotland, and hope to have that up soon. Hope everyone has a good week! 

Posted by hkvlayman at 9:23 AM BST
Sunday, 19 August 2007
The Ballad of the Enormous Spider
Topic: The House

This morning Ryan and I were eating our cereal in peace, when only a couple feet behind Ryan, an Enormous Spider trucked across the carpet. I squeaked. Ryan went on eating, blissfully unaware of the eight-legged creature passing behind him.

Unfortunately, the spider-sucker Larry's uncle Barry gave us is in need of new batteries. Even if it hadn't been, I'm thinking this spider may have been too big for it!

The Enormous Spider is now hiding in a corner underneath the fake fireplace. As long as it stays there, we'll all get along fine. I'm a little worried though. It sent out a scout. A Relatively Small Spider ventured forth, only to find itself trapped in a glass and unceremoniously thrown out into the cold, rainy day. I'm wondering what the Enormous Spider will do when its compatriot fails to return.

To Be Continued... 

Posted by hkvlayman at 10:35 AM BST
Thursday, 8 December 2005
Meet Charlie
Topic: The House
Two things have happened that let me know I am part of the neighborhood now. One, I ran into a neighbor at the local grocery store. Two, I came home from a jog with Ryan to see that Charlie had officially adopted us into his neighborhood. Charlie belongs to our neighbor, Norah (the same neighbor I saw at the store, actually). There are a lot of cats in the neighborhood (all pretty much accounted for, I think), and Charlie seems to be the mascot for this end of the street. Charlie is very friendly, and a bit scrappy. It made me feel welcome to see him on our window ledge.
A week or so ago we finally broke down and got a separate dryer. It was just too much to wait three hours for one little load of laundry to get done. We go through way too much laundry for that! It's an interesting dryer. It doesn't need a vent. It collects water in a container in the bottom that you need to empty every other load or so. It's also got two different lint traps. One fills up quickly, he other doesn't. There's some sort of filter in the bottom that needs hosing out once a month. Weird, but worth it so far.
Random observation: There's a house down our street called, "Beggars Roost."

Posted by hkvlayman at 12:47 PM GMT
Thursday, 22 September 2005
The Spider Is Dead, Long Live the Spider
Topic: The House
The corpse of the Enormous Spider materialized on the stairs today. The weird thing was, I'd gone by the stairs not that long before and it wasn't there. I would have thought I would have seen it limping along to the place of its demise. That's the second Dead Enormous Spider I've seen since moving here. It makes me wonder if the Enormous Spider has nine lives, or simply a lot of look alike cousins.

Posted by hkvlayman at 8:58 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005 11:00 PM BST
Tuesday, 6 September 2005
Return of the Enormous Spider
Topic: The House
No sooner do I post my last entry, then I go out into the hallway and what do I see? The Enormous Spider! This time I was able to catch it in a glass and escort it outside. I was so skeeved out that I didn't even pick it up off the floor. I just sort of scooted it along then picked it up at the last minute and threw it out. For a second it looked like it was going to come back in, then I guess it thought better of it and went out. Ugh! There was a Not As Enormous Spider near the door as well, but it scurried away (probably still inside the house) when I threw the other one out. The cats are not doing their jobs. Larry informed me he'd seen Misty hunting spiders a time or to, but I have yet to see it. Besides, this one was so big, I think it would fight back!

Posted by hkvlayman at 9:48 PM BST
Saturday, 3 September 2005
Topic: The House
Yesterday morning I started down the stairs and on one of the steps saw an Enormous Spider. It was either an exoskeleton or dead, thankfully, but it was still gross.
Just a few minutes ago, I saw another Enormous Spider trucking across the carpet. EEEWWWWW!!! I am now officially skeeved out. (Not sure "skeeved" is a word, or if that's even the correct usage, but it describes how I feel!) I was going to try to catch it in a glass and throw it outside (way too big to smoosh, and I hate doing that anyway), but I wasn't sure it would fit! It ran under the couch before I could try. So now I've got the heebie jeebies and jump if I feel the tiniest thing. Larry told me when I first got here that there are a lot of spiders, but there are supposedly none that are poisonous. I really hope so, especially for Ryan's sake. Luckily they seem to stay away during the day. I'm glad because Ryan and I spend a lot of time on the livingroom floor. I haven't seen very many until now, and I've been here over three weeks, so hopefully that's a good sign. Man, the cats need to step it up! I'm hoping that there aren't many other Enormous Spiders in the house. I usually have to get up at night at least once to either go to the bathroom or check on Ryan. I'm going to have to take a flashlight with me now to make sure I don't step on anything with too many legs!
While I'm on the topic of "The House," I might as well mention that for all the sinks in the house, there are two faucets: one for hot and one for cold. Is it me or is that not the norm in the States? I don't seem to remember there being two. It makes getting Ryan's bathwater the right temperature interesting. The kitchen is slightly different. There's only one faucet, but mixing the hot and cold water is weird. When you turn them both on, you can feel cold and super hot spots in the stream of water. It doesn't just blend to one temperature. Also, the knobs don't keep the water pressure up, so sometimes the pressure will lower and sort of peter out on its own.
Don't get me wrong, I like living here. It's just interesting getting used to the house's idiosyncrasies.

Posted by hkvlayman at 10:16 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 3 September 2005 10:19 PM BST
Saturday, 20 August 2005
Topic: The House
We got our dishwasher yesterday. It's almost exactly like the one we had in Germany, only a little smaller. It works really well, too. Yay! As far as the washer/dryer goes (did I mention it's in the kitchen?), I think we're going to find somewhere to put a dryer and have one delivered. It just takes way too long to dry things, especially considering how small the loads are.

I still haven't sorted through all my stuff yet. I think that's going to take a while. At least I've got my suitcases unpacked!

Posted by hkvlayman at 8:33 PM BST
Wednesday, 17 August 2005
Topic: The House
I was spoiled in Germany, to an extent. I had an American washer and dryer, and it was good. I also had an American fridge. My oven and stove were a weird hybrid that had a German design, but was as big as American ones. The range was electric - which I hate - and the oven was marked in degrees that seemed to match up with neither Fahrenheit nor Celsius. You also had to turn about three different knobs to just the right settings to actually work the thing. I knew people who lived on the economy who had German appliances, and the main thing I heard about them was that they were a lot smaller than American ones, and took a lot longer to do their jobs (with the exception of ovens, which were still smaller, but cooked things in a fraction of the time). Here, I have a gas range which is great, but a tiny oven. Larry had to buy smaller cookie sheets since the ones we had wouldn't fit. The thing that's really been vexing me is our washer/dryer. Yep. It's a combo. We don't have instructions for it, so that makes it all the more interesting. (I need to see if I can find some online.) The washer/dryer has a very small capacity, about what most Americans would consider a small load of laundry. It doesn't take too long to wash, but it takes FOREVER to dry. We don't know how to add fabric softener (although as I write this it occurs to me that we could add a dryer sheet at some point during the drying process), so the clothes come out wrinkly and full of static. There also doesn't seem to be a delicate cycle. I am by no means complaining, simply describing. I am happy to at least have something, and I consider this an adventure! As far as the fridge goes, the only thing besides space constraints is that it seems to either freeze things when it shouldn't, or not keep things cold enough. Oh well. We'll get it figured out. Also, the freezer is on the bottom. I know some units in the States have that arrangement, but I never have had a fridge like that before. While I'm at it, I have to mention an oddity in one of the bathrooms. Instead of a light switch, there's a knob hanging from the ceiling that you pull. I think that's sort of funny. We're supposed to be getting a dishwasher tomorrow. I'll let you know what that turns out like!

Posted by hkvlayman at 4:40 PM BST
Saturday, 13 August 2005
The House
Topic: The House
Here's a photo of our house. I just took it about five minutes ago. The sun came out for a second so I ran outside and tried to get a photo before the sun went behind the clouds again. I only semi-succeeded. This house is nice, but has some odd quirks. We have two bathrooms, one in the master bedroom and one down the hall (both are upstairs). One bathroom has just a tub, and the other has only a shower. They both have toilets, but you can only really use the one in the bathroom with the tub, which is NOT the one in our bedroom. The shower is a walk in, back out deal, with very little water pressure and not much control over the temperature. I'm glad Larry was here before I was to figure out that there's a switch outside the bathroom that you have to turn on to get hot water. It's near the floor, so it's not obvious. It's an adventure!

Posted by hkvlayman at 11:48 AM BST

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