A Moving Post

With the holiday that wasn’t now out of the way and my significant birthday behind us, it feels like this could be a watershed moment. A very welcome chance for me to stop bloody moaning about the same stuff and try blogging about something else.

Well, OK. But let me just say that being back in a form of lockdown and not being able to see Rebecca, Tom and Freddie sucks the largest of hairy ballsacks. The growth of my sense of resentment about that is only beaten by the rate of knots by which the number on the scales is increasing.

With that being said, we can move on. Literally.

Back in the old days, there were times when I would blog about “normal things”. These weekly posts weren’t just me ranting about cancelled holidays and inconvenient viruses. Anyone remember that?

In the spirit of that moving on, I can report to you today that, not content with battling a pandemic, rescheduling a wedding (twice) and losing out on a holiday, we have decided to move house too.

A few weeks ago I reported that we were wrestling with the dilemma of either moving or improving our modest abode. For the last few weeks, maybe months, we have literally been flip-flopping between the two options. Endlessly scrolling through Rightmove, pointlessly looking for a house we were in no position to buy, mainly to judge whether, if we did sell, would there be something we could afford that would get us what we want, alongside looking at photos of houses that had “extended” in the way we planned to.

We did venture down the improving route for a while, but the costs involved could have built the US/Mexico border wall twice over and for a house not worth that much in the grand scheme of things, that size of investment for “a bit more kitchen” just didn’t make any sense.

So the decision sort of made itself, and we have recently been through the process of readying our place to go on the market. All those DIY tasks that you ignore if you didn’t plan to sell needed to be done and after a variety of valuations, some comedic at both ends of the scale, on Friday our For Sale board went up. Yesterday we had our photos done and hopefully, in the next couple of days, we shall appear on the internet.

Having moved house just three times in my adult life, that is more than enough to have me dreading every second of the process. These early days seem to involve looking at the same twenty houses on the internet that match your search criteria and getting stupidly excited when a new one appears. Seconds later, when it is dismissed as not suitable you are back to scrolling through your regulars again. Should we sell quickly, the fun and games of finding somewhere to live will really begin.

What do we want?

Ideally, a 4 bed, with a large drive, garden and one of them cliched family-style open plan kitchens. If it can be within five minutes of where we live now that would be a bonus too. Shouldn’t be too hard, should it? You will, without doubt, be told how hard or easy that turns out to be in glorious detail as the weeks go by.

I like to offer variety here and the anticipation you must feel, not knowing if you will get moaning about the virus, not going on holiday or moving house is almost spoiling you.

I bet you wish I was still papping on about the holiday now, right?

Speaking of which…you knew I couldn’t resist. My expectations of being able to go next March change on an almost daily basis. Right at this moment, I’d say I am slightly leaning towards it being possible. I can’t really articulate clearly why I feel that way. We have what is going to be a very challenging winter ahead of us and anything could happen, but ultimately it feels like as time goes by the world is learning to live with this thing a little more. You may remind me of this unusual optimism when I am undoubtedly proved wrong. Hopefully, we’ll at least be in our new house by then with all that horror behind us!

Till the next time……

Now then, where were we?

So I’ve been droning about work woes now for about five or six weeks, and like one of those attention seeking folk on social networking sites, I’ve been doing the equivalent of posting one of those obtuse woe is me status updates hoping lots of folk will ask what is going on.

I apologise.

Last week was a biggie in lots of ways, and I can’t believe so much happened.  However, it was the culmination of many, many weeks of hard slog, worry, tears and desperation.

About six weeks ago, through no fault of my own (I think) I found myself having to find myself a new job.  I understand that I am no doubt one of many in this situation right now.  The story behind this coming to be is complex and not routine, but not worth repeating here, but it was very scary, especially when you are just about to move house, and have an expensive holiday to go on!

It felt like I’d jumped off a tall building and I could see financial disaster rushing towards me like the ground rising to meet me.  Scary stuff.  So for the past few weeks I have been working very hard trying to rectify that situation.  I have interviewed until I am sick of talking about myself.  During that time, I cannot claim to have coped in the best way, and I have been a bit of a nob to live with.  Louise deserves a medal, and the extended family have helped, worried and supported impressively.

Mood swings, depression, loss of confidence, anger, hopelessness and a bit more anger were just a few of the emotions that I swept through most days.  At the risk of glossing over these weeks and not giving them the soul crushing respect they deserve here, I will cut to the chase and say that last Monday saw me receive an offer for a job with a great company that will also allow us to continue to pay the bills, move house and of course most importantly still go on holiday.  It is all about priorities.

I knew last Sunday that an offer would be coming but I didn’t know the details of the package, and when that email arrived in all its acceptable glory, the relief felt was immense.  All the pressures and worries of the last six weeks were released, and it is hard to describe how that felt.

So with that in the bag, we then had the small matter of moving house to contend with, as of course after months of delay and faff, it conspired that the moving date fell in the same week as the job thing getting resolved.

The stress of moving house and all the crap that always comes with that, when added to the job thing have made for what have been the most stressful few weeks of my life.  I know I haven’t yet had to contend (thank God) with any real problems that affect a loved ones health or even worse, but indulge me, it’s been crap!

So as we entered the home strait of the house move, everything seemed to be sorted for last Friday, until that is, we got to last Wednesday evening.  The details aren’t worth repeating but someone in the chain had a crap bank and/or solicitor, and they were very doubtful that they could process all the stuff in time for Friday.  This nonsense carried on until 4.45pm on Thursday, when we finally got word from our solicitor (who was bloody marvellous throughout) that we were on for the following day after all.

To accommodate that moving date for the benefit of the whole chain, we had agreed to a day when Louise would be at University, doing something she could not miss, so I would be supervising alone.  A worry to anyone sane!

girls old house
One last time at *that* door

girls old house oli
and with added Oli

Then, after what had been a full week of hard slog, packing, tipping and sorting our stuff the day of the move dawned and turned out to be the wettest day of the year.  We got absolutely drenched as we began early in the morning, and stayed that way until late into the day at the new house.

We had help of course from all the parents, and we ended the day in the house, with beds to sleep in, and three very stressed and unhappy cats!!  Just to add some spice to the day, our friends at Nat West decided to pull a plug out in a server room somewhere, and bring the financial system to a grinding halt.  This meant that no monies could be moved on moving day, and this posed the risk of us having to leave the furniture in the van over the weekend and wait until Monday to move in.

Thankfully, our solicitor worked some actual magic and used something called a Licence (I have no idea) to enable the whole chain to move, and fingers crossed all the money stuff will happen tomorrow.

We have of course spent the weekend unpacking and sorting the new house, fixing broken stuff we didn’t know about and buying new stuff.  Today, my Dad and I have also knocked down a wall in the loft, which will create a huge bedroom for Emily.  Whilst we do that Emily is sleeping at my Mum and Dad’s house, but this isn’t too bad, as we have moved next door to them!

Just to cap off a quiet weekend, we went out yesterday and changed Louise’s car!!  We’d been meaning to for a while, but an upcoming tax disc requirement, and the enormous running costs of her current car made us actually go out and get a more economical model, befitting her new status of student!  She is getting a Peugeot 107.  It is only two years old, so a lot younger than her current car, costs £20 per year to tax, and does about 60 mpg, compared to the 26mpg she is currently enjoying!

So it’s been a bit full on recently, and a period of time that I do not wish to repeat at any point in the future.

Just before all this kicked off I was just beginning to enjoy planning the holiday, having picked out some new eateries to try and deciding to take my Mum and Dad to the baseball etc.  All of that has been very much on the back burner for obvious reasons, and it has only been since Monday that we knew we would be able to go on holiday after all.

I intend now to get back into full planning mode now that house and job are done.  I have ESTAs to do, baseball tickets to buy, theme park tickets to research, and all the usual fun of the fair associated with the last few weeks before one of our adventures. Bring it on!

So for the downbeat nature of my recent bloggage I apologise.  I have also been pretty absent from other social media outlets, but have made somewhat of a comeback this weekend when time allowed.  To say I feel better is the biggest understatement since Jimmy Carr said he’s made an error of judgement.

The next few weeks sees me start my new job on Tuesday, so that will worry and occupy me a little more than just turning up for work as normal, but I am glad to have that problem believe me.  Between that and the work associated with doing Emily’s bedroom and other new house stuff, I hereby dedicate all other available time to Disney planning, sarcastic tweeting and inane Facebookery.  You have my word.  Countdown wise we are at 55 days.  Good grief I have much ground to make up!

Onwards!

Till the next time…..

Achy Breaky Body

There’s a reason that I don’t do a job that involves manual labour.  Well, there may be a few reasons, but the main one is that I’d be dead by Wednesday of the first week.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve put a hell of a shift in this weekend moving stuff and boxes, and more stuff, and oh, so that’s where that went to.  Two full days of non stop manual labour and my body is literally rebelling.  At around lunch time today still with endless amounts to move, my system started to go into shutdown mode.  I finally understood the phrase being out on your feet.

To stave off these feelings I have of course been shoving as many calories down my throat as I’ve been able to, starting this morning with a traditional Father’s Day breakfast.

I had to wait a little while, as I was up at 6.30.  Oli checked to see if I was awake at that time by jabbing his huge wet nose into my forehead a dozen times, and by that time, yes, I was awake.  I stumbled out of the bedroom into the hall (don’t forget, we are in the ex-garage downstairs) and saw what looked like a scene from Alien.

After a hard day’s work yesterday, my Mum & Dad treated us all to a massive Chinese takeaway at their house, mainly as we were too weak to even open the fridge.  On the menu were spare ribs, and Oli partook in about two dozen too many, and this led to him revisiting them all over the floor.  Just as I was finishing the mop up operation, Louise wandered in saying she’d do it and I should go to bed.  Yep, that’s right, just as I was finishing!!

Once awake, the brain was whirring, and sleep was long since gone.  I was up comparing car insurance by 7am!  Some hours later, the girls made it downstairs with their eyes almost fully open, and wished me a Happy Father’s Day, and thrust a Cinderella gift bag at me.  Inside were a card, and my present, a T-shirt, with the phrase Grouch Potato on it.  I didn’t even think to object.  After a few more minutes of banging and clattering, I was presented with a breakfast fit for a King.  Waffles, squirty cream and strawberries.  No full English, as I used to get when they were too young to do it themselves and Louise would do the honours.  Left to their own devices, operating the microwave and the can of cream is the full extent of their culinary skills.

It was delicious though.  With the festivities over, work once again began, with us shifting endless boxes from our current house to the new one.  We don’t exchange until this coming Friday, but as I’ve mentioned, we’re buying from family so this means we’ve been allowed access early to dump all the crap from the shed into our new cellar.  If this deal falls through now, I’m afraid it is staying right there and can be sold to the next buyer as a feature!

moving man
Not actually me.

Louise isn’t able to get out of Uni on Friday on our moving day, so she will not be around for most of the day.  I wasn’t quick enough to think of a similar excuse so it looks like I’ll be in charge.  Anything could happen.

So ten years, almost to the day, are drawing to an end at our current address.  With the way this whole move has gone, should Louise suggest moving again anytime this millenia, she will encounter the full extent of my wrath.  Then we’ll more than likely just move again!

In other news earlier in the week, I have been out and about a bit visiting all four corners of the British Isles…well Nottingham, Knutsford and Liverpool…geography wasn’t my strongest subject.  These work related travels are showing signs of bearing some worthwhile fruits, and I hope to be in a much better place in that regard pretty soon.  I do not wish to jinx this as I said last week, so until you hear some fat woman singing, I shall remain the elusive, charismatic, handsome enigma that I am.

Oh yes, I have also had a cold!! I suspect my body has been fooled into thinking this is November by the lovely weather we’ve been enduring.  There is less moistness on the front row of a One Direction concert.

wdw programme
Programme not program!

This week has also brought some discussion with Emily on her plans after college.  She isn’t too interested in University, despite her predicted grades being pretty pleasing, and so she has it seems been researching and plotting her course.  She is going to apply for Disney’s Cultural Representative Programme, which is a 12 month placement working in WDW.       This sounds great, and so we’ll be working on that with her until November when the application process opens.  If anyone has done it, or know someone who has, Emily would love any advice or insight you might have on the application and interview process.

So, progress on a few fronts.  I have an empty shed, some boxes already in the new house, a sniff of something like good news with my “issues” at work, and an ache in every muscle in my work addled body.

Now, I must return to the calorie consumption before I wither away into nothingness.  If things pan out as I hope in the coming days, next week shall be a return to full blown WDW planning.  You have been warned.

Till the next time…..

Bubble wrap, boxes and far too many boats!

We’re packing.  Alas not for a holiday, but for the move.

With ten years having elapsed the amount of absolute junk we have accumulated is staggering.  This is despite having to jettison a load when we did the garage conversion last year.  Bubble wrap has been acquired, boxes purloined, and every room bears the scars of the battleground that is Williams v Junk.

bubblewrap
Pop it!

It is amazing what you find in these circumstances though.  The girls have today remembered that they own (amongst a million other long forgotten objects retrieved from under a bed or drawer) a Gameboy and a Nintendo DS, with a vast library of games.  These now sit on eBay hoping for a bid or three.

This afternoon Louise and I ventured into the dark expanse of horror that is…..THE LOFT!  It was strewed with bin bags full of summer clothes, photos (remember when you used to get them printed?), and a vast array of games consoles from across the past decade or two.  Those along with two PCs, with monitors large enough to house a small family have been wrestled down from the roof space and taken along to the tip.  I am such good terms with high vis vest man at the tip that I think I’m going to be best man at his wedding.

Before tipping said PCs, I gently (ahem) removed the hard drives from them just to make sure that no-one got their hands on the porn, I mean personal data held upon them.  I then employed a team of six bodybuilders to help me carry each of the HUUUGGEE PC monitors bought in the 90’s, into the mondeo.  The audible groan from the trusty Ford could be heard for miles.

Our spare room is now just a giant pile of bin bags and guff that we need to sort through.  That is our long weekend spoken for then.

Still it could have been worse, I could have had to watch a thousand boats go down a river in the pissing rain and cold.  I caught a few minutes of this debacle on the BBC today and it was, pardon my french, piss poor.  The fact that five hours of telly was devoted to it is mind blowing.  I salute those having to commentate on it.  Next week they are to make paint drying sound exciting.

I can’t have been the only person to wish that they had employed one of the Disney guys to organise this boats floating past a queen thing.  I mean, have they not seen Fantasmic?  It certainly would have made the whole thing more bearable for her Maj and those unfortunate enough to have made the journey to witness it to.  Imagine the profit from the sale of ponchos too!

Flotilla
Exciting much?

fantasmic
That’s more like it

I hope you all enjoy your extra two days off.  Personally, I could do without them.  I know that sounds silly, but at some point in the near future I’ll tell you why.  I am still working through “work issues”, and if you aren’t bored of them yet, I sure am.  Hopefully, very soon I shall emerge from the darkness and into the proverbial light, and get back to blog’s full of Disney planning and ludicrous innuendo.

Till the next time…..