Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Next Stop Africa

T- minus 18 hours or so… Yep we are finally down to hours not days!!! As of about 11 or so this morning, we finished with the house. Dragged the garbage to the curb and did the final load of laundry. We had to stop at the bank again… on our way up toward O’Hare… the banks have turned out to be the largest problem. Of course you have to prove who you are 9 ways from Sunday and an affidavit too. But we think that was the last of the stuff.

We have sold my car. I will miss my Jeep, but we have a Hyundai Tucson waiting for us in South Africa. We bought it sight un seen… The guy that bought my Jeep, let us keep it through today, so we didn’t have to rent a car… He will be coming up later to pick it up at the hotel.

The other good news front was that we may have the house rented; which is a huge relief. Yesterday, all the small remaining things all fell into place easily. We had the final walk through the house with the Agent as to the condition we have left it in. All the crap is either heading to Africa by ‘Air or Sea’ or long term storage by ‘Land’, which we won’t be seeing for a long while.

Our packing team was all male. I know I will be having a very fun treasure hunt when the stuff arrives in South Africa… If it fit in a box… it was packed in a box, not necessarily like items with like items and the sewing/quilting supplies…. HA!!!

I am guessing that Axel and Spaz got off alright. (Actually I just checked their flight and they take off soon), I stayed away, so I wouldn’t over excite them and I am going on the assumption that “no news is good news”. They will fly from Chicago O’Hare to Amsterdam and stay overnight there. They will be moved from the flying crate to a kennel, fed and walked before getting a good rest. And then on Friday morning, they will then fly from Amsterdam to Johannesburg South Africa, where they will be met by a kennel and cleared through customs. We will try and get out to see them on Saturday. The kennel has a vet on staff, so they will be checked out physically and bathed if needed.

I am hoping our house will be ready for us soon, as it’s already been more than a week without the pets and I miss having a furry friend, and one week of hotels is already enough, even if it is a suite. Our pile of luggage is formidable… Since the airlines have instituted weight limits, it takes more bags to take less stuff. We each have 2 carry-ons and 3 checked bags… a total of 10 bags .

Once again not pictures… as always more LATER!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

10 days and counting!

Today the ‘packers’ arrive to put all our stuff into boxes. It is maddening to try and keep track of what they are doing… since they are usually in different rooms… They didn’t leave me any stickers to label items with so I will be running around CHECKING boxes!!! Once this stuff goes into storage it is there for the duration. No, asking to get something out of the storage locker. So if it gets packed and stored, it is either wait until we have all our stuff or buy a new one. Do you think if I let my rotary cutters and rulers get packed I can buy an AccuCut?

Yesterday I tried to finish getting some small chores done. Animals have to be approved as healthy by the USDA Veterinarian, which is an hour away, which equals 2 hours driving, plus the appointment time and $$$. Not sure how long it actually takes, but has to be done in person, not by mail. It is not done. I have called this office at least 3 or 4 times, trying to get all the appropriate information, make the appointment, get there and discover that my vet is supposed to fill it in -sign it and for a fee the USDA Vet will ‘rubber stamp’ the info. What a racquet. Add to that all the ‘over’ important people you meet getting there…. I could go on, but so far the USDA has been the darkest spot in this whole transition. So Monday I have to go back to the USDA and get the ‘rubber stamping’ done. If you read about a meltdown in the Chicagoland area, that resulted in arrest, I will need bail money and funds for an attorney.

I have gotten the house refrigerator cleaned and the oven –I have also gotten the garage refrigerator and the microwave oven cleaned. None of them are bad, just a basic cleaning. I did take Axel –the dog and Spaz –the cat to the kennel. They will be leaving from there next week. I am going to try and make a few windows of time so I can go visit them. We have word that we have a house, but it may be 30 days of living in a hotel when we get there. I hate hotel living and hope that it won’t be that long, besides I won’t be able to have Axel and the cat with me… so it will make for some very long and boring days without them for company.

Last weekend we decided to move the motorhome to an indoor storage facility. It will cost a bit more to house it, but hopefully out of the elements and not looking like a big target for vandals and thieves there will be something left when we get back home. We moved it from South of Chicago to North of Oshkosh Wisconsin. A very long and trying day, but at least the weather held for us!

By Friday our house will be empty and we will be driving down to stay one night with my DH’s parents. Then back to the house to finish getting the house in tip top shape to rent. It’s been a while since I was a renter, but things sure have changed!!! Not sure if the housing market has cause most of this… but wow, almost pickier and more demanding than a buyer. Can we have a cat?, the owners have one. (We also own the house and maintain it!) We want the refrigerator that is in there, we don’t like the one in the garage. [Once again, it’s mine !(but I have relented and will be leaving my refrigerator in the kitchen, it will be history by the time we come home)]. Will the washer and dryer stay? (doesn’t anyone own anything except a nice car these days?) Crap what do people want???… we are even supplying yard care, so there is a yard to come home to.

So -for now no pictures. Suffice it to say the house looks like the storms that have plagued Chicagoland this last week, have spent some time inside the house! One or two room of calm, and that is because either they are completely cleaned out or everything that is in them is going to storage or complete chaos ….

More Later!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

“T” minus 12 days and counting…

So far the dog and the cat are the closest to being ready to leave. They had their final vet check, shots and wellness exams today. Axel passes all his blood tests, (for parasites), with a negative, so that is good news. The cat only needed to be current on rabies and healthy to go. Next week I take all the results in to the USDA for an Export Permit, -which is basically a Veterinarian reading all the papers I take in, (Rabies Certificate, Health Exam Certificate and Parasite blood results), and signing off on a form.

Sewing room
My sewing room is looking more like a disaster area, but that’s ok. I have most of my stuff separated for air and sea. There really isn’t anything else for me to do as far as packing the house goes. Just make sure that the things we want with us go with us. Not exactly sure how I am going to direct the packers… when we have 3 levels of rooms…. And the ones that need the most supervision are separated by stairs…. (sewing room and kitchen).

The projects I’m taking are some little things. I was given a kit, a really cute thing called a Snap Sack, and it had everything you needed in the bag to make the quilt; all the fabrics, borders, binding and backing. I had also purchased one. So I made both of them up, I did them with needle turn appliqué, using a technique that I learned while in Nebraska. If they had been just a bit more generous with the green fabric I could have squeezed 4 more out and made a single top with 12 cupcakes!. I have the binding done and I plan to machine quilt it and add some beads.

Hand Quilting... UFO
I am also taking a quilt to hand quilt, or I should say continue to hand quilt. I have been working on it –off and on for many years. The baby it was supposed to be for is in college. It is an adaptation from a Judy Martin Quilt, from one of her books... (Scrap Quilts I think) I started it (1990-ish?), and then my life made a left turn, so it’s been hit and miss since then. It was hand appliquéd with a little embroidery. I started the quilting and then discovered that the crosshatched grid going through the center wasn’t going to match up on the other side. A problem I later discovered is common…. So I had to figure out how to fix it… which I did… it’s called "fudge it". The appliqué is outline quilted and I might quilt the appliqué… but maybe not. How many years can a small quilt take?


Box O'Batiks
And this… a box of batiks, browns, blues and greens for a quilt, a queen size quilt, maybe a little bigger. I have a plan and the batting… not sure who/how it will be quilted, but that is still a little ways off, so I will worry about it then.

And last but not least, I still have ear infections. ENT Dr. has said that if the next round of meds doesn’t fix me I will get to have tubes. So I go in on Monday to see if I’m finally clearing up or not. The new stronger Prednisone made all the difference over night, so I am hoping it will kick it out and I won’t have to have the tubes. And to top it off I was requested to have another test at the hospital again. Not sure what the previous tests showed/didn’t show, but I had to have a more specific one. Hopefully it won’t change our time schedule.

So- as usual stay tuned…. There will be MORE.

Friday, June 11, 2010

3 Weeks ...

So where are we now? Less than 3 weeks! DH booked our flights- so now the countdown is on. I saw an Ear Nose & Throat specialist for my ear infection. He of course confirmed the problem and sent me home with a purse full of samples and a script. The magic of medicine is working and my head is finally clearing!!! However…I did improve, but am still having problems…. So new week new script (this makes 3)!!!

Last week I took a walk and saw my first
Monarch of the season. Saw some nice wildflowers too, but nothing photographed as well as I would have liked!

I am slowly taking the house apart… adding more to the ‘Sea Shipment’ and a few things to the ‘Air Shipment’… and the rest of the stuff will be put in storage. We have our ‘Pack Out’ date… June 23 will start the boxing and it should be done on the afternoon of the June 24. On the June 25, it will all be loaded on a truck. Once that happens we will just have repair and cleaning to go!!! Sometimes I look at our stuff and say no problem and other times I look and say how are going to get this mess sorted and packed!!!

The Axel and Spaz will be going to the kennel on the June 22, so they are out of the way of the movers/packers. Don’t want any escapees… DH will be in DC again, while I handle the packing and moving to a hotel, well that is the plan anyway. Stay tuned it will change. The Import Permits for the pets have arrived. Axel had some blood drawn for testing. He must be free of, or test negative for 5 diseases, (really 4 because we don’t have one in the states) and have enough heartworm meds for at least 6 months. The cat is done for all intents and purposes. He just had to be current on his rabies and will get vaccinated when he has his ‘health’ checkup. Both will have to be certified by a USDA Veterinarian before travel, and that has to be done 10 days before leaving.

We sold our little Pickup truck and I have placed an ad to sell my Jeep. I will miss my Jeep! I ordered it from the dealership in July of 2001 and I have driven it 121000 miles. It rides nicely, doesn’t hold enough stuff when Axel is in it, but otherwise has been a very dependable ride.

My sewing room is all but dismantled. My huge cutting table is gone. I still have the sewing machine set up and a table with a cutting mat on it…. I am busy sorting so that I have enough to keep me busy… while we wait for the “Sea Shipment” to arrive. I will be taking, by “Air” the Janome, a cutting mat (18x24) and a box of batiks and of course thread. I will also have a small machine quilting project, (binding is made) and a hand quilting project. I think that is enough, and my total personal allotment for weight. I get more than the DH, because he has work to make the long days short and I don’t!
The house is not rented. The first ones… well let’s just say good riddance. It has shown a few times. My major annoyance is that the Realtors keep leaving the French doors unlocked, and when I complain… I get the well things happen. If it happens again, I will insist that our agents accompany a showing! Am I wrong?

So now you are up to speed…. Some days it seems to fly along completely out of control and then there are days where it slows to nearly a stop….

And There will be MORE!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Moving" forward....

Back from Washington DC, and I wish I could tell you more about the trip, but my last entry was pretty much all there was.  (just click on the picture for a larger view)

Before we left, I thought I was suffering from outdoor/pollen allergies, not something I typically suffer from, but the symptoms came on at about the same time a lilac bush, (very prevalent around here), bloomed!!! So by the time we took off for DC I was feeling poorly, and it really didn’t get any better while away. I even bought an OTC decongestant… to clear up my sinuses and hopefully plugged up ear. No Dice, so our tour of the Senate and Capitol Building was pretty much a blur for me. Our tour was presented by a gentleman that my DH used to work with, and who is now on a temporary assignment, working with legislators…. And that is about all I heard clearly….

We roamed the front and back halls, took in some rooms and podiums… Wow, some of the architectural detail rivals the Chicago area for ornate!!! Lots of iron, plaster and gold leaf!

We have been home for several days and my ear felt and sounded to me like it had water in it, so I visited the Doctor. I have an ear infection…. Bulging eardrum… so now I am on a high power antibiotic and Prednisone... Hopefully it will blast it loose and I can hear again soon. I sure don’t want to make a 22 hour flight with my ear preparing to blow… It’s been 9 days and I still have a plugged up ear. So next I will be seeing a specialist.

We have started sorting our stuff for the upcoming move…. Some goes with us right away (luggage) and that is one of the spare rooms-actually both because we are allowed 3 bags each… that is all the spare beds covered with suitcases. We will be purchasing a new light weight set of luggage to round out the luggage.

We have converted the dining room to a staging area, and the furniture that was in the dining room and the stuff back from the storage locker is now in the living room.  The "Staging area" has been divided, one side is for the “Air shipment”, (450 pounds of items we can’t live without for more than a few weeks), which has to include additional pet foods, cleaning supplies and for me a sewing project and sewing machine. How far do you think 450 pounds is going to go? Needless to say there will be a scale…. nearby to calculate to the ounce of items in this shipment.

The other side of the dining room is the ‘Sea shipment”, which can be anything else we think we need to have while away. So far based on advice, we are taking our mattresses and linens… The kitchen, minus the small appliances (toaster, coffee maker, can opener) and some less often used serving ware. And of course much of the sewing room!!!

We were concerned that the house wouldn’t show to potential renters well, with the mess our stuff is in. The good news is… We think the house has rented. I didn’t even have to stage it, and we only had to show it once!!! They have requested a 3 year lease too. So hopefully one less thing to worry about!

Sorry about the disjointed way this entry reads.... (trying to be concise). Stay tuned… there will be more LATER!