…and how it almost killed me.
Yes, I know, it has been 3 months since I last wrote an entry. A lot has happened, but not enough to blog about it every day and bore you to death with the intricate details of the torture that was the preparation for this move. Here is a distilled version of what we’ve been up to:
Preparing the house
I have painted many houses over the years. It has always been a labor intensive, yet rewarding experience. This time around though I was dreading the thought of it. Surveying Tristan’s room I stared at the carving of his name on the wall. Hannah on the other hand had decorated her walls with crayons, which we appreciated at the time, “Oh, look how creative our daughter is…”. Seeing that we were now trying to rent our house, her “art” had to go. Other rooms had similar issues. The spots where puppy dog had tried to eat the wall (no, we did feed him enough), mysterious smears and other wall-art from toddler years gone by. Bottom line: 14 years of kids and pets had left a mark on the house and painting the house interior was not an option but mandatory. I got quotes from painters only to realize I would have to bite the bullet and do the work myself.
Painting the house was absolute torture. Maybe I’m just getting too old for this kind of work. Getting on my knees was painful, painting overhead was painful. Painting the trim, lifting the doors, un-mounting and mounting the faceplates, up the ladder, down the ladder, carrying 5 gallon drums of paint, pry things off, hammer things on…it all was agonizing.
There were times when I wanted to quit. “That’s it, I’m done. Lets stay here. The amount of work it takes to make this move happen is too great”. But then I told myself, “This is the price of admission…soon this will be a distant memory”. I kept going.
In addition to painting, we had new carpet put into the living room, replaced both bathroom’s floors, installed tile around all sinks in the house, replaced molding that was worn, replaced blinds that did not survive the children, etc, etc.
After all that, the house looks fantastic now. Beautiful and “new”, a place where you would want to live. To be enjoyed,….by someone else.
Renting the house and what about the pond?!
After giving the house the much needed facelift, our property management agent came by with a photographer and took “professional” photos to advertise the rental. As we were standing on the deck, we debated the implications and our liability regarding the pond. Bottom line, I looked up “Attractive Nuisance”, which essentially explained that if anybody got hurt (fall in the pond or worse), it would be us, the home owners, who are liable.
I love the pond. Tristan and I created it together, it looks great and is an asset to the property. Yet, I did not want to get sued over it. Weighing different options ( covering it up with plywood, filling it back in), we decided to make it a “pondless waterfall”…Hey, all of the water feature, none of the drowning. A win-win solution.
The idea is that the volume of the pond is filled with rock. The water is still in the pond but below the rocks.
We ordered 6 tons of river rock. Because the only access to the pond is via 2 decks and stairs, all of the rock had to be shoveled into buckets and carried over the decks. It was a KILLER. The family helped. Ask Tristan how he feels about river rock these days…he’ll tell you.
The pond, or “pondless waterfall” looks great now. I even prefer it to what it was before.
The cornerstones that had to fall into place
There were certain things that needed to happen for a successful move to Europe. All of them were nail biting experiences. Many, many pages of applications had to be filled out, passport pictures taken (“No, don’t smile for the picture…let’s take it again…oh shoot, this one is too dark…let’s take it again…”), finger prints had to be given, family histories explained…
In the end:
We found a renter for the house….phew
Hannah got her transcript from Spain…she will graduate after all…phew
Kath got her degree recognized by the British authority, she can work in her chosen field…phew
Kath also got the EEA visa approved, which allows her to stay in the UK as the family member of a EU national….phew
Over the next few weeks Kath will be applying to positions in the UK. With any luck she’ll find an appealing job before we go. The hard work is done (knock on wood). Now we deal with the little things. A handful of chests, drawers and baskets remain, the purge nears its completion. 5 weeks to go to the day.
It sure feels like all this prep almost got the better of me. It made me realize how glad I am that we are doing this move now. The manual labour, the paper work, the obstacles and must-do’s, it all sucks the life out of you. 10 or 20 years from now, I’m not sure I would find the strength to deal with it all.
Now I am looking forward to our daughter’s graduation day and to the moment we buckle our seat belts and the airplane door closes.
AND!…I look forward to being a tenant. 😉