Wednesday, October 26, 2011

4....

This week is really flying by and already it is Thursday....

If it's Thursday then we are at T minus 4 days....

The next few days are going to be pretty hectic, because tomorrow is my beautiful daughters 21st Birthday. I can't say any more than that because she reads my blog and well...you get the picture! The only thing I will say is that I will be collecting her from Uni campus tomorrow at 1pm (so you had better be ready Miss A J) and we will driving back to my Mum & Dad's house - the rest is a secret!

So back to today - Thursday! Pretty much a day of rest for myself and the boys. The house is now completely clear apart from some rubbish that needs to go to the tip. The tip isn't open again until tomorrow though, so there is nothing we can do there. Today I plan to wash and clean out my car, so that I am leaving it looking pristine when we fly off on Monday. My Dad is going to sell it for me, so I want to make sure that everything is in order with it and he doesn't have any hassles.

I also need to sort out the jumble of mess that is our clothes to take with us. I went out yesterday to buy a new suitcase as the zip on one of the ones we were using has decided to give up and take it's ball in! Anyway, I bought a wheeled bag rather than a suitcase because it is more lightweight, and if I do say so myself the one I bought is rather fun. It is a 'Minimals' bag and it has lots of little lions and tigers and leopards etc all over it, like the one in the picture. It will also make bag spotting on the carousel easier for the boys when we get to Newark and then later in the day LAX. I have also been a little bit naughty and ordered some of those credit card type luggage tags. The have the name and US phone number on them and a big smiley sunshine to make them easily spottable. Just a bit of fun really for the boys because they have never flown before, so Monday will be a huge adventure for them in more ways than one!

I think that after sorting the car out and then our luggage I will be more than happy to just sit and put my feet up and enjoy a moment of complete nothingness. The last week seems to have been really crazy, and I have no doubt that the next few days will be just as crazy, so I had better grab the peace while I can.

No doubt next week will be just as crazy - showing the boys around their new town. Taking the plunge myself and getting behind the steering wheel on the the first day of being there instead of trying to put it off for as long  as possible. After all this isn't going to be a holiday anymore- this is going to be my new home and being confident behind the wheel is pretty much compulsory.

I am hoping that I will find some time to blog again before our big day on Monday, but who knows, it may have to wait until after I fly 6,000 miles on my jet-propelled broomstick on Halloween!

Actually that has just raised a good point in my somewhat frazzled brain - my blog is called 'Waiting to Emigrate' after Monday I shalln't be waiting any more - I will have done. Can you rename a blog? Hmmm methinks I will have to investigate....

Love & Hugs to all my readers

Lou
xxx

Monday, October 24, 2011

My last Monday....

Today (or is it yesterday now?) was my last full Monday here in the UK. Not forever, but certainly before the boys and I catch our flight next Monday morning and head off to sunny Cali and my wonderful S.

The time left seems quite chaotic, and this afternoon I asked myself if I would have enough time to get myself sorted. Tonight though, sitting here in a my bare living room, I know that no matter how chaotic it seems, I will be ready!

The movers are coming tomorrow afternoon to take away all the stuff we are taking with us. By the time they get here, I shall have made a couple of trips to the tip to get rid of yet more rubbish - god only knows where I have been hoarding all this stuff but it keeps on appearing! Once the movers have been, anything else that I find that needs to go will have to go in our plane luggage or be left behind!

The boys have both now had all their vaccinations - well all the ones I can get here. Gorgeous G has had everything he needs, but poor Handsome H will be missing one by US standards. It has been  a bit of a bug bear of mine. We have been told that both the boys need to have had 5 vaccinations of DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio) Here in the UK this vaccination is also combined with Whooping Cough and Hib (Haemophilious Influenza B). Because in the UK the vaccination is much larger (for want of a better way of explaining it) my youngest son H is too young to have another booster until 2013 and it is actually illegal in the UK for him to be given it any sooner...However if I do not give him the 5th and final dose of at least the Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio part of the vaccine, he will not be admitted into school. I have been told by the doctors here that to give him any part of the vaccination early will jeopardize his immunity as an adult, hence it is illegal to give it too early in the UK. So - now I have a dilemma. S has suggested I sort it all out when I get there rather than try to have conversations with  school nurses via email, and getting my knickers in a twist. I just find it all so frustrating - I need to protect my child, but I also need to get in into school - Ho Hum! No doubt it will sort itself out!

Tomorrow (or it is it today?) will be my last Tuesday - I hope it passes as quickly as today!


Lou :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chaos....

Chaos has ensued....

We are on 9 days and counting....

I am packing like a demon and throwing rubbish away....
Some gentleman has just stopped outside my house, knocked my door and asked me if he can relieve me of the chest of drawers and bedside table that I put outside. There had been a sign on them saying 'Free to good home' but I guess the wind must have blown it away. No matter the gentleman has taken them, and saved me from having to take them to the tip!

The movers are coming to take all our stuff on Tuesday between 2 and 4pm....
Of course we won't see it again for nearly 3 months, but hopefully it will all arrive safe and sound and undamaged. I will not be a happy bunny if my beloved pc arrives damaged in any way - so if any employees of Pickfords are reading this, take note and be afraid - very afraid! Guard my pc with your life! (only joking of course, although it is pretty important to me).

We will be flying on Monday 31st at 8am....

You got it - Jet-propelled 757 broomstick! By just after 4pm local time we will be landing at LAX and beginning our new life. We will have already made a stop in Newark, so will have cleared US immigration, and we will be able to walk off the plane collect our luggage and walk out into what will hopefully be glorious sunshine.

The boys have never flown before so this is a huge adventure for them. I am hoping that they will sleep for most of the journey but somehow I think that excitement and adrenalin will keep them wide awake and then they will crash after being at the house for an hour or so. It doesn't matter though, they cam fall asleep in their new bedroom and hopefully sleep through the night and wake refreshed the next morning and ready to investigate their new home. They had a week to acclimatise themselves before we are throwing them into their new school, but I have no doubts that they will soon make friends and get into the swing of things. I know they are looking forward to the earlier finishes, but am not sure they have really taken note that they will be starting a whole hour earlier than they are used to as well....That might take some getting used to especially for H because he likes his bed far too much in the mornings!

Still before we get there, I need to get everything here packed and sorted, so I had better put eggs in my shoes and scramble - so much to do so little time....

We're leaving,
On a jet plane.....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday 20th October 2011 - VISA Interview....

Well today was finally the day....
The culmination of the last 6 months worth of waiting....

Today I travelled to London to attend my Visa Interview at the US Embassy in London....
Today was the day that a lovely blonde short-haired American lady said to me at around 11.15am....

I AM HAPPY TO APPROVE YOUR VISA TODAY

Today was most definitely one of the most important days of my life....
Today was also my Mum's birthday....
Today my wonderful S has finally booked the flights that will reunite us as a family....

Put quite simply - WOW!

The stress of the last few months is lifted and I am shattered....
My 44 year old body has given in and I am in dire need of sleep....
I will write more tomorrow....

But guess what?


I am moving to California....

In 11 days....








Sunday, October 16, 2011

Let the madness begin....

Today is the start of what should be a week of madness, organised chaos, high blood pressure and god knows what else....

I have no work this morning, purely because there is no point in my going in because I would have to leave early to drive back through the city to my village to collect the boys from school, to then drive back to the hospital where they are having their TB test done. The parking at the hospital is notoriously bad,so I have had to tell them to come out of school at break time (11.20am) to allow us enough time for the drive and to find a parking spot. Knowing my luck, because I have allowed extra time for once, we park straight away and will be hanging around for ever for our appointment which isn't until 1.15pm. Better to be early than late I guess though.

After their appointment, I will drive them back to school and then drive across the city and into work (depending on the time) where I will stay until 5pm before then spending over a hour driving back home again in rush hour - what joy!

Tomorrow, will be a dull day - nothing happening at all.

On Wednesday, I have to take the boys back to the hospital so they can be checked for reaction to the TB test. Fingers crossed they will be clear and that will be the end of it. After the hospital, I will drive the boys back to school and have enough time left to attend my Uncles funeral which starts at 2pm. I know I will be late for this, but attending is very important to me if I can - so Dad - if you read this stop telling me not to come!

Thursday - well what can I say about Thursday? I think Thursday is probably the most important day of my year so far - INTERVIEW day! I cannot even begin to try to put into words how nervous I am feeling about the whole interview thing. I have had nightmares about it. I spent last night redoing photographs for it because I am absolutely terrified that something is going to be missing or wrong and they are going to send me away with a big fat 'NO'. Everyone keeps telling me that it is just a formality, and I can understand that, but when it is you going through it, and when it can change your life so much, there is nothing routine about any of it. The whole idea of moving to the other side of the world doesn't phase me in the slightest, and throughout the last 7 months I have been very blasé about the whole moving thing. People have even commented on how laid back about it all I am. I think it is easy to keep calm about the move itself - yes it's a huge step and change, for the boys and I, but we are not moving on our own, we are moving to be back with my wonderful S. Yes I am leaving the rest of my family behind, but they are my family, and I know that they will be there no matter what, and with technology the way is it and the way it will continue to be, I will probably wee more of them via Skype than I do now! The toughest part will be leaving my beautiful A behind - but what can I do. I could try knocking her out and stuffing her in my case, but I suspect that I would not get her through immigration in Newark, and even more importantly, I suspect that she would never ever forgive me if I tried! So I just have to accept that she is an adult now, and can make her own decisions. Also it is a huge comfort to know that my Mum and Dad will be here for her and provide her with a much needed base to return to - and who knows she may yet change her mind and decide to move out to be with Mum and her brothers.

Anyway, I digressed away from the INTERVIEW, I'm getting good at that. Perhaps I could send a proxy to attend in my place? Nah that won't work. My boys tell me I've got it easy, because I will be there when they give me the news 'YES or NO', they have to be in school waiting for me to get back to Euston station after the interview where I can collect my phone and send them a text! How hard is that going to be if the answer is 'NO'. How hard is it going to be to ring my wonderful S if I have to tell him they said 'NO'. I can't bear to think about it, but at the same time I can't stop thinking about it. It's no wonder my blood pressure is high! So much depends on this interview - my life depends on this interview! Well not literally - but everything we have planned! We do have a contingency plan if the news isn't good, but that involves the wonderful S moving back over here, which he will do without a seconds thought, but the whole point of moving to the US was because he had lived over here for so long and just wanted to go 'home'.

Whatever happens we will deal with it and cope with it - I just desperately want this to be positive.

Hey ho - let the madness of the week begin and lets my blood pressure doesn't hit overload before we get to Friday and I have my leaving meal with my girlies!



Colour Splash Sunday....


My daughter Abigail, who will turn 21 in just under a fortnight and who regularly pulls faces like this. However this one is a classic and I intend to have a super huge version of it on a wall once I have moved because she is not moving with us!

Silent Sunday....

Last get together before we move...Me, My Sis, My Mum, G & H, and my Nieces and Nephew

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No time....

Why is it that things seem to have been moving so so slowly for months and now I seem to have no time left and a million and one things to do?

I have a week and a half left at work and potentially only 20 days left until we fly and during this time, I have to:
  • Finish packing
  • Take rubbish that isn't being moved to the tip or find new homes for it
  • Take boys for their TB test - spoke to the clinic this afternoon, there is no choice of day it is Monday at 1.15 - what a nightmare!
  • Take boys back for TB results - again no choice it is Wednesday @ 1.15pm
  • Attend Funeral next Wednesday
  • Attend Visa Interview next Thursday - D Day!
  • Make sure Pickfords come and 'remove' us
  • Take boys for Hep B vaccination on the 24th and also DTP & Polio booster for G
  • Find time to see everyone I need to see before I go
  • Pack suitcases
  • Move out of house and in with Mum & Dad
  • Celebrate my gorgeous daughters 21st
I am wondering if maybe I should be finishing work this Friday in stead of next because I am going to need to take so much time off next week to make all the appointments I have....Hmmm its a dilemma!

And to make matters worse, last night I had what was to me a truly horrific nightmare! I dreamt that I had got my train down to London for my interview, checked my phone at Euston station and made my way to the Embassy, where I realised that I left my file with all the paperwork that I need for the interview sitting on the side at home!! Result - no interview, go away and reapply from the start! Needless to say I woke up sweating profusely and crying uncontrollably until I realised that it was a dream and I was in fact in my bed and nowhere near the  embassy. I didn't sleep well for the rest of the night - I don't know about anyone else but I find that when I have a particularly disturbing dream it seems to reoccur for the rest of the night and so I just don't sleep well at all....

The more I think about what i need to do the less time I seem to have - I rang Pickfords to day because they said I had only completed my customs paperwork out in my name instead of mine and my wonderful S's. I asked the lady why I needed to include S's name when he was already resident in the US and although I have been though the whole story with them on more than one occasion I had to go through the whole thing again so that she would understand that I was only travelling with my boys, and that my fiancé was already in the US and had been since April, and no I was not moving any of his possessions other than a few clothes that he had left behind that amounted to one solitary box - to which she replied "Oh, I guess I had better change my paperwork then if you are sure he won't be travelling with you!"

Honestly some people just seem to make life more difficult than it has to be sometimes....lol

Fingers crossed no more nightmares tonight!




Sunday, October 09, 2011

Geocaching....

Firstly let me say that without reading Inside The Snuggery I would not have had the slightest clue what Geocaching was and that would have been such a waste because it is one of things that is pretty marvellous - well I think so anyway!

This evening the gorgeous G and I have been out hunting and found our 1st Geocache - It was pretty exciting we thought and we had fun doing it, scrabbling about in the undergrowth looking for something but not being quite sure what it was we were actually hoping to find.

So what is Geocaching?

Below is what the Geocache website has to say:

Geocaching is a term – coined in 2000 – that describes the enthusiast hobby of locating a treasure somewhere in the world with the help of a GPS-enabled device and GPS coordinates that are listed online. Geocaching combines location-based gaming, social networking, treasure hunting, GPS navigation, and outdoor recreation. The hobby was started in 2000 by a GPS enthusiast, Dave Ulmer, seeking to test the accuracy of the improved GPS signal available to civilians. Ulmer shared the coordinates of his first hidden geocache online. Mike Teague found this geocache and shared his experience online. The online chats spread, and soon, 75 other caches were hidden around the world. One was found in July by Jeremy Irish, who shortly thereafter, founded Geocaching.com as the first portal for the hobby.
Dozens of press articles and millions of online conversations later, Geocaching.com is the world’s largest location based gaming portal.

Today, more than 1.4 million geocaches have been hidden, and found by more than 4 million people worldwide. More specifically, the United States and Germany lead the world in this activity, with the Czech Republic, Canada and the United Kingdom following.
Geocaching continues to grow in popularity across the United States from California and Texas to New York and Florida. Some of the cities with the highest geocaching activity (based on visits to the Geocaching.com website) include Seattle, New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

The Rules of Geocaching
1. If you take something from the cache, leave something of equal or greater value.
2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.
3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.

A geocache always contains a logbook or logsheet for finders to sign. Larger geocaches may also contain items for trade. These are generally small trinkets. If someone takes an item, he
should leave something of equal or greater value in its place for the next geocacher to find. A geocache may also contain Trackable items. Trackables are geocaching “game pieces” bearing a tracking number - a unique series of letters and numbers – that allows geocachers to follow the items’ real-world travels on Geocaching.com. Some of the most popular trackable items are “Geocoins” and “Travel Bugs®.”

So anyway, I signed up on the website to start geocaching because I thought it would be something that was fun for all the family to do, and because  I thought it might help to bring my two bickering boys closer together, by giving them something they could work at together to achieve fun and success. As it happens youngest son H refused to come with us, but G and I had a fab time and this is what we found.

Hidden inside a hole in a tree
A small box
Full of Treasure
We didn't take anything out of the cache, but we did add into it - G makes these really cool key fobs out of Paracord so we stuck one of those in - very useful in case of an emergency as it can hold up to 500lbs in weight!!! lol

I would say to anyone with children or grand children - give this a go. It's fun, it's outdoors which is always a bonus and its free to do!

Happy Geocaching and once again thank you to 'Inside The Snuggery' for pointing us in the Geocache direction!




Thursday, October 06, 2011

2 Weeks....

Euston Station

2 weeks from today, I will just have arrived at Euston station in London ready for my interview at the US Embassy.

Just thinking about it now fills my tummy with butterflies, so I dread to think how bad they will be when I am actually there. So many thoughts are running through my head:
US Embassy
  • What if I forget something important
  • What if I can't find the lost luggage desk to check my mobile phone (no electronic devices allowed in the embassy, even a phone)
  • What if I get lost on the way to the Embassy and arrive late for my interview (I need to be there half and hr early)
  • What if they say no
That's the biggie of course WHAT IF THEY SAY NO?
Can they say no at this stage? Apparently they can and it is really starting to prey on my mind. My wonderful S is doing his best to keep my positive vibe going but even so....what if?

At the end of the day S says he will take up a job offer he has had back here in the UK, if the worst happens, but that isn't the point. Having spent over a decade working over here S wanted to go back to the US, and I was more than happy to follow. If he now has to come back to the UK because my visa gets refused, I am going to just curl up and die with the guilt.

Have to stay positive - there is no feasible reason why I would be refused a visa, so it is best not to think about it. The movers are paid, half my stuff is packed and ready to go, the boys are finishing school in a couple of weeks at half term, their new school is looking forward to their arrival (so they say), the docs is sorted so I can get their Hep B vaccination and TB test done, my daughter is safely settled back at Uni - everything seems to be in place.

Now all we need is that final 'yes' and we will be on our way in roughly 25 days time!

I can't wait - just gotta hold onto the excitement and keep kicking the worry out the door!