Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Stupid signs and their words"

A short aside for your enjoyment then business as usual:

We had to go to Target last night to get some things for the house and for the game today. We were there around 9 PM. We starting talking about how we probably wouldn't be able to do things like this for much longer. We were told things shut down pretty early in Aberdeen. We were exhausted after having only 4 days to completely clear our house and pack what needed to be packed from closets to make everything "show ready", so we decided to get a movie (The Avengers) and some Starbucks. I'm really not a fan of Starbucks, but my boss gave me a gift card because yesterday was my last day. I got a chai latte. Well done Starbucks. There's something you make pretty well.

Funny story to show how tired we were after this week. On the way out of Target, Steve tried to go through the wrong doors (Entry side). Then, after turning to follow me, he walked ahead and stood still for a minute in front of another set of doors as I walked through the automatic doors next to him. He was waiting in front of the ones you have to push open yourself.

I was laughing... "Strike two, Steve!" He was just so tired that he wasn't paying attention. He looked at me and said, "I should have paid more attention to the signs. Stupid signs and their words!" HAHA. Steve really makes me laugh sometimes.

Anyway, I posted my car on It's cute so hopefully it will sell quickly. We don't have much time left.

It costs $25 to post for 3 weeks and $50 for 8 weeks. Our local newspaper charges almost $50 for 4 days! Does anybody have some other ideas for reputable ways to advertise a car for sale? I don't want to post on something like Craigslist and get the scary people or people who are looking for really, really good deals such as me paying for half the car for them. I got a call about my car this afternoon. I'm asking $14,500, and the guy said he would give me $10,500. Is he insane? That is ridiculous. I told him that I am already losing money because I've posted it lower than what I owe on my loan. Can't blame a guy for trying I guess, but that's a rip! My car is competitive with prices in this area for that model.

We also had somebody look at the house today. It was kind of weird being away and knowing that strangers were going through our house to possibly claim it as their own. More are scheduled to come see it tomorrow.  I think I'll feel better about selling my house when I have something in Aberdeen that I love. On that note, Steve told me today that we only have 2 days for house hunting in Aberdeen. Do you know how many houses we looked at before buying this one? I, of course being the one with the "Let's do it!" riskier personality, wanted several that we looked at, and Steve, being the more calculating and cautious one, did not always agee. The result of these personalities was that we looked at 81 houses (bid on 3 that we lost) before we found we could both confidently purchase. However, we don't have time to look at 81 houses in 2 days! Maybe since we are leasing and there is less pressure, we will be able to confidently make a decision in those 2 days. Wish us luck!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Most common sayings while packing

I'd like to begin today with a list of the most common sayings in my house while cleaning and packing. Enjoy!

  • "What IS this?"
  • "What does this go to?"
  • "Seriously, Steve?"
  • "Where is the other shoe?!"
  • "But I might need it"
  • "I will make it fit!"
Would you like to see one used in a sentence?

I found a birthday card in a sack that somebody gave to Steve. I opened it to see who it was from and immediately turned to say, "Seriously, Steve?" He opened it and found $25 still in the card.

My last day of work was today. It's bitter sweet. People keep saying, "We sure hate to see you go," and I just can't bring myself to say, "Me too," because... well.. I'm going to Scotland! I will miss them, and I did like my job, but for this reason, I'm not too sad to go. Who knows? Maybe I'll be back. Have any readers (I hope I'm not just talking to myself here... but this is pretty new) out there ever gone back to your job after moving away for a few years as an expat spouse?

I think I've found some places I'd like to try in Aberdeen:

Moon Fish Cafe
Musa Art & Music Cafe
Cafe Crema
Howies Aberdeen

Which one should I go to first?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Three rules for packing and downsizing

The closet is clean! It took 2 days. It's amazing what you accumulate in your closet. Tomorrow is my last day at work. I'm sad but excited to not have that added stress on top of preparing for this move. I talked to my mom today, and we came up with 3 rules for packing and downsizing your home:
  1. If you haven't seen or used it in a year, throw it away or donate it.
  2. If it's torn, stained, scratched up, or damaged in some other way, throw out or donate.
  3. If you can buy it again cheap at Wal-Mart or Costco (or your equivalent), throw out or donate.

I feel like these are pretty solid rules. Some of you may have to get your spouses to sign an agreement for this. You know who they are...because clearly they don't or you wouldn't need to write it down.

I need a good electrician in the Sugar Land/Missouri City area. Anybody know of one?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's my name again?

 What is my name? I think I've lost it in the fog in my brain. We were up until 1 AM last night cleaning and filling out VISA paperwork. Tonight we must do more. Today they staged the house and took pictures. Some of the furniture is in the middle of the room. Clearly, I don't understand real estate because I think some of it looks funny. HAHA. Some of it looks great. I can't figure out the living room arrangement. Couch -> End table -> Foot rest. Ignore the plates of food. :o)

Everything is so empty. You have to take down all of your pictures and remove almost all of your stuff. After you use something you immediately have to clean and hide it! Selling your house is a lot of work! Tonight we have to clean out the closets where we threw everything so that they could get good pictures with almost nothing on any surfaces. Has anybody else done this? Any advice? It's like you can never relax while your house is for sale. :(

I think I need a drink. I love red wines. I take donations in this form.

Positive note (sort of): House hunting is coming up soon so I have that to look forward to! The weather in Aberdeen is in the 50s and sounds great! However... they did have this little event (Thanks Lisa for sharing the news article):

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Annual clean-outs should be your friend...

My goodness today was busy. The landscapers arrived at 9:00 AM. Clepper's Landscaping did a great job! Check out some before and after photos!







I'm pretty pleased with the results. While they were busy with that, Mama S and I cleaned out closets to make room for stuff. We boxed things, cleaned the garage, and filled about 12 bags with trash, donations, or recyclables! It was a lot of work. There are so many things you accumulate over the years that need to be tossed in some shape, form, or fashion. Word from the experienced: Throw away things that need to be thrown away and have an annual closet clean-out. You'll thank me some day. Oh, and I got my car cleaned so we can post that as for sale now. The rest of the staging process and photos of house are tomorrow, and a sign will be out front by Thursday. Happens fast doesn't it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Embargo on pets arriving directly into ABZ

One more day down. I called a pet relocation place and got a quote today. Apparently Lufthansa now has put an embargo on pets arriving directly into ABZ (Aberdeen Airport). Fantastic, right? So now if we drive all the way to London ( 9 hrs 45 min), we can get our pets for $3900, or we can have them delivered for $4500. What would you do? I know what Steve did. Sought a second opinion! Haha.

We also talked to the real estate agents today. They need to come to the house tomorrow for me to sign the contract and to explain what I need to do to get the house cleaned, de-cluttered, and set up for staging and photos. The landscapers are also coming tomorrow. I need to get my "before" pictures in the morning! The house will be listed by Thursday so we could have, potentially, viewers this weekend. Tomorrow will be a busy day of meetings, cleaning, and packing. I'm supposed to get my car listed this week, so maybe I'll have some time to take it to the car wash and detail place as well. Oh, and I need to go have my picture taken for the visa. If you are going to be transferred as an expat spouse, don't plan of working at your job long after learning you are moving! I need a clone.

I try to include a positive note on every post, even if it isn't related to Scotland so here it is:

On a happier note, after Kung Fu, Steve, Mama S, and I went to eat at Chili's. 100% of the proceeds from today go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. When I told Steve, he said, "Well, I guess we have to go to Chili's then." He's a good guy. :)    So here we are, messy after Kung Fu, eating at Chili's!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More than that feels overwhelming and less than that feels overwhelming

The landscaper has been selected! Another task down. We make a little progress each day. I'll post some before and after pictures of the yard in a couple of days. Here are some things you might want to do (we've learned so far) if you are considering selling your house:

  • Mulch all the flower beds and add some colorful plants.
  • Power wash the driveway and porches
  • Power wash the siding and garage doors.
  • Trim your trees, especially if they are hanging over the driveway
  • De-clutter!!!!!! Decoration to you is not decoration to everybody. 
  • Clear the counters. 
  • Make sure all your light bulbs are working.
  • Wipe down your walls.
  • Touch up walls where needed.
  • Dust your fans and blinds.
  • Clean the refrigerator inside and remove all magnets outside.
  • Organize your pantry as they will look inside.
  • Lock up your valuables.
  • Organize the garage.
  • Designate one room for boxes and clean and organize the other bedrooms.

It is a lot! Luckily Mama S (Steve's mom) has come to stay the week to help us out with some of this. Today I have to start boxing things, have my car cleaned, and get together documents for the Visas. I have to get my picture taken again, passport style.

I think even the dogs are tired! I took these pictures of them this morning.

All is well though. We are moving forward a little each day. I think the key to making a move this big is to just continue doing one or two things a day. More than that feels overwhelming because there is just not enough time after work to do so much and less than that feels overwhelming because now you have more to do the next day!

Some positive thoughts. I'm very excited about the move. I'm excited about cold weather, outdoor activities, hill walking, whiskey trails, castles, living on the coast, snow, granite architecture, a smaller house (yes.. I am excited about that), new foods, tea, and coffee, seasons that look different, using public transportation more or simply walking to the city center, and history, among other things!

I'd love some suggestions from anybody about where to eat while we are there for a week house hunting. :o)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"This is a big decision!"

We'll we've finally picked a realtor and received quotes on the yard work needed to make this place look a bit nicer. One landscaper quoted us $750 and the next quoted us $1450. Steve says we are in the wrong business! Good thing the company gives us a relocation stipend. Seems it's all going to be spent shipping pets, buying clothes, and paying for home repairs. They calculate this out quite well.

Steve seems pretty stressed. He spent 1.5 hrs in one store trying on dress shoes. He walked up and down the store and leaned from side to side in each pair. He even put two different shoes on each foot to compare each one to the other (You know you've done it...). After an hour I told him I really needed to leave to get some things. I tried on clothes, bought some stuff, called him, and found he was still in the same store. In fact, I found him exactly where I left him but with 3 chairs full of shoe boxes as he was pulling another off of the shelf to try on. He even asked the sales woman if he could have a trial period. She said he couldn't return them if he wore them outside. Imagine his disappointment.

I told him if he liked this pair or that pair, just buy them! "This is a big decision," he said. I told him, "No, it's not. It's SHOES!" I think so many things are happening at once that he is struggling with making decisions in general. He went shopping again today while running some other errands. "These or these?" he says (see below). "Ross" and I agreed... the ones on the right. Yes? I think he did pretty well, especially considering his level of stress. Hopefully it made him feel better to obtain nice shoes that aren't 7 years old.

Picking a company to sell your house in short amount of time is a bit rough.

I called him this morning after discussing with my mom how we should make this decision. I liked one company because of some of the things they do, but I decided to suggest the other company because they have many houses in the area (my mom and I suspected they would often be in the area showing houses). Moreover, the realtor was very aggressive. He called Steve a couple of times trying to set up a meeting time with me since I missed his meeting with Steve. My mom said, "Maybe he'll bug somebody enough to make them move quicker on the house." Steve wanted to review their market analyses, webpages, and ratings again. "Let's lay everything out on the table."

 "Steve," I said, "We don't have time to spend 3 weeks bantering back and forth and analyzing all of this for weeks!" He is very calculating in his decision making process, and I'm very "go with it". Guess we balance each other out.  He said, "This is a big decision!" I told him, "No, it's really not! They all do the same thing. The decision is really just based on personal preference." In the end he decided to go with who I originally suggested. I told him that if he would just acknowledge that I'm right in the beginning (insert sarcasm), life would be so much easier. :o)  Prepare yourself for strenuous teamwork if you are embarking on this same journey. Keyword here though: TEAMWORK.


We leave in October for our house hunting trip. We will be there for 7 days. The company is flying us business class! I've never been in anything but coach. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. Hopefully we can find some good places to eat while we are there. Oh and guess what I did. I e-mailed House Hunters International last night and provided our information and photos. HAHA! It would be so crazy if they actually called me! I'll let you know what happens.

This weekend will be busy. We are hosting a party here for local family and friends. We have to get our cars cleaned and posted for sale. However, our neighbor said he is interested in both! We need to start packing up "clutter" to get our house ready for sale (or maybe we'll rent it. We still haven't decided what would be best.) We have to gather things for our Visas. They want many bits of information including shot records, copies of passports, original passports, professional passport photos, and our original marriage license or birth certificates. Our plate is very full, but I know God will help us carry it.

Scottish word of the day from my cultural awareness book: "knackered" .... It means exhausted and is the perfect word to end this blog today.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Scotland.... Texas?" Ha. No.

How many people begin this by saying, "I've never written a blog before?" I'm not so naive as to believe that the world cares to have a play-by-play of my life. However, I'm about to leave behind many friends and family members whom I would normally share things with, and communication is about to become a bit more difficult. Thus, the blog.

The latter know who I am. All you other people...not so much. I'm from a small Texas town. It's your typical Texas small-town story where football was about all there was to do other than the Pacman machine at the laundromat. I wasn't popular, I was the nerd that made good grades (I'd like to say that I believe those characteristics are unrelated to each other...coincidence or just my good luck?). Anyhow, to make a long story short, I went to college, met a great guy, went to grad school, married the great guy, got a dog, bought a house, worked at a coffee shop, taught high school, got another dog, and then finally got a job doing what I really enjoy and went to school to do. A few weeks after being offered a full time position there, I turned in my two weeks notice and told them I'm moving to Scotland. My friend Stephen Ross' response: "Scotland.... Texas?" Ha. No.

So we have 1.5 months to sell our house and two cars. We've met two realtors and two landscapers and have to pick which ones we like best to do the job. One day has been bad so far. I called one company that handles international pet travel out of Houston to ask how to transfer my french bulldog, Frog, and my Frenchbo, Angel. She said she couldn't help me. She told me that no airline would transfer that breed and that they are a weak breed that pose a risk to other dogs. Moreover, she informed me that Scotland is very humid and poses significant respiratory risks to snub-nosed breeds. My thoughts... Do you know where we live right now? So I cried. She told me repeatedly that she couldn't help me. I have to leave them?

No. She was either (A) giving me a load of crap to avoid working a difficult case, or (B) was VERY mistaken out of ignorance. We found several places that could make it happen... but boy is it EXPENSIVE. $4,000. Yep. Digest that... I thought about buying a bigger purse and making my husband carry one too. We even conspired with one friend about how to make Frog look like a very furry baby. We would need to somehow convince all the other kids in front of us to crawl on all fours (not likely Jonathan, but thanks). Lesson of the day: Seek a second opinion.