Wednesday 29 September 2010

The Got-Done List

This is a daily record of what actually got done to prepare for our trip.
  • Shuffled the trip in a way that we could pick up Antonia's friend, and which also gets me out of changing the Yellowstone reservation.
  • Checked and noted the post office's offers for dealing with post in our situation.  To get all our mail forwarded to a single address such as a parent would cost 100E a year, which is reasonable.  We are also trying to limit our mail, by canceling things we don't need or getting them sent electronically.

Sunday 26 September 2010

This is a daily record of what actually got done to prepare for our trip.

  • Did some research and thinking around the possibility of Antonia's friend joining us during the summer holidays, where to pick him up, drop him off and where to go in between. I have some cool ideas so we'll see what works.
  • Completed the inventory for the guest bedroom, upstairs bathroom and our bedroom.  That was a tiny bit quicker than I thought, though I'm building up a massive to do list.
  • Emailed my friend who is supposed to meet us for Tasmania to see when we can have lunch and talk about it.

Saturday 25 September 2010

The Got-Done List

This is a daily record of what actually got done to prepare for our trip.
  • I did the inventory and fix-up list for the guest bathroom.  Actual productive work, hurrah!
  • We chatted with a few neighbors at the village get-together about the fact that we are leaving on a long trip, so I guess that could now be considered public information!
  • I added Kamchatka to the list of places to maybe, eventually, get to.  At the moment that would be so far in the future that it is no more than a bullet point.
  • Philosophized about the nature of travel and anonymity, versus staying in one place and everyone knowing each other.

The Got-Done List

This is a daily record of what actually got done to prepare for our trip.
  •  Set up a file in Excel to receive the inventory / list of tasks that need doing.
  • Called on a storage place to find out how it works and how much it costs for a range of possibilities from storing all our stuff to only our personal possessions.  I found out that the storage facility is simple to use and a small space would be just about affordable, if we have to go that route.
  • Made a very short list of places to see in Philadelphia, although as it turns out, all three of them are outside Philadelphia, but accessible.
  • Had second thoughts about the distance education Chinese course Antonia is following, when I discovered that it's taking me ten times as long to figure out how to send in the assignments as it took her to do them.  Still, I will reserve judgment as to whether we take it on the road or not for now.
  • Antonia and I istened to Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and Appalachian Spring for our arts lesson.  We also did Native American music and totem poles earlier this week.

Thursday 23 September 2010

The Got-Done List

This is a daily record of what actually got done to prepare for our trip.  I kind of wish I had started this earlier, it would have been interesting to see all the work that got done.  But earlier, I didn't have to do things daily, whereas now, the heat is on.
  • Felt overwhelmed.
  • Had a meeting with Mike to try to settle what needs to be done about furniture in this house if it is to be let furnished.  The conclusion was that he strongly wishes to let the house furnished and so we need to 'refresh' some of the furniture in order to do that.  We have not reached a decision about storage of our personal stuff, what to do about the supply of wood for heating or how to arrange management of the house.
  • Made a load of to do lists, and set aside time to go over the house room by room for things that need doing and to make an inventory.
  • Worked on preparing myself mentally for seven months of life in the USA (which I may post about elsewhere).

Friday 17 September 2010

Somewhere I'm not going...

Photo credit: this is a good photo!  I have no clue who took it first.
I am not going to the Creation Science Museum in Kentucky.  Actually, I'm a little bit disappointed about that, because I have a trainwreck fascination with the place, and besides, at our local museum you're not allowed to ride the dinosaurs.  On the other hand I don't think I could really handle it.  I'd be rolling on the floor laughing by the middle of the first room, you know the one with the dinosaur and the people living in perfect harmony.  Then I'd probably get kicked out.

Yes, I'm kind of disappointed it won't fit on the itinerary, but it doesn't matter because other people have been for me.  I'm going to start collecting their links instead.

This is the funniest and most photogenic
This one is a report on the famous invasion of the Pharynguloid horde

Hopefully, I'll find some more.

Say what you like about the Creation Museum, it is now a piece of classic Americana on a par with Mount Rushmore and beefburgers.  I think I'm going to start a series on Americana right now.  Look how I strive to get into the spirit of things!!!

6.5 months to go

How did we suddenly get from 8.5 months to 6.5 months in the space of a month?  Well, it turns out Mike's work commitments will force him to be in Philadelphia throughout May, so we are moving our boat trip a month earlier.  That means I will have to request a tourist visa for seven months instead of six, which is unusual.  We are hoping they will grant it, both in Paris and at the port in New York when I arrive.  As the wife of a US citizen, I'm probably entitled to an immigrant visa, but it seems like overkill for a seven month stay.  It cost more, the process is more complicated and as I understand it, it can take six months.

Apart from that slight concern, I'm not too unhappy to spend an extra month in Philly.  It's my least unfavorite East Coast city, and maybe I'll get to see some horseshoe crabs on the beaches of Delaware, visit the Dutch Country, and do that Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island tourist trip which I had basically given up on.

Applying for a tourist visa is a relatively complicated and expensive process.  We spent an amusing hour or so producing a standard US passport photograph.  I mostly got the online form filled out, but we're still waiting for British passports back, so I can't fill in that number yet.  I read through the very long list of crimes and misdemeanors that the powers-that-be would like me never to have committed.  Some of them I had never even heard of, but they made fairly entertaining reading.  I have an appointment for an interview in Paris, and a train ticket booked for the end of October.  I need to have with me any paperwork the interviewer chooses to wish to see, even though they won't decide what that is until I'm in the interview.  Hmmm.... 

Apart from that we are generally trying to put our affairs in order ready for departure.  This is moving forward at snail's pace, to the point where I'm feeling a bit panicky.  We seem to spend all our time dealing with immediate catastrophes.  No forward progress has been made on the house!  Truly, I'm starting to have my doubts about renting it furnished, for lots of reasons.  Some of the furniture, especially the bedroom furniture isn't as tenant friendly as it should be.  We have one futon mattress that I wouldn't share with a stranger, on a large platform, one very cheap and rickety child's bed with ricketier trundle for sleepovers and one very uncomfortable futon sofa bed.  Who is that stuff going to suit except us?  Also, we really have a huge amount of small stuff that it seems inappropriate to leave so we're probably going to have to pay for storage anyway.  There are some fairly major things that need doing before the house can be let in any way, as well as lots of minor ones. the artisans who need to do the major ones are being unresponsive as usual.  I need to start putting out feelers for potential tenants and management companies and I don't even have time for that.

Call it displacement activity if you like, but I decided that our most important paperwork and our wills, provision for our child, etc, should be in order and stored with our families, partly so we can access it, partly so they can if anything should happen to us.  Well, every time I look at that stuff, I discover a new disaster.  Tonight's disaster was the discovery that Mike had made a will before meeting me or having a child and forgotten to ever update it.  It's just one more darned thing on the to do list, and probably the most overdue for attention.  I truly believe that people's affairs should never become so complicated that they are ever out of order, but I'm about a million miles from succeeding in practicing what I believe.  In theory, a lot of good can come out of this travel scheme, if it forces us to organize a bit better, but for now, I'm just feeling overwhelmed.