Rapid, we hope.

So, my friends who are moving to the US this coming week went from a standing start to packing their stuff into a container today, in 3 weeks flat. Although they have been living in, rather than renovating, their house, which makes that side a little easier. However, in contrast, and meaning they definitely win the difficulty challenge, they’ve got 2 kids and 2 dogs. And one of them (the adults, not the kids, nor the dogs) works from home.

In contrast, our 8-9 week moving schedule seems positively lackadaisical. Here we are swanning about our house touching up paint here, filling render there, and they’ve manically packed and are moving now. It doesn’t really feel that way.

I feel the pressure mounting, day on day, not helped by my rota which consists entirely of endless night shifts. We also need to visit my mum properly and have promised to go down and help her take down her exhibition:


[All proceeds from the art sale to the Red Cross Nepal Appeal, let me know if you want to see price list or photos]

We went down for a couple of hours yesterday – and then discovered she’s been invited to keep the exhibition up an extra week – and become the artist in residence for a month – pretty damn cool :)
Anyhow, so that’s next weekend gone.

At some point, after the house is on the market, it’d be really rather nice to see my sister and her kids too.

Between all these competing time-sucks the whole thing feels damn tight.

Jobs we still need to do:
– Paint the entryway
– Paint the back wall (just touching it up, but there’s a lot of touching up)
– Remove the doors and get them dipped-and-stripped

(Bye bye last hardboard-covering-panel…



– Touch up some paint in the kitchen
– Finish the deck and the garden path
– Weed the garden and chuck down 100s of litres of bark chip
– Paint the bathroom doorframe

And I think that’s it…

I am beginning to think we might just miss our deadline, but we’ll see. It doesn’t help that I’m on a night shift in the middle of this week which takes out two entire days for one frigging shift. And on nights all this weekend. But what can y’do.

Also, what doesn’t help is waiting patiently for the visa interview appointment. I know, I know, it’s only just over a week and a half since the doctors said ‘okay’, but I want to know godsdamnit, so we can at least plan/schedule one-damn-thing.

Also, slightly anxiety inducing is that I have to take a driver’s test within a month of getting to the US because Washington state only honours my UK driver’s licence for one month after we get there. Gah.

The experience is quite odd

There’s this alternation between excitement, terror and boredom. Things like handing in my notice, that’s terrifying. In many respects I love my job, my department’s a great place to work with a fantastic team. For its sins, if I was sick, I’d go to my own ED rather than any of the others around me, because I think they’re bloody good.

So I’m going to miss ’em.

So that was scary.

And packing up my vinyl, which I started to do today (because I’m selling both my record decks), that’s kinda exciting. Seeing the space open up on the shelf, and having my singles slipping into a shipping box… that’s kinda, well, it feels like we’re moving.

And selling stuff? That’s also kinda exciting. It’s sad to see some items go, but it’s also exciting because it, too, feels like moving.

But the waiting? That I’m not so good at. Waiting for the visa interview, waiting for my CGFNS nursing documents to be processed? That’s all painful. I know it’s been less than a week, and I’ve got to wait up to 6 for the visa interview, but I want to get it done… so I can *know* for sure; rather than this slightly scary, optimistic, it’ll happen so let’s start doing things like it is happening approach.

Monday’s not the day

But in my head it feels like the day.

There’s no particular reason that I shouldn’t get a visa for the US. I’m not a terribly naughty person, beyond my ownership of a rather high number of MZs and my two soviet era watches, I don’t think I harbour enormous communist sympathies, and I’ve (so far) not been kicked out of the US on my trips there.

I’m a reasonably well educated person with a fair potential for being a productive member of US society.

And my health is pretty good. Yes, I’ve got a bit of a crap liver, but apparently something like 20% of people have a fatty liver – probably more – because most people never find out. Just that routine blood tests before an operation in my past picked it up. I now eat more healthily, exercise more, and that seems to have at least fixed my blood results… So I don’t really think that there’s a good reason to deny me entry on health grounds.

But Monday is the medical.

Which means that I get to trek to London, have the deep joy of going through my medical history, then hopefully at any point in the 6 weeks after that I might have a visa in my grubby little hands.

Obviously, we still need to sell the house, two cars, a bunch of non-usefully-exportable tools (like, say, my drill-press, which I used once, or the shredder, which I did use, but got fed up with it being so noisy), clear a million books, make a container to transport my vinyl and gramophones in… pack everything, organise the shipping of the piano and some of our nicer bits of art…

…Rebecca needs to go to JLH for the expensive repairs and modifications to get her back roadworthy.

…it’s not like our move will be superquick once that visa’s here.

But it’s making it very real and quite scaryexciting.

And yes, yes, I know people do far more scaryexciting things. They go and live on deserted islands, or near volcanoes, or they move to some place where they don’t speak the language. But this is big for me. I, like most people, have never lived outside the island (country) I was born in. So it’s big.

On the plus side, my friends Nikki and Kate will already be in the country, in their nice new house. Hopefully just a month and a half ahead of us.

Side Effects

As a side effect of our friends running point on the whole moving to the US thing, we discovered today that apparently the Visa and the ‘Green Card’ are not, actually, provided at the same time. Foolishly I’d believed that when we got to the states it would be with both a means to get in, and also a means for me to obtain employment. Or at least to be allowed to try to obtain employment.

Apparently the green card can take up to 90 days from your date of entry to arrive. What the hell? What am I meant to do for 3 months? How are we meant to live, eat, feed ourselves, make sure we have trifling things like health and car insurance when one of us can’t work for 3 months?

This requires further research when I’m not sleep deprived as there must be some way around this that makes sense, because currently it makes no sense at all to me.

On the good news front, CGFNS have now, after a mere 25 days, processed my mail – and can now state that the transcripts have arrived. Now we just need to wait for them to actually process the transcripts.

Speedy this whole process is not.

‘s odd

So we’re starting to approach, with at least some semblance of it being real, the point when the house is, for all practical purposes ‘finished’. The List is looking better; much more manageable. And I was contemplating things and had a moment of “Oh my god, what am I going to do when it’s finished, how will I fill my time?”

It was quite weird, this sort of unnerving foreshadowing of what it’ll be like when I retire. And then I paused for a moment and mocked myself mercilessly.

I spend most of my time going “Oh, I’d really like to do [thing], but I should work on the house”. My Morris Minor, my photography, my music, my reading, my electronics stuff, dinking more thoroughly with computers? It’s all been put on hold for 9 years as we’ve renovated one, and then a second house. In addition we’ve got business planning, and moving planning, and gardening… and all the other hobbies.

So that was odd.

The other odd thing was actually feeing some pride. Just standing in the hall and going ‘This is us. This is our house and we made this‘. Christ knows how bad I’ll be if we do ever get to build our own house.

S’not completely stopped me.

One of the many things I despise about allergy season is the tiredness. This is at least partially down to the fact that normally I’d have a lie-in after night-shifts. Not a long one, but a bit of one. And I’d usually sleep until about 8. Unfortunately, in allergy season, not only do I not sleep well, but I wake up around 6:30 feeling sickly. And can’t get back to sleep because I need to take drugs and get upright.

Beyond the irritation of, well, irritation to eyes and nasal passages, it’s irritating because whilst it doesn’t stop me doing things completely, it seems to erode my competence, it also really attacks my patience… and it leads me to want to just sit on the sofa going blurgh.

However, irritating allergies notwithstanding, I’ve managed a fair bit today.

First up I managed to head out and collect a package that turned out to be the HD ‘sports camera’ for our trip to Norway. Which has arrived much more rapidly than expected and looks to work except…the microSD? I’d not actually ordered that yet. So I ordered that today. I also, whilst I was out, picked up a new tip for my soldering iron. Well, technically I picked up tips for both soldering irons, the ‘precision’ one of my dad’s and the ‘not precision’ one of mine. I also did errands, for double plus adulting.

A few days back I managed to put the new socket surrounds on the wall in the kitchen:


I filled and masked it all, and today started hurling paint at the trim. Two more coats and that bit’ll be done… leaving only some little bits of trim in the main kitchen area. That wall looks like it should end up being much neater – the sockets have been hanging out of the wall quite long enough.

I need to move the fridge to get to some of left over bits of trim though, so that’ll be fun. But it may mean I finally get around to turning the door on the fridge ’round so it opens the right way. Heh.

Painting done I nipped out to collect my bike which had gone off to be repaired after the back brake broke. They’ve fixed the brake, but upsettingly, as I mentioned earlier the cable for the rear hub-gear is broken, meaning it’s currently sat out of gear, which makes it ‘tricky’ to use. I’ve ordered a Sturmey-Archer clone cable, which I then just have to work out how to make fit. I have an idea, but it’s not ideal…

I also spread slug pellets around the garden which is AWESOME. We currently have all the berries.


Which I should go out and pick, although I’m feeling a bit ropey right now (see: allergies).

I also rang the company that’s meant to be assessing my transcripts – I checked and they were delivered on the 8th of June – but it still showed the status as ‘waiting for required documents’. Having rung them it can take up to a month for items to start being processed. ARGH.

I am really worried that the potential job will have gone before I even get near a registration.

Anyhow. Lunch was a Hart’s affair, obviously, then I moved on to assembling John’s 7 segment LED display:


My soldering, even with the new iron which actually has a tip that’s tip-y and not chisel-y (I’ve been using the same tip that my dad had on there for…ever), is no-where near as neat as John’s. It’s not terrible, by any means. But it’s not beautiful, but I guess I don’t do it that much.



Ta Da!

If it works, I’ll show you. Of course, to find out if it works will require the Arduino Uno that Kathryn gave me for Xmas, so I’ve opened up the packaging and… downloaded the software.

I also assembled the synthesizer kit that Kathryn gave me for Xmas and had a wee play with it. I think, however, it wants a new battery. As opposed to the one that came out of the garage smoke alarm because it was dead (note to self: buy more 9v batteries).

Anyhow, so I was sat with the Arduino in my lap, and the software on the mac, and, for reasons which remain elusive, my allergies kicked into overdrive and I had to give up. After a festival of sneezing and me finally giving in and throwing the eye-drops in before I eroded the surface of my eye through rubbing, I have given in to sitting because, in all honesty, I feel cack from the allergies and I think I’ve done enough for the day.

In other news, yesterday my Mac died and refused to come on until it’d had the battery removed. Its worrying decent into notworkitude appears to be continuing. My deal with myself is that I might, when I’ve paid off the credit card, consider buying a new (recon/B-grade) laptop. It will not be another apple. Irritating though it is to be the proud owner of Office-for-mac and Photoshop-for-mac, I’m just a bit done with the walled garden. Also, it’s not just-working anymore. If it’s not just-working, what’s the point in paying extra?

Yesterday the realisation landed

I’ve known for a while, on an intellectual level that we would get the house ‘finished’ and sell it. As in, as the paint’s drying the the “For Sale” board will go up outside (assuming plan=successful). However, yesterday as I was putting that first coat of paint on the door the realisation properly hit me that yes, I will get the house done, but it’ll never be something that we live in and don’t have decorative work hanging over us.


The next house we own we will be more successful at just living in.

I have other hobbies god-damn it. Other. Hobbies. I don’t just like decorating.

Sooo close.

Sat on the piano is an envelope. It contains:

I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
G-325A Biographic Information (x2)
Lots and lots of trees, repurposed
Payment information

…Let’s hope they say yes.

And as a side point, yes, I am terrified.



Today we both got photographed. Our general fame and being followed by paparazzi not withstanding, this was just passport photos. But passport photos taken by an actual human-type person (which is, interestingly, way nicer than a machine doing it) and printed in a USAian style. A lovely 2″ by 2″ photo of myself and one of Kathryn is now upstairs awaiting attachment to the relevant G-325A (Biographical Data) forms.

We also finished the bits we can complete on the computer for the I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative…). There are, oddly, some bits you can’t fill in on the PDF that you have to complete by hand. We were going to print it off but irritatingly, the toner in the printer was getting a bit low and producing patchy prints (TBH it’s been like that since I got it, ‘cos it was second hand). I took it out and shook it, with the hope that it would produce some better prints… instead the printer went “Oh, it’s empty”.


But! But I had a spare, the one from the other printer I bought second hand that was DOA (got a full refund tho’).

I grabbed that and threw it in.

It turned out it produces filthy, filthy prints with dirty streaks on them.

[ETA: I’d changed the toner and the drum simultaneously, because I’m a moron; and because they’re attached together. I’m at this very moment waiting to see if we need a new drum having come up with the idea of switching the toner between the empty one and the one with the crappy drum unit. [paper feeds out] YAHA! “Go little printer! Go little printer!” (imagine me dancing) ]

Of course, we’d planned for this low toner issue (for loose definitions of planned), with a stop on the way home from our breakfast trip to The Workhouse Cafe – stopping at Staples, who informed me that they carry absolutely no stock for Kyocera printers at all, whatsoever. Nor, it turns out, do any of the stores in Bristol carry stock for printers as old as ours, although one of them seemed convinced that if he kept me on the phone long enough I’d give in and order one to be delivered to his store, so I could drive across Bristol and collect it from him (as opposed to ordering a refill for a tenner online).

[Continued from the ETA. I could have just rewritten this post because I hadn’t actually hit publish when I realised about the whole toner/drum thing, but…. naaaah].

However… the scabby second toner cartridge appears to have improved matters at least a bit. Perhaps enough…

…And YAY! I have decimated a small forest re-printing odd pages, but also, have finally produced all of the pages required. Next comes a sign-a-thon and then it goes in the post on Monday. And then we’re poorer, but hopefully with some chance of US-land-living.

Now we just need Kathryn’s UK Citizenship* and we can flit about the world like the globetrotters we are.

* And my US Nursing registration**.
** And for flitting, ideally a lot more money ;)