Sleep. Not so much.

This simple girl is having a hard time dealing with the weight of liquidating a household full of stuff.  Drew is much cooler.  We are running on fumes, though, and there isn’t any gas in the cars either.

I must apologize for the delay in the release of precious details since our last post; I am not even sure why I couldn’t find the time?!  Here’s the hot list:

  • September 6, Buyer makes an offer, we counter
  • September 7, Buyer accepts counter
  • September 9, Termite Inspection
  • September 10, Termite Letter received
  • September 11, Home Inspection 
  • September 12, Buyer asks us to fix a leak, trim some trees, fill in some cracks in the foundation, and bring in some fill dirt for a spot behind the house.  We agree to all but the tree trimming.
  • September 15, (Happy Birthday, Mom!) Plumber estimate x2, research dirt, get foundation filler
  • September 16, Plumber fixes leak
  • September 17, Landscaper brings dirt
  • September 19, Drew’s last day at work
  • September 20, MOVING SALE/Moving Day (Dang, Gina)
  • September 21, (Happy Birthday Richard!) A few hours were spent at a Habitat for Humanity build and then it was back to our house to pack…

I am tired, yo.

Once again, my sister and adopted sister came to my rescue on the day of the Moving Sale.  I just don’t deal well with money.  If it had been up to me, one family would have had me pack up my crap, deliver it to their house, move it in, write them a check (for taking my stuff!), and go deposit it in their account.  Overall, I was really surprised by the day.  The rain, of course, was not in my plan.  The strange flow of folks was unusual.  The 6:15am shopper going through our personal belongings in the garage 45 minutes before we were ready was a bit awkward.  Looking back on it, his truck was oddly full for 6:15am.

We managed to sell the biggest items and the big ticket items–except the Prius and motorcycle.  If you hear anyone talking, well, you know.

We hope that you are planning to be at the big party.  It won’t be quite right without you.  We will have cake, of course, and the band should be awesome–or sweet–or wack–or wicked.  (I am not sure what the young kids are saying these days.  I’ve gone too long without a good conversation with my students or my nieces.)  The bar is a regular…..(yawn)… ba(yawn)r.  You might even have fun meeting each other what with the (yawn) and maybe the with your (yawn) and then he said…ZZZzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzZZZzzzzzzzz

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program…

Thanks to our collective faith, positive attitude, and willful visualization of that “SOLD” sign, there will soon be a “SOLD” sign in our yard! What an amazing feeling–if I weren’t so excited, I might be scared out of my shoes. Everyone breathe a sigh of relief and get some good sleep tonight. There will be lots of moving, drinking, eating, meeting, hanging, more moving, a blow-out party, and some bittersweet days ahead. Tonight might bring the best sleep I have had in three months…

The Roller Coaster

We now expect to board a plane for London on October 4th.
We are being fingerprinted on Friday, 29 August.
We send our paperwork to be processed to Chicago as soon as our fingerprints (and other biometrics) are on file.
We have shown our house to the same buyer twice–and she likes the snacks.
We are working on a Bon Voyage Bash for the week prior to our departure.
We cheer ourselves up each evening with cheezburgers and the failure of others.

When I stand still, even for a moment, I feel the way one feels on the last few clicks of the climb you make on a roller coaster. Although buying the ticket and getting on the ride took courage, I am aware that I could never be prepared for what’s in store. It’s going to be bumpy and my hair is gonna be bad when it’s safe to loose my grip on items such as sunglasses or hats. How do you get ready for something you’ve never experienced? Someone told me that you are much less likely to be injured if you fall down the stairs while you are asleep; she tried that one night. I think the moral of the story is to try your best to let what is wash over you, get in sync and be at peace with the rhythm that is life as we know it, and rest when it’s not your turn to row.

Thank you again for your immeasurably profound love, encouragement, and support. It’s true that you don’t know what you have until you lose it (or move across the ocean from it).

All my best and all our love to you.

Don’t Stay Home

Usually when you come home and someone has eaten your Reese’s cups, you call the cops–or at least the exterminator. Tonight it was awesome to find that someone (maybe several someones) had several drinks and snacks from our wide selection of yummies. Our house hosted a new family this evening, for the first time since the house has been on the market. Though two appointments had been previously scheduled, for various reasons the appointments were not kept. Tonight though, refreshments have been had! Visualize that sign…

Special News Bulletin

For those faithful readers who cannot stand the suspense any longer, the move has been postponed and is now scheduled for approximately September 28th or 29th.  Additional paperwork was requested of us and we expect our legal documents to be ready for us the first week in September, but when it arrives we have to take it to a UK Consulate (the nearest one is in Atlanta) to put some magic touch on it.  He probably has to stamp our passports and verify that we are who we say we are…  Until then, please visualize the Coldwell Banker “Sold” sign in our yard.

We do plan to have an Open House on Sunday, August 31st.  Please encourage anyone you know, in the market for a great house in Smyrna, to come by.  We are looking forward to beginning the process of selling the house to its new family.  Meanwhile, the listings for flats in London gives me great hope that you’ll have a very cool place to stay when you visit!

Please do check back often for more entertaining accounts of the last few weeks and forgive us for our very lackluster post this evening.  It was all I had.

Brought to you by Tums

Did I survive a yard sale or I am still dreaming?  Oh wait, it rained today.  A yard sale on a rainy day would be counter productive. Silly rabbit…  Of course, it did stop raining.  Right after it poured and then rained and then stopped and then poured.  Hmmm.   I am delirious, I still have on yesterday’s make-up, I am sore, I smell like wet dog, and there is a stack of dollar bills on my kitchen table.  I either survived a yard sale or I was the entertainment at someone’s bachelor party.

Thank God for the folks who will love my gently-used, but well-loved crap.  Also, bless the hearts of those characters that tracked dirt on my freshly shampooed carpet and let their children kick the back of my couch.  Yummy.  I am grateful that the day has passed, grateful for the amazing friends and family that supported me through this trying ordeal, and so pleased to be $28.37 richer.  This could not have been possible without the tough love of my sister–and our adopted sister.  Who else stays up all night with you singing along to crappy (but inexplicably awesome) 80’s Jams and faces death to remove all traces of cobwebs on your cathedral ceiling?  Who else can scare you straight about the mess on the dining room table and will selflessly defend the $2 salad bowl?  Thanks also belong to my dad and stepmom for making the multi-family yard sale a real event, to my Auntie Jean for her sense of humor and for sharing a margarita with me, and to my mom for windows that you can eat on.

I miss you already.

The In-Between Time, Chapter Three

Vegan chocolate chip cookies rock.  They rock pretty hard core, actually.  Vegan not-chicken noodle soup is excellent, but it doesn’t hold a candle to vegan chocolate chip cookies.  Thank you, Skinny Bitches, for the chocolate cake that saved my life and the cookies that rock my socks off.

Now, on to things that do not rock.

  • Highlander, The Source
  • Cleaning out the drain in the shower
  • Pretending to be on Clean Sweep with my all time favorite collector, Drew Huddleston
  • Babies being harmed
  • Accidentally entering a hotel room that is occupied.  By honeymooners.  Happy, active honeymooners…
  • Running into people you know at the grocery store before you’ve showered or brushed your teeth
  • Bad Wolf
  • Cats on planes to London, specifically mine
  • Book Rental Failures
  • Writer’s block
As we continue to contemplate a move across the ocean, the yard sale pile grows.  (The pile of stuff to store might still be bigger…)  Please stay tuned for ways in which you may purchase awesome collector’s items or contribute to our big yard sale event.  Don’t make plans to leave town in the next three months.  I might need you to buy me a beer.

The In-Between Time, Chapter Two

I am sure that you are creative enough to imagine the kinds of things one considers as he or she contemplates a move.  You are likely to be crafty enough to formulate a loosely constructed course of action for relocation to another country.  Try as you might, though, I am not sure many deliberate the way Drew Huddleston does.  I will confess that I am awed by this ability he has to study for a decision as if there were going to be a test and a right answer.  My decisions are driven by my gut, they can be messy, and may leave me with a fair amount of self-loathing.  It is quite often the case that I fail to spend that extra hour of planning on the front end which would save me from the immeasurable amount of inefficiency on the follow-through. Despite the comfort that I take in Drew’s careful pontification of every possibility, I also feel like I am that proverbial gerbil on the wheel (the cute kind that doesn’t bite), and he is the wheel.

Drew is a thinker.  I am a feeler.  And I feel like he is thinking too much.  (It’s a play on words that is funnier than true, but I’m going with it.)

He put together a budget for several scenarios:

  • paying mortgage and rent, Jen not working
  • paying mortgage and rent, Jen working in a coffee bar
  • paying rent, Jen working with her current employer having taken a demotion
  • paying rent, Jen becoming a rock star in a power suit
Creating a budget made it necessary to consider the actual cost of living in London.  Drew’s buddy had helped research the actual cost of utilities, we looked at real live flats for rent, we traveled by public transport, and we ate in town.  We got maps and books.  And then it got a little ridiculous.  Drew asked me to put together a monthly grocery list so that he could estimate that piece of the budget puzzle.  He found a grocer in London that allows you to shop online and ten minutes later he was calling to me from the other room, “You didn’t say how many tampons you use in a month-they come in boxes of 14, 16, 32, and …sixty-four!?  And there’s slender, regular, compact, pearl, light, super, extra super… and, oh my God, suckin’ up the ocean?! Oh, and there’s a multi-pak.  Is this for real?
Budgets alone were not enough to ease the decision making process.  We listed pros and cons of the job offer as well as sharing our concerns about being so far from those we hold dear.  We researched the job market for my potential dream job.  (Good news on that front-I’m going to do a season of Dr. Who when Donna Noble moves on.) We talked about our ability to come home to visit.  We brainstormed the possible adventures we could have here in the states.  We asked the cat what he wanted.  Nothing seemed to bring us closer to going or staying. Thank God for the heinous grocery experiment that ended in a really good stress relieving laugh.
I’ve grown to appreciate Drew’s propensity for logic and I know I’ll be grateful that he dedicated so much time to the consideration of the job offer when a decision is finally made, but my mind is reeling with the the list of things I should be doing if we are about to move to London.  I get a little tired when I let my mind get stuck there…  At the end of the day– I am happy to get in bed with my best friend and any anxieties grow faint and dim.  I am content to go where he goes (or stay where he stays).  
I know–you just threw up in your mouth a little.

The In-Between Time, Chapter One

It was a little strange coming home from the UK this time–maybe because I had been awake for the entire return journey, maybe because of the mind-blowing philosophy book I bought for the trip, or perhaps from the heat that hit us in Atlanta…but most likely because I wasn’t sure how long I might call this place “home”. The scenery looked slightly different, in a undefinable sort of way, and I felt a sort of pride in belonging to this place.

On the plane from Nashville to Atlanta I had been seated next to a woman with an incredibly gentle smile; Drew and I were not assigned seats together. She told me about the 16 day trip from which she was returning, her daughter who lived in Germany, the time she lived outside of Washington D.C., her husband (an orthopedic surgeon in Nashville), and her recent interest in macrobiotic cuisine. She eventually asked about my trip. When I told her about Drew’s job offer in London, she smiled knowingly. She told me about her time living in the big city–and the contrast of life in the suburbs.

“While you are young you should experience big and bustling,” she said. “You can’t appreciate the life you have here because it is all you have ever known. But don’t worry about the decision to go or to stay; wherever you are together, that will be home.”

I wasn’t sure at the time that our short conversation was meaningful. With a few days gone by, I am so thankful to have made the decision to keep my seat.

The Visit, Day Five

A simple girl in London has many things to be thankful for.  Body shapes and sizes are so varied and not many people endeavor to hide their jiggles and wiggles.  The wind is always blowing in London and the hairstyles are evidence of that.  In fact, it seems to be rather cool to look a mess, all in all.  You have to dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes; it’s hot in the tube and on the bus, but it’s windy and cool on your walk.  Inevitably, all of the parts to your ensemble will not match.  Pieces of your outfit work together, maybe, but overall it’s just a hodgepodge of your personal style and there are so many different people here with so many different individual styles that you get the feeling that anything goes.  It’s a bit of a relief to feel removed from the pressures that I imagine at home–to be polished, sweat free, and perfectly accessorized.


We discovered a new neighborhood today, called Maida Vale.  It’s a very nice place–bordering on a not-so-nice neighborhood.  There are great quaint and quiet streets that feel a bit more like home than the flats above and in between shops that exist closer to the heart of London.  There were plenty of nannies shuffling their charges along the walk and children playing in parks.  We met with Scott and Vito this evening for drinks and then went to eat Indian food with Scott.  Wow.  Real Indian food, with an educational staff and great menu.

Tonight we say goodbye to our wonderful evening street noise (the morning street noise is not so lovely).  We do enjoy the sounds of laughter and merriment that continue past midnight each day. So, good evening and goodnight to our lovely neighbors!

Tomorrow we return to our wonderful family and friends in a place we currently call home.  I can’t wait to see you all.

The Visit, Day Four

Jet lag can be a bit tricky.  We tried sleeping with the shutters closed last evening because it gets light so early here, but it was still hard not to feel like we were oversleeping.  Our morning was spent planning a trip to Marlow to meet with my prospective employer.  We had to take a tube to the train station and then a train to Maidenhead and a train to Marlow.  Really.

The folks I met were super nice and the village of Marlow is quaint, quiet, and very nice.  It’s just more than a bit of out the way.  I would definitely have to drive to work.

As boring as that sounds, that is really how we spent the majority of our day: preparing, walking, tubing, training, walking, interviewing, and the preceding in reverse.  (We are now preparing for tomorrow.)  While we were on the train I actually watched a guy–a grown man–pick his nose and eat it, for about an hour.  I guess when you are pressed for time you have to eat on the go.

When we arrived back at the flat, I changed out of my suit.  We walked down to Leicester Square where the TM office is and took some video.  We ran into Scott, Drew’s supervisor, coming out of the building.  We chatted and walked with him down to Chinatown.  He made some suggestions for a meal and a drinking hole.


Because we had grabbed a pasty in the train station, we just walked down to Trafalgar Square to take a little video and did a tiny bit of sightseeing on our way back to the flat.

We’ve got the terrace door open and the tv on.  We can hear the sounds of the street below and are still able to enjoy a silly comedy of some sort.  I am tired.  I cannot believe I am sending emails or blogging.  However, I do hope that you are enjoying keeping up with the Huddlestons!

Much love to you all and happy Wednesday, dad!

(p.s. Mom, text in a different color in the entry above is a link to a website.  click on the link to be redirected to the other site.)