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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Taking a breath.

The last 24 hours have been crazy.

Yesterday afternoon, someone called from the British Consulate to let us know that not only did Bobby need a settlement visa, so did the children. For some reason, I'd assumed that because they were mine,and minors, they'd automatically be allowed into the UK. Not so, it seems. So yesterday afternoon I had to rush around getting photos for them, and filling in forms, and providing supporting documentation of every imaginable kind. A few international phone calls and fifteen hundred dollars later, everything was assembled, paid for, and ready to be Fed-Exed this morning.

The person from the consulate who spoke to me on the phone was very helpful. Unlike my interactions with US immigration people, where it's felt distinctly as though they actively want to find some reason to deny our visas, this woman seemed to want us to succeed, and wanted to make sure that we included everything necessary for our application to succeed. I hope we got it all in ... I think we did. It'll be a very expensive mistake if we didn't, because the application fees are non-refundable.

Yesterday evening was devoted to garage sale prep work. This involved much carrying, dusting, sorting and pricing, and, incidentally, revealed the nasty collection of Things That Had Been Hidden Under Our Couch. (Why is it that my children secrete their socks all over the house? Under the couches. In the couches. Lurking under the computer desk. Neatly stashed behind the garage door. But never in the washing basket.) Our pricing was rather erratic, I think. We tended to price things according to how much we liked them, rather than according to their market value. Hence things like the chainsaw were dramatically underpriced, and things like my bread machine were dramatically over-priced. The garage sale preparations also involved much arguing with the kids. Not, as one might assume, argument designed to persuade them to part with their possessions, but argument designed to convince them to keep them. They got a bit carried away by the whole selling thing - the lure of hard cash went to their heads, I think. It sort of went to Bobby's and mine too, actually - we ended up selling the diningroom table and chairs on the spur of the moment, even though we'd meant to ship them to the UK. The only thing the kids are sad about saying goodbye to is the trampoline. And that, oddly enough, is the only large thing that we didn't manage to sell today. We could definitely fit it into the container - specially since we sold the diningroom furniture - but the thing is, I very much doubt we'll be living in a place with a garden big enough to accommodate it, so really, it would be pointless to take it. If I knew for sure that we'd find a home with space for it, I'd take in a heartbeat...

The actual garage sale was surprisingly fun; after an average of four hours sleep per night this past week, I think we've reached that stage where you're so sleep-deprived that everything seems amusing. The drizzly weather didn't seem to put people off; swarms of people moved through our garage like locusts through a cornfield. Only, unlike locusts, they left dollar bills behind them. We are going to divvy the money (and there's a surprising amount of it) up between the five of us, so that everyone can have spending money on our forthcoming trip. And we're also going to use some to go out to dinner tonight : we're celebrating Steve and Em's A-filled report cards and excellent FCAT results. Em is mightily peeved because Stephen's IB courses are weighted more heavily than her pre-IB ones, so he as actually got a GPA of more than 4.0.

The house is all echoey and cavernous post-sale; it is amazing what a difference taking all the plants out made, even before we sold some of our furniture. Now I guess I need to make sure that everything that's left is clean and organised before the movers arrive on the 16th.

Bobby is asleep on the bed next to me; I think I might take a quick nap too. The only problem is that I always have such a hard time waking up from naps. The falling asleep is delicious, but the groggy walking-into-walls-can't-focus waking up process is so miserable ... Maybe I will go mop my muddy floors instead.

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