Sunday, February 28, 2010

Step One

We created our To Do list for getting the house ready to sell. For something that I think looks well-maintained already, that list is awfully long. Nathan began ripping out our back fence, which is the biggest (and really only) project that must be done before listing. We have LARGE, built-in planter boxes with three mature bush/trees. Sadly, these planter boxes are built up to the fence...which as it turns out, is on our neighbor's property. She is putting up a new fence, and quite understandably, would like our planters off her property. We tend to first get quotes from professionals, then when we get the quote, tear it up and say, "Why pay somebody when we can do that for 1/3 of the price." Then about halfway through the project, "Why aren't we just paying somebody else to do this?" We'll see how this one goes. I'm sure it will be easy, especially since my role will probably be something along the lines of standing on the deck providing helpful "suggestions."

We also showed our boat today (please let them buy it, please let them buy it, please let them buy it.). We only have four weeks left in our marina slip. Then we have to move the boat to an as yet undetermined location.

Today, I also found there are just loads of short-term, furnished rentals in great neighborhoods (that take a dog) around here. So assuming our house sells, we may not be living in the local Motel 6 after all. My original plan was for us to move into my sister's house. This is a house that she does not yet own. It's a mythical house that lives in both of our minds. She is house-hunting and does plan to buy a house, but who knows what that timeline looks like. And when I suggested to Nathan that we move into her spare bedroom (or possibly, just the mythical futon in her mythical family room), which will mean an approximate 1.5 hour commute one way for him, and he'd then return home at night after said commute to a house with three children under age 3 plus our nutso dog running amuk, he responded with utter silence. But that might have meant yes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the beginning...

Welcome to my blog. It will be pretty boring to start (well, it will probably be boring all the time) since we don't move until August, but we have lots to do to prep for it.
It's starting to sink in that we're actually, finally, really going to be moving to Europe. After 14 years of hoping, the dream will come true. I've been pushing to the backburner of my mind all the things that have to happen first, mainly, selling our townhome in Old Town Alexandria...and our sailboat...and a car.

Now I'm not truly worried about any one of those things, but what keeps me up at night are the thoughts of our military pack-outs, pack-outs in the plural (pack-out is the term used when the movers come "pack-out" all your belongings, load them on the truck, and take them to mysterious warehouses where very odd things get lost or broken, such as an ugly, already broken, beat down step-stool that no one in their right mind would actually want except for you, while the boxes you've pointed out to the movers and suggested could "fall" off the truck are delivered safe and sound, move after move after move). But back to our overseas I understand it, we will have three. One for items to go in Long-term storage, the Main pack-out going on slow-boat travel, and the Express shipment of items we can't live without for our final 2-3 months here.

The problem lies in the fact that we live in a small, 2 bedroom townhome. I love all the helpful advice I get that goes something like, "What you do is designate 1-2 rooms of your house where you put all your long-term storage items, close the door, and put a big sign on the door designating it for your storage pack-out." My husband and I live IN THE CITY. We don't have extra rooms! We could use the 2nd bedroom for this, but selling our house quickly and for lots & lots of moolah depends on the thing looking pristine, clean, free of clutter. I'm not sure the one and only 2nd bedroom filled to the gill with crap (I mean, cherished belongings) that WE don't even want to take to Italy with us is the best way to accomplish our sales goal.

Problem #2: When we first got the news of our move, we started house dreaming. Lots of folks who'd been stationed over there told us all about their lovely villas, views of the Mediterranean, wonderful landlords, and so on. Exciting, right! Then we find all incoming families are required to live in base housing. Okay, we'll still be living in Italy, so we're good. Problem is that the housing ranges from a spacious, 3-level townhome w/garage to a 1200 sq.ft. apartment into which is fit 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms. And we'll have no clue which we'll be in until we arrive in August! How on earth do I pack (or send to storage) for these two ends of the spectrum? Nathan's answer is to take nothing, so for those of you thinking you might actually have a bed to sleep on when you visit, guarantees.